News in the Humanosphere: Taiwan poised to become first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage

Person waves flag at Taiwan gay pride parade in 2009. (Credit: 小奧/flickr)

Taiwan’s top judges have ruled in favor of gay marriage, paving the way for it to become the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex unions. The highest court ruled that current laws preventing members of the same sex from marrying violated their right to equality and were unconstitutional. It gave parliament two years to amend existing laws or pass new ones. Wednesday’s landmark decision came as the LGBT community faces increasing persecution in the region. In a press release following the ruling, the court said that “disallowing two persons of the same sex to marry, for the sake of safeguarding basic ethical orders” constituted a “different treatment” with “no rational basis.” (BBC http://bbc.in/2rRL36q)

Tragedy at Sea, again…More than 30 migrants, mostly toddlers, drowned on Wednesday when about 200 people without life jackets fell from a boat into the sea off the Libyan coast before they could be hauled into waiting rescue boats.The boat was near a rescue vessel when it suddenly listed and many migrants tumbled into the Mediterranean, Italian Coast Guard commander Cosimo Nicastro told Reuters. “At least 20 dead bodies were spotted in the water,” he said. The rescue group MOAS, which also had a ship nearby, said it had already recovered more than 30 bodies. “Most are toddlers,” the group’s co-founder Chris Catrambone said on Twitter. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2qXE4J6)

Trump budget warning of the day: At least one million people will die in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere, researchers and advocates said if funding cuts proposed by the Trump administration to global public health programs are enacted. (NY Times http://nyti.ms/2qQiBmO)

Top Stories

An Ethiopian court convicted a journalist of inciting violence against the state with a dissident group, activists said, a judgement that an international rights group said was a bid to silence critics. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2qQ5BNW)

The U.S ambassador to the United Nations is in Turkey at the ribbon-cutting for a new U.S.-funded school, and Nikki Haley says the American people are thankful the U.S. ally is taking in so many Syrian refugees. (AP http://apne.ws/2qXcxJT)

The second round of peace talks under Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, called “21st Century Panglong”, commenced in the capital Naypyitaw Wednesday amid a cloud of frustration over the lack of progress made since the first conference held under her leadership in August. (VOA http://bit.ly/2qQgy1W)

Last year’s Zika outbreak in Miami likely started in the spring of 2016, with the virus introduced multiple times before it was detected, researchers say. And most of those cases originated in the Caribbean. (NPR http://n.pr/2rVpKzY)

The United Nations said that the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts would “simply make it impossible” for the global organization to maintain essential operations. (NY Times http://nyti.ms/2qXfk5N)

Nearly 400,000 children face acute risk of malnutrition in Greater Kasai in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Nations Children’s Fund said Wednesday. (VOA http://bit.ly/2qkMYy8)

Somaliland’s foreign minister has said that the international community’s refusal to recognize the Republic 26 years after it declared independence means aid is taking far longer to reach people on the brink of famine. (Guardian http://bit.ly/2qXcuh2)

Violence and conflict in the Middle East and North Africa have put in jeopardy the health of 24 million children in Yemen, Syria, the Gaza Strip, Iraq, Libya and Sudan. (UNICEF http://bit.ly/2rVieFn)

Under mounting pressure to take credible action after two United Nations experts were killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the United Nations Security Council said that it was meeting to discuss the case. (NY Times http://nyti.ms/2qQpdBz)

Opinion/Blogs

One year on, has the World Humanitarian Summit deal delivered? (ODI http://bit.ly/2qcRoMA)

Foreign aid is being cut, but business will keep fighting poverty (Guardian http://bit.ly/2rV3ia7)

Shuffering and shmiling through Lagos’ elitist 50-year celebrations (African Arguments http://bit.ly/2qWYWjq)

Universal Basic Income Could Work in Italy (Bloomberg View https://bloom.bg/2qXbd9C)

As crisis intensifies, Venezuelans look beyond Chavísmo’s sharp divides (CSM http://bit.ly/2rUWj0U)

At Odds With Trump, Nikki Haley Charts Her Own Foreign-Policy Path (Foreign Policy http://atfp.co/2qXpSSd)

For India’s sex trafficking victims, family members often bear part of the blame (PRI http://bit.ly/2qX9MrU)

Why I Think The Manchester Attack Was Aimed At Women And Girls (NPR Goats and Soda http://n.pr/2rV1m1u)

Menstrual Health and Vitality: Breaking the Silence, Stemming the Flood (IPS http://bit.ly/2qX0VED)

Congo’s bad year is about to get worse (IRIN http://bit.ly/2qcSoQA)

Trump’s proposed aid cuts: the view from Uganda (ODI http://bit.ly/2qcWCI7)

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