Leading 'No' figure concedes in Irish gay marriage vote
A leading campaigner against gay marriage conceded defeat in Ireland's historic referendum on the issue Saturday as the count took place. David Quinn, a leading "No" campaigner and director of the Iona Institute, told national broadcaster RTE it was "obviously a very impressive victory for the 'Yes' side".
Ireland backs gay marriage in historic vote, ministers say
By Padraic Halpin and Conor Humphries DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland appears to have voted heavily in favor of allowing same-sex marriage in a historic referendum that marks a dramatic social shift in the traditionally Catholic country, government ministers and opponents of the bill said on Saturday. Final results are not expected until later in the day in a vote that would make Ireland the first country to adopt same-sex marriage via a popular vote, just two decades after the country decriminalised homosexuality. State broadcaster RTE said the victory appeared to be overwhelming and government minister Kevin Humphreys predicted the margin would be two-to-one.
Syrian official: Islamic State militants in Palmyra's museum
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) ? A Syrian official in charge of antiquities says Islamic State fighters have broken into the museum of the ancient town of Palmyra which they have captured days earlier, but have not harmed its contents.
After break, Senate to reconsider Patriot Act extension
WASHINGTON (AP) ? Unable to end a struggle over how to deal with government surveillance programs, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scheduled a last-minute session to consider retaining the National Security Agency's bulk collection of domestic phone records.
Shi'ite militia approach Islamic State-held areas from base near Ramadi
A convoy of Shi'ite Muslim militia and Iraqi army forces set out from a base near Ramadi on Saturday toward areas held by Islamic State insurgents, an eyewitness and a local official said. Pro-government forces are seeking to retake the capital of the sprawling western province of Anbar after the ultra-radical Islamic State overran it last weekend in a significant defeat for the Baghdad government. The fall of Ramadi is the most serious setback for Iraqi forces in almost a year and has cast doubt on the effectiveness of the U.S. strategy of air strikes to help Baghdad roll back Islamic State, which controls about a third of Iraq.
Intense gunfight kills 43 in troubled Mexico region
Only one federal police officer was killed in the operation, which authorities launched after learning that "armed criminals" were occupying the ranch in Tanhuato, Michoacan state, near the neighboring state of Jalisco, officials said. "Up to now, we have counted 42 suspected criminals killed and three more detained," said National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido. While he did not name the gang by name, Rubido said it was based in Jalisco, home of the New Generation drug cartel, a powerful heavily armed group that has become the top target of President Enrique Pena Nieto's administration.
California beach town cleans up after pipeline rupture
A small army of clean-up workers toiled Friday to scoop up crude oil deposits from a picturesque California beach, three days after a pipeline rupture unleashed thousands of gallons into the ocean. The scenic Refugio State Beach and its neighbor El Capitan would usually be swarming with tourists over America's Memorial Day weekend, but were closed until further notice following Tuesday's spill. "The beaches are starting to look a lot better than they did a couple of days ago, but still it will be a long process," said David Mosley, a Coastguard spokesman.
German woman, 65 and mother of 13, has quadruplets
Berlin (AFP) - A 65-year-old German woman, who is already a mother of 13 children, has given birth to quadruplets after undergoing an artificial insemination procedure in Ukraine, RTL television reported early on Saturday.
Ethiopia's ruling party touts growth before vote, critics say freedoms suffer
By Aaron Maasho and Drazen Jorgic ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopians vote on Sunday in an election likely to hand another sweeping victory to the ruling party, which boasts of delivering one of the fastest growing economies in Africa though opponents say it has crushed dissent at the same time. The Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has been in power since 1991, during which time the nation that was shattered by communist purges in the 1970s and a 1980s famine has drawn increasing foreign investor interest. "Our past was bleak but the country has turned around its fortunes," retired teacher Dawit Haileselassie said at an EPRDF rally in Addis Ababa this week where thousands gathered, close to a memorial museum to the victims of "Red Terror" purges.
Accused arms smuggler left Tunisia for Italy before museum attack -official
By Tarek Amara and Emilio Parodi TUNIS/MILAN (Reuters) - A Moroccan man supplied arms for a March attack on Tunisia's Bardo Museum and then boarded a migrant boat for Italy, where he is now held, a Tunisian government official said on Friday. Tunisian authorities have not yet formally notified Italian prosecutors, who arrested 22-year-old Abdelmajid Touil on an international warrant earlier this week, what he was suspected of doing or when. "Touil entered Tunisia by plane from Morocco on Feb. 2 before escaping stealthily to Libya" where he boarded a migrant boat to Italy, a senior official in the Interior Ministry told Reuters.