Tag: rules

Lake George board, superintendent violated open meeting law, judge rules

LAKE GEORGE – A ruling from a state Supreme Court justice determined the central school district’s superintendent and board of education violated an open meetings law, but did not give Lake George United for Education what they wanted — their assistant principal back.

Justice Thomas Nolan’s Sept. 30 decision concluded that the breach of the open meetings law doesn’t void or reverse the board’s March 2018 resolution to remove Assistant Principal Cody Conley in favor of hiring a curriculum coordinator.

“The topic that was discussed was one permitted to be discussed in executive session,” Nolan wrote in his decision. “This does not evince, in this court’s judgment, either conscious or malicious or deliberate effort by the Board to violate the law or that the Board has engaged in a documented, persistent pattern of such violations.”

The decision, as first reported by the Post-Star of Glens Falls, the judge declined to award legal fees to LGUE, a community group that filed the Article 78 lawsuit against the school board and Superintendent Lynne Rutnik.

The decision did not satisfy Patricia Dow, the lead petitioner on the LGUE lawsuit.


“While LGUE is disappointed that the Supreme Court was unwilling to impose any consequences on the superintendent and board of education for depriving the public of its statutory right to observed the regular business of the board, we are grateful that the court agreed that the law was violated,” Dow said in a written statement.

Dow said that the board and superintendent misled the public when they announced their executive session was held to discuss an employee’s history, not a position elimination and Nolan agreed.

However, in her statement, Dow also said that the superintendent didn’t consult the district’s professional staff  before deciding to eliminate Conley’s position, showing the superintendent was “unwilling to collaborate with district professionals on how best to deliver critically needed services to our students.”

Rutnik has said the reason for not consulting staff was because the decision “was too difficult to make with a great deal of objectivity.”

Even though Dow didn’t get everything that the suit was meant to achieve, LGUE has won over voters. All of the 2018 board member are gone. One of the last, Tom Seguljic, lost his bid for re-election this year.

The board is now packed with members of LGUE including Jeannine Beiber, who husband was a petitioner on the suit against the district, and Melissa Seale who was an original petitioner. (She dropped her name from the suit at some point.) Also on the board from LGUE are President Tricia Connor Biles, Katie Bruenig, Maryanne MacKenzie and Rosemarie Earl. The only person on the board who is independent of LGUE is Lin King whose term ends in 2022.

Rutnik did not return a Times Union phone call to discuss how the LGUE-led board could affect her employment with the district when her contract expires 2024. She did release a statement, however.

“This decision presents an opportunity for the LGCSD board of education and

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EU court rules against Hungary over law that targeted Soros-affiliated university | World news

The European Union’s highest court has ruled that changes by Hungary to its law on higher education, which effectively forced a university founded by George Soros to leave the country, were not in line with EU law.

The European court of justice (ECJ) ruled against prime minister Viktor Orbán’s government, saying in the ruling that “the conditions introduced by Hungary to enable foreign higher education institutions to carry out their activities in its territory are incompatible with EU law”.

At the heart of the conflict is the fate of the Central European University (CEU) established by Soros, a Hungarian-American financier. Under pressure from Orbán, it had to relocate most of its main activities to Vienna from Budapest, where it had been operating since the early 1990s.

Orbán has been a vocal critic of Soros for years, arguing that the billionaire philanthropist is intent on undermining European values with his liberal views on migration, claims Soros has denied. Orbán’s ideological aim of creating an “illiberal state” is also in contrast with Soros’s ideal of an “open society”.

Soros called the ruling “a victory for the fundamental values of the European Union”, but he acknowledged it would make little difference for the university.

“The decision comes too late for CEU,” Soros said. “We cannot return to Hungary, because its prevailing laws don’t meet the requirements of academic freedom.”

Hungary’s justice minister, Judit Varga, reacted to the decision by saying that any EU court ruling would only be applied “in accordance with the interests of the Hungarian people” and said the CEU was seeking to get advantages other Hungarian universities did not have.

Among the legal changes Hungary imposed was tying the operation of foreign universities in the country to a bilateral agreement between the Hungarian government and the universities’ country of origin. Foreign universities were also compelled to carry out educational activities in their home countries. That forced the CEU to move to Vienna.

The EU court ruled that by imposing such conditions, “Hungary has failed to comply with the commitments” under the framework of the World Trade Organization and acted in contravention of the provisions of the EU’s charter of fundamental rights.

