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Homophobic assaults up in France amid same sex marriage debate

Wilfred de Bruijn’s face is bloated, seeped in blood, his bruised right eye shut tight, his tooth broken — the victim of a brutal attack in Paris while he was “walking arm in arm” with his boyfriend. His is one of the latest cases of homophobia in France, where activists…

Uruguay legislature approves same sex marriage

Uruguay’s legislature voted to allow same-sex marriages nationwide, making it only the second Latin American country to do so. The vote, with 71 of the 92 members of the lower house backing the measure, was welcomed with cries of “freedom, freedom” and “equality” from members of the public who burst…

The Savita Halappanavar case: Judicial inquiry told abortion refusal was ‘Catholic thing’

An Irish inquest into the death of a pregnant Indian woman who was allegedly denied a termination heard from a witness Tuesday who said an abortion was refused due to a Roman Catholic ethos. Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old dentist originally from India, died in a hospital in Galway, on the…

Stocks hit record highs after Federal Reserve meeting

US stocks powered to new record highs Wednesday after Federal Reserve meeting minutes suggested the Fed’s easy-money policies would remain in place for a while longer. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 128.78 (0.88 percent) to 14,802.24, a new all-time closing high. The broad-based S&P 500 surged 19.12 (1.22 percent)…

Test-tube baby pioneer Robert Edwards dies aged 87

British scientist Robert Edwards, who was awarded a Nobel prize for his pioneering work in developing in vitro fertilisation (IVF), died on Wednesday aged 87, his university announced. Edwards spent his career making the dream of having a baby come true for millions of people worldwide, running into conflict with…

Anthony Weiner considering a political comeback in New York

Anthony Weiner, the former US congressman forced to resign after tweeting lewd photos of himself to women, said Wednesday that he’s considering a political comeback with a run for mayor in New York. Weiner was once seen as a frontrunner to replace billionaire Michael Bloomberg in November elections to the…

Michelle Obama calls for strengthened gun laws to stop bloodshed

First Lady Michelle Obama returned to her murder-plagued hometown Wednesday to make an emotional plea for strengthening US gun laws, saying she too could have been a victim of brutal street violence while growing up. Making a rare direct foray into the domestic policy debate, Obama held back tears as…

Scientists pinpoint what pain looks like in the brain

Scientists said Wednesday they have figured out how to recognize pain in brain scans, possibly paving the way for future tests that could accurately gauge its severity. “Right now, there’s no clinically acceptable way to measure pain and other emotions other than to ask a person how they feel,” said…

Chuck Hagel: North Korea ‘skating very close to a dangerous line’

North Korea is “skating very close to a dangerous line” with its heated rhetoric and provocative actions, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters Wednesday. The United States and its allies hoped Pyongyang would tone down its inflammatory language but the American military was prepared for any possibility, Hagel said.…

Egyptian president withdraws legal complaints against journalists

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has ordered the withdrawal of complaints filed against journalists for publishing rumours about him, said a statement posted Wednesday on the presidency’s Twitter account. “The president has ordered the withdrawal of all legal complaints filed against journalists for publishing rumors on him,” the statement said. The…

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