May 28, 2008
Nepal parliament weathers blasts, abolishes monarchy
By a vote of 560-4, the first-ever session of Nepal's Constituent Assembly amended that country's constitution, declaring Nepal a federal democratic republic. The measure, sponsored jointly by the Nepali Congress, Unified Marxist-Leninist, and Maoist parties, has the effect of abolishing the nation's 239-year monarchic rule by the Shah dynasty.
By operation of the amendment, the Nepali monarch, Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, immediately loses his royal prerogatives; as a result of a subsequent vote, the royal family has 15 days to vacate the royal palace.
The Nepali government immediately declared a two-day national holiday to celebrate the measure.
Earlier in the day, the Constituent Assembly was shaken by two bomb blasts, which were detonated just as the Assembly's first session was called to order. Preliminary reports from Kathmandu indicate that a pro-Hindu party group, Ranabir Sena, was responsible for the blasts.
For more information, see http://www.nepalnews.com/.
WTO - Working Document on Rules Negotiations
The Chair of the WTO Negotiating Group issued a working document regarding negotiations on rules. The document takes the form of a cover note and three annexes relating to anti-dumping, horizontal subsidies and fisheries subsidies. It seeks to convey the full spectrum and intensity of the reactions to the Chair's first draft texts and to identify the many suggested changes put forward by delegations.
Click here for more information
Judicial Reform in Malaysia
David Wescott shared with me this op-ed on Judicial Reform in Malaysia. It appeared in the Wall Street Journal and was written by the Law Minister of Malaysia, recognizing the importance of a fair and impartial judiciary.
Hat tip to David Wescott
Indonesia Dropping Out of OPEC
Indonesia may be dropping its membership in OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Indonesia is the only member of OPEC in Asia, but for years the country has been a net importer of oil rather than an exporter. A radio report this morning stated that part of the problem could be that the legal and investment climate in Indonesia has kept foreign oil companies from investing in Indonesia.
Benjamin Davis, a professor at the University of Toledo School of Law (in Ohio, not Spain) served with me as co-chair of the American Society of International Law Interest Group for Teaching International Law. I recently had a chance to visit with him while teaching bar review classes at his law school.
Ben has published a new essay asking why we are not celebrating the contributions of the lawyers in the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, the FBI, and elsewhere who put their jobs on the line to stand up for true American values. Click here to read Ben's essay in Jurist.
Hat tip to Hazel Weiser
- Louis Rothberg (Associate Counsel for International Cooperative Programs, U.S. Army);
- Joseph Dennin (a partner at McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP);
- Stephen Canner (Vice President, Investment and Financial Services, U.S. Council for International Business);
- Nova Daly, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Investment Security, U.S. Department of the Treasury
- Moderator: Geoffrey Goodale, Foley & Lardner LLP (Moderator)
1900 K Street, NW
Government and Non-Profit Employees $25.00
Section Members and ABA Section of International Law $25.00
Non-Section Members $35.00
May 27, 2008
HED / USAID RFA: Rule of Law in Mexico
Higher Education for Development (HED), a program that links higher education institutions with USAID and the Department of State, has announced that it anticipates making up to three awards of up to $250,000 each in the area of "rule of law" as part of its US-Mexico Training, Internships, Exchanges, and Scholarships (TIES) Initiative.
One award is targetted at programs focused on gender and indigenous languages and two are focused on constitutional reforms in Mexico.
The deadline for proposals is June 20, 2008.
For more information about this RFA, see http://www.hedprogram.org/tabid/66/itemid/157/TIES-US--Mexico-University-Partnerships.aspx. For more information about HED, see http://www.hedprogram.org/.
International Environmental Law Conference
The University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore will hold a Global Warming Conference on June 6, 2008. Click here for more information.
Hat tip to Roy Gardner at Stetson University College of Law.
International Students in U.S. Law Schools
How are U.S. law schools meeting the needs of students from other countries? Click here to download an article by Julie Spanbauer, who surveyed LL.M. programs in the United States and how they handle students who speak English as a second language.
May 26, 2008
ICJ Decision in Djibouti v. France
The International Court of Justice announced that it would deliver its Judgment in the case concerning Certain Questions of Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (Djibouti v. France) on June 4, 2008. Click here for more information.
Palau: Lawmakers Adopt Resolution Condemning Frisking of President
The House of Delegates of the Republic of Palau adopted a resolution expressing its disapproval of how the President and first lady of Palau were treated by Continental Micronesia Airlines and the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA). President Remengesau and First Lady Debbie Remengesau were in the Philippines in April for an official state visit. They were refused boarding on a Continental Airlines flight to return to the Republic of Palau for refusing to submit to frisking. The president and his wife returned to their hotel, and then later returned to Palau by a private jet provided by the Philippine government. According to the Marianas Variety, the resolution adopted by the Palauan legislature said that there should have been more respect shown to Palau's president.
P.S. I served as Court Counsel to the Supreme Court of the Republic of Palau in 1994-95, during the year that Palau became an independent country. It was previously a strategic trust territory of the United Nations, administered by the United States. The photo to the left, from the Palau government's official website, is of a traditional "bai" (meeting house).
WTO: Report on Negotiations on International Trade in Services (including Legal Services)
The Chair of the WTO Council for Trade in Services issued a report on May 26, 2008 on the elements needed to complete the services negotiations in the Doha Round. The report includes a draft services text for possible adoption by WTO members. Legal services are included in one of the areas in which countries will be encouraged to liberalize services. Click here for a short summary from the WTO, the text of the report, and the annex with the draft language for the resolution.
The same link also includes a sidebar with a useful breakdown that you might find useful for your teaching notes for lectures next year. The sidebar explains the four modes of providing services internationally:
- Mode 1: services supplied from one country to another, such as international telephone calls ("cross-border supply");
- Mode 2: consumers or firms making use of a service in another country, such as tourism ("consumption abroad");
- Mode 3: a foreign company setting up subsidiaries or branches to provide services in another country ("commercial presence"); and
- Mode 4: individuals traveling from their own country to provide services in another, such as fashion modeling or consulting ("presence of natural persons").