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The European Union's top court on Wednesday rejected legal action by Hungary and Slovakia to avoid accepting refugees under an EU scheme, a decision seen as a victory for countries bearing the greatest burden of Europe's migrant wave.

In a long-awaited ruling, the European Court of Justice said that it had "dismissed in its entirety the actions brought by Slovakia and Hungary."

EU countries agreed in September 2015 to relocate 160,000 refugees from Greece and Italy over two years, but only around 27,700 people have been moved so far. Hungary and Slovakia were seeking to have the legally binding move annulled.

Hungary and Poland have refused to take part in the scheme, while so far Slovakia has accepted only a handful of refugees from Greece.

The refugee scheme was adopted by the EU's "qualified majority" vote — around two thirds — and the ECJ held that this was appropriate, saying the EU "was not required to act unanimously" on this decision.

The court also noted that the small number of relocations so far is due to a series of factors that the EU could not really have foreseen, including "the lack of cooperation on the part of certain member states."

Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico said he respected the court decision, but that his government still does not like the relocation scheme, which some see as a system of quotas imposed on countries by unelected EU bureaucrats in Brussels.

"We fully respect the verdict of the European Court of Justice," Fico told reporters, adding that his country's negative stance on the relocation plan "has not changed at all."

Fico said the scheme was a temporary solution. He says he believes his country doesn't face any sanctions from the EU over its stance. EU officials say the relocation of eligible asylum-seekers in Greece and Italy will continue even after the scheme ends.


A French court ruled Tuesday that photographers and gossip magazine executives violated the privacy of Britain’s Duchess of Cambridge by taking and publishing photographs of the former Kate Middleton sunbathing topless.

The court in a Paris suburb fined two executives of French gossip magazine Closer — owner Ernesto Mauri and executive editor Laurence Pieau — each the maximum of 45,000 euros ($53,500) for such an offense.

The Closer executives, along with two photographers for a celebrity photo agency, were collectively ordered to pay 50,000 euros ($59,500) in damages to Kate and the same amount to her husband, Prince William.

The damage award was substantially below the figure that the magazine’s lawyer said the royals had requested, but the timing of the court’s finding of privacy invasion had particular resonance in Britain.

Last week marked the 20th anniversary of the death of William’s mother, Princess Diana, who was killed in a Paris car accident that occurred while she was being pursued by paparazzi.


The royal couple did not attend the hearing where the verdict was announced. Their office at Kensington Palace said they were pleased the court ruled in their favor and now consider the matter closed.

Kate and William “wished to make the point strongly that this kind of unjustified intrusion should not happen,” the palace said in a statement.



A jilted husband's lawsuit against a doctor accused of stealing his wife's love can proceed after a North Carolina appeals court ruled Tuesday that the husband can continue suing the spouse's lover, seeking damages.

The state Court of Appeals decision resurrects a lawsuit that a trial judge had thrown out in Forsyth County, whose seat is Winston-Salem. The judge ruled that state law violates a person's constitutional free speech and free expression rights to engage in intimate sexual activity and expression with other consenting adults.

North Carolina is one of only about a half-dozen states that still allow lawsuits accusing a cheating spouse's lover of alienation of affection and criminal conversation.

"These laws were born out of misogyny and in modern times are often used as tools for enterprising divorce lawyers seeking leverage over the other side," Judge Richard Dietz wrote in the unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel. Nevertheless, such lawsuits "are designed to prevent and remedy personal injury, and to protect the promise of monogamy that accompanies most marriage commitments."

The court said Marc Malecek filed the lawsuit after his wife, a nurse, had an affair in 2015 with Dr. Derek Williams, a physician at the hospital where the woman works. Williams challenged the laws as unconstitutional, citing a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision voiding a Texas law outlawing homosexual acts because liberty meant allowing adults to make their own decisions about conduct.

Williams argued that the state laws "target extra-marital intimacy or sex because the State disapproves of expressing that intimacy while married to someone else," Dietz wrote.

The largest alienation award in state history was in 2011, when a Wake County judge awarded $30 million to the former wife of a Raleigh business owner. The ex-wife had sued the businessman's current spouse.

About 200 lawsuits alleging alienation are filed each year in North Carolina, but the potential liability is raised in virtually every divorce case that involves infidelity, Raleigh divorce attorney Lisa Angel said in an interview.

"People who are suffering a divorce as a result of an affair, there's a lot of economic damage. It's not that hard to make the case, as the court is making it clear here, that there's injury to a person when this happens," Angel said.




Foxconn Technology Group could appeal lawsuits directly to the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court, skipping the state appeals court, under changes to a $3 billion incentive package the Legislature's budget-writing committee approved Tuesday.

The unprecedented change to the usual judicial process drew criticism from Democrats, who also blasted the $3 billion incentives as a corporate welfare giveaway. But they didn't have the votes needed to stop the proposal.

The Republican-controlled committee approved the bill on a party line 12-4 vote. The state Senate planned to vote on it Sept. 12, with the Assembly expected to quickly follow. Both are under GOP control.

The Assembly approved it last month, but will have to vote again since the committee changed the measure which amounts to the largest state tax break to a foreign corporation in U.S. history. It must pass both houses of the Legislature in the same form before going to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature.

