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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Chinese Fishing Firms Overfishing

A new study suggests China may be under-reporting its fishing activities. The study conducted at the the University of British Columbia (UBC) indicates that as little as 9 percent of the total Chinese haul has been correctly reported. If these findings are true, Chinese fishing ventures may be underpaying the African nations whose national waters they are trolling. “The study shows the extent of the looting of Africa, where so many people depend on seafood for basic protein. We need to know how many fish have been taken from the ocean in order to figure out what we can catch in the future,” says Daniel Pauly, one of the authors of the study. While co-author Dirk Zeller stresses that “not reporting catches doesn’t necessarily mean the fishing is illegal — there could be agreements between these countries and China that allow fishing — we simply don’t know for sure as this information just isn’t available.”

Enron CEO May Get Early Release

The U.S. Justice department has indicated that Jeffrey Skilling, the former Enron CEO who is currently serving a 24-year prison sentence for fraud, may leave prison early. Prosecutors are in negotiations with Skilling’s defense lawyers discussing the possible re-sentencing. Prosecutors were required to notify victims of Skilling’s fraud; those victims will have until the 17th of April to raise objections. Any deal will have to be approved by U.S. District Judge Sim Lake, who handed down the original sentence in 2010. The U.S. Supreme Court subsequently upheld Skilling’s conviction.

French Senate Debates Same Sex Marriage Bill

French Senators have begun to examine a bill to legalize same sex marriage and adoption. The bill was already passed by the French National Assembly earlier this year and is expected to be passed by the Senate, which like the Assembly is dominated by the Socialist Party, as well. France has seen significant protest over the bill from the nation’s Jewish, Muslim, and Catholic sectors, but opinion polls have suggested that a clear majority of french citizens support gay marriage. French President François Hollande, a member of the Socialist Party, has been an steadfast supporter of the bill, and has campaigned for the issue.

Connecticut Has a New Gun Law

Today Connecticut’s governor signed a gun-control bill aimed at preventing another mass shooting like the one that left 20 children dead in Newton this past December. After almost 13 hours of discussion, the measure won overwhelming support from the state legislature. The law creates a registry of gun offenders, introduces background checks on firearms buyers, and institutes a ban on magazines holding more than 10 rounds. In addition, the law adds to the state’s existing assault weapons ban to include 100 new firearms, such as the Bushmaster AR-15, which was used by 20-year-old Adam Lanza in December’s Newtown shooting. Connecticut joins New York and Colorado in passing significantly stricter gun laws since the beginning of the year.

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