March 20 – Today in Legal History: Supreme Court Affirms Its Right to Review State Court Decisions

A view of the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse that houses the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, on Tuesday, July 22, 2014, in Washington. Obama's health care law is enmeshed in another big legal battle after two federal appeals courts issued contradictory rulings on a key financing issue within hours of each other Tuesday. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

A view of the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse that houses the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

March 20, 1816 – Supreme Court Affirms Its Right to Review State Court Decisions

In Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, the U.S. Supreme Court declares that its appellate power over federal legal issues extends to cases in state courts, a notion that the Court states is supported by the “letter and spirit of the Constitution.” The decision was handed down after the Virginia Court of Appeals defied a U.S. Supreme Court order in a case dealing with the impact of a federal treaty on a property dispute, giving the high court the opportunity to rule on the constitutionality of its review powers.

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In: findlaw

Applicants for China’s civil service jobs drops to lowest number since 2010

As many as 1.4 million people applied for Chinese government jobs and 900,000 turned up for the test on Sunday. The figure was the lowest compared to the past four years.

Civil servant jobs were favored by many Chinese as they offer relative stability, but the popularity of government posts had dropped in recent years. Nevertheless, the exam was still considered one of the most competitive tests in the country, as there were only 22,200 vacancies in national government agencies, their affiliated public institutions, and local branches. CCTV America’s Ai Yang reported from Beijing, China.

Compared to last year, 3,000 more positions were available for the 2015 National Civil Servant Exam, but 11,000 fewer applicants had applied to take it.

However, it hadn’t made the test any less cut-throat.

“The high ratio reflects several problems. Many university graduates do not have a clear career plan and simply follow what most people are doing. A lot of the young applicants want to be a civil servant mostly for the stability and welfare package, instead of a desire to actually be a civil servant,” Dr. Wang Yan from National Institute of Education Sciences said. “But I think this ratio will continue to drop in the future, because now there’re better career services available in universities, more government assistance for entrepreneurs, and also, the ongoing anti-graft campaign has made many people rethink their choices.”

Since the country’s new leadership took office, it had produced detailed new regulations to abolish bureaucratic and extravagant work styles among government workers, requiring frugality practices.

Once considered the iron rice-bowl due to its stability and generous benefits, civil servant jobs were much less associated with social status and power.

In contrast, while some government jobs won the hearts of thousands of applicants, such as custom officers in Shanghai, vacancies in the less developed northwestern parts of the country attracted much fewer applicants.

“There’s still a huge gap between quality of lifestyles in the more developed urban areas and poorer rural areas of China. Government jobs in these areas usually are less appealing because the conditions are much harsher,” Wang said. “But as the gap continues to narrow as China restructures its economy and more incentive packages including promotion opportunities come out, the situation will slowly change.”

The popularity of being a civil servant may be slowly dropping in China, which was good news for people who truly want to take on the job of serving the people. But the still disproportionate ratio of applicant to vacancy needed to be better addressed. Rather than blindly following the trend, experts suggest young people truly explore what they actually want to do with their lives.

In: cctv

Ver: Estimated 1.4M people competing for 27,000 civil servant jobs in China

How NPC (National People’s Congress) delegates pass laws in China

China’s annual political season is underway. The country’s legislative process is different from western countries. Here is an explanation of how laws are passed during the National People’s Congress.

1. Delegates introduce a bill to the NPC: A delegation, or group of no less than 30 deputies in the NPC, introduces a bill.

2. The presidium decides if the bill moves forward: The Presidium is a committee of about 170 senior NPC members. It is this group’s responsibility to decide if a bill will be put on the agenda or referred to a special committee for further consideration.

3. A sponsor explains the bill: The bill’s sponsor briefs lawmakers during a plenary meeting. Representatives are available to answer questions.

4. The bill gets three readings: During the first reading, the sponsor gives an introduction to the bill. The Standing Committee then discusses it in groups.

At the second reading, the Legislative Work Committee gives a report on any amendments to the draft, and any outstanding issues are brought to a full session of the Standing Committee. Further discussions are held in groups.

