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A French court has postponed until Nov. 7 a decision on whether to uphold preliminary charges against French cement manufacturer Lafarge, including "complicity in crimes against humanity."

The decision comes as the Paris appeal court on Thursday ruled in favor of Lafarge's request that some NGOs that had filed legal complaints could no longer be plaintiffs in the case.

Lafarge has acknowledged funneling money to Syrian armed organizations in 2013 and 2014 —allegedly including the Islamic State group— to guarantee safe passage for employees and supply its plant in the war-torn country.

The company appealed the charges, which also include financing a terrorist enterprise, violation of an embargo and endangering others.

The wrongdoing preceded Lafarge's merger with Swiss company Holcim in 2015 to create LafargeHolcim, the world's largest cement maker.




A historian’s effort to unseal grand jury records from the brazen 1946 lynching of two black couples on a Georgia riverbank prompted tough questions in a federal appeals court, but the judges also suggested there might be another way to win release of the records.

The young black sharecroppers were traveling a rural road in the summer of 1946 when a white mob stopped the car beside the Apalachee River, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Atlanta. The mob dragged them out, led them to the river’s edge and shot them to death in a case that horrified the nation that year.

The FBI investigated for months and more than 100 people reportedly testified before a grand jury, but no one was ever indicted in the deaths of Roger and Dorothy Malcom and George and Mae Murray Dorsey at Moore’s Ford Bridge in Walton County.

Historian Anthony Pitch wrote about the unsolved killings — “The Last Lynching: How a Gruesome Mass Murder Rocked a Small Georgia Town” — and continued his research after the book’s 2016 publication. He learned transcripts of the grand jury proceedings, once thought to have been destroyed, were stored by the National Archives.

Pitch, died in June at age 80, before his case could be resolved, but his widow is continuing the fight, along with Laura Wexler, who wrote another book about the lynching and joined the case at the family’s request.


A historian’s quest for the truth about a gruesome mob lynching of two black couples is prompting a U.S. appeals court to consider whether federal judges can order grand jury records unsealed in decades-old cases with historical significance.

The young black sharecroppers were being driven along a rural road in the summer of 1946 when they were stopped by a white mob beside the Apalachee River, just over 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Atlanta. The mob dragged them out, led them to the riverbank and shot them multiple times. For months the FBI investigated and more than 100 people reportedly testified before a grand jury, but no one was ever indicted in the deaths of Roger and Dorothy Malcom and George and Mae Murray Dorsey at Moore’s Ford Bridge in Walton County.

Historian Anthony Pitch wrote a book about the killings — “The Last Lynching: How a Gruesome Mass Murder Rocked a Small Georgia Town” — and continued his research after its 2016 publication. He learned transcripts from the grand jury proceedings, thought to have been destroyed, were stored by the National Archives.

Heeding Pitch’s request, a federal judge in 2017 ordered the records unsealed. But the U.S. Department of Justice appealed , arguing grand jury proceedings are secret and should remain sealed.


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared in a U.K. court Monday to fight extradition to the United States on espionage charges, and he lost a bid to delay proceedings so that his legal team would have more time to prepare his case.

Assange defiantly raised a fist to supporters who jammed the public gallery in Westminster Magistrates Court for a rare view of their hero. He appears to have lost weight but looked healthy, although he spoke very softly and at times seemed despondent and confused.

Assange and his legal team failed to convince District Judge Vanessa Baraitser that a delay in the already slow-moving case was justified. The full extradition is still set for a five-day hearing in late February, with brief interim hearings in November and December.

Assange hadn’t been seen in public for several months and his supporters had raised concerns about his well-being. He wore a blue sweater and a blue sports suit for the hearing, and had his silvery-gray hair slicked back.

After the judge turned down his bid for a three-month delay, Assange said in halting tones he didn’t understand the events in court.

He said the case is not “equitable” because the U.S. government has “unlimited resources” while he doesn’t have easy access to his lawyers or to documents needed to prepare his battle against extradition while he is confined to Belmarsh Prison on the outskirts of London.

U.S. authorities accuse Assange of scheming with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break a password for a classified government computer.

Lawyer Mark Summers, representing Assange, told the judge that more time was needed to prepare Assange’s defense because the case has many facets, including the very rare use of espionage charges against a journalist, and will require a “mammoth” amount of planning and preparation

“Our case will be that this is a political attempt to signal to journalists the consequences of publishing information. It is legally unprecedented,” he said.

He also accused the U.S. of illegally spying on Assange while he was inside the Ecuadorian Embassy seeking refuge and taking other illegal actions against the WikiLeaks founder.


An influential Brexit expert at the European Parliament says the legislature might even meet in an extraordinary plenary next week if that is what is needed to push the Brexit deal through.

The EU parliament is awaiting approval for the Brexit deal in the House of Commons, which could come in the next hours or days. After that, the EU could move speedily.

Greens lawmaker Philippe Lamberts said Monday that "we could ratify next week, if not this one."

He added the Brexit deal could also spill into November, beyond the current Oct. 31 deadline for Britain to leave the EU.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already asked for a Brexit extension even though he is still trying to get out of the EU by the end of the month.


The Supreme Court will review a lower court ruling in favor of a man seeking asylum and which the Trump administration says could further clog the U.S. immigration court system.

The justices said Friday they will hear the administration's appeal of a ruling by the federal appeals court in San Francisco that blocked the quick deportation of a man from Sri Lanka.

The high court's decision should come by early summer in the middle of the presidential campaign. It could have major implications for those seeking asylum and administration efforts to speed up deportations for many who enter the U.S. and claim they'll be harmed if they are sent home.

The court's intervention comes in the case of Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam. He is a member of the Tamil ethnic minority who says he was jailed and tortured for political activity during the civil war between the government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

He fled the country in 2016, after he was tortured again by intelligence officers, he said in court papers. He crossed the U.S.-Mexico border on Feb. 17, 2017 where he was arrested by a Border Patrol agent 25 yards into the U.S.

He requested asylum. But he did not pass his initial screening, a "credible fear" interview where he had to show a well-founded fear of persecution, torture or death if he were to return to his home country. Nearly 90 percent of all asylum seekers pass their initial interview, and then are generally released into the country where they await court proceedings.


The Supreme Court is stepping into a yearslong, politically charged fight over the federal consumer finance watchdog agency that was created in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

The justices agreed Friday to review an appeals court decision that upheld the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The agency has long been a target of conservative Republicans.

The Justice Department usually defends federal law. But the Trump administration agrees with a California law firm challenging the CFPB that the president should be able to fire the agency's director for any reason.

The CFPB was created as part of the Dodd-Frank legislation in response to the financial crisis.

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