A federal appeals court Monday dismissed a legal challenge to a California law banning the sale, distribution and possession of shark fins. The legislation does not conflict with a 19th century law that gives federal officials authority to manage shark fishing off the California coast or significantly interfere with interstate commerce, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said. The 2-1 ruling upheld a lower court decision tossing the lawsuit brought by the Chinatown Neighborhood Association and Asian Americans for Political Advancement, a political action committee.
The groups had argued that the ban — passed in 2011 — unfairly targeted the Chinese community, which considers shark fin soup a delicacy. Shark finning is the practice of removing the fins from a living shark, leaving the animal to die. Joseph Breall, an attorney for the groups, said they were reviewing their options and had not yet decided whether to appeal. He said he was heartened by the dissenting opinion by Judge Stephen Reinhardt, who said the plaintiffs should have been allowed to amend their lawsuit.
The plaintiffs had argued on appeal that the shark fin law conflicted with the federal law intended to manage shark fishing off the California coast. The majority in the 9th Circuit ruling, however, said the federal law has no requirement that a certain number of sharks be harvested, and even if it did, the California law still allowed sharks to be taken for purposes other than obtaining their fins.
The federal law, additionally, envisions a broad role for states in crafting fishery management plans, and, like California’s ban, makes conservation paramount, the court said. The 9th Circuit also rejected the plaintiffs’ claims that the ban illegally interfered with trade in shark fins between California and other states and the flow of shark fins between states through California. “The Shark Fin Law does not interfere with activity that is inherently national or that requires a uniform system of regulation,” Judge Andrew Hurwitz wrote. “The purpose of the Shark Fin Law is to conserve state resources, prevent animal cruelty, and protect wildlife and public health. These are legitimate matters of local concern.”
Read More : foxnews.com/leisure/2015/07/27/federal-appeals-court-dismisses-legal-challenge-to-california-shark-fin-ban/
UC San Diego won a major legal battle Friday against USC when a judge ruled that control of a landmark project on Alzheimer’s disease belongs to the La Jolla school. The decision addressed the heart of a lawsuit that has gained international attention since UC San Diego filed it early this month, largely because it’s rare for such disagreements in the academic world to reach the courtroom. The dispute pits UC San Diego, a research powerhouse, against USC, a well-heeled institution seeking to bolster its biomedical research efforts and extend its reach to San Diego. “We never wanted to resort to legal action, but when all reasonable requests to return what is the rightful property of UC San Diego were ignored, there was no alternative,” Dr. David Brenner, vice chancellor for health sciences, said in a statement. “We are pleased with today’s decision and believe it indicates the strength of our overall case.” Left unresolved Friday was UC San Diego’s request for monetary damages based on its accusations that USC, Dr. Paul Aisen and other defendants conspired to illegally transfer the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study to the Los Angeles-based university. Aisen resigned in June from UC San Diego, where he had overseen the study since 2007, to become founding director of an Alzheimer’s institute that USC was establishing in the Sorrento Valley neighborhood. In recent weeks, the two sides have argued about who owns the database for the $100-million nationwide project UC San Diego, which has overseen the study for nearly a quarter of a century, said it still retains the government funding — an assertion backed by the National Institutes of Health. Aisen and USC officials have countered that it’s academic tradition for departing faculty members to transfer their research to their new employer. They presented supporting statements from several researchers taking part in the Alzheimer’s project. After Friday’s hearing, USC attorney Glenn Dassoff told journalists that USC and Aisen’s interest in the study “is real, genuine, and unfortunately was not addressed today. This is not over.” In an email Friday night, Aisen wrote: “We all lose here. Science and public health lose when research is torn from the investigators with the passion, knowledge and skill to assure its success.”
In the courtroom, San Diego Superior Court Judge Judith Hayes said she would issue a preliminary injunction early next week that will require USC to surrender custody of the Alzheimer’s project. She told USC not to manipulate data from the study or make any other changes to the database, which involves details of lab research clinical trials from dozens of sites across the country. As the next step, the two universities and their lawyers will negotiate the choice of a “special master” to supervise the process of USC restoring full control of the database to UC San Diego. This phase will involve an independent expert on bioinformatics who can determine whether information in the database has been tampered with. Dan Sharp, an attorney representing UC San Diego on behalf of the University of California Board of Regents, said USC would start returning the data next week. “How long it takes will depend on what we find in terms of what they’ve done with the [computer] system, changes they may have made,” he said. Dassoff, the USC attorney, said that although his party disagrees with Hayes’ findings, “we’ll reflect on the decision and I’m sure that [we’ll] approach any settlement discussions in good faith.” During the hearing, Hayes offered to refer the opposing sides to a settlement judge, with the aim of negotiating an end to the lawsuit instead of proceeding to a jury trial. UC San Diego alleges that Aisen, USC and as many as two dozen other defendants colluded to commit a range of violations, including contract interference, breach of duty of loyalty by an employee, commission of computer crimes, and civil conspiracy. Brenner, UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla and others at the university have said the defendants have harmed their school’s reputation. Aisen and his new employer have denied any wrongdoing. In the last year, USC has reached out to at least three life-science institutions in San Diego to explore a purchase, merger or other types of collaboration. None of those inquiries has resulted in a partnership. During an interview this month, USC Provost Michael Quick said his university’s envisioned footprint in San Diego could include free-standing institutes, academic consortia and joint ventures with targeted companies. The 20th century was dominated by physics. The 21st will be dominated by biomedical sciences,” Quick said. “We have to be at places where the conversations [in life sciences] are the best, and San Diego is one of those places.”
