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Putin signs decrees recognizing the independence of the eastern regions of Ukraine – JURIST

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Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees on Monday recognizing the independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR). The lower house of Russia’s Federal Assembly, the State Duma, voted on February 15 to approve an appeal bill. ask Putin to recognize the DPR and the LPR as independent states. Both the DPR and the LPR are quasi-states in eastern Ukraine. The United States condemned this resolution on February 16. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that the resolution would “further undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, [and] constitute a serious violation of international law. . .”In a televised speech on Monday, Putin declared: “I consider it necessary to make a long-overdue decision to immediately recognize the independence and sovereignty of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic.” Later that day, Putin signed the two decrees recognizing the independence of the two quasi-states. He also met with the leaders of the DPR and the LPR to sign cooperation and mutual aid treaties between Russia and the two regions. Following these decrees, Putin sent Russian troops to the two regions to “keep the peace.” This move raises fears that Russia is planning to invade Ukraine. Because of this, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba requested an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council. Putin’s actions have met with strong opposition. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel said this “is a flagrant violation of international law, as well as the Minsk agreements. The Union will react with sanctions against those involved in this illegal act.” UN Secretary General António Guterres also condemned the action. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden will soon issue an executive order prohibiting “new investment, trade, and financing” by American persons to, from, or in the DPR or LPR. She stated: “We have anticipated a move like this from Russia and are ready to respond immediately.”

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Indian court keeps journalist in police custody over tweet – JURIST

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The Delhi Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday ordered journalist and Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair to be held in police custody for four days. Zubair was arrested on Monday for the offenses of hurting religious sentiments and inciting enmity under Sections 153 and 295 of the Indian Penal Code. In 2018, Zubair posted a tweet showing a hotel whose name he changed from “Honeymoon Hotel” to “Hanuman Hotel”. Hanuman is a Hindu god. Delhi police arrested him based on a complaint about that tweet, which alleged that Zubair tweeted a “questionable image for the purpose of deliberately insulting the god of a particular religion.” accused for posting the tweet in question will be retrieved at the behest of the accused Mohammed Zubair from his residence in Bangalore, that the accused has not cooperated and (with) the disclosure statement recorded, four days PC (police custody) preventive detention of the accused will be concedes as the accused will be taken to Bangalore. Zubair’s arrest has been condemned by international organizations and national news organizations, including United Nations chief Antonio Guterres, Amnesty International, the Press Club of India and other media outlets.

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US Supreme Court Grants Review of Federal Bankruptcy Case – JURIST

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On Monday, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear MOAC Mall Holdings v. Transform Holdco, a case examining appellate court jurisdiction over sales orders in federal bankruptcy proceedings. The case revolves around the sale and transfer of a lease for a store in a shopping center. In 1991, Sears obtained a lease for a store in the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The lease only cost Sears $10 a year and was supposed to last 100 years. Sears, however, went bankrupt in 2018. As part of federal bankruptcy proceedings, Sears sold its assets and the Mall of America lease was transferred to Transform Holdco LLC, a corporation formed by Sears’ new owners. Mall of America sought to prevent the transfer because they claim that Transform Holdco LLC does not intend to occupy the leased facilities but to sublet them to other companies. Transform Holdco LLC argues that the long-term lease constitutes a substantial portion of the value Sears was sold for in the bankruptcy proceeding. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit transferred the lease as it was deemed “integral” to a court-approved bankruptcy sale. Mall of America filed a petition with the US Supreme Court, arguing that a remedy is available that would not affect the validity of the sale. Therefore, according to Mall of America, the appellate court should be allowed to intervene. Transform Holdco LLC responds that no such remedy exists, and that the Second Circuit’s ruling should stand. The US Supreme Court must now determine whether federal bankruptcy law limits appeals on sales orders deemed “comprehensive,” even when a remedy is available that will not affect the validity of the sale. The court is set to hear oral arguments in the case next term.

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US appeals court to rehear challenge to Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine executive order – JURIST

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The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an order on Monday stating that the court will rehear Feds for Medical Freedom v. Biden, a challenge to President Joe Biden’s 2019 executive order that required federal employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or face termination. In late May and early June, America First Legal Foundation, America’s Frontline Doctors, Airline Employees For Freedom Health, and an additional group of vaccine plaintiffs filed four amicus briefs in favor of a new full hearing. The plaintiffs in Rodden v. Fauci also filed a class action lawsuit made up of federal employees who contracted COVID-19, developed COVID-19 antibodies, “but remain subject to the federal employee vaccination mandate.” The Rodden plaintiffs argue that Biden and the “agencies he directs have no power to direct the personal medical decisions of federal employees,” and therefore this executive order is like an illegal government mandate. In addition, the group asserts that the panel’s refusal to review executive employment decisions is unlawful and thus protects “the exercise of unlawful governmental power.” In January 2022, a Texas judge blocked Biden’s executive order. Other state judges have also blocked enforcement of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. In December 2021, a Georgia judge blocked the COVID-19 vaccination mandate for government contractors after the Texas Governor ordered a statewide ban on all COVID-19 vaccination mandates in October 2021 .

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