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Friday, December 7, 2012

U.S. Supreme Court Will Examine Gay Marriage

The U.S. Supreme Court announced today it will weigh in on the debate over same-sex marriage. The nine Justices will hear two cases. The first one poses the question of the constitutionality of a California law that bans gay marriage. The case was filed in 2009, and a federal judge in San Francisco agreed, saying the Constitution requires the state to allow people of the same sex to marry. The ruling was then confirmed by a three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The second case the Supreme Court will be hear challenges parts of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) of 1996. It was filed by Edith Windsor, whose wife Clara Spyer died, leaving Windsor her property. DOMA did not allow the Internal Revenue Service to treat her as a spouse, forcing Windsor to pay $360,000 in inheritance tax. The announcement comes after several polls showed public opinion on the matter is changing rapidly, with a majority of Americans now in favor of gay marriage. Nine states have now made it legal. Last May, Barack Obama became the first U.S. President to publicly support same-sex marriage.

U.S. Adds Jobs as Unemployment Rate Falls to Lowest in 4 Years

The U.S. economy added 146,000 new jobs in November, the Labor Department said today, more than the average estimate of 85,000 in a Bloomberg survey of 91 economists. The unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, its lowest in four years, as a result of the drop in the number of people seeking work and being officially counted as unemployed. The news is likely to improve consumer sentiment ahead of the holidays, supporting domestic consumption, which represents 70 percent of the nation’s economy. Revised numbers showed payrolls rose by 138,000 in October, fewer than the 171,000 initially reported.

Hamas Leader Back in Gaza After 45-Year Exile

Hamas Leader Khaled Meshaal returned to Gaza today after 45 years of exile, underscoring the organization’s growing confidence after the eight-day conflict that opposed it to Israel. Meshaal knelt on the ground and touched it with his forehead as soon as he crossed the border from Egypt, giving a prayer of thanks. He was welcomed by thousands of supporters   and he described this day as his third birth, referring to his natural birth in 1956 in the West Bank and an Israeli assassination he narrowly escaped in 1997. “I pray to God that my fourth birth will come the day we liberate Palestine,” he said. He will stay in Gaza for two days only, attending a rally tomorrow to celebrate Hamas’ 25th year of existence and a “victory” from the recent conflict that claimed the lives of 170 Palestinians and six Israelis.

Morsi Opponents Turn Down Offer for Dialogue

Protests continued in Egypt as President Mohamed Morsi’s opponents rejected offers for peaceful dialogue today. Thousands of Pro-Morsi Islamists attended the funeral of two men who were killed in clashes between the two sides earlier this week while 10,000 demonstrators climbed on tanks chanting slogans against Morsi in front of an empty Presidential Palace in Cairo. Protests also occurred in Alexandria and Luxor after leaders of the opposition coalition, the National Salvation Front (NSF), called to shun a dialogue with the government and continued to demand that a referendum on a new Constitution be delayed. “The NSF is not taking part in the dialogue, that is the official stance,” said Ahmed Said, the head of the liberal Free Egyptians Party. U.S. President Barack Obama called Morsi yesterday, expressing “deep concern” for the situation, urging all political leaders to make it clear that “violence is unacceptable.”

Weekend Read: Permanent Genital Arousal Brings Woman Agony, Not Ecstasy

A woman with permanent genital arousal, a rare but debilitating condition, couldn’t work or sleep. She told her story and committed suicide the day after its publication. A moving account in the Tampa Bay Times.

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