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Legal news from Wednesday, June 18, 2008
by Andrew Gilmore

Burundi military officials Wednesday announced the arrests of nearly 100 members of the Forces for National Liberation (FNL), a Hutu separatist group engaged in an ongoing conflict with the Burundian government. The FNL denied accusations that the arrests were a government response to the alleged recruitment of new fighters. Those arrested were said to be …

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by Devin Montgomery

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the state had settled with two law firms accused of defrauding the state pension system. For years the two firms, Girvin & Ferlazzo, PC and Hogan, Sarzynski, Lynch, Surowka & DeWind LLP, had arranged for some of their attorneys to be placed on the …

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by Deirdre Jurand

Bulgarian officials said Wednesday that they had frozen 10 National Road Infrastructure Fund projects worth almost 90 million euros ($137 million) in order to avoid possible sanctions for using the money inappropriately. The funds are mostly grants from the Phare program, an EU policy designed to aid countries' development before their …

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by Andrew Gilmore

US President George W. Bush vetoed the new Farm Bill for the second time on Wednesday, saying that the proposed legislation was fiscally irresponsible. The original version of the text sent to Bush for signature last month inadvertently omitted a section providing for foreign food aid. Bill supporters had said …

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by Devin Montgomery

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) unanimously ruled Tuesday that Armenia's National Television and Radio Commission had improperly denied a broadcast license to the A1 Plus television station. ECHR found that the denial violated Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects freedom of expression. A1 Plus, …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The Swedish parliament Tuesday rejected a proposed warrantless wiretap law that would have given the National Defence Radio Establishment wide leeway to eavesdrop on international telephone and electronic communications passing through the country. The government said that the law was necessary for national security, but the measure was vigorously protested by …

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by Andrew Gilmore

Russian authorities have formally charged three men in the killing of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Sergey Khadzhikurbanov, and brothers Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov, all from Chechnya, were among those arrested last August in connection with the investigation into Politkovskaya's murder. Russian investigators have also initiated a search for a …

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by Deirdre Jurand

China's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) Wednesday announced an anti-monopoly investigation into Microsoft and other international software companies suspected of dominating the Chinese software market, unfairly raising prices and bundling software. Software companies will likely face increased liability for alleged anti-competitive practices beginning August 1, when a new anti-monopoly law …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

US President George W. Bush Wednesday called for Congress to relax restrictions on oil exploration, saying that it should end a long-standing prohibition against offshore oil drilling and also allow drilling to begin in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Bush argued that resources currently off-limits to harvesters could offset rising …

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by Deirdre Jurand

A UN observer who arrived in Zimbabwe Sunday to monitor the human rights situation has been ejected from the country after only two days, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said Wednesday. Zimbabwe government agents told the UN envoy that he had not given them proper notice of his arrival, an assertion …

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by Devin Montgomery

The California First District Court of Appeal Tuesday rejected a petition by anti-same-sex marriage group Liberty Counsel to block the issuance of new sex-neutral marriages licenses. Liberty Counsel had argued that same-sex marriage licenses should not be issued until after voters decide on a proposed amendment to the state's …

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by Andrew Gilmore

The European Parliament (EP) adopted a new European Union directive to combat illegal immigration on Wednesday. The new rules are intended to normalize immigration procedures across the EU. Under the directive, illegal aliens caught in the EU must leave within 30 days, after which a removal order can be issued to forcibly …

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by Deirdre Jurand

A Virginia circuit court judge approved an $11 million state settlement agreement Tuesday for the families of 24 people killed in the April 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech. The settlement, which many of the families involved tentatively approved in April, gives each family $100,000 plus medical expenses and provides for …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

A telephone caller threatened the life of the Serbian prosecutor responsible for the arrest and extradition of war crimes suspect Stojan Zupljanin to the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the Serbian Prosecutor's Office said Tuesday. The death threat, which was traced to the Netherlands, warned Vladimir Vukcevic that he would be killed if …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The UK House of Lords Wednesday passed a bill to ratify the EU reform treaty, formally known as the Treaty of Lisbon, rejecting an amendment pushed by Conservative peers to postpone the upper chamber vote until October 20. The House of Commons approved the pact …

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by Andrew Gilmore

The Norwegian parliament approved a law Tuesday allowing same-sex marriage in the country. The new law replaces 1993 legislation that granted same-sex couples the right to enter into civil partnerships. The bill was proposed in the Norwegian parliament, the Storting, by the Standing Committee on Family and Cultural Affairs [committee …

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by Devin Montgomery

[ Physicians For Human Rights Wednesday released a report saying that abuse and torture claims made by former detainees held by the US in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and Iraq are supported by medical examinations performed by the group. The exams showed that their subjects currently experience numbness and weakness consistent …

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by Deirdre Jurand

A panel of judges in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Tuesday reversed the conviction of former White House official David Safavian because of previous judicial error and the use of incorrect legal standards at the trial court level. A federal jury convicted Safavian in …

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by Andrew Gilmore

Human Rights Watch (HRW) Tuesday denounced a recent Burundi Constitutional Court decision to dismiss 22 former members of the ruling party from the National Assembly, the National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (NCDD-FDD). The Constitutional Court ruled that the 22 former NCDD-FDD members should be expelled from …

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