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World: Nuns' civil union, Israelis hosting soldiers, medical news
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Two former nuns who met in a convent have been joined in a civil union in a ceremony in a small town in northern Italy, LGBTQ Nation noted. The Italian news agency ANSA said the women, who were identified in Italian media only by first names, were supposed to have the ceremony in Pinerolo City Hall. However, concern there would be a media storm after Turin newspaper La Stampa reported their plans prompted the ceremony to be held a day earlier by Mayor Luca Salvai. Italian lawmakers earlier this year legalized civil unions, but there's no same-sex marriage allowed in the country.

In Israel, in an effort to show their sense of kinship with the Israeli army, hundreds of same-sex families across the country have volunteered to host lone soldiers over the holiday period, noted. The initiative was started by Omer Nachmani, who has helped lead the recent protests urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to have same-sex partners of fallen soldiers and terrorism victims recognized as bereaved, as well as help bring about a change in Israel Defense Forces policy that would allow its soldiers to march in Israeli Pride parades.

Also in Israel, a member of the Knesset governmental body has revealed that she is pregnant with the child of a gay male friend, PinkNews noted. Meira Ben Ari of the centrist Kulanu party shared the news ahead of the Jewish new year, stating that she didn't want rumors of an unplanned pregnancy to start. Ben Ari, 40, has put off having children as she doesn't have a partner; however, a conversation with her mother made her realize she wanted to start a family.

Kids in Norway as young as 6 years old are now able to self-identify their gender, thanks to a recent change in the law there, NBC News noted. Since July, children in the Scandinavian country only need their parents' consent to legally identify themselves as male or female. Without the requirement for surgery, psychological intervention or medical endorsement, the process has been streamlined.

The first baby has been born that was conceived using a new technique that combines the DNA of three parents, instead of two, reported. The boy, born in Mexico in April to Jordanian parents, was conceived with DNA from two women and one man, in order to prevent him from inheriting a potentially fatal genetic disease from his mother.

A British man living with HIV could become the first person to be cured of the disease as scientists edge closer to a irreversible cure, Pink News noted. Scientists and doctors from five leading British universities teamed up to design the cure. Fifty people took part in a trial of the treatment and one patient is showing signs that he might be cured. The 44-year-old man's early tests failed to detect any trace of HIV in his system; however, those working on the trial program expect to wait for a few months longer before confirming whether the treatment has worked fully.

A report says that HIV cases are seeing the largest surge among gay students in China, Gay Star News reported. The report, released this month from health authorities in Nanchang, showed that HIV infection rate among students at the city's universities increased by 43 percent annually in the past five years. More than 80 perent of cases involved men who have sex with men. And Nanchang is not the only city that is facing such a trend—more than 100 new cases among students are being reported annually in Beijing, while Shanghai reported 92 students infected with HIV in 2015.

Cassandra Liebeknecht—the general manager of the Feast Festival, a popular queer arts event held each October in Adelaide, Australia—said that people became "vicious" when word got out that she wasn't actually a member of the LGBTQ community, LGBTQ Nation reported. "I've been spat on, I've had people scare me, I've had people contact me at work anonymously, saying, 'I know where your children go to school,'" Liebeknecht said. "There was also a gentleman who continues to this day to slander me for my sexuality." The organization declined to comment on the current internal investigation surrounding Liebeknecht.

The News Corp-owned The Australian ran a controversial political cartoon comparing marriage-equality activists to Nazi stormtroopers, LGBTQ Nation noted. The cartoon, by artist Bill Leak, is captioned "Waffen-SSM" and features Nazi soldiers wearing makeup and rainbow-colored outfits. The caption is a conjunction of the notorious Waffen SS soldiers and the common initials for same-sex marriage.

A picture of the Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo showing off his six-pack in a pair of skimpy swimming shorts has been chosen to be one of the front page photos on the Instagram site Gays in Paradise, The Daily Star noted. Ronaldo is not named in the picture which is one of several on the page featuring bronzed muscle men wearing little clothing. There is no suggestion that Ronado has anything to do with the page, which has 118,000 followers and urges users, "Want A Shout Out? Dm us a picture of you in paradise."

British singer Craig David ( "Fill Me In" ) has addressed rumors about my sexuality, PinkNews noted. In an interview with The Guardian, he said, "I sort of find it weird when people get very "No! I'm not gay." I mean, are you homophobic in some way? So I've always been relaxed when people are not quite sure about me, but knowing myself I'm heterosexual and it's cool." The singer recently released a new album, Following My Intuition.

Henry Kirabira and Tryphena Natukunda are the winners of Uganda's third annual Y+ beauty pageant—for young people living with HIV, NPR noted. "We're not looking for whether you have a nice figure or a nice shirt or the beauty of your face," said organizer Jacquelyne Alesi, executive director of an advocacy group called Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV&AIDS, or UNYPA. "We're looking for ambassadors to help us fight the stigma around AIDS."

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