04 March, 2010

Week ending 12 March 2010

United Nations

Van Schalkwyk tipped for top UN job - 5 March
Former environment minister and current Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk has emerged as a frontrunner for the post of the United Nation's new climate chief. - Mail & Guardian website

1 March 2010
Opening statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Human Rights Council 13th Session, Geneva
polity website


Africa must lead on the development of the crime of aggression - 8 March
The first ten-year Review Conference of the International Court (ICC) will take place from 31 May-11 June 2010 in Kampala, Uganda. Most state parties will be satisfied with the progress made by the Court since the adoption of its founding treaty, the Rome Statute, back in 1998. Supporters will be pleased that 110 countries have signed up to the ICC, that it is fully operational, and that it is actively investigating cases in five countries. - polity website

Calls to speed up African Charter - 8 March
African civil organisations want the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance to come into force by the end of 2010. - BuaNews Online website


Breaker Morant execution 'calculating' - 15 March
A court martial finding that led to the execution of Breaker Morant and a fellow Australian officer in 1902 was a cruel and caluculating conspiracy of the British military command, a parliamentary committee has been told. The issue was about an "unsafe" trial to the legal standards of proof of procedure in accordance with the law of 1902, Command James Unkles told the House of Representatives petitions committee in Canberra on Monday. - Sydney Morning Herald website

Australian court rejects mummy name request - 8 March
An Australian court has rejected a mother's request to ban the use of the term "mummy D" to refer to her daughter's step-mother. She had told the Family Court that encouraging the daughter to use the term was an "incendiary action". - BBC News website

Homeless lose sleeping spot at Australia's Bondi Beach - 9 March
A group of homeless men have lost their fight to sleep rough at a historic pavilion at Bondi Beach, Australia's most iconic arc of sand. A panel of appeal court judges has ruled they have no right to camp out at the famous spot. Some of the group have been living rough at the Mediterranean-style pavilion at Bondi for eight years. - BBC News website


Canadian Parliament serving seal meat at lunch in support of hunters - 8 March
The Canadian Parliament's restaurant will serve seal meat this week in support of hunters battling a European Union ban on seal products. - Huffington Post website

Bluefin tuna trade ban gains European Union backing - 10 March
EU nations have decided to support a ban on international trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna until stocks recover. The bloc has agreed to back a motion for a ban during next week's meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). - BBC News website

Oscar win for film of dolphin hunt in Japan's Taiji - 8 March
A film which follows the annual dolphin hunt in the Japanese town of Taiji has won the Oscar for best documentary. The Cove, directed by Loui Psihoyos, follows activists as they try to gain access to a bay where dolphins are corralled and killed. - BBC News website


Suzanne Tamim murder convictions overturned by court - 4 March
Egypt's highest court has ordered the retrial of a tycoon and an ex-policeman who were sentenced to death for killing a popular Lebanese singer. The court overturned their murder convictions on procedural grounds. The case has received much attention as it involves a member of an elite often seen as being above the law. - BBC News website


Small firms 'may be exempt from lodging accounts' - 10 March
Small companies may be exempted from having to draw up and lodge annual accounts, after MEPs approved changes to European Union rules. Politicians say the policy will cut red tape and help firms be more competetive in tough economic times. However, there is no guarantee it will come into force as each EU country must choose whether it adopts the exemption. - BBC News website


Princess Caroline's husband fined over Kenya assault - 9 March
A German court has fined Princess Caroline of Monaco's husband 200 000 euros (181 200 pounds) for assaulting a hotel owner in Kenya in 2000. Prince Ernst August of Hanover was found guilty at an earlier trial in 2004 of causing seriously bodily harm and was fined 445 000 euros. But he was granted a new trial after his wife's testimony corroborated his account of the incident on Lamu Island. - BBC News website

United Kingdom

High Court tells SFO to halt BAE plea deal - 3 March
Anti-corruption campaigners have secured an injunction from the High Court delaying a plea bargain between arms giant BAE and the Serious Fraud Office from going ahead. - Morning Star Online website

