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Legal news from Monday, August 6, 2007
by Jeannie Shawl

A federal judge Monday overturned a $1.52 billion jury decision against Microsoft awarded after the jury found that Microsoft violated two digital music patents held by Alcatel-Lucent. The patents govern technology that converts audio input into MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3, more commonly known as MP3, which Microsoft has incorporated into several variants …

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by Michael Sung

Iranian 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi requested the assistance of the UN Human Rights Council to end Iran's "arbitrary detention" of Iranian-American scholar Dr. Haleh Esfandiari in a letter sent Monday to the UN body's Arbitrary Detention Working Group. Ebadi says that Esfandiari …

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by Michael Sung

The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit heard arguments Monday in an appeal by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company against a lower court ruling last August which declared unenforceable a provision in Nationwide's policy limiting a Hurricane Katrina's homeowner's recovery when damage to home is caused by both wind and water. Homeowners …

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by Michael Sung

A Thai court Monday released on bail six leaders of the July 22 anti-coup protest with the condition that they would not engage in activities that may increase "strife within society" or instigate violence. The defendants, anti-coup academics and supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, were arrested as part of an ongoing police investigation of protests …

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by Michael Sung

The Moscow City Court has convicted former Yukos security chief Alexei Pichugin for his involvement in organizing a series of contract killings, sentencing Pichugin to life in prison Monday for organizing three murders and four attempted murders. Pichugin originally received a 24-year sentence, but the Russian Supreme Court overturned the …

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by Michael Sung

Five Iraqi Cabinet ministers belonging to the secular and nonsectarian Iraqi National List announced a boycott of government meetings Monday, saying the coalition has decided to suspend its government participation because Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has not responded to their demands to end sectarian favoritism. Iraqi National List lawmaker Iyad Jamal-Aldin said that coalition's decision to …

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by Michael Sung

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has signed off on the controversial Interception of Communications Bill, which establishes a government communications surveillance agency and authorizes the government to intercept communications across the telephone, the Internet, and other electronic communication devices. The bill, which has been criticized by opposition lawmakers as an effort to consolidate power and crack …

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by Michael Sung

State legislatures across the United States have enacted at least 170 immigration-related bills in 2007 as a result of the "continued absence of a comprehensive federal reform of the United States' challenged immigration system," according to a report released Monday by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NSCL). The report says that no fewer than …

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by Michael Sung

The Sri Lankan government is responsible for a dramatic increase in unlawful killings, enforced disappearances and other serious human rights violations since the resumption of hostilities in 2006 with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), according to a report released Monday by Human Rights Watch (HRW). HRW Asia Director Brad …

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by Michael Sung

President George W. Bush signed the Protect America Act 2007 Sunday, giving the Executive Branch expanded surveillance authority for a period of six months while Congress works on long-term legislation to "modernize" the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Bush thanked members of Congress for the bipartisan effort, but urged further …

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