As jurors go online, U.S. trials go off track
Facebook, Twitter and smart phones cause mistrials, appeals and overturned verdicts
ATLANTA – The explosion of blogging, tweeting and other online diversions has reached into U.S. jury boxes, raising serious questions about juror impartiality and the ability of judges to control courtrooms.
A Reuters Legal analysis found that jurors’ forays on the Internet have resulted in dozens of mistrials, appeals and overturned verdicts in the last two years.
For decades, courts have instructed jurors not to seek information about cases outside of evidence introduced at trial, and jurors are routinely warned not to communicate about a case with anyone before a verdict is reached. But jurors these days can, with a few clicks, look up definitions of legal terms on Wikipedia, view crime scenes via Google Earth, or update their blogs and Facebook pages with snide remarks about the proceedings.
WikiLeaks vs The Machine
US government tells firms to pull plug on whistleblowing website as hackers cause chaos with revenge attacks on Assange’s ‘enemies’
By Martin Hickman Thursday, 9 December 2010
The American corporations blamed for trying to silence WikiLeaks are under sustained attack from a loose global alliance of anonymous cyber hackers.
As the 39-year-old Australian editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks languished in Wandsworth Prison accused of sex offences, the financial and technological giants that withdrew support from the website in the face of pressure from the US government were hit by online hacking attacks, paralysing their net operations. MasterCard’s website was downed.
US Energy Secretary Plays Climate Activist
Chu in Cancun
By Christian Schwägerl in Cancun, Mexico
After getting this much praise, most politicians would smile proudly and bask in the recognition. But Steven Chu, who had just flown in from Washington and was sitting in Building D at the conference center in Cancun, where the United Nations Climate Change Conference is currently being held, didn’t move a muscle as his achievements were listed. He knows full well that he was recognized as a top researcher at Stanford and Berkeley, that he is a member of elite science academies in both the United States and China, and that he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997 — and he isn’t interested in the things he already knows.
US targets groups with ties to website
Ewen MacAskill in WASHINGTON and Josh Halliday
December 9, 2010
THE list of targets is expanding daily as Washington, smarting over the damage caused by the release of secret diplomatic cables, mounts a revenge operation against WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, and anyone associated with them.
MasterCard, the world’s second-biggest payments network, is the latest business to cut access to WikiLeaks. Visa Europe had earlier announced it would do so.
WikiLeaks cables: Shell’s grip on Nigerian state revealed
US embassy cables reveal top executive’s claims that company ‘knows everything’ about key decisions in government ministries
David Smith in Lagos
The oil giant Shell claimed it had inserted staff into all the main ministries of the Nigerian government, giving it access to politicians’ every move in the oil-rich Niger Delta, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable.
The company’s top executive in Nigeria told US diplomats that Shell had seconded employees to every relevant department and so knew “everything that was being done in those ministries”. She boasted that the Nigerian government had “forgotten” about the extent of Shell’s infiltration and was unaware of how much the company knew about its deliberations.
‘Ultra’ football fans protest over shooting
By Shaun Walker in Moscow Thursday, 9 December 2010
Fans of SpartakMoscow football club have blocked one of the Russian capital’s main thoroughfares and chanted nationalist slogans, demanding revenge, after one of the club’s fans was killed by a migrant from the country’s troubled North Caucasus.
Yegor Sviridov, a 28-year-old Spartak fan believed to be part of an “ultra” group, was with his friend, 25-year-old Dmitry Filatov on Sunday night, when the pair got into a fight with a group of men.
According to police reports, he was shot four times – including once in the head – and died, while Mr Filatov is currently in hospital with stomach injuries.
US says efforts to revive Middle East talks have failed
The Irish Times – Thursday, December 9, 2010
MARK WEISS in Jerusalem
PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT Mahmoud Abbas is due to hold talks in Cairo today with Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak as the parties in the region weigh their responses to the US announcement that efforts to revive the direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have failed.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said a next step would be to ask the United States to recognise a Palestinian state.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, a top aide to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, said the Palestinians were assessing their options before responding to the American announcement.
