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German lawmakers on Thursday approved a free-trade deal between the European Union and Canada, moving the accord a step closer to taking full effect.

The pact, formally known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, was signed in late 2016. Most of its terms have been implemented provisionally since 2017, but the parliaments of the EU’s 27 member nations must ratify the deal for -it to come fully into force.

Chancellor OIaf Scholz’s three-party coalition moved forward with ratifying it after Germany’s highest court in March rejected complaints against CETA, at least in the form in which it is currently in effect.

Lawmakers voted 559-110 to approve the pact.

Another 11 EU countries have yet to ratify the deal, Verena Hubertz, a lawmaker with Scholz’s center-left Social Democrats, told parliament’s lower house before the vote.

“We are optimistic, now that we are moving forward, that others will also follow very quickly,” she said. “But of course ... this is much too long and much too slow in a globalized world that turns quickly.”

Hubertz said Germany had to wait for the court verdict and added that “we have eliminated concerns” about details of a dispute mechanism built into the pact. Conservative opposition lawmakers argued that little or nothing has actually changed and charged that the center-left had held up ratification for ideological reasons.

The deal eliminates almost all customs duties and increases quotas for certain key products in Canada and the EU’s respective markets. The EU has said the agreement will save its companies some 600 million euros ($623 million) a year in duties.


The United Arab Emirates has called on its courts to begin enforcing the judgements of British courts, in a move that could affect the city of Dubai’s status as a haven for the world’s wealthy.

The decision, which affects all noncriminal civil, financial and marital cases, is already in effect and does not need to be drafted into law.

“After the new decision … the UAE will not be a safe haven for anyone trying to smuggle their money,” said Hassan Elhais, legal consultant at Alrowad Advocates.

“If a person was sentenced in a civil case in the UK and they fled to the UAE, they were previously able to keep their money without it being confiscated, their money was protected,” he added.

The UAE had previously not enforced British rulings due to what it called a lack of reciprocity, as the UK courts were reluctant to enforce UAE-issued judgements.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Justice announced the principles of reciprocity had been met after British courts enforced a “bounced cheque” judgement of the Dubai Court of Cassation in the UK in the Lenkor Energy Trading DMCC v Puri (2020) EWHC 75 (QB) case.

Before the Lenkor case, British courts were not in the practice of enforcing Dubai court judgements and therefore UAE courts took that as a reason not to enforce the same rules.

The UAE has long invited the wealthy to invest in the country, largely without questioning where they made their money. Questions over money flows into the UAE have increased as Russian wealth comes into the Arabian Peninsula nation amid Moscow’s war on Ukraine.

However in recent months, the UAE has arrested several suspects wanted for major crimes, including British national Sanjay Shah who is accused of a $1.7 billion tax fraud scheme in Denmark, and two of the Gupta brothers from South Africa, wanted over allegedly looting state money with former President Jacob Zuma. An Emirati also now leads Interpol, the international police agency, as its president.


Iran told the United Nations’ highest court on Monday that Washington’s confiscation of some $2 billion in assets from Iranian state bank accounts to compensate bombing victims was an attempt to destabilize the Iranian government and a violation of international law.

In 2016, Tehran filed a suit at the International Court of Justice after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled money held in Iran’s central bank could be used to compensate the 241 victims of a 1983 bombing of a U.S. military base in Lebanon believed linked to Iran.

Hearings in the case opened Monday in the Hague-based court, starting with Iran’s arguments. The proceedings will continue with opening statements by Washington on Wednesday.

At stake are $1.75 billion in bonds, plus accumulated interest, belonging to the Iranian state but held in a Citibank account in New York.

In 1983, a suicide bomber in a truck loaded with military-grade explosives attacked U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, killing 241 American troops and 58 French soldiers.

While Iran long has denied being involved, a U.S. District Court judge found Tehran responsible in 2003. That ruling said Iran’s ambassador to Syria at the time called “a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and instructed him to instigate the Marine barracks bombing.”

The international court ruled it had jurisdiction to hear the case in 2019, rejecting an argument from the U.S. that its national security interests superseded the 1955 Treaty of Amity, which promised friendship and cooperation between the two countries.


Europe’s highest court said Monday that Turkey has failed to comply with its ruling that a prominent Turkish philanthropist be immediately released from jail.

The European Court of Human Rights, based in Strasbourg, ruled in 2019 that Turkey violated Osman Kavala’s right to liberty, saying his detention and trials against him were used to silence him and in effect send a chilling message to civil society in Turkey. The judgment to immediately release him became final in May 2020.

The Council of Europe launched infringement procedures against Turkey for refusing to abide by its ruling. Monday’s ruling is the latest step in the lengthy infringement process by the Council of Europe, the continent’s foremost human rights organization, and could lead to the suspension of Turkey’s voting rights or membership in the 47-nation organization.

“Turkey urgently needs to make concrete and sustained progress in the respect of fundamental rights,” said a statement from the European Union. “Turkey’s continued refusal to implement these rulings increases the EU’s concerns regarding the Turkish judiciary’s adherence to international and European standards.”

The civil rights activist was sentenced to life in prison without parole in April after the court found him guilty of attempting to overthrow the government with the mass protests in 2013. Seven others were convicted and jailed for allegedly aiding the attempt. Kavala has maintained his innocence.

Human rights groups say Kavala, 64, was prosecuted with flimsy evidence and that the case is politically motivated. Kavala is the founder of a nonprofit organization, Anadolu Kultur, which focuses on cultural and artistic projects promoting peace and dialogue.

That verdict came after another court acquitted Kavala in February 2020. He was expected to be released from prison where he was held since October 2017 in pre-trial detention but was instead re-arrested on other charges. The European court said the new charges did not contain any substantial facts.


A federal judge on Friday threw out a lawsuit by Missouri Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt that blamed China for the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh said in his 38-page ruling that in this case federal rules prohibit a sovereign foreign entity from being sued in American courts.

“All in all, the court has no choice but to dismiss this novel complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction,” Limbaugh stated in the final line of the dismissal order. The judge noted earlier in the opinion that the civil suit against China is one of many filed “amidst the wreckage of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Schmitt’s office said it would appeal the ruling.

The complaint filed in April 2020 alleges that Chinese officials are “responsible for the enormous death, suffering, and economic losses they inflicted on the world, including Missourians.” Schmitt said the Chinese government lied about the dangers of the virus and didn’t do enough to slow its spread.

China criticized the lawsuit as “very absurd” and said it has no factual and legal basis. Schmitt called the lawsuit historic, but legal experts mostly panned it as a stunt aimed at shifting blame to China for the COVID-19 pandemic.


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The clock ran down at the end of the homecoming game and spectators stormed the football field, knocking over members of the high school band — all to gather around an assistant coach as he took a knee in prayer, surrounded by uniformed players.

Six years later, after losing his coaching job and repeatedly losing in court, that former Washington state coach, Joe Kennedy, will take his arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, saying the Bremerton School District violated his First Amendment rights by refusing to let him continue praying at midfield immediately after games. Four conservative justices have already expressed concerns with how his case has been handled.

Kennedy’s effort to get his job back helped earn him an appearance at a 2016 Donald Trump rally and quickly became a cultural touchstone, pitting public school employees’ religious liberties against what his critics describe as longstanding principles separating church and state and protecting students from religious coercion.

Lawyers for the school district say officials had no problem letting Kennedy pray separately from students or letting him return to the field to pray after the students left. But allowing him to pray at midfield immediately after games with students there risked being seen as government endorsement of religion.


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