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Federal judge strikes down Pennsylvania's gay marriage ban

By David DeKok HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage was struck down by a federal judge on Tuesday in the latest court decision in the United States confirming gay couples' rights to wed. Finding Pennsylvania's 1996 Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, U.S. District Court Judge John Jones III wrote: "By virtue of this ruling, same-sex couples who seek to marry in Pennsylvania may do so, and already married same-sex couples will be recognized as such in the Commonwealth." The ruling makes Pennsylvania the 19th U.S. state where gay marriage is allowed, a movement that has gained momentum since the Supreme Court ruled last June that legally married same-sex couples are eligible for federal benefits. Most recent court rulings allowing gay marriage have included a stay pending appeal, but Jones' ruling does not. There is, however, a three-day waiting period for all weddings in Pennsylvania.


Twin bombings add to death toll in Nigeria terror campaign

Twin car bombings on Tuesday killed at least 46 in central Nigeria in the latest in a series of deadly blasts that will stoke fears about security despite international help in the fight against Boko Haram Islamists. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan swiftly condemned the attack in the central city of Jos, calling it a "tragic assault on human freedom" and condemning the perpetrators as "cruel and evil". Most of the victims were women, Pam Ayuba, spokesman for Plateau state governor Jonah Jang, said, while the emergency services said their workers were caught up in the second blast as they attended victims from the first. Plateau, of which Jos is the capital, falls in Nigeria's so-called Middle Belt, where the mainly Christian south meets the Muslim-majority north.


Stolen cell phones put on display after crackdown in Spain

Spanish police said Tuesday they are putting on display scores of stolen mobile telephones so their owners can claim them, after a crackdown on thefts in Madrid's underground train network. "The national police is looking for the owners of 109 mobile telephones recovered in the Madrid underground," it said in a statement with a photo of the phones and several e-book readers. The loot will be on display for several weeks in a police station on the Puerta del Sol square in the central tourist district of Madrid, it said.


Balkans Flooding: Drowned livestock pose a new threat

A new calamity emerged Tuesday in the flood-hit Balkans even as emergency workers battled overflowing rivers and evacuated thousands: tons of drowned livestock were posing a health hazard.


German probe finds 20 former death camp guards

Around 20 former guards at the Majdanek death camp could face charges in Germany, following a widespread probe of the Nazi SS men and women who served there during World War II, war crimes investigators said Tuesday.


Collapse of 23-story building in N. Korea was hidden from media

When a South Korean ferry sank with hundreds trapped inside last month, the whole world knew about it. But in North Korea, there was utter silence about the collapse of a 23-story apartment building for five days, until state media issued a rare apology.


Locals get angry with pro-Russia separatists

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine (AP) — Pro-Russia separatists fighting government forces in eastern Ukraine faced local anger Tuesday and a new challenge from the country's richest man who demanded they end their rebellion.


Balkans Flooding: Serbia declares national mourning, death toll rises

Serbia on Tuesday declared three days of national mourning and reported another death in the worst rainfall to hit the Balkan region in living memory, even as the rising River Sava threatened more havoc. Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said the death toll in the town of Obrenovac, southwest of Belgrade, alone had reached 14.


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