October 2, 2013 |
ROME - In a shocking reversal that left his party in disarray and could seriously damage his political fortunes, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi made a U-turn on plans to bring down the Italian government and force early elections. Berlusconi threw his support behind Premier Enrico Letta in a crucial confidence vote Wednesday after members of his own party threatened to desert him. Letta is trying to pass reforms intended to drag Italy out of its most serious recession since World War II. After last-ditch talks with rebels in his party, the 77-year-old media mogul made a brief speech to the Senate shortly before the vote, saying, "We have decided, not without some internal strife, to support the government.
September 2, 2013 |
NEW DELHI - India passed into law Monday an ambitious program to provide nearly free food to some 800 million Indians. Supporters hailed it as a long-overdue fix for the nation's rampant poverty, while critics slammed it as a shameless and electoral ploy the country can't afford that will encourage more waste and corruption. The National Food Security Bill gives two-thirds of India's population the right to buy 12 pounds of rice, wheat, millet or other cereals each month at no more than 3 cents per pound.
July 18, 2013 |
MOSCOW -- Several thousand people angered by what they consider the unfair conviction of charismatic opposition leader Alexei Navalny took to the streets of Moscow in protest Thursday evening. Navalny was convicted earlier in the day of embezzling about $530,000 in 2009 from a company that has since gone bankrupt, a charge his supporters say was politically motivated. He was convicted in Kirov, a regional capital, and sentenced to five years in prison and a fine of about $15,000.
June 18, 2013 |
MOSCOW -- The lower house of Russia's parliament gave initial approval Tuesday to ban the adoption of Russian orphans by foreign same-sex married couples or by single persons from countries where same-sex marriages are allowed. Some lawmakers said the measure was intended as a response to a French law passed last month allowing same-sex marriage. The latest measure would not currently apply to Americans because they are already banned from adopting Russians. Lawmakers took that step in December in response to passage by the U.S. Congress of a law denying visas and imposing financial sanctions on Russian officials involved in the case of attorney Sergei Magnitsky, who died in prison in 2011 after shedding light on a multimillion-dollar scam.
June 11, 2013 |
MOSCOW - Despite opposition from human rights activists, Russia's lower house of parliament Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would ban providing children with information on homosexuality. The lower house, or State Duma, voted 436-0 with one abstention to pass the bill introduced by the pro-Kremlin United Russia political party banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.” The measure still needs to go through the Federation Council, or senate, and be signed by President Vladimir Putin, but is considered almost certain to become law, possibly by the end of June.
April 12, 2013 |
France is one step closer to allowing couples of the same sex to wed and adopt children after its Senate on Friday approved a landmark bill to legalize gay marriage. Justice Minister Christiane Taubira , a supporter of the bill, said legalizing gay marriage and enshrining adoption rights “is an act of freedom, it is an act of equality, and it is an act of brotherhood” (link in French). “Marriage becomes a universal institution,” she added. Polls have shown that a majority of the French support gay marriage, but are divided on granting adoption rights to partners of the same sex. The Socialist government of President Francois Hollande has backed the “marriage for all” legislation through fervent protests by religious conservatives in the traditionally Roman Catholic country, a split reflected in the 179-to-157 Senate vote.