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Legal News for July

JURIST – News – Legal News & Commentary
Ninth Circuit upholds Endangered Species Act protections for Yellowstone grizzly bears
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 21:51:09 +0000

The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a Montana District Court decision reinstating Endangered Species Act protections for the grizzly bear population in the Yellowstone region.

In 2007, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) declared grizzly bears a “distinct population segment” and attempted to remove the species from protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This decision was subsequently challenged, and the court held that further agency consideration was necessary to remove the species from the list. The court’s decision to remand resulted in a second delisting attempt of the species in 2017, which the district court also vacated.

The FWS appealed “those aspects of the remand that require the study of the effect of the delisting on the remaining, still listed, grizzly population in the coterminous 48 states, as well as further consideration of the threat of delisting to long term genetic diversity of the Yellowstone grizzly.”

In its decision handed down Wednesday, the court stated: “We affirm the district court in all respects, with the exception of the order requiring the FWS to conduct a ‘comprehensive review’ of the remnant grizzly population. As to that order, we remand for the district court to order further examination of the delisting’s effect on the remnant grizzly population consistent with this opinion.”

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Category: Yellowstone
Federal appeals court overturns FDA tobacco warnings rule
Wed, 08 Jul 2020 20:12:08 +0000

The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit overturned a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule on tobacco warnings on Tuesday, holding that the FDA did not adequately consider whether its regulation would have an impact on the number of smokers.

The case, Cigar Associations of America v. United States Food and Drug Administration, rose over the FDA’s promulgation of regulations that require “extensive health warnings on packaging and in advertising for cigars and pipe tobacco.” The FDA issued the rule to communicate health risks associated with smoking, but the DC Court stated that it “failed to consider how the warnings would likely affect the number of smokers.”

Taking into consideration whether a regulation will increase or decrease the number of smokers is a requirement under the Tobacco Control Act. The court drew particular attention to the fact that the FDA stated that “[r]eliable evidence on the impacts of warning labels . . . on the users of cigars [and] pipe tobacco . . . does not, to our knowledge, exist.”

The lower court had granted summary judgment to the FDA, and the DC Court reversed that ruling.

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Category: Tobacco Control Act
Trump formally withdraws US from WHO
Wed, 08 Jul 2020 18:02:27 +0000

President Donald Trump notified United Nation officials of US withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday, effective July 2021.

A White House official confirmed the UN notification. This comes after Trump signaled his intent to withdraw in May, resting his decision on the WHO’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The US currently donates 400 million dollars to the WHO annually.

Additionally, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) confirmed in a tweet that Congress received word of the US withdrawal.

Withdrawal from the WHO requires a 1 year notice, leaving the possibility of the US remaining in the organization dependent upon the upcoming 2020 presidential election. Presumptive Democratic candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden pledged to reverse the withdrawal. He tweeted: “Americans are safer when America is engaged in strengthening global health. On my first day as President, I will rejoin the WHO and restore our leadership on the world stage.”

A spokesperson for UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the request is under review. The UN must verify whether the US met all the conditions of withdrawal, including the one year notice and meeting financial obligations. 

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Category: WHO
United Kingdom domestic violence bill approved by House of Commons
Wed, 08 Jul 2020 19:01:45 +0000

The UK Domestic Abuse Bill was approved by the House of Commons on Monday. The bill introduces new clauses to better protect domestic violence victims in the UK.

The bill which was first introduced a year ago has moved onto the second reading in the House of Lords. The bill will include a clause banning the “rough sex defence” which has been controversially used as a defense for serious harm. The catalyst for change came from the case of Natalie Connolley, whose partner was cleared of murder after using the rough sex defense in court.

The Domestic Abuse Bill will further introduce the first legal definition of domestic violence in the UK, recognizing children as domestic abuse victims, as well as including non-physical behavior such as coercive and controlling behavior. However, campaigners have cautioned that the definition of domestic violence included in the bill could lead to the omission of protection for migrant women who are victims of domestic violence.

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Category: United Kingdom
US and China impose mutual visa restrictions over Tibet
Wed, 08 Jul 2020 21:02:37 +0000

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian announced Wednesday that China would impose visa restrictions on US personnel “behaving badly” on Tibet-related issues. The announcement followed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s Tuesday announcement that visa restrictions on certain Chinese officials would be imposed under the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018, for the lack of “fair, transparent and reciprocal treatment” from the People’s Republic of China.

The Reciprocal Access Act seeks to deny access to the US for Chinese officials known to be involved in restricting visits to Tibet. The visa restrictions are applicable to an unspecified number of Chinese government and Chinese Communist Party officials determined to be “substantially involved in the formulation or execution of policies related to access for foreigners to Tibetan areas”.

Pompeo’s announcement came a day after US Senate approval of a bill laying out economic sanctions against Chinese officials and Hong Kong police, as well as banks doing transactions with them.

Pompeo said that China continued systematically to obstruct travel to the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) and other Tibetan areas by US diplomats and other officials, journalists, and tourists, while Chinese officials and other citizens enjoy far greater access to the United States.

He concluded his statement by saying that the US will continue to work to advance the sustainable economic development, environmental conservation, and humanitarian conditions of Tibetan communities within China and abroad.

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Category: visa