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Former Vice President Joe Biden brought his blue-collar appeal to a Democratic stronghold of Indiana on Friday, heaping praise on Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly as the kind of guy who keeps his word, puts country over party — and would have his back in a street fight.

Around the same time, current Vice President Mike Pence was rallying for Donnelly’s opponent, Mike Braun, in Indianapolis.
Biden told a crowd in the heavily industrial northwest corner of Indiana that “Joe is as good a man as I know,” adding that if they’d grown up in the same neighborhood they would’ve been friends.

“I’ll tell you why: I know that if I were coming through my neighborhood and I got jumped by four guys, even though ... it wouldn’t make a difference, Joe would jump in and help me,” Biden said.

For Donnelly, victory in a neck-and-neck race with the Republican businessman Braun requires a big turnout in the area, which draws more from the machine politics of nearby Chicago than the rural conservatism prevalent elsewhere in the state.

“Northwest Indiana is red meat for Joe Donnelly,” said Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott. “Eight out of 10 of those people that show up are going to vote for Joe Donnelly.”

With early voting starting in Indiana this week, Biden urged the crowd to turn out for Donnelly and bring their friends, saying “if there’s any time we needed character in the United States Senate, it’s now.”

Three hours south, Mike Pence — the state’s former governor — rallied GOP activists at a fundraising dinner with Braun and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in Indianapolis.


A Belgian court on Monday ruled that Spanish rapper Valtonyc should not be sent back to Spain, where he was sentenced to prison accused of writing lyrics that praise terror groups and insult the royal family.

The rapper, whose real name is Jose Miguel Arenas Beltran, was supposed to turn himself in voluntarily in May to authorities in Spain, where he faces prison sentences totaling three and a half years, but instead fled to Belgium.

"The judge has decided there will be no extradition and discarded all three charges," his lawyer, Simon Bekaert, told reporters near the court in the city of Ghent.

Bekaert said the judge ruled "there is no terrorism involved, there is no incitement of terrorism, so there is no question of a crime according to Belgian law." He said the judge also found that there is no crime to answer to over insulting the Spanish king and that no threat was made that could warrant extradition.

"I feel good, I am happy. But I am sad for the people in Spain, who unlucky, they don't have justice like me here," Arenas told reporters, in English."

The ruling could re-ignite tensions between Belgium and Spain over extradition demands.

Late last year, Spain dropped a European arrest warrant against former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont after it became clear that Belgian justice authorities were unlikely to recognize some of the Spanish charges against him.


The question of whether Washington voters will have their say on a measure designed to make it easier to prosecute police for negligent shootings might not be over after all.

One day after ruling that Initiative 940 should appear on the November ballot, the state Supreme Court requested a briefing by the end of the day Wednesday about how the justices' various opinions should be interpreted.

Supporters of the initiative said only a single justice, Barbara Madsen, voted that I-940 should go to voters while a compromise measure preferred by lawmakers, advocates and police groups should not. Supporters of I-940 said her opinion should not control the result of what amounted to a 4-4-1 decision, and late Tuesday they filed an emergency motion asking the court to reconsider.

"For reasons not explained, the Court seems to have adopted the view of that single Justice as the ruling of the Court as a whole," attorneys for De-Escalate Washington, the initiative's sponsor, wrote.

In their response Wednesday afternoon, frequent initiative sponsor Tim Eyman and Republican Sen. Mike Padden, who sued over the issue, said the court's action was appropriate because five justices believed I-940 should go to the ballot.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman also filed a response, taking no position on the outcome of the case but urging the court to hurry. Because of the reconsideration motion, her office had to halt certain election preparations, including notifying counties which initiatives would appear on their ballots.


Lawyers representing Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa have filed papers urging the country's Constitutional Court to throw out an opposition challenge to his disputed election.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has said Mnangagwa and the ruling ZANU-PF party won the July 30 election in this politically and economically troubled southern African country's first election without former long-time ruler Robert Mugabe on the ballot. The electoral commission said Mnangagwa received 50.8 percent of the vote and main challenger Nelson Chamisa received 44.3 percent.

The main opposition MDC party on Friday filed a legal challenge to the results alleging "gross mathematical errors" and calling for a fresh vote or a declaration that their candidate, Nelson Chamisa, was the winner.

On Wednesday, Mnangagwa's lawyers dismissed the challenge as "political."

"We are more than confident, there is no evidence of direct manipulation. This is a political gamesmanship. Let's see if that evidence is admissible in court," said Lewis Uriri, who is leading Mnangagwa's team of lawyers, including some hired from neighboring South Africa.


