News In Brief
Germany seeks more active role in Arctic amid climate change
Germany says it plans to take a more active role in Arctic affairs, citing the far north's growing ecological, political and economic significance as a result of climate change.
Cabinet passed a resolution Wednesday declaring its intention to send German experts to advise the Arctic Council. It also plans to campaign for an expansion of environmental protection areas in the Arctic and explore the potential that the increasingly ice-free Northwest and Northern Passages have for shipping during the summer.
Mexican court rules to allow recreational cocaine use
AFP, Mexico City
A Mexican judge has granted two people's requests to be allowed to use cocaine recreationally, the organization behind the cases said Tuesday, calling it a "historic step" - though it must first be reviewed by a higher court.
The rulings, the first of their kind in Mexico, would allow the two petitioners to "possess, transport and use cocaine," but not to sell it, according to Mexico United Against Crime, an organization devoted to ending the Latin American country's "war on drugs."
China's parliament rules out allowing same-sex marriage
Limiting marriage to a relationship between a man and a woman will remain China's legal position, a parliament spokesman said on Wednesday, ruling out following neighbouring Taiwan in allowing same-sex marriage, despite pressure from activists.
Taiwan's parliament passed a bill in May that endorsed same-sex marriage, after years of heated debate over marriage equality that has divided the self-ruled and democratic island.
Afghan wedding blast death toll rises to 80
Reuters , Kabul
The death toll from a suicide bomb attack on a wedding reception in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, has risen to 80, two senior officials said on Wednesday.
The initial death toll after the Saturday night blast was 63, but some of the wounded had died in hospital, said Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman at the interior ministry. "Seventeen others have succumbed to their injuries in hospital and over 160 are still being treated either in hospitals or at home," Rahimi said.