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Volume 44, Online Notes

Royally Flushed: Why Europe’s Online Poker Players Should Have the Right to Play Whoever They Want

Andrew J. Alberg

In June 2010, poker players on the French online poker website Pokerstars.fr staged the first ever mass online poker sit-out.  Unsatisfied with the site’s high “rake” structure, hundreds of players took seats at virtual tables, then “sat out” en masse.  With no players active at the designated tables, Pokerstars.fr could not deal any hands nor collect rake—the portion of each pot the website keeps as a fee.  The protest put an infinitesimal dent into the world’s biggest poker site’s profit, but the message was clear: French poker players were unhappy with their Parliament’s enactment of legislation that required online gambling sites to apply for expensive state licenses to access the millions of players in the French market.  The licenses’ cost and the exorbitant taxes on revenues gained from the gaming they allowed were then passed on to players through the rake.  Consequently, players found it increasingly difficult to earn a profit on the site because they now had to win more money per hand to keep pace with the site’s higher fees.

Though Pokerstars.fr responded to the protest by slightly lowering its rake, the incident highlights a number of problems with the current online poker regulatory scheme in the European Union.  This Note will argue that unlike other casino gambling games, poker’s characteristics demand that the European market be opened up to allow players from across the European Union to play each other…

 

The European Union Blues: Why the Blue Card Will Not Help the E.U. Labor Market

Callyson Grove

In March 2000, the Lisbon European Council established a strategic goal for the European Union “to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world” by 2010.  Five years later, the European Council adopted the Hague Programme, an agenda to strengthen freedom, security, and justice in the European Union, in which it recognized that “[l]egal migration will play an important role in enhancing the knowledge-based economy in Europe, in advancing economic development, and thus contributing to the implementation of the Lisbon strategy.”  Halfway to the 2010 deadline, with little progress made toward achieving the Lisbon Strategy, a task force assembled by the European Commission recognized how ambitious the goal was.  The ten-year deadline came and went, yet the European Union failed to reach any of the goals established by the Lisbon Strategy; instead of becoming “the most dynamic economy in the world,” the European Union has been “losing ground.”  Now, under a slightly revised, but substantially similar goal for 2020—”to turn the EU into a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy delivering high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion”—the European Union continues its efforts to improve its economy.”

The Blue Card immigration scheme was adopted by the European Union to encourage the migration of “highly qualified” workers from “third countries” to the European Union to achieve these goals.  The Blue Card, modeled after the U.S. Green Card but named for the blue of the European Union’s flag, is a type of residence and work permit.  In conjunction with other legislation on legal migration, the European Union hopes that the Blue Card will address the significant current and predicted future shortcomings in the E.U. labor market…

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Hard to Lend a Helping Hand: The Obstacles in Registration and Operation of International Nongovernmental Organizations in China

Mu Huang

In the afternoon of May 12, 2008, a 7.9-magnitude earthquake hit the Sichuan Province in China. More than 87,000 people lost their lives or were missing. Thousands of houses, schools, and hospitals collapsed. After this great tragedy, a significant number of international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) reacted to provide disaster relief to the affected areas.

China received about ¥76 billion ($11.2 billion) in disaster relief funds from domestic and foreign donors. There have been waves of criticisms about the lack of transparency in the donation process and usage of donation funds. Some foreign donors were concerned about the accountability of international NGOs. Other donors chose not to donate through international NGOs either because they could not determine which organizations were reliable or because they had no way to know how those NGOs handled donation funds in China…

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The International Disaster Response Program: Consent, Coordination, and Contingency Planning in Disaster Relief Operations

Ben Miller

In January 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti about fifteen miles west of the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince.  The earthquake, the worst in the region in over 200 years, devastated a country already suffering from decades of political instability and economic stagnation.  Based on a death toll reported at 230,000, the Inter-American Development Bank estimated the cost of recovery to be as high as $14 billion, making it the most destructive natural disaster in modern times.

Six months later, on July 22, 2010, the worst flooding in eighty years began in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan as a result of annual monsoons.  As the flooding receded in the northern provinces, rivers swelled downstream, spreading the devastation to the southern part of the country.  While the death toll, estimated at 1,200, was relatively low, more than 14 million people were displaced from their homes.  Throughout the country, 1.7 million homes were destroyed and 5.4 million acres of arable land were damaged, leaving entire communities without a source of food or income.

Following these events, the international community responded immediately…

Making the International Human Right to Water Primary: Recommendation for an Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses

Mary Moore

What would you do if you turned on the faucet to fill a glass of water or to take your morning shower and nothing came out?  Today, nearly one billion people around the world will turn the knobs of their kitchen faucets or venture to their community wells to pump for water, but no water will come out.  Now what would you do if no water came out of the faucet for three or more days?  Most people would become sick.  Many people would panic.

Water has long been a source of both national and international conflict.  The threat of conflict over water resources is only expected to grow given that the world’s freshwater resources are strained like never before due to population growth, increased individual water consumption, economic growth, and climate change.  For example, in September 2010, water was cut off in Pakistan’s Kurram Agency district, and tribal conflict erupted leading to over one hundred deaths in two weeks.  Furthermore, the Indus River, one of the longest rivers in the world flowing through India, Pakistan, and the long-disputed province of Kashmir, is poised to be used as a tool for conflict.  Eighty-three percent of Pakistan depends on the Indus River, but India has thirty-three dam projects under construction that will effectively allow it to control, and potentially restrict, the flow of the Indus River into Pakistan in the future.

Water is inherently international in nature.  International law has been used as a tool to settle disputes over water since ancient times…