Appeals Court Blocks Ruling that Overturned California’s Unconstitutional Gun Ban

Source: New York Times

“A federal appeals court on Monday put a hold on a federal judge’s ruling that overturned California’s 32-year-old ban on assault weapons [sic]. The state law, which dates to 1989, was challenged in a 2019 lawsuit filed against the state’s attorney general by plaintiffs including James Miller, a California resident, and the San Diego County Gun Owners, a political action committee. On June 4, Judge Roger T. Benitez of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California said in a decision that the state law defining assault weapons and restricting their use was unconstitutional. … But the judge granted a 30-day stay of the ruling at the request of California’s attorney general, Rob Bonta, a move that allowed Mr. Bonta to appeal it. In a decision on Monday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit further extended Judge Benitez’s stay, pending resolution of another case challenging the ban.” (06/22/21)

Fast-food chains cut discounts, push pricey meals post-pandemic

Source: Reuters

“Restaurant chains including McDonald’s Corp and KFC are paring back $5-and-under ‘value’ items in favor of more expensive $10-to-$30 combination meals, a strategy employed to lift sales and profits and offset rising food costs as the U.S. economy reopens. ‘Value’ meals — sandwich, soda and French fry combinations priced at $5 or less — have long been a staple of fast-food offerings. Chains used the deals to lure bargain-conscious customers, bringing traffic to stores. But deals priced at $5 and under have become less generous in the last 18 months.” (06/22/21)

Canada: Fire destroys two Catholic churches on indigenous land

Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“Police in Canada say they are treating fires that destroyed two Catholic churches on indigenous community land in British Columbia as suspicious. Sacred Heart Church and St Gregory’s Church burnt down at about the same time early on Monday, as Canada marked National Indigenous People’s Day. The two churches (built more than 100 years ago) are located about 40km (25 miles) apart in the western province. Liquid accelerants are believed to have been used, one fire official said. The two churches on the Penticton Indian Band reserve and the Osoyoos Indian Band reserve are less than 100km from Kamloops, where the remains of 215 children were found at a former boarding school in May. Thousands of indigenous children were sent to such schools in the 19th and 20th Centuries to be forcibly assimilated. The institutions were often run by the Roman Catholic Church.” (06/22/21)

Legal Definition Unveiled to Put Ecocide on Par With War Crimes

Source: Common Dreams

“A panel of international lawyers on Tuesday published an official legal definition of the term ‘ecocide,’ which for decades has been condemned by conservationists and climate action campaigners but which until now has not been recognized as a crime. With the Stop Ecocide campaign’s new legal definition of ecocide, organizers and experts seek to eventually incorporate the prosecution of environmental destruction into the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) mandate, making it possible for nations on the front lines of the climate crisis (which are the least responsible for the carbon emissions and industrial pollution that is heating the planet), to hold big polluters accountable.” (06/22/21)

US opens $500 million fund for relatives of Boeing 737 MAX victims

Source: Reuters

“A $500 million U.S. victim compensation fund for the relatives of 346 people killed in two fatal Boeing 737 MAX crashes opened Monday, the claim administrators told Reuters. The fund is part of a settlement with the Justice Department. Boeing Co in January agreed to pay $500 million to compensate the heirs, relatives and beneficiaries of the passengers who died in Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in 2018 and 2019. Each eligible family will receive nearly $1.45 million and money will be paid on a rolling basis as claim forms are submitted and completed, said administrators Ken Feinberg and Camille Biros in a joint statement.” (06/22/21)

Vatican protests against “unprecedented” Italian bill on homophobia

Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“The Vatican has protested to Italy over a bill on homophobia currently passing through parliament. The Zan bill would punish discrimination and incitement to violence against the LGBT community, as well as women and people with disabilities. The Vatican argues the bill would curb religious freedoms secured in a treaty. Under current Roman Catholic doctrine, gay relationships are referred to as ‘deviant behaviour.’ Advocates of the bill say it has safeguards to ensure religious freedoms. The Zan bill, named after LGBT activist and politician Alessandro Zan, was passed by the lower house of parliament in November, and now needs to pass the Senate. It would add legal protections for women and people who are LGBT or disabled. Those found guilty of hate crimes or discrimination against these groups could face up to four years in prison.” (06/22/21)

EU: Antitrust bureaucrats prep new bribe demand against Google

Source: CNN

“The European Union has launched an antitrust investigation into Google’s vast advertising business, claiming that the company may have disadvantaged rival services, making it harder for brands to reach consumers and for publishers to fund their content. The formal investigation, which follows a preliminary probe that began in 2019, will examine whether Google (GOOGL) is distorting competition by restricting access to user data for advertising purposes, while reserving such data for its own use, the European Commission said on Tuesday.” (06/22/21)

NASA sends squid from Hawaii into space for research

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

“Dozens of baby squid from Hawaii are in space for study. The baby Hawaiian bobtail squid were raised at the University of Hawaii’s Kewalo Marine Laboratory and were blasted into space earlier this month on a SpaceX resupply mission to the International Space Station. Researcher Jamie Foster, who completed her doctorate at the University of Hawaii, is studying how spaceflight affects the squid in hopes of bolstering human health during long space missions, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday. The squid have a symbiotic relationship with natural bacteria that help regulate their bioluminescence.” (06/22/21)

Target unveils sustainability goals, pledging to keep its products out of landfills, create net-zero emissions by 2040

Source: CNBC

“Target is known for its exclusive merchandise, with private label brands for everything from arts and craft supplies to apparel. Now, the retailer is pledging to make all those products more environmentally sustainable. It said Tuesday it will design items that are more durable and will eliminate waste and encourage reuse by 2040. Within that time frame, Target is planning to become a net-zero enterprise, which means it will create zero waste for landfills at its U.S. operations and have net-zero emissions across its operations and supply chain.” (06/22/21)

Hungary: Foreign minister defends law limiting LGBT rights

Source: ABC News

“Hungary’s foreign minister alleged Tuesday that a disinformation campaign was being used to rally international criticism of a recent law passed in Hungary that has been widely seen as targeting LGBT people. Speaking at a press conference following a General Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto reacted to a question on reported plans by Benelux countries to release a joint statement condemning the new law. ‘A global fake news campaign is taking place concerning the law on the protection of children,’ Szijjarto said, adding that ‘99% of those making criticisms have not read the entire law.'” (06/22/21)