Read More : latimes.com/local/california/la-me-0725-uc-sandiego-20150725-story.html
China’s draft cybersecurity law requires companies to hold data in China and could make it hard for foreign hardware vendors to do business. When China adopted a new wide-ranging security law early this month that covers everything from politics to the environment, foreign tech companies were concerned that its broad language meant bad news for them to do business in the country. However, a draft proposal of a new cybersecurity law (link is in Chinese) issued this week shines a bit more light on some of the ways China is looking to regulate data inside the country and influence foreign technology companies, especially Internet service providers (ISP) and hardware manufactures.
According to an International Business Times report this Wednesday on the proposed law, the draft says that ISPs and Internet companies will need to store data in China, with Reuters pointing out that this refers to data collected inside of China as opposed to company data collected from countries other than China. This seems similar to Russia’s tough new cybersecurity law that calla for web companies to set up data centers in the country so that any personal data obtained in Russia on its citizens stays in Russia. The problem with that law, according to European market analysts, is that Russia doesn’t distinguish between personal data—like a person’s name and sex—and routine business data like how many ad clicks does a website operating in Russia receive on a typical day. Essentially, all business data, even manufacturing and IT data, can be interpreted as personal data under the Russian law, which a European think tank studying the law said could dampen the desire of foreign companies to work in Russia. China’s proposed law seems vague as to what exactly constitutes the type of data China wants to keep on shore, but the law is still open for modifications until August, so that issue may clear up by then. What is different between this portion of the law and Russia’s is that China will allow outside tech companies to apply for special exemptions that could allow them to hold Chinese data outside of the country.
Internet operators in China are also subject to more scrutiny under the proposed law. They will have to aid the Chinese government when it conducts criminal investigations or issues that officials believe could compromise national security. These companies will also have to allow for annual audits to determine if there are potential security concerns for the Chinese government. As for hardware manufacturers, it should come as no surprise that the proposed law calls for network equipment—like switches and routers—to be approved by the Chinese government before being sold domestically. China has made public its concerns that the United State’s National Security Agency was installing so-called backdoors within Cisco’s hardware for the purpose of spying, and as a result the country has made it much more difficult for foreign hardware companies to do business inside China. Both Cisco and Hewlett Packard have seen their sales in China suffer as the country scrutinizes imported hardware. This is why Cisco said in June that it is investing $10 billion in the country to rebuild relationships and perhaps manufacture more gear inside the country.
HP in May sold off 51% of its server and networking business in China to Tsinghua University, in the hopes of boosting sales in the country as well. It’s these type of deals that Cisco CSCO 1.87% and HP HPQ 0.29% are doing with China that allow them to potentially grow their business while appeasing the Chinese government. China does not seem like it’s going to reach compromises that totally satisfy every foreign tech company that wants to grow in the country, however. China’s official Xinhua News Agency published an editorial this week scolding foreign companies, for their intransigence. In it, Xinhua claimed that the new laws are not designed to thwart foreign companies, and that China will consider “financial input from overseas and expertise in the process.” The editorial stated that foreign companies “should first abandon their victim complex and learn to adapt to the new norms in order to continue to thrive.”
Read More : Fortune.com/2015/07/08/chinas-proposed-cybersecurity-law-impact-tech-companies/
Australia is keen to include legal services in the free trade agreement (FTA) being negotiated with India despite the fact that the sector, at present, is closed to foreign players and New Delhi’s plans of partially opening it up are still tentative. There are two attorney generals in a team of about 24 Australian officials that is in India for the eighth round of negotiations on the FTA, formally known as the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), a government official told BusinessLine. Negotiations began on Wednesday and will go on till Friday.
“The Australians want the legal sector to be included in the pact, although there is no clarity yet on the commitments they want. We are hesitant as legal services are not open to foreigners at the moment and we cannot take on any commitments based on what might happen in the future,” the official said. Both sides are looking at signing the CECA, which would result in lower tariffs on trade in goods and more opening up of the services sector by the end of this year.
While India does not want to allow foreign lawyers in litigation, the government is looking at the possibility of opening up non-litigious services and international arbitration. “A committee of secretaries, headed by the Cabinet Secretary, is giving finishing touches to a note on phased opening up of the sector and a Cabinet note is likely to be drafted by the legal services department based on that,” another official said.
There is a possibility that the Australians might want an in-built mechanism that would ensure that once the sector is opened up, the provisions become part of CECA commitments. “India is likely to oppose such a mechanism. All that we may be ready for is an agreement to hold negotiations on the sector once it is opened up,” the official added.
The CECA holds potential as annual bilateral trade between India and Australia is around $15 billion, while China-Australia trade is at $160 billion. New Delhi wants greater access for professionals, textiles, pharmaceuticals, engineering goods, leather and automobile parts, while Australia wants collaboration in the dairy sector and commitments in services sectors such as insurance, e-commerce and legal.
Read More : thehindubusinessline.com/economy/australia-wants-legal-services-included-in-trade-pact/article7375412.ece