In light of Orbán’s views on Soros, the amendments to the academic rules were widely seen as targeting CEU. The EU commission launched an infringement procedure in April 2017 against Hungary in the wake of the changes. It subsequently referred Hungary to the court of justice in December 2017.

Under such a ruling by the ECJ, the member state is legally forced to immediately comply with the court’s judgment, and if it refuses, the EU commission can seek to fine it.

Varga told the state news agency MTI that “all universities in Hungary must comply with the legislation equally”.

She said the law affected dozens of foreign institutions operating in Hungary, but most of them had no problem complying with this legislation, referring to the CEU as a “mailbox” institution.

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LA’s watchdog rules that ‘secret society’ of cops dubbed the Banditos ARE gang-like

Members of the Banditos are recognized by skull and sombrero tattoos

Members of the Banditos are recognized by skull and sombrero tattoos 

L.A. County’s Inspector General’s Office has produced a damning report into a ‘gang-like’ secret society of cops, known as the Banditos, who it claims are protected by a code of silence among officers including L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. 

The Inspector General’s Office launched an investigation into the allegedly violent group amid claims they and other fractions of L.A. cops had operated like gang-sects for years, wielding their influence over co-workers and the public. 

It also came after the sheriff’s department was told to pay $55million in settlements to people who had been victimized by the groups. 

Among claims in the various lawsuits was that the Banditos are ‘a group of approximately 90 deputies who are inked with matching tattoos of a skeleton with a thick mustache, sombrero, pistol, and bandolier’.

In a report released on Tuesday, the Inspector General’s Office claims that the Banditos’ influence in the county sheriff’s department resulted in ‘favoritism, sexism, violence and racism’.  

It is also claimed that Sheriff Villanueva turned a blind eye to the their antics. The report makes mention of an incident at an ‘off training’ party in September 2018 where multiple people were injured by members of the Banditos. 

Among the perpetrators are sergeants who go by the nicknames Bam Bam and G-Rod, the report claims. 

When investigators tried to probe allegations of violence, the report claims they were met with silence. 

‘Substantial evidence exists to support the conclusion that the Banditos are gang-like and their influence has resulted in favoritism, sexism, racism, and violence. 

‘Despite all this, the majority of the witnesses interviewed in the ICIB investigation were not asked any questions about the Banditos. 

Sheriff Alex Villanueva has been accused of promoting a 'code of silence' to protect the gang

Sheriff Alex Villanueva has been accused of promoting a ‘code of silence’ to protect the gang

‘Even when the witnesses brought up the Banditos there was little or no follow up by ICIB investigators. It appears from the interviews that ICIB did not want to delve into the Banditos involvement in the fight or their control over the East LA Station,’ the 32-page report claims. 

The incident in September involved one of the alleged gang members approaching another cop and telling him he was ‘not good’ at the station. 

Complainers can face retaliation. Some who have resisted the Banditos have seen the word 'rat' written on their windshield or received a dead rat

Complainers can face retaliation. Some who have resisted the Banditos have seen the word ‘rat’ written on their windshield or received a dead rat

Another alleged gang member then called him a ‘p***y’ and a ‘rat’, and that he had ‘no problem slapping him or anyone because nobody is going to say anything.’  

He then allegedly told the cop if he couldn’t get to him, he could ‘get to his family’.   

The investigation found that members of the Banditos got away with behavior that other cops would not have. 

‘Some of the information told to the ICIB investigators suggests that the Banditos act in ways that are comparable to a criminal street gang and some witnesses described the veterans as ‘OGs’, which is the term

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E.U. Court Rules Against Hungary Law Targeting Soros-Funded University

BUDAPEST — The European Court of Justice ruled on Tuesday that Hungary had violated E.U. rules by changing legislation in 2017 that effectively expelled an American university founded by the billionaire financier George Soros from the country.

“The conditions introduced by Hungary to enable foreign higher education institutions to carry out their activities in its territory are incompatible with E.U. law,” the court’s ruling said.

The decision was the latest effort by the European Union to curb growing authoritarianism by the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, but is unlikely to have much impact on the ground in Hungary.

The ruling leaves no room for appeal, and requires Mr. Orban’s government to change the legislation to come in line with E.U. laws. If Hungary does not amend the law, the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, could request that the high court impose fines on the Hungarian government until it does so.

But the expelled institution, Central European University, is unlikely to restore its former setup in Hungary. Michael Ignatieff, the university’s rector, has said that it will be anchored in Vienna, where it has moved the bulk of its operations.