At the third reading, the Legislative Work Committee reports on the results of the second round deliberations to the full Standing Committee.

5. Review of the draft: A bill submitted by the Standing Committee to a forthcoming session of the NPC must be distributed to all deputies in draft form one month before the session begins.

6. Bills are voted on: Any bill that receives two-thirds of the votes from NPC deputies (currently there are 2,943) at the NPC/CPPCC session are adopted. The results are announced immediately.

7. Presidential enactment: The bill formally becomes law when signed by China’s president.

By: Xiaolu Sun

In: cctv

USA: Merrick Garland Is Named As President Obama’s Supreme Court Nominee

Chief Judge Merrick Garland in 2013. U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit via AP

Chief Judge Merrick Garland in 2013.
U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit via AP

Federal appeals court judge Merrick Brian Garland is President Obama’s pick to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

The president officially named Garland as a Supreme Court nominee as they stood before the media and a large gathering of attendees in the Rose Garden at the White House Wednesday.

Addressing the refusal by Republican leaders in the Senate to consider a Supreme Court nominee, Obama said that in Garland, he had chosen “a serious man and an exemplary judge.”

He added that in discussions about Supreme Court vacancies — the current one, as well as earlier openings — “The one name that has come up repeatedly – from Republicans and Democrats alike – is Merrick Garland.”

After a more than 20-minute introduction by Obama, Garland received a sustained round of applause and spoke to the crowd in the Rose Garden.

“This is the greatest honor of my life, other than Lynn agreeing to marry me 28 years ago,” Garland said, growing emotional and pointing to his wife.

“As my parents taught me by both words and deeds,” Garland said, “a life of public service is as much a gift to the person who serves as it is to those he is serving. And for me, there could be no higher public service than serving as a member of the United States Supreme Court.”

After describing the importance of community service in his family, Garland said, “I know that my mother is watching this on television, and crying her eyes out. So are my sisters, who have supported me in every step I have ever taken. I only wish that my father were here to see this today.”

He added, “I also wish that we hadn’t taught my older daughter to be so adventurous that she would be hiking in the mountains, out of cell-service range, when the president called.”

Garland, 63, is currently the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. A former prosecutor, he’s also viewed as a moderate. And he has cultivated a reputation for openness and collegiality at the D.C. Circuit, a bench that’s sometimes called the second most important in the land.

Garland will visit Capitol Hill Thursday to begin meeting with legislators, Obama said.

Speaking on a sunny mid-morning at the White House, Obama praised Garland for his “decency, modesty, integrity, even-handedness and excellence.”

With Garland standing beside him, Obama recounted the judge’s bio, from his youth in Chicago to his sacrifices to go to college and law school — sacrifices, Obama said, that included Garland selling his comic book collection.

Before becoming a judge, Garland occupied top posts in the Justice Department, where he oversaw some of the biggest investigations of the Clinton era, including the Oklahoma City bombing, the Unabomber case, and the Atlanta Olympics bombing.

Obama made particular mention of the Oklahoma City case this morning, noting the diligence with which Garland pursued the case, as well as the care and consideration he showed to victims of that attack and their families — including carrying the program from a memorial service for the fallen as he worked on the case.

The president quoted Garland saying that the case was “the most important thing I have ever done in my life.”

Garland has been a finalist for two other Supreme Court openings during Obama’s presidency; he joined the appeals court in 1997, after a long Senate delay and a 76-23 vote.

Today, Obama noted that Garland has earned bipartisan support for his work. In the past, the judge has won praise from senior Republican figures that include Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch and Chief Justice John Roberts.

The president’s move to fill the seat left vacant by Scalia, who died just over one month ago, comes as conservative Republicans have pledged to block any attempt to fill the spot before a new president is sworn in next January.

Garland’s nomination opens a new chapter in what could become an epic and bruising fight over both the ideological tilt of the nation’s highest court and President Obama’s legacy.

This morning, Obama called on the Senate to hold a fair confirmation hearing of his nominee, and to hold an up-or-down vote.

