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Legal news from Tuesday, May 23, 2006
by James M Yoch Jr

The Israeli Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that construction on a section of the West Bank separation barrier is legal and may continue. Rejecting a petition by Palestinian settlers who will be unable to access Jerusalem once construction is complete, the court said the Israeli government properly balanced the effect of the barrier on …

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by James M Yoch Jr

US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin Martin has written a letter to US Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) saying that the watchdog agency will not investigate the collection of millions of phone records by the National Security Agency (NSA). In the letter, dated Monday, Martin contends …

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by James M Yoch Jr

The US Senate Intelligence Committee voted 12-3 Tuesday to approve the nomination of US Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Despite the recent controversy over Hayden’s role in the collection and turnover of US citizens’ phone records to the National Security …

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by James M Yoch Jr

New Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has announced he will focus on fighting corruption, which Iraqi and US officials say is rampant in the government. The problem is a long-standing one, but documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times indicate that it has become pervasive, manifested in everything from government contracts to the purchase of grades by …

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by Joe Shaulis

A Los Angeles lawyer on Tuesday became the third person to plead guilty in connection with alleged kickbacks at Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman, the leading class action law firm that was indicted last week. The US Attorney's Office for the Central District of California said …

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by Joe Shaulis

The US detention center in Guantanamo Bay is a legal black hole, an Australian High Court judge has said. Justice Michael Kirby made the statement Monday in a speech to the Sydney Peace Foundation. David Hicks, an Australian who is awaiting trial before a US military commission …

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by Joe Shaulis

German police may not trawl databases to identify possible terrorists without a specific threat to national security, human life or freedom, the German Constitutional Court ruled Tuesday. "A general threat situation, of the kind that has existed continuously in regard to terrorist attacks since September 11, 2001, or external political tensions, is not sufficient," the high court …

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by Joe Shaulis

Ethiopia's Federal High Court has postponed a verdict in the genocide trial of former dictator Mengistu Haile Miriam until next January. The announcement of the verdict had been scheduled for Tuesday. Even though the trial has lasted 12 years, the delay was necessary for the court to review new defense evidence, according to the head of the …

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by Joe Shaulis

Author Studs Terkel and other Illinois residents are suing AT&T to bar the phone company from handing over customer records to the National Security Agency (NSA) without court oversight. The putative class action lawsuit, filed Monday in US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, seeks declaratory and …

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by Jaime Jansen

Lee Boyd Malvo testified Tuesday in a Maryland court against John Allen Muhammad in Muhammad's second trial involving the murder of six people in Maryland during a three-week shooting spree in the Washington, DC area in 2002. Malvo testified that Muhammad planned to "terrorize" the nation prior to the sniper attacks …

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by Joe Shaulis

At least 127 democracy activists held by the military junta in Myanmar have died from "torture or ill-treatment," according to a report released Tuesday by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP). The report by Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, calls for an independent inquiry into the …

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by Jaime Jansen

Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Chief Judge Calvin Johnson has said that the city will resume holding criminal trials next week as the New Orleans court system continues to recover from Hurricane Katrina. As many as 6,000 suspects have been in jail for months awaiting trial; many of the suspects continue to wait for …

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by Jaime Jansen

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has brought its first enforcement action under the USA Patriot Act against Los Angeles brokerage firm Crowell, Weedon & Co., the largest independent investment firm in the western US. The SEC issued a cease-and-desist order Monday …

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by Jaime Jansen

Amnesty International Tuesday condemned what it termed the continuing "sacrifice" of rights to expediency in the war on terror, denounced the US and its allies for turning a blind-eye on human rights abuses or dodging responsibility for violations, called for governments to renounce torture and accused Russia and China of using human rights abuses …

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by Jaime Jansen

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Monday that Sudanese trade embargoes in the volatile Darfur region "have prevented the access of civilians to vital goods and constitute a violation of international humanitarian law." In a report Monday to the UN Security Council, Annan said that government-imposed restrictions effectively prevent civilians in Darfur from …

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by Jaime Jansen

US Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL) on Monday warned the Federal Bureau of Investigation to act carefully in the wake of its search of the congressional office of Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) in connection to Jefferson's alleged involvement in a large fraud scam. FBI officials videotaped Jefferson last August …

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by Jaime Jansen

The US Senate on Monday approved an immigration bill amendment supporting President Bush's deployment of National Guard troops along the Mexican border by a margin of 83-10. Although the Bush administration says it has the authority to work with state governors to send National Guard troops to the border without Senate approval, the amendment, introduced …

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