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Yale University sues Connecticut over gender-neutral bathrooms

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Yale University has sued the state of Connecticut over rules it says limit the number of gender-neutral bathrooms it can designate on campus, the latest skirmish in the broader U.S. fight about gender identity.

The Ivy League school said in the lawsuit it wants to designate all single-occupant restrooms at its law school as gender neutral, but the plan would run afoul of the state building code, which does not count gender-neutral bathrooms when it assesses whether a public building has enough toilets.

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The suit was filed on Friday in Connecticut Superior Court in New Haven, after the university received complaints from law school students. Yale has asked the state to drop requirements that single-user restrooms have an assigned gender label.

Restrooms have become a flashpoint in the fight over transgender rights, following North Carolina passed a law last year requiring people to use public restrooms that corresponded with their birth gender. The measure was partially repealed in March after the state lost hundreds of millions of dollars from economic boycotts.

Texas lawmakers are expected to consider a similar measure next month. Proponents of the bathroom bills say they aim to protect individual privacy. That is not a factor in the Yale case, which focuses on single-occupant restrooms.

“The proposed shift in designation to gender neutral …. would facilitate quick access to a bathroom within the building for persons of all gender identities,” the 315-year-old university wrote in the lawsuit.

The state code would require Yale to build more bathrooms to be in compliance with rules about the number of restrooms for men and women. The school said it would be impractical and unnecessary in its century-old law school building.

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A spokesman for Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and officials from the state Codes and Standards Committee, which oversees the rules, were not immediately available.

The suit asks the court to order the state to allow Yale to count gender-neutral single-user bathrooms toward state requirements and order the state to modify the rules to allow gender-neutral bathrooms to count for code compliance in all cases.

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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Google tightens political ads policy in effort to stop abuse

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Google on Wednesday updated how it handles political ads as online platforms remain under pressure to avoid being used to spread misleading information intended to influence voters.

The internet company said its rules already ban any advertiser, including those with political messages, from lying in ads. But it is making its policy more clear and adding examples of how that prohibits content such as doctored or manipulated images or video.

"It's against our policies for any advertiser to make a false claim -- whether it's a claim about the price of a chair or a claim that you can vote by text message, that election day is postponed, or that a candidate has died," Google ads product management vice president Scott Spencer said in an online post.

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Pope Francis begins Asia tour with visit to Buddhist temple

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Pope Francis will visit one of Thailand's famed gilded temples Thursday to meet the supreme Buddhist patriarch, on the first full day of his Asian tour aimed at promoting religious harmony.

The 82-year-old pontiff is on his first visit to Buddhist majority Thailand, where he will spend four days before setting off to Japan.

His packed schedule a day after touching down in Bangkok includes a meeting with the king and the prime minister before leading an evening mass expected to draw tens of thousands of people from across Thailand, where just over 0.5 percent of the population is Catholic.

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Hong Kong campus stalemate persists while US congress passes bill of support for democracy protesters

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Hardline Hong Kong protesters held their ground on Thursday in a university besieged for days by police as the US passed a bill lauding the city's pro-democracy movement, setting up a likely clash between Washington and Beijing.

Beijing did not immediately respond to the passage in Washington of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which voices strong support for the "democratic aspirations of the Hong Kong people."

But China had already threatened retaliation if the bill is signed into law by President Donald Trump, and state-run media warned Thursday the legislation would not prevent Beijing from intervening forcefully to stop the "mess" gripping the financial hub.

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