New Zealand Approves Gay Marriage

New Zealand Approves Gay MarriageNew Zealand’s parliament has legalised same-sex marriage, the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to do so. Lawmakers approved the bill, amending the 1955 marriage act, despite opposition from Christian lobby groups. The bill was passed with a wide majority, with 77 votes in favour and 44 against.

‘More divided’

Some opinion polls have suggested that about two-thirds of New Zealanders support the reform, although others polls suggest the public are more divided.

Parliamentarians were allowed a conscience vote, and, crucially, the reform had the backing of both the Prime Minister John Key and leader of the opposition David Shearer, the BBC’s Phil Mercer in Sydney reports.


‘Traditional concept of marriage’

Same-sex civil unions have been legal in New Zealand since 2005. However, Conservative Party leader Colin Craig said there were many people who disagreed with the bill. Bob McCoskrie, founder of the lobby group Family First, said the bill undermined the traditional concept of marriage.

New Zealand becomes the 13th country to legalise same-sex marriage. Other countries include the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Argentina and Uruguay. No other country in the Asia-Pacific region allows gay marriage.

Are you in favor of same-sex marriage? Why or why not? Feel free to voice out your opinions and justify your vote via the comment box below!

Source: BBC News

Image: Channel News Asia

Woman Dies From Drinking Too Much Coke

Woman Dies From Drinking Too Much CokeDrinking large quantities of Coca-Cola was a “substantial factor” in the death of a 30-year-old woman in New Zealand, a coroner has said. Natasha Harris, who died three years ago after a cardiac arrest, drank up to 10 litres of the fizzy drink each day. This is twice the recommended safe limit of caffeine and more than 11 times the recommended sugar intake.

‘Developed an addiction’

Natasha Harris, a mother of eight from the southern New Zealand city of Invercargill, suffered from ill health for years before her death. Her family said she had developed an addiction to Coca-Cola and would get withdrawal symptoms, including “the shakes”, if she went without her favourite drink.

Ms Harris drank Coke throughout her waking hours and her teeth had been removed because of decay. Coroner David Crerar said her Coca-Cola consumption had given rise to cardiac arrhythmia, a condition when the heart beats too fast or too slow.

“I find that when all the available evidence is considered, were it not for the consumption of very large quantities of Coke by Natasha Harris, it is unlikely that she would have died when she died and how she died,” Mr Crerar’s finding said.


‘Could not be held responsible’

The coroner calculated that drinking 10 litres (17.5 pints) of Coke amounted to more than 1kg (2.2lb) of sugar and 970mg of caffeine, Television New Zealand (TVNZ) reports. Mr Crerar said that Coca-Cola could not be held responsible for the health of consumers who drank excessive quantities of its product. But he called on soft drinks companies to display clearer warnings on their beverages about the risks of too much sugar and caffeine.

Ms Harris and her family should have heeded the warning signs about her ill health, the coroner added. In a statement, Coca Cola said: “The coroner acknowledged that he could not be certain what caused Ms Harris’ heart attack.”

Do you also drink too much soda? Do you think Coca-Cola has some sort of responsibility in this issue? Feel free to share your comments with us here!

Source: BBC News

Image: Your Health