Bush out of ICU — Former President George H.W. Bush’s condition improved Saturday, prompting Houston doctors to move him out of intensive care. The 41st president has been hospitalized since Nov. 23 for treatment of a bronchitis-related cough.
NYC subway death — A woman was charged with murder as hate crime Saturday in the death of a man who was shoved in front of a speeding subway train Thursday. Detectives questioned her but aren’t releasing the 31-year-old suspect’s name. The victim is Sunando Sen, a 46-year-old Queens businessman who was born in India. It was the second time this month someone was pushed to their death in a New York City subway station.
Gays marry in Maine — After seeing marriage rights nearly awarded and then retracted, gay couples wed in Maine at the stroke of midnight Saturday as the law went into effect. The Legislature had once approved same-sex marriage but was overruled by a statewide referendum three years ago. Then voters in Maine, and in Maryland and Washington state, approved it in November. Washington’s law is already in effect; Maryland’s starts Tuesday.
Moscow plane crash — A passenger airliner careened off the runway at Russia’s third-busiest airport and partly onto a highway while landing on Saturday, breaking into pieces, catching fire and killing at least four people. There were eight people aboard, flying back from the Czech Republic. The crash occurred amid snow and winds.
France and taxes — It’s a hot and controversial topic across the Atlantic, too: On Saturday, the Constitutional Council struck down the Socialist government’s plan to impose a 75 percent marginal income tax rate on annual income above 1 million euros, a measure that had become a divisive emblem of President Francoise Hollande’s approach to cutting the budget deficit.
India rape arrests — As protests grew in India on Saturday over the death of a young woman who was raped in New Delhi this month in a moving bus, six men accused of attacking her had been charged with murder. They could face the death penalty.
Philippines contraception — President Benigno Aquino has signed legislation that will provide modern contraceptives to the nation’s poorest people and mandate sex education in public schools. Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Manila vowed to challenge the new law, 14 years in the making. Access to birth control is a particularly acrimonious issue on the islands, which have the highest birthrates in Southeast Asia. Half of all pregnancies are unintended.
Warning in Egypt — President Mohammed Morsi used his first address before the newly convened upper house of parliament on Saturday to warn against any unrest that could harm the country’s battered economy, as he renewed calls for the opposition to join in a national dialogue. But the mainly liberal and secular opposition continues to accuse Morsi of concentrating all power on the Muslim Brotherhood. The Shura Council will now begin work on a slate of new laws.
Drones in Yemen — Three al-Qaida militants were killed in a suspected U.S. drone strike in the south of the country Saturday, the fourth such attack of the week and a sign attacks from unmanned aircraft are on the upswing in the country. In the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden, Yemen — home to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula — has come close to eclipsing Pakistan as a key focus of American counter-terrorism efforts. In contrast to those in Pakistan, drone strikes in Yemen take place with the government’s permission.
Visiting Chavez in Cuba — Venezuela’s vice president arrived in Havana on Saturday in an unexpected trip to visit an ailing President Hugo Chavez. Nicolas Maduro’s trip comes amid growing uncertainty about Chavez’s health. He has not been seen or heard from since undergoing his fourth cancer-related surgery Dec. 11, and officials have said he might not return in time for his Jan. 10 inauguration.