World news briefs — Compiled Oct. 21

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THE NETHERLANDS

Dutch fight for protesters

The Netherlands asked an international tribunal Monday to order Russia to release a Greenpeace protest ship and the activists who were on board. The Dutch foreign minister said the government made the request to the Germany-based International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. A group of 28 Greenpeace activists and two journalists have been held since their ship was seized by the Russian coast guard after a protest near a Gazprom-owned oil rig on Sept. 18. The activists have been charged with piracy, which carries a 15-year sentence in Russia.

AUSTRALIA

Gay marriage debated

A provincial Australian parliament began debating legislation today that would allow same-sex marriages despite the threat of a court challenge by the federal government. The Australian Capital Territory parliament began debating the bill that would create Australia’s only law allowing gay couples to marry. It was likely to be passed later today with the support of lawmakers from the province’s governing party, despite all eight opposition lawmakers in the 17-seat Legislative Assembly announcing they would vote against the bill.

RUSSIA

Bus blast kills 6

A female suicide bomber blew herself up on a city bus in Volgograd, Russia, on Monday, killing six people and injuring about 30, officials said. The suspected attacker was from the North Caucasus, a region in the south where an Islamic insurgency has been simmering for more than a decade. An official said the woman was married to an Islamic militant.

URUGUAY

Government to sell pot

Uruguay’s drug czar says the country plans to sell legal marijuana for $1 per gram to combat drug-trafficking, according to a local newspaper. The plan to create a government-run legal marijuana industry has passed the lower house of Congress, and President Jose Mujica expects to push it through the Senate soon as part of his effort to explore alternatives in the war on drugs. The measure would make Uruguay the first country in the world to license and enforce rules for the production, distribution and sale of marijuana for adult consumers.

Compiled from wire reports.


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