[JURIST] Indian police Saturday arrested two men allegedly belonging to the Bangladesh-based Harkatul Jihad Al-Islami [SATP backgrounder] militant group who they say were "part of a close network that provided local support to the terrorists" responsible for bomb blasts at courthouses in Lucknow, Varanasi, and Faizabad late last month that killed 16 lawyers. The cities are all in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, where lawyers decided earlier this year not to defend terrorist suspects. Indian authorities said after the bombings that they suspected militant groups trying to spark conflict between the Hindu majority and the Muslim minority in the country.
Varanasi is one of Hinduism's holiest cities and Faizabad is near the site of the Babri Mosque bombing in 1992, which sparked widespread Hindu-Muslim riots. India [JURIST news archive] has been rocked by a series of terrorist bombings over the past two years. In August, a pair of explosions in the southern city of Hyderabad killed 43 and in July 2006, the Mumbai commuter train bombings [JURIST news archive] killed more than 200 people. AP has more.
[JURIST] The National Labor Relations Board [official website] has ruled that employers can ban union-related e-mails as part of a general policy against solicitations from outside organizations while still allowing employees to relay personal messages. In a decision [text] made December 16 but only released Friday, the Republican-dominated Board held 3-2 that the Eugene, Oregon Register-Guard newspaper could properly prohibit one of its employees from using the company e-mail system to distribute what it called "solicitations to support the union". The majority found that the e-mail system was the company's property and the company had the right to regulate use of that property.
An AFL-CIO blog post Sunday called the ruling "the modern day equivalent of blocking us from talking around the office water cooler or using the break room bulletin board" and quoted AFL-CIO General Counsel Jon Hiatt as saying:
Anyone with e-mail knows this is how employees communicate with each other in todays workplace. Outrageously, in allowing employers to ban such communications for union purposes, the Bush labor board has again struck at the heart of what the nations labor laws were intended to protectthe right of employees to discuss working conditions and other matters of mutual concern.
Recent Board rulings allegedly limiting workers' rights came under fire [Reuters report] from Congressional Democrats at a joint meeting of House and Senate labor committees earlier this month. AP has more.
[JURIST] A CIA spokesman insisted Saturday that the agency cooperated with the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the 9/11 Commission) [official website] in its requests for information and materials concerning the interrogation of detainees, disputing claims that it had not been forthcoming [JURIST report] by not disclosing the existence of interrogation tapes that were later destroyed. Mark Mansfield said in a statement quoted by AP that "The notion that the CIA wasn't cooperative or forthcoming with the 9/11 commission is just plain wrong. It is utterly without foundation", and observed in a separate e-mail to the wire service that because the Commission could have asked for them the tapes were not destroyed until after the Commission had finished its work.
Earlier this month a panel of former Commission members led by former executive director Philip D. Zelikow said in a memo [PDF text] obtained by the New York Times that the agency never disclosed the specific existence of the tapes despite repeated requests for relevant information by the Commission, and the assurances of one senior CIA official that the CIA had "produced or made available for review" everything the Commission had asked for. The panel concluded that the question of whether the CIA had violated federal law by withholding the tapes under thees circumstances warranted "further investigation." AP has more.
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