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Legal news from Friday, April 3, 2009
by Andrew Gilmore

Drug maker Pfizer reached a settlement Friday with the Nigerian state of Kano in a lawsuit over allegedly illegal clinical trials the company conducted in Nigeria in 1996. The national government and the state of Kano filed separate lawsuits against Pfizer in 2007, accusing the company of administering meningitis medication to 200 Nigerian children, including …

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by Andrew Gilmore

French President Nicholas Sarkozy said Friday that his country would accept one Guantanamo Bay detainee in a symbolic effort to aid the closure of the detention center. Sarkozy made the announcement ahead of this weekend's North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Strasbourg, France and Kehl, Germany. According to …

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by Ingrid Burke

Australian Minister of Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin  announced Friday that the country has endorsed  the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The move reverses the position of the country's former administration on the declaration. Macklin said the decision by the country's current Labor Party government to sign the declaration was rooted in its desire to improve …

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by Bhargav Katikaneni

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Friday announced the appointment of South African judge Richard Goldstone to head a UN fact-finding mission to investigate alleged Israeli war crimes in the Gaza Strip. Goldstone previously served as the chief UN prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International …

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by Amelia Mathias

The French National Assembly voted 29-4 Thursday to accept a provision in a new bill that would cut off internet access for those who repeatedly illegally download copyrighted material. Under the bill, any internet user tagged by an ISP as downloading the material would initially receive a warning, followed by up to a one-year …

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by Tere Miller-Sporrer

The Mexican Senate on Thursday passed an amendment  to the country's constitution  that would permit seizure of property from suspected drug traffickers and other criminals prior to conviction. Under the proposed amendment, which will now be sent to the lower house, prosecutors may seek the seizure  of property and …

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by Devin Montgomery

The Supreme Court of Iowa  held Friday that a statute [Iowa Code § 595.2 text] banning same-sex marriage violates the state's constitution . In the ruling, the court affirmed a lower court's decision that the statute's limitation of civil marriage to opposite-sex couples violated the equal protection rights of same-sex couples. The case was brought …

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by Christian Ehret

The Vermont House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill [S-115, PDF] approving same-sex marriage. The bill, aimed at "promot legal equality in the civil marriage laws and ... protect the religious freedom of clergy and religious societies authorized to solemnize civil marriages," was approved by a margin of 95-52, which …

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by Christian Ehret

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, his brother Robert Blagojevich, and four associates were indicted on corruption charges Thursday by a federal grand jury. Rod Blagojevich was charged with 16 felonies including wire fraud, attempted extortion, racketeering conspiracy, extortion conspiracy, and making false statements. Others indicted include Blagojevich's former chief of staff John Harris, former …

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by Adrienne Lester

A group of immigrants being detained in a Los Angles facility on Wednesday filed a complaint against the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency for allegedly violating the constitutional rights of immigrants detained at the facility. The suit was filed in the US District Court Southern District of California   by the National Lawyers Guild  and the American Civil Liberties …

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