Morning Update: Non-Elected Senior Official, Take The Wheel

A landmark ruling in India, Kavanaugh addresses Roe v. Wade, Europe's anti-vaccine movement. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, Sept. 7.

India just decriminalized gay sex

A few hours ago, one of the world’s biggest and longest-running gay rights battles was finally won.

India’s Supreme Court struck down Section 377, a 157-year-old law that criminalized all sexual activity apart from heterosexual sex as “against the order of nature.”

The country’s highest court delivered a unanimous verdict through four separate judgments and said that freedom could only be fulfilled where the LGBT community possesses equal rights.

Activists said the verdict was a “generous and open-minded” judgment, especially because it included the idea that individual constitutional rights are supreme and that the expression of intimacy is a part of the fundamental right to privacy.

The ruling also included a requirement for police “sensitization” to prevent discrimination against LGBT individuals.

Brett Kavanaugh called Roe v. Wade “settled” precedent, but wouldn’t give his opinion on abortion rights

Quick background here: Judge Kavanaugh is the president’s pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Kennedy was seen by advocates on both sides of the abortion issue as the one man standing between conservative legislators and the overturning of abortion rights nationwide.

So in other words, the future of the most important Supreme Court decision on abortion has been a hot-button issue surrounding Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Here’s what happened yesterday: During his confirmation hearing, Kavanaugh was asked if Roe v. Wade — the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide — was “settled law” or if it could be overturned. The nominee responded that “it is settled as precedent under the Supreme Court.”

When a senator asked about Kavanaugh’s personal beliefs on “a woman’s right to choose,” he responded that “as a judge” he would respect the “important precedent” of Roe v. Wade and its reaffirmations.


UK prosecutors have named two Russian nationals suspected of the nerve agent attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Authorities say there is enough evidence to charge two men — named as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov — with conspiracy to murder and attempted murder over the poisoning in Salisbury, Wiltshire. Prime Minister Theresa May said both men were officers from Russia's GRU military intelligence service and added “this was not a rogue operation.”

Roy Moore is suing Sacha Baron Cohen for $95 million for tricking him into appearing on Who Is America? In the episode where Moore appears, Cohen, in the guise of an Israeli anti-terrorism expert, performed a “pedophile detector” test on Moore by waving a device over him that then beeped. Moore and his wife are suing Cohen, Showtime Networks, and CBS for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and fraud.

A flight carrying 100 sick passengers was quarantined in New York. Dozens of people on an Emirates airline flight reported having fevers and coughing, and at least 10 were taken to the hospital after the plane landed. The flight was traveling from Dubai and was immediately quarantined upon landing at John F. Kennedy Airport.

Sen. Marco Rubio and Infowars’ Alex Jones got into a verbal spat outside a Senate hearing. The conspiracy theorist heckled Rubio as he tried to answer questions from reporters. “Marco Rubio the snake. A little frat boy here,” Jones said. Rubio replied, “I don’t know who you are, man.” Jones patted Rubio on his shoulder, prompting the senator to respond, “Don’t touch me again, man.” Jones claimed that Rubio wanted him to get arrested. “You’re not going to get arrested," Rubio said. “I’ll take care of it myself.” You can watch the whole heated exchange.

Think the anti-vaccine movement is bad in the US? It’s nothing compared to Europe. Europe’s record-breaking measles epidemic — more than 41,000 cases so far this year — has health experts worried that a simmering distrust of vaccines there will spur future epidemics of preventable diseases. The numbers are startling: In France, about 40% of the population believes vaccines are unsafe. In Ukraine, it's about 25% and in Italy, around 20%.

The New York Times published an anonymous op-ed from someone claiming to be part of the “resistance inside the Trump administration”

It’s an unusual step for a newspaper to publish an anonymous op-ed, but the Times did exactly that yesterday.

The piece was written by an unnamed senior figure in the Trump administration claiming to be one of a number of officials working to thwart the president's “worst inclinations.”

The author said that many senior officials “are working diligently from within to frustrate” parts of the president’s agenda and believe “our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.”

Responding to the piece, Trump criticized the “failing New York Times” and its “gutless editorial.”

This is obviously not a big deal, just a missive from a senior official on behalf of other senior officials, detailing how there are many senior officials whom no one elected trying to undermine the president’s agenda, which is a totally normal way for a country to run.

A lion casually climbed all over a bunch of stunned tourists after hopping into their vehicle

This is the story of Filya, a 2-year-old lion at the Taigan Safari Park in Crimea. Filya is a bit friendly.

The big cat was taking a nap when an open-air vehicle pulled up. I guess Filya really wanted to say hi, because...

It looked like it was either terrifying or amazing, depending on where you stand on coming face-to-face with large predators. Probably good for the ’gram.

You should watch the whole video — it’s wild.