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Legal news from Thursday, February 15, 2007
by Gabriel Haboubi

Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons is under investigation by the FBI for allegedly failing to report gifts and payments given by a defense technology company that received secret military contracts while Gibbons was still a US congressman, an anonymous FBI source confirmed to the AP Thursday. The investigation is focusing on allegations that Gibbons' longtime friend, Warren Trepp, …

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by Robert DeVries

Chief of the Russian Military General Staff Yuri Baluyevsky told Russian media Thursday that Russia might unilaterally opt out of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF) [text; US State Dept. backgrounder] if the US continues efforts to establish missile defense systems in Central Europe. Baluyevsky has previously criticized the establishment of the missile defense bases [UPI …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Canada's conservative government retreated Thursday from earlier statements that the government would ignore a bill (C-288) passed by the House of Commons Wednesday requiring the government to establish a plan within 60 days for greenhouse gas emission cuts mandated by the Kyoto Protocol. While Canadian Prime Minister …

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by Robert DeVries

The judiciary committee of the Montana Senate endorsed a bill Thursday that would abolish the death penalty. By an 8-4 margin, the committee voted to send the SB 306 to the full state senate for consideration. Similar legislation has been introduced in the past three Montana Senate legislative …

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by Leslie Schulman

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) contacted Italian intelligence about the possibility of performing extraordinary renditions in the days following the September 11 attacks, according to testimony during Italian judicial proceedings against US and Italian agents on Thursday. The proceedings center around the alleged 2003 kidnapping and extraordinary rendition …

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by Leslie Schulman

Egyptian police arrested 72 members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood on Thursday morning, according to security officials. The government accuses the organization of trying to create an Islamic theocracy, but the Brotherhood claims the crackdown is meant to quell opposition to constitutional amendments proposed by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak [official profile; JURIST news …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) Thursday introduced a bill that would ban federal funds for the use, sale, or transfer of cluster munitions. The Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act of 2007 would allow an exception for bombs to be used …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Prosecutors in East Timor said Thursday they are seeking a seven-year jail term for Rogerio Lobato, former head of East Timor's Ministry of the Interior on charges of misappropriating public property, misuse of public funds, and the unauthorised importation or use of firearms to disturb public order. The charges stem from allegations …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A German court on Thursday sentenced anti-Semitic writer Ernst Zundel to five years in prison after finding him guilty on 14 counts of incitement, libel and disparaging the dead. Holocaust denial constitutes a crime under Section 130 (3) of the German Federal Criminal Code, which provides:Whoever publicly or in a meeting approves …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Romanian President Traian Basescu has called for a national referendum to allow citizens to vote on amendments to the constitution aimed at reducing corruption. In a speech to parliament Wednesday, Basescu said he would like to amend the Romanian constitution to allow citizens to vote for lawmakers based …

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by Lauren Becker

A law is currently being drafted in the Rwandan Parliament that would limit families to having three children in order to curb increasing poverty levels, an official said Wednesday. Although the law as drafted does not include punitive measures for families who violate it, it would includes incentives for families who limit themselves to three …

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by Katerina Ossenova

The Serbian Parliament voted Thursday to reject a United Nations plan released by the United Nations that calls for Kosovo's autonomy and for the right of Kosovo to govern itself as a multi-ethnic society. The plan by Special Envoy for the Future Status Process Marrti Ahtisaari was rejected by 225 …

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by Leslie Schulman

A federal court in California sentenced two former Enron executives Wednesday to probation for their roles in Enron's manipulation of electricity supplies during the 2000-01 West Coast energy crisis. Timothy Belden, former head of Enron's West Coast power trading who pleaded guilty to deliberately submitting false data to California …

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by Brett Murphy

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and drug manufacturer Merck Pharmaceuticals reached a $2.3 billion agreement on Wednesday that will settle all outstanding tax disputes from 1993 to 2006. According to an IRS statement, the settlement, one of the largest in recent history, resolves federal taxes, interest after deductions, and penalties on many issues, including three …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Nigerian House of Representatives held public hearings Wednesday on a proposed bill to criminalize homosexuality. The bill would authorize a maximum five-year sentence for any person found to be openly gay or practicing homosexual acts. Religious groups say the bill is necessary to protect public morality, but gay activists said it will violate …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The trial of 29 people suspected of involvement in the 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people began Thursday in the National Court of Spain. The defendants, mostly of Moroccan descent, are charged with 192 counts of murder and upwards of 1,800 counts of attempted murder related to the March 11, 2004 bombings, …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Two San Francisco Chronicle reporters will escape jail time after a defense lawyer for BALCO founder Victor Conte admitted Wednesday in court filings that he allowed reporters Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada to see transcripts of the grand jury testimony of several baseball stars, including Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, and Gary Sheffield, …

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by Joshua Pantesco

On the same day the defense rested in the perjury trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, US District Judge Reggie B. Walton on Wednesday ruled against Libby on several issues after it became clear that Libby was not going to testify in his self-defense, as defense lawyers had previously said he would. Libby's defense …

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