Tag Archives: National governments

The Newest: UN meeting head warns of pandemic unilateralism


UNITED NATIONS — The brand new president of the U.N. Common Meeting is warning that unilateralism will solely strengthen the COVID-19 pandemic and is looking for a brand new dedication to international cooperation together with on the honest and equitable distribution of vaccines.

Turkish diplomat and politician Volkan Bozkir, who took over the reins of the 193-member world physique on Tuesday, introduced that the Common Meeting will maintain a high-level particular session on the COVID-19 pandemic in early November, although diplomats stated the date might slip.

Bozkir takes over from outgoing Common Meeting President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, who presided over a singular year-old session that he stated was “outlined by a pandemic” and included digital conferences and new voting procedures.

Bozkir instructed diplomats from U.N. member nations, seated at socially distanced areas within the meeting chamber, that “confronting the consequences of the coronavirus in all their dimensions might be an overarching precedence for my presidency.”

He stated “no state can fight this pandemic alone,” and it’s the members’ accountability “to strengthen folks’s religion in multilateral cooperation and worldwide establishments, with the U.N. at their heart.”



— Dr. Fauci calls Vermont’s coronavirus efforts a mannequin for nation

— Spain’s dying toll for coronavirus surpasses 30,000

— Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the Home will stay in session till lawmakers ship one other spherical of COVID-19 reduction.

— A minimum of seven folks in Maine have died in connection to a coronavirus outbreak following a marriage ceremony reception this summer season that violated state virus pointers.

— The COVID-19 pandemic has struck out a lot of bars and eating places close to Cleveland’s Progressive Subject this baseball season.


Observe AP’s pandemic protection at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak



WEST VIRGINIA —— West Virginia officers have but once more amended pointers for reopening faculties with the purpose of restarting in-person instruction and sports activities in additional counties.

The adjustments Tuesday add a brand new class to the state’s color-coded coronavirus map, which charges the severity of the outbreak in counties. Critics and training teams say a number of tweaks to the map over a number of weeks have confused dad and mom and faculty officers.

Republican Gov. Jim Justice and his advisers unveiled the brand new gold class after an hours-long assembly on Monday night. Beginning Wednesday, 5 counties can resume in-person instruction and sports activities competitions after transferring from orange to gold.

Officers additionally modified the metric for the way counties are labeled on the map, which now options 5 coloration classes. Counties in gold have 10 to 14.9 confirmed circumstances per 100,000 folks or a positivity fee of 5% or much less over seven days.

“Dad and mom, I do know it’s complicated,” Justice stated. “However we attempt to provide you with as clear a path as we will probably provide you with.”

The West Virginia Schooling Affiliation, which has about 15,000 members, slammed the rollout.

“We’re offended that our state leaders proceed to govern the color-coded map,” Dale Lee, president of the affiliation, stated in an announcement.


OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma State Division of Corrections says two extra state jail inmates have died, and the deaths could possibly be linked to COVID-19.

The division reported late Monday that one inmate was hospitalized after testing optimistic for the coronavirus. The opposite was being handled for signs of COVID-19, the sickness brought on by the virus.

The state health worker will decide the causes of deaths of those two males plus two extra inmates who might have died from COVID-19 for the reason that pandemic started.

The state well being division on Tuesday recorded the full variety of reported virus circumstances as 71,314, with 912 deaths. That’s a rise of 1,091 reported circumstances and 7 further deaths from Monday.


DENVER — Colorado is experiencing an upward pattern in coronavirus circumstances amongst college-age college students, much like case progress occurring throughout the U.S.

State epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy says a spike in circumstances amongst youthful populations can spill over to extra weak populations such because the aged and people with preexisting well being situations.

Herlihy says there was a considerable improve among the many 18-to-22-year-old group with the best improve amongst school freshmen and sophomores. The College of Colorado at Boulder is one scorching spot, with greater than 300 circumstances reported little greater than three weeks into the autumn semester.


COLUMBIA, Mo. — With greater than 1,300 of its college students contaminated with the coronavirus, the College of Missouri in Columbia has expelled two college students and suspended three others for violating guidelines meant to gradual the virus’ unfold.

The college stated Tuesday that the sanctions had been essential due to flagrant violations of guidelines and rules that require college students who check optimistic for the COVID-19 virus to isolate themselves and adjust to social distancing necessities. Names of the scholars weren’t launched.

College System President and MU Chancellor Mun Choi says the self-discipline was essential as a result of the scholars “willfully put others in danger, and that’s by no means acceptable.”

Because the semester started, the college says that about 470 college students have been referred to the Workplace of Pupil Conduct and Accountability for attainable violations of COVID-19 insurance policies. Eleven pupil organizations are also underneath investigation.


