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Legal news from Monday, June 26, 2006
by Holly Manges Jones

A same-sex couple argued in court in Boston Monday that a 1913 Massachusetts law should not prevent them from marrying in the state because statutes in their home state of Rhode Island do not explicitly ban gay marriage. Mary Norton and Mary Becker, represented by an attorney with the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) …

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by Holly Manges Jones

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued 50% fewer warning letters to companies violating federal drug and safety regulations in the past five years under the Bush administration, according to a report released Monday by US Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA). In 2000, the FDA issued 1,154 warning letters, …

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by Holly Manges Jones

The UK Foreign Office has said that the United Kingdom will not petition the US to release Australian national David Hicks from the US prison at Guantanamo Bay. Hicks, a suspected member of the Taliban who has been detained for over four years, won British citizenship earlier …

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by Joe Shaulis

Civil rights groups called Monday for the renewal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA) before Congress takes its Fourth of July recess. At a news conference in Atlanta, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Concerned Black Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta singled out two …

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by Joe Shaulis

A federal judge on Monday issued a temporary restraining order that prevents the state of Georgia from fully enforcing a law that restricts where convicted sex offenders can live and work. The order, issued by US District Judge Clarence Cooper in the Northern District of Georgia, applies only …

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by Joe Shaulis

Voters in Italy have decisively rejected amendments to the Italian Constitution that would have given more power to the prime minister and decreased the size of Parliament. The daily La Repubblica in Rome is reporting that 61.4 percent of voters opposed the amendments in the two-day referendum that ended Monday, while 38.6 percent …

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by Joe Shaulis

A committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), the legislature of China, has decided not to criminalize sex-selective abortions, the state-run China Daily reported Monday. A proposed amendment to the criminal law would have punished anyone convicted of involvement in sex-selective abortions with a three-year prison sentence. Zhou Kunren, vice-chairman …

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by Joe Shaulis

UK Conservative Party leader David Cameron said Monday that he would appoint a panel of legal experts to examine whether the increasingly-controversial Human Rights Act of 1998 should be replaced with an American-style Bill of Rights. Speaking at the Centre for Policy Studies in London, Cameron asserted that the act …

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by Jaime Jansen

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, the new supreme leader of Somalia's Islamic Courts Party whose militia took control of the capital of Mogadishu from US-backed warlords earlier this month, vowed Monday to impose Islamic law - Sharia - on the country and denied US allegations that he is a terrorist as a former leader …

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by Jaime Jansen

The European Union on Monday condemned all instances of torture, even "on grounds of national security," and called on all countries to sign and follow the UN Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), marking the United Nations' ninth annual International Day in Support of Victims of Torture [UN factsheet; …

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by Joe Shaulis

The US Supreme Court said Monday that it would consider whether the Clean Air Act requires the US Environmental Protection Agency to regulate "greenhouse gas" emissions from automobiles. The court granted certiorari in Massachusetts v. EPA, an appeal by 12 states, three cities and several …

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by Jaime Jansen

US Rep. Peter King (R-NY), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, encouraged the Bush administration in a FOX News interview on Sunday to press criminal charges against the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal for disclosing a secret CIA financial-monitoring program supervised by the …

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by Jaime Jansen

UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers Leandro Despouy has called for the Iraqi government to begin an independent investigation into the murder of Khamis al-Obeidi, a lawyer representing Saddam Hussein in his crimes against humanity trial. Condemning the killing of al-Obeidi, the third defense lawyer assassinated since the …

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by Jaime Jansen

The UK Foreign Office has begun talks with the US on the potential release of eight UK residents detained at the US detention center in Guantanamo Bay into the custody of British authorities. The UK government has successfully negotiated the release of British citizens detained at Guantanamo, but has previously declined to lobby for …

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by Jaime Jansen

Mauritania citizens have approved changes to the country's constitution in a Sunday referendum [BBC Q/A] by 80 to 90 percent, according to preliminary results announced Monday by the Interior Ministry. The changes are being made to the 1991 constitution after a series of votes indicated citizens wanted a return to …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The US Supreme Court on Monday handed down decisions in five cases, including Randall v. Sorrell, consolidated with two other cases, where the Court struck down Vermont's Act 64 campaign law, which places strict caps on campaign contributions and spending. Opponents of the campaign financing law argued …

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by Jaime Jansen

Opponents of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo filed a new impeachment complaint against Arroyo on Monday, exactly one year after opponents filed an impeachment complaint on three other charges. The Philippine constitution allows only one impeachment lawsuit against a president per year. The charges on Monday allege corruption and human rights abuses for allegedly condoning …

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by Jaime Jansen

Spanish judge Santiago Pedraz has begun his investigation into atrocities committed during Guatemala's 1978-86 armed conflict that included a 1980 military assault on the Spanish Embassy, killing 37 people. Pedraz traveled to Guatemala Saturday in response to a case filed by Guatemalan Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu in 1999 seeking the prosecution of people involved in …

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by Jaime Jansen

Li Rongxing, a former oilfield chief, has been sentenced to death in China after being convicted of taking bribes and embezzling over $4.6 million in the people's intermediate court in Tai'an, newspapers in Beijing reported Monday. The former president of Shengli Oilfield Dynamic, a subsidiary of Sinopec, was found guilty of stealing the …

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by Kiran Chapagain

A high-level Nepalese commission probing the crackdown on the pro-democracy uprising in April of this year that eventually led to the restoration of parliamentary government summoned three former royal ministers Sunday, including a top deputy of King Gyanendra. The three members of the King’s former royal government who face questioning for their …

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by Jaime Jansen

Several US senators condemned parts of a national reconciliation proposal designed to end the Iraqi insurgency and facilitate reconstruction, which was unveiled to the Iraqi parliament Sunday by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. US lawmakers particularly criticized a part of the plan that grants amnesty to insurgents and opposition figures responsible for killing US troops, …

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