25 May, 2004

Acid test

The Constitutional Court will hear an application on Thursday morning 20 May of a woman who wants to be paid maintenance from her unmarried partner’s estate. The decision is particularly significant as research has shown that more than two million South Africans (and in all probability significantly more than two million) are in non-marital relationships with their intimate partners (Women's Legal Centre. Media release 2004-05-19).

Hate crimes against lesbians are on the increase, mainly in areas such as Soweto and Alexandra, the chief executive officer of the Forum for the Empowerment of Women has said (IOL 2004-05-19).

The South African lawyers for the Zimbabwe detainees have now given President Thabo Mbeki an ultimatum : either help bring them back or face court action (The Star 2004-05-19).

The thorny issue of the Table Mountain goatlike tahrs may be headed for court again following a threat by the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) to seek an urgent interdict (Mail & Guardian 2004-05-18).

The decision by the South African Bureau of Standards to ban asbestos products in automotive products has sparked a heated debate about the safety of white asbestos used in brake pads, gaskets and buildings (Business Report 2004-05-19).

The Government has signalled that it is willing to breach the first of its "red line" safeguards on the European constitution by agreeing to cede Britain's veto over sensitive areas of criminal justice. The shift in policy raises fears that Brussels could acquire the power to interfere with the common law tradition of habeas corpus, trial by jury, and rules of evidence (Telegraph 2004-05-19).

The al-Qaida-linked website that first posted a video of American civilian Nicholas Berg's beheading has been shut down by the Malaysian company that hosted it - because it was drawing too much traffic. A senior officer of the company said it was not aware that the site, www.al-ansar.biz, may have been connected to al-Qaida or that offensive material had been posted on it (FindLaw 2004-05-13).

A man in northern China became suspicious when the beautiful woman he had married two years earlier gave birth to an ugly daughter last year. The disgusted husband divorced his wife and sued her for deceit after discovering that she had had plastic surgery before they met (IOL 2004-05-19).


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