Legal news from Monday, September 13, 2004

In Monday's environmental law news, the Government Accountability Office has issued a report saying that the US Forest Service did not violate federal laws that prohibit spending for publicity or propaganda purposes not authorized by Congress. At issue was a $90,000 contract given to a San Francisco-based PR firm to … [read more]

In a ruling Monday, Ontario Superior Court Justice Ruth Mesbur struck down as contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms a section of the Canadian federal Divorce Act that had defined spouse as "either a man or woman who are married to each other", allowing a same-sex lesbian … [read more]

Following up on a report carried earlier today in JURIST's Paper Chase, the Florida Department of State has now filed an appeal against a temporary injunction that was preventing presidential candidate Ralph Nader from appearing on Florida ballots. The appeal application automatically lifts the injunction, allowing Florida counties to put … [read more]

As reported earlier today in JURIST's Paper Chase, a consortium led by the Sony Corporation is seeking to acquire the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film and television studio. MGM has now released a statement agreeing in principle to be acquired for $12 a share plus assumed debt, an expected value of over $3 … [read more]

In Monday's corporations and securities law news, Public Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) has announced that Enron has agreed to pay $321 million from the proceeds of its sale of its pipeline operations in CrossCountry Energy LLC to fund pension plans for thousands of former Enron employees. Following the settlement, a … [read more]

Hundreds of people who worked on the World Trade Center cleanup have filed a class-action lawsuit against Silverstein Properties, the leaseholder of the towers, and four construction companies who supervised the removal of debris. The lawsuit, made public today, alleges that the workers did not have access to protective gear. … [read more]

The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Monday upheld a District Court ruling allowing accused would-be 9/11 hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui access to persons designated "enemy combatants" for the purpose of deposing them in writing. In the same ruling the District Court had rejected the Government's proposed substitutions for … [read more]

Former Israeli Prime Minister and now Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the main rival of current Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in Israel's ruling Likud party, Monday proposed a national referendum on the proposed withdrawal of Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu believes that a referendum will "heal rifts in an … [read more]

Monday's expiration of the 1994 federal ban on assault-style firearms has stirred both sides of the gun control debate. The ban, signed into effect by President Clinton in 1994, lapsed because of a clause requiring specific reauthorization from Congress for it to continue. AP has more. Democratic presidential candidate John … [read more]

The Florida Supreme Court will hear Ralph Nader's appeal from last week's ruling by a circuit judge to use ballots that do not include Nader. Nader's legal team had been scheduled to present arguments to the Florida Court of Appeal today, but the appeals court decided Monday to send the … [read more]

A federal bankruptcy judge in Alexandria, VA gave US Airways permission Monday to continue its normal operations a day after the airline filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (as previously reported on JURIST's Paper Chase). WAVY-TV in Norfolk has more. Additional information about US Airways' restructuring can be found on the … [read more]

US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said Monday that the US is willing to make changes to its draft UN Security Council resolution on Sudan, but said that Washington will insist on as strong a resolution as possible. As previously reported on JURIST's Paper Chase, the US formally introduced … [read more]

Attorneys for Mark Thatcher, son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Monday challenged a subpoena compelling Thatcher to answer questions from Equatorial Guinea prosecutors. Thatcher was arrested last month on charges of contravening South Africa's Foreign Military Assistance Act for his alleged role in an Equatorial Guinea coup plot. … [read more]

The Board of Governors of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency is considering a draft resolution imposing a deadline on Iran to show that it does not have a nuclear weapons program. Germany, France and the UK are pushing for the inclusion of a November deadline, but IAEA head Mohammed … [read more]

Monday's New York Times highlights President Vladimir Putin's move to strengthen the Kremlin's power throuugh central naming of regional governors and an overhaul of the electoral system, excluding popular vote in some cases. The changes are proposed in reaction to the recent terrorist attacks in Russia. The NYT also includes … [read more]

Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) released a report Monday which concludes that profiling based on racial or religious background has become a growing problem in the US as the government expands its war on terror. Saying that one in three people are at high risk of being victimized, AIUSA makes the … [read more]

Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced plans to expand the Russian central government's powers in response to recent terror attacks on Beslan and two Russian airliners (see JURIST's report on arrests in Beslan case here). Speaking Monday at a meeting of government leaders, Putin said the new authority will allow … [read more]

The Justice Department has released its annual National Crime Victimization Survey [PDF], reporting that the rates of property crime and violent crime, other than homicides, remained at a 30-year low in 2003. According to Lawrence Greenfeld, director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the decline in crime rates "probably has … [read more]

The Bush administration has denied charges that top military and national security officials ignored warnings about the abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. In Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib, a new book by journalist Seymour Hersh set for release Monday, Hersh writes that Defense Secretary … [read more]

In Monday's US law and business press, the Legal Times reports on the possibility that the first detainee to be released from Guantanamo Bay after a military review tribunal ruled he had been wrongfully designated an "enemy combatant" may receive compensation for unlawful incarceration from the federal government.... The Legal … [read more]

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