Judges fear prisons will burst under new rules - 11 March
Britain's leading criminal judges warn that a shake-up of sentencing guidelines could push prison overcrowding to crisis levels. They fear that the Sentencing Council, which comes into force next month with the aim of bringing more consistency to courts, will not curb judges' use of custody as hoped, but actually increase it. - Times Online website

Bulger killer Venables faces 'extremely serious' claim - 4 March
James Bulger's killer Jon Venables was recalled to prison because of "extremely serious allegations", Justice Secretary jack Straw has said. A report in the Sun newspaper claims Venables is alleged to have committed a serious sexual offence. - BBC News website

  • Bulger killer Venables could be murdered, says ex-judge - 8 March
    Jon Venables could be murdered by vigilantes if his news identity is revealed, the judge who originally granted his anonymity has warned. Baroness Butler-Sloss originally made the decision when James Bulg'er stwo killers were released in 2001. - BBC News website
  • 'Every prisoner will be looking out for Venables' - 9 March
    If Jon Venables appears in the dock in a magistrates' court, few will know his true identity. Now 27 years old, he is one of four criminals whose anoymity is enshrined in law. The judicial system now faces the arduous task of trying to honour the order, despite apparent attempts by Venables to reveal who he is. Although details are not being disclosed, he will either be held in a segregation unit or a hospital wing, which provides greater protection from other inmates. If convicted and jailed he will continue to be segregated. - Times Online website
  • Venables should 'have a chance' says his ex-solicitor - 9 March
    Jon Venables' former solicitor urged the justice system not to "give up" on the child killer - recalled to prison over "serious allegations". Laurence Lee told the BBC it was "very hard to class a child as evil" and he still had the right to a chance of rehabilitation. - BBC News website
  • Man mistaken for Bulger killer wants Venables named - 10 March
    A man subjected to a hate campaign over false claims he murdered James Bulger has pleased with Jack Straw to reveal the real killer's new identity. David Calvert said his life had been made unbearable by a Facebook and text message campaign naming him as Jon Venables. - BBC News website
  • James Bulger's mother calls for commissioner's sacking - 14March
    James Bulger's mother has called for England's children's commissioner to be saced for "twisted and insensitive" comments about her son's murder. Denise Fergus spoke out after Maggie Atkinson suggested James's killer should not have been prosecuted because, aged 10, they were too young. Ms Atkinson had said children under 12 did not fully understand their actions. - BBC News website
All dogs to be insured in proposals on dangerous breeds - 9 March
Every dog owner in the UK would have to take out insurance against their pet attacking someone under government proposals to tackle dangerous breeds. Police and local councils could also get new powers to force the owners of dangerous dogs to muzzle them or even get them neutered. - BBC News website

Somerset firefighter charged over cow stampede death - 5 March
A firefighter has been charged with manslaughter after a farmer was killed by stampeding cows. Harold Lee was moving 100 cows from his farm in August 2009 when he was trampled. Mr Lee's family claimed the cows may have been "spooked" by a fire engine siren while being taken to be milked. Julian Lawford was charged and has been suspended from his job. - BBC News website

United States

10 000 claims over 9/11 illness, injuries settled - 12 March
The WTC Captive Insurance Co announced settlements Thursday with more than 10 000 plaintiffs who claimed sickness or injuries after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The settlements could total up to $657 million. WTC Captive was created with a $1 billion FEMA grant. - CNN website

Ohio inmate ODs on pills hours before execution - 8 March
Gov Ted Strickland on Monday postponed the execution of a convicted killer who managed to take an overdose of pills in his death row cell and was found unconscious just hours before he was to be driven to his execution. Strickland issued a seven-day reprieve and rescheduled the execution for March 16. - AP on Google website


