Alcohol Sales Before Vote Punishable Offence as Thai Referendum Draws Near

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Starting Saturday evening, no alcohol can legally be sold in Thailand, in accordance with the country’s new Referendum Act.

Polling will take place on Sunday, and the act forbids selling or giving away alcohol from 6 P.M.  the night before. The ban will continue until 12 midnight Sunday night.

Violating the 2016 Referendum Act is punishable by up to six months in prison and a 10,000 baht fine.

Sales will be permitted at duty-free stores, but the alcohol cannot be consumed within the country until Monday morning.

US Supreme Court Justice Scalia Dead

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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the longest-serving justice on the court, is dead.

Scalia was found dead Saturday morning at a ranch outside of Marfa, Texas, where the justice had been hunting quail. The death was of natural causes, according to federal officials.

A priest has been called to Marfa to provide for the deceased.

Scalia served as justice on the Supreme Court since 1986 when he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan. He was 79 when he died.

Chinese Vancouverite Aided Chinese Military In Theft Of F-35 Blueprints, Report Claims

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The Globe and Mail has caused a court “book of record” to be released from the Vancouver court in which a trial against a Chinese Vancouverite accused of spying for China is taking place. The most recent development: Two unnamed co-conspirators in the case have been found to be Chinese soldiers.

Allegedly, Su Bin, a 50-year old entrepreneur living in Vancouver, helped the Chinese cyper-spying operation steal American fighter jet plans by providing focus for the hacking efforts of the Chinese soldiers. This help was documented in intercepted emails, according to the court documents.

In the trial, based on a U.S. charge, the two Chinese soldiers were referred to only as “unindicted co-conspirators” “affiliated with mulitiple organizations and entities.” No mention was made that they were tied to the Chinese army.

The Globe and Mail-obtained court documents show that the two had been explicitly referred to as “two Chinese military officers.” The two Chinese soldiers have also been identified by U.S. authories, according to the documents, although the names are not revealed by the Globe-obtained documents.

By Devon James

Read more: Chinese soldiers implicated in U.S. military hacking case

BC Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Trinity Western’s Law School

BC Supreme Court
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CHILLIWACK, British Columbia — In the latest of the trials over Trinity Western University’s planned law school, a B.C. Supreme Court judge has found in favor of the school, rejecting the Law Society of BC’s rejection of TWU.

The Law Society had not properly maintained its discretion when it went back on its initial approval of Trinity Western’s law school after holding a referendum among its disapproving members, B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson found.

“I conclude that the benchers permitted a non-binding vote of the LSBC membership to supplant their judgment,” said Hinkson.

“In so doing, the benchers disabled their discretion under the [Legal Profession Act] by binding themselves to a fixed blanket policy set by LSBC members. The benchers thereby wrongfully fettered their discretion.”

The matter at issue is Trinity Western’s “Community Covenant,” which all staff and students must sign. The covenant is a pledge that an individual will maintain the teachings of the Bible and refrain from sex outside traditional marriage.

The Langley, B.C.-based school — Canada’s largest Christian university with 4,000 students — applied for and received permission from the British Columbia Law Society in 2013.

Afterwards, responding to the disapproval of its members — B.C. lawyers — the LSBC held a referendum. After finding that 74 percent of its members wanted to deny graduates of Trinity Western to practice, the Law Society changed its decision and withdrew its approval.

Hinkson concluded that, besides allowing their discretion to be clouded by popular sentiment, the Law Society had infringed on the freedom of religion guaranteed by the nation’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Hinkson ordered the Law Society to return to its original decision to allow Trinity Western’s graduates to practice law in B.C.

Provincial courts across Canada have been hearing Trinity Western’s case — some are finding for the school, some against. It is expected that the matter will proceed to the Supreme Court of Canada to be settled.

England Bans Bags

EU plastic bag law
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Legislation that bans supermarkets from giving out free plastic bags to their customers has finally kicked in in England. Gone are the days of plastic bags bonanza: from today, shoppers will have to pay 5p for each thin-gauge supermarket plastic bag they require.

Some 8.5 billion single-use bags plus some 500,000 reusable were used in 2014 by customers in UK supermarkets, weighing a total of 68,600 tonnes.

In England alone, 19 million single-use plastic bags are given out daily.

Similar legislation already in place in Ireland and Denmark, with France also following suit, has shown to have greatly reduced plastic bags use almost overnight.

The new measure, a welcome step according to environmentalists, applies however only to supermarkets with over 250 employees and does not include other types of bags, such as paper bags. It is therefore deemed to not be going far enough, and to be sending the public mixed messages.

Critics argue that the behaviour change such ban is designed to encourage will be hindered by smaller shops being exempt, with people being able to carry out as normal whenever shopping at these smaller establishments.

While legislation in England may not yet go far enough, it is nonetheless a good step in helping to reduce the amount of plastic blighting our landscapes, choking our wildlife, and finding its way to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch a floating garbage dump twice the size of Texas.

By Annalisa Dorigo

Video used to drum up support for a similar ban in California: