United Nations

Court orders Japan to halt its whaling in Antarctic

The United Nations’ highest court on Monday ruled that Japan’s Antarctic whaling operations are not for “scientific purposes” as Tokyo claims and ordered an immediate halt to the practice.

In a 12-4 ruling, the International Court of Justice said Japan failed to demonstrate during a three-week trial last year that its claimed right to harvest about 1,000 whales each year was for scientific research.

“The evidence does not establish that the program’s design and implementation are reasonable in relation to achieving its stated objectives,” the court’s presiding judge, Peter Tomka, read from the ruling. The court ordered Japan to cease its whaling operations in the Southern Ocean “with immediate effect.”

Washington

Man who fired rifle at White House sentenced to 25 years

An Idaho man who pleaded guilty to firing an assault rifle at the White House in 2011, striking the executive mansion more than half a dozen times, was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison.

Prosecutors initially charged Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez with attempting to assassinate President Obama but agreed to drop the charge as part of a plea deal last year.

Pittsburgh

Amish man challenges his sentence for beard attacks

Convicted Ohio Amish sect leader Sam Mullet has challenged his 15-year prison sentence for orchestrating a series of beard-chopping attacks on other Amish, saying the federal hate crimes law that put him behind bars violates the U.S. Constitution and was improperly applied in his case.

The Justice Department used the 2009 Hate Crimes Prevention Act to convict Mullet and 15 followers of hacking off the beards and hair of fellow Amish in a series of 2011 attacks meant to humiliate them for straying from the faith.

In a new appeal filed Monday before the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Mullet and his lawyers accuse the federal government of overreaching to make their case.

Detroit

Man held for trying to travel to join fight in Syria civil war

A Detroit-area man accused of trying to travel to the Middle East to fight in Syria’s civil war will remain in custody while his case moves through court.

The government says 22-year-old Mohammad Hamdan wanted to join Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim group in Lebanon that is classified by the U.S. as a terrorist organization. He is charged with violating a law that prohibits support for terrorist groups.