Announcing his plan to fill the vacancy, Obama said, “it is both my constitutional duty to nominate a Justice and one of the most important decisions that I — or any president — will make.”

A native of Illinois, Garland attended Harvard Law School and was a clerk for Supreme Court Justice William Brennan. He then went into private practice at a law firm before taking a job as a federal prosecutor during President George H.W. Bush’s administration. He and his wife, Lynn, have two daughters.

Speculation over Scalia’s replacement had settled on Garland and two other appeals court judges in recent days, as NPR reported:

Judge Sri Srinivasan, 49, also of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia

Judge Paul Watford, 48, of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco

Here’s how NPR’s Nina Totenberg described each judge, on today’s Morning Edition:

Garland is “formerly a prosecutor; he ran the Oklahoma City bombing investigation; he ran the Unabomber investigation. … The con is that because he has all that experience, he’s 63 years old, and a lot of Democrats would like somebody younger than that, who presumably would be there longer than that.”

Srinivasan is “widely respected, has worked in both Republican and Democratic administrations. He doesn’t have a long Court of Appeals record — but that’s not enough to flyspeck very carefully.”

Watford “has been on the 9th Circuit since the first Obama administration; there were 34 Republican votes against him, but there were Republican votes for him. If he doesn’t make it this time, I guarantee you his name will be in the mix next time.”

Nina also noted that when the Senate confirmed Srinivasan to the federal bench in 2013, it did so by a vote of 97-0. That standing, and his potential to become both the first South Asian and the first Hindu on the high court, led many to view Srinivasan as the favorite to be Obama’s nominee.

Once he’s nominated, Garland will likely find a contentious reception in the Senate — but Nina said the outcome of the national election could shape that process.

Referring to both Garland and Srinivasan, Nina said earlier this morning that if current Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton wins in November, “the likelihood is that the Republicans would go ahead and confirm either one of these two men, on the theory that anybody Hillary Clinton would nominate would be more liberal.”

Before making his decision, Obama said, he consulted with legal experts across the political spectrum. And he listed three qualities he sought in a potential Supreme Court justice:

– An “independent mind, unimpeachable credentials, and an unquestionable mastery of law.”

– A recognition of “the limits of the judiciary’s role.”

– Awareness “that justice is not about abstract legal theory, nor some footnote in a dusty casebook.”

After that last point, Obama said he wanted a candidate who had experienced life outside academic or justice settings, so they would understand the way the law “affects the daily reality of people’s lives in a big, complicated democracy, and in rapidly changing times.”

“I am fulfilling my constitutional duty,” Obama said at the close of his message. “I’m doing my job. I hope that our Senators will do their jobs, and move quickly to consider my nominee.”

Ahead of Wednesday’s announcement, the White House noted that the last time the Senate refused to vote on a president’s Supreme Court nominee was in 1875 — and that “one-third of all previous U.S. presidents have had a nominee confirmed to the Supreme Court in an election year.”

In: npr

Licencia por maternidad: entra en vigencia ampliación a 98 días

Anteriormente, el periodo en que la madre trabajadora podía gozar de su derecho de descanso por maternidad era de 90 días.

En lo que se refiere al subsidio por maternidad, este se otorgará en dinero con el objeto de resarcir el lucro cesante como consecuencia del alumbramiento y de las necesidades de cuidado del recién nacido.(USI). Imagen: elcomercioperu

En lo que se refiere al subsidio por maternidad, este se otorgará en dinero con el objeto de resarcir el lucro cesante como consecuencia del alumbramiento y de las necesidades de cuidado del recién nacido.(USI). Imagen: elcomercioperu

Desde mañana entra en vigencia en nuestro país el nuevo periodo de licencia por maternidad, que ya no será de 90 días sino de 98. Ello, luego de que se modificara el reglamento de la Ley 26644, que establece el cambio en el goce del derecho del descanso prenatal y posnatal de la trabajadora gestante.

