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Myanmar’s government rejected the International Criminal Court’s decision to allow prosecutors to open an investigation into crimes committed against the Rohingya Muslim minority.

Government spokesman Zaw Htay said at a Friday night press conference that Myanmar stood by its position that the Netherlands-based court has no jurisdiction over its actions. His statement was the first official reaction since the court on Thursday agreed to proceed with the case.

Myanmar has been accused of carrying out human rights abuses on a massive scale in the western state of Rakhine in 2017 during what it described as a counterinsurgency campaign.

Zaw Htay cited a Myanmar Foreign Ministry statement from April 2018 that because Myanmar was not a party to the agreement establishing the court, it did not need to abide by the court’s rulings.

“It has already been expressed in the statement that the investigation over Myanmar by the ICC is not in accordance with international law,” he told reporters in the Myanmar capital Naypyitaw.

The court’s position is that because Myanmar’s alleged atrocities sent more than 700,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh for safety, it does have jurisdiction since Bangladesh is a party to the court and the case may involve forced deportation.

Last year’s statement charged that the court’s prosecutor, by claiming jurisdiction, was attempting “to override the principle of national sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of other states.”

The 2018 statement also said Myanmar’s position was that it “has not deported any individuals in the areas of concern and in fact has worked hard in collaboration with Bangladesh to repatriate those displaced from their homes.”

However, there still has been no official repatriation of the Rohingya, and human rights activists charge that Myanmar has not established safe conditions for their return.


Sharply at odds with liberal justices, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority seemed ready Tuesday to allow the Trump administration to abolish protections that permit 660,000 immigrants to work in the U.S., free from the threat of deportation.

That outcome would “destroy lives,” declared Justice Sonia Sotomayor, one the court’s liberals who repeatedly suggested the administration has not adequately justified its decision to end the seven-year-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Nor has it taken sufficient account of the personal, economic and social disruption that might result, they said.


But there did not appear to be any support among the five conservatives for blocking the administration. The nine-member court’s decision is expected by June, at the height of the 2020 presidential campaign.

President Donald Trump said on Twitter that DACA recipients shouldn’t despair if the justices side with him, pledging that “a deal will be made with the Dems for them to stay!” But Trump’s past promises to work with Democrats on a legislative solution for these immigrants have led nowhere.

The president also said in his tweet that many program participants, brought to the U.S. as children and now here illegally, are “far from ‘angels,’” and he claimed that “some are very tough, hardened criminals.” The program bars anyone with a felony conviction from participating, and serious misdemeanors may also bar eligibility.


President Donald Trump is asking the Supreme Court to block a subpoena for his tax returns, in a test of the president’s ability to defy investigations.

The filing Thursday sets the stage for a high court showdown over the tax returns Trump has refused to release, unlike every other modern president. The justices also could weigh in more broadly on Trump’s claim that sitting presidents can’t be prosecuted or investigated for crimes.

The subpoena from the Manhattan district attorney is seeking Trump’s tax returns back to 2011 from his accounting firm as part of a criminal investigation. Trump’s lawyers say a criminal probe of the president at the state or local level is unconstitutional and unprecedented in American history.

“Allowing the sitting president to be targeted for criminal investigation — and to be subpoenaed on that basis— would, like an indictment itself, distract him from the numerous and important duties of his office, intrude on and impair Executive Branch operations, and stigmatize the presidency,” said the brief signed by Jay Sekulow.

Lower courts have so far rejected Trump’s claims of immunity.

Trump wants the court to decide the case by late June, under a deal to keep the district attorney from enforcing the subpoena in the meantime. The justices may not decide whether to hear the case for at least another month.


The Supreme Court said Friday it will referee a high-profile copyright dispute between technology giants Oracle and Google. Oracle says it wants nearly $9 billion from Google.

The case stems from Google’s development of its hugely popular Android operating system by using Oracle’s Java programming language. A federal appeals court found that Google unfairly used Java without paying for it, the second appellate ruling in Oracle’s favor. A trial court has yet to assess damages.

The justices agreed to review the appeals court ruling, and arguments are expected early next year. The first Android phone went on sale in 2008 and Google says more than 2 billion mobile devices now use Android.

The dispute stretches back to 2010, when Oracle filed suit over Google’s use of 11,500 lines of Java code. In the first of two trials, a federal judge ruled that so-called “application programming interfaces” (APIs) weren’t protected by copyright.

