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World and nation briefs

Saturday, September 28, 2013 - 11:52 am

Report: Hollywood less gay-friendly off-screen

LOS ANGELES — A new study suggests the proliferation of gay and transgender characters in films and television shows has not prevented gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender actors from experiencing discrimination in Hollywood.

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists commissioned the survey released Friday showing that more than half of the actors who identify as gay, bisexual and transgender say they think directors and directors and producers are biased against them.

More than one-third of the actors who don't fall into any of those categories agreed with that perception.

The online survey of 5,700 SAG/AFTRA members also found that more than half of the gay, transgender and bisexual respondents had heard producers and directors make anti-gay comments.

The study was conducted by the Williams Institute, a think tank based at UCLA.

NJ judge: State must allow gays to marry

TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey judge has ruled that the state must allow same-sex couples to marry.

Judge Mary Jacobson says now that the federal government recognizes gay marriages, not doing so in New Jersey would violate the state constitution.

Her order says the marriages could begin Oct. 21, which gives the state time to appeal and ask for a stay to block marriages from happening.

Gov. Chris Christie is opposed to gay marriage, but his administration has not said yet whether it will appeal.

In Friday's ruling, the judge accepted the position of lawyers from gay rights groups that the state is blocking citizens from receiving federal benefits.

Survivor tells of Guatemalan massacre

RIVERSIDE, California — A survivor of a massacre three decades ago in Guatemala says armed men took small children from his village and smashed them into a tree before throwing their bodies into a well.

Ramiro Osorio told a courtroom in Riverside, Calif., on Friday that he saw his mother ripped from his arms and taken to the well pleading for her life.

His testimony came in the trial of former Guatemalan army officer Jorge Sosa.

He's charged with failing to disclose his role in the massacre of more than 160 people at Dos Erres on his application to become an American citizen.

Osorio says his mother was taken from a church where women and children were being held and only a handful of children remained.

Village evacuated after explosion in Germany

BERLIN — Police are evacuating an entire village in central Germany after a fire at a gas company led to an explosion that injured 16 firefighters.

Police spokesman Markus Sicius said an explosion of two gas tanks early Saturday in Harthausen near Ludwigshafen led to the evacuation of some 3,000 residents.

The fire on the grounds of a gas company was first reported at 4:20 a.m., and while firefighters were trying to douse the flames, the fire spread to two trucks with gas tanks, which exploded.

Syrian rebels capture post near border

BEIRUT – Syrian rebels, including members of an al-Qaida-linked group, captured Saturday a military post on the border with Jordan after four days of fighting, an activist group said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 26 soldiers were killed in the battle as well as a number of rebels, including seven foreign fighters.

Also today some U.N. inspectors left their hotel in Damascus in one vehicle to an unknown location, according to an Associated Press photographer at the scene.

The U.N. said Friday its team of weapons experts currently in Syria will investigate seven sites of alleged chemical attacks in the country, four more than previously known. The announcement came hours before the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to secure and destroy Syria's chemical weapons stockpile.

Greek far-right leader, others arrested

ATHENS, Greece — Police arrested the leader of Greece's extreme-right Golden Dawn party and other top members today, in an escalation of a government crackdown after a fatal stabbing allegedly committed by a supporter.

It is the first time since 1974 that sitting members of Parliament have been arrested. The arrests underline the Greek government's efforts to stifle the fiercely anti-immigrant party, which has been increasingly on the defensive since the killing.

Police announced the arrests of 16 Golden Dawn members on charges of forming a criminal organization, including party head Nikos Michaloliakos, the group's spokesman and three other lawmakers. About 35 arrest warrants for Golden Dawn members were issued.

The government ordered an investigation into Golden Dawn's activities after the death of rapper Pavlos Fyssas on Sept. 18 sparked outrage across Greece. The suspect told police that he had stabbed the 34-year-old.

— From wire reports