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Archive for Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Briefly

September 17, 2003

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Toronto

Measure opposing gay marriage defeated

Canada's ruling party narrowly defeated a Parliament resolution opposing the government's plan to legalize homosexual unions, barely overcoming divisions within its caucus Tuesday.

The nonbinding resolution by the opposition Canadian Alliance was defeated by a 137-132 vote in the 301-member House of Commons chamber.

While the resolution had no legal weight, it was intended to force Parliament members from the governing Liberal Party to declare with their vote whether they supported or opposed the government plan that has divided the country.

Hundreds of homosexual couples have been married in Ontario and British Columbia since courts there ruled earlier this year that the current definition of marriage as between a man and woman was discriminatory.

London

Appeals court reviews case of hanged hostess

The case had memorable ingredients: a beautiful blonde nightclub hostess, her dashing race car driver lover and a so-called crime of passion that led Ruth Ellis to become the last woman executed in Britain.

On Tuesday, lawyers delved into transcripts from the decades-old trial to argue that Ellis was severely provoked into killing lover David Blakely as he left a London pub in 1955, and that her murder conviction should be overturned.

Michael Mansfield, a lawyer acting for Ellis' surviving family, told three senior judges in the Court of Appeal in London that there was a miscarriage of justice at Ellis' original trial because the judge rejected a defense of provocation.

Mansfield used testimony from Ellis to argue she suffered from battered woman syndrome.

Afghanistan

Afghan troops kill top Taliban commander

A top commander of the former Taliban regime who allegedly led rebel fighters in southern Afghanistan was killed in a shootout with Afghan forces, officials said Tuesday.

The commander, identified as Hafiz Abdul Rahim, was killed late Sunday in Kandahar province along with 14 other fighters, Malim Syed Ali Khan, the head of the local administration in Maruf district, told The Associated Press.

Afghan forces also captured a front-line Taliban commander, who was identified as Mullah Abdur Rahman, and took him to Kandahar, the provincial capital, for interrogation. The troops also seized assault rifles, rockets, heavy machine guns and hand grenades, Khan said.

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