The world in brief: Swiss same-sex couples legally marry

Annett Babinsky (left) and Laura Suarez celebrate their marriage on Friday at the registry office in Zurich, Switzerland. (AP/Keystone/Ennio Leanza)

Swiss same-sex couples legally marry

GENEVA — Lesbian and gay couples in Switzerland rejoiced as they legally tied the knot Friday when the rich Alpine nation formally joined many other western European countries in allowing same-sex marriage, with some saying better late than never. 

The first same-sex marriages came about nine months after 64.1% of voters backed the “Marriage for All” law in a national referendum. It puts same-sex partners on an equal legal footing with heterosexual couples, including allowing them to adopt children together and to sponsor a spouse for citizenship.

Friends and family greeted Aline and Laure — who asked that their surnames not be published — with hugs, cheers, applause and a few joyous tears at a Geneva manor house where they exchanged vows to formalize their two-decade relationship.

“It’s great joy, a super moment to put in the history books,” said Laure, 45, a human resources executive, adding that July 1 holds special importance because it’s the 19th anniversary of their civil union.

“It’s normality that’s taking effect. It’s going to become commonplace, let’s say, whether its two women, two men, or heterosexual couples to marry,” Laure said.

More bodies found after India mudslide

GAUHATI, India — Rescuers found more bodies Friday as they resumed searching for dozens of people missing after a mudslide triggered by weeks of heavy downpours killed at least 19 people at a railroad construction site in India’s northeast, officials said.

Soldiers joined more than 200 workers and police using bulldozers and other equipment to rescue those buried under the debris in Noney, a town near Imphal, the capital of Manipur state. But the terrain is making it difficult to move heavy equipment, said H. Guite, district magistrate, adding that he has asked for reinforcements.

Intermittent rain continued in the region where 19 bodies have been recovered so far after a hillock caved in and buried the railroad project area, Guite told The Associated Press.

Lt. Gen. R.P. Kalita, head of the army’s eastern command, visited the site. He said 13 soldiers and five civilians have been rescued from the debris of the entirely swept-away railroad station, staff residential quarters and other infrastructure that was being built.

Eighteen people with injuries have been hospitalized, Guite said. He put the number of those still unaccounted for at around 50.

Ten of the confirmed dead were members of the Territorial Army. Because of a decades-old insurgency seeking a separate homeland for ethnic and tribal groups in the area, army personnel had been providing security for the railway officials.

Tropical Storm Bonnie hits Nicaragua

MEXICO CITY — Tropical Storm Bonnie hit the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua near the border with Costa Rica late Friday and was expected to make a quick march across Central America and potentially develop into a hurricane after reemerging in the Pacific.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Bonnie made landfall about 75 miles south of Bluefields, Nicaragua. It was expected to cause significant flooding, with rains of up to 8 inches, and even more in isolated places.

It had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph at landfall and was moving to the west at 16 mph.

Rain began falling in Bluefields on Friday, and authorities said they established 50 temporary shelters.

Officials in Costa Rica said seven shelters in the northern part of the country already held nearly 700 people displaced by flooding.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for Colombia’s San Andres Island and from Cabo Blanco in Costa Rica northward to Puerto Sandino in Nicaragua.

The Hurricane Center said it was projected to emerge today over the Pacific and gain force on a path roughly parallel to the coast over the following days.

Assange appeals his extradition to U.S.

LONDON — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has appealed the British’s government decision last month to order his extradition to the U.S.

The appeal was filed Friday at the High Court, the latest twist in a decade-long legal saga sparked by his website’s publication of classified U.S. documents. No further details about the appeal were immediately available.

Assange’s supporters staged protests before his 51st birthday this weekend, with his wife, Stella Assange, among people who gathered outside the Home Office on Friday to call for his release from prison.

Julian Assange has battled in British courts for years to avoid being sent to the U.S., where he faces 17 charges of espionage and one charge of computer misuse.

American prosecutors say the Australian citizen helped U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal classified diplomatic cables and military files that WikiLeaks later published, putting lives at risk.

A British court ruled in April that Assange could be sent to face trial in the U.S., sending the case to the U.K. government for a decision. Home Secretary Priti Patel signed an order June 17 authorizing Assange’s extradition.


  photo  Supporters of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange protest outside the Wikileak’s Home Office in London on Friday to call for his release from prison. (AP/PA/Dominic Lipinski)