A high court has canceled a television license auction in Greece, dealing a blow to the country's left-wing government which carried out the sale as part of an anti-corruption drive.
Judges from the Council of State court ruled 14-11 late Wednesday that the auction in September was unconstitutional because the process bypassed an independent media regulator.
The ruling means the government will have to pay back money it has received from the 246 million euro ($275 million) sale. And its plans to reduce the number of national private broadcasters from seven to four will be canceled.
The auction triggered a major political spat over corruption and control of the news media.
Opposition parties accused Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras — whose left-wing Syriza party is a relative newcomer to mainstream politics — of trying to gain influence over the news media.
Tsipras had made the auction the centerpiece of his reforms. He argued it would sever a corrupt relationship between traditionally powerful political parties and industrialists who used media ownership to seek lucrative state contracts — a relationship the government said created decades of financial mismanagement and was a cause of Greece's crippling financial crisis.
In weekend speech to party members, Tsipras had promised to defend the license overhaul.
Rhode Island's highest court heard arguments Tuesday in a fight that has pitted dozens of members of the Vanderbilt family against a nonprofit that owns several Gilded Age mansions in Newport.
The nonprofit Preservation Society of Newport County wants to build a visitors center on the grounds of The Breakers, a spectacular mansion built by Cornelius Vanderbilt II.
Dozens of preservationists, as well as designer Gloria Vanderbilt and nearly four dozen Vanderbilt relatives, have said the center as planned would "permanently mar" the national historic landmark.
Two members of the Vanderbilt family attended Tuesday's arguments before the Rhode Island Supreme Court over two separate lawsuits. But the arguments involved zoning and licensing issues raised by neighbors and the city, not the family's objections and the question of whether the center would hurt the historical integrity of the site.
The Preservation Society wants to build the center to give visitors a place to buy snacks and sandwiches, use accessible restrooms and buy tickets indoors. They have argued The Breakers is a museum, and museums should be allowed to serve food.
Daniel Prentiss, a lawyer for the neighbors' group, told the Supreme Court that The Breakers is in a residential zone in "one of the most famous neighborhoods in the country." The neighborhood is packed with mansions and bordered on one side by the Atlantic Ocean and Cliff Walk.
Allowing food to be served at The Breakers, Prentiss said, could open the door to museums serving food elsewhere in the neighborhood and city.
But Preservation Society lawyer William Landry said most museums around the world allow patrons to have a glass of wine and a meal, and the Preservation Society would have to meet certain requirements for food service.
"This is no license to have McDonald's in every museum in Newport," Landry told the justices, adding that The Breakers hosts 400,000 people from all over the world every year.
The Breakers, perhaps the grandest of Newport's summer homes, is not air conditioned.
Gambia has become the third African nation to say it will leave the International Criminal Court, deepening fears of a mass pullout from the body that pursues some of the world's worst atrocities.
In announcing the decision Tuesday night on national television, Gambia accused the court of unfairly targeting Africa and calling it the "International Caucasian Court for the persecution and humiliation of people of color, especially Africans."
The move comes after South Africa, once a strong ICC supporter under former President Nelson Mandela, notified the United Nations secretary-general last week that it would leave the court. Burundi's president last week signed legislation to leave the court as well.
Gambia's move drew swift condemnation from human rights groups. The statement about the court unfairly pursuing Africans "could not be further from the truth," said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International's research and advocacy director for Africa.
An Israeli court has ruled that a lawmaker from the ruling Likud party had used hard drugs when he ran a casino in Bulgaria, before entering politics.
Tuesday's ruling marks another blow to the already dubious reputation of Oren Hazan, who was elected last year and within months faced accusations of physically assaulting a public official, sexually harassing women and soliciting prostitutes.
Hazan sued Amit Segal, reporter for Israel's Channel 2 TV, for defamation over an investigative piece that included testimony on Hazan having allegedly consumed crystal meth while managing the Bulgarian casino.