Iran is still talking, if nothing else
December 9, 2010
It could hardly be called an agreement. But when talks between Iran and a European Union-led delegation broke up in Geneva on Tuesday, a faint promise of more powwow hung in the chill Swiss air.
The deal was that the two sides would reconvene in Istanbul next month. But the history of this brittle discourse has been that dates and venues can change in a thrice as one side or the other gets in a huff, mooted talks evaporate and what is thought to be an agreement falls apart.
The Tehran delegation was determined to lard the agenda for the Geneva meeting, but the US and its P5+1 team – representatives of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany – were focused almost entirely on Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
China crackdown on dissent ahead of Nobel ceremony
By Steven Jiang, CNN
December 9, 2010 — Updated 0346 GMT
Zeng Jinyan knows all too well what it was like to be a prisoner in her own home.
“Living under police watch for a long time and with all connections to the outside world cut off — it was very painful and hard to endure,” said the 27-year-old charity worker.
Zeng was not charged with any crime but was put under house arrest for several months in 2008 after police arrested her husband Hu Jia, a pro-democracy activist. Hu was later sentenced to three and a half years’ imprisonment for “inciting subversion of state power.”
Varanasi blast breaks terror lull
By Sudha Ramachandran
BANGALORE – The relative lull in terror attacks in India has been broken by a blast at Varanasi in northern India on Tuesday.
A two-year-old child was killed and five others were injured in the explosion, while about 20 people, including several foreigners, were injured in the stampede that it triggered.
The blast, caused by an improvised explosive device (IED) placed in a milk container, took place on the paved steps of the Sitala Ghat, adjacent to the more famous Dashashwamedh Ghat and near Varanasi’s famous Kashi-Vishwanath temple.
Southern Sudan accuses North of fresh attacks
THURSDAY, 09 DECEMBER 2010 00:00
THE Southern Sudan’s main party has accused the north of launching new bomb attacks on the region.
Pagan Amum, secretary-general of the former rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, said the air attacks occurred this week in the states of Western and Northern Bahr al-Ghazal.
There has been no independent confirmation of the alleged bombings.
Amum said the attacks are an attempt by Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party to disrupt the south’s referendum on independence, scheduled for January 9.
But a prominent member of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) described as ridiculous accusations that his party was behind the latest bombing attack.
Rwandan archive on 1994 genocide opens tomorrow
THURSDAY, 09 DECEMBER 2010 00:00 BY FRANCIS OBINOR
AT the Kigali Genocide Memorial (KGM) in Rwanda tomorrow, on slopes above mass graves containing over 250,000 of those murdered, a documentation facility will be unveiled that is set to make the 1994 genocide one of the most comprehensively documented – and most easily researchable – genocides of all time.
In a statement made available to The Guardian yesterday, Dr. James Smith, Chief Executive of the Aegis Trust said “The Genocide Archive of Rwanda will provide unique and growing evidence for the present and future generations to enquire more about how genocide develops in order to better understand how it may be prevented.”
Adrift on Robinson Crusoe Island, the forgotten few
When the wave struck, islanders were abandoned to their fate. Patrick Bodenham reports from the Juan Fernandez archipelago.
Thursday, 9 December 2010
As Chile’s President, Sebastian Piñera, basked in the plaudits that followed the successful rescue of 33 trapped miners, he toured European capitals handing out chunks of rock to national leaders retrieved from the bottom of the San Jose mine. David Cameron received his mounted piece of rock; in return he handed over a copy of Robinson Crusoe.
It may have seemed a curious diplomatic exchange, but it highlighted an earlier event that rocked Chile in 2010.
Rather cool here in NYC 28F.
This is just sick. These people are not Christians.
Westboro church to protest Elizabeth Edwards funeral