International brief ~ Nepal to hold municipal elections within a year

[JURIST] Leading Thursday's international brief, King Gyanendra [official profile] of Nepal [government website] has announced that municipal elections will be held within a year to restore the nation to a truly democratic state. Gyanendra, speaking at the Nepalese New Year festival, said that the work of the security forces of Nepal in combating the 'menace of terrorism' and protecting the independence of the Nepalese people meant that there should be no delay in 'activating the democratic process.' Nepal has been without elected officials since King Gyanendra declared a state of emergency [JURIST report] on February 1 and sacked the previous elected government. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Nepal [JURIST news archive]. Kantipur Online has local coverage.

In other international legal news ...

  • Two journalists for the UK-based paper The Daily Telegraph [media website] were ordered to be released from state custody in Zimbabwe [government website] Thursday after a court held that the men were not operating as illegal journalists. Toby Harnden and Julian Simmonds were arrested in Zimbabwe in March for alleged covering the national elections without a journalist license. Counsel for the two men asserted that they were acting as ordinary tourists who kept a travel journal and took photographs. Magistrate Never Diza held that the government had not established a case against the two men, but said that there was still the question of whether they had overstayed their visas. Zimbabwe's restrictive foreign press laws forbid permanent foreign journalist coverage and require all journalists to have specialized, state-approved licenses. Diza ordered the two released, overriding a previous government order that had stayed the earlier ordered release of the two men. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive]. BBC News has local coverage.

  • South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun [official profile] Thursday warned against using economic sanctions against North Korea [government website] as a tool to force the nation to participate in the Six-Party Nuclear Disarmament Talks at a meeting Thursday in Germany. Roh warned that adding pressure to the intransigent nation could only lead to more hostility, stating that sanctions should only be used when there was no hope left of N. Korea voluntarily returning to the table. Roh said that China's current pressure on N. Korea to participate was a sign of hope, and that the real difficulty lay in resolving the lack of trust between the US and N. Korea. Roh has expressed caution about the use of sanctions before, but this is the first time he has expressly denounced them. The US has said that it would petition the UN Security Council to impose sanctions if N. Korea refuses to participate in the negotiations. Chosun Ilbo has local coverage.

  • Indonesia [government website] has taken South Korea [government website] to the World Trade Organization [official website] over allegations made by South Korea that Indonesia was exporting its wood-free copy paper products at dumping [Wikipedia entry] prices. South Korea instituted a percentage fee for all paper products entering the country from Indonesia, a move Indonesia claims has resulted in a $35 million (USD) loss in profits. The Dispute Settlement Body [WTO backgrounder] of the WTO hears commercial disputes between nations and makes rulings that are binding on parties. The DSB is expected to comment on Indonesia's alleged dumping this August. The Jakarta Post has local coverage.


 

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