August 18, 2009 in Nation/World

Nation in brief: Obama says he opposes DOMA

From Wire Reports

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama insisted Monday he still wants to scrap what he calls a discriminatory federal marriage law, even as his administration angered gay rights activists by defending it in court.

Justice Department lawyers filed new papers Monday seeking to throw out a lawsuit brought by a gay couple challenging the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. Gay rights groups say the administration is failing to follow through on campaign promises to work to repeal the law.

Department lawyers are defending the law “as it traditionally does when acts of Congress are challenged,” Obama said in a statement.

Obama said he plans to work with Congress to repeal the law and said his administration “will continue to examine and implement measures that will help extend rights and benefits” to same-sex couples under existing law.

Man charged with historic data theft

WASHINGTON – Federal prosecutors on Monday charged a Miami man with the largest case of credit and debit card data theft ever in the United States, accusing the one-time government informant of swiping 130 million accounts on top of 40 million he stole previously.

Albert Gonzalez, 28, hacked into retail networks, according to prosecutors, though they say his illicit computer exploits ended when he went to jail on charges stemming from an earlier case.

Gonzalez is a former informant for the U.S. Secret Service who helped the agency hunt hackers, authorities say. The agency later found out that he had been working with criminals and feeding them information on ongoing investigations, according to authorities.

Kerry recovering from hip surgery

BOSTON – Sen. John Kerry had surgery last week on his right hip to address chronic pain and flexibility problems.

The surgery was performed at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Kerry was discharged after five days.

“It’s the accumulation of 65 years of hockey, lacrosse, skiing, marathon-running, just abuse and, frankly, a little bit of degeneration over that time,” the senator said Monday in a telephone interview.

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