After the appeals court overturned that ruling, a jury found in a second trial that Google had made “fair use” of the programming code.

“There is nothing fair about taking a copyrighted work verbatim and using it for the same purpose and function as the original in a competing platform,” Judge Kathleen O’Malley of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit wrote in a decision siding with Oracle.

Microsoft was among many parties that urged the Supreme Court to upend the appeals court ruling. The Trump administration, responding to a request from the court for its views, said the justices should stay out of the case.

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority seems prepared to allow the Trump administration to end a program that allows some immigrants to work legally in the United States and protects them from deportation.

There did not appear to be any support among the five conservatives in extended arguments for blocking the administration’s decision to wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. It currently protects 660,000 immigrants who came to the United States as children and are here illegally.


North Carolina's legislative districts are set for the 2020 elections after the state Supreme Court refused on Friday to fast-track a redistricting appeal. That decision led the plaintiffs who successfully sued based on partisan bias claims to end their legal challenges.

The state's highest court denied the request by Common Cause and state Democrats to step in and hear their appeal on eight state House districts now, rather than require it go through the intermediate Court of Appeals first. The justices gave no reason in their one-sentence order.

Without the bypass to the state Supreme Court, any appeal would have resulted in a lengthy process that probably wouldn't have been resolved until the 2020 elections were over, making a ruling on the districts' final shapes largely moot. So the plaintiffs have decided to quit, focusing instead on what their 2018 litigation accomplished.

"We won't appeal further," said Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause North Carolina. "We're pleased that our landmark victory ... has clearly established that partisan gerrymandering is illegal in North Carolina."

A panel of trial-court judges ordered the Republican-controlled General Assembly to redraw several dozen House and Senate districts that they declared had been enacted in 2017 with the goal of preserving GOP majorities above all else. That violated the state constitution, the judges ruled. The legislature approved replacement boundaries in September.


The Supreme Court’s conservative majority seems prepared to allow the Trump administration to end a program that allows some immigrants to work legally in the United States and protects them from deportation.

There did not appear to be any support among the five conservatives in extended arguments for blocking the administration’s decision to wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. It currently protects 660,000 immigrants who came to the United States as children and are here illegally.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh were among the justices who indicated that the administration has provided sufficient reason for wanting to do away with the program. Justices Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito raised questions about whether courts should even be reviewing the executive branch’s discretionary decisions.

The high court’s decision is expected by June, at the height of the 2020 presidential campaign.

The program was begun under President Barack Obama. The Trump administration announced in September 2017 that it would end DACA protections, but lower federal courts have stepped in to keep the program alive.


The Supreme Court said Tuesday that a survivor and relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting can pursue their lawsuit against the maker of the rifle used to kill 26 people.

The justices rejected an appeal from Remington Arms, which argued it should be shielded by a 2005 federal law preventing most lawsuits against firearms manufacturers when their products are used in crimes.

The case is being watched by gun control advocates, gun rights supporters and gun manufacturers across the country because it has the potential to provide a roadmap for victims of other mass shootings to circumvent the federal law and sue the makers of firearms.

The court’s order allows the lawsuit filed in Connecticut state court by a survivor and relatives of nine victims who died at the Newtown, Connecticut, school on Dec. 14, 2012, to go forward.

The lawsuit says the Madison, North Carolina-based company should never have sold a weapon as dangerous as the Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle to the general public. It also alleges Remington targeted younger, at-risk males in marketing and product placement in violent video games. Opponents of the suit contend that gunman Adam Lanza alone is responsible for killing 20 first graders and six educators. He was 20 years old.

The Connecticut Supreme Court had earlier ruled 4-3 that the lawsuit could proceed for now, citing an exemption in the federal law. The decision overturned a ruling by a trial court judge who dismissed the lawsuit based on the 2005 federal law, named the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

The majority of justices in the state Supreme Court ruling, however, said it may be a “Herculean task” for the families to prove their case at trial.

The federal law has been criticized by gun control advocates as being too favorable to gun-makers. It has been cited by other courts that rejected lawsuits against gun-makers and dealers in other high-profile shooting attacks, including the 2012 Colorado movie theater shooting and the Washington, D.C., sniper shootings in 2002.


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