U.S. mother, officials settle suit over airport breast milk

A nursing Southern California mother stopped from taking breast milk through airport security has reached a $75,000 settlement with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, her lawyer said on Wednesday. TSA officers stopped Stacey Armato at Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport while she was traveling to Los Angeles in 2010 with bottles of pumped breast milk for her seven-month-old son. In a 2012 lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, Armato contended TSA officers initially refused to follow the agency's policy of providing alternative security screenings for bottles of breast milk instead of X-raying them. … [Read more...]

Body of Korean boy who raised ferry alarm believed found

Mourners cry after paying tribute in Ansan, at a temporary group memorial altar for victims of capsized passenger ship Sewol

By James Pearson and Kahyun Yang SEOUL (Reuters) - A South Korean boy whose shaking voice first raised the alarm that an overloaded ferry with hundreds of children on board was sinking has been found drowned in the underwater wreckage of the ship, his parents believe, the coastguard said on Thursday. More than 300 people, most of them students and teachers from the Danwon High School, are dead or missing presumed dead in the April 16 disaster. Of the 476 passengers and crew on board, 339 were children and teachers from the school in Ansan, a gritty suburb on the outskirts of Seoul, who were on an outing to Jeju. As the ferry began sinking, the crew told the children to stay in their cabins. … [Read more...]

China bans petitioners appealing directly to higher authorities

Red flags flutter next to a national emblem and a national flag of China on top of the Great Hall of the People, which is the venue of the closing ceremony of the CPPCC, in Beijing

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has banned petitioners from taking their grievances directly to higher levels of government without first going through local authorities, state media reported on Thursday, in the latest effort to streamline its chaotic petitioning system. The system of petitions dates back to imperial times as a means for citizens to bring grievances to the attention of government officials by bypassing the legal system or authorities, especially at the local level. ... … [Read more...]

Oregon same-sex couples fight gay marriage ban with state on their side

Supporters of same-sex marriage gather for a rally in Portland, Oregon

By Teresa Carson EUGENE, Oregon (Reuters) - Lawyers for four same-sex couples challenging Oregon's prohibition on gay marriage appeared before a federal judge on Wednesday to argue their case, even as the state declined to defend the ban. Oregon's attorney general declined to defend the state's constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2004 that defined marriage as a union exclusively between a man and a woman. Officials from several other states, including California, Nevada and Virginia, have likewise refused to defend such laws in court as gay marriage proponents make legal headway across the country. "As creative as state attorneys can be, and we can be very creative, we could not come up with a justification" for maintaining a prohibition on gay marriage, special … [Read more...]

Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. ship ready to leave Chinese port

The Baosteel Emotion, a 226,434 deadweight-tonne ore carrier owned by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, is docked at the port of Maji Island, south of Shanghai

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese shipping firm Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd said on Thursday that its ship, the "Baosteel Emotion" 226,434 deadweight-ton ore carrier, is ready to leave a Chinese port soon after it paid a Chinese court to release the vessel from seizure. The company did not disclose how much it paid the court over an alleged payments dispute dating back to World War Two. (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Dominic Lau) … [Read more...]