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(Reuters) - China has almost finished building a 3,000-metre-long (10,000-foot) airstrip on one of its artificial islands in the disputed Spratly archipelago of the South China Sea, new satellite photographs of the area show. A U.S. military commander had told Reuters in May that the airstrip on Fiery Cross Reef could be operational by year-end, although the June 28 images suggest that could now be sooner. The airstrip will be long enough to accommodate most Chinese military aircraft, security experts have said, giving Beijing greater reach into the heart of maritime Southeast Asia.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Episcopalians overwhelmingly voted Wednesday to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples, solidifying the church's embrace of gay rights that began more than a decade ago with the pioneering election of the first openly gay bishop.