Nation and world news in brief

Supreme Court allows swipe-fee lawsuit in blow to regulators

(TNS) — The US Supreme Court dealt a fresh blow to the authority of federal agencies, ruling in a case over debit-card swipe fees that some regulations can be challenged a decade or more after they were enacted.


Voting 6-3 along ideological lines, the justices said a North Dakota convenience store and truck stop can sue over a 2011 rule governing the charges that banks impose on merchants. The majority said a six-year statute of limitations doesn’t bar the suit because the business didn’t open until 2018.

The ruling could have ramifications across the US government, making a raft of longstanding rules newly vulnerable to challenge in court under the federal Administrative Procedure Act.

US Supreme Court sidesteps dispute on state laws regulating social media

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday sidestepped making a decision on the legality of Republican-backed laws in Florida and Texas designed to restrict the power of social media companies to curb content that the platforms deem objectionable.

The justices unanimously threw out separate judicial decisions involving challenges brought by tech industry trade groups to the two laws under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment limits on the government’s ability to restrict speech. The justices decided the lower courts did not adequately assess the First Amendment implications.

Palm Beach prosecutor painted Epstein victims as prostitutes, grand jury records show

MIAMI (TNS) — A Palm Beach County prosecutor painted two girls molested by Jeffrey Epstein as prostitutes, drug addicts, thieves and liars in front of a grand jury empaneled in 2006 to review the state’s criminal case against sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

Palm Beach County Judge Luis Delgado unsealed the controversial grand jury records on Monday after years of legal action by the Palm Beach Post and other media, including the Miami Herald, CNN and the New York Times.

Grand jury records are normally kept under seal to protect the integrity of the case, as well as witnesses. But in the years since the Epstein case was closed in 2008, evidence surfaced that suggested that Epstein and his battery of high-priced attorneys may have exerted political influence to taint the state’s case.

The records have remained under seal for 16 years. Earlier this year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an order to release the files by July 1, noting that unsealing them might explain how the wealthy Epstein managed to “engineer an outcome that the average citizen would likely never have been able” to do.

Chinese rocket accidentally launches during test

(NYT) — A commercial Chinese rocket accidentally launched during a ground test on Sunday, climbing into the air before crashing into a nearby mountain and exploding in flames, the private company that owns the rocket said.

Because of a “structural failure,” the Tianlong-3 rocket separated from its testing platform while its propulsion system was being tested and lifted off from its launchpad, the rocket’s owner Space Pioneer said in a statement. The accident occurred at 3:43 p.m. local time Sunday at a test facility in Gongyi city in central China’s Henan province, the statement said.

After launching, the onboard computer automatically shut down, and the rocket fell into a hilly area about one mile from the test site.

Hunter Biden sues Fox News over ‘mock trial’ miniseries

(Reuters) — U.S. President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden sued conservative news outlet Fox News on Monday for publishing nude photos and videos of him in a fictionalized “mock trial” show focused on his foreign business dealings.

Hunter Biden alleges Fox violated New York state’s so-called revenge porn law, which makes it illegal to publish intimate images of a person without their consent.

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