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Australia legalizes same-sex marriage

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Equality ambassadors from the The Equality Campaign gather in front of Parliament House on Dec. 7. (PC- Photographer: Sean Davey/AFP via Getty Images)

Canberra, Dec 7: Australias Parliament legalized same-sex marriage on Thursday, overcoming years of conservative resistance with an overwhelming majority vote.

Cheers and applause broke out as ministers voted in favour of the bill following hours of debate and emotional speeches at the House of Representatives. Only four MPs voted against the bill, the Australian media reported.

“This is Australia: Fair, diverse, loving and filled for respect for everyone,” said an effusive Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as he introduced the bill for a final vote.

“What a day, what a day for love, for equality, for respect. Australia has done it!” said Turnbull following the announcement.

“Today we’ve voted for love, for equality. It’s time for more marriages, more love, more respect. This belongs to us all.”

Labour Party leader Bill Shorten said the new law spoke for a modern Australia, “inclusive and fair”, 9news.com reported. Gay rights advocates praised the landmark vote even as they said it was long overdue.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, a staunch critic of same-sex marriage, seemed to have softened.

“When it comes to same-sex marriage, some countries have introduced it via the courts, some via Parliament, and others – Ireland and now Australia – by vote of the people,” Abbott said. “And that is the best way because it resolves this matter beyond doubt or quibble.”

The bill will now go to Governor-General Peter Cosgrove for royal assent. The country is now the 24th in the world to allow same-sex couples to marry, according to Pew Research.

The move follows a two-month national postal survey that showed 61 per cent of more than 12 million respondents were in favour of marriage equality.

Australia’s first same-sex weddings will not take place until at least January due to a longstanding requirement for all Australian couples to provide a full month’s notice of their intention to get married.

IANS

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India ready to work with new Nepal government

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New Delhi, Dec 14: Welcoming the parliamentary and provincial election results in Nepal, India on Thursday said it was looking forward to working with the new government in Kathmandu.

“India has age-old unique time-tested ties of friendship with the country,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in his weekly media briefing here.

“We look forward to working with the next democratically elected government in Nepal to advance our close and multi-faceted partnership across all sectors and to support Nepal in its pursuit of peace, stability, economic prosperity for all round development,” he said.

Nepal’s CPN-UML emerged as the largest party in the Himalayan nation. The vote count for Parliament and provincial assembly elections in Nepal ended on Wednesday.

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13 killed in Somalia suicide attack

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A suicide bomber attacked a police training camp in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. (PC- AFP)

Mogadishu, Dec 14: A suicide bomber disguised as a policeman blew himself up inside a police training camp in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu and killed at least 13 officers and injured 15 others, Somalian authorities said on Thursday, reported news agency IANS.

Most of the casualties were police officers. The incident took place when the officers were training, reports Efe news.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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6,700 Rohingya Muslims killed in Myanmar: Report

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Nay Pyi Taw, Dec 14: International humanitarian non profit Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) on Thursday announced that at least 6,700 Rohingya were died after violence broke out in Myanmar’s Rakhine state late August.

On the basis of surveys in Bangladesh, the score is much higher than Myanmar’s official figure of 400, news agency IANS quoted citing the BBC report.

“In the most conservative estimations” at least 6,700 of those deaths have been caused by violence, including at least 730 children under the age of five, MSF asserted in a reports.

MSF which is also known as Doctors Without Borders, stated it was “the clearest indication yet of the widespread violence” by Myanmar authorities.

“What we uncovered was staggering, both in terms of the numbers of people who reported a family member died as a result of violence, and the horrific ways in which they said they were killed or severely injured,” MSF Medical Director Sidney Wong stated.

Among the deceased kids below the age of five, MSF said over 59 per cent were reportedly shot, 15 per cent burnt to death, 7 per cent beaten to death and 2 per cent killed by landmine blasts.

More than 647,000 Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh after military crackdown began on August 25 following Rohingya Arsa militants attack on more than 30 police posts, news agency IANS quoted citing the BBC reported.

After an internal probe, the Myanmar Army last month exonerated itself of any blame regarding the crisis.

It refused killing any civilians, burning their villages, raping women and girls, and stealing possessions.

The Muslim-majority community are denied citizenship by Myanmar, where they are identified as immigrants from Bangladesh. The authorities does not use the term Rohingya but calls them Bengali Muslims.

“The numbers of deaths are likely to be an underestimation as we have not surveyed all refugee settlements in Bangladesh and because the surveys don’t account for the families who never made it out of Myanmar,” Wong further added.

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