Around the World

New from around the globe impacting your world.

Gbagbo Captured in Côte d'Ivoire. Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to abide by the results of last year's elections, has been captured  and is now in the custody of opposition forces. His capture came after French forces intervened in the fighting on the ground sending 30 armoured vehicles into Abidjan.  But both the French government and military insist that Gbagbo was taken by troops loyal to Alasanne Ouattara, who won last year's presidential election.

A spokesman for Ouattara told The Guardian: "It's true. Gbagbo has been taken to the Golf hotel by republican forces. Our forces went to the residence this morning and took him out." While the details of the capture remain unclear, it is possible that the French and UN soldiers attacked the building, surrounded it and then waited for Outtara's forces to go in, as France may not have the mandate or legal basis to make the arrest.

Uruguay Set to Enact Marriage Equality. The small South American nation of Uruguay is poised to enact full marriage equality for gays and lesbians by the end of 2011. Uruguay, which in 2007 became the first Latin American country to allow civil unions, is now pressing forward with a more gender neutral definition of marriage. The bill proposes a change to the country's civil code amending laws that refer to “husband and wife” to the more gender neutral “spouses” or “conjugal partner.” The bill is expect to be passed by the end of the year given that legislators report little resistance within the ranks of the center-left leaning majority in the Uruguay Congress. Currently only Argentina and Mexico City offer full marriage equality for gays and lesbians. Uruguay also offers same-sex couple adoption rights and has lifted its ban on gay troops serving in the military. Brazil has also introduced a gay marriage bill but passage there is more uncertain.

Early Results in Nigerian Elections. Nigeria's twice-delayed legislative and state elections were marred by violence that left scores dead and hundreds wounded across the Islamic north. About 74 million Nigerians were registered to vote in this year's general election where 36 Governors, 109 Senators, 360 House of Representative were up for grabs. Early results indicate that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has suffered a severe electoral setback with numerous opposition parties set to make key gains. A full report from All Africa.

African Union Peace Mission in Benghazi. A delegation of five African presidents has arrived in the Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi in a bid to end hostilities and negotiate a way out of the deepening crisis. Jacob Zuma, the South African president, said Tripoli had "accepted" the African Union's plan for a ceasefire which would halt NATO bombing. Al Jazeera has a full report.

French Burka Ban Goes into Effect. The French ban on burkas and niqabs went into effect on Monday. The law imposes a fine of 150 euros ($190). The person breaking the law can be asked to carry out public service duty as part of the punishment or as an alternative to the fine. Forcing a woman to wear a niqab or a burqa is punishable by a year in prison and a 30,000 euro fine. Forcing a minor to do the same thing is punishable by two years in prison and a 60,000 euro fine. The government has called this coercion "a new form of enslavement that the republic cannot accept on its soil." Two women defied the ban in Paris and they were promptly detained.

Tags: Uruguay Politics, LGBT Issues, Nigeria Politics, Côte d'Ivoire Politics (all tags)

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