Honolulu, Hawaii (EMBARGOED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE) – Both supporters and opponents worldwide have expressed amazement at how quickly same-sex marriage became legal in all of the United States. Immediately after the Hawaii legislature approved the bill legalizing same-sex marriage, the following news flash appeared in almost all media outlets in all continents : “50th U.S. State Approves Same-Sex Marriage.”
The International Business Times, Japan Times, Manila Daily Bulletin, The Times of India, The Paris Register, The Berlin Times, The London Enquirer and many other publications were unanimous in applauding the United States for the speed in which the number of U.S. States where same-sex marriage is now legal went from 15 to 50, not including the District of Columbia. It all happened within a matter of months. Illinois was the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage.
Gay rights activists praised Hawaii for “sealing the deal” to make same-sex marriage legal in the entire U.S.A. Many pointed out that it was appropriate for Hawaii to be the state to earn this distinction. “After all,” they said, “the U.S. movement to legalize same-sex marriage all but started in Hawaii when the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled in the early 1990’s that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. It was a landmark case (Baehr vs. Lewin) that set off the marriage equality movement in the U.S. Mainland.
Hawaii became the 50th state of the U.S. on August 21, 1959.
The Hague, Netherlands – The territorial disputes that have threatened the peace and stability of Asian countries like China, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines seem to have spread to the West.
In recent months, tensions have escalated among at least seven Asian governments due to disputed claims over oil-rich islands in the South China Sea, including the Spratly Islands.
Today, Great Britain filed a formal complaint with the United Nations’ International Court of Justice (ICJ), claiming that the Hawaiian Islands rightfully belongs to the British government. Hawaii became the 50th state of the U.S.A. in 1959. To this day, there continues to be a Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement that maintains, among other things, that the U.S. illegally overthrew the last monarchy in 1893.
The British argue that the Hawaiian islands were discovered by British naval captain James Cook in 1778. “Besides, the original form of government in Hawaii — a monarchy -is more closely linked to that of Great Britain,” Lyal Grant, U.K. Permament Representative to the U.N., said. “But our most compelling argument to support our claim,” Grant continued, “is the fact that the Hawaiian flag mimics that of the British flag.”
The United States has not yet issued a formal response to the British complaint.
Lausanne, Switzerland – Amid mounting pressure from human rights organizations that have condemned Russia’s escalating crackdown on homosexuality, the International Olympic Committee today decided to move the 2014 Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia, to Honolulu, Hawaii. The dates remain unchanged, February 7-23, 2014.
The IOC reached the decision as more and more sponsors like VISA, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Samsung, started withdrawing their financial support for the international sports event, in protest of Russia’s homophobic stance.
IOC officials, speaking at a hastily-convened press conference after a whirlwind visit to Honolulu over the weekend, said that only a world-class destination like Hawaii can pull off preparations for the Winter Olympics in such short notice. Instead of building an Olympic Village, Honolulu will provide tents and outdoor showers for all athletes and delegation members from participating countries. Honolulu will cordon off 5 miles of Waikiki beach for this purpose.
The Blaisdell Arena will serve as the main venue for all the indoor sports events. It can easily accommodate an Olympic-sized ice rink, of course using artificial ice. All outdoor events will be held at the Diamond Head Volcano which will be fully covered with artificial snow.
Honolulu mayor Kirk Caldwell promises the most spectacular opening ceremony in the history of the Winter Olympics, saying that he has enlisted the participation of all the hula halaus and surfing clubs in the entire Rainbow State. Instead of a closing ceremony, Caldwell said that Honolulu will host the largest luau Hawaii has ever seen. “It will be one for the Guinness Book of World Records,” he added.