December 8th, 2011
04:42 AM ET

Casey Anthony's lawyers return to court in civil case

Attorneys for Casey Anthony and Zenaida Gonzalez, the woman who has filed a civil suit against her, return to court Thursday to argue whether Anthony should fully answer questions posed to her during her deposition in October.

In that hearing, Anthony's lawyers invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination 60 times. Attorneys for Gonzalez want the court to compel her to answer.

Gonzalez's defamation lawsuit alleges that Anthony falsely accused her of kidnapping her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Anthony.

Gonzalez alleges that Anthony defamed her and damaged her reputation when she claimed that a nanny named Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez had taken Caylee, who was reported missing in July 2008 - a month after she was last seen.

Authorities were never able to find the nanny. But they did find Gonzalez, who claimed she never met Anthony or her daughter.

Anthony's civil attorneys have argued that she never identified this specific woman as the "Zenaida Gonzalez" she was talking about.

Gonzalez's attorneys claim, according to questions asked of Anthony in the October 8 deposition, that Gonzalez was questioned by the police in Caylee's disappearance, was kicked out of her apartment complex, lost her job and that she and her two daughters received death threats as a result of media attention in the case.

Anthony herself said little in the deposition, but did acknowledge she was aware she was being sued by Gonzalez.

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December 8th, 2011
01:40 AM ET

CPJ: Journalists jailed worldwide up more than 20%

The number of journalists jailed around the world increased more than 20% in 2011, mainly because of government crackdowns in the Middle East and North Africa, a nonprofit organization said Thursday.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, a nonprofit group based in New York that promotes press freedom, found that 179 writers, editors and photojournalists were in jail on December 1, up from 145 in 2010.

Iran had the largest number of journalists in detention, with a total of 42, the group said in a report on its annual census of imprisoned journalists.

The organization attributed the number of detainees to the Iranian authorities' "campaign of anti-press intimidation that began after the country's disputed presidential election more than two years ago."

Eritrea held 28 imprisoned journalists, the second highest total, followed closely by China, which had 27.

The organization noted wide disparities among regions.

It said that for the first time since it began compiling its prison survey in 1990, "not a single journalist in the Americas was in jail for work-related reasons on December 1."

Governments in the Middle East and North Africa, meanwhile, had 77 journalists imprisoned, 45% of the global total.

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December 8th, 2011
01:15 AM ET

Japan says some tsunami reconstruction funds are going to whaling

The Japanese government has affirmed that $29 million from its budget for post-earthquake and tsunami reconstruction is going toward extra security measures for the country's whaling fleet, angering environmental activists like Greenpeace.

The whaling industry is "siphoning money away from the victims of the March 11 triple disaster, at a time when they need it most," Junichi Sato, executive director of Greenpeace Japan, said this week, referring to the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis that struck Japan in March.

But Tatsuya Nakaoku, an official from the Japanese Fisheries Agency, said Thursday he funds would help "support the reconstruction of a whaling town and nearby area," which was devastated by the natural disasters.

"Many people in the area eat whale meat," he said. "They are waiting for Japan's commercial whaling to resume and it is their hope for recovery."

The government had said earlier this year, after it passed the tsunami reconstruction budget, that it would strengthen "measures against acts of sabotage by anti-whaling groups," Nakaoku said.

The government earmarked a total of 498.9 billion yen ($6.4 billion) of the reconstruction budget for spending on fisheries. Of that, 2.28 billion yen has been put into extra security measures for the whaling fleet, which left port for its annual hunt Tuesday.

Japan's whale hunts are conducted by the Institute of Cetacean Research, a nonprofit research organization overseen by Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

An official from the Japanese Coast Guard said the deployment of guards this year to protect the fleet from obstruction by anti-wh

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December 8th, 2011
12:56 AM ET

American gets 2.5 years for insulting Thai monarchy

A Thai criminal court has sentenced a Thai-born American to two and a half years in prison for insulting the monarchy.

The charge of writing and posting articles insulting the monarchy can yield a sentence as high as 20 years in prison in the Buddhist country, where the king is highly revered.

But Joe W. Gordon, whose Thai name is Lerpong Wichaicommart, cooperated during the investigation and pleaded guilty, resulting in the lenient sentence, his lawyer said.

The lawyer, Anon Rumpa, said he plans to file for a royal pardon.

King Bhumibol Adulydej has pardoned foreigners in similar cases in the past.

Speaking to reporters after the verdict, Gordon said he was "an American, not a Thai citizen."

An "American has rights and freedom to comment. In Thailand, there is limitation in expressing opinion," he said.

Gordon, 54, returned to Thailand last year after 30 years in the United States. He was arrested in May for posting a link on his blog to an unauthorized biography of the king, according to the Asian Human Rights Commission.

He had been detained without bail since then.

Thailand's lese majeste laws are among the toughest in the world, stipulating punishment for anyone defaming, insulting or threatening the royal family.

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December 8th, 2011
12:14 AM ET

Egypt Islamists claim most seats in election runoff

Egypt's Islamists claimed victory in the first round of parliamentary elections since President Hosni Mubarak was forced out of office in February.
The relatively moderate Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party on Wednesday said on its website that it had won 34 seats in the runoff election.
Hardline Al Nour Salafi Party won five seats, according to its website.
Voters went to the polls in the first round of elections on November 28 and 29, and the runoff Monday and Tuesday.
The strong performance of Islamist parties raised eyebrows in some Western capitals.

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