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Northern Ireland Legalises Same-Sex Marriage

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Same-sex marriage is now lawful and recognized in Northern Ireland, beginning from Monday January 13, following amendments reached by the United Kingdom’s members of parliament.

An amendment had been made to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 by the Labour MP, Conor McGinn, who said that government needed to legislate for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, as obtained in other parts of the kingdom.

It took effect from 13 January, 2020 based on the provisions in the Executive formation Act, which mandates same-sex marriage.

BBC reports that the verdict ensures that same-sex couples will be able to register to marry; those already married would be legally recognized in Northern Ireland but those who are already in a civil partnership will not be able to convert it to a marriage at this stage.

Same-sex marriage is legally practiced (nationwide or in some jurisdictions) in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, the United States,and Uruguay.

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Finally Pentagon Admits 11 US Soldiers Were Hurt In Iran Missile Strike

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Days after President Donald Trump and the US military denied claims of casualties after an Iranian missile attack on Iraqi air base on January 8 in retaliation over the killing of the commander of its Revolutionary Guard Qasem Soleimani, the US Central Command has admitted that it treated 11 of its troops for symptoms of concussion.

It was reported that over 1,500 US soldiers at the base were tucked away in bunkers, after advance warning from superiors before the attack.

In his speech on 8 January responding to the strike, Trump said:

“The American people should be extremely grateful and happy no Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime. We suffered no casualties, all of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases.”

However on Thursday January 16, US Central Command spokesman Captain Bill Urban disclosed that some American soldiers have been treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed.

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He said: “While no US service members were killed in the Jan 8 Iranian attack on Al Asad air base, several were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed.”

The statement further revealed that some service members were taken to US facilities in Germany or Kuwait for “follow-on screening”. It added;

“Out of an abundance of caution, service members were transported from Al Asad Air Base, Iraq to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany for follow-on screening. When deemed fit for duty, the service members are expected to return to Iraq following screening.”

Capt. Bill Urban said eight soldiers were transported to Germany and three were sent to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.

Urban said: “As a standard procedure, all personnel in the vicinity of a blast are screened for traumatic brain injury, and if deemed appropriate are transported to a higher level of care.”

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US Senate Prepares For Donald Trump Impeachment Trial

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About 100 lawmakers of the U.S. Senate were sworn in on Thursday as jurors for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

BBC reports that Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts administered the oath to the senators.

Justice Roberts asked the senators, “Do you solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, President of the United States, now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the laws, so help you God?”

The lawmakers responded with “I do” before each signing in a book that they took the oath.

The senators, will from Jan. 21, begin deliberation on whether Trump should be removed from office over charges brought by the House of Representatives.

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Trump was on Dec. 18, 2019, impeached by the House of Representatives, for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to his dealings with Ukraine.

But the Republican party has control of the upper chamber and are likely to acquit him.

If this happens, Trump will be joining two former American presidents — Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton — who were impeached but saved by the Senate.

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US Senate Formally Accepts Trump’s Impeachment Articles

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Donald Trump

The two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump were read out Thursday on the US Senate floor ahead of the start of the historic trial against the US president.

“In his conduct, and in violation of his constitutional oath… Donald J. Trump has abused the powers of the presidency,” Representative Adam Schiff, one of the House managers who will lead the prosecution of the president, said as he began reading from the first article of impeachment.

AFP

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