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The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a 2009 law that establishes a registry for same-sex couples, saying it does not violate an amendment to the state's constitution banning gay marriage. The gay marriage ban was approved by Wisconsin voters in 2006. It now has more than 2,000 couples on it, according to Fair Wisconsin, a gay-rights organization based in Madison. Wisconsin Family Action, an anti-gay rights group, argued in a 2010 lawsuit that the registry violated the amendment because it resembles marriage under state law.
By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Jeffrey Heller GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, facing international alarm over a rising civilian death toll in Gaza, said on Thursday he would not accept any ceasefire that stopped Israel completing the destruction of militants' infiltration tunnels. The Israeli military estimated on Wednesday that accomplishing that task, already into its fourth week, would take several more days. "We are determined to complete this mission, with or without a ceasefire," Netanyahu said in public remarks at a meeting of his full cabinet in Tel Aviv. "I wont agree to any proposal that will not enable the Israeli military to finish this important task, for the sake of Israel's security." Leaving open the option of widening a ground campaign in the Hamas Islamist-dominated Gaza Strip, the Israeli military said it had called up an additional 16,000 reservists.
Explosions rang out near the crash site of downed flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine on Thursday as international investigators arrived for the first time in nearly a week after Kiev announced a surprise one-day halt to its offensive against rebels. Lawmakers in Kiev ratified agreements with The Hague and Canberra that could see the two nations send some 950 armed personnel to secure the site where many of their nationals died.
Since then, a chaotic welter of regional militias has been competing for riches and influence. No ordinary turf war, the latest fighting could define Libya’s future and perhaps end its dream of democracy. The violence is most likely a calculated attempt at politics by other means, says Karim Mezran at the Atlantic Council, a think-tank in Washington. Libya’s political landscape has polarized sharply in recent months between Islamists who have dominated the interim parliament and their non-Islamist rivals.
By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Noah Browning GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The United Nations in Gaza is struggling to withstand a flood of almost a quarter of a million refugees into shelters that have repeatedly come under Israeli fire. Out of cash, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the main U.N. body in the impoverished enclave of 1.8 million Palestinians, says it can barely handle the humanitarian crisis unleashed by more than three weeks of fighting between militants and Israel. Asked to explain the scale of the civilian suffering to an Arab news station, an UNRWA spokesman simply burst into tears. Mine pale into insignificance compared with Gaza's," Chris Gunness said.
UN official Chris Gunness broke down in tears while filming an Al-Jazeera Arabic interview on July 30, after a UN school, sheltering thousands of displaced Palestinians, was shelled. Gunness is a spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and was discussing the “appalling” denial of rights for Palestinians when he broke down in tears. Gunness’s appearance has struck a chord with many viewers, perhaps because, as he tweeted himself, “There are times when tears speak more eloquently than words.” Credit: Al-Jazeera
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Kazimierz Mikos ran down a Warsaw street, zig-zagging to avoid the bullets that whizzed past him. As the 14-year-old ran for his life, he was struck with terror at the sight of a dead body in the street. Even after the scrape with death, the teen volunteered for a heroic Polish struggle against the Nazis — becoming a messenger and a guard.
You've got to give this much to Rand Paul: Kentucky's junior senator is willing to do something almost unheard of in modern presidential politics, which is to make arguments that not everyone in his party already cares about. For this reason alone, Paul is probably the most interesting presidential hopeful out there, if not the most likely to succeed.
By Alexei Oreskovic SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc is launching a mobile app that gives users in Zambia free access to a handful of online services on mobile phones, broadening an effort to boost Internet usage in underdeveloped countries. The Internet.org app will offer, in partnership with wireless operator Airtel , more than a dozen services including online encyclopedia Wikipedia, websites devoted to weather, job listings and health information, as well as Facebook's own social network and messaging service.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department has endorsed the broad conclusions of a harshly critical Senate report on the CIA's interrogation and detention practices after the 9/11 attacks, a report that accuses the agency of brutally treating terror suspects and misleading Congress, according to a White House document.
A sharply divided House approved a Republican plan Wednesday to launch a campaign-season lawsuit against President Barack Obama, accusing him of exceeding the bounds of his constitutional authority. Obama and other Democrats derided the effort as a stunt aimed at tossing political red meat to conservative voters.
Human Rights Watch sharply criticised the Syrian air force Wednesday for intensifying strikes on Aleppo, despite a UN Security Council resolution ordering all sides in the conflict to stop indiscriminate attacks. The New York-based group also rapped the Security Council for inaction over the violence in Syria in a statement issued ahead of a meeting of the UN body. "The Syrian government is raining high explosive barrel bombs on civilians in defiance of a unanimous United Nations Security Council resolution," HRW said, referring to resolution 2139 from February.
By Lesley Wroughton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Peace Corps said on Wednesday it was pulling all 340 volunteers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea because of the spreading Ebola virus that has killed 672 people in the three countries since February. A Peace Corps spokesperson said two volunteers were isolated and under observation after being exposed to a person who later died of Ebola. "These volunteers are not symptomatic and are currently isolated and under observation," the spokesperson said in a statement. The Peace Corps, citing privacy concerns, declined to say where the two volunteers had come into contact with the Ebola victim.
By Alina Selyukh WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top U.S. telecommunications regulator said on Wednesday he is "deeply troubled" by Verizon Communications Inc's plan to slow data downloads for some high-speed wireless customers remaining on the older unlimited data plans. Verizon, the largest U.S. wireless carrier, stopped offering unlimited data plans in 2012 and last week said it will begin slowing services for the top 5 percent of data users who are on such data plans in places where the network is experiencing high demand. "I am deeply troubled by your July 25, 2014 announcement that Verizon Wireless intends to slow down some customers' data speeds on your 4G LTE network starting in October 2014," Wheeler wrote in a letter to Verizon Wireless President and CEO Daniel Mead released by the FCC. "It is disturbing to me that Verizon Wireless would base its 'network management' on distinctions among its customers' data plans, rather than on network architecture or technology.