Así lo informó el Ministerio de Trabajo y Promoción del Empleo (MTPE). Según el Decreto Supremo 002-2016-TR publicado hoy en las Normas Legales del Diario Oficial El Peruano, la madre trabajadora podrá optar por diferir parcial o totalmente los días de descanso del periodo prenatal probable del día del parto.

De acuerdo con el proceso biológico de embarazo, la gestante puede hacer uso de su reposo de 49 días naturales de prenatal y un lapso de 49 días más de posnatal.

En caso de que la gestante decida ampliar su descanso posnatal de 49 días naturales, este se iniciará el día del parto y se incrementará con el número de días de prenatal diferido, tal como sucede ahora con el periodo de 90 días.


Subsidio por maternidad y casos especiales

En lo que se refiere al subsidio por maternidad, este se otorgará en dinero con el objeto de resarcir el lucro cesante como consecuencia del alumbramiento y de las necesidades de cuidado del recién nacido, informó el MTPE.

El beneficio se otorga por 98 días y puede distribuirse antes o después del parto, según lo elija la madre. Además, en caso de existir nacimiento múltiple o nacimiento de niños con discapacidad el subsidio por maternidad se extiende por 30 días adicionales.

Esta última medida responde a la modificación del artículo 16 del Reglamento de la Ley 26790, Ley de Modernización de la Seguridad Social en Salud.

En: elcomercio

Precious Metal: Criticism mounts over ‘dirty gold’ imports

Peru's illegal gold trade is in the spotlight again. Image:

Peru’s illegal gold trade is in the spotlight again. Image:

By Paula Dupraz-Dobias

Refiners are still importing gold from questionable sources in Peru, a report published to coincide with the world’s largest watch fair, Baselworld, has found. But those in the watch industry say that sourcing clean gold is not always easy.

The detailed study, by the Swiss branch of the non-governmental organisation the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), showed that some international refiners continued to import gold from producers responsible for environmental pollution and human rights abuses.

“Gold that has been processed for many of the products on display [at the fair] is suspected to include dirty gold,” the STP said in a statement.

Baselworld, with over 1,400 exhibitors, including some of the top watch brands, opened on Thursday.

Peruvian authorities estimate that some $1.8 billion (CHF1.6 billion) worth of gold originates annually from illegal sources. STP says roughly half of all Peruvian gold exports are delivered to Switzerland.

Peru’s illegal mining

Illegal mining has been responsible in Peru for the deforestation of more than 50,000 hectares, according to the Carnegie Institute, and high levels of mercury pollution.

Labour NGO Verité reported recently that there underage workers were being used in mines and there were incidence of people trafficking.

Last year, the Society for Threatened Peoples condemned Swiss mining companies for security contracts concluded with Peruvian police forces involved in violently subduing community protests.

Swiss importance

Switzerland, which is home to four of the nine biggest international refineries, is at the same time a transit point for approximately 70% of gold worldwide.

Illegal mining in Peru has been responsible for deforestation, pollution and labour violations, it has been reported.

Switzerland has already shown awareness of the issue, launching the Better Gold Initiative, to facilitate the export of responsibly produced gold from Peru to consumers in Switzerland.

STP based its latest findings on publicly available information from the Peruvian tax and customs authority, the SUNAT, and recorded all individual gold shipments by air from Lima between 2012 and 2014.

Metalor and MKS/PAMP

The study shows that while Swiss refineries, including Metalor and MKS/PAMP, appear to have stopped buying gold from dubious traders following local press reports exposing the metal’s provenance, other refiners, particularly in the United States (such as Atomic Gold, NTR Metals and Kaloti Metals), have stepped in to buy from the questionable Peruvian exporters.

Ticino-based refiner Valcambi, the report says, continues to import most of its gold from the vast Yanacocha mine, where five people died during protests against the mine’s expansion projects.

In 2012 a Peruvian daily, El Comercio, accused PAMP and Metalor of importing gold from the Amazonian region of Madre de Dios, in southeastern Peru. Peruvian exporters E&M, UMT and AS Peru, among others, were named by a major gold producing family accused of illegal mining in the region.

