Legal news from Wednesday, April 6, 2005
21:04 EDT

[JURIST] A Chilean appeals court Wednesday upheld a $5 million asset freeze of former president Augusto Pinochet [JURIST news archive]. A bid by Pinochet's lawyers to have the judge, Sergio Munoz, removed because of bias was also rejected. Pinochet is currently being investigated for tax evasion and misappropriation of public [read more]

20:04 EDT

[JURIST] According to a rankings released Wednesday, the top 50 US law firms achieved double-digit growth in turnover and profits in 2004. The rankings, performed by Legal Week magazine [media website], show that these firms have pulled in $33 billion in fees with average partner profits topping $1.2 million. The [read more]

20:04 EDT

[JURIST] Italy on Wednesday became the first major European Union nation to ratify the proposed European constitution [JURIST news archive] when the Italian Senate [offical website in Italian] overwhelmingly approved it by a vote of 217-16. Italy's lower house of parliament, the Chamber of Deputies [official website in Italian], had [read more]

20:04 EDT

[JURIST] The US Senate voted Wednesday to cut the current US share of funding UN peacekeeping forces, rejecting a Democratic proposal to maintain current funding for the next two years 40-57 [Senate roll call]. The amendment to a Department of State appropriations bill would reduce the US share to 25%, [read more]

19:04 EDT

[JURIST] In a letter released Wednesday, the Judicial Conference of the United States formally requested congressional and presidential assistance in providing additional security measures. As a result of violence toward federal judges and their families in recent months and the emotional Terri Schiavo case [JURIST news archive] which bred threats [read more]

16:04 EDT

[JURIST] Stephen Johnson [EPA profile], President Bush's pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency [official website], faced some tough questioning Wednesday at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee [official website]. Johnson, a 24-year veteran of the EPA and currently its Acting Administrator, took criticism from [read more]

15:04 EDT

[JURIST] A French appeals court Wednesday upheld a lower court decision absolving former Yahoo! [corporate website] CEO Tim Koogle of criminal responsibility for auctions of Nazi paraphernalia held through Yahoo's website. Yahoo was found liable in 2000 for allowing Nazi collectibles to be sold on its auction pages in violation [read more]

14:04 EDT

[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia agreed Wednesday to allow Serbian General Sreten Lukic [ICTY case backgrounder] 30 days to enter his plea on war crimes charges so that he can undergo a medical exam following heart surgery last week. Lukic arrived at ICTY Monday [JURIST report] [read more]

14:04 EDT

[JURIST] Leading Wednesday's corporations and securities law news, the SEC [official website] has approved the extenstion of the "trade-through" rule to electronic exchanges which will subject the vast majority of stock transactions to guidelines designed to give investors the best stock price. Chairman William Donaldson [official biography] cast the deciding [read more]

14:04 EDT

[JURIST] US District Judge James Moody sentenced white supremacist Matthew Hale to 40 years in prison for soliciting an undercover FBI informant to murder US District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow [official profile]. In an earlier, trademark infringement suit, Lefkow had ordered Hale's group to stop using the name World Church [read more]

13:04 EDT

[JURIST] Hong Kong's Acting Chief Executive Donald Tsang [official bio; BBC profile] said Wednesday that it is "accurate and necessary" to ask China's National People's Congress [backgrounder, in English] to interpret Hong Kong's Basic Law [text] in order to settle a constitutional dispute over the term length of Hong Kong's [read more]

12:04 EDT

[JURIST] A German court Wednesday found Tunisian national Ihsan Garnaoui not guilty of charges of founding a terrorist organization and planning bomb attacks against American and Jewish targets in Germany. Garnaoui went on trial last May [BBC report] on allegations that he trained at an al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan and [read more]

12:04 EDT

[JURIST] The Vatican announced Wednesday that the College of Cardinals [Vatican backgrounder] has set April 18 as the beginning of its secret conclave to elect a successor to Pope John Paul II, who died Saturday [JURIST report]. The conclave will begin that afternoon, and according to the governing apostolic constitution [read more]

10:04 EDT

[JURIST] The National Human Rights Commission [official website] of South Korea issued a non-binding recommendation Wednesday that the country's death penalty be abolished. Eight of the nine officials on the Commission approved the resolution, which will be forwarded to the National Assembly [government website]. The Legislation & Judiciary Committee [government [read more]

10:04 EDT

[JURIST] Morgan Tsvangirai [party profile], president of the Zimbabwean opposition party Movement for Democratic Change [official website], announced Wednesday that the MDC had proof of "serious and unaccountable gaps" between the totals of reported votes and tallied votes in one quarter of the 120 open seats at stake in last [read more]

09:04 EDT

[JURIST] The Florida Legislature [government website] passed a new bill through both houses Tuesday giving citizens the right to use firearms to defend themselves at home or in public places if they "reasonably believe[] it is necessary to do so, to prevent death or great bodily harm" to themselves or [read more]

09:04 EDT

[JURIST] Kevin Martin [official profile], the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission [official website], called on members of the cable TV industry Tuesday to find ways to help parents regulate indecent content. Martin spoke at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association [official website] annual meeting, advocating for increased involvement [read more]

09:04 EDT

[JURIST] The Kyrgyz Supreme Court Wednesday annuled a 2001 guilty verdict for criminal abuse of power against Felix Kulov [party profile], the leader of the Ar-Namys [party website] opposition group who was freed from prison during the March 24 protests in Kyrgyzstan [DC Embassy website] which prompted the flight and [read more]

08:04 EDT

[JURIST] Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal [official profile] announced Tuesday that his office is preparing the first state-sponsored federal lawsuit [CT AG press release] against the US Department of Education [official website] for imposing millions of dollars worth of illegal unfunded mandates under the No Child Left Behind Act [PDF [read more]

07:04 EDT

[JURIST] Voters in Kansas overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment [text; JURIST report] Tuesday that will ban same-sex couples from marrying or entering into civil unions. Kansas law already prohibits same-sex marriage, but supporters of the constitutional amendment have said the ban must be included in the Kansas Constitution [text] [read more]

07:04 EDT

[JURIST] As expected [JURIST report], Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani [BBC profile] was elected by the 275-member Iraqi National Assembly [Wikipedia article] Wednesday to serve as president of Iraq's transitional government. In the same vote, Shiite Adel Abdul-Mahdi and Sunni current interim President Ghazi al-Yawer were chosen as vice presidents. Talabani [read more]

00:04 EDT

[JURIST] Here's a run-down of law-related events, expected developments and live webcasts on JURIST's docket for Wednesday, April 6.The US Senate [official website] convenes at Noon ET today. Watch a live webcast of proceedings. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee [official website] is holding a hearing to consider several [read more]

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