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Indian court rules in favor of Hindu temple on disputed land
Class Action News | 2019/11/10 02:05
India's Supreme Court on Saturday ruled in favor of a Hindu temple on a disputed religious ground in the country's north and ordered that alternative land be given to Muslims to build a mosque ? a verdict in a highly contentious case that was immediately deplored by a key Muslim body.

The dispute over land ownership has been one of India's most heated issues, with Hindu nationalists demanding a temple on the site in the town of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh state for more than a century. The 16th century Babri Masjid mosque was destroyed by Hindu hard-liners in December 1992, sparking massive Hindu-Muslim violence that left some 2,000 people dead.

Saturday's verdict paves the way for building the temple in place of the demolished mosque. As the news broke, groups of jubilant Hindus poured into Ayodhya's streets and distributed sweets to celebrate the verdict, but police soon persuaded them to return to their homes. As night fell, a large number of Hindus in the town lit candles, lamps and firecrackers to celebrate, and police faced a tougher time in curbing their enthusiasm.

The five Supreme Court justices who heard the case said in a unanimous judgment that 5 acres (2 hectares) of land will be allotted to the Muslim community to build a mosque, though it did not specify where. The court said the 5 acres is "restitution for the unlawful destruction of the mosque."

The disputed land, meanwhile, will be given to a board of trustees for the construction of a temple to the Hindu god Ram.


Court sentences Congo warlord to 30 years for atrocities
Business Law Info | 2019/11/07 10:05
The International Criminal Court passed its highest ever sentence Thursday, sending a Congolese warlord known as “The Terminator” to prison for 30 years for crimes including murder, rape and sexual slavery.

Bosco Ntaganda was found guilty in July of 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role as a military commander in atrocities during a bloody ethnic conflict in a mineral-rich region of Congo in 2002-2003.

Ntaganda showed no emotion as Presiding Judge Robert Fremr passed sentences ranging from eight years to 30 years for individual crimes and an overarching sentence of 30 years.

The court’s maximum sentence is 30 years, although judges also have the discretion to impose a life sentence. Lawyers representing victims in the case had called for a life term.

Fremr said despite the gravity of the crimes and Ntaganda’s culpability, his convictions “do not warrant a sentence of life imprisonment.”

Ida Sawyer, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Africa division, welcomed the ruling.


Appeals court agrees Trump tax returns can be turned over
Court Feed News | 2019/11/03 10:10
President Donald Trump’s tax returns can be turned over to New York prosecutors by his personal accountant, a federal appeals court ruled Monday, leaving the last word to the Supreme Court

The decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan upholds a lower court decision in the ongoing fight over Trump’s financial records. Trump has refused to release his tax returns since he was a presidential candidate, and is the only modern president who hasn’t made that financial information public.

In a written decision, three appeals judges said they only decided whether a state prosecutor can demand Trump’s personal financial records from a third party while the president is in office.

The appeals court said it did not consider whether the president is immune from indictment and prosecution while in office or whether the president himself may be ordered to produce documents in a state criminal proceeding.

According to the decision, a subpoena seeking Trump’s private tax returns and financial information relating to businesses he owns as a private citizen “do not implicate, in any way, the performance of his official duties.”

Several weeks ago, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in Manhattan tossed out Trump’s lawsuit seeking to block his accountant from letting a grand jury see his tax records from 2011.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. sought the records in a broader probe that includes payments made to buy the silence of two women, porn star Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal, who claim they had affairs with the president before the 2016 presidential election. Trump has denied them.




Georgia high court affirms dismissal of election challenge
Business Law Info | 2019/11/02 03:34
Georgia's highest court on Thursday affirmed a lower court dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the outcome of last year's race for lieutenant governor in a case that put a spotlight on the outdated voting machines the state is in the process of replacing.

The lawsuit alleged that an undercount of tens of thousands of votes in the lieutenant governor's race was likely caused by problems with the state's paperless touchscreen voting machines that either caused voters not to vote in that race or those votes to go uncounted.

That assertion is "wholly unsupported" by the record in the case, so the trial court wasn't wrong to conclude that the plaintiffs "failed to meet their burden of showing an irregularity in Georgia's electronic voting system sufficient to cast doubt on the 2018 election," Georgia Supreme Court Justice Sarah Warren wrote in the unanimous opinion.

Republican Geoff Duncan beat Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico by 123,172 votes to become lieutenant governor. Amico is not a party to the lawsuit, which was filed in November by the Coalition for Good Governance, an election integrity advocacy organization; Smythe Duval, who ran for secretary of state as a Libertarian; and two Georgia voters. It was filed against Duncan and election officials.

Senior Superior Court Judge Adele Grubbs dismissed the lawsuit in January. In their appeal to the high court, the plaintiffs argued that Grubbs erred by not allowing discovery prior to trial.




Court to hear arguments on Maryland political ads law
Business Law Info | 2019/10/28 10:36
After revelations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, Maryland legislators passed a law that many believe has a laudable purpose: preventing foreign interference in local elections.

But its sweeping scope sparked a First Amendment outcry from more than a half dozen newspapers, including The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun.

Now, a federal appeals court is being asked to decide whether the law goes too far. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear arguments in the case Wednesday.

The newspapers and the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association argue in a lawsuit that the statute violates the First Amendment because it requires them to collect and self-publish information about the sponsors of online political ads. It also requires them to keep records of the ads for inspection by the state Board of Elections.

U.S. District Judge Paul Grimm ruled in January that parts of the law appear to encroach on the First Amendment and granted a preliminary injunction to prevent the state from enforcing those provisions.

At issue is a requirement for online platforms to create a database identifying the purchasers of online political ads and how much they spend. The law, written to catch ads in smaller state and local elections, applies to digital platforms with 100,000 or more monthly U.S. visitors.



Samsung heir Lee appears in court for corruption retrial
Court Feed News | 2019/10/25 10:42
Billionaire Samsung scion Lee Jae-yong appeared in court Friday for a retrial on corruption allegations linked to a 2016 scandal that spurred massive street protests and sent South Korea's then-president to prison.  

"I feel deeply sorry for worrying many people," Lee said while facing a barrage of camera clicks before walking into the Seoul High Court with his lawyers. He didn't answer questions about the prospects of a jail term or how that would affect Samsung's business. Some protesters shouted "Arrest Lee Jae-yong!"

The Supreme Court in August ordered the retrial after concluding the amount of bribes Lee was accused of providing to ex-President Park Geun-hye and her confidante had been underestimated in a previous ruling that freed the Samsung Electronics vice chairman from jail on a suspended sentence.

While Lee apparently faces an increased possibility of serving jail time in the retrial, it's unclear what that would mean for Samsung, the world's largest manufacturer of computer chips, smartphones and TVs.

Some experts say a jailed Lee would hurt Samsung's decision-making process at a critical time as the company grapples with instability in the semiconductor market and ramifications from the trade war between the United States and China.



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