Myanmar President Urges Progress on Rebel Cease-Fire
Myanmar President Thein Sein has met with ethnic rebel negotiators, urging them to sign a nationwide cease-fire deal before the country's November general election.
Wednesday's meeting in the administrative capital, Naypyidaw, is the first public appearance by the president since the official start of campaigning for the November 8 polls.
The ex-army general met with representatives of five of the more than a dozen rebel groups that have been participating in the negotiations for nearly two years.
He said a nationwide cease-fire deal is mandatory if the country wants to see further democratic reforms.
Reaching a conclusion in the talks would represent a significant political victory for Thein Sein. He is not running in the election but still could be selected as president by lawmakers.
Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi this month called on rebel leaders not to rush into a hasty deal, saying the most important issue was to ensure future stability.
Kentucky Clerk Who Fought Gay Marriage Released from Jail
Kentucky county clerk has been released from jail after being detained for contempt over her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Kim Davis' decision not to issue the licenses, which came about two months after the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark ruling legalizing gay marriage across the country, has inflamed passions on both sides of the debate.
Kim Davis walked out of a detention center in Grayson, Kentucky Tuesday, six days after being jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
A federal judge ruled she could be released because five of her six deputy clerks "stated under oath they would comply with the Court's order and issue marriage certificates to all legally eligible couples."
The judge ordered Davis not to interfere with the granting of same-sex marriage licenses.
Davis, fighting back tears, addressed a cheering crowd while standing next to Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, her lawyer Mat Staver and her husband, Joe.
"Thank you all so much. I love you all so very much. I just want to give God the glory. His people have rallied, and you are a strong people."
Davis, an apostolic Christian, argued that authorizing gay marriages would violate her religious beliefs.
Staver said she was simply upholding her faith and should not have spent time in prison. "You know, Kim stood up for her beliefs and for the law. In Kentucky, if you issue a license that's not authorized by statute, it is a criminal violation. And that statute has not been changed by the General Assembly in the Commonwealth of Kentucky."
Huckabee, a Baptist minister and former Arkansas governor, denounced the Supreme Court decision in June legalizing gay marriage. The court ruled 5-4 in the case.
"And we do not want to see this country become the smoldering remains of what once was a great republic where the people ruled and is exchanged for a place where five unelected lawyers think that they can rule. We're here to say, `No they cannot.'"
While Davis was in jail, deputy clerks from her county issued marriage licenses to several same-sex couples.