Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesdays Around the World: Treasure Hunting in Poland

Reports surfaced this week that a long-lost Nazi train filled with gold and art and hidden from advancing Soviet forces has been found by a pair of professional treasure hunters in Poland. The treasure hunters are seeking 10% of the worth as a finding fee, which is actually quite a reasonable amount. While the laws on abandoned gold are complicated and vary by jurisdiction, there is usually an element of "finders keepers" involved. For instance, in the Common Law, there is a doctrine known as "treasure trove" which in the U.S. is interpreted as the finder gets everything. (Or, there's the historic alternative British method: "the Crown gets everything.")

Of course, in the case of the Ghost Nazi Gold Train, there's an added element of controversy to paying a finder's fee. The valuables on the train were plundered by the Nazis from other people, and the question of repatriation of objects plundered by the Nazis has long been recognized as a complex legal problem without an easy answer. We'll see if the allure of a hidden treasure train is enough to spur authorities to actually answer the repatriation question.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Advantage of an Office in the Library

Prof. Fortune peruses his tower of reading material.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wednesdays Around the World: Amnesty International to Advocate for Global Decriminalization of Prostitution

In an extremely controversial move, Amnesty International, an NGO noted for its human rights activism, voted this week to proceed with a proposal that would have the organization support the decriminalization of prostitution across the globe.

Amnesty International hopes that legalizing prostitution will allow sex workers to claim legal protections and will therefore cut down on abuses of their human rights. However, not everyone is convinced that legalization would have the desired effect of protecting those employed in the sex industry.  The BBC does a good job of briefly summarizing the arguments of both the proponents and critics of Amnesty International's proposal, but here is Amnesty International's own rationale.

Regardless of whether one thinks that Amnesty International's proposed approach would be likely to work (or likely ever to be incorporated into domestic laws in more than a handful of countries), one can still recognize that human trafficking and the vulnerability of trafficking victims engaged in the illicit sex trade are serious problems without easy solutions.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wednesdays Around the World: Russia Invaded

Ongoing Russian interventions in Ukraine may be of dubious international legality and may pose a threat to international peace and security, but recently Russia itself has fallen victim to an invasion of a different sort. The United Nations is unlikely to be of much help to Russia, as a plague of  locusts would be a textbook example of a force majeure using the classic, Christian-influenced "Act of God or Princes" language  formerly common in the western legal tradition. (See Exodus 10:12 - 10:15).

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Job Opening in the Law Library for Fall 2015

The Law Library is seeking to hire law students in Fall 2015 for our circulation desk attendant position.  We will have eight to ten openings. 

Primary main functions include assisting patrons with basic library questions, checking books in and out, and occasionally helping with library projects.  Some students open and/or close the library based upon the shifts they work. 

This job requires federal work-study funding.  Contact the Federal Work-Study office at 257-3172 to check your work-study status.  Contact the Circulation Manager, Michel Thompson, by email at michel.thompson@uky.edu for more information on how to apply.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wednesdays Around the World: Let's Make a Deal

In the past week, separate teams of negotiators reached two major deals on the international stage. First, Greece and the E.U. reached a deal to keep the Greek economy afloat in exchange for the enactment of further austerity measures. Second, Iran came to an agreement with the P5+1 (U.S., U.K. France, Russia, China, and Germany) to limit its nuclear programs in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Interestingly, both deals are subject to further approval.

In Greece, the Parliament needs to enact the austerity measures called for by the deal brokered by the Prime Minister. Also, the IMF has issued a statement that the deal does not do enough and that Europe should give more debt relief in exchange for the austerity measures. In fact, the IMF refuses to provide more funds until the E.U. agrees to further debt restructuring.

As for the Iranian deal, the U.S. Congress will have a chance to weigh in before sanctions are lifted, though the nature of the deal should allow President Obama to veto any substantial legislative interference. The U.N. Security Council must also vote to lift international sanctions, but since the P5 were all party to the agreement, that likely won't be an issue.

Still, the two incidences highlight the tricky nature of diplomacy, in which one must account for both domestic law and international law.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Explore Kentucky: Fort Boonesborough



This past weekend I visited Fort Boonesborough. It was a great experience and I highly recommend it. Much like Shaker Village, Fort Boonesborough has folks dressed in period costumes who are very knowledgable about the history of the area. Go early in the morning to avoid the crowds and the heat. You can continue your history education at Hall's on the River by having a tasty lunch!