'It has never been so bad' : Zimbabwean human rights lawyers under attack - 4 March
Lawyers for Morgan Tsvangirai's office have a list of 184 people, including a boy of 3, who were murdered during the run-off presidential elections in June 2008 that ended with Robert Mugabe having himself declared the winner. Alongside the names of the dead is a column of those who have been identified as perpetrators by witnesses. Not one of these killings, all carried out by people serving President Mugabe, or one of thousands of cases of torture, rape, arson and looting against supporters of Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change, have been investigated or prosecuted. Instead, the Attorney-General's office and police are prosecuting on fabricated charges 26 MDC MPs who were trying to stay alive in the storm of savagery around them. - Times Online website

Zim to review local ownership laws - 3 March
Zimbabwe's Cabinet will review new local ownership rules that have sparked concern among business leaders, the industry minister said on Wednesday, saying the law had been published "prematurely". - Mail & Guardian website
Keyphrase :
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Regulations

Zim prepares to scrutinize amended mining law - 8 March
Zimbabwe has prepared an amended mining law to be presented to cabinet for approval before it is debated in parliament, but it is not clear if the amendment bill will prescribe 51% local ownership of all mines. President Robert Mugabe's government initially published a draft law in 2006 seeking to force miners to sell 51% ownership to indigenes and give up 25% free equity to the state, but the bill lapsed before it was passed. - Business Day website

South African to oversee diamond mining in Chiadzwa - 2 March
A top South African diamond official has arrived in Zimbabwe to assess the country's compliance with the Kimberley Process certification scheme. Abbey Chikane was recently appointed the Kimberley Process's monitor to Zimbabwe after the Southern African refused entry to a monitor from Belgium. - Eye Witness News website

  • Govt accuses De Beers of looting Chiadzwa - 5 March
    The government has accused the region's biggest mining giant, South Africa's De Beers, of looting tonnes of diamonds from the Chiadzw mining fields over a period of 15 years without notifying the state of the discovery of the gems. The government is alleging that it could have lost billions of dollars in revenue from the "looting" of the diamonds by De Beers. - The Independent website
  • Zim businessman sentenced to 5 years - 5 March
    A businessman in Zimbabwe who threatened to reveal the location of a mass grave in the eastern Chiadzwa diamond fields has been jailed for five years. IN a highly controversial case, Newman Chiadzwa was found guity of the illegal possession of diamonds. - Eye Witness News website
Zimbabwe's Bennett wants terrorism charges dropped - 9 March
Lawyers for Zimbabwean opposition politician Roy Bennett asked the High Court on Monday to drop terrorism charges against him in a trial which has raised tensions in Harare's fragile unity government. - Mail & Guardian website

Miscellaneous E-Things

German court orders stored telecoms data deletion - 2 March
Vast amounts of telephone and e-mail data held in Germany must be deleted, the country's highest court has ruled. The constitutional court overturned a 2008 law requiring communications data to be kept for six months. The law required telecoms companies to keep logs of calls, faxes, SMS messages, e-mails and internet use. - BBC News website

Jealous lover jailed over London Facebook photo murder - 9 March
A man who stabbed his ex-lover to death after seeing a Facebook photo of her with a new boyfriend has been jailed fo rlife. The Old Bailey found Paul Bristol guilty of murdering Camille Mathurasingh in April 2009. The IT technician, who lived in Trinidad and Tobago, flew to London within two weeks of seeing the picture and murdered the accountant. He has been ordered to serve a minimum term of 22 years. - BBC News website

Facebook security measures criticised after Ashleigh Hall murder - 9 March
Facebook was today accused of a "glaring failure" to implement advice on protecting children online after the conviction of a man for kidnapping, raping and murdering a teenager he ensnared using the social networking site. Peter Chapman was jailed for life - with a minimum term of 35 years - yesterday for killing Ashleigh Hall, who was 17. The 33-year-old convicted double rapist lured Ashleigh by creating a Facebook profile using the picture of a handsome teenager. - Guardian website

Facebook threatens to sue Daily Mail - 11 March
Facebook has threatened to sue the Daily Mail for damages after the paper wrongly claimed in a piece published on Wednesday that 14-year-old girls who create a profile on the social networking site could be approached "within seconds" by older men who "wanted to perform a sex act" in front of them. - Guardian website