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India's Supreme Court Wednesday reinstated a colonial-era ban on gay sex that enables the jailing of homosexuals in a major setback for rights campaigners in the world's biggest democracy. A two-judge bench struck down a landmark Delhi High Court ruling in 2009 which found that section 377 of the Indian penal code prohibiting "carnal intercourse against the order of nature" infringed the fundamental rights of Indians. The decision four years ago to decriminalise gay sex emboldened the still largely closeted homosexual community which has since campaigned publicly against widespread discrimination and ignorance. But the Supreme Court bench, headed by G.S. Singhvi on his last day before retirement, found the High Court had overstepped its authority and that a law passed by the British in 1860 was still constitutionally valid.
Ukrainian security forces on Wednesday pulled out of the epicentre of mass protests in Kiev after a nine hour standoff with thousands of demonstrators, in a major boost for the opposition to President Viktor Yanukovych. Elite Berkut anti-riot police and interior ministry special forces moved against the protestors who have occupied Kiev's Independence Square for over a week at around 2:00 am (midnight GMT). US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed "disgust" at the crackdown, which came as Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton were in Kiev for talks with all parties to find a way out of the crisis.
Time magazine on Wednesday named Pope Francis its person of the year, saying that in nine months in office the head of the Catholic Church had become a new voice of conscience. "For pulling the papacy out of the palace and into the streets, for committing the world’s largest church to confronting its deepest needs and for balancing judgment with mercy, Pope Francis is TIME's 2013 Person of the Year," wrote managing editor Nancy Gibbs. "Rarely has a new player on the world stage captured so much attention so quickly -- young and old, faithful and cynical -- as Pope Francis. "In his nine months in office, he has placed himself at the very center of the central conversations of our time: about wealth and poverty, fairness and justice, transparency, modernity, globalization, the role of women, the nature of marriage, the temptations of power."