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Legal news from Friday, February 25, 2011
by John Paul Putney

The standing committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC) on Friday amended the national criminal law to remove 13 offenses from the list of crimes subject to the death penalty. Those removed are non-violent economic crimes and include smuggling cultural relics, precious metals and rare animals; fraudulent activities with financial bills and …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Friday adopted a resolution condemning the recent violence in Libya and ordering an international inquiry into alleged abuses. During a special session, the 47-member council unanimously adopted the resolution, which also calls upon the Libyan government to protect its population and respect the will of its people. According …

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by Drew Singer

South Korean prosecutor Jeong Jeom-Shik announced Friday that five Somali pirates captured in January have been charged with six offenses, including attempted murder, maritime robbery and kidnapping. The attempted murder charge carries with it a possible life sentence. The pirates were captured during the Samho Jewelry raid last month, when South Korean commandos killed …

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by LaToya Sawyer

The Maryland Senate approved legislation Thursday to legalize same-sex marriage. The bill, entitled Civil Marriage Protection Act, would alter existing legislation that validates only heterosexual marriage. Approval of the Act will give gay couples the same full rights of marriage as straight, married couples, but will allow exemptions for religious leaders who …

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by Brian Jackson

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Friday called on the Libyan government to stop the violence directed at protesters within that nation. Pillay's statement, directed at Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, reminded the UN Human Rights Council of the repeated calls by numerous nations for Gaddafi to renounce the use of …

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by Andrea Bottorff

The New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department on Thursday upheld a lower court decision allowing the surviving spouse of a same-sex marriage to inherit the deceased spouse's estate. Kenneth Ranftle and Craig Leiby were married legally in Canada in 2008 after more than 20 years together. Ranftle died a few …

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by Carrie Schimizzi

A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on Thursday granted federal prosecutors' motion to dismiss three charges against former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich in an apparent effort to simply their case before the April 20 retrial. Judge James Zagel agreed to dismiss charges of racketeering, …

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