World News

New York state approves same sex marriage

New York State passed the Same Sex Marriage bill, 33 to 29 (unofficial). It was followed by Governor Andrew Cuomo signing New York’s gay marriage bill at 11:55 PM New York time. The new law takes effect in 30 days.

Mashable collected the reactions on the Web.

@NYSSenAdams wrote on his twitter, “It’s been a long struggle. We did it!!!”

Not everyone welcomed the new law. @SummerNasser wrote, “@NinaQawasmi I dont approve the same sex marriage. Ew. Im so disappointed of my state. Sigh.

The New York Times reported that a “sense of euphoria settles on the West Village“, as the news brought dancing in the streets.

Photo credit: unknown via Laughing Squid

U.N. endorses gay rights declaration

 

Originally intended as a badge of shame by the Nazis, the pink triangle has been reclaimed as a symbol of gay pride

 

The United Nations passed a historic resolution which endorses the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders. Members of the U.N. Human Rights Council voted 23 to 19 in favor of the declaration put forward by South Africa.

The resolution expressed “grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Those who voted for the resolution include the United States, E.U., Brazil and other Latin American countries. Some African and Muslim countries decry the endorsement.

The resolution calls for a panel discussion next spring with “constructive, informed and transparent dialogue on the issue of discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against” gays, lesbians and transgender people.

via Huffinton Post

Microsoft loses U.S. Supreme Court case on patent

Microsoft Corp suffered a defeat on Thursday when the Supreme Court upheld a record $290 million jury verdict against the software giant for infringing a small Canadian company’s patent.

The justices unanimously agreed with a U.S. appeals court ruling that went against the world’s largest software company in its legal battle with Toronto-based i4i.

The high court refused to adopt Microsoft’s lower standard to replace the long-standing requirement that a defendant in a patent infringement case prove by clear and convincing evidence that a plaintiff’s patent is invalid.

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft had argued that a lower standard of proof involving a “preponderance of the evidence” would make some “bad” patents easier to invalidate while promoting innovation and competition.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who wrote the opinion, said the court rejected Microsoft’s contention that a defendant need only persuade a jury of a patent’s invalidity by a preponderance of the evidence.

Read more at Reuters

 

At least 2 more people die in German E. coli outbreak

The European Union on Wednesday agreed to pay 210 million euros ($307 million) to farmers who suffered losses due to the E.coli outbreak that has killed at least 25 people, mostly in Germany.

The figure is up considerably from the 150 million euros EU agriculture officials proposed Tuesday, and Dacion Ciolos, the EU’s agriculture commissioner, said that figure may change again.

“This envelope will enable us to respond to the compensation requests for the period from the 26th of May through to the end of June,” Ciolos said. “We will then take stock of the situation and see whether we need to adjust these figures.”

Farmers in several European countries are seeking to be paid back for losses they suffered after being wrongly blamed for the outbreak. Farmers who grow cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and lettuce will be eligible to receive up to 50 percent of the average market price they would have received, based on figures from 2008-2010, the EU said.

Read more at CNN

 

Japan doubles estimates of initial Fukushima leak

Japan released new details Tuesday of the battle to contain the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, after disclosing that the crippled power plant spewed more than twice as much radioactivity as originally estimated.

The release was already bad enough to make Fukushima Daiichi the worst nuclear accident in a quarter-century. The levels disclosed Monday are still a fraction of the amount released in the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, but are closer to some outside estimates.

Radiation levels at one point 20 km northwest of the plant were nearly 1,000 times normal within four days of the accident, far beyond the threshold for long-term health effects, according to a report Japan submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency on Tuesday. The report found that projections from a radiation-monitoring system should have been released to the public earlier, even though it hard data was lacking at the time.

Read more at CNN

Chilean volcano grounds flights, coats ski slopes

An erupting Chilean volcano sent a towering plume of ash across South America on yesterday, forcing thousands from their homes, grounding airline flights in southern Argentina and coating ski resorts with a gritty layer of dust instead of snow.

Booming explosions echoed across the Andes as toxic gases belched up from a three-mile-long (five-kilometer long) fissure in the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic complex — a ridge between two craters just west of the Chilean-Argentine border that began erupting Saturday.

Winds blew a six-mile-high (10-kilometer-high) cloud of ash all the way to the Atlantic Ocean and even into southern Buenos Aires province, hundreds of miles to the northeast.

Authorities in Chile went house to house, trying to persuade stragglers near the volcano to leave because of an increasing danger of toxic gas and flash floods. More 3,500 people were evacuated from 22 communities as swarms of earthquakes Saturday heralded the eruption and hundreds more fled yesterday to shelters farther away.

Read more at Philippine Star