[JURIST] Changes to the controversial French labor law [JURIST document] establishing the First Employment Contract (contrat premiere embauche, CPE) [JURIST news archive] are expected to be announced Monday after an early-morning meeting between President Jacques Chirac [official profile] and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin [official profile]. Villepin's office says he will make a speech on the law at 10:30 AM Paris time. Chirac signed the CPE legislation [JURIST report] last week, but a team has been assigned to draft amendments [JURIST report] to the bill and will also meet with Chirac on Monday. Despite widespread opposition to the CPE [official backgrounder], the government, led by de Villepin, has refused to abandon the new law altogether.
Meanwhile, unions and student groups continue to protest [JURIST report] the measure, which currently creates an age-based exception to traditional French labor regulations by allowing workers who were under 26 years of age at the time of hiring to be fired without cause at any time during the first two years of their employment. It was thought that such an "employment-at-will provision" would encourage hiring and lower France's youth unemployment rate, running at about 22 percent and over 50 percent among immigrant youth in some areas. Labor and student leaders have threatened more strikes and mass demonstrations unless the government absolutely withdraws the law [JURIST report] by April 17. AFP has more.
[JURIST] German officials Sunday announced the arrest in Mannheim of Ignace Murwanashyaka [Wikipedia profile], leader of the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) [backgrounder]. While the arrest was based on immigration violations, Murwanashyaka could face deportation or extradition to Rwanda for alleged war crimes committed during the 1994 genocide [Human Rights Watch backgrounder; JURIST news archive] of Tutsis. Rwanda plans to formally seek his extradition, despite the lack of an international arrest warrant. The FDLR commander is on a UN black list [text] for violating an arms embargo aimed at restoring peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo [JURIST news archive] and has been living in Germany. In 2005, Murwanashyaka announced [JURIST report] that the FDLR would end its war against the Rwanda government and transform its fight into a political struggle.
Hutu rebels fled Rwanda [JURIST news archive] and crossed into eastern Congo 12 years ago after their alleged involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. It is estimated that 15,000 Hutu rebels remain active and represent one of the main threats to security in the area. AP has more.
[JURIST] US Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) [official website] Sunday urged President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to go public about their roles in disclosure of classified information in the CIA leak case [JURIST news archive]. Specter was interviewed on Fox News Sunday in the wake of a government court filing [JURIST document] last week that disclosed grand jury testimony from former Cheney Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby [defense profile] that claimed he had been authorized by Bush, via Cheney, to disclose classified information [JURIST report]. In the interview Specter said, "I think it is necessary for the president and vice president to tell the American people exactly what happened." AP meanwhile reports a lawyer "knowledgeable about the case" as saying that although Bush had authorized declassifying a range of intelligence documents for public disclosure, he did not personally direct that Libby leak the material.
Libby faces obstruction of justice and perjury charges [PDF indictment] in connection with an ongoing investigation into the leak of information concerning the CIA identity of Valerie Plame, the wife of former US Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a sharp critic of the administration's Iraq policy. AP has more.
[JURIST] UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's personal envoy on human rights has told the Observer newspaper in an interview published Sunday that some Iraqis who have been detained by Coalition forces since the start of the war in Iraq have disappeared into what she described as a "black hole" and that there is no record of where they are being held. British Labour Party MP Ann Clwyd [official profile, Guardian Unlimited profile], actually known as strong supporter of the war in Iraq, said she believes that if more attention had been paid to these detainees, abuses [JURIST news archive] that have occurred inside Iraq's Coalition-run prisons such as Abu Ghraib would have been avoided.
Clwyd told the paper that Blair has pressed the US to resolve the identification and tracking problems. The Observer has more.
[JURIST] The Israeli Justice Ministry [official website] said Sunday that Israel will declare Prime Minister Ariel Sharon [official profile; BBC profile] officially incapacitated on Tuesday. Sharon has been in a coma since suffering a massive stroke in early January. Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert [BBC profile], who has been filling in since January and was elected to the post on March 28, is expected to be named Sharon's permanent replacement. Israeli constitutional law [Basic Law text] allows an acting prime minister to maintain the position for only 100 days before an official replacement is designated.
According to hospital officials, Sharon's chances for recovery are extremely slim and he may be moved to a long-term care facility. Olmert, a member of the Kadima Party [political party website], is currently negotiating with other political parties to form a governing coalition. AP has more.
[JURIST] Thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators took to the streets in Nepal's capital of Kathmandu Sunday despite a Saturday-imposed curfew [JURIST report] and threats from the government to shoot violators on sight. Scuffles with police, one death, and numerous injuries were reported, as were protests in other cities. The protests are part of a general strike against direct rule by King Gyanendra [official profile] called by Nepal's seven main political parties and backed by the country's Maoist rebels [BBC backgrounder].
Nepal's government says the crackdown [JURIST news archive], which began last week, is necessary because rebels have planned terror attacks. The head of Nepal's Ministry of Information [official website], Shrish Sumshere Rana told the Associated Press, "We are not going to allow massive public gatherings in the city as it has been verified that there is Maoist infiltration." Protest leaders have dismissed the claims. AP has more. eKantipur.com has local coverage.
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