Key witness grilled...Gay rights celebrations...Student loan fix proposed

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Associated Press

Posted on June 27, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Updated Thursday, Jun 27 at 6:00 AM

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — The defense is expected to continue its cross-examination of a key witness in the Florida trial of a former neighborhood watch volunteer accused of killing an unarmed teen. Rachel Jeantel was on the phone with Trayvon Martin shortly before he was fatally shot by George Zimmerman. Jeantel testified that Martin said he was being followed by Zimmerman and tried to evade him. She says she heard Martin shout "Get off! Twice before the call ended.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — There have been large daylong celebrations in Los Angeles and San Francisco by supporters of same-sex marriages. They're cheering a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that settles a five-year battle against California's ban on same-sex marriage. The ruling means gay couples can start picking up wedding licenses in about three weeks. There was a similar celebration in New York Wednesday night over a second ruling by the court that overturned a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act.

WASHINGTON (AP) — West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin says he'll introduce legislation on Thursday for a short-term extension to keep interest rates on new student loans from doubling. Unless Congress acts by July 1, rates for subsidized Stafford loans will jump from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa officials won't confirm media reports that former President Nelson Mandela is on life support systems. President Jacob Zuma visited Mandela Wednesday night and said the 94-year-old is in critical condition and that doctors are doing everything they can. Tributes to Mandela include flowers and hand-written messages left outside the hospital and at his home.

BEIJING (AP) — An American held hostage by workers at his Beijing plant for nearly a week says a deal has been reached on a payout. Chip Starnes says dozens of workers who demanded generous severance packages will get them even though they weren't being laid off. The workers insist the medical supply firm was on the verge of being shut down for a move to India and they say the company also owes them unpaid salary.

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