– On Monday, New Jersey will become the 14th state to grant marriage rights to same-sex couples, in light of the state Supreme Court’s refusal to delay a lower court judge’s ruling that the state begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses immediately. Newark mayor and U.S. Senator-elect Cory Booker has announced plans to begin marrying same-sex couples in Newark at 12:01 a.m. Monday.
– The Los Angeles Times announced this weekend that it will no longer publish letters that deny humanity’s role in climate change. Of course, climate change deniers are accusing the paper of “censorship”–demonstrating a profound lack of understanding of the word.
– The City of Denver is considering an ordinance that would not only prohibit marijuana smoking in certain public places, but that would also prohibit marijuana smoking on private property if it’s visible to the public or if the smell of the marijuana leaves one’s property. Said Mayor Michael Hancock, “I shouldn’t have to smell your activities from your backyard.” Yeah, and I’m sure this guy always holds in his farts while riding in elevators. Asshole.
– A Malaysian court has ruled that the country’s Christian minority may not use the word “Allah” to refer to their god, siding with Islamists who claimed that doing so could lead to confused Muslims converting to Christianity. Goddammit.
– In Azerbaijan, the official election results–showing a landslide victory for President Ilham Aliyev–were accidentally released the day before voting began. You’d think this was their first time rigging an election!
– A British court has ordered the Wall Street Journal to comply with a request by British prosecutors to remove from its U.K. and online editions the names of individuals that the Crown plans to prosecute for fraud. (The article has been removed from the website, but remains in the U.S. print edition.)
– According to a new report issued by the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Obama administration’s efforts to control the free flow of information have been the “most aggressive” since the Nixon administration.
– A 15-year-old Roma girl living in France was arrested in the middle of a school field trip earlier this month so that she could be deported, along with her family, back to her native Kosovo. The family had applied for asylum in France, but authorities refused their request. The case has shed a harsh light on France’s treatment of its Roma minority, with high school students taking to the streets of Paris this week to protest the girl’s deportation. UPDATE: The girl has turned down an offer by French President Francois Hollande to return to the country, since she would not be allowed to bring her family back with her.
– A recent court case has revealed that, for the past 35 years, the United States government has been citing a non-existent article of the Mexican constitution in order to deny citizenship to individuals born in Mexico to an American parent. The government has blamed the error on a “typo.” Wow, the incompetence is staggering.
– In the Polish city of Gdansk, a sculpture depicting a Red Army soldier raping a pregnant woman caused controversy after it was unlawfully erected next to a World War II-era memorial commemorating the Soviet troops who liberated the city from the Nazis in 1945. According to the sculptor, the piece was meant to depict the suffering of war-time rape victims (he could have picked a more tactful way of doing that). Police removed the sculpture after only a few hours, while prosecutors are considering charging the sculptor with “inciting racial or national hatred.” Are they really that concerned about the feelings of a bunch of dead rapists?
– A Fairbanks, Alaska-based charter pilot has been sentenced to three days in jail and ordered to pay $3,000 in fines for allegedly allowing a passenger to bring beer on a flight to a “dry” village. (The pilot insists that he didn’t know what was in the passenger’s grocery bags.) To make matters worse, authorities want to seize his Cessna 206 in order to “send a message to other aircraft operators.” Jesus Christ! Isn’t Alaska where you go to get away from this kind of bullshit?
– And finally, this map shows what each country leads the world in. (The U.S. apparently leads the world in “Nobel Laureates” and “Getting Killed by Lawnmowers.” You can derive your own conclusions from that…)