The Washington DC city council has approved legislation to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa allow same-sex marriage and New York recognizes marriages performed in other states. DC councilmember Marion Barry, the former DC mayor who gained political infamy when he was arrested in an FBI sting operation for using crack cocaine, was the lone dissenting vote in approving the measure which passed 12-1. The US Congress, which has jurisdiction over Washington DC, has 30 days to review the bill after it’s signed by DC major Adrian Fenty, National Public Radio.
44 people, including the bride and groom and three pregnant women, were killed at a wedding in Turkey. The deaths are a result of fighting between rival families. The attackers used bombs and automatic weapons, CNN.
America’s first successful face transplant patient appears in public. Shot by her husband, Connie Culp survived a shotgun blast to her face five years ago but was disfigured. Five months ago she was giving an experimental face transplant at the Cleveland Clinic. See before and after pictures at USA Today.
Dom DeLuise, the star of “Blazing Saddles” and “Spaceballs”, died today at the age of 75. DeLuise died a Los Angeles hospital, but his family did not release his cause of death, Washington Post.
First American dies from swine flu. The woman, who officials say had health issues prior to contracting the H1N1 virus, is from Cameron County, Texas near the Mexico border, BBC News.
Former vice-presidential candidate and NFL football player Jack Kemp died yesterday at age 73 from cancer. Kemp was Bob Dole’s running mate in the 1996 U.S. presidential election and also served in the House of Representatives for 18 years. The Congressman played in the NFL as a quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills, CNN.
Clashes have emerged between police and farmers in Egypt after the government called for hundreds of thousands of pigs to be slaughtered to deter the swine flu. There have been no reported cases of the strain in the country so far, BBC News.
The federal government has introduced funds to help battle the epidemic of rapes on Native American land in the U.S. The February stimulus bill provided $500 million to buy rape kits, pay for more police on tribal land, and improve medical care, and the March bill added another $85 million for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. According to a Justice Department report, because only federal prosecutors can prosecute crimes on Indian land (leading to few crimes being reported and prosecuted), 1 in 3 Native American women will be raped in their lifetime, NPR.
Track the swine flu with USA Today’s world map.
This morning, Georgia authorities found George Zinkhan’s jeep in northwestern Clarke County and put one nearby school on lockdown, but the search for the former UGA professor in the area has been called off. Investigators believe the car had been abandoned days ago. Police now believe the crime was more calculated than previously thought and not just a crime of passion, AJC.
Officials tell BNO News that the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas, the second largest hotel in the world, was robbed this morning. A sole gunman robbed the casino and fled on foot, presumably not taking a huge chunk of the famous hotel’s worth. More details as they emerge, BNO.
Take a look at BBC News’ worldwide map showing what countries have been affected by the swine flu and how many cases they have.
The UN reports that hundreds of thousands of people still need help after last year’s cyclone in Burma that killed about 140,000 people. The UN and Burma have asked for $700m in relief, but have only received $100m. Most foreign journalists are banned from the Asian country, possibly a cause of why there is so much less interest and help given to the victims than in recent tsunamis in other Asian countries, BBC News.
Obama walked unannounced into today’s White House press briefing to announce Justice Souter’s retirement. Watch:
Five U.S. Congressmen were arrested in D.C. today for civil disobedience at a protest against the genocide in Darfur. Those arrested were Reps. John Lewis (D-Ga.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Donna Edwards (D-Md.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.). They were all released a few hours after the arrest and will have to pay a $100 fine. Congressman Lewis is a noted civil rights activist who spoke at the March on Washington with Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963 and is credited with helping end segregation, AJC.
The World Heath Organization has raised the pandemic alert level to a level 4, meaning the swine flu “is capable of significant human-to-human transmission.” Reports say 149 people have died from the strain in Mexico (the only country reporting deaths) and there are 81 confirmed cases worldwide, although all the cases in other countries appear to be mild. However, according to an official WHO report, only around 20 deaths in Mexico can be attributed to the virus, CNN.
After a relatively quiet month in Madagascar, soldiers have stormed the country’s constitutional court and arrested the head of security in the capital city of Antananarivo. Reports say the event was an attempt to scare those who ousted former President Marc Ravalomanana from power last month, BBC News.
FBI reports say Professor George Zinkhan, who murdered three people in Athens, GA on Saturday, bought a plane ticket to Amsterdam for May 2nd, but before he commited the crime. Zinkhan has a house in the city and police are working with authorites in the European country. Classes resumed as normal on the UGA campus, although security has been heightened, despite UGA’s police chief saying he believes Zinkhan is not still in the city, CNN.
Finally, check out some of today’s best news stories here.
The swine flu, which has killed 92 people in Mexico and sickened at least 20 in the United States, has spread to New Zealand and Canada. Countries that have reported possible cases include Columbia, Australia, Spain, and Scotland. Outside of Mexico, the sick only have the mild strain of the flu so far and are expected to recover, leaving researchers baffled as to why so many people have died in Mexico.
Public buildings, including schools and museums, remain closed in Mexico City in an attempt to stop the spread of the swine flu. In Texas, 14 schools and district facilities in the Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City Independent School District have closed until the disease can be contained. They suspect a number of students (no specific number given) have caught the virus, BNO.
For updates, please follow the Twitters of both the CDC and the WHO.
In Sudan, 11 Darfur rebels have been sentenced to death for a Khartoum attack last year. 200 people were killed in the attack, and 80 other Justice and Equality Movement (Jem) rebels have already been tried, BBC News.
More information on the earlier reports that Sri Lanka has rejected a call from the Tamil Tigers for a ceasefire. The government rejected the truce because they are demanding a full surrender from the rebel group. Analysts suggest that the Tigers’ request was made only because they are now outnumbered and surrounded by government forces. Over 6,500 civilians have been killed in the island country since fighting began at the beginning of the year, NY Times.
Breaking: The death toll from the swine flu virus has risen to 68 in Mexico. Mexico City has shut down schools, libraries, museums, and other public buildings to attempt to thwart the spread of the virus. The CDC has confirmed that the strain is the same that sickened 8 people in California and Texas. According to the CDC, drugs Tamiflu and Relenza seem to work against the virus effectively and Roche, the makers of Tamiflu, are prepared to distribute it widely if needed, MSNBC.
Sources tell BNO News that testing is being done on 75 New York City school children who have fallen in with flu-like symptoms. We’ll update as details become available, BNO. The testing is being done at St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens. The results could take several days, WCBSTV.
BBC News has crafted a helpful swine flu Q&A here.
In other news, we reported yesterday that the Taliban had taken over a key area of Pakistan, the town of Buner. Today, the Taliban have announced they are withdrawing from the area thanks to a negotiated peace deal, BBC News.
The African National Congress party have won a majority of the votes in South Africa’s elections. When Parliament meets next month, the ANC will name Jacob Zuma as South Africa’s new president. Zuma has made contrvoersial remarks on teen pregnancy and gay marriage, but he remains a popular fgure in the country, Sky News.