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Legal news from Monday, May 14, 2007
by Leslie Schulman

US President George W. Bush issued an executive order Monday requesting that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US departments of Agriculture, Energy, and Transportation cooperate to begin the regulation of vehicle emissions by the end of his term on January 20, 2009. The order comes as an executive response to last month's Supreme Court …

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by Leslie Schulman

US Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty announced Monday that he will resign from his post as second-in-line at the Department of Justice (DOJ) as early as the end of the summer, or when a successor receives Congressional approval. In a letter submitted to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, McNulty said personal reasons affected his …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The transitional government of Somalia has agreed to cooperate with a UN probe into alleged human rights violations that occurred during recent fighting in the country's capital, according to UN emergency relief co-ordinator John Holmes Monday. Despite that, the Somali government maintains that no abuses took place. Recent fighting between warlords and …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The Ukrainian Constitutional Court announced Monday that it will consider whether a second decree by Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko to dissolve parliament and hold early June elections was constitutional. The court is already mulling the constitutionality of Yushchenko's first decree dissolving parliament and calling for new elections. He …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff met with the European Parliament Civil Liberties Committee [official website; meeting materials (Agenda No 3)] Monday in his latest bid to convince the EU to allow the transfer of detailed information regarding passengers on US-bound flights to all relevant US government agencies. The current interim deal, which …

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by Michael Sung

The court-martial of the Navy lawyer accused of passing then-undisclosed names of Guantanamo detainees to a lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) began Monday. In its opening statement, the prosecution argued that Lt. Cmdr. Matthew M. Diaz, a former staff judge advocate at Guantanamo Bay, endangered the lives of detainees …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

The US District Court for the Southern District of Florida heard opening statements Monday in the federal trial of US citizen and alleged al Qaeda operative Jose Padilla. The government told jurors that Padilla and his two co-defendants were members of a secret terrorist cell based out of the Miami area, while an …

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by Michael Sung

The German state court in Darmstadt convicted two former Siemens AG officials on Monday of bribing and assisting in the bribery of two managers at Enel, Italy's largest utilities company. Andreas Kley, a former finance chief, and Horst Vigener, a former employee-consultant, admitted that they provided up to $7.9 million dollars to secure winning gas …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

The Connecticut Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday in the case of eight gay couples who are unhappy with Connecticut's civil unions law and are seeking full marriage rights. Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) attorney Bennett Klein, representing the couples, argued that the fundamental principles of …

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by Michael Sung

A Syrian court sentenced writer and activist Michel Kilo Monday to a prison term of three years for "speaking false news, weakening national feeling and inciting sectarian sentiments." Kilo was arrested in May 2005 along with nine other Syrians shortly after signing the so-called Beirut-Damascus Declaration of 12 May, which calls for the …

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by Michael Sung

Pojaman Shinawatra, wife of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, her brother Banpot Damapong, and her personal secretary Kanchanapa Honghern, pleaded not guilty Monday to two counts of tax evasion and perjury at the Bangkok Criminal Court. The three allegedly failed to pay taxes on a 1997 transfer of stock in the …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Approximately 1.5 million people descended upon Izmir, Turkey Sunday to demonstrate against the Islamist-rooted government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, expressing their commitment to the concept of a secular republic. The protesters also denounced the Turkish military for its threat to intervene in presidential elections …

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by Michael Sung

Four of the fired US Attorneys were dismissed after Republican officials complained they were lax in prosecuting alleged voter fraud in battleground states before the November 2006 elections, the Washington Post reported Monday. Documents and interviews obtained by the Post indicate that White House political adviser Karl Rove and other administration officials identified five …

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by Michael Sung

The Supreme Court of Pakistan Monday adjourned the hearing of petitions filed by suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry after Justice Falak Sher, one of the fourteen justices on the Supreme Court, objected to the presence of more junior judges on the high court panel hearing the case …

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by Michael Sung

The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the arrest of prominent Iranian-American scholar Dr. Haleh Esfandiari Sunday, saying that Esfandiari's arrest was "based on law" but did not elaborate on the reason for the arrest. On Saturday, the Kayhan, a state-controlled hardliner newspaper, accused Esfandiari of acting in concert with the United States and Israel …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

The Iraqi Interior Ministry said Sunday that it will no longer allow news photographers or cameramen at the scenes of bomb attacks. Brigadier General Abdel-Karim Khalaf, head of the ministry's national operations center, told AFP that the prohibition was enacted in response to evidence being disturbed before the arrival of investigators, respect for the victims, and …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The US Supreme Court ruled Monday that a US district judge did not abuse his discretion in refusing to allow an Arizona death row inmate to pursue an ineffective assistance of counsel claim after the inmate refused to allow his lawyer to present mitigating evidence at his sentencing hearing. In Schriro v. Landrigan [Duke …

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by D. Wes Rist

Leadership within the Communist Party of Nepal - Maoists (CPN-M) has called on Nepal's interim parliament to immediately declare the country a federal democratic republic. CPN-M leadership formed a human protest chain through the parliament building on Sunday which police say was long enough to disrupt traffic throughout the capital city of Kathmandu. Senior members of the …

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by D. Wes Rist

Joram Gumbo, a Zimbabwean delegate to the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) and member of the ruling party of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, expressed outrage and contempt Sunday for the African organization's decision to send a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe to investigate allegations of ongoing human rights abuses. Gumbo referred to the Pan-African Parliament, the …

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by Michael Sung

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has signed legislation making English the official state language. The bill, which was signed Friday and takes effect July 1, also gives state and local governments the discretion to provide official documents or hold meetings in non-English languages, and grants an exception to Native American tribal school districts …

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by Michael Sung

Japan's House of Councillors, the upper house of the National Diet, approved legislation Monday establishing procedures to facilitate a national constitutional referendum. The legislation requires a three-year public consultation period before parliament can vote on possible constitutional amendments, which must be approved by both houses of the National Diet by a two-thirds vote …

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