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Church convicts minister in son's same-sex nuptials

SPRING CITY, Pa. -- A United Methodist minister has been convicted in a Pennsylvania church trial of breaking church law by performing his son's same-sex marriage.

Rev. Frank Schaefer testified he tried to follow God's command to minister to all, even if he disobeyed the Methodist Book of Discipline.

The jury will reconvene this morning for the penalty phase. Schaefer faces punishment ranging from a reprimand to losing his ministerial credentials.

Schaefer, of Lebanon, Pa., says he could have avoided the trial by agreeing to avoid any more same-sex ceremonies. But he declined, noting three of his four children are gay.

The charges over the 2007 ceremony in Massachusetts came just a month shy of the church's six-year statute of limitations, after a congregant complained.


Assange case in limbo

WASHINGTON -- Federal prosecutors have not filed a sealed indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange despite persistent rumours that a nearly three-year-old grand jury investigation of him and his organization had secretly led to charges, according to senior law enforcement sources.

The U.S. Justice Department, at least for now, appears to be drawing a distinction between those who were government employees or contractors and were required by law to protect classified information and those who received and published the material.

The Justice Department has unsealed an indictment charging former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden under the Espionage Act. Snowden, who fled to Hong Kong and then Russia, leaked tens of thousands of documents about U.S. surveillance programs that have led to reports in the Washington Post and Britain's Guardian newspaper, among other publications around the world.


Today is World Toilet Day

THE lack of access to a decent toilet is no joke for a third of the world's people-- it's a matter of life and death.

Some 2.5 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation, the United Nations said, and more than one billion practise open defecation -- a problem that contributes to countless deaths from preventable diseases.

"We must break the taboos and make sanitation for all a global development priority," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said, declaring today the inaugural World Toilet Day.

Each year, more than 800,000 children under five die from diarrhea, the UN said, many due to poor sanitation.


Wal-Mart may be charged

WASHINGTON -- Federal officials said Monday they are prepared to file formal complaints against Wal-Mart for allegedly violating the legal rights of protesting workers last year.

The National Labor Relations Board announced its general counsel, Richard Griffin, found merit in charges the retailer unlawfully threatened employees in California and Texas with reprisal if they engaged in strikes and protests ahead of Black Friday, the big shopping day after Thanksgiving.

Griffin also is ready to press charges that Wal-Mart illegally threatened, disciplined or terminated more than 100 employees in 13 states for participating in legally protected strikes and protests last November over wages and working conditions.

Formal complaints will be filed if Wal-Mart and the workers fail to reach a settlement in the next week or two, NLRB spokesman Gregory King said.


-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 19, 2013 A12


Updated on Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 6:50 AM CST: Fixes headline

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