District Court - Challenge to Texas A&M workforce diversity policies is moot, judge rules

Joe Biden’s son Hunter sues US IRS, alleges unlawful release of his taxes

South China Morning Post

23-09-18 15:10

Hunter Biden, the son of US President Joe Biden, has filed a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), alleging the unlawful disclosure of his tax information by whistle-blowers working for the agency. The lawsuit focuses on statements made by IRS agents Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler in media interviews during a Republican investigation into Hunter Biden’s taxes and business dealings. The White House has denied any wrongdoing, and House Republicans have yet to present evidence of Joe Biden profiting from his son’s businesses. Hunter Biden is also facing criminal charges relating to lying about drug use when purchasing a firearm.

Biden's son Hunter sues IRS, alleges unlawful release of his taxes


23-09-18 14:27

Hunter Biden, son of US President Joe Biden, has filed a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), alleging that whistleblowers unlawfully disclosed his tax information. The lawsuit focuses on statements made by IRS agents Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler in media interviews, amid an investigation by House Republicans into Hunter Biden's taxes and business dealings. Hunter Biden is currently facing an impeachment inquiry against his father, which alleges ties between his business practices and Joe Biden's policies during his time as vice president. This is the first time the child of a sitting US president has been criminally indicted.

BNSF Railway will settle biometric privacy case, after $228 mln verdict wiped out


23-09-18 20:28

BNSF Railway has reached a settlement in a privacy class-action lawsuit rather than going to trial for a second time. The lawsuit alleged that the company unlawfully collected truck drivers' fingerprints. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but the lawyers have until October 20 to present the proposed resolution to the judge for review. BNSF, owned by Berkshire Hathaway, denied any liability in the case. The lawsuit was filed under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which imposes restrictions on the collection and use of personal information such as fingerprints.

Judge blocks California law meant to protect children's online safety


23-09-19 00:06

A US federal judge has blocked California from enforcing a law that aims to protect children online, saying the law's restrictions on commercial speech likely violate the First Amendment. The California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act was passed last September and requires platforms to assess whether their products and services could harm children before releasing them. Platforms must also estimate the ages of child users and configure privacy settings accordingly. Trade group NetChoice sued to block the law, arguing it would pressure companies into censoring content. The law is due to take effect on 1 July.

Meta tells court AI software does not violate author copyrights


23-09-19 16:33

Meta Platforms has requested a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by comedian Sarah Silverman and other authors who claim the company violated their copyrights by using their books to train its AI-based language model, Llama. Meta argues that the authors cannot prove that Llama generated text that closely resembled their works. The social media giant also claims that it made "quintessential fair use" of the books. The authors' attorneys have responded, stating that they are confident their claims will proceed. Meta and Microsoft-backed OpenAI were sued in July over copyright infringement.

Settlement talks collapse in sexual harassment case against US judiciary


23-09-19 14:48

Settlement talks in a lawsuit claiming mishandling of sexual harassment complaints by federal court officials have collapsed, setting the stage for a trial. The U.S. Department of Justice, which is defending the judiciary, reported that mediation with former public defender Caryn Devins Strickland and subsequent talks aimed at averting a trial had ended with no deal. The case revolves around Strickland's claims that she was sexually harassed by a superior and stonewalled in her efforts to have the judiciary address her complaint. The trial is expected to take place in the coming months.

Walmart ignored rampant sexual harassment at West Virginia store, EEOC claims


23-09-19 19:44

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has accused Walmart of failing to stop sexual harassment of female workers by a manager at one of its West Virginia stores, and of firing an employee after she complained about the harassment. The EEOC filed a complaint in West Virginia federal court alleging that the store manager had harassed a female employee by making inappropriate comments, offering her money for sex, groping her, and attempting to force her to perform a sexual act. The lawsuit is the fourth the EEOC has filed against Walmart this month, but the first that does not involve disability discrimination claims. The EEOC is seeking an order requiring Walmart to revise its policies on preventing sexual harassment and retaliation, as well as backpay and other damages for the class of women affected.

Ex-US congressman sentenced to 22 months for insider trading


23-09-19 19:37

Former U.S. Congressman Stephen Buyer has been sentenced to 22 months in prison for securities fraud. Buyer, who was a consultant to T-Mobile US Inc, traded on inside information about the company's merger with Sprint in 2018. He was found guilty on four counts of securities fraud in March. Prosecutors said that Buyer made over $100,000 from illegal trades in Sprint stock and over $200,000 from buying stock in Navigant Consulting Inc. Buyer denied trading on inside information and plans to file an appeal. Prosecutors had sought a three-year prison sentence for Buyer.

