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Homosexual Relationships in India Decriminalized

India’s Supreme Court on Thursday, Sept. 6, struck down a colonial-era law that made gay sex punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a landmark victory for gay rights. One judge said the decision would “pave the way for a better future.”

India is the world’s largest democracy with a population of around 1.3 billion people. It is the second most populated country in the world, only behind China.

The 1861 law, a relic of Victorian England that hung on long after the end of British colonialism, was a weapon used to discriminate against India’s gay community. The judges ruled in a unanimous decision to overturn it.

“We feel as equal citizens now,” said activist Shashi Bhushan. “What happens in our bedroom is left to us.”

Homosexuality has a tangled history in India, and some of Hinduism’s most ancient texts are accepting of gay sex. But same-sex couples have also been harassed for centuries in many Indian communities, whether Hindu, Muslim or Christian.

On Thursday, a leader of a prominent hard-line Hindu group noted that while it doesn’t see homosexuality as a crime, it believes gay marriage is not “compatible with nature.”

“This will obviously open the doors for a lot of more things; more civil rights. And we’ll fight for our rights, definitely. This is the first battle that has been won, and there are many more battles that we are going to fight,” said Sukhdeep Singh, a gay rights activist.

Hurricane Florence

On Monday, Sept. 10, meteorologists announced that Hurricane Florence had become a Category 4 hurricane, reaching wind speeds of 130 mph with its sights on the East Coast of the United States.

As of Thursday, Sept. 13, Florence began its assault on North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane. It made landfall on Friday at 7:15 a.m. in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of calculates that Hurricane Florence is forecast to dump about 18 trillion gallons of rain in seven days over the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.

The anticipated rainfall amount is 2.4 trillion cubic feet (68 billion cubic meters). It’s enough to cover Manhattan with nearly 3,800 feet (1.1 kilometers) of water, more than twice as high as the island’s tallest building.

Federal officials have urged anyone who ignored orders to evacuate from Hurricane Florence to hunker down and stay put until the storm passes.

12,000 people are in shelters in North Carolina, 4,000 in South Carolina, and 400 in Virginia. Nearly 2,100 flights have been canceled and it is estimated that there will be a range between $10 billion to $60 billion costs in economic damages.

Former Trump Campaign Manager Accepts Plea Deal

On Friday, Sept. 14, Paul Manafort’s lawyer said the former Trump campaign chairman cut a deal with prosecutors “to make sure that his family was able to remain safe and live a good life.”

Manafort agreed to cooperate with the special counsel’s Russia probe and pleaded guilty to two federal crimes as part of Friday’s plea deal. The move allows him to avoid a second criminal trial. He was convicted last month of eight financial crimes in a separate trial in Virginia.

Manafort said he intends to plead guilty to charges including conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice relating to his work for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine.

Neither of the cases against Manafort relates to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the central issue in the special counsel’s investigation. Instead, they focus on financial crimes and Manafort’s Ukrainian political consulting work, including failing to register as a foreign agent.

Manafort was instrumental to President Donald Trump’s securing the GOP nomination in 2016, and served on his campaign until August of that year.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement, “This had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 Presidential campaign. It is totally unrelated.”

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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