Kevin Rudd savoured sweet revenge as he was sworn in as Australian prime minister, three years after being ousted from the top job by Julia Gillard in a Labor Party showdown. Gillard resigned as prime minister on Wednesday night after losing a ballot of ruling lawmakers to Rudd by 57 votes to 45 amid a dismal showing by the party in opinion polls. Rudd now faces a tough general election.
In a landmark decision, the US Supreme Court in Washington quashed a law denying federal benefits to gay couples and cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California. The judges ruled that the Defence of Marriage Act discriminated against same-sex couples. They also declined to rule on Proposition 8, California's prohibition of gay marriage, in effect allowing same-sex unions to resume in the state. The first lesbian and gay couples married in ceremonies in San Francisco and Los Angeles yesterday.
The 62-year-old vice-finance minister became the first mainlander to head a United Nations agency when he was elected as director general of the UN Industrial Development Organisation (Unido). Li, who will serve a four-year term, ran against five other candidates and secured the required two-thirds of the vote from Unido's 53-member board in Vienna. Unido, which has 172 member states, works to help developing countries achieve sustainable industrial development.