“We cannot return to Hungary, because its prevailing laws don’t meet the requirements of academic freedom,” Mr. Soros said in a statement on Tuesday. “The Hungarian government continues to trample E.U. law, with the latest victim being the world-renowned University of Theatre and Arts,” he added, referring to a Hungarian university that was the site of student protests last months over the increasing influence of Mr. Orban’s government in the school’s affairs.

Andras Lederer, a program coordinator with the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, a human rights organization in Budapest, said the Central European University case highlighted the need for the European Commission to step in early and suspend legislation it objected to until the bloc’s high court could give a ruling on the matter.

“If that would have happened in the case of C.E.U., the university would still be here,” he said.

Founded and endowed by Mr. Soros after the fall of communism, Central European University was a hub of liberal thought in a region long under authoritarian rule. But after Mr. Orban’s government amended Hungary’s Act on Higher Education to force the university to meet an array of new requirements, Central European University found itself in legal limbo.

The new legislation essentially stripped the university of its ability to grant U.S. diplomas in Hungary, thereby largely preventing it from being able to operate within the country. Central European University currently conducts only a few academic and archiving activities in Budapest.

In its ruling on Tuesday, the European Court of Justice said that the law’s requirements constituted “a means of arbitrarily discrimination” against institutions like Central European University.

Mr. Orban’s government has vigorously defended the legislation, with one minister saying in 2017 that it was not in Hungary’s interest “to allow international influence attempts aimed at making life difficult for the democratically elected government or president.”

Mr. Orban, whose coalition

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Indonesia Passes Law to Simplify Labor, Investment Rules

(Bloomberg) — Indonesia has rushed the approval of a law aimed at creating jobs and attracting investments, a day before 2 million workers were set to stage a three-day strike to reject it.



a group of people walking down the street: Workers transport carts loaded with boxes at Tanah Abang market in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. Indonesia is scheduled to announce its second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) figures on Aug. 5.


© Bloomberg
Workers transport carts loaded with boxes at Tanah Abang market in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. Indonesia is scheduled to announce its second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) figures on Aug. 5.

The parliament agreed to pass the omnibus bill on jobs in a plenary meeting on Monday. It was previously set to hold the meeting on Oct. 8.

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The law that seeks to simplify and revise more than 70 existing regulations will overhaul the country’s labor rules, make it easier for companies to secure permits and ease foreign ownership requirements. Its passage sets the income tax from capital gains to 20%, while some dividend taxes will be exempted.

Indonesian Workers Rally Against New Job Bill, Massive Layoffs

The bill’s passage could help President Joko Widodo shore up an economy that’s set to slip into another contraction in the third quarter as the continued spread of the coronavirus damped household spending and investments. The government has sought to speed up state spending, while warning that growth can’t come from the public sector alone.

The rupiah gained 0.4% to 14,800 a dollar as lawmakers voiced their support for the bill, the steepest rise in two weeks. The benchmark Jakarta Composite Index of shares advanced 0.7%.

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Unemployment Fund

As part of the law, the government will set up an unemployment fund to support workers who lost their jobs, with the premiums paid for by the state budget. The fund will give cash payments, provide access to the job market and pay for training. The law will also maintain workers’ rights to maternity and menstruation leave as set out in the existing labor rule.

The law has been met with opposition from labor unions and politicians who sought to reject the reduction in severance pay and the introduction of indefinite labor contracts. Activists have also spoken out against the bill, which lets investments judged to be low risk to continue without needing to submit a report on their expected environmental impact.

Other changes included in the jobs creation omnibus law:

Government to set up one-map policy to solve the issue of overlapping land claims and conflicts, which would ensure legal certainty for businessesThose who hire foreign workers are required to submit a plan for how the employee will work, while banning foreigners from holding roles that oversee personnelSimplified process for registering intellectual property and getting halal certificationLaw to speed up the construction of low-cost homes

(Updates with market movement in fifth paragraph.)

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Indonesia Passes Law to Cut Corporate Tax, Simplify Labor Rules

(Bloomberg) — Indonesia has rushed the approval of a law aimed at creating jobs and attracting investments, a day before 2 million workers were set to protest against it.



a group of people walking down the street: Workers transport carts loaded with boxes at Tanah Abang market in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. Indonesia is scheduled to announce its second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) figures on Aug. 5.


© Bloomberg
Workers transport carts loaded with boxes at Tanah Abang market in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. Indonesia is scheduled to announce its second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) figures on Aug. 5.