PHOENIX — Arizona well being officers have reported 484 further confirmed COVID-19 circumstances and 22 extra deaths as some coronavirus-related hospitalization metrics reached their lowest ranges since April.

The Division of Well being Providers reported 138 intensive care unit beds had been in use Monday for COVID-19 sufferers, under the 155 when the state began reporting hospitalization information on April 8. Use of ventilators additionally was under ranges first reported in April.

Arizona grew to become a nationwide scorching spot in June and July after Gov. Doug Ducey relaxed stay-home orders, however numbers of recent circumstances and deaths started to drop in late July after Ducey and native governments imposed new restrictions.


MONTPELIER, Vt. — Dr. Anthony Fauci calls Vermont’s ongoing efforts to manage the coronavirus a mannequin for the nation.

The highest infectious illness skilled appeared on video at Gov. Phil Scott’s virus briefing Tuesday. Fauci says Vermont has emphasised carrying masks, avoiding crowds and preserving bodily distance.

He says these measures work in small states together with states similar to New York, Texas and California.

Vermont has the bottom fee of optimistic checks for the coronavirus within the nation and the bottom variety of circumstances per capita.

The state has performed speedy testing and phone tracing of doubtless contaminated people and persevering with its gradual reopening. Vermont has recorded 1,700 complete coronavirus circumstances and 58 confirmed deaths.


GENEVA — The top of the World Well being Group says college closures because of the coronavirus pandemic must be a “final resort” and solely utilized in locations with excessive ranges of transmission.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was joined by the heads of the UNICEF and U.N. cultural and training company UNESCO to tout the significance of preserving faculties open, when attainable, and warn the extra youngsters are out of college, the much less probably they’re to return in lots of locations.

He says “distance studying” must be accessible the place attainable.

Tedros says WHO information reveals fewer that one in 10 confirmed COVID-19 circumstances and underneath 0.2 % of COVID-19 deaths had been recorded in folks underneath age 20. He says extra analysis is required on the components that improve the chance of extreme circumstances and dying amongst kids and warned the long-term results stay unknown.


LONDON — Eire’s whole Cupboard is self-isolating and parliament has been suspended after the well being minister reported feeling unwell.

Speaker Sean O Fearghail made the announcement Tuesday, saying the “home stands adjourned, I believe, till Tuesday subsequent” or till he’s been given instructions to restart authorities proceedings.

Irish broadcaster RTE reported that Well being Minister Stephen Donnelly had contacted his physician for a coronavirus check.

Donnelly had taken half in a cupboard assembly and attended a press convention saying the Irish authorities’s newest plans to reopen the nation’s financial and social life.

Eire had 357 new coronavirus circumstances within the final 24 hours, with the bulk reported in Dublin.


LOS ANGELES — California health facilities have filed a lawsuit alleging Gov. Gavin Newsom’s measures geared toward curbing the unfold of the coronavirus unfairly goal the business and are demanding they be allowed to reopen.

Scott Avenue, a lawyer for the California Health Alliance, says the go well with was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court docket. It accuses state and Los Angeles County officers of requiring gyms to shut with out offering proof that they contribute to virus outbreaks and at a time when staying wholesome is important to residents.


BEIRUT — Syria’s authorities has determined to reopen the Damascus Worldwide Airport for worldwide flights whereas taking all precautionary measures in opposition to coronavirus.

The airport has been closed since early March however in latest months there have been some flights that introduced Syrians who had been caught exterior the nation again house.

The choice got here Tuesday throughout a Cupboard assembly, in keeping with state information company SANA.

Syria, which had a inhabitants of 23 million earlier than its battle started in March 2011, has registered 3,540 confirmed coronavirus circumstances and 155 deaths in government-held areas.

The precise variety of circumstances is believed to be a lot greater due to low testing.

Coronavirus checks at personal clinics value round $60, too costly for many Syrians, whose common wage is lower than $100 a month. The federal government conducts about 300 free checks every day for folks exhibiting signs.


MEXICO CITY — Mexicans will have a good time their Independence Day with out huge, public ceremonies for the primary time in 153 years Tuesday due to restrictions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has promised to carry out the “grito” and “viva Mexico” however solely in entrance of a choose variety of invited friends.

Historically, the president rings the bell that marked the decision to arms throughout the 1810-1821 battle to win independence from Spain. The occasion has not been cancelled since 1847, throughout the Mexican-American Warfare, when U.S. troops occupied Mexico Metropolis.

López Obrador usually has no drawback with crowds and dislikes carrying face masks. However with greater than 671,000 circumstances and virtually 71,000 deaths — the fourth highest on the planet — the president apparently thought twice about packing the standard 100,000 rowdy revelers into Mexico Metropolis’s important sq., generally known as the Zocalo.


MADRID — Spain’s official dying toll for the coronavirus surpassed 30,000. The entire circumstances elevated past 600,000, changing into the primary European nation to succeed in that threshold.

The Well being Ministry added 9,400 new confirmed infections to the full and 156 deaths.

The nation has been experiencing certainly one of Europe’s steepest second curves of contagion, with new circumstances growing since mid-July. Greater than half of the newly contaminated didn’t develop signs and are principally between 20 to 60 years previous who did not find yourself requiring remedy.

Well being staff within the Madrid area staged small-scale protests on the gates of well being facilities and smaller clinics on Tuesday, demanding extra sources to deal with sufferers with COVID-19.

A minimum of 8.5% of hospital beds in Spain are used for treating practically 10,000 coronavirus sufferers and 1,273 in intensive care models.


LONDON — Hospitals in England say a scarcity of coronavirus checks in Britain is jeopardizing efforts to revive medical providers and put together for a possible surge in coronavirus circumstances this winter.

Nationwide Well being Service Suppliers says insufficient testing is resulting in elevated absences amongst NHS staff as they’re pressured to self-isolate whereas ready for check outcomes after attainable exposures.

The scarcity comes amid a surge in COVID-19 circumstances throughout the U.Okay. Final week, the U.Okay. recorded greater than 3,000 new circumstances of the virus for 3 straight days for the primary time since Could. In response, the federal government has imposed new limits on public gatherings.

The federal government says it will possibly course of about 243,000 coronavirus checks a day, up from 220,000 on the finish of August. The issue is the “second wave″ of the virus is hitting Britain sooner than anticipated, stated John Bell, a professor of medication on the College of Oxford.

The U.Okay. is No. 14 in coronavirus circumstances on the planet with 373,559 and No. 5 in deaths with 41,726, in keeping with Johns Hopkins. On Aug. 20, the reported dying depend within the U.Okay. was 41,483.


ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The College of Michigan is suing to cease a strike by graduate-student instructors after they voted to increase their walkout.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in Washtenaw County court docket, seeks an injunction that might cease the strike by the Graduate Workers’ Group, which represents 2,000 graduate-student instructors and graduate-student assistants. The college stated a strike is unlawful underneath the contract.

The strike started Sept. 8. Union members stated the college isn’t doing sufficient to forestall the unfold of COVID-19. It additionally needs the campus police finances minimize by 50% and an finish to cooperation with Ann Arbor police, amongst different calls for.

Roughly 90% of all undergraduate college students are enrolled in at the least one course that’s led wholly or partly by a graduate pupil, the college stated.


BERLIN — Germany says it’s offering as much as $892 million to assist three home pharmaceutical firms creating vaccines for the coronavirus.

Science Minister Anja Karliczek says the federal government has already agreed to pay BioNTech and CureVac to develop their mRNA-based vaccines. Talks with a 3rd firm are anticipated to conclude quickly, she says.

IDT Biologika is creating a vaccine that delivers a coronavirus protein into cells to stimulate the physique’s immune response.

The settlement with the three firms would assure Germany 40 million doses of vaccine. The quantity comes on prime of different vaccine provide agreements concluded by way of the European Union, of which Germany is a member.

Karliczek says Germany wouldn’t minimize security corners on the subject of testing vaccines, which means a lot of the inhabitants might have to attend till mid-2021 to be inoculated.

Well being Minister Jens Spahn added Germany intends to share vaccines it doesn’t want.


BANGKOK — Thailand’s Cupboard has accepted in precept a plan to reopen the nation to vacationers by issuing particular renewable 90-day visas and limiting their numbers to 1,200 a month.

Deputy Authorities Spokeswoman Traisulee Traisaranakul says this system, proposed to start subsequent month, is an effort to spice up the coronavirus-battered financial system, particularly the tourism sector.

Below the plan, guests would keep in quarantine at a lodge or hospital for 14 days on arrival and present affirmation they’ve made preparations for long-term lodging. The price of the “particular vacationer visa” could be 2,000 baht ($64), with the identical cost for every of two allowed renewals.

Thai well being officers on Tuesday reported 5 new circumstances, from folks arriving from overseas. That brings the confirmed complete to three,480 circumstances and 58 lifeless.


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Drug firm attorneys search to disqualify federal choose


Attorneys for eight drug distributors, pharmacies and retailers going through trial subsequent month for his or her roles within the opioid disaster wish to disqualify the federal choose overseeing their instances, saying he has proven bias in his effort to acquire a multibillion-dollar world settlement.

