Tag Archives: NEWS

Italy’s anti-mafia squad in overdrive as asylum seekers flood into Europe


Italy’s investigators are ramping up their efforts to stop organised criminal gangs — including the mafia — from smuggling people into the country, in the face of record asylum seeker arrivals.

The number of people who made the hazardous boat journey across Mediterranean Sea from Africa to Italy increased by 17 per cent in 2016.

A record-breaking 180,746 people arrived in the Italian regions of Sicily, Calabria, Apulia and Campania, up from 153,842 in 2015.

Dr Gery Ferrara — the lead anti-mafia prosecutor responsible for investigating the criminal networks that smuggle people to Italy — said authorities started tracking people smugglers as soon as asylum seekers disembarked.

Full Read – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-02/asylum-seekers-flood-into-italy/8157396

Celebrity Mad Dash to Supply Legal Grass

Philippines v China: facts about a much-watched legal battle

MANILA – A UN-backed tribunal is expected to soon deliver a verdict on a Philippine challenge to China’s claims to most of the South China Sea.

Spanning three years, two hearings, and nearly 4,000 pages of evidence, the arbitration case at The Hague is complex.

In essence, China claims most of the sea, even waters approaching neighbouring countries, based on a vaguely defined “nine-dash” Chinese map dating back to the 1940s. The Philippines disputes this.

Here are the key facts on the case:

– What is the tribunal and what are its powers?

The tribunal was set up by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, an intergovernmental organisation established in 1899. The PCA has 116 member states, including the Philippines and China. It is allowed to arbitrate on certain matters of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The five-member tribunal hearing this case is composed of top maritime affairs experts, with the Philippines appointing one member. China waived its right to choose one arbitrator.

The tribunal has the power to set the rules of procedure and make a decision that cannot be appealed. However the tribunal and the PCA have no means to enforce the verdict, with compliance left to parties.

– What are Manila’s key points?

The Philippines has presented five main claims before the tribunal:

1. China is not entitled to exercise what it calls “historic rights” over waters beyond limits defined in UNCLOS, a treaty to which both the Philippines and China are parties.

2. China’s “nine-dash line” has no basis under international law.

3. The various maritime features relied upon by China to assert its claims in the South China Sea are not in fact islands and, as such, are not legally capable of generating such entitlements. China’s recent massive artificial island-building does not change the situation.

4. China violated UNCLOS by preventing the Philippines from exercising its fishing and exploration rights.

5. China has irreversibly damaged the environment by destroying coral reefs, using harmful fishing practises, and catching endangered species in the South China Sea.

– Why did Manila take the action?

The Philippines said, after 17 years of negotiations with China, it had exhausted all political and diplomatic avenues to settle the dispute.

The Philippines calls international law “the great equaliser” allowing small countries to challenge more powerful states. A nation of about 100 million, the Philippines has one of Asia’s weakest militaries, and its economic and diplomatic clout pales in comparison with China’s.

– What is China’s position and how will it react?

China denies the tribunal has jurisdiction on the issue and insists that it will not abide by the decision.

The country’s first move to an unfavourable ruling will be to reject it. But no one is sure what China will do after that. Its response could range from provocative to diplomatic.

On the aggressive end of the spectrum, Beijing may take it as an opportunity to increase its construction activities and further assert its claims by declaring an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the sea, essentially demanding that aircraft transiting it announce themselves to Chinese authorities and follow their instructions.

When it proclaimed one in 2013 that covered islands in the East China Sea disputed with Japan, the move prompted international fury, and Washington made a point of sending warplanes through it without complying with Beijing’s rules.

A more diplomatic option would be to try and mount opposition to the ruling in the UN by challenging the tribunal’s legitimacy. Beijing claims that more than 60 countries back its position on settling disputes in the South China Sea through direct negotiations, and it could seek to call a vote on the issue in the general assembly. But only a handful of countries have explicitly confirmed they support China’s stance.

– If the tribunal can’t enforce its ruling and China has vowed to ignore it, what’s at stake?

Full Article – http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/asia/1017009/philippines-v-china-facts-about-a-much-watched-legal-battle

Gawker posting Hulk Hogan’s sex tape was wrong. But was it legal?

A $100 million lawsuit that could bankrupt the media company rests on complicated questions about “newsworthiness”


That Gawker posted a video of Hulk Hogan having sex, a video recorded and distributed without his consent, is unethical. Hogan, legal name Terry G. Bollea, says he was secretly taped, apparently by his friend, while having sex with that friend’s then-wife, at that friend’s invitation. In one light, the story can be read as humorous, because it involves Hulk Hogan and the wife of a man named “Bubba the Love Sponge.” But just think: What if Gawker had posted the nude video creepily taken of ESPN sportscaster Erin Andrews? Oh wait, Deadspin, Gawker’s sister site, did link to the site that posted the video. Clearly, it’s all pretty vile.

Vileness, however, won’t stop some people on the Internet, including some who pretend they are journalists. The key question, then, is whether it was in the legal clear. We’ll find out soon enough: Hogan is currently suing Gawker in a Florida court for a potentially bankrupting $100 million.

Gawker defends posting a portion of the video—above a ruminating think piece about why proles like watching celebrities fuck—because it was newsworthy. How that can possibly be was explained by the post’s author, former Gawker editor A.J. Daulerio, in a videotaped deposition played in court: The only thing that could make a celebrity sex tape non-newsworthy, he snarked, would be if that celebrity was under the age of 4.

Even when the subject of such a video isn’t a celebrity, Daulerio has shown little compunction about publishing. To wit: When Gawker posted a video of a young woman’s bathroom stall sexual encounter several years ago, the woman emailed Daulerio begging that it be taken down, and suggested that she might have been raped. Daulerio responded by refusing to take it down, though the site changed its mind soon thereafter.

“I’m sure it’s embarrassing but keep your head up, these things pass,” he reportedly emailed.

If I prized schadenfreude, I might pray that someone riding so high on ethics-free hubris might one day face a karmic sally of Internet-breaking public humiliation, one laying him so low that any would-be trolls thinking about following in his footsteps would be deterred from doing so forever after.

Such a wish, however, would be unkind. More to the point, it’s way beyond my technological prowess to effectuate. So, instead, I decided to dig into the the legal questions at hand.

The lawsuit was filed in a state court, so it won’t set any larger precedent unless it is ultimately appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. But it nonetheless concerns a question deemed of incredible importance: Is Gawker protected by First Amendment free press rights? Or, in an age rife with Internet-based harassment and revenge porn, does Hogan’s right to privacy win out? There’s not a lot of precedent here, so courts around the country will be looking to how the Florida lawsuit plays out.

Of the four experts I contacted, only one, Santa Clara University School of Law professor Eric Goldman, said that Gawker’s actions might be protected by the First Amendment because of Hogan’s previous statements — that he had not had sex with that woman — and the fact that he is a celebrity.

“Change virtually any fact and the legal analysis would look very different,” emails Goldman. “If Bollea hadn’t made the false public statements, the newsworthiness of the video would decrease; and if Bollea wasn’t a high-profile celebrity, there usually would be little or no newsworthiness to the video footage.”

Three other legal scholars told me that Gawker was in the wrong, albeit for different reasons.

Amy Gajda, a law professor at Tulane and the author of “The First Amendment Bubble: How Privacy and Paparazzi Threaten a Free Press,” says that existing laws allowing people to bring suit for invasion of privacy suffice.

“There is enough space in First Amendment law to suggest that Gawker cannot do this,” says Gajda. “If private information is revealed…like nudity, sex information, medical information, then that revelation of information can be punished despite the First Amendment as long as the information is not newsworthy or not in the public interest.”

Read Full Article – http://www.salon.com/2016/03/13/gawker_posting_hulk_hogans_sex_tape_was_wrong_but_was_it_legal/