Brewer to decide on Arizona anti-gay bill
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed the controversial "anti-gay" bill on Wednesday. There had been much pressure on Brewer to veto the bill from various groups including Apple, GOP congressmen such as John McCain, and the Super Bowl host committee. Brewer said the legislation “does not address a specific or present concern related to the religious liberty in Arizona.” She scolded the Arizona State Legislature for making the bill the first on her desk this year when there are pressing issues for the government to handle.
House passes bill on phone-unlocking
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow owners to unlock their mobile phones, making them able to use them with any wireless carrier. Under current law, anyone who unlocks their phone faces possible legal consequences including jail. Major carriers made a pledge saying they'll make it easier for customers to unlock their devices following pressure from the Federal Communications Commission and consumer groups. It is not known whether the Senate is likely to pass the bill.
Venezuelan unrest continues
As tensions rise in tumultuous Venezuela, the U.S. has expelled three Venezuelan diplomats. This comes on the heels of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's expulsion of three American embassy staff accused of inciting unrest. The Internet in cities sympathetic to the protests has been shut-down and certain foreign news networks have been taken off the air. President Maduro has said he wants to host "a national peace conference with all social, political, union and religious groups" to end the violence. He is also calling on Parliament to look into the grievances of the protesters.
Ukraine impeaches President ahead of new elections
Ukraine’s Parliament voted on Saturday to impeach President Viktor Yanukovich hours after he fled his office in Kiev. The interim government was supposed to announce its new leaders on Tuesday, but it is holding off elections until Thursday because of economic troubles. Russia has expressed distrust in the interim government by suspending financial aid to Ukraine and recalling its ambassador from Kiev.
Texas gay marriage law struck down
A federal judge found the same-sex marriage ban in Texas unconstitutional on Wednesday. The judge said the amendment to the constitution prohibited gay couples from marrying and demeaned their dignity without a good reason. The ruling will have no immediate effect on same-sex couples wishing to marry in Texas since the law will stay in effect until the state has a chance to appeal.
Venezuela as well as the transition of new interim leaders in Ukraine will continue to hold the international spotlight as both countries enter another week of turmoil. New conflicts have sprouted in Crimea where pro-Russian groups demanding Crimea secede from Ukraine or become a part of Russia again. The Texas ruling is predicted to make it up to the Supreme Court the decision could set precedent not just in Texas but a number of other states.