Legal news from Wednesday, August 31, 2005
20:08 EDT

[JURIST] Furious at a rising tide of lawlessness in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin Wednesday evening reassigned 1,500 New Orleans police from search-and-rescue missions to halt widespread looting [JURIST report] in the battered and flooded city. Declaring "martial law" in a dramatic invocation of his [read more]

20:08 EDT

[JURIST] UN Secretary General Kofi Annan [official profile; JURIST news archive] has cut short a vacation and returned to New York in an attempt to break an impasse reached by negotiators discussing an overhaul of the UN and a related series of intrenational initiatives. A 33-member panel has been negotiating [read more]

19:08 EDT

[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union [official website] argued Wednesday that a federal judge should lift a gag order on a library from which the FBI has demanded circulation records under the USA Patriot Act [PDF text; JURIST news archive]. Prosecutors in the case said lifting the gag order would [read more]

19:08 EDT

[JURIST] The US Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday temporarily waived certain regulatory fuel standards [text] required under the Clean Air Act [text] in an attempt to head off any shortages and rising prices [AP report] caused by Hurricane Katrina. EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson [official profile] initially waived the standards for four [read more]

19:08 EDT

[JURIST] EU diplomats said Wednesday that the European Union may hold off on calls for sanctions against Iran [JURIST news archive; IAEA issue backgrounder] if the country is referred to the UN over its continued nuclear activity. The UN has set a deadline for Saturday by which Iran must halt [read more]

19:08 EDT

[JURIST] A California state prison inmate who led a radical Islamist group and three others were indicted Wednesday [DOJ press release; AG Gonzales' remarks] on charges that they were plotting terror attacks on several sites in Los Angeles. The indictment [PDF text] charges Levar Haley Washington, Gregory Vernon Patterson, Hammad [read more]

16:08 EDT

[JURIST] A high-level Food and Drug Administration [official website] official resigned Wednesday to protest the agency's delay in deciding whether to approve emergency contraception pills for over-the-counter sale. Susan Wood, director of the FDA Office of Women's Health [official website], announced her resignation and reasoning in an e-mail to colleagues [read more]

16:08 EDT

[JURIST] Attorneys general from California, New Mexico and Oregon have challenged a decision by the US Forest Service [official website] to allow road building and other development on more than 58.5 million acres of national forest previously protected. California Attorney General Bill Lockyer [official website] said allowing construction of roads [read more]

16:08 EDT

[JURIST] A Texas law requiring doctors to get parental consent [JURIST report] for minors seeking abortions will take effect Thursday [KXAN Austin report] even though the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners [official website] hasn't finalized the specifics of how doctors should comply with it. The Texas Parental Consent Act [read more]

15:08 EDT

[JURIST] Lebanon [JURIST news archive] on Wednesday released a former lawmaker questioned in the investigation into the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri [Wikipedia profile]. Nasser Qandil, a pro-Syrian legislator, refused to comment on what he told investigators after he turned himself in [Arabic News report] Tuesday to the [read more]

15:08 EDT

[JURIST] Officials struggled Wednesday to control looting in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina as tiring law enforcement officers and National Guardsmen undertook more rescue and relief efforts. Widespread looting throughout the city has been reported, with crowds of people stealing food, clothing and other supplies in demand. [read more]

15:08 EDT

[JURIST] US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld [official profile; JURIST news archive] on Wednesday approved changes to procedures for military commissions [DOD materials] used for trying certain detainees held at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. The changes to Military Commission Order No. 1 [PDF text] primarily increase the role played [read more]

14:08 EDT

[JURIST] Indonesia released over 1,400 Achenese rebel inmates Wednesday, granting them blanket amnesty in accordance with a decree signed by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Tuesday night. The newly freed prisoners have agreed to honor their monumental peace accord [PDF text; JURIST report] with the Indonesian government, which allowed the [read more]

13:08 EDT

[JURIST] US District Court Judge Denise Cote has ruled that a suit filed by the First Presbyterian Church of Sudan against Canadian oil and gas producer Talisman Energy [corporate website] should continue, despite US and Canadian government attempts to have the case dismissed. The church filed suit [PDF complaint] under [read more]

