BY Wire reports
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
2/13/13 at 3:12 AM
Paris: French Assembly passes gay marriage, adoption
France's lower house of parliament approved a bill on Tuesday to legalize gay marriage and allow same-sex couples to adopt children, handing a major legislative victory to President Francois Hollande's Socialists on a divisive social issue.
The measure, approved in the National Assembly in a 329-229 vote, puts France on track to join about a dozen mostly European nations that allow gay marriage.
Polls indicate a narrow majority of French support legalizing gay marriage, though that support falls when questions about the adoption and conception of children come into play.
The legislation now will go to the Senate, which also is controlled by the Socialists and their allies.
Wilmington, Del.: Delaware courthouse gunman identified
A 68-year-old man whose son was engaged in a bitter custody battle was identified Tuesday as the gunman who opened fire in a Delaware courthouse lobby, killing his former daughter-in-law and another woman. The gunman also died after exchanging fire with officers.
Delaware State Police said Thomas Matusiewicz of Edcouch, Texas, shot Christine Belford, 39, and her friend Laura Mulford, 47, on Monday. Two police hit by gunfire were protected by their armored vests.
Police were awaiting autopsy results Tuesday to determine whether Matusiewicz was killed by police or shot himself with his .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun.
Authorities said Belford and Mulford, both from Newark, Del., were at the New Castle County Courthouse to attend a child support arrears hearing for Belford's ex-husband, David Matusiewicz.
Beirut: Syrian rebels advance toward Aleppo airport
Rebels captured a small military base near Aleppo on Tuesday and stormed another in the same area that protects a major airport, a day after seizing Syria's largest dam.
With the back-to-back blows to President Bashar Assad's regime, opposition fighters appear to be regaining some momentum, expanding their northern zone of control while at the same time pushing deeper into the heart of the capital Damascus.
Rebels have been attacking Aleppo's civilian airport, which remains in regime hands, for weeks. They now appear to have removed the main defenses around the facility. Civilian flights stopped weeks ago because of the intensity of the fighting.
In New York, U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay said the number of people killed in Syria is probably now approaching 70,000. Her comments came less than six weeks after she said the death toll had exceeded 60,000, a figure that at the time, she called "truly shocking."
Philadelphia: Suit: Woman lost thumb dancing at Pa. strip club
A Philadelphia woman has filed a lawsuit after she says her thumb was cut off while she participated in a competition at a strip club.
The Philadelphia Daily News reported that Sarah Berry, 35, contended that when she was rehearsing for the competition at Delilah's, a crescent-shaped metal bar suspended from the ceiling severed her thumb in July 2011.
Her suit filed in city court Friday seeks more than $50,000, alleging Delilah's failed to ensure the device was properly designed, inspected and tested.
Managers at Delilah's didn't respond to a request for comment.
Madrid: Spain takes first step to enshrining bullfights
Spain took a key first step Tuesday toward enshrining bullfighting as a part of the nation's cultural heritage, a move that could roll back a ban on the blood-soaked pageants in the northeastern region of Catalonia.
Lawmakers in Parliament accepted a petition with 590,000 signatures from bullfight supporters asking for the special status in a 180-40 vote that included 107 abstentions.
A parliamentary cultural commission will now begin work on proposed legislation with expectations that it will go to a vote this year. In theory, a new law giving bullfights the protection would take precedence over regional government laws and could be used to overturn the Catalonia ban that went into effect last year.
Revelers grab for beads as they are tossed from the balcony of the Royal Sonesta Hotel on Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras on Tuesday in New Orleans. Despite threatening skies, the Mardi Gras party carried on as thousands of costumed revelers cheered glitzy floats with make-believe monarchs in an all-out bash before Lent. GERALD HERBERT/Associated Press