How weapons fuel America's mass shootings

Mental illness. Video games. The Internet. These are excuses offered by the U.S. President and his supporters for a scourge of mass killings. But five decades of empirical research by preeminent criminal law expert Professor ...

Barr warns time's running out for companies to open encryption

Attorney General William Barr issued a sharp warning that time may be running out for Facebook Inc. and other technology companies to come to a voluntary agreement providing law enforcement officials with access to the encrypted ...

Characterizing the 'arrow of time' in open quantum systems

Even in the strange world of open quantum systems, the arrow of time points steadily forward—most of the time. New experiments conducted at Washington University in St. Louis compare the forward and reverse trajectories ...

BA fined £183m over computer theft of passenger data

The UK's data privacy watchdog has fined British Airways more than £183 million after computer hackers last year stole bank details from hundreds of thousands of passengers, the pair said on Monday.

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Law

Law is a system of rules, usually enforced through a set of institutions. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a primary social mediator in relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus ticket to trading on derivatives markets. Property law defines rights and obligations related to the transfer and title of personal and real property. Trust law applies to assets held for investment and financial security, while tort law allows claims for compensation if a person's rights or property are harmed. If the harm is criminalised in penal code, criminal law offers means by which the state can prosecute the perpetrator. Constitutional law provides a framework for the creation of law, the protection of human rights and the election of political representatives. Administrative law is used to review the decisions of government agencies, while international law governs affairs between sovereign nation states in activities ranging from trade to environmental regulation or military action. Writing in 350 BC, the Greek philosopher Aristotle declared, "The rule of law is better than the rule of any individual."

Legal systems elaborate rights and responsibilities in a variety of ways. A general distinction can be made between civil law jurisdictions, which codify their laws, and common law systems, where judge made law is not consolidated. In some countries, religion still informs the law. Law provides a rich source of scholarly inquiry, such as legal history and philosophy, or social scientific perspectives such as economic analysis of law or the sociology of law. The study of law raises important and complex issues concerning equality, fairness, liberty and justice. "In its majestic equality", said the author Anatole France in 1894, "the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread." In a typical democracy, the central institutions for interpreting and creating law are the three main branches of government, namely an impartial judiciary, a democratic legislature, and an accountable executive. To implement and enforce the law and provide services to the public, a government's bureaucracy, the military and police are vital. While all these organs of the state are creatures created and bound by law, an independent legal profession and a vibrant civil society inform and support their progress.

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