A corruption trial against Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began in earnest yesterday, with a witness testifying the five-term official compelled a major news organization to cover his family in a flattering light while disparaging his political opponents.
Netanyahu faces three
charges: allegedly taking improper gifts from a number of business owners; pushing legislation that would weaken a competitor of Israel's largest paper, Yediot Aharonot, in exchange for favorable coverage; and taking bribes from Shaul Elovitz, who controls the country's biggest telecom company, in exchange for political favors. The third case is the most serious, with the regulatory benefits provided estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The highly anticipated trial comes as the country attempts to free itself from political paralysis, with a March 23 election—the fourth in two years—producing no clear winner. Talks to form a coalition government are ongoing.
Google v. Oracle
Google notched a major legal victory yesterday, after the Supreme Court ruled in its favor in a long-running dispute against Oracle. The decision focused on the use of application programming interfaces—pieces of computer code that allow different programs to interact with each other (see 101).
co-opted about 11,000 lines of Java—a computing language developed by Sun Microsystems, which was subsequently acquired by Oracle—for use in its Android operating system. The code allowed Android programs to interface with Java-based software. Oracle claimed copyright infringement and asked for nearly $9B; Google argued its use of the code was strictly for compatibility and therefore not covered under copyright law. See a breakdown of each side here.
The court side-stepped the issue of whether APIs are copyrightable, instead ruling 6-2 that Google's inclusion of the code fell within the bounds of fair use.
Putin Power Grab
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law yesterday a change to the country's constitution that would allow him to potentially remain in power until 2036. Previously, Putin would've been legally required to step down in 2024, at the end of his second sequential presidential term.
Critics called the proposal orchestrated—it took just three hours for the proposal to be debated and approved when it was introduced in July. The change was passed by voters in a national
referendum, but was tacked onto a broader package with 200 other amendments, including a number of popular social welfare programs.
Putin has effectively held power in the country for more than two decades, first as president (2000-08), then as prime minister (2008-12), then once more as president (2012-current). See a timeline of his governance here.
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Science & Technology
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Business & Markets
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Politics & World Affairs
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'We Found a Baby on the Subway'
BBC | Lucy Wallis. On the way to meet his partner for dinner, Danny Stewart noticed a small bundle sitting in the corner of a New York subway station. The discovery would change all of their lives. (Read)
Revenge of the Winklevii
Forbes | Staff. A profile of the twins, notable for their early legal battles with Facebook, who've now made a name for themselves as Bitcoin billionaires. (Read, $$)
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Historybook: Renaissance artist Raphael born and died (1483, 1520); First modern Olympics opens in Athens (1896); The US declares war on Germany in World War I (1917); RIP prolific science fiction author Isaac Asimov (1992); RIP country singer Tammy Wynette (1998).
"Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right."
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