Brittany-Maynard-photo-618x400The unanimous decision arrives two weeks after the high-profile death of cancer patient Brittany Maynard, who chose to end her life with assistance from doctors in Oregon

Assisted suicide has been a controversial issue in the United States, and is only legal in five states, but the West Hollywood City Council is pushing to make it acceptable in Los Angeles.

The council passed the first resolution in California on Monday that supports mentally competent, terminally ill adults dying with aid.

The unanimous decision will urge the Los Angeles County district attorney to deprioritize the prosecution of doctors and family members who provide end-of-life medication to mentally competent, terminally ill adults who request it.

Councilmember John Duran introduced the resolution after the highly publicized death of 29-year-old California resident Brittany Maynard (picture above), who moved to Oregon earlier this year after her brain cancer diagnosis was elevated to grade 4 astrocytoma, also known as glioblastoma.

Maynard partnered with advocacy group Compassion & Choices in the final weeks of her life to help make aid in dying an open and accessible medical practice.

The organization is currently working to pass resolutions supporting end-of-life options and deprioritizing prosecutions in cities and counties across the state, as well as in Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

“It is unacceptable that terminally ill, fully competent adults like Brittany Maynard have to leave their homes, their families and friends and their medical teams in order to die peacefully, without fear of prosecution of their families or doctors who provide for their care,” Toni Broaddus, California campaign director for Compassion & Choices, said in a statement. “We are thankful to the West Hollywood councilmembers for showing leadership on this issue and standing up for the right of their citizens to have full access to all end-of-life options in the face of terminal illness.”

Related posts:

Flywheel-Money-ThumbFlywheel, the app-enabled cab hailing startup and Uber rival, announced Thursday that it had raised $12 million in Series C funding.

The timing couldn’t be better for the company’s new CEO, Rakesh Mathur, who isn’t shy about his criticisms of Uber, a company with recent actions that he calls “almost NSA-like.”

“Travis has used the word ‘asshole’ to describe the taxi industry,” Mathur said during an interview with Mashable, referring to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. “Well, he uses the word and he acts in that fashion and beyond that he clearly created an army of mini assholes.”

The company, which first launched in 2010 under the name Cabulous, connects users with taxis in California, Washington, Florida and Oklahoma via the Flywheel app. The functionality is similar to that of Uber, Lyft or other ride-sharing services: All payments are handled within the app and users are able to rate the drivers at the end of a ride.

What sets Flywheel apart from competitors like Uber and Lyft, Mathur says, is its reliance on licensed taxi drivers.

What sets Flywheel apart from competitors like Uber and Lyft, Mathur says, is its reliance on licensed taxi drivers. This creates a better experience for users, who get the advantage of reliably knowledgeable drivers who undergo strict background checks. But it’s also a win for the business side as the company doesn’t have to work to recruit and train new drivers.

Mathur hopes their extensive experience in San Francisco will help the company expand to more cities across the country. The company is headquartered just south of San Francisco in Redwood City; the CEO estimates that 80% to 85% of the city’s taxis are equipped with Flywheel.

A big part of the reason taxis companies have been so easily supplanted by companies like Uber and Lyft, Mathur added, is because the taxi industry has been fragmented by the individual cab companies. Taxi fleets often don’t have their own apps or those that do are not user friendly and don’t include taxis from multiple companies.

“What we’ve noticed in San Francisco is people have Uber, Lyft, Flywheel and whichever delivers a ride the fastest is the one that gets used,” Mathur said. “You’ve got to prove yourself every time.”

Related posts:

dorian-dragon-age-360x200Hello, gay nerds. Clearly, if you’re reading this, you’ve taken a break from playing Dragon Age: Inquisition, which came out today all over the world. Well, all over the world except for India.

Publisher Electronic Arts has abruptly decided to withdraw the game from the entire country of India, saying that they’re doing so “in order to avoid a breach of local content laws.”

Dragon Age games have always featured some queer content, but the third installment has more than ever: rather than have the option for bisexual romances, Inquisition features an exclusively-gay party member named Dorian. Is he the reason EA pulled the game? It’s unclear.

“The decision here is in relation to local obscenity laws, but not specific to same gender romance,” an EA rep told Kotaku. We want to believe that’s true, but it’s kind of a weird claim. The company released Grand Theft Auto V in India, which has tons of heterosexual sexuality. They’re also still selling other Dragon Age and Mass Effect titles, all of which have gay relationships. And the Indian distributor, Milestone Interactive, indicated to NDTV that the gay content was to blame.

So what’s going on? It’s hard to say. India’s laws about obscenity, particularly around LGBT content, are pretty murky. EA hasn’t said which laws they’re afraid that Dragon Age would break.

At the end of the day, it means that Indian RPG players are going to miss out on a chance to play a storyline with gay characters, and that’s a shame. If only EA had the courage to stand up to the local magisters.

Related posts: