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Saturday, Dec 03rd

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US Senate passes bill protecting same-sex marriage

US SenateThe US Senate has passed the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation to protect same-sex unions that Democrats are hurrying to get to Joe Biden to be signed into law before Republicans take over the House next year.

The House must now pass the bill, a step the majority leader, Steny Hoyer, said could come as soon as Tuesday 6 December. Nearly 50 House Republicans supported the measure earlier this year. In the Senate, support from 12 Republicans was enough to override the filibuster and advance the bill to Tuesday’s majority vote, which ended 61-36.

Although the Respect for Marriage Act would not codify Obergefell v Hodges, the 2015 supreme court decision which made same-sex marriage legal nationwide, it would require states to recognise all marriages that were legal when performed, including in other states. Interracial marriages would also be protected, with states required to recognise legal marriage regardless of “sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin”.

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'Senseless': Suspect in shooting that killed 6 at Chesapeake, Virginia, Walmart was a store manager

Walmart shootingFlags across Virginia were flying at half staff Wednesday, hours after a store manager opened fire at a Walmart in Chesapeake, killing six people as a wave of deadly gun violence continued to sweep the nation.

Chesapeake police spokesman Leo Kosinski said officers responding to a 911 call Tuesday night found several people wounded or hiding in the store and that rescue and tactical teams swept through providing "life-saving measures."

At least six survivors were transported to local hospitals, one in critical condition, city officials said.

"You hope a day like this never comes, but we train for it, we practice, we talk about it, we learn lessons," City Manager Chris Price said at the briefing Wednesday. "You hope that those lessons will never have to be put to use."

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Latest on Ukraine: Kherson revives as war rounds 9th month (Nov. 21)

Ukraine enters ninth month of war 11/21/22

Russia's large-scale invasion of Ukraine, launched Feb. 24, will pass the nine-month mark this week. Areas of control in Ukraine mapped out by security analysts continue to shift. After Russia pulled out of Kherson this month, analysts say Russian forces may ramp up their operations elsewhere, in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Monday is the anniversary of the start of Ukraine's Euromaidan protests in 2013, sparked by the government backing out of a deal with the European Union. Now Ukraine is on a path toward EU membership.

On Wednesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Austin Lloyd, China's Defense Minister Wei Fenghe and a host of other countries' defense chiefs are due to participate in a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

On Thursday, Ukraine's finance minister is scheduled to speak at the London School of Economics and outline the country's path to recovery.

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Albany bishop accused of abuse has asked the pope to remove him from the priesthood

Albany Bishop Emeritus Howard HubbardThe retired bishop of Albany, New York, who has admitted to covering up for predator priests and has himself been accused of sexual abuse, has asked Pope Francis to remove him from the priesthood.

Emeritus Bishop Howard Hubbard, 84, announced the decision in a statement Friday, the day the United Nations designated as the World Day for the Prevention of, and Healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Violence.

Hubbard said he wanted to be laicized, or returned to the lay state, because he could no longer function as a priest, given U.S. church policy that bars accused priests from ministry. If accepted, laicization would relieve Hubbard of his celibacy obligations.

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New York's Rochester diocese agrees to pay $55 million settlement to hundreds sexually abused by priests

Bishop Matano

Hundreds of people who say they were sexually abused by Rochester-area priests in New York have agreed to a $55-million financial settlement with the Diocese of Rochester.

“This was a long and difficult fight, but the terms of this new proposal are a validation of the hundreds of child abuse claims that this Diocese and its parishes are facing," said attorney James Marsh.

The settlement still needs to be approved by the bankruptcy court and voted on by the approximately 475 survivors in the case. That process is expected to take about six months.

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Judge Rules Trump Can Ignore Special Master Order To Prove Claim FBI 'Planted' Docs

Trump

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon ruled on Thursday that Donald Trump does not have to comply with an order by the special master to put up or shut up about his claims that the FBI “planted” information among documents that agents seized from Mar-a-Lago.

Special master Raymond Dearie — a federal judge who was recommended by Trump’s own legal team — had given the former president’s lawyers until Friday to confirm or refute an inventory list of items taken by the FBI agents that was provided by the Justice Department.

Dearie’s order in essence demanded proof of Trump’s claims that some White House files agents confiscated at Mar-a-Lago had been “planted.” It was a claim pointedly not ever made by his attorneys.

“This submission shall be Plaintiff’s final opportunity to raise any factual dispute as to the completeness and accuracy of the Detailed Property Inventory,” Dearie, a former federal prosecutor and a U.S. district judge in Brooklyn, New York, said when he issued the order.

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Alex Jones: ‘I’m done saying I’m sorry’ over false Sandy Hook hoax claims

 Alex Jones tired of saying he's sorryFar-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on Thursday told a jury he’s “done” apologizing for pushing the conspiracy theory that the 2012 mass shooting that killed 20 children and six teachers at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax.

“Is this a struggle session? Are we in China? I’ve already said I’m sorry hundreds of times and I’m done saying I’m sorry,” Jones told a court in his Connecticut defamation trial.

Plaintiff attorney Christopher Mattei had asked Jones to “show a little respect” to the bereaved families present in the courtroom after the Infowars owner had ranted about liberals.“Just like all the Iraqis you liberals killed and love. Just, you’re unbelievable. You switch on emotions, on-and-off when you want. You’re just ambulance chasing,” Jones parried.

Mattei at one point noted that the victims’ families are “real people.”

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