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Last updated: February 19. 2013 9:16PM - 176 Views

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OLYMPIA, WASH.
Gay couples to say, ‘I do'

Two retired military women who fought for the rights of gays in the military were among the hundreds of couples who received their marriage licenses this week as Washington state's voter-approved law allowing same-sex marriage took effect.


Former Air Force flight nurse Maj. Margaret Witt, of Spokane, and retired nurse, Army Col. Grethe Cammermeyer, of Whidbey Island, both successfully challenged the military's ban on open service by gays and lesbians. They were first in line on Thursday in their home counties to receive their licenses with their partners.


First, to be able to serve their country openly was in and of itself historical, and a significant step forward for our nation. And now to be able to legally wed the person they love is yet another historical milestone, said Anne Levinson, a gay rights activist who worked on the campaign to approve same-sex marriage. They're remarkable women.


JOHANNESBURG
Mandela undergoing tests

South Africa's former President Nelson Mandela was admitted to a military hospital Saturday for medical tests, though the nation's president told the public there was no cause for alarm over the 94-year-old icon's health.


The statement issued by President Jacob Zuma's spokesman said that Mandela was doing well and was receiving medical care which is consistent for his age. The statement offered no other details.


Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison for fighting racist white rule, became South Africa's first black president in 1994 and served one five-year term. He later retired from public life to live in his village of Qunu, and last made a public appearance when his country hosted the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament.


THESSALONIKI, Greece
Brothers die in house fire

In a tragedy related to Greece's financial crisis, three children died in a northern village Saturday when a fire burned down the home of their grandparents, who were using a wooden stove because heating oil prices have soared, officials and residents said.


The blaze started in the stove and quickly engulfed the house, whose roof collapsed on two of the victims, aged 5 and 7. The older brother, 15, tried to rescue his younger siblings and died of smoke inhalation, firefighters said.


NEW YORK
Corbett speaks in New York

Gov. Tom Corbett says he will soon present his plans for dealing with pension costs, liquor privatization and the state's transportation system.


The Republican governor traveled to New York on Saturday and spoke to about 500 people at a Pennsylvania Society event. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Corbett did not give details or a timetable for fixing hundreds of miles of crumbling roads and bridges and aging mass transit.


He says the plan will be tied to his February budget address.


The first-term governor also would not say whether he would run again in 2014. He did note he's not going to break the tradition of Pennsylvania governors serving two terms.


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