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Germany: Paternity Testing

(June 2, 2008) The Act for the Establishment of Paternity Without a Proceeding to Contest Paternity, enacted on March 28, 2008 (BUNDESGESETZBLATT (BGBL, official law gazette of the Federal Republic of Germany) I at 441), became effective on April 1, 2008. This Act makes it easier for the presumptive father of a child, the husband […]

Germany: Biofuel Requirements

(May 2, 2008) On April 4, 2008, Sigmar Gabriel, the Federal Environmental Minister of Germany, withdrew a controversial draft regulation that contained strict sustainability criteria for biofuels and that would have increased the required percentage of biofuel in gasoline for motor vehicles from the current five percent (Biokraftstoffquotengesetz, Dec. 18, 2006, BUNDESGESETZBLATT I at 3180) […]

Germany: Energy-Using Products

(May 2, 2008) On February 27, 2008, the German Parliament enacted the Act Concerning Energy-Using Products (BUNDESGESETZBLATT I at 258), which transposes into German law the European Union's Eco-Design Directive (Directive 2005/32/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of July 6, 2005, establishing a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-using products, […]

Germany: Reform of Law on Insurance Contracts

(Apr. 2, 2008) A major reform of the German laws governing insurance contracts was enacted on November 23, 2007 (Gesetz zur Reform des Versicherungsvertragsrechts, BUNDESGESETZBLATT I at 2631). It aims primarily at increasing consumer rights and providing more transparency of the contractual terms. The reform affects virtually all branches of contractual insurance except for health […]

Germany: Coal Mining Subsidies

(Apr. 2, 2008) On December 12, 2007, the President of Germany promulgated the Act to Finance the Termination of Subsidized Coal Mining by 2018 (BUNDESGESETZBLATT I at 3086). The Act is the result of an agreement between the German Federal Government and the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Saarland, where the German hard coal mines […]

Germany: Earth Observation Satellites

(Mar. 2, 2008) On November 23, 2007, Germany promulgated the Act Protecting Against the Endangerment of German Security Through the Proliferation of High Resolution Aerial Imagery of the Earth (Satellitendatensicherheitsgesetz, BUNDESGESETZBLATT I at 2590). The entire Act became effective by December 1, 2007. The Act allows the German authorities to restrict the proliferation of high-resolution […]

Germany: Online Searches of Personal Computers

(Mar. 2, 2008) On February 27, 2008, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany issued a decision on online searches of personal computers by the intelligence agencies (Docket No. 1 BvR 595/07, Federal Constitutional Court official Web site. The decision invalidated various provisions of the Act on Domestic Intelligence Agency of the State of North-Rhine Westphalia […]

Germany: Sentencing

(Feb. 2, 2008) On August 23, 2007, the Third Criminal Panel of the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) proposed a sentencing decision to the Court's Great Panel for Criminal Matters, a procedure that is employed when a decision would constitute a significant departure from existing case law (Docket No. 3 StR 50/07, http://juris.bundesgerichtshof.de/cgi-bin/rechtsprechung/document.py?Gericht=bgh&Art=en&sid=47566001b6dd70533b8bba929dda2739&nr=41098&pos=0&anz=1(last visited […]

Germany: Unemployment Compensation

(Feb. 2, 2008) On December 22, 2007, Germany's legislature enacted the Amending Law to Title 3 of the Social Code (Sechstes Gesetz zur Änderung des Dritten Buches Sozialgesetzbuch, BUNDESGESETZBLATT I at 3245), which reduces unemployment compensation from 4.2 percent to 3.3 percent of earnings. Half of these contributions are paid by the employer and the […]

Germany: Terrorism

(Jan. 2, 2008) On December 5, 2007, the Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht) of Düsseldorf convicted a citizen of Syria and two nationals of Palestine of membership in a terrorist organization and attempted insurance fraud (unpublished trial court decision, as related in Hohe Haftstrafen für Terrorunterstützer in Düsseldorf, FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG, Dec. 6, 2007, at 1). […]