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Constitutional court upholds same-sex marriage

MADRID — Spain’s Constitutional Court upheld the legality of the country’s gay marriage law Tuesday, rejecting an appeal contending that marriage in the Spanish constitution means only the union of a man and woman.

The county’s top court voted 8-3 to dismiss the appeal of the conservative Popular Party filed shortly after Spain became the world’s third nation to approve gay marriage.

Spain’s parliament passed the gay marriage law in 2005 when it was Socialist-controlled, with Popular Party deputies opposed. The Popular Party took power late last year after the Socialists were ousted over their handling of the economy.

The gay-marriage law angered the predominant Roman Catholic Church, but opinion surveys showed most Spaniards backed it. Belgium and the Netherlands approved gay marriage laws before Spain.

More than 22,000 gay marriages have taken place in Spain.


U.N. sends aid mission for hurricane relief

HAVANA — The United Nations on Tuesday announced a humanitarian aid mission to eastern Cuba in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, saying the storm could end up being the most damaging one to hit that part of the island in 50 years.

The U.N. World Food Program said in a statement that it is coordinating with Cuban authorities to provide one month’s food rations for nearly a half-million people in and around Santiago, a city of about 500,000 people that was clobbered when Sandy came ashore as a Category 2 hurricane Oct. 25.

“We are especially concerned about the damage in the agricultural sector where tens of thousands of hectares of staple crops have been affected,” World Food Program emergency coordinator William Vigil was quoted as saying.

The government has estimated that more than 200,000 homes were damaged, and the World Food Program said that means more than 1 million people, about 10 percent of the island’s residents, were affected.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports