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Panel slams Haitian vote

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- An international team of election experts will recommend Haiti's government-backed candidate be eliminated from a presidential runoff due to strong evidence of fraud in voting that led to riots, says a draft report obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

The report by the Organization of American States says governing-party candidate Jude Celestin should be bumped from the second-round runoff, a move that would favour carnival singer Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly, a populist candidate who was originally listed in third place in the first round. Former first lady and law professor Mirlande Manigat would remain in first place.

Gay nuptials part of job

REGINA -- Saskatchewan's top court has said marriage commissioners cannot use religion to say "no" to nuptials for same-sex couples.

The Appeal Court had been asked by the government to rule on a proposed provincial law that would have allowed commissioners to cite religious grounds in refusing to marry gays or lesbians.

The appeal panel's unanimous decision released Monday said the law would be unconstitutional and would amount to discrimination.

Cross-burner sent to jail

KENTVILLE, N.S. -- One of two Nova Scotia brothers convicted of a hate crime for burning a cross in front of the home of an interracial couple wept in court and apologized Monday to the victims before receiving a six-month jail sentence.

Nathan Rehberg, his hands shaking and voice unsteady, said he was sorry for setting a 2.5-metre wooden cross on fire last year outside the home of Shayne Howe and Michelle Lyon.

"I'll never forgive myself for the rest of my life," Rehberg said.

The Avondale, N.S., man will serve two months in jail after a judge gave him four months' credit for time served awaiting trial.

'Nazis' comment defended

AN official with an Ontario Catholic school board says a gay and lesbian newspaper took her comments out of context when she referred to Nazis while defending the board's policy of not allowing gay-straight alliance groups in its schools.

In an interview last week with Xtra, board director Alice Anne Lemay defended the decision by the Halton Catholic District School Board in Burlington, Ont.

"We don't have Nazi groups either," she is quoted as saying. "It's not in accordance with the teachings of the church."

In a statement posted Monday on the school board's website, Lemay said: "It was not my intent to make any type of comparison between gay-straight alliances and Nazi groups."

DeLay gets three years

AUSTIN, Texas -- Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, once considered among the nation's most powerful and feared lawmakers, was sentenced to three years in prison Monday for a scheme to influence elections that already cost him his job, leadership post and millions of dollars in legal fees.

The sentence comes after a jury in November convicted DeLay, a Houston-area Republican, on charges of money laundering and conspiracy for using a political action committee to illegally send corporate donations to Texas House candidates in 2002.

-- From the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 11, 2011 A8

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