Catholic bishops face vital vote
VATICAN CITY • Catholic bishops at a special Vatican assembly yesterday were to vote on whether to recommend that Pope Francis open the priesthood to married men or create female deacons, issues that are taboo for traditionalists.
The ballot comes at the close of a three-week synod on the Pan-Amazonian region, which highlighted the challenges facing the region - from the destruction of the rainforest to the exploitation of indigenous peoples and the declining number of priests.
The pontiff is expected in the coming months to address the issues raised with a document, which could have repercussions not only for the vast, isolated territory but also the whole of the Roman Catholic Church.
A new leader for German party
BERLIN • Germany's Social Democrats were due yesterday to announce the result of a membership vote on a new leader who will decide whether to exit a loveless coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives.
The leader will be officially decided by delegates at a conference in December, but that is widely seen as a formality.
The new leader will take over Germany's oldest party at a time of turmoil. Polling at about 14 per cent, it is just off its all-time lows and has been leaderless since June when Ms Andrea Nahles quit after the party's worst result in a European election.
Of the 12 candidates running on a joint ticket, the best-known, and probable front runner, is Finance Minister and Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Standing with a little-known colleague from eastern Germany, he would stay in the government coalition.
Big turnout for Taiwan's pride march
TAIPEI • Nearly 200,000 revellers marched through Taipei in a riot of rainbow colours and celebration yesterday as Taiwan held its first pride parade since making history in Asia by legalising gay marriage.
The island has long hosted the region's largest pride marches, but this year, Taiwan's LGBT community and their supporters had an extra reason to celebrate.
In May, lawmakers took the unprecedented decision to legalise same sex marriages, becoming the first place in Asia to do so.
More than 2,000 couples have since wed, many of them taking part in yesterday's festival.