Mexico City OKs same-sex marriage

MEXICO CITY - Mexico City lawmakers yesterday made the city the first in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage, a change that will give homosexual couples more rights, including allowing them to adopt children.

The bill passed the local assembly 39-20 to the cheers of supporters who yelled: "Yes, we could! Yes, we could!" Leftist Mayor Marcelo Ebrard of the Democratic Revolution Party is widely expected to sign the measure into law.

The bill calls for changing the definition of marriage in the city's civil code. Marriage is currently defined as the union of a man and a woman. The new definition will be "the free uniting of two people."

Seven other countries allow gay marriages: Canada, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium. U.S. states that permit same-sex marriage are Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and New Hampshire.

- AP

Taiwan, China hold trade talks

TAICHUNG, Taiwan - Negotiators from China and Taiwan met for a fourth round of trade talks today amid protests from critics who fear the Taiwanese government's China-friendly policies open the door to eventual unification with the mainland.

Top officials plan to sign three minor agreements later in the day and discuss a free-trade deal that has fired up critics of President Ma Ying-jeou's push to link the export-dependant island's economy ever closer to China's.

While most Taiwanese back closer economic ties with China, a dip in Ma's popularity in recent months has hurt public backing for his pro-China policy. Washington supports Ma's approach.

- AP

Ugandan rebels linked to killings

GENEVA - The U.N. yesterday accused the Ugandan-based Lord's Resistance Army of killing, mutilating, and raping vilagers in Sudan and Congo in what may have been crimes against humanity.

The rebels killed at least 1,200 people and abducted 1,400, including children and women, in northeastern Congo from September 2008 to June 2009, said a report by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

A separate report by the U.N.'s rights office said that in at least 27 attacks on villages in southern Sudan, the Lord's Resistance Army killed more than 80 civilians and kidnapped many others to use as child soldiers, sex slaves, and spies.

Rebel spokesman David Matsanga denied the allegations in the reports, calling them false and malicious.

- AP

Elsewhere:

The amount of cash held in some ATM machines in Northern Ireland will be reduced after thefts by gangs using heavy equipment such as forklift trucks and diggers. Gangs have removed 11 ATMs from buildings and attempted to steal another eight between March 1 and Dec. 12, police said.

Malawi disaster officials appealed for international help after a powerful earthquake killed at least three people. The nation's commissioner for disaster management said thousands of homes were uninhabitable after Sunday's 6.0-magnitude quake