RSS
10 things you need to know today: June 27, 2013
The Supreme Court hands landmark wins to gay-marriage supporters, Obama starts a tour of Africa, and more
The First Family departs for Africa on June 26. 
The First Family departs for Africa on June 26.  Alex Wong/Getty Images

1. GAY-MARRIAGE SUPPORTERS CELEBRATE SUPREME COURT VICTORIES
The Supreme Court delivered two major victories for supporters of gay marriage on Wednesday. In a landmark ruling, the sharply divided court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, forcing the government to recognize marriages in the 12 states where it is legal. The court also said that supporters of California's gay-marriage ban, Proposition 8, had no standing to challenge a lower court ruling striking it down, paving the way for same-sex marriages in the nation's largest state. [Reuters]
………………………………………………………………………………

2. OBAMA ARRIVES IN SENEGAL TO START AFRICA TOUR
President Obama arrived in Senegal Wednesday night to begin a week-long, three-country tour of Africa. The trip, focusing on strengthening economic ties and underscoring the importance of democratic reforms, begins Thursday with a meeting with Senegalese President Macky Sall, followed by a trip to Goree Island, which was the largest slave trading post in Africa for centuries. [USA Today]
………………………………………………………………………………

3. MANDELA'S CONDITION WORSENS
Anti-Apartheid icon Nelson Mandela's health deteriorated on Wednesday, as a government official briefed on his condition said the former South African president had been placed on life support. President Jacob Zuma canceled a trip to Mozambique scheduled for Thursday. Supporters lit candles and posted signs expressing love for Mandela, 94, who was elected the country's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in prison for fighting against white minority rule. [CNN]
………………………………………………………………………………

4. PERRY GIVES TEXAS REPUBLICANS ANOTHER CHANCE TO PASS ABORTION RESTRICTIONS
Hours after Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis' epic filibuster blocked a restrictive Texas abortion bill, Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday called a second, special legislative session to give Republicans another chance to pass it. The rules would force most Texas abortion clinics to close. Raucous outbursts by opponents prevented Republicans from getting it passed before the last session closed. Perry said the "breakdown of decorum and decency" wouldn't stop lawmakers from doing their job. [Texas Tribune, Huffington Post]
………………………………………………………………………………

5. FOOTBALL PLAYER AARON HERNANDEZ CHARGED WITH MURDER
NFL star Aaron Hernandez was arrested Wednesday and charged with orchestrating the murder of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, a friend. Prosecutors said they used surveillance video, cell phone data, and other evidence to trace Hernandez to the industrial park where Lloyd's body was found on June 17. Lloyd had been shot in the head. The New England Patriots promptly dropped Hernandez, a tight end who had signed a five-year, $40 million contract last summer. He is being held without bail. [Associated Press]
………………………………………………………………………………

6. TEXAS EXECUTES WOMAN IN STATE'S 500TH MODERN EXECUTION
Texas executed Kimberly McCarthy, 52, on Wednesday, for the 1997 murder of 71-year-old retired college professor Dorothy Booth. This marked the state's 500th execution since it resumed carrying out capital punishment in 1982. Texas reached the grim milestone far ahead of other states — Virginia is next with 110 modern executions. McCarthy, the first woman executed in the U.S. in nearly three years, was sentenced to die for killing Booth in a robbery. [Dallas Morning News]
………………………………………………………………………………

7. WALMART JOINS COMPANIES DUMPING PAULA DEEN
Hours after Paula Deen appeared on the Today show to assure fans she is not a racist, three more companies cut their ties to the embattled celebrity chef. Walmart and Home Depot said Wednesday that they would stop carrying Deen-branded cooking products, and Caesars Entertainment stripped Deen's name from four restaurants it runs. Fans are rallying behind the Southern cooking star, who also lost her Food Network shows, with demand surging for a tickets on next year's annual "Paula Deen Cruise." [NBC, New York Daily News]
………………………………………………………………………………

8. MILITARY OVERTURNS CONVICTION AGAINST IMPRISONED MARINE
The military's highest court has overturned a conviction of a Marine, Larry Hutchins, for the killing of an unarmed Iraqi man in 2006 — one of the highest profile cases against an American soldier in the Iraq war. The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruled that Hutchins was improperly denied a lawyer when he was first questioned. [Los Angeles Times]
………………………………………………………………………………

9. MORSI WARNS PROTESTS COULD DERAIL EGYPT'S DEMOCRACY
Egypt's first Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, marked his first year in office with a speech Wednesday in which he acknowledged making mistakes but warned that mounting unrest is "threatening to paralyze the country." Soldiers have been posted around the country ahead of planned weekend protests to demand Morsi's removal from power. Morsi told rivals to "enter elections if you want to change the government." [BBC News]
………………………………………………………………………………

10. FEDERER UPSET EARLY AT WIMBLEDON
Defending Wimbledon champion Roger Federer was knocked out of the storied tennis tournament in the second round Wednesday night by Sergiy Stakhovsky, an unseeded Ukrainian. "I'm still kind of in disbelief that that actually happened," Stakhovsky, ranked No. 116 in the world, said after the epic — 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 7-5, 7-6(5) — upset. Federer's shocking defeat came two days after the elimination of another favorite, Rafael Nadal, in the first round. [Wall Street Journal]

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami HeraldFox News, and ABC News.

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week