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The southern Indian state of Kerala on Tuesday became the first to legally challenge a new citizenship law that has triggered nationwide demonstrations.

In a petition to the Supreme Court, the state government said the law violates the secular nature of India's Constitution, and accused the government of dividing the nation along communal lines.

The citizenship law backed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist party provides a path to naturalization for people from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, unless they’re Muslim. It has triggered nationwide protests and clashes with police, leading to 23 deaths.
The rallies have slowly morphed into much wider anti-government protests.

Critics say the law, which was passed by Parliament on Dec. 11, will be used in conjunction with a citizenship registry that could require all Indians to produce documents proving their origins, a challenge in a country where many people lack official records including birth certificates.

Kerala, a state ruled by a communist party, has strongly opposed the law and passed a resolution against in early January. The state government criticized the law in front-page advertisements in at least three national newspapers on Jan. 10, saying the state is "leading the efforts to protect constitutional values.”

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party said the move by the state was political.

Pinarayi Vijayan, chief minister of the state, has also written to the heads of 11 other states not ruled by Modi’s party, urging them to unite in their fight against the law.


A Cyprus court on Monday found a 19 year-old British woman guilty of fabricating claims that she was gang raped by 12 Israelis in a hotel room at a tourist resort in the east Mediterranean island nation, saying that her story lacked credibility.

Famagusta District Court Judge Michalis Papathanasiou said the defendant didn't tell the truth and tried to deceive the court with “evasive” statements in her testimony.

The woman says she is innocent and will appeal the ruling.

The case had triggered widespread interest in Britain and Israel. It was reported as a shocking gang rape until Cypriot authorities cast down on the woman's account.

The woman, who has not been identified, was found guilty of the charge of “public mischief,” which carries a maximum fine of 1,700 euros ($1,900) and up to a year imprisonment. She will remain in Cyprus until her Jan. 7 sentencing.

Emerging from the court house after the verdict, both the woman and her mother wore strips of fabric over their mouths onto which stitched lips were drawn.

The woman told investigators that she had been raped by as many as a dozen Israelis aged 15-20 on July 17. Cyprus police said she retracted the allegations 10 days later after investigators found what they said were inconsistencies in her statements.


A Mexican immigrant fighting President Donald Trump’s attempt to end a program shielding young immigrants from deportation says he is nervous about the case finally being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Martín Batalla Vidal is a lead plaintiff in one of the cases to preserve the Obama-era program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and has seen his name splashed in legal documents since 2016, when he first sued in New York.

The 29-year-old certified nursing assistant at a rehabilitation clinic for traumatic brain injury in Queens, New York, has described the legal journey since then as stressful, with people sending him hateful messages. He has had to sacrifice days at work so he could go to protests, press conferences and meetings with attorneys.

Even with his worries, Batalla Vidal is hopeful immigrants like him will be able to stay in the country.

“I don’t know what is going to happen,” said Batalla Vidal, who lives with his mother, two brothers and a dog in an apartment at the border of Queens and Brooklyn. “Whatever the outcome is, we know that we have fought hard for it and we will continue fighting. I am trying to be positive.”

The nation’s highest court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the case Tuesday.

The program protects about 700,000 people, often called “Dreamers,” who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children or came with families that overstayed visas.


The Nebraska Supreme Court has upheld the convictions and the up to 200-year prison sentence for an Omaha serial rapist.

On Friday, the high court rejected 43-year-old Brandon Weathers’ arguments that his trial lawyer was ineffective and that his constitutional rights had been violated with state authorities collected his DNA against his will after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a child.

That DNA collection linked him to the rapes of four other women in Omaha between 2002 and 2004.

Weathers was found guilty last year of four counts of first-degree sexual assault in those rapes and was sentenced to 160 to 200 years in prison. He was already serving a 50- to 80-year sentence years for raping a 13-year-old girl.



An Army infantry soldier described by a prosecutor as a Satanist hoping to overthrow the U.S. government faces a federal court hearing in a case in which he’s charged with distributing information about building bombs.

The hearing in U.S. District Court in Topeka on Monday comes about five weeks after Jarrett William Smith pleaded not guilty to charges of distributing explosives information and making a threatening interstate communication. His attorneys have argued he was only an internet troll spouting off online.

Smith was a private stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. He’s accused of providing information about explosives to an FBI undercover agent and with threatening to burn down the house of a far-left-leaning “antifa” member.

Authorities say he also wanted to target a major news organization with a car bomb.


Billionaire Samsung scion Lee Jae-yong appeared in court Friday for a retrial on corruption allegations linked to a 2016 scandal that spurred massive street protests and sent South Korea's then-president to prison.  

"I feel deeply sorry for worrying many people," Lee said while facing a barrage of camera clicks before walking into the Seoul High Court with his lawyers. He didn't answer questions about the prospects of a jail term or how that would affect Samsung's business. Some protesters shouted "Arrest Lee Jae-yong!"

The Supreme Court in August ordered the retrial after concluding the amount of bribes Lee was accused of providing to ex-President Park Geun-hye and her confidante had been underestimated in a previous ruling that freed the Samsung Electronics vice chairman from jail on a suspended sentence.

While Lee apparently faces an increased possibility of serving jail time in the retrial, it's unclear what that would mean for Samsung, the world's largest manufacturer of computer chips, smartphones and TVs.

Some experts say a jailed Lee would hurt Samsung's decision-making process at a critical time as the company grapples with instability in the semiconductor market and ramifications from the trade war between the United States and China.


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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