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German court: e-cigarette liquids not medicines

  Law Center  -   POSTED: 2014/11/22 09:20

A German federal court has ruled that the liquids contained in e-cigarettes aren't medicinal products and can be sold freely.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that produce an odorless vapor which typically contains nicotine, and sometimes flavorings. The Federal Administrative Court delivered its verdict Thursday in a case involving a woman who ran an e-cigarette shop in the western city of Wuppertal.

City authorities barred her in 2012 from selling liquids containing nicotine in various strengths on the ground that they were pharmaceutical products which weren't licensed as such and therefore couldn't be marketed. A lower court ruling went against the plaintiff.

E-cigarettes are often described as a less dangerous alternative to regular cigarettes that may help regular smokers quit. However, there hasn't been much research on them yet.

Indian guru in deadly standoff due in court

  International  -   POSTED: 2014/11/21 09:19

An Indian guru at the center of a deadly standoff with police was set to appear in court Friday after he was arrested at his sprawling ashram for refusing to answer murder charges.

Nearly 15,000 supporters of the 63-year-old Sant Rampal were evacuated from his compound in Haryana state before police took him away in an ambulance Wednesday. Previous attempts by riot police to enter the fortified estate, about 175 kilometers (110 miles) from New Delhi, had resulted in deaths and injuries as Rampal's followers, some of whom were armed, fought back.

The self-styled guru was taken to Chandigarh, the state capital, to appear before a court Friday.

He has repeatedly ignored orders to answer a 2006 murder charge against him. Police have filed additional charges against him and some of his supporters, including sedition, murder, criminal conspiracy and detaining people illegally in his fortress, said Jawahar Yadav, a Haryana state government spokesman.

More than 400 people have been arrested and about 200 others injured, including security forces, during the dayslong standoff.

The guru's followers on Wednesday handed over to police the bodies of four women who apparently died inside the 12-acre (5-hectare) complex. Another woman and an 18-month-old child died in a hospital after leaving the ashram.

The circumstances of the deaths were not clear and autopsies were being conducted.

North Carolina legislators aren't required to give up emails with other lawmakers and staff to those suing over the state's election-overhaul law, but correspondence with third parties is largely fair game, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Joi Peake ruled on the extent of legislative confidentiality in three lawsuits filed against the state and officials including Gov. Pat McCrory and challenging provisions of the 2013 law. Attorneys are collecting evidence for trial on the lawsuits next summer.

Those who sued demanded emails and other correspondence from more than a dozen state legislators that they hoped would provide insight to why the law was approved. The lawsuits, filed by civil rights groups, the U.S. government and voters among others, say that elements of the law are unconstitutional and discriminatory under the Voting Rights Act because they harm minority voters.

The lawsuits seek to overturn provisions that reduced the number of early voting days by one week, ended same-day registration during the early-voting period and mandate photo identification to vote in 2016.

In her ruling, Peake said legislative privilege applies to communications between legislators and their aides but not between lawmakers and constituents or interest groups. The state's attorneys cited no authority by which lawmakers should receive the privilege simply because they expected privacy with the communications, she wrote.

Peake rejected a request by the suing groups to require state attorneys to create a log of specific documents with lawmakers or staff corresponding with each other and that lawmakers believe are subject to the privilege — presumably for Peake later to decide whether the documents should be disclosed.

The privilege log "would itself significantly intrude into the legislative sphere, and would also place a heavy burden on the legislators in contravention of one of the aims of the legislative privilege," she wrote.

A Swedish appeals court has upheld the detention order on Julian Assange, dismissing a challenge by the WikiLeaks founder who is wanted by Swedish prosecutors in an investigation of alleged sex crimes.
The Svea appeals court on Thursday upheld a decision by a lower court saying there is no reason to lift the detention order just because it cannot be enforced at the moment.  

Assange has avoided being extradited to Sweden by taking shelter in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

Assange has not been formally indicted in Sweden, but he is wanted for questioning by police over allegations of sexual misconduct and rape involving two women he met during a visit to the Scandinavian country in 2010. He denies the allegations.

EU Court adviser backs cap on bank bonuses

  Business  -   POSTED: 2014/11/20 08:57

A key adviser to the European Union's highest court is siding against Britain and wants the EU cap on bankers' bonuses to be maintained.
Advocate General of the European Court of Justice Niilo Jaaskinen suggested Thursday that British attempts to derail the EU financial law "should be rejected," advising the court to dismiss the action.

EU legislation limits banking bonuses at one year's base salary and double that if a large majority of shareholders agree. The advice of the advocate general is confirmed in a majority of cases when the court itself makes a ruling, which is expected within months.

Britain says the rules will lead to an increase in bankers' fixed pay, drive away talent and weaken Europe's financial industry, the heart of which is in London's City.

Va. woman charged in terror case due in court

  Court Watch  -   POSTED: 2014/11/19 08:50

A Virginia woman charged with lying to federal investigators about supporting the Islamic State militant group is scheduled to appear in federal court.
A detention hearing is set Wednesday afternoon in Richmond for 29-year-old Heather Elizabeth Coffman of Henrico County. She has been in custody since her arrest Monday.

According to an affidavit filed by an FBI agent, Coffman's Facebook posts supporting the extremist organization also known as ISIS prompted an undercover investigation. The FBI says she talked about making arrangements for her husband to train and fight with the group in Syria, only to have him back out when they split up. The FBI says Coffman offered to make similar arrangements for the undercover agent.

Court records show a judge has barred lawyers from talking publicly about the case.

Gay marriage issue squarely before high court

  Law Center  -   POSTED: 2014/11/18 08:48

A same-sex couple from Michigan is putting the question of the right to marry nationwide squarely before the Supreme Court.

The couple's plea to be allowed to marry was being filed Monday. It asks the justices to hold that state laws prohibiting same-sex couples from getting married violate "our nation's most cherished and essential guarantees."

The appeal from Detroit-area hospital nurses April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse calls on the court to overturn an appeals court ruling that upheld anti-gay marriage laws in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

Michigan officials have said they would not oppose Supreme Court review, but would vigorously defend a provision of the state constitution that prohibits same-sex marriage.

The justices also will consider appeals from gay and lesbian plaintiffs in the other three states.

The Kentucky case also involves the right of sex-same couples to marry, but Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway has declined to defend the state ban and Gov. Steve Beshear has hired private attorneys to represent the state. The Ohio appeal focuses on the state's refusal to recognize out-of-state gay marriages because of its own ban, while the Tennessee case is narrowly focused on the rights of three same-sex couples.

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