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Legal news from Thursday, July 13, 2006
by James M Yoch Jr

The US House of Representatives voted Thursday to renew the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA) for 25 years. The renewal bill now goes to the Senate for approval after a final vote of 390-33, with only Republicans dissenting. The House rejected several amendments that would have eased …

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by James M Yoch Jr

Former South Korean lobbyist Tongsun Park, was convicted Thursday on charges of money laundering, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and acting as an unregistered agent of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. A federal jury in New York spent less than a day deliberating in Park's trial, the first resulting from a scandal …

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by James M Yoch Jr

Jose Padilla and his attorneys may view classified information from the US Department of Defense (DOD) in preparation for his terrorism trial, US District Judge Marcia G. Cooke has ruled. Although defense lawyers are routinely granted access to confidential information after obtaining security clearance, allowing Padilla to examine the 32 documents and …

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by James M Yoch Jr

Valerie Plame, the undercover operative whose revealed identity precipitated the CIA leak scandal, filed a lawsuit in federal court Thursday against Vice President Dick Cheney, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and former vice-presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby for their alleged roles in the scandal. In …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Amnesty International issued a scathing statement on Thursday condemning Israel and Lebanese political group Hezbollah for causing civilian deaths and taking hostages in violation of Geneva Convention protections. Israeli air strikes killed 40 civilians and injured 60 in southern Lebanon on Wednesday after Hezbullah crossed the Israeli border, kidnapping two Israeli soldiers and killing eight others. Amnesty …

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by Joshua Pantesco

President Bush has agreed to sign legislation authorizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to review the NSA's controversial domestic spying program, US Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) told the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday. Specter has been negotiating a bill with the White House since June, when he threatened to subpoena administration documents …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A Chinese court has sentenced writer Li Yuanlong, a reporter for the Bijie Daily newspaper who wrote essays on websites banned by the Chinese government, to two years in prison for "inciting subversion of state authority," his lawyer said Thursday. Li pleaded not guilty during his May trial, after being charged in February. Reporters …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US Marshals took custody of three former NatWest bankers Thursday as the controversial extradition of the three British nationals went ahead as scheduled. Giles Darby, David Bermingham and Gary Mulgrew will face seven counts of wire fraud for allegedly reaping around 1.5 million pounds each from a fraudulent sale of Enron stock. The three have proclaimed their …

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by Jaime Jansen

US President George Bush has said he will tell Russian President Vladimir Putin that non-governmental organizations should be able to function "without intimidation" and that Russia needs to have an "active civil society" in private meetings between the two presidents during this week's Group of Eight (G8) summit in St. Petersburg. …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US Sen. John Warner (R-VA) said Thursday that the White House should propose detainee trials legislation soon after the return of senior officials from the G-8 summit hosted by Russia this month. In comments during a US Senate Armed Forces Committee hearing, Warner also stressed that it is "absolutely imperative" that legislation be passed …

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by Jaime Jansen

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned Thursday that Iran may stop allowing UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections of its nuclear facilities and pull out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if international pressure to stop its nuclear program continues. Ahmadinejad's threat came shortly after key members of the UN Security …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Belarus prosecutors have requested a six-to-10-year sentence for opposition politician Alexander Kozulin, who in March led what prosecutors say were unauthorized protests over the controversial re-election of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko. Prosecutors in the case said Wednesday that Kozulin's "guilt as a person dangerous to society is …

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by Jaime Jansen

The European Union may resume talks with Serbia over the country's possible accession into the EU this fall, even if indicted war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic has not been arrested and handed over to the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), according to European diplomats Thursday. …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe filed a complaint in a Texas federal district court on Wednesday alleging that former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, his associate Michael Scanlon and former Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed defrauded the tribe by lobbying to close its Texas casino nine months after …

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by Joe Shaulis

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Thursday denied a request by Argentina that Uruguay be barred from continuing construction of two paper mills along the river that separates the two nations. The court, voting 14-1, ruled that "the circumstances, as they now present themselves to the Court, …

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by Jaime Jansen

A Connecticut Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday that civil unions do not harm same-sex couples, saying that they "share the same benefits, protections and responsibilities" as married couples. Judge Patty Jenkins Pittman further wrote that because civil unions enjoy the same benefits and protections as traditional marriages, same-sex couples receive equal protection and due process …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The European Court of First Instance, the European Union's second-highest court, on Thursday rejected a proposed merger between Sony and Bertelsmann AG (BMG) that earned unconditional approval in July 2004 from European Commission (EC) regulators. The decision marks the first time that EU judges have turned back a Commission merger approval. …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Thailand Constitutional Court agreed Thursday to hear arguments in a case against five political parties, including the ruling Thai Rak Thai party, the main opposition Democrats, and three smaller parties, for allegedly "acting against democratic rule" during April's annulled parliamentary elections. Last month Thailand's Election Commission unanimously recommended …

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by Jaime Jansen

France's far-right National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, who surprised observers with his strong performance in the 2002 French presidential election, will be put on trial in Paris for allegedly denying how brutal the Nazi occupation of France was during World War II, according to French judicial officials Wednesday. The charges stem from …

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by Joshua Pantesco

House Majority Leader Jim Boehner (R-OH) on Wednesday scheduled seven more House hearings through the end of July on comprehensive immigration reform, and characterized the first round of hearings as a success for House Republicans who support strict enforcement-focused legislation. The new hearings, save one, will all be held …

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by Joe Shaulis

Lord Michael Levy, chief fundraiser for British Prime Minister Tony Blair, returned to a police station for questioning Thursday after he was arrested by Scotland Yard Wednesday in connection with a growing "cash for honors" scandal [BBC Q&A]. The police official leading the investigation, Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Yates, described Levy's …

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by Joe Shaulis

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Thursday that the US Department of Defense (DOD) decision to apply the Geneva Conventions to detainees in US military custody "strengthens the international rule of law, and is true to the U.S.'s strong tradition of respect for civil liberties."A statement released by Annan's spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, reads, …

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by Jaime Jansen

Massachusetts lawmakers on Wednesday decided to postpone a vote on a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage until after the November election, just days after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the same-sex marriage ban can be placed on the ballot for voter approval, if the legislature …

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by Jaime Jansen

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday signed a law that shortens the conscription term and wipes out five accepted reasons for military draft deferments. The law, passed by both houses of parliament in June, reduces required military service from two years to one and a half starting in 2007, and then …

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by Jaime Jansen

Indian authorities have detained approximately 350 people for questioning in connection with Tuesday's Mumbai train bombings, which killed over 200 people and wounded 700. Police Inspector S. Goshal said Thursday that none of the detainees have been formally arrested or charged, but that authorities brought the detainees in to help investigate the Tuesday bombing. Careful not to …

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