The parliament agreed to pass the omnibus bill on jobs in a plenary meeting on Monday. That’s one day before labor unions were planning to stage a national three-day strike across 300 cities to reject it. The parliament was previously set to hold its plenary meeting on Oct. 8.

The law that seeks to simplify and revise more than 70 existing regulations will overhaul the country’s labor rules, make it easier for companies to secure permits and ease foreign ownership rules. Its passage means the corporate income tax will be gradually lowered to 20%, from 22% currently, while some dividend taxes will be exempted.

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The bill’s passage may help President Joko Widodo shore up an economy that’s set to slip into another contraction this quarter as the continued spread of the coronavirus damped household spending and investments. The government has sought to speed up state spending, while warning that growth can’t come from the public sector alone.

The law has been met with opposition from labor unions and politicians who sought to reject the reduction in severance pay and the introduction of indefinite labor contracts. Activists have also spoken out against the bill, which exempts investments judged to be low-risk to go ahead without submitting a report on their expected environmental impact.

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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BBC – Travel – Harambee: The law of generosity that rules Kenya

A year ago, I attended a fundraiser for a wedding in an affluent Nairobi neighbourhood called Lavington. As the sweltering midday heat hung in the air, a buzz of laughter and excitement echoed through the crowded tent. Many of the guests were newly graduated environmental activists and young entrepreneurs who openly carried wads of cash, eager to uplift the engaged couple in need. Just as I was getting lost in conversation, the master of ceremony tapped the microphone twice and asked, “Shall we begin this harambee?”

The word means ‘all pull together’ in Kiswahili, Kenya’s national language

A long-standing Kenyan tradition, a harambee is a type of self-help event that’s deeply ingrained in the moral compass of the country. The word means “all pull together” in Kiswahili, Kenya’s national language. It is the nation’s official motto; it appears on the country’s coat of arms; and it encompasses a concept of placing the group before the individual. For us Kenyans, a harambee represents an unwritten law of generosity, and regardless of class, ethnic group, gender or religious background, we will lend a hand to assist anyone in need.

Broadly speaking, a harambee can be anything from a fundraising event to emotional support to a simple favour. Whenever an individual is facing a significant rite of passage or life event – such as a wedding, educational opportunity, serious illness or a relative’s funeral – and needs help, they will contact an elder family member or tribal leader. This leader will then call a meeting with other elders, and if the issue is deemed significant enough to warrant the strength of the community, they will share the issue with the individual’s family, friends and co-workers and organise a harambee. Those in attendance often contribute money, services or emotional and physical support, and expect nothing in return.

According to historian Njuguna Ng’ethe at the University of Nairobi, the idea of harambee originated when Swahili porters needed to band together to lift something heavy. Whenever one person would shout “Harambee!”, the porters would lift the object together at the same time. Yet, according to Kenyan folklore, harambee was born when some 30,000 Indian migrants arrived in Mombasa in the 1890s to help build the Kenya-Uganda railway at the behest of the British. As they worked alongside Kenyans, the Indians called on Hare, the divine potency of God, and Ambe, the goddess of power, energy and invincibility. The Kenyan workers often joined in, and soon, this combined Indian chant of “Hare” and “Ambe” became a uniquely Kenyan rallying call of unification.

Harambee was more than a motto, it symbolised Kenyan unity, patriotism and, most importantly, the future

The term gained national prominence in May 1963 when Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, evoked the concept during his election day victory speech. Kenya had just gained independence from British rule and Kenyans were eager to pull the country together, build a new, post-colonial nation and embark on a journey towards self-determination.

“I would suggest we use

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Whistleblower Edward Snowden’s book earnings should go to U.S. government, court rules

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is entitled to more than $5.2 million from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s book royalties, a federal court ruled this week, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.



Edward Snowden on stage with stage lights and an audience: 2019 Right Livelihood Awards


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2019 Right Livelihood Awards

In a statement, the department said the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on Tuesday also ruled in favor of setting up a trust for the government for any future earnings from Snowden’s book, which had been the subject of a federal lawsuit.

A lawyer for Snowden did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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In September 2019, the U.S. government sued Snowden, who resides in Russia, over his publication of “Permanent Record”, a book which the United States says violated non-disclosure agreements he signed when working for both NSA and the Central Intelligence Agency.

The United States alleges that Snowden published the book without first submitting it to U.S. agencies for pre-publication review, in violation of agreements he signed when working for the agencies. U.S. authorities did not seek to block publication of Snowden’s book but rather to seize all proceeds.