In response to the movement filed late Friday in U.S. District Courtroom in Cleveland, the place Choose Dan Polster presides over many of the 2,000 lawsuits filed by state, native and tribal governments, the judicial code requires judges to recuse themselves when there may be an look of prejudice or bias.

The attorneys wrote that Polster has made feedback throughout hearings, media interviews and public boards concerning the significance of getting assist to governments struggling to include a disaster that has killed 400,000 folks nationally since 2000.

“Defendants don’t carry this movement calmly,” the movement mentioned. “Taken as a complete and seen objectively, the document clearly demonstrates that recusal is critical.”

Polster has not responded to the movement filed by attorneys for the drug distributors AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp., Cardinal Well being Inc., McKesson Corp. and Henry Schein Inc.; drugstore chains CVS, Ceremony Support and Walgreens; and retailer Walmart.

Subsequent month’s trial on behalf of the Ohio counties of Summit, which incorporates Akron, and Cuyahoga, which incorporates Cleveland, are seen by Polster as a bellwether that might form how different lawsuits are resolved. A number of drug producers have settled with the counties forward of trial.

The attorneys say Polster’s feedback about his intentions to get plaintiffs assist throughout hearings, media interviews and public boards are proof of his bias and prejudice. They cited a comment made through the first courtroom listening to in January 2018 for the multidistrict litigation when Polster mentioned, “My goal is to do one thing significant to abate the disaster and to do it in 2018.”

The movement mentioned: “Underneath settled legislation, any considered one of these statements could be sufficient to trigger an inexpensive individual to query a choose’s impartiality.”

An announcement launched Saturday by the manager committee for attorneys representing the federal government plaintiffs gave Polster their full-fledged assist, calling him a choose with “nice integrity, intelligence, and impartiality” who has served on the federal bench for many years.

The assertion calls the protection attorneys’ movement “a determined transfer on the eve of trial by opioid firms that created, fueled and sustained the disaster following rulings by the courtroom concluding that there’s ample proof to seek out that these firms created a public nuisance and conspired collectively to keep away from regulation and sanctions.”


This story has been up to date to right the title of one of many drugstore chains to Walgreens, as an alternative of Walgreen.


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Germany’s Merkel faces decisive week on local weather safety


Germany faces a decisive week in its efforts to fight local weather change, with Chancellor Angela Merkel pledging Saturday that Europe’s greatest economic system will discover good options however her governing coalition nonetheless haggling over a long-promised coverage bundle.

Merkel’s authorities has mentioned for months that it’s going to unveil a bundle of measures on Friday to make sure that Germany cuts its greenhouse gasoline emissions by 55% by 2030 in contrast with 1990. It’s beneath strain to ship a outcome that gives convincing measures with out overly burdening the economic system and voters, however events within the coalition have argued about how to take action.

The bundle is a check of credibility each for the fractious coalition of Merkel’s center-right Union bloc and the center-left Social Democrats and for the chancellor herself. It provides her the prospect to reclaim the mantle of “local weather chancellor,” a title usually utilized in her early days in workplace that has pale over time, particularly in her remaining time period as German chief.

In her weekly video message, Merkel mentioned “local weather safety is a problem for humanity” and that “we want an actual feat” to take care of it.

“It isn’t sufficient for us to behave internationally,” she mentioned. “After all we should try this too, however we should do our homework right here, at dwelling … sadly, we’re not but nearly as good as we needs to be.”

Germany is ready to overlook its personal emissions targets for 2020 and the nation has seen frequent protests, particularly by younger folks, demanding sooner motion to combat local weather change and scale back coal use.

On Saturday, 1000’s demonstrated in Frankfurt to hurry up strikes within the auto trade to combat local weather change because the world-famous Frankfurt Motor Present opened to the general public and one other local weather change protest came about within the northern metropolis of Hamburg.

Merkel mentioned “we need to give carbon dioxide a worth” as a result of “when one thing has a worth, folks have an incentive to cut back CO2 emissions.”

She burdened that the German authorities does not need to absorb more cash general, however how precisely the pricing ought to work has been a bone of rivalry.

The Social Democrats have advocated elevating taxes on power sources equivalent to gasoline and heating oil, whereas conservatives favor an emissions certificates buying and selling system that power companies must take part in. Different proposals have included a discount of the value-added tax on practice tickets and elevating taxes on home flights.

Coalition leaders met for over 5 hours on Friday evening and agreed to satisfy once more Thursday to thrash out the ultimate particulars of the local weather bundle.

“I need us to reach making the local weather safety regulation a convincing success and to not get misplaced in little issues and particular person measures,” the Social Democrats’ normal secretary, Lars Klingbeil, informed the dpa information company.

Merkel mentioned she is assured of discovering passable options.

“I’m completely sure that Germany can discover its technique to good local weather safety,” she mentioned.


