Good Things Happen. Bad Things Happen

In New Mexico, a photographer declined to take pictures of a lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony. In Washington State, a florist would not provide flowers for a same-sex wedding. And in Colorado, a baker refused to make a cake for a party celebrating the wedding of two men.

The business owners cited religious beliefs in declining to provide services celebrating same-sex relationships. And in each case, they were sued.

Now, as states around the nation weigh how to balance the rights of same-sex couples with those of conservative religious business owners, Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona must decide whether to sign legislation that would allow business owners to cite religious beliefs as a legal justification for denying service to same-sex couples.

The legislation, approved by lawmakers on Thursday, immediately attracted national attention, with conservative religious groups welcoming it as a necessary form of protection for objectors to same-sex marriage, and gay rights groups denouncing it as a license for discrimination. The measure comes at a time when the courts are grappling with how to define the religious rights of private businesses: The Supreme Court is to hear two cases next month in which businesses are seeking exemptions from providing insurance coverage for contraception to their employees, citing the religious beliefs of the companies’ owners.

Thousands of protesters have remained in Kiev’s main square despite a deal aimed at ending Ukraine’s political crisis, in which dozens have died.

The pact, signed on Friday by President Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition, says a unity government will be formed and a presidential election held.

But many protesters do not believe Mr Yanukovych can be trusted.

The US and Russian presidents have agreed that the deal needs to be swiftly implemented, officials say.

Russia’s Vladimir Putin told Barack Obama that Russia wants be part of the implementation process in a telephone conversation on Friday, a US State Department spokesperson said.

The deal, reached after mediation by EU foreign ministers, came after the bloodiest day since the unrest began in November.

Police opened fire on Thursday on protesters who have been occupying Independence Square in central Kiev. The health ministry said 77 people had been killed since Tuesday.

 

The deal has been met with scepticism by some of the thousands of protesters who remain in the square.

Opposition leaders who signed it were booed and called traitors by crowds, the BBC’s Gavin Hewitt reports from Kiev.

Earlier, coffins of anti-government protesters were carried across the square as funeral ceremonies for those killed in the clashes got underway.

Meanwhile one group of far-right protesters is threatening to take action if President Yanukovych does not resign by Saturday morning.

The agreement, published by the German foreign ministry, includes the following:

The 2004 constitution will be restored within 48 hours, and a national unity government will be formed within 10 days
Constitutional reform balancing the powers of president, government and parliament will be started immediately and completed by September
A presidential election will be held after the new constitution is adopted but no later than December 2014, and new electoral laws will be passed
An investigation into recent acts of violence will be conducted under joint monitoring from the authorities, the opposition and the Council of Europe
The authorities will not impose a state of emergency and both the authorities and the opposition will refrain from the use of violence
Both parties will undertake serious efforts for the normalisation of life in the cities and villages by withdrawing from administrative and public buildings and unblocking streets, city parks and squares
Illegal weapons will be handed over to interior ministry bodies

As the world’s financial system stood on the verge of collapse in October 2008, Janet L. Yellen was not even a full voting member of the Federal Reserve’s policy-making committee, but she was not shy about admonishing her colleagues for not acting faster.

“We need to do much more and the sooner the better,” Ms. Yellen said at a two-day meeting in late October, after the Fed had helped bail out the banks. As president of the San Francisco regional Fed bank, Ms. Yellen attended all the meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee that year but had rotated out of the circle that actually voted on its actions.

After months in which some members of the Fed committee resisted taking steps to prop up the economy, Ms. Yellen lectured her colleagues: “Frankly, it is time for all hands on deck when it comes to our policy tools.”

Good things happen. Bad things happen. It is all about how life is. The world will go on despite the decisions that we make, good or bad. If you think your world is coming to an end, it is not. Although it seems that people are losing their rights around the country and the world, it is only because they are the ones dying and there is nothing they can do to stop the progression of humanity as a whole. It is a reality that we have to accept for the time being, but the grass is greener on the other side.