[JURIST] The UN panel charged with suggesting reforms to the UN Security Council is scheduled to present its proposals in New York Thursday. The panel's two main proposals reportedly include expanding Security Council membership by nine seats. The first proposal suggests 6 new permanent seats (without a veto, divided according to geographical region) and three new rotating seats. The second proposes eight new semi-permanent seats that would be filled for four years instead of the normal two, plus one additional two year seat. The semi-permanent seats would be open to having their seated term extended. Germany, Japan, Brazil and India, the so-called G-4, are supporting the first proposal in hopes of gaining permanent representation on the Security Council. Italy, Pakistan, Mexico, and Argentina are strong proponents of the second option, all opposing the G-4 members gaining a permanent Security Council seat from their region. Britain has expressed its support for Germany and Italy's bid. The US has offered support for a Japanese permanent seat, but has balked at supporting Germany, and has seemed friendlier with Italy, a strong supporter in the Iraq war. Deutsche Welle has more.... Colombian President Alvaro Uribe (official site in Spanish) will have the opportunity to run for a second four year term following the passing Wednesday of a controversial bill expanding term limits. Until now, Colombian presidents were limited to one four year term, but the bill passed by the House of Representatives (official site in Spanish) Wednesday, and earlier approved by the Senate (official site in Spanish), amends the nation's constitution (document in Spanish). The bill is still subject to approval by the Colombian Constitutional Court, but polls show that over 80% of the Colombian populace is in favor of the extension, and while there may be disputes over technical issues of implementation, the bill is not expected to be rejected. Opposition members fear the bill gives too much power to the office of the president. Reuters has more.... The head of the Chilean Navy, Admiral Miguel Angel Vergara, admitted for the first time Wednesday that the Navy had been used to further the torture of General Augusto Pinochet's regime. In a public apology, Vergara admitted that the Chilean Naval Vessel, the Esmeralda, had been used as a location to ship dissidents to, and was used as a continuing prison where torture was performed routinely. The annoucement comes one day after Chilean President Ricardo Lagos (official site in Spanish) announced a plan by the Chilean government (official site in Spanish) to offer reparations to victims of the torture imposed under Pinochet rule. The decision follows the release of the report from the National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture that identified over 27,000 individuals that had been subjected to state sponsored torture as reported by JURIST's Paper Chase. BBC News has more.... The Japanese Cabinet has begun discussions on whether to amend the Imperial House Law to allow for female rulers on the Chrysanthemum Throne. The Japanese Constitution only states the the Imperial Throne be 'dynastic' which up until now has been interpreted as gender neutral. The Imperial House Law, however, requires a male heir from a male member of the Imperial line to succeed as Emperor. The proposed changes are could adopt a preference for male heirs similar to the British system, or a preference for first-born heirs, similar to the Swedish system. The Cabinet is also considering removing the requirement that female imperial family members must discard their Imperial status if they marry a commoner. A draft bill is expected to be submitted to the Japanese Diet in the next few years. Mainichi Daily News has more.