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International News: October 2013 International News 

International News: October 2013

Canadian researchers report HIV vaccine success in clinical trials

A team of Canadian researchers from Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University announced last month that a vaccine to prevent HIV has “aced” clinical testing. 

Team leader Dr. Chil-Yong Kang told the Ontario Business Report that the first phase of testing not only succeeded, but also boosted the production of antibodies in patients it was tested on.

US clinical testing on the vaccine (SAV001) began in March 2012. The first phase of trials ended last month and researchers are optimistic about the future.

Sumagen, the South Korean biotech firm sponsoring the vaccine, said that, despite many obstacles, if all goes well in trials, it could be commercially available in five years.

“We are now prepared to take the next steps towards Phase II and Phase III of clinical trials,” CEO Jung-Gee Cho said in a press release.

Lebanon poised to legalize homosexuality

Lebanon is on course to repealing anti-gay legislation, Gay Star News reported. In a major win for GLBT rights, psychologists agree to be expert witnesses in court to say homosexuality is natural, and so laws against ‘unnatural’ sex acts do not apply.

Presently, law 534, which is used to prosecute gay sex, is actually a law against ‘unnatural’ sex acts. Gay Star News noted that while public attitudes have modernized in Lebanon, the media remains homophobic.

Popular footballer a “champion of tolerance”

Football star Joey Barton called for professional footballers in England and Scotland to wear rainbow laces in their boots to show solidarity with the Stonewall and Paddy Power campaign, which addresses homophobia in the game.According to Pink News, “The Right Behind Gay Footballers” campaign is focused on changing attitudes in football rather than urging players to come out. This is not the first time Barton has spoken out about homophobia in the game. In 2012, Barton, who is heterosexual, criticized the “archaic” nature of homophobic football managers in a BBC documentary.

Australian PM makes passionate defense of support for gay marriage

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd faced a Brisbane-based pastor who questioned Rudd’s level of Christianity due to his support for gay marriage.

The pastor asked, “Jesus said a man shall leave his father and mother and be married… Kevin, if you call yourself a Christian, why don’t you believe the words of Jesus in the Bible?”

Rudd replied that it was his “Christian conscience” that drove his stance on marriage equality. The Prime Minister, who is up for re-election, has vowed to take steps towards legalizing same-sex marriage if he wins another term.

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