In the ruling, the court found the reporter had acted in good faith and reported his story honestly. Nevertheless, it awarded Hazan $10,000 in damages for another, unsubstantiated Channel 2 report that Hazan had also sold drugs.
An appeals court panel on Monday ruled that a federal agency acted reasonably in proposing to list a certain population of bearded seals threatened by sea ice loss.
The decision by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco reverses a lower court ruling that found the decision by the National Marine Fisheries Service was improper.
At issue was whether the fisheries service can protect species as threatened under the Endangered Species Act when it determines that a currently non-endangered species will lose habitat due to climate change in coming decades.
In 2014, a federal judge in Alaska found there was no discernible, quantified threat of extinction within the foreseeable future for the seals and determined the listing decision was arbitrary.
But the appeals court panel ruling issued Monday said the fisheries service relied on the best available scientific data and seriously considered the comments it received. The panel's opinion also noted a high bar for overturning an agency action.
The service's listing decision was challenged by the Alaska Oil and Gas Association and others, who argued, among other things, that the seal population appeared to be healthy and the service's use of climate projections beyond 2050 were speculative.
Joshua Kindred, environmental counsel for the oil and gas association, cited concern with the level of research that contributed to the service's finding, saying there was a "failure to engage in that critical mass of scientific research."
He said the ruling was still being reviewed and a decision on any further steps had not been made yet.
The appeals court panel also rejected the state of Alaska's argument that the service failed to address several of its substantive comments, saying the record indicates otherwise.
how he repeatedly raped her and then killed her without feeling guilt or emotion.
The video was shown on the second day of Rurik Jutting's trial for the murders of Sumarti Ningsih, 23, and Seneng Mujiasih, 26, whose bodies were found in his upscale apartment near the city's red-light district in 2014. The case shocked people in the Asian financial hub, which has a reputation for being safe but also significant inequality. It also highlighted the decadent lifestyles of some members of the former British colony's expatriate elite.
Jurors were played about 20 minutes of video in which Jutting apparently tortures Sumarti. The media and public could not view it but heard the audio.
At one point he can be heard saying: "If you scream I will punish you. Understand?" That is followed by the sound of smacking and slapping, and later the sound of a woman whimpering. Jutting then tells her not to cry.
Later, both jurors and the public gallery were shown hours of iPhone video in which Jutting, wearing no clothes, delivers an extended rambling monologue to the camera.
The Supreme Court is offering new evidence that the short-handed court is having trouble getting its work done.
The justices have yet to schedule three cases for arguments that were granted full review in January, about a month before Justice Antonin Scalia died. The cases involve separation of church and state, class-action lawsuits and property rights, issues that often split liberal and conservative justices.
Their absence from the calendar of cases that are being argued this fall suggests that the justices believe they may divide 4 to 4, and are waiting for a ninth justice to join them.
“The court doesn’t like to do a lot of work and have a 4-4 result. There may be a desire of the court to try to wait for the full complement of justices,” said Todd Gaziano of the Pacific Legal Foundation, which is taking part in the property rights case.
The court on Friday released its argument calendar for late November and early December. It includes redistricting disputes from North Carolina and Virginia, and a Texas death row inmate’s appeal.
Senate Republicans have refused to act on Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to fill Scalia’s seat.
Even if Garland were to get a Senate hearing and vote after the election, if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, the earliest he could join the court would be for its January arguments. If the Senate does not act on Garland’s nomination in its post-election “lame duck” session, the vacancy could last into the spring, meaning almost all of the court’s term would go by with eight justices.
In the meantime, several justices have commented on the challenges posed by the absence of one justice.
“It’s much more difficult for us to do our job if we are not what we’re intended to be — a court of nine,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor said Monday at the University of Minnesota.
The justices divided evenly in four cases following Scalia’s death last term. A tie vote keeps in place the lower court decision that is being reviewed, without setting any nationwide law on the question at issue. It’s as if the high court hadn’t taken on the case in the first place