Myanmar's new civilian government rebuffed a United States decision to brand the country as one of the world's worst human trafficking offenders on Friday, calling the move "regrettable" at a time when the nascent democracy is finding its feet. The US State Department downgraded Myanmar in its annual human trafficking report Thursday, putting the former junta-run country into the lowest "Tier 3" category for failing to combat people smuggling and slavery. Years of poverty and corruption under Myanmar's former military rulers have fastened the Southeast Asian nation as a major source of forced labour and sex trafficking.
(Reuters) - A day before it was due to come into effect, a federal judge has blocked a Mississippi law permitting those with religious objections to deny wedding services to same-sex couples and impose dress and bathroom restrictions on transgender people. Mississippi is among a handful of southern U.S. states on the front lines of legal battles over equality, privacy and religious freedom after the U.S. Supreme Court last year legalized same-sex marriage. U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves found on Thursday the wide-ranging law adopted this spring unconstitutionally discriminated against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and others who do not share the view that marriage is between a man and a woman.