“For most exporters who could no longer sell to Swiss refineries anymore… there were other dubious companies who we think may now be exporting dirty gold in their name,” Christoph Wiedmer, director of STP Switzerland, told

Wiedmer said that while some gold refineries had acted positively, “they are still not enforcing the required due diligence process”.  He said refiners have “a major say in accepting or not dirty gold”.

Better Gold Initiative

This is a Swiss-sponsored responsible mining initiative offering artisanal gold miners direct access to markets, better environmental respect and more transparency.

It is a Private-Public-Partnership between the Swiss Better Gold Association (SBGA), a group of major refiners and jewellers, alongside Max Havelaar Switzerland, a fair trade organisation, and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO.

Switzerland’s involvement in the initiative stems from its key role in the international gold trade.

Companies respond

Metalor responded to the report in a statement saying that it “does not knowingly source any gold from any conflict or higher risk area, but has been fully supporting the development of multi stakeholder standards for the responsible sourcing of minerals”.

Jay Schnyder, vice president of marketing and refining at PAMP, told that his company was very concerned about the origin of its gold. He said that  PAMP had stopped buying from Peru, with the exception of from just a couple of  “internationally recognised mines”.

PAMP’s website states that “PAMP rigorously monitors its suppliers, regardless of industrial purpose, to ensure that each supplier meets stringent criteria of impeccable ethics and business practices”.

Schnyder welcomed the Peruvian government’s efforts to legalise some of the thousands of miners working illicitly who satisfied certain criteria. He however expressed concern about the short deadline issued for this ‘formalisation’ of miners.

The Peru environment ministry said recently that it only expected a few thousand of the estimated 10,000-70,000 miners to gain official approval to operate.

Thomas Hentschel, the director of the Better Gold Initiative, believes that “refiners recognised that there was a problem and changed their habit”.

STP’s report showed that Swiss refiners continued to buy gold from visibly dubious sources until November 2013, the month that the Better Gold Initiative was launched in Lima.

Ticking time

According to the watch industry periodical, IW Magazine, gold watchcases and bracelets use 30 tonnes of the metal a year and 90% of the yearly 500,000 gold watches are produced in Switzerland.  Represented at Baselworld, Rolex, the magazine says, is the biggest watchmaker of all, with 200,000 pieces.

Geneva-based Le Temps newspaper has previously reported that Rolex was Metalor’s biggest client. However, Rolex did not respond to questions by on its sourcing of gold.

Representatives of other watchmakers did not exhibit particular sensitivity to the issue.

“As far as we are concerned, the origin of the gold does not interest us. I think that the majority of others will give you the same reply,” Esteban Salmon, marketing representative at De La Cour watches, told

Salmon explained that his small, niche company sourced its gold from Metalor. He said that choosing to use responsible gold was a matter of cost and business policy.

The STP’s Wiedmer says time is ticking on the issue. “It is now time that each of the watchmakers also take a clear position saying publicly what kind of gold they are using,” Wiedmer said.

But for Hentschel of the Better Gold Initiative, a change in jewellers’ consumer awareness “doesn’t happen from one day to the next. It is a process”.


El hombre más rico de Irán es condenado a muerte en su país

El magnate Babak Zanjani, detenido desde diciembre del 2013 en Irán, es acusado de corrupción y de haber malversado US$ 2,800 millones en transacciones petroleras.

A picture made available on March 6, 2016 shows Iran's billionaire tycoon Babak Zanjani (C) in a court, in Tehran.  The 41-year-old was convicted of fraud and economic crimes and as well as facing the death penalty he must repay money to the state, judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejeie said at his weekly press conference. / AFP / Tasnim News / MEGHDAD MADADI

A picture made available on March 6, 2016 shows Iran’s billionaire tycoon Babak Zanjani (C) in a court, in Tehran. The 41-year-old was convicted of fraud and economic crimes and as well as facing the death penalty he must repay money to the state, judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejeie said at his weekly press conference. / AFP / Tasnim News / MEGHDAD MADADI

Teherán, (AFP).- El influyente hombre de negocios iraní Babak Zanjani, juzgado por corrupción y malversación de fondos, fue condenado a la pena de muerte, anunció este domingo el portavoz de la autoridad judicial, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejeie, citado por medios de comunicación.

