Rose Parade spectators cheer same-sex marriage

Standing atop a giant wedding cake float, Aubrey Loots and Danny Leclair exchanged vows New Year’s Day in the first same-sex marriage during the Tournament of Roses Parade.

Throngs of spectators cheered as the men, dressed in dark suits, faced each other and held hands before the Rev. Alfreda Lanoix, who officiated the ceremony aboard the AIDS Healthcare Foundation float.

Days earlier, a San Diego woman launched a Facebook page urging people to boycott the 125th Rose Parade after learning of the couple’s plans. But some like Jennifer Adair, who cheered along with her girlfriend, lined the streets just for this moment.

“We’re a modern-day society, so accept it. Don’t worry about what other people do,” Adair told the Los Angeles Times.


The Pasadena Tournament of Roses, which puts on the parade, had said the float represents this year’s parade theme, “Dreams Come True.”


First Democratic mayor in two decades sworn in

Bill de Blasio has been sworn in as the 109th mayor of New York City.

He is the first Democrat to occupy City Hall in more than two decades and vows to pursue a sweeping liberal agenda for the nation’s largest city.

He took the oath of office in a small ceremony in his Brooklyn home Wednesday, minutes after midnight.


The 52-year-old de Blasio was joined by his wife, Chirlane McCray, and their two teenage children. The oath was delivered by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

A grander celebration at City Hall was held at noon. Former President Bill Clinton delivered the oath.


New year brings 1 percent pay raise for federal workers

The first automatic pay raise in more than three years for federal employees kicked in Wednesday, with the rates increasing by 1 percent for the next applicable pay period.

President Obama issued an executive order two days before Christmas to implement the change at the start of the new year, following up on a plan he laid out in his 2014 budget proposal and in an August letter to lawmakers.


By law, Congress can block or alter the annual cost-of-living increases for federal employees, but lawmakers passed on their last opportunity to do so with the $85 billion budget deal they approved earlier this month.

The federal government has not given its civilian workers a cost-of-living raise since 2010.

SEOUL, North Korea

Kim says factionalist purge was the ‘correct decision’

Supreme leader Kim Jong Un said Wednesday that unity had strengthened “by 100 times” following the purge of “counterrevolutionary factionalists” – an apparent reference to his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, who was executed last month for treason.

Kim’s comments came in a lengthy New Year’s Day address and were his first since Jang’s alleged coup plot. Though Kim did not mention Jang by name, he did call the purge the “correct decision.”

Kim also said that the North must be more vigilant in stamping out dissent. He called for intensified ideological education among Workers’ Party members and citizens to “ensure that they think and act at all times and in all places in line with the Party’s ideas and intentions.”

– From news service reports

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