U.S. Appeals court gets first openly gay judge
By a unanimous vote Tuesday, the Senate confirmed the first openly gay judge to sit on a U.S. court of appeals. Todd Hughes, 46, a veteran Justice Department lawyer, will serve on the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, a Washington-based court that decides appeals and claims involving patents, trademarks, veterans benefits and international trade disputes. Although his sexual orientation was noted when President Barack Obama made the nomination, it did not figure in his confirmation, and he won approval on a 98-0 vote. "I am proud that today the Senate is finally taking this critical step to break down another barrier," said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
British woman rows solo across Pacific
A 28-year-old British adventurer became the first woman to row solo from Japan to Alaska, arriving Monday at a town in the Aleutian Islands after 150 days and 3,750 miles at sea. "I have had some of the most intense and memorable months of my life out on the Pacific, it has been brilliant and brutal at the same time," Sarah Outen said. She became the youngest person and the first woman to row alone across the Indian Ocean in 2009, going from Australia to Mauritius.