Zanjani fue detenido en diciembre de 2013, acusado de haber malversado 2,800 millones de dólares en transacciones petroleras, burlando las sanciones internacionales impuestas a Irán.

“Se pronunció el veredicto en el juicio contra Babak Zanjani y dos coacusados. Fueron declarados culpables de corrupción y condenados a muerte”, declaró Mohseni Ejeie.

“Además, deberán reembolsar a la Compañía Nacional iraní de Petróleo” y pagar una multa equivalente “a una cuarta parte de la suma deL lavado de dinero”, añadió.

Zanjani podrá apelar el veredicto.

Este poderoso hombre de negocios de 41 años es dueño de varias empresas, incluyendo una aerolínea, que fueron incautadas.

Fue arrestado al día siguiente de la orden dada por el presidente moderado Hasan Rohani a su gobierno de luchar contra “la corrupción (…) en particular contra aquellos que sacaron provecho de las sanciones económicas” contra Irán.

Fue juzgado en un juicio público que duró varios meses, en el que explicó que bajo la presidencia de Mahmud Ahmadinejad, el ministerio del Petróleo le pidió ayuda para repatriar dinero del petróleo vendido en el extranjero.

Para Teherán era difícil repatriar este dinero desde que en 2012 se endurecieron las sanciones internacionales en su contra debido a su controvertido programa nuclear.

Pero tras la entrada en vigor en enero del acuerdo nuclear firmado entre Irán y las grandes potencias, gran parte de las sanciones, sobre todo bancarias, fueron levantadas.

En: gestion

Vicepresidente uruguayo se disculpa con su partido por la polémica con su título universitario

“Vengo a pedirles disculpas por los problemas que pude causarle al Frente (Amplio)”, dijo Raúl Sendic en un plenario de esa formación partidaria. El político habría mentido sobre sus estudios.



El vicepresidente de Uruguay, Raúl Sendic, se disculpó hoy con su partido político el Frente Amplio (FA) en relación a la polémica sobre sus estudios de licenciatura en Genética Humana, informaron medios locales.

Según publica el digital Subrayado en su página web, Sendic ofreció sus “disculpas” por los “problemas” que “pudo causarle” al FA, y añadió que cursó una licenciatura en Cuba de un año y luego hizo prácticas en hospitales.

Estas declaraciones las hizo el vicepresidente uruguayo en el marco de el Plenario Nacional del FA, que reúne a las máximas autoridades y representantes de esta colación política para debatir diversos temas.

“No vengo a pedirles nada, sí disculpas por los problemas que pude causarle al Frente”, expresó.

En ese contexto, el pasado 2 de marzo, Sendic entregó a la prensa local una serie de documentos para acreditar que estudió Medicina en la Universidad de La Habana.

En ellos se lee la petición que Sendic hizo a la Universidad de la República de Uruguay (Udelar) para convalidar unos estudios de Medicina cursados en La Habana.

“Raúl Fernando Sendic Rodríguez solicita autorización para ingresar a Facultad de Medicina”, se lee en los documentos, que cuentan con el membrete de dicho centro educativo de la Udelar y están fechados el 21 de marzo de 1986.

Sin embargo, días atrás Sendic respondió que “nunca” concluyó una carrera universitaria de cuatro o más años a una pregunta de una periodista del diario local El Observador interesada en saber si la calidad de licenciado en Genética Humana que se atribuye en algunos de sus currículos es verdad.

Tan solo afirmó, entonces, haber cursado una “preparación para investigador” en genética de cara a poder ser docente.

Por su parte, en el Senado, Sendic dijo que “nunca” mintió sobre su formación académica y se ofreció a conversar sobre este tema para “aclarar absolutamente la verdad” sobre su formación académica”.

En: infobae

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