News Links 1.18.09

News Links For 1.18.09

Obama Must Focus on Conflict Resolution & Developement in Africa (
Many are hoping incoming President Barack Obama will devote special attention and resources to Africa. But given the enormity of the global financial crisis and challenges in managing two wars and multiple crises in the Greater Middle East, Obama is expected to give little immediate attention to the continent where his father was born…

DOJ Mediators to Assess BART Shooting (AP)
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department has sent mediators to Oakland, Calif., to help resolve tensions arising from the fatal New Year’s Day shooting of an unarmed black man by a white transit police officer.
The officials are from the department’s Community Relations Service, which was created by the 1964 Civil Rights Act to help resolve and prevent racial and ethnic conflict and violence.

Rent a Judge (
California lawyer/entrepreneur Rafael Chodo has created RENT-A-JUDGETM, “an innovative new service that combines litigation and mediation to provide an alternative to traditional court proceedings”: a fixed-cost ($10,000) one-day trial. The parties share the cost equally and RENT-A-JUDGE provides a written opinion within five business days of trial.
Just another step along the road to changing the way law is practiced

Mediation reduces values by $2.05 million for 40 (
Another $2.05 million has been knocked off the assessed values of 40 Luzerne County properties that went through court-level mediation, according to a review of settlement orders.

That brings the total mediation reductions to $2.59 million for 56 settlements reached to date.
Property owners undergo mediation when they challenge their county assessment appeal board rulings to the Court of Common Pleas. The county appeal board solicitor and property owner must both agree to the settlement amounts…

US Does Not Consider Mediation In Cyprus (
US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Matthew Bryza stated that the US is not a party to the ongoing negotiation process in Cyprus and did not consider acting as a mediator in the process…

Mediators Help Halt 400 Foreclosures (
In its first five months, Connecticut’s judicial mediation program helped more than 500 families keep their homes.
“The success of the program is encouraging,” Roberta Palmer, the judicial mediation program director, said Thursday, the same day she delivered a report on the program to a Judicial Branch committee reviewing foreclosure procedures.
There is room for improvement, according to Palmer and Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk and a co-chair of the banking committee, who hopes to fine tune the program as it develops.
Public Act 08-176, which was signed into law June 12, created the mediation program.

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