Stolen valour, stolen skills: Revealing the depth of MP Barry Urban’s betrayal

The Sydney Morning Herald

23-09-19 19:00

Barry Urban, a former Western Australian MP, has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for forging academic qualifications and wearing a fake war medal. Urban, who resigned from the Labor Party after the allegations came to light, was convicted of seven charges, including forgery and fraud. He had claimed he had served as a war crimes investigator in Bosnia, and had been awarded a prestigious overseas police medal. However, it was later revealed that Urban had never served overseas and had forged his academic qualifications. Urban initially denied the charges but later confessed to “appalling judgement and behaviour” and apologised for his actions. Judge Carmel Barbagallo said Urban had shown no genuine remorse and sentenced him to 28 months in prison with a non-parole period of 14 months. Urban was released on parole on 29 April 2023.

DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats can sue NYC over commission caps


23-09-19 18:25

Several food delivery services, including DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats, have been given permission to sue New York City over a law that caps the fees they can charge restaurants for delivering meals. The law, which was made permanent in 2021, limits the commissions that delivery services can charge restaurants to 15% for food orders and 5% for advertising and other services. The delivery services argue that the law violates the US and New York state constitutions and deprives them of the ability to collect higher commissions under their contracts with restaurants. The case will proceed in court.

Archegos founder Hwang must face SEC fraud charges


23-09-19 18:13

Bill Hwang, the founder of Archegos Capital Management, has failed in his attempt to have a US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lawsuit against him dismissed. The SEC has accused Hwang and Archegos of fraud, alleging they intentionally concealed the risks they were taking and manipulated markets to inflate the value of their stocks. US District Judge Paul Oetken rejected Hwang's bid to dismiss the case but dismissed some fraud-based claims against Archegos' former CFO Patrick Halligan. The SEC civil case has been put on hold while the Department of Justice pursues related criminal charges against Hwang and Halligan.

Quiz: Climate Week 2023

Earth Institute

23-09-21 13:21

Climate Quiz: Climate Week 2023 by Olga Rukovets | September 21, 2023 Comments

Climate Week NYC is taking place this week from September 17-24, 2023. This global climate event is bringing together diverse audiences, communities, and decision-makers to spotlight the climate crisis, as well as the innovative and collaborative ways we can mitigate and halt its consequences. Check out what’s going on at Columbia Climate School, and take our quiz below to test your knowledge of the latest climate news from the Climate School, the State of the Planet blog, and beyond. Be sure to drop your score in the comments section below. In a monumental climate trial this year, on August 14, 2023, a state judge issued a landmark ruling in favor of what group?


Young Montana climate activists

The state of Montana

New York climate activists In the first constitutional climate trial in the United States to confront a state’s responsibility for climate change, a state judge issued a landmark ruling in favor of young Montana climate activists in the Held v. State of Montana case. The plaintiffs claimed that the state violated their right to a clean and healthful environment under Montana’s constitution. District Court judge Kathy Seeley declared that a state law violated this right by stopping agencies from considering climate impacts when conducting environmental reviews. Climate change has the potential to disrupt air travel in a variety of ways. How do rising temperatures hinder airplane takeoffs or potentially prevent them?

Planes might not have enough runway to achieve the necessary speed for liftoff

Planes may be forced to reduce the weight they are carrying to achieve necessary speed for liftoff

Aircraft wheels may get stuck because the tarmac can soften from the heat

All of the above Higher temperatures make air less dense, so planes need to generate more lift by going faster to take off. In some cases, they might not have enough runway to achieve the necessary speed. Or they may be forced to reduce the weight they are carrying. Moreover, temperatures of 100 degrees F or more can cause tarmac to soften, causing aircraft wheels to get stuck. And because tarmac can turn into a heat island, high temperatures may also limit how long ground crews can work outside. According to a recent paper in Nature Climate Change, what type of projects aimed at adapting and mitigating the effects of climate change carry the greatest risk for maladaptation or unintended consequences?

Changes in diet

Restoration of natural areas

Infrastructure projects

Improved farm and fishery practices A new paper in the journal Nature Climate Change examines this issue and establishes an approach for assessing adaptation activities. One bottom-line result: infrastructure projects in general carry the most risks of maladaptation, while shifts involving changes in diet and restoration of natural areas carry the least. Buildings, roads, and urban infrastructure all absorb and re-emit more of the sun’s heat than natural landscapes do. These built environments, combined with heat from human activities, can lead to urban heat islands—inner-city zones where temperatures can be as much as how many degrees F warmer than surrounding, vegetated areas?

5 degrees warmer

10 degrees warmer

15 degrees warmer

20 degrees warmer Urban heat islands are zones where temperatures can be as much as 20 degrees F warmer in certain city areas compared with the surrounding areas. According to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which recent month was hotter than any other month in the global temperature record?

May 2023

June 2023

July 2023

August 2023 Scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies reported July 2023 to be hotter than any other month in the global temperature record. A recent study in the journal Science estimates a large portion of Greenland melted to become an ice-free tundra about how many years ago?

100,000 years ago

200,000 years ago

300,000 years ago

400,000 years ago A new study in the journal Science says a large portion of Greenland turned to ice-free tundra about 416,000 years ago, plus or minus 38,000 years—quite recent in geologic time. They calculate that the melting caused at least five feet of sea level rise—and maybe as much as 20 feet—at a time when temperatures were only slightly warmer than today, even though atmospheric levels of heat-trapping carbon dioxide were far lower.


