International Briefs

Fire destroys Copenhagen’s Old Stock Exchange dating to 1600s

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A fire has swept through one of Copenhagen’s oldest buildings, causing the Old Stock Exchange’s iconic dragon-tail spire to collapse. Passersby rushed to help emergency services save priceless paintings and other valuables from the burning 17th-century structure. The Danish culture minister says he was touched to see how many members of the public helped. The fire began in the copper roof of the Old Stock Exchange, but police have said it is too early to pinpoint the cause of the blaze.

UK lawmakers back landmark bill to gradually phase out smoking for good

LONDON (AP) — A plan by Britain’s government to introduce a landmark smoking ban that aims to stop young people from ever smoking has cleared its first hurdle in Parliament despite vocal opposition from within Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party. The bill will make it illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone born after January 1, 2009. It is widely supported by health experts and the opposition Labour Party, but Sunak faced rebellion from more libertarian-minded members of his party. Authorities say that if passed, the bill will create modern Britain’s “first smoke-free generation.” Under the Tobacco and Vapes Bill, children turning 15 this year or younger will never be legally sold tobacco.

Ukrainian president signs controversial law to boost conscription

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has signed a controversial law, days after it was passed by parliament, potentially helping Kyiv to boost conscription to replenish depleted forces to fend off Russia’s continued aggression. The mobilization law, signed Tuesday, is expected to take effect in a month and make it easier to identify every draft-eligible man in the country. Ukraine has been struggling to fend off the Russian advance. Since the full-scale invasion began in Feb.2022, Russia has captured nearly a quarter of Ukraine, which is outnumbered, outgunned and in desperate need of more troops and ammunition.

London court rules against a Muslim girl who wanted to pray at school

LONDON (AP) — A Muslim student who wanted to pray during lunchtime has lost a court fight against a strict London school that had banned prayer on campus. A High Court judge said Tuesday that the female student had accepted when she enrolled in the school that she would be subject to religious restrictions. The fight was over a rule put in place last year by Michaela Community School after a small group of students who began praying in the schoolyard caused divisions at the school that spread to the community and led to a bomb threat.


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