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Legal news from Friday, May 18, 2007
by Mike Rosen-Molina

Head of the Ukrainian presidential secretariat Viktor Baloha said Friday that the Constitutional Court of Ukraine has lost its authority with Thursday's appointment of Valeri Pshenischny as chief justice after former Chief Justice Ivan Dombrovsky abruptly resigned Thursday. The 18-judge court made the replacement appointment while continuing deliberations over the constitutionality of …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Convicted terrorist and California resident Hamid Hayat was denied a new trial Thursday, when a federal judge rejected his claims that the jury foreman engaged in misconduct and made prejudicial statements. Judge Garland E. Burell Jr. of the US Eastern District of California rejected testimony by one juror that the …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

The US Department of Defense (DOD) has the right to decide which issues it will negotiate with labor unions, according to a Friday decision by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The court held that Congress granted to the DOD "expansive authority to curtail collective bargaining through November 2009" when …

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by Michael Sung

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European Union (EU) leaders criticized Russia's human rights record in a series of exchanges at a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin Friday, marking the end of a summit between the EU and Russia. Merkel, speaking to reporters, raised concerns about Russia's democratic freedoms with …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Kazakhstan's parliament removed term limits on the rule of President Nursultan Nazarbayev Friday, effectively allowing him to remain president for life. The measure only applies to Nazarbayev, and subsequent presidents would have to abide by the law limiting them to two terms in office. Another constitutional change, supported by Nazarbayev, …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

The White House reiterated President Bush's "full confidence" in embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at Friday morning's press gaggle. White House spokesman Tony Fratto said that the administration considers next week's proposed Senate vote of no-confidence in Gonzales a political stunt, and that Gonzales can continue to serve without the support of Congress. …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland said Thursday that he believes the state's 2004 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage could prevent the state from outlawing sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination in the private sector. Strickland created protections in the public sector by signing Executive Order 2007 - 10S, banning those forms of …

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by Michael Sung

A study released Friday by the OpenNet Initiative (ONI) has found a "substantial growth in the scale, scope and sophistication" of Internet censorship worldwide. The study, focusing on state-mandated censorship, found evidence of content filtering in 25 of 41 countries tested. The study found that states generally justified censorship as protecting property rights and …

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by Michael Sung

Authorities in Afghanistan have sentenced two Tolo Television journalists for "violating mass media law" and disobeying orders of the attorney general, according to state-controlled Afghanistan National Television (ANTV) Wednesday. In April, Afghan Attorney General Abdul Jabbar Sabet ordered a raid on the television network to bring in reporter Hamid Haidary. Sabet said Haidary had …

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by Michael Sung

The US House of Representatives voted 220-208 Thursday to pass an amendment to the FY'08 Defense Authorization Bill to require the Office of the Secretary of Defense to develop a report within 60 days after the bill is signed into law, identifying the "current capacity at Department of …

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by Michael Sung

Nigerian union leaders Thursday called for a two-day national strike to protest the May 29 inauguration of president-elect Umaru Yar'Adua, who they say was elected fraudulently. The strike, which will involve both blue-collar and white-collar unions, is expected to begin with rallies on May 28 to protest Nigeria's April 21 elections, which were the …

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by Michael Sung

A court in India sentenced five people to three years in prison and a fine of $610 each Friday for their role in the deadly 1993 Mumbai bombings that killed 257 people and injured more than 700 in India's financial center. The five defendants had each been found to be guilty of transporting weapons …

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by Michael Sung

The United States, France, and the United Kingdom circulated a draft UN Security Council resolution Thursday, which if approved will unilaterally establish a tribunal under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to investigate and try suspects in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. According to AP, the resolution would enforce an …

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by Michael Sung

US Navy Lt. Cmdr. Matthew M. Diaz, a former staff judge advocate stationed at Guantanamo Bay, was convicted Thursday of one count of communicating secret information that could be used to injure the United States and three counts of leaking information to unauthorized persons. Prosecutors had argued during Diaz's court-martial that he endangered the …

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by Michael Sung

Khaled El-Masri, the German citizen allegedly kidnapped by the CIA in 2003, is suspected of arson at a wholesale market in Germany and has been ordered by a judge to be admitted to a psychiatric institution, according to the German police Thursday. Manfred Gnjidic, El-Masri's lawyer, told AP that his client had suffered "a complete nervous …

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