Legal news from Tuesday, February 8, 2005
18:02 EDT

[JURIST] In Tuesday's environmental law news, chemical manufacturer W.R. Grace and Co. [corporate website] and some of its executive employees have been charged by federal prosecutors with 3 counts of violating the Clean Air Act [EPA text], 4 counts of obstruction of justice, 2 counts of wire fraud and 1 [read more]

16:02 EDT

[JURIST] A former Enron [JURIST Hot Topic] assistant treasurer reached an agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission [official website] to settle civil fraud charges stemming from the corporation's collapse for $300,000, the SEC announced Tuesday. Timothy DeSpain served with the corporation from 1999 to 2002 during which time Enron [read more]

15:02 EDT

[JURIST] Sudan's vice president maintained his government's opposition [JURIST report] to any international criminal trials for war crimes committed in the Darfur region during a meeting with the UN Security Council [official website] Tuesday on Sudan [JURIST Countries]. Vice President Ali Osman Taha and rebel leader John Garang briefed the [read more]

15:02 EDT

[JURIST] Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan [official website] filed suit Tuesday against 48 drug manufacturers, alleging fraud that cost Illinois residents hundreds of millions in a lawsuit similar to those filed by 19 other states. The drug companies, which include Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck and Johnson & Johnson, have been accused [read more]

14:02 EDT

[JURIST] The government's main witness in the criminal case against former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers testified Tuesday, directly linking Ebbers to the fraud and countering defense arguments that Ebbers did not understand the accounting schemes involved. Former CFO Scott Sullivan said Ebbers had a thorough understanding of the practices the [read more]

14:02 EDT

[JURIST] Kuwati Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah on Tuesday warned newspapers that publishing information about investigations of militants could result in the suspension or closure of those papers. Sheikh Sabah's commented that journalistic scoops could endanger security personnel and help fugitives. Kuwait's 1961 Press And Publishing Law, [State Department [read more]

14:02 EDT

[JURIST] Former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien [CBC News profile] testified Tuesday before a judicial commission of inquiry [Gomery Commission website] as part of an ongoing government investigation into a national unity program that resulted in $100 million in contracts being awarded to advertising firms with close ties to Chrétien's [read more]

13:02 EDT

[JURIST] The European Union issued a draft document on Tuesday regarding the proliferation of digital rights management (DRM), often used to protect copyrighted software and music files. The EU's advisory body on data protection and privacy is specifically concerned about the way that DRM can be used to identify individuals [read more]

13:02 EDT

[JURIST] The US State Department Tuesday sharply criticized the selection of Cuba and Zimbabwe for positions on a panel that will set the agenda for the UN Human Rights Commission. "The United States believes that countries that routinely and systematically violate the rights of their citizens should not be selected [read more]

13:02 EDT

[JURIST] Leading Tuesday's corporations and securities law news, the SEC [official website] has indicted television financial commentator and investment adviser Courtney Smith over his alleged role in a stock manipulation scheme. According to the SEC complaint, the head of GenesisIntermedia, Inc. paid Smith approximately $1.1 million in cash and stock [read more]

13:02 EDT

[JURIST] In Tuesday's international brief, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon [official profile] and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas today announced a truce between Israelis and Palestinians. The announcement came at the end of Tuesday's summit at Sharm al-Sheikh, which was also attended by Jordanian King Abdullah II and hosted by Egyptian [read more]

12:02 EDT

[JURIST] Delegates from 50 countries, including terrorism-affected countries such as Syria and Iran, endorsed a Saudi proposal for an international counter-terrorism center Tuesday, although details regarding its location, funding, and role remain unclear. A draft declaration from the Counter-Terrorism International Conference [official website] in Riyadh called for the establishment of [read more]

11:02 EDT

[JURIST] The US has agreed to transfer the last three French citizens being held at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST Hot Topic] to France, with an official announcement of the agreement expected later Tuesday. The remaining detainees are Mustaq Ali Patel, Ridouane Khalid and Khaled Ben Mustafa, who have been held by [read more]

10:02 EDT

[JURIST] Secretary of Homeland Security nominee Judge Michael Chertoff has been confirmed by the Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee [official website], with a vote by the full Senate expected before the end of the week. Chertoff was confirmed by a vote of 14 in favor and one present. [read more]

10:02 EDT

[JURIST] The introduction of a bill that would replace lawsuits against asbestos manufacturers with a $140 billion compensation fund will be delayed for another week, according to the legislation's author, PA Sen. Arlen Specter [official website]. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Judiciary Committee members asked for an additional week [read more]

10:02 EDT

[JURIST] The US remains undecided on whether to support a UN resolution on China's human rights violations, despite new evidence of improvement by the country, a US embassy spokeswoman has said. The resolution is expected to be considered at the meeting of the UN High Commission for Human Rights [official [read more]

09:02 EDT

[JURIST] The White House has warned senators to pass a class action bill without changes as they began debate on the bill. S. 5 [bill summary], which would transfer most interstate class actions to federal courts, also enjoys broad support in the House, which promised to pass the legislation and [read more]

09:02 EDT

[JURIST] Judge Theodor Meron, president judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia [official website; JURIST Hot Topic], has ruled that two British lawyers appointed to represent former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic [JURIST Newsmaker] may not withdraw from the case, despite Milosevic's refusal to cooperate and insistence on [read more]

09:02 EDT

[JURIST] Indonesian prosecutors presenting their case against Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir [BBC News profile] asked a court Tuesday to sentence him to eight years in prison for terror charges, including a link to the 2002 Bali bombings. Prosecutors' sentence request was much lower than the maximum available, which would [read more]

08:02 EDT

[JURIST] A spokesman for Shiite cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani [official website, English version] said Tuesday that Sistani is not demanding that Iraq's new constitution be based solely on Islamic sharia law [Wikipedia article]. Sistani's spokesman said "Sistani reiterates his previous positions that the constitution should respect the Islamic cultural identity [read more]

08:02 EDT

[JURIST] Britain's Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA) [official website] has given permission to Professor Ian Wilmut, the creator of Dolly the sheep [Wikipedia article], a license to clone human embryos for medical research, only the second time the authority has given consent for therapeutic cloning [BBC News Q&A; JURIST [read more]

07:02 EDT

[JURIST] New allegations of torture against detainees at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST Hot Topic archive] have been made at the trial of five former detainees in Morocco [JURIST report]. The five Moroccan men, who were released by the US to local authorities last August, have all pleaded not guilty to charges [read more]

07:02 EDT

[JURIST] Here's a run-down of law-related events, expected developments and live webcasts on JURIST's docket for Tuesday, Feb. 8.In Washington today, the US Senate [official website] convenes at 9:30 AM ET for regular business and to consider S. 5 [bill summary], the Class Action Bill. A live webcast is available [read more]

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