For extra Related Press tales about local weather change, go to https://www.apnews.com/Local weather


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Big Tech faces a new set of foes: nearly all 50 US states


Big tech companies have long rebuffed attempts by the U.S. federal government to scrutinize or scale back their market power.

Now they face a new coalition of antitrust enforcers: prosecutors from nearly all 50 states.

In a rare show of bipartisan force, attorneys general from 48 states along with Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia are teaming up to open an investigation into whether Google’s huge online search and advertising business is engaging in monopolistic behavior.

The Texas-led antitrust investigation of Google was announced Monday on the steps of the Supreme Court. It follows a separate multistate investigation of Facebook’s market dominance that was revealed Friday.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, a Republican, says it’s an unprecedented effort by states to tackle an antitrust case involving the tech industry.


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Big Tech faces a new set of foes: nearly all 50 US states


Big tech companies have long rebuffed attempts by the U.S. federal government to scrutinize or scale back their market power. Now they face a scrappy new coalition as well: prosecutors from nearly all 50 states.

In a rare show of bipartisan force, attorneys general from 48 states along with Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia are investigating whether Google’s huge online search and advertising business is engaging in monopolistic behavior. The Texas-led antitrust investigation of Google, announced Monday, follows a separate multistate investigation of Facebook’s market dominance that was revealed Friday.

The state moves follow similar sweeping antitrust tech investigations launched by the Federal Trade Commission and the Trump administration’s Department of Justice; the Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee is conducting a similar probe. But should federal officials tire of their work, the state-led efforts could keep them on their toes.

States have worked closely together on other matters, such as the fight to curb opioid abuse. But the sheer number participating in this kind of antitrust effort is unprecedented and gives it more weight, said Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, a Republican.

“It’s just an accumulation of public frustration, whether it’s from consumers, other players in the market, regulators, lawmakers,” Reyes said in an interview Monday.

Fiona Scott Morton, a Yale economics professor and former antitrust official at the Justice Department under the Obama administration, said it’s important that states are taking the lead because the Trump administration is “not really enforcing antitrust law except against companies the president is upset with.”

She noted the Trump administration’s unsuccessful push to use antitrust law to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, which owns CNN, a frequent target of Trump’s criticism; and Friday’s announcement that federal antitrust enforcers would investigate automakers that worked with California on tougher emissions limits.

“That’s not what consumers want,” she said. “Consumers want to be protected from anticompetitive conduct.”

States haven’t seriously taken up antitrust enforcement — using laws originally crafted to combat railroad and oil barons in the 19th century — since a major antitrust case against Microsoft about two decades ago. Then, state leadership helped propel federal action.

Back in 2016, Reyes and a Democratic counterpart, Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, tried unsuccessfully to get the Federal Trade Commission to reopen an earlier investigation into Google for allegedly favoring its own products in search results.

The FTC declined, leaving European regulators to take the lead in similar probes overseas, Reyes said.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has a market value of more than $820 billion and controls so many facets of the internet that it’s almost impossible to surf the web for long without running into at least one of its services. Google’s dominance in online search and advertising enables it to target millions of consumers for their personal data.

The company — and peers such as Amazon, Facebook and Apple — have long argued that although their businesses are large, they are useful and beneficial to consumers. Influenced by the popularity of the companies’ ubiquitous tech products and their significant lobbying power, most American political leaders didn’t challenge that view.

But the public debate over the tech industry has changed dramatically since Reyes and Racine sent their letter to the FTC at the end of the Obama administration three years ago. Culprits in that shift include Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, in which a political data mining firm affiliated with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign improperly accessed the personal data of as many as 87 million users.

On Monday, Reyes and Racine joined forces again — this time flanked by nearly a dozen mostly Republican state attorneys general on the steps of the Supreme Court and dozens more from both parties who signed onto the formal investigation.

“Ignoring 50 AGs is a lot more difficult than ignoring two AGs,” Reyes said. “DC and Utah had raised these issues but didn’t feel we had enough firepower or resources on our own.”

Scott Morton, the Yale professor, said most states have laws that mimic federal antitrust laws, but it can be harder for state attorneys general to enforce those laws because they don’t usually have in-house antitrust experts. They can get around that, she added, by working together with other states and hiring shared experts.

Reyes emphasized that the state-led effort is not “anti-tech,” and argued it is “actually for the benefit of the tech ecosystem to help level the playing field.”

He said there’s nothing wrong with Google being the dominant search player if it’s done fairly, but the investigation will look into whether Google crosses the line “between aggressive business practices and illegal ones.”

A tech trade association that has supported some antitrust measures expressed wariness about how states are proceeding.

