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World in brief

Ukrainian vote result finalized

By wire services
Published January 20, 2005

KIEV, Ukraine - Ukraine's official government newspapers today will publish presidential election results, a printing house official said, a move that clears the way for setting an inauguration date for Western-leaning reformer Viktor Yushchenko.

The printing began shortly before the Supreme Court rejected a final appeal of the results filed by the camp of losing candidate Viktor Yanukovych. Under Ukrainian law, once the results are published, the high court cannot rescind them.

Vitaly Bediy, head of typography at the plant that prints both papers, said that printing of editions with the results had begun. Publication of the results means that Parliament can set an inauguration date - which Yushchenko aides previously said they hope will be Friday or Saturday.

Japan ordered to pay ex-slave laborers

HIROSHIMA, Japan - The Hiroshima High Court overturned a lower court decision Wednesday and ordered Japan to pay 40 former Korean forced laborers who survived the atomic bombing in Hiroshima and their bereaved families 1.2-million yen, or about $11,665, each.

The court cited the illegality of excluding atomic bomb survivors from compensation on the basis that they live abroad. The plaintiffs live in South Korea. It is the first time a high court has recognized the responsibility of the central government in compensation lawsuits concerning wartime incidents.

According to the suit, the laborers were forcibly brought from the Korean peninsula between August and October 1944 to work at a Mitsubishi Hiroshima machine factory and a Mitsubishi shipping plant in Hiroshima. They were exposed to radiation in the August 1945 atomic bombing.

They later returned to Korea at their own expense.

In the suit, they said that they did not receive adequate salary or food and were forced to engage in backbreaking work. They also said they were left without support even though they suffered from physical disorders caused by the atomic bombing.

Brazil prosecutor seeks to legalize gay marriage

SAO PAULO, Brazil - A federal prosecutor said Wednesday he has asked a judge to order courts across Brazil to perform gay marriages, an effort likely to meet resistance in this largely Roman Catholic country.

Prosecutor Joao Gilberto Goncalves Jr. said he filed papers Tuesday asking a federal judge to issue an order that would apply nationwide.

Brazil's constitution specifies that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, but Goncalves said "it does not make any restrictions against marriage between same-sex couples."

"In addition to recognizing their rights as couples, the action is intended to help reduce the prejudice against homosexuals, which is a cause of violence in Brazil," Goncalves said.

Ten months ago the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul became Brazil's first to legalize civil unions between gays. While the issue was controversial locally, it failed to spur national debate.

[Last modified January 20, 2005, 00:13:15]

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