Justice watch: Keeping an eye on the law.

Japan may allow women rulers

TOKYO - A government panel plans to recommend that Japan amend a law keeping women off the Chrysanthemum Throne, the Japanese press reported, as the imperial family faces its most serious succession crisis in centuries.

The birth in December 2001 of Princess Aiko, the only child of Crown Prince Naruhito, has generated intense debate over whether the Imperial Household Law should be changed to allow her one day to reign. The law, which was drawn up in 1889 and survived an overhaul of the country's constitution after World War II, dictates that only men can inherit the throne.

However, no boy has been born to the imperial family since the 1960s.

Polls have consistently shown strong support for a revision to let Aiko take the throne.

Japan last had a reigning empress almost 200 years ago. A total of eight women have occupied the Chrysanthemum Throne throughout its 1,500 years of documented history.

US government raises cyberalerts

WASHINGTON - The US government's ambitious new cyberalert system transmitted its first Internet warning Jan. 28, cautioning computer users about a fast-spreading virus called "MyDoom" or "Novarg" that causes victims to launch an electronic attack against Microsoft Corp.

The Homeland Security Department said the website where Americans can sign up for the free cyberalerts and computer advice, www.us-cert.gov, received more than 1 million visitors that day, up from a few thousand visitors one day earlier.

The program represents the government's effort to develop a trusted warning system that can help home users and technology experts.

Previous government efforts to distribute warnings about Internet attacks were sharply criticized by congressional investigators, who complained in July 2002 that those earlier warnings were mostly issued after Internet attacks had been long under way.

Canadian court: Parents Can Spank

OTTAWA - Canadian parents can continue to spank their children, but only if they are not infants or teens, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled last week.

The court said it would be more harmful to families to turn parents into criminals for applying reasonable force to discipline children from age 2 until their teen years.

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