Serbia alleges Kosovo rebels sold organs

UNITED NATIONS — Serbia called on the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday to authorize an international investigation into allegations that Kosovo rebels, led by the man who is now prime minister, trafficked in human organs before, during and after the country's 1999 war for secession.

A December report by the Council of Europe alleged that Kosovo's prime minister, Hashim Thaci, was once the head of a criminal organization behind the organ trade during the 1998-99 war against Serbia. The report said civilians — mostly Serbs — were kidnapped and killed, and their kidneys sold on the black market.

Britain lets gays have church ceremonies

LONDON — Gay couples are to be allowed civil partnership ceremonies in churches, Britain's government said Thursday — erasing some of the last remaining distinctions between gay partnerships and traditional marriages.

Although marriage and civil partnership are already similar under British law, civil partnership ceremonies are currently not allowed to have religious references, are banned from churches, and must take place in a public building overseen by a government registrar.

The change, being introduced under equality laws, will give same-sex couples the chance to tie the knot in religious buildings — although the government stressed that churches can opt out if they wish to.

The change is a first step toward making civil partnerships more equal to marriages and there may be further changes to the law in this direction, the Home Office said.