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Legal news from Friday, March 1, 2013
by Addison Morris

Germany's lower house of Parliament, the Bundestag, on Friday approved a bill to broaden copyright protections for online material, especially news articles. The new law would not charge royalties to search engines, including Google, for displaying short passages of text from articles. This provision should assuage previous concerns and campaigns against the …

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by Samuel Franklin

The Maryland Senate on Thursday approved a gun control bill that imposes tougher restrictions on obtaining a license to buy a firearm. The Senate voted 28-19 in favor of the bill that would require residents to submit to fingerprinting, training and background checks in order to secure a firearm license. The Senate bill …

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by Alison Sacriponte

The Washington Supreme Court ruled 6-3 Thursday that a voter approved measure requiring a super-majority vote by the state legislature in order to raise taxes is unconstitutional. The initiative [I-1053, PDF] was approved by voters on multiple occasions, but the majority ruled that the language of the state's constitution is clear and unequivocal. Article II, …

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by Benjamin Minegar

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Thursday presented an annual report detailing her office's efforts in 2012 and urging further action to confront global human rights challenges. The report identifies and elaborates on advances and challenges within six human rights "thematic priorities" established for the years 2010 to 2013. These include …

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by Sarah Paulsworth

A court of appeals in Bahrain overturned the acquittal of Zainab al-Khawaja, who is accused of insulting a government employee, and sentenced her to three months of imprisonment on Friday, according to the Bahrain State New Agency (BNA). Al-Khawaja is the daughter of prominent Bahraini human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, and has …

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by Max Slater

A Dutch court on Friday convicted Yvonne Basebya, a Dutch citizen born in Rwanda, of inciting genocide in Rwanda in 1994. The District Court of The Hague sentenced Basebya to six years and eight months in prison for her role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The court found that Basebya …

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by Sarah Posner

Former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier appeared before a Haitian court on Thursday, after previously rebuffing summonses for alleged human rights abuses from 1971-1986. Thursday's hearing marked the first time that the plaintiffs confronted Duvalier. Duvalier had ignored three previous summonses before his appearance in court on Thursday. A judge told Duvalier that he …

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by Sarah Posner

The Obama administration urged the US Supreme Court Thursday to strike down California's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional in the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry [docket; cert. petition, PDF]. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court, arguing that California's ban on same-sex marriage, known as …

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