A special visitor to the Oval Office soon will be moving on.
A rare copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by President Abraham Lincoln, arrived in the Oval Office for Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January and has been hanging out just above a bronze bust of King ever since. The framed proclamation, often visible in the background when President Barack Obama is shown meeting with foreign dignitaries, is a hugely important symbol for many African-Americans.
On the day it arrived, Obama showed it off to a small group of African-American young people and elders, including 102-year-old Mabel Harvey, who whispered in the president's ear, "This must be the Lord's doing, because we've come a mighty long way."
The original plan was for the proclamation, which had been on loan to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, to move from the Oval Office to the Lincoln Bedroom. But now its destination when it leaves the Oval Office in mid July is something of a mystery. Owner David Rubenstein, a billionaire businessman, plans to move it to "a new home where many people will get to see it," said spokesman Christopher Ullman. "It will soon be revealed where that will be."
The original, handwritten Emancipation Proclamation, signed by Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863, is in the National Archives. The document on display in the Oval Office is one of 48 souvenir printed copies that were signed by Lincoln. About half still exist.
The document declared that all slaves in rebel states were "thenceforward, and forever free."
Gay law allows premier to wed
Iceland's prime minister, Johanna Sigurdardottir, has married her partner under a new law legalizing same-sex marriage in the country.
Sigurdardottir, 68, and writer Jonina Leosdottir were officially married Sunday, the day the law came into force. They had been in a registered partnership since 2002 and had applied to have it converted into a marriage under the new law. No ceremony was held.
The law was passed without a dissenting vote in Parliament on June 11.
Britain says U.S. biggest scofflaw
Britain's Foreign Office named the U.S. Embassy in London on Monday as the worst offender among diplomatic missions that have racked up $54 million in disputed traffic congestion charges.
Foreign Secretary William Hague published figures that show the United States owes $5.75 million after declining to pay a London traffic levy 35,602 times between the introduction of the charge in February 2003 and this January.
Under the levy, drivers who enter central London during business hours must pay $12 per day. The embassy said it declines to pay because the levy is a tax and embassy officials are exempt from local taxes.
THIS JUST IN
"Police in California arrested a couple for trying to sell their baby for $25 at a Walmart. Walmart called the incident horrifying, but also proof of its unbeatable everyday low prices."
Jimmy Fallon, host of Late Night.