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Archive for Monday, December 29, 2003

Briefly

December 29, 2003

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Vatican City

Pope wants greater defense of heterosexual marriage

Pope John Paul II pressed his campaign against gay unions Sunday, calling for greater defense of the institution of marriage between man and woman and saying a "misunderstood" sense of rights was altering it.

The pope's comments came amid a Vatican campaign to crack down on same-sex unions.

In his weekly Sunday comments in St. Peter's Square, John Paul said marriage was a "human and divine" gift that society should defend.

"In our times, a misunderstood sense of rights has sometimes disturbed the nature of the family institution and conjugal bond itself," he said. "It is necessary that at every level, the efforts of those who believe in the importance of the family based on matrimony unite."

Serbia-Montenegro

Milosevic-linked party wins parliamentary elections

An extreme nationalist party allied to indicted war criminal Slobodan Milosevic won Serbia's parliamentary elections Sunday but failed to get the majority needed to govern, exit polls show.

Milosevic and three other war crimes suspects were candidates, but no immediate decision was likely on whether they would get seats. The election's outcome is crucial for the stability of the Serb republic and the entire Balkans, still recovering from four wars incited by Milosevic and his loyalists in the 1990s.

The Serbian Radical party won 27 percent, said the independent Center For Free Elections and Democracy. The moderate nationalist Democratic Party of Serbia came second with 17 percent, while the governing pro-Western Democratic Party was third with about 13 percent.

Miami

Florida will appeal dismissal of teen's murder conviction

While prosecutors wait to hear whether Lionel Tate accepts the plea deal that they offered up for a second time, the attorney general of Florida today will petition the 4th District Court of Appeal to reverse its decision to throw out Tate's murder conviction.

Earlier this month, a three-judge panel ruled that the trial judge should have ordered a hearing to determine Tate's competency because, at 12, he may have been too young to understand a court system.

Tate, now 16, was the youngest American on record to be sentenced to life in prison for murder. He killed a 6-year-old girl when he was 12.

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