Nation and world news in brief for June 12

US industry groups sue to block ‘forever chemical’ drinking-water rule

(Reuters) — U.S. manufacturing and chemical industry groups have filed a lawsuit seeking to block a federal rule announced this year setting the first-ever drinking water standard to protect people against toxic “forever chemicals.”


The rule is intended to reduce exposure to the group of 15,000 chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) for approximately 100 million people. It would avoid deaths that have been linked to PFAS, according to the EPA.

Dubbed “forever chemicals” because they do not easily break down in the human body or environment, PFAS are found in hundreds of consumer and commercial products, including non-stick pans, cosmetics, firefighting foams and stain-resistant clothing.

In a brief petition against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed Monday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Chemistry Council said the rule is “arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion”.

The groups said the rule exceeds the EPA’s authority under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, a 1974 law empowering the agency to pass water-quality regulations.

Apple hits record as AI features promise boost in iPhone sales

(Reuters) — Apple shares surged over 7% to a record high on Tuesday, nearly regaining from Microsoft its crown as the world’s most valuable company a day after it unveiled new AI features meant to rekindle demand for iPhones.

Tuesday’s rally came as Apple trails the S&P 500 in 2024 due to waning iPhone sales and concerns on Wall Street that the company is lagging other technology heavyweights in a race to dominate emerging artificial intelligence technology.

Apple’s stock climbed 7.3% to end the day at $207.15.

With a market capitalization of $3.18 trillion, Apple was just behind Microsoft at $3.22 trillion, and just ahead of AI chip powerhouse Nvidia at $2.97 trillion.

All three are in a tight race to be the world’s most valuable company.

Microsoft’s market value most recently overtook Apple’s in January. Nvidia’s value briefly eclipsed Apple’s last week.

Elon Musk withdraws lawsuit against OpenAI

(Reuters) — Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk on Tuesday moved to dismiss his lawsuit accusing ChatGPT maker OpenAI and its CEO Sam Altman of abandoning the startup’s original mission of developing artificial intelligence for the benefit of humanity and not for profit.

Attorneys for Musk asked the California state court to dismiss the lawsuit, originally filed in February, without giving a reason for the move, according to a filing in San Francisco Superior Court.

A Superior Court judge there was prepared to hear OpenAI’s bid to dismiss the lawsuit at a hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

OpenAI and an attorney for Musk did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Musk dismissed his case without prejudice, which means he could refile it at another time.

Malawi vice president Chilima and nine others killed in plane crash

BLANTYRE, Malawi (Reuters) — Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima and nine others, including former first lady Shanil Dzimbiri, were killed when the military plane they were travelling in crashed, President Lazarus Chakwera said on Tuesday.

The aircraft carrying Chilima, who was seen as a potential candidate in next year’s presidential election, went missing on Monday.

The plane left the capital Lilongwe at 09:17 a.m. (0717 GMT) on Monday but was unable to land at Mzuzu airport as scheduled at 10:02 a.m. due to poor visibility.

It was ordered to return to Lilongwe but went off the radar and aviation authorities could not make contact with it.

Chakwera said all passengers on board were killed on impact and that the military was bringing their remains back to the capital.

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