- - Thursday, October 18, 2012


BELFAST — Unmarried and same-sex couples in Northern Ireland should be allowed to adopt children, a Belfast judge ruled Thursday, overturning a 1987 adoption law that discriminated against both groups.

Gay rights activists praised the ruling in favor of a lawsuit pursued by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.

But Health Minister Edwin Poots, an evangelical Protestant opposed to gay partnerships, said the government would appeal.

Belfast High Court Justice Seamus Treacy ruled that the law clearly violated European human rights laws on privacy and discrimination.

Other parts of the United Kingdom already permit gay and unmarried heterosexual couples to adopt children. But Northern Ireland’s law restricted applicants to married couples and single adults, including gays.


Premier calls on U.S.to speed up arms delivery

BAGHDAD — Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called Thursday for Washington to speed up its delivery of weapons, barely a week after Iraq signed $4.2 billion in arms deals with Moscow.

Mr. Maliki’s remarks came as he met Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in Baghdad and spoke of the “need for the Iraqi army to develop its defensive abilities to protect Iraq’s security and national sovereignty.”

He urged the U.S. to “speed up the arming of the Iraqi army with what they need in terms of defensive weapons.”

Mr. Carter told Mr. Maliki he had come to discuss Baghdad’s defense and counterterrorism needs, adding that Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta would visit Baghdad soon for similar reasons.

The two sides also discussed the conflict in Iraq’s western neighbor Syria.

On Oct. 9, Russia unveiled $4.2 billion in arms deals with Iraq, making it Baghdad’s second-largest weapons supplier after the U.S.


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