“We hope the investigations will be law and evidence-based and will restrain from overly politicizing these inquiries, and that both companies and authorities will work together in good faith,” said Ed Black, president and CEO of the Communications Computer and Communications Industry Association.


Associated Press writers Rachel Lerman in San Francisco and Marcy Gordon in Washington contributed to this report.


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Court rules startup may collect data from LinkedIn profiles


A federal appeals court has affirmed the right of a startup company to collect information from people’s public profiles on networking service LinkedIn.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco upheld a previous ruling Monday siding with hiQ Labs, a San Francisco company that analyzes workforce data scraped from profiles.

LinkedIn invoked a federal anti-hacking law in telling hiQ to stop. It also installed technical blocks to prevent hiQ from accessing otherwise publicly available information on LinkedIn users. A 2017 ruling ordered LinkedIn to stop blocking the startup. LinkedIn appealed.

LinkedIn, which is owned by Microsoft Corp., said it is disappointed in the decision and evaluating options for an appeal. HiQ did not immediately respond for a message for comment Monday.

Orin Kerr, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley called the ruling a “major decision for the open internet.”

“It doesn’t establish that scraping websites is completely legal, but it goes a long way toward establishing that it’s not a federal crime,” he said. The decision, he added, means that, while a hacker could be arrested for breaking into a website, a person “can’t be arrested and prosecuted just for visiting it.”


This story has been updated to correct that the appeals court is located in San Francisco, not Michigan.


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Decide briefly blocks new Arkansas anti-abortion legal guidelines


A federal decide blocked three new abortion restrictions in Arkansas minutes earlier than they have been set to take impact Wednesday, together with a measure that opponents say would doubtless power the state’s solely surgical abortion clinic to shut.

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U.S. District Decide Kristine Baker granted a 14-day short-term restraining order shortly earlier than midnight Tuesday. The 159-page ruling blocks the state from imposing the brand new legal guidelines, together with a measure prohibiting the process 18 weeks into being pregnant. The blocked legal guidelines additionally included a requirement that docs performing abortions be board-certified or board-eligible in obstetrics and gynecology. An official with a Little Rock clinic that performs surgical abortions says it has one doctor who meets that requirement, however he solely works there a number of days each different month.

Baker discovered that if that surgical clinic closed, about 1,800 girls a 12 months — or 66% of these searching for to terminate a being pregnant in Arkansas — can be denied an abortion, based mostly on proof launched into the courtroom file.

She additionally wrote that the restriction “offers no discernable medical profit” to girls and questioned lawmakers’ intent in passing the legislation, often called Act 700.

“This, coupled with the file proof that Arkansas has enacted greater than 25 legal guidelines regulating abortion entry within the state, together with 12 enacted in 2019 alone, provides the courtroom pause with respect to the aim of Act 700,” she wrote.

The Arkansas bans are amongst numerous sweeping abortion restrictions enacted in Southern and Midwestern states . Republican lawmakers in these states are emboldened by the prospect of the U.S. Supreme Court docket revisiting its 1973 Roe v. Wade determination that legalized abortion nationwide. The restrictions embrace an Alabama legislation that might make performing an abortion a felony usually. That legislation would not take impact till November and is being challenged by abortion suppliers.

Baker additionally blocked a legislation prohibiting docs from performing an abortion if it is being sought as a result of the fetus has Down syndrome. For that legislation and the 18-week abortion ban, Baker discovered that each would unconstitutionally limit abortion earlier than the purpose of viability, or the probability {that a} fetus might survive exterior the womb.

She wrote that the Down syndrome abortion restriction “is an absolute prohibition on sure abortions previous to viability which the Supreme Court docket has clearly held can’t be imposed by the state.”

The legal guidelines are being challenged by Deliberate Parenthood and Little Rock Household Planning Companies, the state’s solely surgical abortion clinic. Deliberate Parenthood solely affords medication-induced abortions in Arkansas and earlier this month stopped offering abortions at its Fayetteville facility whereas it seems for a brand new location. It continues to offer the process at its Little Rock middle.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas and Deliberate Parenthood challenged the legal guidelines. The group’s interim government director, Holly Dickson, stated early Wednesday that ACLU attorneys are reviewing the order.

“We’re so relieved that these bans and restrictions have been briefly blocked from taking impact. And we’re decided to see them blocked for good,” Dickson stated.

Baker’s ruling is in impact for 14 days, the utmost period of time a brief restraining order could also be issued, although she might prolong it one other 14 days or subject an injunction blocking the restrictions whereas the lawsuit is taken into account.

Arkansas Lawyer Normal Leslie Rutledge, who has appealed Baker’s rulings up to now, stated Wednesday that the authorized problem is “irritating, however not unexpected.”

