Tensions over new Polish Supreme Court law

Małgorzata Gersdorf arrived at Poland’s Supreme Court on Wednesday, claiming that a new law cannot change her constitutional term as its president, but a senior government official insisted she was now retired.

 

Deputy Justice Minister Michał Wójcik said that “no one can stop” Gersdorf from going to the court, but added that “she cannot take any action on behalf of the Supreme court” because it would be “against the rules”.

On July 4, a new law regulating the Supreme Court came into effect, setting a retirement age of 65 for judges. Under the law, judges at or over that age can ask the Polish president to allow them to continue to serve, but Gersdorf, who turned 65 a few months ago, refused to do so.

Gersdorf insisted she will preside over the Supreme Court until 2020. She has previously said that Poland’s new law on the Supreme Court could not take precedence over the constitution.

According to a Supreme Court spokesman, Gersdorf cut short a holiday to return to work on Wednesday.

Asked by journalists why she had returned, she said, cited by the PAP news agency, that she came back because of the “new law on the Supreme Court and an attack on judge Józef Iwulski”.

Iwulski came under fire by Polish media after stepping into the role of the court’s president on July 4, when Gersdorf took a holiday, the same day the new Supreme Court law entered into effect.

According to media reports, Iwulski has admitted to being on a panel of judges that convicted oppositionists during the Martial Law period of Poland’s communist era.

Iwulski said that, in at least one case, he had disagreed with the panel’s verdict, according to media reports.

Gersdorf defended Iwulski, saying that he would have risked jail time if he had not ruled in communist-era political trials.

The constitution – the highest law in Poland – says that the head of the Supreme Court is selected for a six-year term. Gersdorf was appointed to the role in 2014.

But the constitution also says that parliament can, by passing an ordinary law, set the age at which judges retire.

Earlier this month, the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm launched a procedure against Warsaw over its reform of the Supreme Court, saying that it undermined “the principle of judicial independence, including the irremovability of judges”.

The move followed the European Commission last December taking the unprecedented step of triggering Article 7 of the EU Treaty against Poland, stepping up pressure on Warsaw over judicial reforms and possibly paving the way for sanctions being imposed on Poland.

But Poland’s governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, which came to power in late 2015, has said that sweeping changes were needed to reform an inefficient and sometimes corrupt judicial system tainted by the communist past, accusing judges of being an elite, self-serving clique often out of touch with the problems of ordinary citizens. (vb/pk)

 

http://www.thenews.pl/1/9/Artykul/373634,Tensions-over-new-Polish-Supreme-Court-law

Liver disease deaths skyrocket among young adults: study

https://nypost.com/2018/07/18/liver-disease-deaths-skyrocket-among-young-adults-report/

 

Deaths from liver disease are spiking at an “alarming” rate in the United States as too many young binge drinkers put their health on the rocks, researchers said Wednesday.

From 1999 to 2016, US deaths from cirrhosis increased by 65 percent while deaths from hepatocellular carcinoma doubled, according to findings published in the British Medical Journal.

The most shocking spike, researchers said, was the 10.5-percent rise in cirrhosis deaths among people 25 to 34. It usually takes years for live disease to kill someone, so any fatal rise among younger patients is seen as a red flag.

“It’s alarming,” said study co-author Dr. Elliot Tapper, a liver specialist and University of Michigan professor. “But the fact is, we are dealing with this kind of condition in our hospital and clinic every day. A lot of younger men are showing up very sick. It’s always shocking to meet someone in their 20s or 30s who has liver failure.”

The spike in liver-disease deaths hit whites, Native Americans and Hispanics – though Asian Americans actually bucked this trend, researchers said.

It’s not too late for hard-drinking Americans, if they can just throw back their cocktails at a slightly lower rate.

Tapper said “there’s an excellent chance your liver will repair itself” in the wake of decreased alcohol consumption.

“Many other organs have the ability to regenerate to some degree, but none have the same capacity as the liver,” he told the Washington Post, adding that he’s seen “from the sickest of the sick to living well, working and enjoying their life.”

The ultimate problem, Tapper said: “We do not yet have a highly effective treatment for alcohol addiction.”

With Post Wire Services

Ford Maintains Position That Consultation Needed for Ontario’s Sex-Ed Curriculum

TORONTO—Ontario Premier Doug Ford reiterated on July 6 that his government plans to launch a largescale consultation process before deciding what the province’s sex education curriculum should encompass.

