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Apple Import Ban: Obama Admin. Overrules Ban on Some iPhones, iPads

The Obama Administration has vetoed a ban on imports of some Apple iPads and older iPhones — a rare move that undercuts a legal victory for smartphone rival Samsung.

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman overruled a June decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) which banned imports of the iPhone 4 and some variations of the iPad 2.

Froman’s formal decision (attached below) to veto the ITC ban cited concerns about patent holders gaining “undue leverage” as well as potential harm to consumers and competitive conditions in the U.S. economy.

The action is the first time since 1987 that a presidential administration had vetoed an import ban ordered by the ITC, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The ITC had ruled that the Chinese-made Apple devices violated a patent held by Samsung and couldn’t be imported.

Samsung and Apple are in a global legal battle over smartphones. Patent victories have been claimed by both sides in legal proceedings around the world.

Indeed, Froman said Samsung could continue to pursue its patent rights through the courts.

The U.S. Supreme Court sided with an American father on Tuesday in a strange international custody dispute over a girl who has been living outside the country under a lower court order.

The Supreme Court, by a 9-0 vote, ruled in favor of Chafin, who challenged the awarding of his daughter Eris to her mother, Lynne Chafin, a Scottish national.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had dismissed Jeffrey Chafin’s appeal, saying the issue was moot because the girl by then was already in Scotland and beyond its control.

The High Court disagreed.

The U.S . can lawfully kill an American citizen overseas if it determines the target is a "senior, operational leader" of al-Qaeda or an associated group and poses an imminent threat to the country, according to a Justice Department document published by NBC News.

The document defines "imminent threat" expansively, saying it does not have to be based on intelligence about a specific attack since such actions are being "continually" planned by al-Qaeda.

"In this context," it says, "imminence must incorporate considerations of the relevant window of opportunity" as well as possible collateral damage to civilians. The document also provides a legal rationale behind the Obama administration's use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects.

Exactly what constitutes an "imminent" threat is not specifically defined, however.


Judge Orders $6B in Damages for 9/11 Plaintiffs

A federal magistrate judge has determined that Iran, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, and the Taliban should pay the families of 9/11 victims over six billion dollars in damages for the injuries suffered during the September 11, 2001 attacks.  The plaintiffs in the lawsuit received a default judgment against the defendants on December 22, 2011.  The damage award is largely symbolic, however, since it will be nearly impossible to recover any funds from the defendants.
The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court's denial of Afghanistan's motion to dismiss a complaint brought by the husband of a victim of the September 11th attacks. The court found that the plaintiff's suit was properly considered under the noncommercial tort exception to foreign sovereign immunity, but remanded the case back to the lower court to resolve factual issues concerning Afghanistan's involvement with the 9/11 attacks.

Iranians Charged With Saudi Assassination Plot

The United States has charged two Iranian citizens with plotting the assassination of the Saudi ambassador to the United States. In addition, the US government alleges that elements of the Iranian government directed the plot, which involved a planned explosive attack on the ambassador while in the territory of the United States.

Congressmen Sue Obama Over Libya Conflict

Ten members of the United States House of Representatives have filed a lawsuit against President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates seeking to end the United States' involvement in the Libya conflict. The Representatives argue in the complaint that the US participation in the Libya campaign violates the US Constitution, the War Powers Act and the North Atlantic Treaty.

Daddy Not-So-Dearest Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Kidnapping Kids

David Matusiewicz, a divorced Delaware optometrist, pleaded guilty today to federal bank fraud and kidnapping charges.

Since his crime spree reads like a television drama, it should be no surprise that he was profiled on America's Most Wanted

In 2007, Matusiewicz told his ex-wife that he was taking their 3 young daughters to Disney World in Florida. Instead, he fled with them to Central America via Mexico, taking his elderly mother along for the ride in a 33-foot mobile home.

That's not all.

Englewood, NJ Sues Libya over Property Construction

It's official: Englewood, New Jersey sued the Libyan government and its contractor, Quattro Construction, for a temporary injunction to enforce stop work orders issued against the current work on the Libya-owned property.

You can read the complete lawsuit and stop work orders here:

Englewood, New Jersey's City Attorney Bill Bailey told FindLaw that the city's lawsuit seeking an injunction to halt all construction on the Libyan government's Englewood property  would be filed in approximately one hour -- around 4 p.m. EST / 1 p.m. PST.

Englewood's Mayor, Michael Wildes, also told FindLaw that the city was suing the Libyan government over the property's construction.

After Scotland's release last week of a convicted Lockerbie bomber from Libya, Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi reported plans to set up a large tent on the country's Englewood property, creating a firestorm of controversy.