Piracy charges against Somalis are thrown out
A judge on Tuesday dismissed piracy charges against six Somali men accused of attacking a Navy ship off the coast of Africa, concluding the U.S. government failed to make the case that their alleged actions amounted to piracy. The dismissal of the piracy count by U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson tosses the most serious charge against the men but leaves intact seven other charges related to the alleged April 10 attack on the USS Ashland in the Gulf of Aden. A piracy conviction carries a mandatory life term.
No property tax for foreign countries
India and other nations with diplomatic housing do not have to pay city property taxes, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in a long-running dispute that once reached the Supreme Court. The decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan handed a victory to the governments of India and Mongolia, which had fought the city's demands that they pay tens of millions of dollars in taxes for their Manhattan embassy buildings. The three-judge panel said the Foreign Missions Act allows the State Department to issue tax exemptions that pre-empt state and municipal tax laws.
BlackBerry settles spat with India
India's BlackBerry users breathed a sigh of relief Tuesday as word spread that their beloved smart-phone devices would keep beeping after Aug. 31, the deadline New Delhi had set for the company to either open up its technology or shut down its service. BlackBerry's Canadian parent company reportedly agreed to copy Indian security agencies on client e-mails and short messages, local news reports said Tuesday, citing government sources. The agencies initially must make a specific request but after November reportedly will receive automatic data feeds.
Israel faulted in Arab girl's death
A Jerusalem court decided in a ruling made public Tuesday that a rubber bullet fired by Israeli border police was responsible for the death of Abir Aramin, a 10-year-old Palestinian girl killed by gunfire in January 2007 as she stood some distance from a demonstration. The case gained wide attention because the girl's father, Basam Aramin, was a Palestinian militant turned advocate for Israeli-Palestinian coexistence. He helped found Combatants for Peace, a group of former Israeli and Palestinian fighters who work for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Police initially said she was killed by a stray rock thrown by a Palestinian.
Blackwater founder relocates: Erik Prince, whose company Blackwater Worldwide — now called Xe Services — is for sale and whose former top managers are facing criminal charges, has left the United States and moved to Abu Dhabi, according to court documents filed in federal court in Virginia. Prince himself does not face any criminal charges.
Chess icon, but not dad: A lawyer in Iceland says DNA tests show that chess master Bobby Fischer was not the father of a 9-year-old girl from the Philippines, Jinky Young, whose mother Marilyn said she had a relationship with the chess icon.