In an eagerly awaited decision that could have undermined the viability of the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 6-3 to uphold the federal subsidies that enable 6.4 million people to buy heath coverage, including 172,345 in New Jersey. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion and was joined by Anthony Kennedy, Ruth…
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A gunman went on a terrifying rampage in a gay bar and surrounding streets in Oslo on Saturday, killing two people and seriously injuring 10 on the day the city's LGBTQ community was due to celebrate its annual Pride parade.
The victims were shot inside and outside the London Pub, a well-known gay bar and nightclub open since 1979, as well as at one other bar in the centre of the Norwegian capital. "I saw a man arrive with a bag, he picked up a gun and started to shoot," said journalist Olav Roenneberg of public broadcaster NRK, who was in the area. "Then I saw the windows breaking and understood that I had to take cover."
A suspect, a 42-year-old Norwegian citizen of Iranian origin, was detained minutes after, according to police who said they believed he acted alone. Two weapons, including a fully automatic gun, were retrieved from the crime scene, they added.
"There is reason to think that this may be a hate crime," officers told a news conference. "We are investigating whether the Pride was a target in itself or whether there are other motives." Oslo police spokesman Rune Hekkelstrand told Reuters the attack was also being investigated as a possible act of terrorism.
Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere decried the shootings as a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people". The suspect was known to authorities, including for violence of a less severe nature, police said.
The shooting happened in the early hours of Saturday, and just months after Norway marked 50 years since the abolition of a law that criminalised gay sex. Eleven people also suffered minor injuries, police said.
Organisers of Oslo Pride cancelled Saturday's parade, citing police advice. "We will soon be proud and visible again, but today we will mark Pride celebrations at home," they said. Norway, a country of 5.4 million, has lower crime rates than many other Western nations, though it has experienced hate-motivated shootings, including when far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in 2011.
The US Supreme Court's historic end to nationwide abortion rights on Friday drew unusual criticism from some of America's closest allies and bucks a global trend to more liberal reproductive rights.
The decision came one day after the Supreme Court also struck down some of the modest restrictions on guns -- an issue that, along with the US embrace of the death penalty, has long shocked other Western nations.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson -- a Conservative who worked closely with former president Donald Trump, whose judicial nominations paved the way for Friday's decision -- said the Supreme Court decision will have "massive impacts" worldwide.
"I think it's a big step backwards. I've always believed in a woman's right to choose and I stick to that view, and that's why the UK has the laws that it does," Johnson said on a visit to Rwanda.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced the decision across the border as "horrific."
"No government, politician, or man should tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body," Trudeau wrote on Twitter.
French President Emmanuel Macron voiced his "solidarity with women whose freedoms are today challenged" by the US Supreme Court, while Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said that legal and safe abortion was a fundamental right.
"Depriving women of their individual rights is a backlash against decades of hard-fought work," Linde said.
Among the few world leaders who may be heartened by the ruling is Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, an ally of Trump and his own country's evangelical Christians, who took to Twitter hours before the decision to denounce an 11-year-old girl's abortion of a fetus that was the result of rape.
US President Joe Biden himself deplored that the top court has "made the United States an outlier among developed nations in the world" as he vowed to keep up efforts to secure legal abortion.
Biden made his remarks on the eve of flying to a summit in Germany, which just Friday repealed a Nazi-era law that limits the information that doctors and clinics can provide about abortion.
And US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a point of stressing in a statement Friday night that his agency remains "fully committed" to helping provide access to reproductive health services both around the world and among its employees.
Traditionally Catholic Ireland overturned an abortion ban in a 2018 referendum and Latin America, long a stronghold against abortion, has also been moving to liberalize its laws.
Colombia in February legalized abortion up to 24 weeks into pregnancy and Chile shortly afterward said it would enshrine the decriminalization of abortion in its constitution.
Mexico last year had its own historic Supreme Court decision -- declaring the prohibition of abortion unconstitutional.
The United States was one of the first countries to grant a nationwide right to abortion with the 1973 Roe v Wade decision that was overturned Friday after years of mobilization by opponents.
But the United States was also an outlier in its sweeping right to abortion until fetal viability, although advocates stress that few doctors perform late-term abortions except in exceptional circumstances.
Representative Mike Waltz, a Republican, said that the United States had been "one of only a handful of countries in the world that allow abortion on demand, comparable to authoritarian regimes such as China and North Korea."
"Even most European nations maintain some restrictions for abortions," he said in a statement.
The Supreme Court decision, he said, "will save millions of innocent, unborn lives."
But drawing the anger of Republican administrations, a number of aid groups have advocated for legal abortion on the grounds that banning it would only make the procedure less safe and put women's lives at risk.
David Miliband, president of the International Rescue Committee and a former British foreign secretary, said the Supreme Court decision "marks a dark day for reproductive rights and bodily autonomy not just within the United States but the world over."
A US navy destroyer sunk during World War II has been found nearly 7,000 meters (23,000 feet) below sea level off the Philippines, making it the world's deepest shipwreck ever located, an American exploration team said.
The USS Samuel B Roberts went down during a battle off the central island of Samar on October 25, 1944 as US forces fought to liberate the Philippines -- then a US colony -- from Japanese occupation.
A crewed submersible filmed, photographed and surveyed the battered hull of the "Sammy B" during a series of dives over eight days this month, Texas-based undersea technology company Caladan Oceanic said.
Images showed the ship's three-tube torpedo launcher and gun mount.
"Resting at 6,895 meters, it is now the deepest shipwreck ever located and surveyed," tweeted Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo, who piloted the submersible.
"This small ship took on the finest of the Japanese Navy, fighting them to the end," he said.
According to US Navy records, Sammy B's crew "floated for nearly three days awaiting rescue, with many survivors perishing from wounds and shark attacks". Of the 224 crew, 89 died.
The battle was part of the larger Battle of Leyte, which saw intense fighting over several days between US and Japanese forces.
Sammy B was one of four US ships sunk in the October 25 engagement.
The USS Johnston, which at nearly 6,500 meters was previously the world's deepest shipwreck identified, was reached by Vescovo's team in 2021.
In the latest search, the team also looked for the USS Gambier Bay at more than 7,000 meters below sea level, but was unable to locate it.
It did not search for the USS Hoel due to the lack of reliable data showing where it may have gone down.
The wreck of the Titanic lies in about 4,000 meters of water.
© 2022 AFP