Last December, a federal court in Virginia found that Snowden did breach his obligations to the CIA and NSA but reserved judgment on possible remedies. In an order issued on Tuesday, the court entered a judgment in the U.S. government’s favor for more than $5.2 million.

The civil litigation over the book is separate from criminal charges prosecutors filed against Snowden under a 1917 U.S. espionage law.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Mark Hosenball, Editing by Franklin Paul and Lisa Shumaker)

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Government Lawsuit Over John Bolton’s Memoir May Proceed, Judge Rules

A Justice Department spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec, said, “We are pleased with the ruling.”

Charles J. Cooper, a lawyer for Mr. Bolton, said that, “The court’s decision, which we are still studying, means that the case will now move forward to the phase in which the parties will develop and present their evidence to the court.”

The Bolton legal team has also asked Judge Lamberth, if he let the case proceed, to order the White House to turn over evidence to them about the process that administration officials used to handle the manuscript, letting his lawyers know what the government considers classified and permitting them to read internal White House emails and depose witnesses.

Ms. Knight has accused Trump political appointees of illegitimately politicizing the prepublication review process for Mr. Bolton’s book, and Mr. Bolton’s lawyers want to make the case that the government breached its own duty to handle the matter in good faith — and that nothing in the book is truly classified.

But a Justice Department lawyer argued last week against permitting any such “discovery,” saying Mr. Bolton’s decision to publish the book without waiting for written permission is itself sufficient to trigger a ruling that he must forfeit his proceeds from it.

In another legal matter related to a memoir and prepublication review, a federal judge Northern Virginia this week entered a judgment in a case against Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who disclosed archives of classified surveillance and hacking related documents to journalists in 2013.

Mr. Snowden has been indicted on suspicion of unauthorized disclosures of classified information and has been living in Russia. But he has given dozens of paid speeches by teleconference, and last year published a memoir, “Permanent Record,” without submitting the prepared remarks or the book manuscript to the prepublication review process.

When his book was published, the Justice Department filed a similar lawsuit —- although it did not try to block publication of the book — seeking to seize Mr. Snowden’s past and future profits from such activities.

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Judge rules federal law enforcement commission violates law, orders work stopped as attorney general prepares to issue report

The ruling by Senior U.S. District Judge John D. Bates in Washington came in response to a lawsuit from the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund, which sought an injunction against the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice for violating laws on how federal advisory committees must work. Bates did not issue an injunction, but ordered the commission to change its membership and comply with other aspects of the law.

“Especially in 2020,” Bates wrote, “when racial justice and civil rights issues involving law enforcement have erupted across the nation, one may legitimately question whether it is sound policy to have a group with little diversity of experience examine, behind closed doors, the sensitive issues facing law enforcement and the criminal justice system in America today.”

The 18 member commission was composed entirely of state and federal law enforcement officials, with no one from the civil rights, criminal defense, social work, religious or academic fields. Members were sworn in on Jan. 22, and then heard months of testimony by teleconference from experts in a variety of police, prosecutorial and social fields. The commission also formed 15 working groups, with more than 100 members, to draft sections of the report focusing on topics such as “Reduction of Crime,” “Respect for Law Enforcement,” “Data and Reporting” and “Homeland Security.”

The Federal Advisory Committee Act requires that a committee’s membership be “fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented and the functions to be performed,” so that its recommendations “will not be inappropriately influenced by the appointing authority.” The working groups were also largely tied to policing, with only five of the 112 members not from law enforcement. After the suit was filed, the speakers who testified before the commission were more diverse in professional background.

Police groups lobbied Congress for years to form a commission that would take a comprehensive look at improving American policing, as a similar panel did in the 1960s, to devise new ways to fight crime and use technology to improve policing. When various bills stalled in Congress, Trump signed an executive order last October creating the new group, with the president acknowledging the assistance of the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police in launching the project.

The law also requires that advisory committee meetings be open to the public, with notice posted in the Federal Register, along with a charter for the committee. The commission did not post a charter or meeting notices in the register, but did send out press releases announcing the virtual meetings as well as posting transcripts and recordings of the meetings. Reporters and others could dial in and listen to the teleconferences. A meeting which Barr held in June with the commission, on the same day Trump signed an executive order on police reform, was not announced and the Justice Department declined to release a transcript or recording.

Trump’s order called for the commission to submit its report and recommendations

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