Gay marriage in platform
The Democratic Party is aiming to include support for gay marriage in its party platform this year for the first time in its history, a Democratic source said on Monday. The platform drafting committee unanimously approved language on Sunday endorsing same-sex marriage among the policy positions that will be presented to the convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, where President Barack Obama will formally accept the party’s nomination in early September to run for re-election. The approval was first reported in The Washington Blade, which said the language also rejected the Defense of Marriage Act, a law passed by Congress in 1996 that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman and denies federal benefits to lawfully married same-sex couples.
Assange’s mom worried
The mother of WikiLeaks frontman Julian Assange said on Monday after meeting with Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino that she’s worried about her son’s health after nearly seven weeks’ confinement at the nation’s London embassy. “He is under a lot of stress and it’s been long-term stress now for nearly two years and in conditions which are similar to detention,” Christine Assange said. Her son took refuge in the embassy on June 19, requesting political asylum after exhausting all legal appeals to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning about sexual misconduct allegations. Patino said his country is doing “everything possible to protect the life of Mr Assange.”
Reward offered in case
The relatives of a French couple that disappeared nearly two years ago have offered a US$10,000 reward for information on their fate, local media reported on Monday. Jeremie Bellanger, 25, disappeared with his companion Fannie Blancho, 23, in the northeastern town of Guayaramerin on Aug. 29, 2010. Fannie’s daughter Bounty, three, who accompanied the couple on their trip, was left with a landlady when her mother disappeared, in what many believe to be a double homicide. “We want to find the bodies and bring them back to France, and maybe the reward money will help us obtain information,” Bellanger’s father Patrick Bellanger, told Bolivian news agency Fides. The main suspect in the couple’s disappearance, Jaime Martinez, is in custody but denies any connection with the incident. Another suspect originally accused of being an accomplice was released on probation in December last year.