News in Brief

Vatican digs in on gay marriage

The Vatican has vowed never to stop insisting that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. In a front-page article in yesterday's Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, the Holy See sought to frame itself as the lone voice of courage in opposing initiatives to give same-sex couples legal recognition. The Vatican reaction comes after three U.S. states approved same-sex marriage by popular vote, Spain upheld its gay marriage law and France pushed ahead with legislation that would legalize gay marriage by next year. (AP )

Jagger love letters up for auction

Ten handwritten letters from Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger to his former lover Marsha Hunt will be auctioned in London next month. Hunt is an American-born singer who was the inspiration for the Stones' 1971 hit "Brown Sugar" and bore Jagger's first child. Sotheby's says the "passionate and articulate" letters sent in the summer of 1969 show a "poetic and self-aware" 25-year-old Jagger. Sotheby's said yesterday the collection, which includes song lyrics and a Rolling Stones playlist, is expected to fetch between 70,000 and 100,000 pounds. (AP )

Calls for inquest mount over Iranian blogger's death

A prominent press freedom group has joined the U.S. State Department in demanding that Iran conduct a full investigation into the death of a jailed blogger whose posts were highly critical of the Iranian leadership. Iranian opposition websites this week claimed that Sattar Beheshti died from severe abuse after his arrest last month. Iranian officials have made no comment. Dozens of bloggers and journalists have been arrested amid widespread crackdowns in Iran in recent years. (AP )

Myanmar said yesterday that casualties from a fiery train accident had reached 25 dead and almost 100 injured after dozens of people rushed to skim fuel from a derailed tanker train's overturned carriages. A carriage full of fuel burst into flames. A railway official said engineers were trying to clear the track to resume rail service after Friday morning's accident near Kantbalu, about 800 kilometers north of Yangon (Rangoon ). The train was traveling from Yangon to the Kachin state capital of Myitkyina. (AP )