“The motion was solely the preliminary step and I anticipate additional motion within the close to future in our protection of those legal guidelines that defend the lifetime of moms and their unborn kids,” Rutledge stated.

Beneath present legislation, a doctor licensed to follow drugs in Arkansas can carry out abortions. The extra qualification for docs performing abortions to be board-certified or eligible is just like a Mississippi legislation {that a} federal decide upheld final 12 months . Opponents say the requirement would forestall numerous physicians from performing the process. The state says it might defend sufferers, however Baker rejected that argument.

“Report proof helps that authorized abortion is considerably safer for a girl than carrying a being pregnant to time period and giving beginning,” she wrote.

Attorneys defending the legislation “have come ahead with no dependable, usually accepted medical or scientific file proof to refute this,” Baker stated.

Little Rock Household Planning has stated it has just one doctor who meets that requirement, however he lives in California and solely works on the clinic three to 4 days each different month. An official with the ability stated Monday it might shut inside a month if the requirement was enforced.

Arkansas is considered one of two states with an 18-week ban. Utah enacted an identical restriction this 12 months , however has agreed to not implement it whereas it is being challenged in federal courtroom.

A number of states have legal guidelines banning abortion for genetic anomalies together with Down syndrome, however North Dakota’s is the one one in impact. The others are tied up in authorized challenges.

It was the second time lately that Baker has blocked Arkansas abortion restrictions moments earlier than they have been to take impact. In 2017, she blocked the state from imposing 4 legal guidelines together with a ban on a second trimester determination. A federal appeals courtroom is contemplating the state’s bid to permit these legal guidelines to be enforced.

Arkansas confronted the prospect of shedding its solely surgical supplier whereas neighboring Missouri’s solely abortion clinic is preventing to proceed offering the service . If that facility closes, Missouri can be the primary state with out an abortion clinic because the 12 months after the Roe v. Wade determination.

The legal guidelines are amongst a number of new restrictions accredited by the majority-Republican Legislature in Arkansas this 12 months. One other legislation not challenged that took impact Wednesday will increase the ready interval earlier than a girl can get an abortion from 48 hours to 72 hours. Lawmakers additionally accredited a measure that might ban abortion within the state if Roe v. Wade was overturned.


Observe Andrew DeMillo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ademillo


This story has been corrected to point out that Holly Dickson’s title is interim government director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas, not spokeswoman.


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Judge to reassess $80 million award in Monsanto cancer case


A U.S. judge will reconsider a jury’s $80 million damage award to a California cancer victim who used Monsanto’s Roundup weed-killer.

U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said at a hearing Tuesday that he will reduce but not entirely eliminate punitive damages for what he called the company’s “reprehensible” conduct, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The judge said evidence at the trial showed “Monsanto not really caring whether its products cause cancer,” after questions arose within the company about the product’s safety and a World Health Organization agency classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen in 2015.

Monsanto attorney Brian Stekloff replied that the company’s actions were “consistent with the regulatory and scientific consensus.”

In March, a jury found that glyphosate was a likely cause of 70-year-old Edwin Hardeman’s diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Hardeman was diagnosed with the cancer in 2015 after spraying the product on his Sonoma County property for more than 26 years.

Jurors awarded him $200,000 for economic losses, $3 million for past pain and suffering, another $2 million for emotional distress in his future years, and $75 million in punitive damages. Hardeman’s cancer is now in remission.

Chhabria showed no signs of granting Monsanto’s request to overturn the verdict, but he planned to reduce the $75 million punitive damage award to comply with the Supreme Court’s constitutional standards, which specify that awards more than four times the amount of awarded compensation require special justification, and cannot exceed nine times the compensation except in extraordinary cases.

Hardeman’s lawyer, Aimee Wagstaff, argued that Monsanto’s conduct proved that the case was extraordinary, and the high damage award was necessary to send a message to the company, which is valued at $7.8 billion.

Wagstaff also pushed back against the judge’s questioning of the $2 million award for Hardeman’s remaining years, saying, “The fears come back with every test.”

Thousands of similar lawsuits against Monsanto are pending in state and federal courts. Monsanto is appealing verdicts in the few cases that have been decided.


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Appeals court puts Trump abortion restrictions on hold again


Trump administration rules that impose additional hurdles for low-income women seeking abortions are on hold once again.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Wednesday vacated a unanimous ruling from a three-judge panel and said a slate of 11 judges will reconsider lawsuits brought by more than 20 states and several civil rights and health organizations challenging the rules.

The rules ban taxpayer-funded clinics from making abortion referrals and prohibit clinics that receive federal money from sharing office space with abortion providers.

