Following up on an earlier report today in JURIST's Paper Chase, the Louisiana ballot issue which would introduce a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages and the recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages or civil unions appears to have been overwhelmingly approved.
With 3,699 of 4,124 precincts reporting, 78 percent of voters support the amendment. Watch additional returns as they come in here, on a special website provided by the Louisiana Secretary of State.
Iraqi kidnappers of two Americans and a Briton have given authorities 48 hours to comply with their demands to release all Muslim women detainees at Abu Ghraib and Umm Qasr prisons or risk the deaths of the hostages.
The US military and the UK Ministry of Defense have stated there are no such prisoners at either jail. From London, the Independent has more.
The first of the criminal trials against former executives of Enron, the mega-sized energies, commodities, and services company which declared bankruptcy in 2001, will commence Monday. The six individuals up for trial are charged with conspiracy and wire fraud. This is the first of three scheduled criminal trials for former Enron executives.
Former Enron Chairman Ken Lay, Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Skilling, and Chief Accounting Officer Richard Causey are all scheduled for trial together, but motions are currently pending from defense attorneys to split the trial into three separate cases. CNN has history on the downfall of Enron here. JURIST's Paper Chase has previous reports on the Enron scandal here. Reuters has more on Monday's pending proceedings.
The UN Security Council Saturday afternoon approved a resolution threatening oil sanctions against Sudan unless the government takes steps to defuse the conflict in the Darfur region. The Sudanese government has been accused of backing Arab militias known as Janjaweed (background here) that are allegedly responsible for a death toll approaching 5000. The resolution was a modified version of the US drafted resolution presented earlier this week and was adopted by an 11 to 0 vote, with four absentions. Security Council sanctions are binding on all member nations under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. See continuing coverage of the Darfur crisis on JURIST's Paper Chasehere. Reuters has more.
UPDATE: The text of the Security Council resolution and a synopsis of the Council debate are now available online here from the UN.
The Turkish Parliament (official site in Turkish) automatically recessed Saturday as it reached the end of its session. The Parliament will not reopen until October 1, barring an emergency. The Parliament was still considering a bill to reform the Turkish penal code and bring it more in line with the rest of Europe. The passage of the reform bill was considered key to the favorable recommendation of the European Commission report on Turkey's inclusion in the EU, due out October 6.
The Parliament has many housekeeping items to take care of when it reopens its doors on October 1 and will probably not have enough time to finish consideration of the reform bill before the Commission's report is published. The bill was on course to be finished by Friday, but the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) (background here) of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (official site in Turkish) unexpectedly blocked its completion. Many suspect that the controversy over the inclusion and later withdrawal of a proposed criminal ban on adultery spurred Erdogan to block the legislation's passage. EU officials have warned that the adultery bill's passage significantly affects the chances of Turkey's inclusion into the EU, but Erdogan has responded by telling EU officials to keep out of internal Turkish affairs. JURIST's Paper Chase has background. Al Jazeera has more.
Louisiana voters decide Saturday if an amendment will be added to the state's constitution to reinforce the current state law limiting marriage to one man and one woman. The Defense of Marriage Act is the only statewide issue on the ballot.
State officials have expressed some concern about possible interference with the vote by the remains of Hurricane Ivan. Polls are staying open till 8 PM to accomodate those who may be returning from evacuations. The Times-Picayune has more. Get the text of the proposed amendment here [PDF]. After the polls close get the official results here from the Louisiana Secretary of State.
The US Department of Defense today announced Saturday that a further 35 detainees had been transferred off of the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Today's transfers raise the overall total of individuals transferred out of detention to 191. One of today's transferees was an individual approved for release by the Combatant Status Review Tribunal, which makes determinations about combatants and their legal status.
The other 34 individuals being released are being returned to Pakistan; six of them are scheduled to be released. The DOD estimates that today's transfers put the total number of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility at 550. Read the DOD news release here.
The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency passed a resolution Saturday mandating a review of Iran's nuclear program, and requiring Teheran to halt all uranium enrichment activities by a November 25th deadline. The resolution is a compromise between a US demand to enlist the UN Security Council in supervision and a more lenient approach favored by most European countries. Read the IAEA's meeting agenda statement here. The New York Times has more.
UPDATE: The resolution is now online from the IAEA here [PDF].
In Indonesia on Saturday, police formally arrested 4 people suspected of involvement in the suicide car bombing at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta on September 9th, which killed 9 people and injured 180 others. The police have not yet located the alleged masterminds of the act, who are reported to be leaders of the Jemaah Islamiyah organization, which has ties to the al Qaeda network.
The suspects are expected to be tried under Indonesia's recently revised anti-terrorism laws. Voice of America has more.
A priest in San Mateo, California was acquitted Friday of sexual abuse charges against a teenage girl. The alleged abuse in question occurred over a decade ago, and the victim claims to have been 12 and 13 at the time of the incidents, which warrants a stiffer penalty than molestation of a child over age 14. The priest's attorney states that the abuse occurred in the following years, when the victim was 14 and 15 years old.
The jury found the defendant not guilty on these charges due to these discrepancies, and deadlocked on the remaining 18 charges against him, leading to a mistrial on these counts. The prosecution may pursue another trial in hopes of convicted the defendant on the remaining counts. The San Francisco Chronicle has more information on the case here and here.
The United Nations Security Council is set to vote Saturday on a draft resolution dedicated to bringing peace to the Darfur region of Sudan. Over the past three weeks, Khartoum authorities and Darfur rebels have attempted to create a peace agreement, but have been unsuccessful.
The draft UN resolution includes measures such as building up the African Union monitoring forces in the region, threatening oil sanctions if human rights abuses continue, and creation of an international human rights commission to examine whether acts of genocide have occurred in the region. The UN provides background on the Sudan situation here. BBC News has more on the story, as well as the history of the conflict in Sudan.
Negotiations between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern regarding government actions in Northern Ireland came to an end Saturday without a definitive resolution. The two leaders were attempting to work out an agreement to appease Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which had requested changes to the Good Friday Agreement, the legislative plan developed in 1998.
Although the leaders have made progress with regards to disarmament, the DUP refuses to share political power with Sinn Fein, a branch of the Irish Republican Army, preventing the two parties from working together to find a suitable solution. BBC News has more.
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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.