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Legal news from Thursday, November 29, 2007
by Nick Fiske

Thousands of protesters filled the streets of Caracas, Venezuela on Thursday to voice their opposition to 69 constitutional amendments proposed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The proposed reforms, which will be put to a national referendum on Sunday, would extend the presidential term from six to seven years, eliminate the limit on the number of …

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by Steve Czajkowski

BP Exploration Alaska (BPXA), a subsidiary of British Petroleum (BP), pleaded guilty Thursday to violating the Clean Water Act in a case stemming from the March 2006 oil spill at the company's Prudhoe Bay oil field in Alaska. According to a plea agreement reached last month, BPXA will pay $20 million in …

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by Alexis Unkovic

Thailand's National Counter-Corruption Commission (NCCC) has approved the creation of three subcommittees to investigate former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and two of his former senior administration officials, according to an NCCC spokesperson Thursday. The first subcommittee will probe Thaksin's involvement in the bidding for security services at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport while …

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by Alexis Unkovic

Serbia's Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor Thursday indicted 14 former soldiers and paramilitaries on war crimes charges in connection with the October 1991 Lovas Massacre in Croatia, a spokesperson told Reuters. Half of those charged are in custody while the rest remain free but must report to authorities at regular intervals. In …

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by Alexis Unkovic

UN International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC) head Serge Brammertz told the UN Security Council Wednesday that unspecified "persons of interest" have been identified and other progress has been made in the international investigation into the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. In June, the …

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by Alexis Unkovic

About a dozen officers on trial in the Philippines in connection with a failed 2003 mutiny Thursday walked out of court, took control of a Manila hotel, and demanded the resignation of Philippine President Gloria Arroyo. Philippine military and police forces subsequently regained control of the hotel after a lengthy …

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by Kiely Lewandowski

Russian opposition leader Garry Kasparov was released from jail Thursday after serving five days in custody for organizing an unsanctioned protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin and resisting arrest. The former chess champion and head of the liberal United Civil Front had challenged his arrest as illegal, …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A Russian court Thursday found exiled business tycoon Boris Berezovsky guilty of embezzling 214 million rubles from Russian national airline Aeroflot. The court sentenced him to six years in prison, though prosecutors had asked for nine years. Berezovsky was tried in absentia, as he now resides in the UK as …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Israeli police Thursday concluded a corruption investigation into Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, telling prosecutors at the Ministry of Justice that they do not believe there is enough evidence to indict Olmert on allegations that he illegally interfered with the 2005 state sale of Bank Leumi. Olmert, then …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on Thursday rejected White House assertions of executive privilege in the ongoing congressional investigations into the US Attorneys firing scandal. Leahy issued a ruling in which he directed the White House to comply with formal committee subpoenas for documents and the testimony …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf pledged to lift emergency rule in the country on December 16 in a televised speech Thursday delivered after he took the presidential oath of office as a civilian Thursday morning. Pakistani media quoted Musharraf as saying:It is my intention to lift the state of emergency from the country on Dec 16, …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The three British bankers known as the NatWest three pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of wire fraud as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. David Bermingham, Giles Darby and Gary had been indicted on seven counts of wire fraud for allegedly entering into a secret agreement with former Enron Chief Financial Officer …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Judges, lawyers, and court clerks went on strike in France Thursday to protest a proposal to eliminate 319 French courts. French Justice Minister Rachida Dati has proposed the cutbacks, which the Magistrates' Trade Union says has been mishandled by Dati and the Justice Department. DPA has more.Dati has been involved in several controversies …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf was sworn in to a new five-year term as the country's civilian president Thursday, taking the oath of office under the 1973 Constitution a day after stepping down as chief of the army. Delivering his inaugural address, Musharraf defended his decision to declare a state of emergency [PDF text; JURIST …

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