“We travelled around Ontario, we consulted with thousands and tens of thousands of parents, we consulted with hundreds of teachers, and not one single person came up to me and said they were consulted,” Ford said during question period in response to comments by NDP leader Andrea Horwath.

Horwath said Ford’s plan is to “drag Ontario back to 1998,” referencing the government’s plan to revert to the sex-ed curriculum in place from 1998 until 2015, when the previous Liberal government under Kathleen Wynne introduced a new curriculum. That curriculum was criticized by several parent groups who deemed the contents age-inappropriate.

“[The premier’s decision] is not about doing what’s right for students, nor about listening to parents. It’s about doing favours for social conservatives,” Howarth said.

Ford said the Liberals consulted only 1,638 parents. For a province of 14 million people, that’s a very negligible number, he noted.

“We take the approach that the best teachers are the parents, not special interest groups,” he said. “We’re going to do the largest consultation in Ontario’s history when it comes to the sex education.”

Scrapping the Liberal government’s sex education curriculum was one of Ford’s campaign promises, which he fulfilled shortly after taking office.

Education minister Lisa Thompson announced last week that schools will be going back to the old curriculum starting in September.

“Contrary to all the spinning and what was reported last week, the premier, myself, and entire colleagues in the PC government stand with students and the fact that they need to be prepared for 2018 realities,” Thompson said during the new government’s first question period on July 5.

“That includes consent, that includes texting, sexting, that includes even new elements like luring, catfishing, and we need to look at that and open up the consultation to make sure that every person who wants to share their perspective has an opportunity to do so.”

Several media articles hinted that this was a backtrack on the government’s original position regarding the curriculum. However, Thompson’s main point remained that the government is “committed to a consultation that will absolutely ring true across this province.”

 

Later in the day, Thompson issued a statement saying the PC’s campaigned on a promise to completely replace the Liberals’ controversial sex education curriculum with “an age-appropriate one that is based on real consultation with parents.”

“When Ontario voters chose their new government, they did so knowing that this was our intended course of action.”

She added that no decision has yet been made on what the new curriculum would look like.

“The final decision on the scope of the new curriculum will be based on what we hear from Ontario parents.”

Mary Ellen Douglas, a national organizer with Campaign Life Coalition, one of the groups opposed to the Liberals’ curriculum, praised the government’s decision to consult parents.

She said the previous government only consulted with one parent from some schools, and the parent was chosen by the principal.

“People have strong feelings about this. They should have the opportunity to say what should be in the program and whether they accept it or not,” said Douglas, who was a school trustee in Kingston for five years.

Any new curriculum should reflect the views of all parents, Douglas added, not just the views of those who want the curriculum to include certain elements that some parents would find “absolutely abhorrent.” Any parents wishing their children to learn about certain issues can teach them about those concepts at home, she said.

“That’s their right. My right is not to have that imposed on [children] in school. I’m the parent, I have a say in what the child learns in that area.”

 

https://www.theepochtimes.com/ford-maintains-position-that-consultation-needed-for-ontarios-sex-education_2594888.html

Minnesota man on trial in pipe bomb case wanted to mount ‘armed rebellion’ against government

A Minnesota man who was arrested after being linked to a trove of homemade pipe bombs found on his family’s hunting property wanted to mount an armed rebellion against the government, according to prosecutors.

Eric James Reinbold, 41, faces a federal explosives trial in Fergus falls this week following his arrest last fall, the Star Tribune reported.

A state trooper stopped Reinbold’s car after his relatives’ discovery of a bag of pipe bombs and a receipt in Reinbold’s name prompted the raid of his home, according to the report.

He was also in possession of a couple of instruction manuals on explosives including one with pipe bomb diagrams.

Reinbold, who is charged with one count of possessing an unregistered explosive device, allegedly wrote about his desire to “start the 2nd American Revolution” and go “Rambo on the IRS” and politicians in the books’ margins, court papers show.

He allegedly participated in online discussions on white supremacist and survivalist forums under the handle “DoubleChinRooster,” voicing opposition to immigration and feminism, according to the report.

He also broached the topic of secession, claiming that 100 armed civilians could probably successfully secede.

The bag full of devices that were linked to Reinbold included two jugs of gunpowder, “suction-cup style nerf bullets with fishing wire and hooks,” a kitchen timer, toggle switches and a “cut Christmas tree light,” according to the report.

Reinbold’s attorney, Blair Nelson, said at a detention hearing this year that it’s reasonable to keep pipe bombs on hunting land.

“Up in that part of the country frequently beavers of muskrats will clog drain pipes and their habitats need to be detonated. It’s part of life Up North,” he said.