BBC News with Mike Cooper
Lawyers representing two same sex couples from California have been arguing in the U.S. Supreme Court for California’s ban on same sex marriage to be overturned. One of the lawyers Theodore Orson compared the ban to that on interracial marriages which was overturned by the court in the 1960s. Jonny Dymond reports.
There will be no ruling for three or so months. But the transcript of Tuesday’s proceedings gives an indication of which way the justices are leaning. Justice Anthony Kennedy described the issue of same sex marriage as uncharted waters. He asked openly if the case should have come to court at all. Chief Justice Roberts, a Conservative, cast doubt on the standing of those who brought the case whilst Justice Samuel Alito compared the issue to emerging technologies like mobile phones and the internet. The suggestion from all three is that the court is shying away from a groundbreaking decision one way or another.
The governor of the Cypriot Central Bank Panicos Demetriades has promised what he called a superhuman effort to reopen the country’s banks on Thursday. They have been closed for nearly two weeks to prevent a bank-run while an international bailout was being negotiated. A draft of the deal seen by the BBC proposes capital controls including a weekly limit on withdrawals and an export limit on Euros. The Cypriot finance minister Michael Sarris said the measures would be temporary.
“There will be some bleeding, some outflow. We believe that’ll be controlled. And once we get the message that things begin to get back to normal I think we will be able to lift those controls. I think we are talking a matter of weeks.”
Pope Francis has announced that he won’t move into the official papal apartments but will instead remain in a Vatican guesthouse. The Pope’s spokesman said he wanted to live in community with others. He will be the first pontiff for more than a century not to occupy the Pope’s official apartment. David Willey reports.
Pope Francis has been living since his election in a simple two-room suite and intends to go on living there for the foreseeable future according to the Vatican spokesman. He will take his meals in the common dining room together with other visiting clerics and permanent residents. About half of the 105 suites in the residence are occupied by Vatican staff. Pope Francis’ simple new communal home contrasts with a much larger accommodation currently being renovated inside the walls of the Vatican for the future use of the now retired former Pope Benedict.
Amanda Knox, the American student who was acquitted two years ago of murdering her British flatmate in Italy has said it’s painful that Italy’s Highest Criminal Court has ordered a retrial. Miss. Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were originally jailed for killing Meredith Kercher in 2007 but their conviction was then overturned on appeal.
World News from the BBC
President Obama has appointed the first female head of the Secret Service after a scandal last year in which employees were accused of hiring prostitutes ahead of a presidential visit to Colombia. Julia Pierson has been with the agency which looks after the president’s personal security for about three decades. She replaces Mark Sullivan who resigned last month after apologizing for the scandal.
The United States says it takes the latest threat by North Korea to strike U.S. bases in the Pacific very seriously. A Pentagon spokesman George Little said that Washington was ready to respond to any contingency and urged North Korea to stop making threats. He said the behavior of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was predictable and damaging to its own interests.
“The DPRK will achieve nothing by these threats of provocations which will only further isolate North Korea and undermine international efforts to ensure peace and stability in Northeast Asia.”
The North Korean high command said earlier it was placing its long-range artillery and strategic rocket forces on high alert to launch a possible attack on U.S. bases in the Pacific region.
The Brazilian Senate is debating a bill which if approved would for the first time give domestic servants the same rights as other workers in the country. The reform seeks to limit the working hours of housemaids and cooks in Brazil to eight hours a day and 44 hours a week. The constitutional amendment has already been approved by the Lower House.
The BBC says it’s suspending its FM radio broadcasts to Sri Lanka because of continued interruption and interference in its Tamil Language programming. The BBC World Service director Peter Horrocks said Sri Lanka’s state broadcast was warned last week about interference in breach of its broadcasting agreement with the BBC. The suspension came after further disruption to programmes on Monday. Audiences in Sri Lanka can still access the BBC on shortwave and through the internet.
1.overturn vt. 推翻；倾覆；破坏
He accused his opponents of wanting to overturn the government.
2.uncharted adj. 未知的；图上未标明的
The ship had drifted into uncharted waters.
3.superhuman adj. 超人的；人类能力所不能及的；属于神仙的
For centuries, people have dreamed of overcoming the natural limitations of our bodies and minds to become, in effect, superhuman.
4.groundbreaking adj. 开创性的
Professors around the world have heralded his work as groundbreaking.
5.renovate vt. 更新；修复；革新；刷新
They are going to renovate the old furniture.
6.contingency n. 偶然性；[安全] 意外事故；可能性；
We should be prepared for any contingency.
7.domestic servant n.佣工
More than 100 years ago, Gary's grandfather left China on a steamship bound for America, where he worked as a domestic servant in Washington State.
8.shortwave n. 短波
Until now, the BBC has only been available in South Africa on short wave.
1.The suggestion from all three is that the court is shying away from a groundbreaking decision one way or another.
shy away from 回避，退缩；躲避；羞于
You shy away from it.
Alan doesn't shy away from controversy.
2.The North Korean high command said earlier it was placing its long-range artillery and strategic rocket forces on high alert to launch a possible attack on U.S. bases in the Pacific region.
on high alert 处于高级戒备状态
Countries should remain on high alert for unusual outbreaks of influenza-like illness and severe pneumonia.
Human and animal health services must be on high alert, sharing information and quickly reporting any signs of disease in birds or humans that could be due to H5N1 avian influenza.