In brief: U.S. begins effort to combat anti-gay laws
Washington – Troubled by an anti-gay movement in Uganda and across much of the world, the U.S. is launching a new effort to combat what Secretary of State John Kerry described Wednesday as a threat to human rights.
Comparing a harsh Uganda law to oppressive government crackdowns on German Jews in the 1930s and black South Africans during apartheid, Kerry said he was going to direct American ambassadors to look at “how we deal with this human rights challenge on a global basis.” He said 80 nations worldwide have anti-gay laws on some levels, and he called the one in Uganda – which punishes gay sex with up to life in prison – “atrocious” and “flat out morally wrong.”
He said the issue would be a major focus of discussion when U.S. ambassadors from across the world return to Washington for meetings in the weeks ahead.
Leak exposes 13 to nuclear radiation
Albuquerque, N.M. – Thirteen workers were exposed to radiation during a recent leak at the nation’s underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico, according to the results of preliminary tests announced Wednesday.
The U.S. Department of Energy and the contractor that runs the Waste Isolation Pilot Project said in a joint news release that they have notified the workers of the positive results and will do further testing. They declined to comment further until a news conference today.
“It is important to note that these are initial sample results,” the statement said. “These employees, both federal and contractor, will be asked to provide additional samples in order to fully determine the extent of any exposure.”
Elevated radiation levels have been detected in the air around the plant, but officials have said the readings are too low to constitute a public health threat.
Reid criticizes Kochs over ad campaign
Washington – The Senate’s top Democrat criticized a pair of billionaire brothers in unusually harsh terms Wednesday, accusing the conservative duo of being “un-American,” spreading lies about President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul and lacking a conscience.
In a pair of appearances on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., became the latest Democrat this election year to denunciate Charles and David Koch.
The brothers’ representatives said Reid’s attack was “disgraceful.”
Reid’s focus was on television ads that are being used against Democratic congressional candidates, commercials that he said misleadingly criticize the health care law.
“When you make billions of dollars a year you can be as immoral and dishonest as your money will allow you to be,” Reid said.