Critics say the rules would force many clinics to find new locations, undergo expensive remodels or shut down.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. The agency previously said its position “is supported by long-standing Supreme Court precedent, and we are confident we will ultimately prevail on appeal.”

Federal judges in Washington, Oregon and California blocked the rules from taking effect. U.S. District Judge Michael McShane in Oregon called the new policy “madness” and said it was motivated by “an arrogant assumption that the government is better suited to direct women’s health care than their providers.”

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit overruled them two weeks ago. The judges called the rules “reasonable” and said they align with a federal law that prohibits taxpayer funds from going to “programs where abortion is a method of family planning.”

With that decision vacated, the injunctions issued by the lower court judges are once again in effect. It’s not clear when new court arguments will be held.

“We are profoundly grateful the preliminary injunction is back in place,” said Clare Coleman, president of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, which is involved in the cases.

She said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had not yet been enforcing the new rules, even though the three-judge panel’s ruling had given it the green light to do so.

The rules affect organizations that provide, and women who receive, health care through Title X, a 1970 law designed to improve access to family planning services.

Among them is Planned Parenthood, which had called the now-vacated panel decision “devastating.” It serves about 1.6 million of the 4 million low-income patients who receive health care through Title X.

Abortion is a legal medical procedure, but federal laws prohibit the use of Title X or other taxpayer funds to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or to save the woman’s life. Abortion opponents and religious conservatives say Title X has long been used to indirectly subsidize abortion providers.

If allowed to take effect, the administration’s new policy would mark a return to rules that were adopted in 1988 and subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court. Under the Clinton administration, those rules were abandoned in favor of a requirement that the clinics provide neutral abortion counseling and referrals upon request.

Those challenging Trump’s approach have pointed to the Affordable Care Act, which bars the government from creating unreasonable barriers to medical care or interfering with communications between the patient and provider.


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G-20 talks finance tactics for trade war, digital disruption


Financial leaders of the Group of 20 gathered Saturday to brainstorm ways to adapt global finance to an age of trade turmoil and digital disruptions.

The central bank governors and other financial regulators meeting in this southern Japanese port city also flagged risks from upsets to the global economy as Beijing and Washington clash over trade and technology.

Asked if other financial leaders attending the meetings in Fukuoka were raising concerns over the impact on global markets and trade from President Donald Trump’s crusade against huge, chronic U.S. trade deficits, especially with China, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said no.

Trump and members of his administration contend that the ripple effects of the billions of dollars in tariffs imposed by Washington on Chinese exports over the past year are creating new business opportunities for other businesses in the U.S. and other countries.

But Mnuchin acknowledged that growth has been slowing in Europe, China and other regions.

“I’m hearing concerns if we continue on this path there could be issues. There will be winners and losers,” he said.

The G-20 officials were expected to express their support for adjusting monetary policy, for example by making borrowing cheaper through interest rate cuts, in a communique to be issued as meetings wrap up on Sunday.

Their official agenda on Saturday was focused on longer-term, more technical issues such as improving standards for corporate governance, policing cyber-currencies and reforming tax systems to ensure they are fair for both traditional and new, online-based industries.

Ensuring that governments capture a fair share of profits from the massive growth of businesses like Google and Amazon has grown in importance over the many years the G-20 finance chiefs have been debating the reforms aimed at preventing tax evasion and modernizing policies to match a financial landscape transformed by technology.

One aim is to prevent a “race to the bottom” by countries trying to lure companies by offering unsustainably and unfairly low tax rates as an incentive.

Mnuchin said he disagreed with details of some of the proposals but not with the need for action.

“Everyone, we are now facing a turning point,” Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso told the group. “This could be the biggest reform of the long established international framework in over 100 years.”

Some European members of the G-20, especially, want to see minimum corporate tax rates for big multinationals. France and Britain have already enacted stop-gap tax systems for digital businesses, but they are not adequate, said French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.

“For the time being there is no fair taxation of this new economic model,” Le Maire said, adding that the hope is to have an agreement by the year’s end.

The issue is not confined to the wealthiest nations. Indonesia, a developing country of 260 million with more than 100 million internet users, is also struggling to keep up.

“The growth has been exponential but we cannot capture this growth in our GDP as well as in our tax revenue,” said Indonesian Finance Minister Mulyani Indrawati.

Mobile banking, big data, artificial intelligence and cloud computing are among many technologies that are expanding access to financial services for many people who in the past might not have even used banks.

But such innovations raise questions about protecting privacy and cybersecurity, Aso said.

“We need to stay vigilant against risks or challenges,” Aso said.

Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, is hosting the G-20 for the first time since it was founded in 1999. The venue for the annual financial meeting, Fukuoka, is a thriving regional hub and base for start-ups.

The G-20 groups include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.


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