Apart from the Hyderabad High Court, there is a heavy pendency of cases in the district and subordinate courts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh as well. While in Telangana at least 4.9 lakh cases — both civil and criminal — are pending, in Andhra Pradesh 5.2 lakh cases are yet to be disposed of.

According to a reply given by the minister of law and justice on July 18 in the Lok Sabha, around 2.7 lakh crore cases, both civil and criminal, are pending in the various district and subordinate courts across the country. The highest number of pendency of around 66 lakh cases is reported from Uttar Pradesh. This is followed by Maharashtra at 34 lakh and then West Bengal, Bihar and Gujarat. However, the good news for Telangana is that among all southern states, it has the lowest number of cases pending

Lack of judges in lower courts and the high court has been attributed as the significant cause for pendency of cases. In Telangana and AP there are 75 judicial officers’ vacancies in district and city courts.

In Hyderabad High Court, out of the sanctioned strength of 61 judges, there are 32 vacancies, according to the Union government. Overall, in the country, 417 posts of high court and Supreme Court judges are vacant. In Hyderabad High Court, 3.5 lakh cases are pending, which includes writs, civil and criminal appeals. Across the country, in all the high courts put together, around 43 lakh cases are pending.

PP Chaudhary, minister of state for law and justice, in an answer to the question in Lok Sabha, said, “While existing vacancies of judges in the high court are filled up, further vacancies arise due to retirement, resignation or elevation of judges and due to increase in the strength of judges. Selection and appointment of judges in the subordinate courts is the responsibility of the high courts and state gover nments.”

In 2015, 24 high courts set up arrears’ committees to clear the backlog of pending cases. District judges hold monthly meetings of all judicial officers to monitor progress in reduction of long pending cases. Supreme Court also constituted an arrears committee to formulate steps to reduce pendency of cases in high courts and district courts.



Opponents of a state constitutional amendment that passed in 2014 to allow tougher abortion restrictions are appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court after a circuit appellate court denied a recount.

The appeal in the Amendment 1 case was filed earlier this month.

A 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals opinion in January said the state's vote tabulating method was reasonable and true to the meaning of the state constitution and didn't infringe on plaintiffs' voting rights.

The order overturned an April 2016 district court ruling that sided with eight voters that sued the state by ordering the recount. The judge called Tennessee's vote-counting unconstitutional and fundamentally unfair. The recount was put on hold pending the appeal.

Tennessee officials have said they followed their longstanding practice of counting amendment votes.


The man charged with murdering eight people on a New York City bike path and injuring many more spoke out in court Friday over a prosecutor's objection, invoking "Allah" and defending the Islamic State.

Sayfullo Saipov, 30, raised his hand to speak immediately after U.S. District Judge Vernon S. Broderick set an Oct. 7, 2019 date for the Uzbek immigrant's trial.

Earlier, he had pleaded not guilty through his lawyer to the latest indictment in the Oct. 31 truck attack near the World Trade Center. A prosecutor said the Justice Department will decide by the end of the summer whether to seek the death penalty against Saipov, who lived in Paterson, New Jersey, before the attack.

Speaking through an interpreter for about 10 minutes, Saipov said the decisions of a U.S. court were unimportant to him. He said he cared about "Allah" and the holy war being waged by the Islamic State.

At the prompting of Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Houle, Broderick interrupted Saipov to read him his rights, including that anything he said in court could be used against him.

"I understand you, but I' m not worried about that at all," Saipov said.

"So the Islamic State is not fighting for land, like some say, or like some say, for oil. They have one purpose, and they're fighting to impose Sharia (Islamic law) on earth," he said.

After Saipov spoke more, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Beaty interrupted him to object that the judge was letting Saipov make the kind of statement publicly that special restrictions placed on him in prison would otherwise prevent, including discussing "terrorist propaganda."

The judge said he believed Saipov was nearing the end of his remarks and let him finish before warning him that he was unlikely to let him speak out in court again in a similar manner. Saipov, though, would be given a chance to testify if his case proceeds to trial and, if convicted, could speak at sentencing.

Saipov thanked the judge for letting him speak but added at one point: "I don't accept this as my judge."

Prosecutors had been seeking an April 2019 trial date. Houle said the families of the dead and the dozens who were injured deserve a "prompt and firm trial date."

"The victims here are anxious now when that trial is going to be," she said. "The public deserves a speedy trial, and the surviving victims deserve to know when that trial is going to be."

Defense lawyers have said the government should accept a guilty plea and a sentence of life in prison without parole to provide victims' families and the public with closure.


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