Gays can rear children: court
The highest court on Friday said gay couples can bring up children as well as heterosexual couples, in a landmark ruling in a predominantly Catholic country where the issue is a hot-button topic ahead of a general election next month. “There is no scientific certainty or concrete evidence, but only prejudice” behind the idea that “living in a homosexual family is damaging for the growth of a child,” the court’s ruling said. The court’s ruling was on a case brought by a man against his former partner, who had custody of their child and is now living in a lesbian relationship. The gay rights group Arcigay hailed a “historic verdict” and said: “Children are brought up by love and not by their parents’ sexual orientation.”
UN slams Saudi beheading
UN human rights experts say Saudi Arabia broke international law by beheading a Sri Lankan domestic worker accused of killing a Saudi baby in her care in 2005. The UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, said on Friday that it “is clear that it is unlawful to execute someone who was under 18 years old when they allegedly committed a crime.” On Wednesday, the interior ministry said Rizana Nafeek was given a death sentence and executed, despite appeals by the Sri Lankan government for a reprieve. The domestic worker had denied strangling the 4-month-old boy, which died when she was 17 years old. Heyns also said that “beheading is a particularly cruel form of execution.”
Music hackers sentenced
A court sentenced two hackers to 100 hours of community service on Friday for stealing a treasure trove of unreleased music — including Michael Jackson tracks — from the US servers of Sony Music Entertainment. Officials said that music aficionados James Marks, 27, and James McCormick, 26, used their home computers to access Sony’s servers and scour them for Jackson-related material. The pair downloaded nearly 8,000 files, including completed or partial tracks, artwork and videos relating to Jackson and other unspecified Sony artists. The precise nature of the unreleased material has not been made clear — Sony refused to comment on the case. A statement from the Serious and Organized Crime Agency identified some of the material as stems, which are audio tracks that can be used in mixes and overdubs. Marks and McCormick — who met online — were arrested in May 2011 after Sony alerted law enforcement to the breach.
Bid to free hostage fails
A French soldier was killed in a failed bid to free a French hostage overnight in southern Somalia, an Islamist spokesman said yesterday. “The French did not get what they were looking for,” Abdulaziz Abu Musab, from the al-Shabaab insurgents, said by telephone, adding that the French commandos left the body of their colleague behind following the operation. The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs had no comment yesterday. At least one resident of the town of Bulomarer, where the attack allegedly took place, reported seeing the lifeless body of a white man. Witnesses said four helicopter gunships were used in the raid. “A French soldier was killed during an exchange of fire and his body was left by his comrades” after they failed in two attempts to recover it, the spokesman said. A secret agent named as Denis Allex was kidnapped in Mogadishu in August 2009 along with another agent, who was released the following month.