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Legal news from Thursday, August 3, 2006
by Bernard Hibbitts

Three US Marines have been charged with assault in the village of Hamdania in April this year, according to a late Thursday report by AP, citing US military officials. The April 10 incident came to light during a military investigation of seven Marines and one Navy corpsman charged in June with the murder and kidnapping of an …

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by Tom Henry

As a panel of three federal judges heard arguments Thursday about how to redraw Texas' 23rd Congressional District without diluting minority votes in violation of the Voting Rights Act, US Circuit Judge Patrick Higginbotham said Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-TX) will likely be "the odd man out" when the lines are redrawn. Bonilla's district stretches …

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by Tom Henry

A group of Missouri voters lacking acceptable identification under a Missouri law that requires voters to show photo IDs at the polls [MO Revenue Dept. backgrounder] filed a lawsuit Thursday, claiming the law could keep people from the polls in November. Though the plaintiffs claim they are unable to cast regular ballots in the upcoming …

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by Holly Manges Jones

Texas Republicans cannot remove former US House Majority Leader Tom DeLay from the November congressional ballot, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled Thursday. Tina Benkiser, chairwoman of the Texas Republican Party wanted to take DeLay's name off the ballot because he now lives …

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by Jeannie Shawl

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on Thursday accepted the nomination of political rival Viktor Yanukovych to serve as the country's prime minister, ending weeks of speculation that Yushchenko's rejection of the nomination would prompt a constitutional crisis. Yanukovych's Party of the Regions won the most votes in March …

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by Holly Manges Jones

North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley Thursday signed into law a bill establishing an innocence inquiry commission which will review appeals by inmates who claim they have been wrongly convicted. The North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission is modeled after the system in the United Kingdom and is the first of its kind …

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by Holly Manges Jones

US-based monitoring group Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Thursday that indiscriminate Israeli air and artillery strikes on Lebanese civilians cannot be systematically dismissed as accidents and called several of Israel's attacks "war crimes" in a new report. HRW has been investigating the continuing Middle East conflict by interviewing attack survivors, officials …

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by Jaime Jansen

German Chancellor Angel Merkel called the conditions in the remote Siberia prison holding former Yukos Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky "unacceptable" in a letter published Thursday, and said that the German government had called on Russia to respect international rights standards. Merkel made the comments in response to …

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by Jaime Jansen

The new French iTunes copyright legislation went into effect Thursday, allowing French regulators to force Apple Computer to make its iPod player compatible with songs downloaded from other Internet music stores, and downloads from its iTunes service compatible with other players. The French Senate and National Assembly gave final approval to …

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by Holly Manges Jones

Nepal's High Level Probe Commission Thursday questioned army chief Pyar Jung Thapa as part of the panel's continuing investigation of alleged human rights abuses during pro-democracy protests in April which brought an end to the 14-month direct rule of King Gyanendra. Dilli Raman Acharya, spokesman for the five-member commission, said 84 royal …

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by Jaime Jansen

Four US Army soldiers charged with the premeditated murder of Iraqi detainees refused to testify during their Article 32 hearing Thursday, following the lead of several superior officers who invoked their right not to incriminate themselves at the hearing. The four men from the Third Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division [GlobalSecurity …

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by Holly Manges Jones

A Malawian court Wednesday sentenced the former principal secretary in the country's Ministry of Education to two years in jail for "aiding and abetting the theft of public funds," making him the most senior civil servant to be sentenced as the African nation continues a crackdown on corruption. Sam Safuli was originally suspended in 2000 from his …

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by Jaime Jansen

British anti-war campaigners have unveiled a legal campaign against the British government's involvement in the ongoing Middle East conflict, seeking to stop flights carrying weapons sent from the United States to Israel from stopping at British airports. Human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar said that by British authorities were facilitating attacks on civilian targets in …

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by Jaime Jansen

Following up on previous consultations with Republican lawmakers, US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said on Capitol Hill Wednesday that Congress should clarify the definition of war crimes prohibited by Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, suggesting that "a definite and clear list of offenses serious enough to be considered war crimes" …

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by Jaime Jansen

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Wednesday ordered the full disclosure of records from a lawsuit filed by four Connecticut librarians against the FBI challenging a National Security Letter (NSL) they received last year. The four librarians refused to turn over the library records requested in the letter, which …

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by Jaime Jansen

US District Judge Marcia Cooke on Wednesday agreed to delay the trial of terror suspect Jose Padilla and two co-defendants until January 22 after defense attorneys said they will not be ready to begin the trial in September as scheduled. Padilla's attorneys complained that they have not had enough time to review summaries of …

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by Jaime Jansen

The US Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Wednesday postponed consideration of the Indian Trust Reform Act, legislation that would settle a decade-old class-action lawsuit [Cobell v. Norton litigation website] brought by Native Americans alleging the mismanagment of American Indian money by the US Department of the Interior …

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by Jaime Jansen

A California jury on Wednesday found Merck not liable for causing the heart attack of 71-year old Stewart Grossberg, determining Merck's painkiller Vioxx did not cause Grossberg's heart ailments. Merck general counsel Kenneth Frazier said Merck is "pleased with the verdict" and that it demonstrates why …

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