12:08 EDT

[JURIST] The Chinese government signed a Memorandum of Understanding [UN News report] Wednesday agreeing to collaborate with the UN's human rights agency to reform the Chinese legal system in preparation for the adoption of a key UN treaty on civil and political rights. The agreement to revise China's Criminal Procedure [read more]

12:08 EDT

[JURIST] Jailed Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky [JURIST news archive, defense website], who is serving a nine-year prison sentence on fraud charges, officially announced his intention Wednesday to run for a Russian parliamentary seat [JURIST report]. The election for Khodorkovsky's intended district in the State Duma [official website, in Russian], [read more]

11:08 EDT

[JURIST] The Cambodian Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the appeal of a reporter found guilty of defaming Cambodia's foreign minister by suggesting he was involved in prisoners' deaths during the brutal Khmer Rouge [Wikipedia backgrounder] reign. Kay Kimsong and two American reporters working for the Cambodian Daily [media website] were [read more]

11:08 EDT

[JURIST] The ongoing battle against changes to rules that regulate US power plants continued Wednesday, after the Natural Resources Defense Council [advocacy website] made public draft EPA regulations it insists will lead to dirtier power plants. The proposed standards would allow modernized power plants to operate longer hours, thus increasing [read more]

11:08 EDT

[JURIST] The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) [advocacy website], Egypt's leading non-governmental rights group, has said that it does not believe the upcoming presidential elections will be fair due to the lack of neutral election monitors. EOHR and other rights groups are concerned about the composition of the election [read more]

11:08 EDT

[JURIST] Human rights group Amnesty International [advocacy website] reported Tuesday that two men who were formerly held at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp [JURIST news archive] have been detained in Russia [Amnesty International press release] by men claiming to be security force officials. Airat Vakhitov and Rustam Akhmyarov were released [read more]

11:08 EDT

[JURIST] A US military tribunal in Iraq has ruled that a Reuters cameraman being held without charge in Abu Ghraib prison [JURIST news archive] will be detained for another six months while the US reviews its case against him. Iraqi Ali Omar Abrahem al-Mashhadani was arrested on August 8 and [read more]

10:08 EDT

[JURIST] Attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union [advocacy website] are expected to file suit in federal court Wednesday, demanding the release of Numan Adnan Al Kaby, an Iraqi-born permanent US resident arrested and held in Baghdad since April 2005. Al Kaby was arrested in Baghdad after the US military [read more]

10:08 EDT

[JURIST] A US federal court has frozen the Palestinian Authority's access to assets held in the US after it failed to pay $116 in damages for the 1996 shooting deaths of an American citizen and his Israeli wife. After the deaths of Yaron and Efrat Ungar, a five-year legal battle [read more]

10:08 EDT

[JURIST] After hearing oral arguments Tuesday, US District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein [Wikipedia profile] expressed hesitation over ordering the release of 97 Department of Defense [official website] photos and videotapes depicting the abuse of prisoners held by US forces at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison [JURIST news archive]. The request is [read more]

08:08 EDT

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Nicaragua [official website] has ruled that former Nicaraguan President Arnoldo Aleman [Wikipedia profile], who was sentenced to 20 years in prison [BBC report] in 2003, can leave his home and move freely around Managua, Nicaragua's capital. Aleman was convicted on multiple charges, including money laundering, [read more]

08:08 EDT

[JURIST] AP is reporting that Philippine legislators have quashed the impeachment case against Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo [official website; Wikipedia backgrounder]. With opposition members boycotting, the House Committee on Justice [official website] voted to quash all impeachment complaints against Arroyo, who has been accused of rigging last year's election. [read more]

08:08 EDT

[JURIST] Federal Bureau of Investigation [official website] agents have been ordered to conduct "threat assessments" of prison inmates in order to determine whether they could commit extremist violence when released, according to a letter obtained by AP. Randy D. Parsons, acting assistant chief of the FBI's Los Angeles office, wrote [read more]

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