WARSAW, Poland

Mayor fires head of hospital for refusal to facilitate abortion

Warsaw’s mayor said Wednesday she fired the head of a maternity hospital who refused to perform or facilitate an abortion of a badly deformed fetus for reasons of conscience.

The case – which saw the recently delivered baby put under intensive care with major brain and skull deformity – has stirred wide debate in Polish media, raising questions about the boundaries of faith in public life in a country that is traditionally Catholic but increasingly becoming secular.

Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz said she fired obstetrician Bogdan Chazan, a declared Catholic, over the case. She said a review showed that Chazan refused to perform an abortion toward the end of the legally allowed period and failed to advise the woman on where an abortion was available and on the approaching deadline.

Warsaw’s Roman Catholic Archbishop, Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, said that the sacking of Chazan amounted to a “dangerous precedent that hurt the rights not only of the Catholics, but of all people.”

MEXICO CITY

Chinese tycoon confirms plans for largest-ever canal

The Chinese tycoon behind a plan to build a mammoth inter-oceanic waterway to compete with the Panama Canal whisked into Nicaragua this week and, in several appearances, including one with President Daniel Ortega, affirmed that “the biggest construction project in the history of mankind” has a green light.

In a lengthy appearance on state television Tuesday night, Ortega sat next to Wang Jing, the Chinese telecommunications magnate who has been pushing the plan, and pledged that the proposed canal “will permit the country to eradicate poverty and misery.”

The two promised that environmental damage during construction of the canal — at 173 miles long, more than three times the length of the one in Panama – will be minimal. Construction will begin late this year and be finished within five years, they said. As many as 5,100 ships a year would use it to pass between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

KIEV, Ukraine

Donetsk bracing for a siege as army encircles separatists

Donetsk is steeling itself for a siege as troops encircle separatists who’ve pulled back to the biggest city in Ukraine’s conflict zone after months of bloody unrest.

The deadly struggle for control of Ukraine’s easternmost regions is coming to a head, with most separatists holed up in Donetsk and Luhansk, 90 miles away, and the army vowing to tighten the net around them until they surrender or are killed.

PAMPLONA, Spain

Writer on how to survive running of bulls is gored

An American who co-authored the book “Fiesta: How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona” became one of their victims Wednesday when he was one of two men gored at the festival.

Bill Hillmann, a 32-year-old from Chicago and a longtime participant in the nine-day Pamplona street party, was gored twice in the right thigh during one of the daily bull runs, organizers said on their website.

The injury was serious but not life-threatening, the Navarra regional government said in a statement.

– From news service reports