Maryland legalises same-sex marriage


ANNAPOLIS – Maryland has become the eighth US state to legalise same-sex marriage, just as opponents were ramping up efforts to repeal the new law at the ballot box.

At a ceremony in the state capital building attended by a cheering crowd of gay marriage supporters, Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law the measure he has hailed as a sign of “equal respect for the freedom of all”. – (Reuters)

Australian PM appoints new foreign minister

CANBERRA – Australian prime minister Julia Gillard appointed former New South Wales prime minister Bob Carr foreign minister yesterday, reshuffling her ministry following a leadership vote earlier this week.

Mr Carr, who retired from politics in late 2005, was seen as a driving force in Sydney’s success in hosting the 2000 Olympics.

Ms Gillard said he would fill a vacancy in the senate and would then be sworn in as foreign minister to replace Kevin Rudd, a former prime minister whom she easily defeated in a leadership contest this week. – (Reuters)

Parliamentary election in Iran

TEHRAN – Iranians voted yesterday in a parliamentary election likely to reinforce Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s power over rivals led by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iranian leaders were seeking a high turnout to ease a legitimacy crisis caused by Mr Ahmadinejad’s re-election in 2009, which was attended by widespread accusations of fraud. – (Reuters)