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DuckDuckGo founder says Google’s phone and manufacturing partnerships thwart competition

Associated Press

23-09-21 17:43

DuckDuckGo founder Gabriel Weinberg has testified in the US District Court in Washington, DC, that Google's dominance in the search engine market is hard to challenge because of the company's contracts with phone manufacturers and network operators. The US Department of Justice (DoJ) argues that Google pays companies, including Apple and Verizon, to ensure that its search engine is the default option on laptops and smartphones. Google counters that it dominates the market because its product is superior. In response, Weinberg said that users find it too difficult to switch from Google because of the "too many steps" required.

Eight big banks must face US cities' bond collusion claims


23-09-21 16:51

A US judge has ruled that American cities can pursue class-action claims against eight banks for driving up interest rates on municipal bonds. The cities of Baltimore, Philadelphia and San Diego have accused the banks of conspiring to raise rates on over 12,000 variable-rate demand obligations from 2008 to 2016, reducing available funding for schools, hospitals, water and power supplies and transportation. The banks involved in the case are Bank of America, Barclays, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Canada and Wells Fargo.

US accuses investment firm, anesthesia company of Texas monopoly scheme


23-09-21 21:51

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a lawsuit against U.S. Anesthesia Partners (USAP), a private equity firm, and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, accusing them of restricting competition and driving up prices for patients. The lawsuit claims that Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe led a "roll-up strategy" of acquiring anesthesia practices in Texas, making USAP the dominant provider in the state. This is seen as the first litigated case over a private equity firm's consolidation strategy. USAP has denied the allegations and stated that it competes with large and small groups and individual anesthesiologists across Texas. The FTC is seeking a permanent injunction against similar conduct.

Walgreens hit with lawsuit after FDA warning over eyedrops


23-09-21 21:47

Walgreens is facing a proposed class action lawsuit in Florida federal court over claims that it mislabeled eyedrops for treating pink eye and misled consumers into believing the product was safe and effective. The lawsuit follows warning letters that the FDA sent to Walgreens and other companies about selling and marketing eye care products that the agency said posed a risk to users. The FDA flagged Walgreens' branded Pink Eye Drops, Allergy Eye Drops, and Stye Eye Drops as products that were illegally marketed as unapproved new drugs. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages on behalf of Florida Walgreens customers. Walgreens said it had stopped the sale of the unapproved eye drops and offered refunds to customers who had purchased them. The FDA asked the companies to respond within 15 days with a description of how they will correct the violations.

Business Highlights: Murdoch stepping down from CEO role at News Corp; S&P has worst day since March

Associated Press

23-09-21 21:34

Rupert Murdoch is stepping down as the leader of both Fox News' parent company and his News Corp media holdings. His son, Lachlan, will take his place. Murdoch, the 92-year-old Australian media magnate, built his empire from a single newspaper in Australia and went on to create Fox News and purchase other major media outlets such as the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal. Fox News has had a significant influence on television and American politics since its creation in 1996. Murdoch's family has also been in the spotlight over the years, with stories of business tactics and interfamily rivalries. Murdoch has been married four times and has six children.

Mother of 6-year-old who shot teacher in Virginia to remain free on bond after failing drug tests

The Toronto Star

23-09-21 20:34

A judge in Virginia has allowed Deja Taylor, the mother of a 6-year-old who shot his teacher, to remain free on bond despite failing multiple drug tests. Taylor pleaded guilty to using marijuana while possessing a firearm and lied about her drug use when buying the gun. She is due to be sentenced next month, with prosecutors asking for a sentence of 18 to 24 months in prison. The judge ruled that she could remain free because she had made efforts to improve. Taylor also faces sentencing for a state charge of felony child neglect, which is scheduled for later in October.

C.E.O. of Google Rival Describes Obstacles to Efforts to Compete

NY Times

23-09-21 19:14

In the first testimony from a rival company in the federal trial of the US Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against Google, Gabriel Weinberg, the CEO of DuckDuckGo, described Google as a monopoly that has harmed competition and consumers. Weinberg argued that Google’s deals to make its search engine the default on browsers and other platforms prevented DuckDuckGo from competing effectively. DuckDuckGo, which has only 2.5% of the US search market, attempted to negotiate with other companies to make its privacy-focused search engine the default, but was consistently turned down due to Google’s deals with its tech partners.

Weapons charges dropped in 2018 raid on family compound in desert that turned up child's remains

The Toronto Star

23-09-22 00:33

Two firearms charges have been dismissed in the trial against the extended family arrested in the 2018 raid on a compound in New Mexico. The charges were dropped in preparation for the trial, which will now focus on terrorism and kidnapping charges against five defendants. The raid on the compound led to the discovery of a young boy's decomposed body. The defendants are accused of conspiracy to commit an offense against the US, providing material support to each other as potential terrorists, and conspiracy to kill US government personnel. Kidnapping charges are pending against four defendants.