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02 Sep

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

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Records obtained by the Guardian show Kim Davis has been divorced three times before she ‘surrendered’ her life to religion four years ago

When a gay couple went to the Rowan County courthouse on Tuesday to obtain a marriage license, clerk Kim Davis turned them away.

A controversial US court clerk who has cited “God’s law” while refusing to issue same-sex marriages licenses has has herself been married four times, it has been revealed.

Rowan County courthouse clerk Kim Davis has defied a US supreme court order demanding she issue marriage licenses to couples – both gay and straight – at her office in Kentucky.

Davis, who was only elected clerk last fall, has publicly claimed her duty to God overrides the law of the United States.

“I never imagined a day like this would come, where I would be asked to violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage,” Davis said in a statement.

“To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience.”

But records obtained by the Guardian show Davis has been divorced three times before she “surrendered” her life to religion, which she said happened four years ago. “Divorce is rare,” according to a website on the Apostolic Christian religion, which Davis follows.

“I am not perfect,” Davis said. “No one is. But I am forgiven and I love my Lord and must be obedient to Him and the Word of God.”

Her argument fell on deaf ears with David Ermold and David Moore, a gay couple of 17 years who live in Moreland.

The pair first went to Davis’ office in late June, after the US supreme court handed down its landmark decision that legalized same-sex marriage. Ermold, 41, told the Guardian he sent Davis’s office a letter immediately after the court’s ruling was handed down, “letting them know we were going to come down for a license”…………………………

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Governments divided over how to deal with unprecedented migration to the EU, with states increasingly blaming each other

Hungarian police remove migrants from the main railway station in Budapest on Tuesday after authorities ordered that all train departures be suspended. After the closure, hundreds protest outside the station. Thousands of people who had been camped outside the station for weeks had been unexpectedly allowed to travel onwards to Germany without visa checks on Monday, with many more hoping to do the same on Tuesday

Europe’s fragmented attempts to get to grips with its worst ever migration crisis are disintegrating into a slanging match between national capitals ahead of what is shaping up to be a major clash between eastern and western Europe over a common response.

Berlin has won plaudits for seizing the moral high ground and opening its doors unconditionally to Syrian refugees but Austria and Hungary attacked it on Tuesday for stoking chaos at their railway stations, on their roads and at their borders as thousands of people seek transit to Germany.

he German chancellor, Angela Merkel, rejected the criticism and stepped up her campaign to pressure reluctant EU partners into relieving the load on Germany and taking part in a more equitable system of sharing refugees across the EU.

“We must push through uniform European asylum policies,” she said. With Germany expecting to process 800,000 asylum applications this year – more than four times the figure for 2014 and more than the rest of the EU combined – Merkel insisted that there had to be a fairer distribution. “The criteria must be discussed,” she said.

Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, stood alongside Merkel in Berlin as she spoke, but he rejected the German pressure for a new system of binding quotas for refugees spread across the EU. “Some countries don’t want refugees,” he said. “You can’t force anyone [to take them].”…………….

People who have been detained by police gather in a holding area at Munich main railway station.

People detained by police gather in a holding area at Munich’s main railway station. Photograph: Lennart Preiss/Getty Images

Senators Bob Casey and Chris Coons, regarded as swing votes, voice support for deal as Obama approaches number of needed to withstand Republican blockade

Senator Ben Cardin

Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Senate foreign relations committee, predicted the White House would now reach the magic number of 34 senators by this weekend. Photograph: Andrew Harnik/AP

The Iranian nuclear deal is poised to clear remaining political hurdles in Washington after key Senate Democrats indicated there was now enough support in Congress for Barack Obama to withstand any Republican-led effort to block it.

Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, regarded as a critical swing vote, became the 32nd Democrat to declare his support on Tuesday for the deal, which will ease sanctions on Iran in exchange for steps aimed at preventing it from developing a nuclear weapon.

“I believe that this is better for our security and better for Israel’s security, without a doubt, short term and long term,” Casey said in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Casey’s decision to endorse the agreement came against the backdrop of roughly $1.3m in advertising on Philadelphia’s television networks this summer alone, from groups on both sides of the debate – but with time booked by critics dwarfing that of proponents of the deal.

Coming out for the deal, reached in July by Iran and six world powers, was “one of the most difficult decisions of my public career”, Casey said…………………………

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Wars and eight-year economic blockade have left ‘almost all of population destitute’, says UN body

Bulldozers and diggers work on the Egyptian side of the Gaza border.

Bulldozers and diggers work on the Egyptian side of the Gaza border. Photograph: Khalil Hamra/AP

A hard-hitting new United Nations report says Gaza could become uninhabitable in less than five years if current economic and population trends continue.

It cites what it describes as the “de-development” of the blockaded coastal strip, which is at present home to some 1.8 million Palestinians but is expected to grow to 2.1 million by 2020.

“De-development” describes a process where development is not only hindered but actually reversed. Findings by the UN conference on trade and development point to the eight-year economic blockade of Gaza as well as the three wars between Israel and the Palestinians over the past six years.

Depicting the situation in Gaza in grim language the report states: “Three Israeli military operations in the past six years, in addition to eight years of economic blockade, have ravaged the already debilitated infrastructure of Gaza, shattered its productive base, left no time for meaningful reconstruction or economic recovery and impoverished the Palestinian population in Gaza, rendering their economic wellbeing worse than the level of two decades previous.

“The most recent military operation compounded already dire socioeconomic conditions and accelerated de-development in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, a process by which development is not merely hindered but reversed.”

The report was published even as Egyptian military bulldozers continued to press ahead with a project that will effectively fill Egypt’s Gaza Strip border with water and flood the last remaining cross-border underground smuggling tunnels that have brought both commercial items and weapons into Gaza.

It also follows a series of recent dire warnings over Gaza’s trajectory by international bodies including UN organisations……………………..

Phoebe Greenwood returns to Gaza to meet the Palestinian journalists who covered the 2014 war and are now reporting on – and living through – its aftermath

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