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Thursday, Jul 31st

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Supreme Court lifts stay of Arizona execution

Joseph WoodThe U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday knocked down a stay of execution for Arizona Death Row prisoner Joseph Wood, who is scheduled to be put to death Wednesday morning at the Arizona State Prison Complex - Florence.

Wood 55, was sentenced to death for killing his girlfriend and her father in Tucson in 1989.

The Arizona Department of Corrections intends to execute him with a controversial drug called midazolam, which was used in three flawed executions earlier this year in which the dying inmates appeared to suffer respiratory distress. Arizona also frequently uses a controversial method of administering drugs that was at the center of a botched execution in April in Oklahoma, in which the condemned man writhed in pain for more than 40 minutes before dying of an apparent heart attack.

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ObamaCare subsidies are legal after all, second appeals court rules

ObamacareA federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld ObamaCare's subsidies — the same day another appeals court ruled against them.

In a unanimous ruling, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the health care law permits the federal government to provide subsidies to people who purchase health insurance in every state. Plaintiffs had argued that a poorly-worded section of the law implied the government could only provide subsidies in states that opted to set up their own health care exchange programs, and not in states where the feds run those exchanges. The law specifically states that subsidies can go to people who buy coverage "through an Exchange established by the State," though the 4th Circuit said lawmakers clearly intended the law to be broader than that.

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Detroit retirees vote for major pension cuts – by a landslide

Detroit pensions cutA year after filing for bankruptcy, Detroit is building momentum to get out, especially after workers and retirees voted in favor of major pension changes just a few weeks before a judge holds a crucial trial that could end the largest public filing in U.S. history.

Pension cuts were approved in a landslide, according to results filed shortly before midnight Monday. The tally from 60 days of voting gives the city a boost as Judge Steven Rhodes determines whether Detroit's overall strategy to eliminate or reduce $18 billion in long-term debt is fair and feasible to all creditors.

The rial starts August 14.

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Bond trader could face nine years in prison in rare criminal prosecution

Blond trader to faced jail timeJesse Litvak was ecstatic.  It was March 31, 2010, and the mortgage bond trader at Jefferies & Co. had just persuaded Michael Canter, head of securitized assets at from giant asset manager Alliance Bernstein, to bite on the purchase of millions of dollars in mortgage bonds.

Litvak messaged the good news to his boss, William Jennings and wrote that he misrepresented the prices Jefferies had paid for the bonds and could get Canter to pay even more.

“Boom!” replied Jennings.   With another phone call and a couple of clicks on his computer, Litvak completed the $27 million sale, which earned him and Jefferies a $50,000 commission.

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Major US airlines suspend flights to Israel

FAAThe Federal Aviation Administration is telling U.S. airlines they are prohibited from flying to the Tel Aviv airport in Israel after a Hamas rocket exploded nearby.

The FAA said in a statement that the ban on flights is for 24 hours beginning at 12:15 p.m. EST on Tuesday.  The statement said the rocket strike landed about one mile from Ben Gurion International Airport Tuesday morning.

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Israel confirms soldier missing as fighting continues

Israeli soldier missingAn Israeli soldier is missing following a deadly battle in the Gaza Strip, a defense official confirmed Tuesday, as Israeli forces continued their air, land and sea offensive against Hamas militants.

On Sunday evening, Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri in Gaza claimed his group had captured an Israeli soldier, a claim Israel initially denied. An announcement on Gaza TV of the soldier's capture set off celebration in the streets of the West Bank.

Several media sites reported that the IDF identified the missing soldier as Sgt. Oron Shaul, 21, from Poria. According to media reports, the IDF said Shaul is likely dead, but his family is holding out hope until definitive evidence is found.

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Billionaire Ackman accuses Herbalife of fraud

HerbalifeBillionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman broadened his public assault Tuesday on diet shaker maker Herbalife, accusing it of defrauding members of its nutritional clubs.

Ackman, head of hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management, disclosed details of his latest investigation into more than 240 Herbalife clubs during a webcast at the AXA Equitable Center in New York. He said that the company, in a "pyramid scheme", is targeting Latinos and other lower-income socioeconomic groups.

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Appeals court throws out IRS rule on Obamacare subsidies

Health care provision overruledA U.S. appeals court on Tuesday threw out a federal regulation that implements key subsidies that are vital to President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit accepted one of the main legal challenges to the policy by conservatives opposed to an expansion of the federal government.

A three-judge panel returned the case to a lower court with instructions to rule in favor of appellants who had sued to overturn the rule.

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Sierra Club irked by U.S. liquefied natural gas export stance

Sieerra Club opposes LNG exportsU.S. policies on the export of liquefied natural gas are out of step with renewable and climate protection goals, the Sierra Club said.

The Sierra Club announced it filed comments with the Department of Energy on the impacts of LNG. The advocacy group said LNG exports would lead to more domestic gas production, which may cause an increase in greenhouse gas emissions and inhibit the development of renewable energy projects.

Sierra Club attorney Nathan Matthews said Monday the analysis from the Department of Energy falls short.

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