Mass. High Court Rules in Favor of Gay Marriages

Massachusetts’ highest court ruled yesterday that gay couples have the right to marry under the state’s Constitution. In the 4-3 ruling, the state Supreme Court wrote that marriage is "among the most basic of every individual’s liberty and due-process rights." Judges gave the state legislature six months to come up with a law making same-sex marriage possible. Vermont established civil unions for gay couples in 2000 but legal experts say the Massachusetts ruling goes a step further by clearly saying same-sex couples have the identical right to marriage as heterosexuals. The ruling could have major ramifications across the country. We’ll have more on the ruling later in the show.

Sierra Club Condemns House Energy Bill
On Capitol Hill, the House approved by a 246 to 180 vote a new energy bill that has been strongly condemned by Democrats and environmental groups. The Sierra Club describes the legislation as "one of the worst disasters for the environment, public health and consumers in years." The Senate may vote as early as today. According to the Sierra Club, the bill will make oil and gas drilling the dominant use of federal public land. The Clean Air Act will be weakened. Oil and gas companies will be exempted from provisions of the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Acts. And the coal and nuclear industries will be given billions in tax breaks. Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said of the legislation, "It’s the leave-no-lobbyist-behind bill."

U.S. Launches Largest Raids In Iraq in Six Months

In Iraq, the U.S. Tuesday launched its largest raids since April. F-16 warplanes bombed targets near Samara and Baquba. And U.S. bombings destroyed as many as 12 homes in Tikrit. The attacks came as part of an effort to destroy the Iraqi resistance movement. The military has codenamed the effort Operation Iron Hammer. Reuters is reporting that the codename Operation Iron Hammer was first used by the Nazis during World War II.

US Lt. Col. Faces Hearing Over Beating Iraqi Detainee

U.S. lieutenant colonel Allen West faced a military hearing Tuesday after he was charged with beating an Iraqi detainee and staging a mock execution to scare information out of him.

London Mayor: Bush “Greatest Threat to Life on This Planet”

President Bush met with Queen Elizabeth II today and was scheduled to defend the invasion of Iraq while speaking at Whitehall Palace. On Thursday up to 100,000 anti-war protesters are expected to protest Bush. In both London and the Northern Ireland city of Derry, protesters are planning to build and then topple statues depicting the U.S. president. Among those protesting Bush is Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London. Livingstone described Bush as the "greatest threat to life on this planet that we’ve most probably ever seen".

300 Protest Cheney Fundraiser in Rochester, NY

Meanwhile, in Rochester New York, over 300 protesters demonstrated Monday outside a convention center where Vice President Dick Cheney was attending a 1,000-dollar a plate campaign fundraiser.

Democratic Candidates Bash AARP Over Medicare Bill

In New Hampshire at a forum sponsored by the AARP, five of the six Democratic presidential candidates attending blasted the advocacy group for backing President Bush’s proposed overhaul to the Medicare system. The candidates charged the bill will aid insurance and drug companies at the expense of seniors. According to the Los Angeles Times, hundreds of AARP members in attendance cheered when the candidates criticized the position of the AARP leadership. AARP plans to spend $7 million on advertising to support the Medicare legislation.

Bush Picks Texan Oil Lobbyist as Saudi Ambassador

President Bush has nominated the prominent Texas oil lobbyist, James Oberwetter, to be U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He is a vice president at Hunt Consolidated and former head of the lobbying group, the American Petroleum Institute.

U.N. Pulls Staff from Afghan Areas

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has begun removing its foreign staff from much of southern and eastern Afghanistan. Over the last month in the region, a French UN worker has been killed and a UN vehicle and building were both bombed.

Mubarak Falls Ill During TV speech

In Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak was forced to stop giving a televised speech today after he suffered what officials describes as a "health crisis."

Officials: Turks Behind Synagogue Bombings

In Turkey, police have identified the two men suspected of carrying out Saturday’s twin suicide bombings on Istanbul synagogues where 23 people were killed and 300 were injured. Both men are from Turkey.

Mugabe Arrests 100+ Opponents

In Zimbabwe, the government has arrested more than 100 leading trade unionists and civic leaders who were staging protesting Robert Mugabe’s government.

Haitians Mark 200th Anniversary of Slave Rebellion

And in Haiti, thousands celebrated Tuesday the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Vertieres which led to the hemisphere’s first successful slave rebellion and the formation of the world’s first black republic.

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