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story.lead_photo.caption Supporters celebrate Friday’s vote by lawmakers in Taipei, Tai- wan, that legalized same-sex marriage, a first for Asia.

Vote in Taiwan legalizes gay marriage

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's legislature voted Friday to legalize same-sex marriage, a first in Asia and a boost for advocates of gay and transgender rights who had championed the cause for two decades.

Lawmakers pressured by gay and transgender groups as well as by church organizations opposed to the move approved most of a government-sponsored bill that recognizes same-sex marriages and gives couples many of the tax, insurance and child-custody benefits available to male-female married couples.

That makes Taiwan the first place in Asia with a comprehensive law both allowing and laying out the terms of same-sex marriage.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, a supporter of the law, tweeted: "On May 17th, 2019 in Taiwan, LoveWon. We took a big step toward true equality, and made Taiwan a better country."

Taiwan's Constitutional Court in May 2017 said the constitution allows same-sex marriages and gave parliament two years to adjust laws accordingly.

Although claimed by China as its own territory, Taiwan is a self-governing democracy.

Mainland China, ruled by the authoritarian Communist Party, remains much more conservative and officials have repeatedly discouraged even the discussion of legalizing same-sex marriage.

Hungarian says deal set for U.S. missiles

BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Hungary's prime minister has confirmed his country's plans to buy medium-range air-defense missiles from the United States.

Viktor Orban said Friday on state radio that it is too soon to give more details about the deal, but that "the construction of the modern Hungarian army is happening now."

Orban said he asked President Donald Trump during his White House visit on Monday to help expedite U.S.-Romanian cooperation regarding the extraction of natural gas in the Black Sea, to involve Exxon, which could help Hungary diversify its gas sources.

Orban said he belongs to a group of elected leaders -- including Trump and the leaders of Israel, India, Poland and Italy -- who "put their own country's interests first ... and expressly oppose building" a world government.

German vote rejects Israel-boycott call

BERLIN -- German lawmakers on Friday approved a resolution denouncing the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement against Israel, describing its methods as anti-Semitic and reminiscent of Nazi-era calls to boycott Jews.

The motion called on the German government not to support events organized by the movement or other groups that actively pursue its aims, and vowed that parliament wouldn't finance any projects that call for a boycott of Israel or actively support the movement. It was filed by the country's three governing parties, along with two mainstream opposition parties, and passed by a large majority.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated the German parliament and expressed appreciation for its "important decision," calling on other countries to adopt similar legislation.

The Palestinian-led movement has grown in popularity overseas in recent years. It advocates boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israeli businesses, universities and cultural institutions.

Comparing the movement to the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa in years past, supporters say it uses nonviolence to resist unjust policies toward Palestinians. Israel says the movement masks its motives to delegitimize or destroy the Jewish state.

Suspects held in Indonesia bomb plot

LOMBOK, Indonesia -- Indonesian police say they have foiled a suspected terrorist cell with the ability to use Wi-Fi to detonate explosive devices, highlighting advances in bomb-making in a country with a history of militant activity tied to the Islamic State group.

Several of the suspects, who were arrested in raids last week on the densely populated island of Java, are members of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, a militant group that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, the police said.

During the raids, counterterrorism agents found bomb-making equipment and traces of triacetone triperoxide, a highly unstable homemade explosive that is sometimes used by the Islamic State outside the Middle East. Triacetone triperoxide was used in Islamic State bombings in Paris and Brussels, as well as last month in Sri Lanka, where more than 250 people were killed by suicide attacks at churches and hotels.

One of the suspects in the Indonesia plot, a skilled bomb-maker who was arrested May 8, was perfecting the process of detonating a bomb through Wi-Fi networks, Dedi Prasetyo, the national police spokesman, said Thursday. Dedi said that militants were planning attacks for next Wednesday when the official results of Indonesia's national elections are expected to be tallied.

On Tuesday, counterterrorism officers on Java arrested nine people suspected of militant activity, seven of whom had returned from Syria, where the Islamic State had constructed a caliphate before its territory was overrun this year.

-- Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports

Photo by AP/ACHMAD IBRAHIM
Indonesian counterterrorism police escort suspects in a bomb plot during a news conference Friday in Jakarta.

A Section on 05/18/2019

Print Headline: Vote in Taiwan legalizes gay marriage Hungarian says deal set for U.S. missiles German vote rejects Israel-boycott call Suspects held in Indonesia bomb plot

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