Headlines from around the world: 4/7/14

The Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision has struck down the decades-old aggregate political spending cap on a First Amendment basis. While the $2600 per candidate per election limit is still legal, individuals are no longer limited in the total amount of political contributions that can be made every two years. Justice Breyer, in his dissenting opinion writes that the ruling would allow “a single individual to contribute millions of dollars to a political party or to a candidate’s campaign”.

Mississippi has passed Senate Bill 2681, known as the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This bill will allow businesses and individuals to deny products or services to an individual or organization if servicing the individual or organization would “substantially burden an individual’s religious exercise”. LGBT advocacy groups are condemning the bill and drawing comparisons to Arizona’s SB 1062 which failed to pass after a large amount of national outrage regarding the implications of the bill.

Protests against the militarization of American law enforcement has sparked in response to the shooting death a homeless man in Albuquerque by police officers. The shooting was captured on one of the officer’s helmet camera and depicts James Boyd, a homeless man, being asked to gather his things and leave the foothills outside the city. As he gathered his things a flashbang grenade was thrown towards him and he was then shot by law officials. Earlier this week protests leading to serial arrests were staged in response to the shooting as well as the city’s claim that the shooting was in self-defense.

The European parliament has passed a law that cements net neutrality in Europe and makes it illegal for mobile phone companies to charge roaming fees within EU member states. This law will make it so that internet service providers within Europe cannot throttle or block packages from specific sites. One of the articles of the originally proposed bill that did not pass is an article outlining methods to enforce net neutrality.

In response to the annexation of Crimea, NATO has announced that it will suspend “all practical civilian and military cooperation” with Russia. This will involve the ending of all cooperation between NATO and Russia, with the exception of the their joint anti-narcotics operations in Afghanistan, as well as deployments to reinforce the military assets of NATO member states in Eastern Europe.

Police officers in Keller, Texas have begun announcing the location of speed traps to promote safer driving. This is being done in an attempt to get drivers to slow down in the areas where speed traps normally are instead of only when motorists see a police vehicle. While initially met with skepticism, the response by the public has been overwhelmingly positive. The move has been followed by the Dallas Police Department.

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