Taiwan-based Foxconn signed a deal with Wisconsin to invest up to $10 billion in the state on a massive flat-screen manufacturing campus that could employ up to 13,000 people. The plant is to be built in southeastern Wisconsin and be open as soon as 2020, although Foxconn has not identified its exact location yet.

"This is probably the biggest thing to happen to Wisconsin since the cow," Republican budget committee co-chair Rep. John Nygren said Tuesday.

Proponents say the plant offers a once-in-a lifetime opportunity for the state, while critics say the state is giving away too much with the $3 billion incentive package. The bill also waives environmental regulations that will allow Foxconn to build in wetland and waterways and construct its 20-million-square-foot campus without first doing an environmental impact statement.


A Moscow court ruled Monday to keep arguably Russia's most revered contemporary theater and film director under house arrest, in a criminal case that has fueled fears of a revival of Soviet era-like crackdown on the arts.

The Moscow City Court turned down Kirill Serebrennikov's appeal against a ruling last week to put him under house arrest, but agreed to allow him a two-hour walk outside the house each day.

Serebrennikov was arrested last month on charges of embezzlement in St. Petersburg, where he was shooting a movie, and taken to Moscow under armed escort.

For many in Russia, particularly in the arts scene, a photograph of the stunned-looking director, handcuffed and escorted to the court by three burly masked men, came as the ultimate proof that Soviet-style censorship has returned.

Investigators are accusing the 47-year old director of scheming to embezzle about $1.1 million in government funds allocated for one of his productions and the projects he championed between 2011 and 2014. Serebrennikov dismissed the accusations as "absurd and impossible."

The director was briefly detained and questioned in May but investigators stopped short of saying they suspected he was involved. An accountant and one senior manager who worked with Serebrennikov are in custody and another manager is under house arrest.

Marina Davydova, a theater critic and a friend of Serebrennikov's who saw him shortly before the arrest, said he had somewhat anticipated his arrest but did not consider fleeing Russia because of his work commitments. In the few months between the questioning in May and his arrest in August, one of Russia's most sought-after directors staged one opera in Moscow, nearly finished another and began filming a movie in St. Petersburg.

"Kirill is a creative powerhouse," Davydova told The Associated Press. "They took his passport during the search. He cannot run away from work, he is constrained by it much more than (the absence of a) passport. He is an idealist, he kept saying till the end: So, everything I built here - it's all for nothing?"

Serebrennikov's cutting-edge productions, which range from drama to opera and movies, have been running against a more conservative streak in Russia society. He's focused on the little discussed subjects such as official lies, corruption and sex. Though bringing him critical acclaim, his work has been condemned by the more hard-line elements within Russian society, who protested against the use of state funds to finance his endeavors.

In what was largely perceived as the first warning shot from his high-placed enemies, the Bolshoi Theater in July canceled a much-anticipated ballet about dancer Rudolf Nureyev just three days before the opening night. Despite the numerous reports suggesting otherwise, the Bolshoi denied that the Nureyev ballet, directed by Serebrennikov, had been scrapped because of its frank description of his gay relationships, a taboo under a strict Russian law banning gay propaganda.

Conservative activists have felt empowered since Vladimir Putin returned as Russia's president in 2012. Art shows have been ransacked while theater shows have been cancelled under pressure from church officials. Tensions peaked earlier this year when conservative activists led by a lawmaker lashed out at a yet-to-be-released movie about the last czar's affair with a ballerina. The film's director has received threats, and unidentified attackers threw Molotov's cocktails at his studios last week.

Davydova, the theater critic, is convinced that Serebrennikov's arrest is a personal vendetta by those who feel empowered enough to go after the likes of Serebrennikov, someone they consider to be an unpatriotic deviant.


A military equipment dealer was convicted Thursday of scheming with soldiers at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to steal sensitive material for sale to buyers in Russia, China and Mexico.

John Roberts, of Clarksville, Tennessee, was found guilty of conspiracy to steal and sell government property, two counts of violating the Arms Export Control Act and 10 counts of wire fraud. Prosecutors said he faces up to five years in prison for conspiracy and up to 20 years for each count of arms export violations and wire fraud.

More than $1 million in weapons parts, body armor, helmets, gun sights and other equipment was stolen and sold in a vast black market, prosecutors said. Six soldiers and another civilian pleaded guilty. One testified that Roberts was given a tour of the base to see items to be stolen. Eventually, they brought equipment back from Afghanistan and sold it by the truckload.



The mayor of a southern Indiana city is defending a rental inspection ordinance that’s resulted in thousands of dollars in fines against property owners and is the subject of a lawsuit.

Charlestown Mayor Bob Hall testified during Friday’s daylong hearing in Scott County Circuit Court that the ordinance is needed to ensure safe housing in his Ohio River community.

The News and Tribune reported the Institute for Justice sued the city of Charlestown on behalf of residents in the Pleasant Ridge neighborhood.

The nonprofit law firm’s attorneys argued during Friday’s hearing that the city broke Indiana law when it fined property owners without first giving them “reasonable time” to make repairs to return to compliance.

The group wants to block Charlestown officials from enforcing the ordinance.

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