Landmark same-sex marriage bill wins Senate passage

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate passed bipartisan legislation Tuesday to protect same-sex marriages, an extraordinary sign of shifting national politics on the issue and a measure of relief for the hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples who have married since the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision that legalized gay marriage nationwide. The bill, which would ensure … Read more

Asian faiths try to save swastika symbol corrupted by Hitler

Sheetal Deo was shocked when she got a letter from her Queens apartment building’s co-op board calling her Diwali decoration “offensive” and demanding she take it down. “My decoration said ‘Happy Diwali’ and had a swastika on it,” said Deo, a physician, who was celebrating the Hindu festival of lights. The equilateral cross with its … Read more

Twin blasts shake Jerusalem, killing teen and wounding 18

JERUSALEM (AP) — Two blasts went off near bus stops in Jerusalem at the height of morning rush hour on Wednesday, killing a Canadian-Israeli teenager and injuring at least 18, in what police said were suspected attacks by Palestinians. The first explosion occurred near a typically crowded bus stop on the edge of the city. … Read more

Auditors in Iraq uncover staggering $2.5 billion tax fraud

BAGHDAD (AP) — Auditors in Iraq have uncovered a massive scheme in which a network of businesses and officials embezzled some $2.5 billion from the country’s tax authority, despite layers of safeguards. The scandal poses an early test for Iraq’s new government, which was formed late last month after a prolonged political crisis. Prime Minister … Read more

EXPLAINER: Islam’s ban on alcohol and how it’s applied

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Just two days before the World Cup opener, host nation Qatar banned the sale of beer at stadiums in a sudden U-turn that was criticized by some and welcomed by others. Qatari officials have long said they were eager to welcome soccer fans from around the world to the tournament but … Read more

Qatar bans sale of beer at World Cup stadiums in about-face

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Qatar banned the sale of beer at World Cup stadiums on Friday, a sudden U-turn on the deal the conservative Muslim emirate made to secure the soccer tournament with only two days to go before the opening game. The move was the latest sign of the tension of staging the event, … Read more

Culture clash? Conservative Qatar prepares for World Cup party

On the Instagram accounts of fashion models and superstars last month, the sheikhdom of Qatar looked like one glittering party. High-heeled designers descended on exhibition openings and fashion shows in downtown Doha. Celebrities, including a prominent gay rights campaigner, snapped selfies on a pulsating dance floor. “As-salaam ‘alykum Doha!” Dutch model Marpessa Hennink proclaimed on … Read more

Israeli liberals fear new government will undo gains

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s outgoing coalition has been the most diverse in the country’s history, bringing a slew of progressive policies on the environment, LGBTQ issues and funding for the country’s Arab minority. But now, even before it takes office, Israel’s expected new coalition government — overwhelmingly male, religious and right-wing — is promising to … Read more

Lula defeats Bolsonaro to become Brazil’s president again

SAO PAUL — Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has done it again: Twenty years after first winning the Brazilian presidency, the leftist defeated incumbent Jair Bolsonaro Sunday in an extremely tight election that marks an about-face for the country after four years of far-right politics. With more than 99% of the votes tallied in the … Read more

Gunmen attack major Shiite holy site in Iran, killing 15

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Gunmen attacked a major Shiite holy site in Iran on Wednesday, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens. The attack came as protesters elsewhere in Iran marked a symbolic 40 days since a woman’s death in custody ignited the biggest anti-government movement in over a decade. State TV … Read more