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Praying Hitler statue in ex-Warsaw ghetto sparks emotion

Written by By VANESSA GERA,
AP writer
Monday, 31 December 2012 14:22

A statue of Adolf Hitler praying on his knees is on display in the former Warsaw Ghetto, the place where so many Jews were killed or sent to their deaths by Hitler’s regime, and it is provoking mixed reactions.

The work, “HIM” by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, has drawn many visitors since it was installed last month. It is visible only from a distance, and the artist doesn’t make explicit what Hitler is praying for, but the broader point, organizers say, is to make people reflect on the nature of evil.

Top words, phrases, names of 2012: Apocalypse, Gangnam Style, Newtown

Written by WiG Monday, 31 December 2012 08:44

The Global Language Monitor announced this week that “apocalypse” was the top word for 2012, “Gangnam Style” was the top phrase and “Newtown” and “Malala Yousafzai” were the top names in the 13th annual survey of the English language.

In the review of top words, the GLM said after “apocalypse” came “deficit,” “olympiad,” “Bak’tun,” “meme,” “MOOC,” “the Cloud,” “omnishambles,” “frankenstorm” “obesogenic.”

Indiana attorney general defending gay marriage ban in Supreme Court

Written by By TOM LoBIANCO,
AP writer
Monday, 31 December 2012 06:39

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said he plans to defend the state’s ban on gay marriage with a pair of briefs that will be filed in the coming U.S. Supreme Court battle.

Zoeller said he will file an amicus brief with the high court when it takes up California’s ban on gay marriage and the federal Defense of Marriage Act next year.

Gay weddings began at midnight in Maine

Written by AP Saturday, 29 December 2012 05:28

Arriving in a limo, Donna Galluzzo and Lisa Gorney had all the trappings of a traditional wedding: Rings, flowers, wedding vows, an entourage and a friend to officiate. With tears in their eyes, they were among the first gay couples to exchange wedding vows early Dec. 29 after Maine's same-sex marriage law went into effect at midnight.

"We're paving the way for people to go after us. I think it's just amazing. It's freeing. It's what's right," an emotionally drained Gorney said after their ceremony in front of City Hall.

Watch Nights mark Emancipation Proclamation’s 150th

Written by By BRETT ZONGKER,
AP writer
Monday, 31 December 2012 12:20

As New Year’s Day approached 150 years ago, all eyes were on President Abraham Lincoln in expectation of what he warned 100 days earlier would be coming – his final proclamation declaring all slaves in states rebelling against the Union to be “forever free.”

A tradition began Dec. 31, 1862, as many black churches held Watch Night services, awaiting word that Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation would take effect amid a bloody Civil War. Later, congregations listened as the president’s historic words were read aloud.

Group announces next campaigns to legalize pot

Written by WiG Monday, 31 December 2012 07:57

After victories in Colorado and Washington, the Marijuana Policy Project is looking ahead to campaigns to legalize marijuana in at least seven states.

In his year-end analysis, MPP executive director Rob Kampia said he’s hearing many people ask, “What states will be next to enact measures to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol?”

A Kansas man who signed away any parental rights when he donated sperm to a Topeka couple is now being pursued by the state for child support after the mother received financial assistance for the baby.

A lawyer for William Marotta argues that the state’s effort to have Marotta declared the baby’s father runs contrary to a 2007 Kansas Supreme Court ruling on sperm donors, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

A year for enduring pop culture icons to shine

Written by JOCELYN NOVECK,
AP writer
Friday, 28 December 2012 11:06

Marilyn Monroe. The Rolling Stones. And Bond – James Bond. What do they have in common?

Sure, one’s long gone, and one’s fictional. But all three marked a golden anniversary in 2012. And after a half-century in our pop-culture consciousness, they each displayed a surprisingly enduring appeal.

FBI removes many redactions in Marilyn Monroe file

Written by AP Monday, 31 December 2012 11:13

FBI files on Marilyn Monroe that could not be located earlier this year have been found and re-issued, revealing the names of some of the movie star’s communist-leaning friends who drew concern from government officials and her own entourage.

But the records, which previously had been heavily redacted, do not contain any new information about Monroe’s death 50 years ago. Letters and news clippings included in the files show the bureau was aware of theories the actress had been killed, but they do not show that any effort was undertaken to investigate the claims. Los Angeles authorities concluded Monroe’s death was a probable suicide.

Recall, elections dominated Wisconsin headlines in 2012

Written by The Associated Press Monday, 31 December 2012 06:54

Wisconsin’s governor survived a recall attempt and Janesville’s congressman had a shot at becoming vice president. There were five statewide elections in seven months, making it nearly impossible to escape robocalls and campaign ads. A white supremacist killed worshippers at a Sikh temple, a judge struck down a contentious collective-bargaining law and three Wisconsin soldiers were killed.

Obama presses Illinois lawmakers to support marriage equality bill

Written by WiG Sunday, 30 December 2012 11:08

President Obama is using his influence to push the Illinois General Assembly to pass a marriage equality bill, which Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has said he would sign into law.

Illinois already passed a civil-unions law last year, but equality advocates say that status offers only limited legal rights and confers second-class status.

New year, new laws in the states

Written by AP Friday, 28 December 2012 05:48

As 2013 begins, many states are enacting new laws dealing with gay rights, child safety, abortion, immigration and other perennial concerns.

Some other topics states are dealing with in new laws: