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Cambodia: Former Khmer Rouge Minister Charged with Crimes Against Humanity

(June 2, 2008) Ieng Thirith, the former Khmer Rouge Social Affairs Minister, has been charged by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) with crimes against humanity (murder, extermination, imprisonment, persecution, and other inhuman acts) in accordance with articles 5, 29(new), and 39(new) of the Law on the Establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers […]

Malaysia: Woman May Return to Buddhism

(June 2, 2008) News media agencies have reported that the Sharia court of the Malaysian State of Penang has ruled that a Malaysian woman who converted to Islam may return to being Buddhist. The court ruled that Siti Fatimah Tan Abdullah may return to Buddhism following the cessation of her marriage to a Muslim man […]

Indonesia: Introduction of New Cyber Law

(May 2, 2008) The People's Representative Council of Indonesia has passed the new Law on Electronic Information and Transaction that bans pornographic Web sites and imposes prison sentences and fines on persons who produce, distribute, or transmit electronic content that violates decency; is related to gambling, insult, libel, or blackmail; or is threatening or creates […]

Australia: Summit Recommends Republic

(May 2, 2008) The Governance Session of the 2020 Summit (held April 19-20, 2008, in Canberra Australia) has recommended that Australia become a republic via a two-step process involving an initial plebiscite to ascertain whether or not Australia should relinquish ties to the United Kingdom and then a referendum to establish the model of the […]

Hong Kong; Indonesia: Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement

(May 2, 2008) The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government and the Republic of Indonesia signed the Agreement Concerning Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (MLA) on April 3, 2008. The agreement will facilitate international co-operation to combat serious crimes by providing for reciprocal assistance in relation to investigations, proceedings, and prosecutions of criminal […]

China; New Zealand: Free Trade Agreement

(May 2, 2008) On April 7, 2008, New Zealand and China signed a free trade agreement (FTA). The FTA covers: • staggered removal of tariffs on 96% of New Zealand exports; • rules to determine products that qualify for tariff cuts, to counter unfair trade or unexpected surges in imported products; • provisions to facilitate […]

Australia: Foreign Sovereign Funds Subject to Scrutiny

(Mar. 2, 2008) The Australian government has released a set of principles by which it will assess foreign investment in Australia by foreign governments and their agencies. (Press Release, The Hon. Wayne Swan, Government Improves Transparency of Foreign Investment Screening Process (Feb. 17, 2008), available at

Cook Islands: Introduction of Freedom of Information Legislation

(Mar. 2, 2008) The Cook Islands has become the first Pacific Island country to enact Freedom of Information legislation. The Cook Islands Official Information Act will come into force on February 11, 2009, one year after its enactment. In the Pacific region, Australia and New Zealand have freedom of information laws and Papua New Guinea's […]

New Zealand: Proposal to Amend Terrorism Suppression Bill

(Dec. 2, 2007) A bill to amend the Terrorism Suppression Amendment Act has been introduced in the New Zealand Parliament. The Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill 2007 will ensure compliance with international obligations and improve workability. The bill provides for: ensuring New Zealand's compliance with United Nations Resolution 1267 by automatically designating U.N.-nominated entities as terrorist […]

Hong Kong: New Building Laws Proposed

(Dec. 2, 2007) The Hong Kong Government has proposed an amendment to the Buildings Ordinance to introduce a system for the approval of minor works. Currently all building works (regardless of complexity) are subject to the same procedures. Under the Building (Amendment) Bill 2007, minor works will be classified into three categories (depending on scale, […]