Rightwing Lobby Group ALEC Driving Laws to Blacklist Companies That Boycott the Oil Industry

The influential rightwing lobby group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is driving a surge in new state laws to block boycotts of the oil industry. The group’s strategy, which aims to protect large oil firms and other conservative-friendly industries, is modelled on legislation to punish divestment from Israel. Since the beginning of the year, state legislatures in West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Indiana have introduced a version of a law drafted by ALEC, called the Energy Discrimination Elimination Act, to shield big oil from share selloffs and other measures intended to protest the fossil fuel industry’s role in the climate crisis. A dozen other states have publicly supported the intent of the legislation.

— source desmog.com | Feb 11, 2022

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Sierra Leone Abolishes Colonial-Era Death Penalty

On 23 July 2021, the Parliament of Sierra Leone voted in favour of a Bill abolishing the death penalty. The Bill is required to receive the assent of President Julius Maada Bio before it becomes law. In February, President Bio officially gave the directives for the death penalty to be abolished from Sierra Leone’s laws. In May, in response to the calls of the international community in Geneva during Sierra Leone’s United Nations Universal Periodic Review, the Deputy Justice Minister announced the commitment of President Julius Maada Bio’s cabinet to fully abolish the death penalty.

— source amnesty.org | 25 Jul 2021

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Abolition Amendment to Scrap US Constitution’s ‘Slavery Clause’

Backed by a coalition of dozens of human rights organizations, Democratic lawmakers on Friday reintroduced legislation to do away with the constitutional loophole which has allowed forced labor to persist in the United States for more than 150 years—the 13th Amendment.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Rep. Nikema Williams (D-Ga.) led two dozen of their colleagues in introducing the Abolition Amendment, which would strike the “slavery clause” from the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Adopted in January 1865, the amendment bans enslavement in the U.S., except as a form of punishment for criminal activity.

— source commondreams.org | Julia Conley | Jun 18, 2021

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The so called famous civil libertarian

The lawsuit alleges that the producers of the series misled Dershowitz by promising to include evidence that Dershowitz says refutes allegations of his involvement with an alleged Epstein victim.

Lawyer Alan Dershowitz on Wednesday filed a 20 million dollar defamation lawsuit in Miami federal court against Netflix and the producers of “Filthy Rich,” a documentary about Jeffrey Epstein that first aired on the streaming network in March 2020.

Dershowitz, 82, was a member of the legal team that defended Epstein against 2005 allegations that he molested and sexually assaulted dozens of middle and high school girls in Palm Beach.

Among the girls whom the New York financier sexually abused was Virginia Giuffre, a runaway who was recruited into Epstein’s sex trafficking operation in 2000 at the age of 16.

In the four-part series, Guiffre, now 37 and living in Australia, repeated her claim that she was trafficked by Epstein to Dershowitz and a number of other

— source haaretz.com | | May 27, 2021

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Bayer Monsanto Roundup Settlement Hearing Nears

A hearing on the controversial proposed settlement of future cancer claims against Bayer Monsanto will be held May 19 at 10 PST before federal judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco.

The zoom hearing will be open to the public and streamed live on the internet.

On one side at the hearing will be hundreds of tort lawyers who represent tens of thousands of people who have sued Monsanto owner Bayer AG alleging their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers were caused by glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.

These lawyers were blindsided last year when a handful of class action settlement lawyers with no connection to the tort litigation, led by Elizabeth Cabraser and Sam Issacharoff, proposed a settlement that would put a four year hold on any Roundup litigation against Bayer, prohibit punitive damage claims against Bayer, and set up a secret science panel.

That proposal was rejected by a federal judge sitting in San Francisco – U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria.

— source corporatecrimereporter.com | May 14, 2021

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Without state-run mandis, there is no procurement, no MSP

The central government has been carrying out a campaign – led by Prime Minister Modi himself – that the three new farm laws will remove middlemen, ensure better prices for farmers’ produce and generally improve the condition of India’s vast agrarian community. The laws have been described as a new dawn, a revolution, etc. Faced by a strong farmers movement against these laws, the BJP and its supporters have tried various tactics to first discredit it (by calling participants Khalistani supporters or even not being genuine farmers), and then self-righteously claiming that farmers were being misled by Opposition parties. When farmers started heading towards Delhi, the BJP-led Haryana government was asked to stop them at any cost, which they tried but ignominiously failed at. PM Modi finally opted for the usual melodramatic swearing by the Holy Ganga that his intentions were pure, and that he only wanted to help the farmers.

Since the protest movement continued to grow through all this drama, and thousands of farmers are currently camped on highways entering Delhi, the Modi government has, for the first time, been forced to negotiate with an ongoing mass protest. This is a novel experience for them, and it speaks of the extent to which the government is rattled that they were forced to the table, kicking and screaming, so to speak. After much buzzing around between various bigwigs of the government, the meeting between farmers representatives and two ministers of the Modi Govt. was held on December 1. The rank immaturity and arrogance of the government became clear because all they had to offer was a committee to consider all aspects, which was laughed out of the room by the farmers. They also asked the farmers

— source newsclick.in | Subodh Varma | 03 Dec 2020

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It’s Been 15 Years Since RTI Act Was Passed, But Is it Really Working?

Even before the rising vacancies in Central and State Information Commissions, the delay in responding to second appeals was killing the spirit of the Right to Information Act. And now, with the non-appointment of chiefs at the Centre and in several states, besides leaving five positions vacant in the CIC, the RTI is facing a deep crisis, even as the Act completed 15 turbulent years on October 12, 2020.

The movement for transparency and access to justice is suffering since second appeals and complaints are languishing in the information commissions for indefinite periods. The commissions, either because of vacancies or pendency, are not adhering to timelines. There is no time-bound disclosure. With around 40,000 second appeals and complaints pending at the CIC and around two lakh all over the state ICs, the implementation of the RTI is disappointing.

As an information commissioner, I have the experience of facing administrative hurdles caused by the absence of a chief information commissioner for at least ten months, spelling the denial of the RTI to thousands of applicants seeking information from high offices of the president, prime minister, Supreme Court, etc.

During Narendra Modi’s prime ministership, the CIC went without a head for about ten months in 2014-15, after Rajiv Mathur’s retirement.That was the beginning of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led

— source thewire.in | M. Sridhar Acharyulu | 19/Oct/2020

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Sierra Leone’s Repeal Criminal Defamation Law

Terming West African nation Sierra Leone’s repeal of its infamous criminal defamation law as a major victory for media freedom, the South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN) has said it contrasts with the increasing accounts of physical, psychological, legal and administrative attacks on journalists in South Asia during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many South Asian journalists harassed for questioning COVID-19 response. In India, it noted, the situation was worse with over 50 journalists, a majority of them reportedly being independent journalists working in rural India, being targeted.

— source thewire.in | 07/Aug/2020

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