Law & Regulation

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a temporary order yesterday governing development in "roadless" areas of national forests, requiring all new projects to be approved by him personally. A USDA official said it is unclear whether projects with a strictly commercial aim, such as logging or mining, will be allowed.
A nonprofit organization, Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America, or NACA, has emerged as one of the loudest scourges of the banking industry in the post-bubble economy. Though some bankers privately deplore his tactics, NACA's Bruce Marks is a growing influence in the lending industry and the effort to curb foreclosures.
Big Tobacco is fighting a multi-pronged battle to defeat a global wave of laws to force them to use graphic warning labels and plain packaging. It has won a major legal battle in the U.S. this month but it has lost in Australia.
The World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has ordered the government of Venezuela to pay US$1.386 billion to Crystallex, a bankrupt Canadian gold mining company, for canceling a 2002 permit to mine for gold in the Imataca Forest Reserve
The Federal Communications Commission will rule that the cable giant violated federal policy by deliberately preventing some customers from sharing videos online via file-sharing services like BitTorrent, agency officials said. The company has acknowledged it slowed some traffic, but said it was necessary to prevent a few heavy users from overburdening its network.
The French government has demanded answers from a nuclear research facility after nearly triple the registered amount of plutonium was discovered there during its dismantling this summer.
The headline read like something you might see in the conspiracy-minded Pakistani press: "Contractors Tied to Effort to Track and Kill Militants." But the story appeared in Monday's New York Times, and it highlighted some big problems that have developed in the murky area between military and intelligence activities.
Politicians from all sides rounded on the state-supported Royal Bank of Scotland yesterday as the row intensified over the failed bank's apparent determination to share £1bn of bonuses among staff.
The U.S. sends weapons to Egypt, Russia sends weapons to to Syria and the European Union to Saudi Arabia, according to new reports from Amnesty and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. This is despite conclusive evidence that these weapons are being used for human rights abuse.
Ernst & Young, one of the Big Four auditing firms, has agreed to pay a $10 million to New York state to settle a lawsuit for overlooking accounting gimmicks by Lehman Brothers, the defunct Wall Street bank. The scheme allowed Lehman to hide billions of dollars in bad deals.