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Sep 17, 2013

U.S. court defends its support for collecting phone data

WASHINGTON, Sept 17 (Reuters) – The surveillance court that
oversees the U.S. government’s massive collection of telephone
data gave its fullest defense to date on Tuesday of why it
considers the program lawful, despite the uproar after its
existence was made public in June.

In an opinion dated Aug. 29 and released on Tuesday, Judge
Claire Eagan of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
wrote that the program did not violate the basic privacy rights
of Americans and was authorized under the 2001 law known as the
Patriot Act.

Sep 10, 2013

U.S. may help marijuana shops get banking services

WASHINGTON, Sept 10 (Reuters) – U.S. law enforcement
agencies are in talks about steps they may take under federal
law to allow legal marijuana businesses to have access to bank
accounts, a Justice Department official said on Tuesday.

Deputy Attorney General James Cole said at a Senate
Judiciary Committee hearing that the existing situation of
marijuana shops operating on a cash-only basis created too many
dangers, such as possible robberies or fraud.

Aug 30, 2013

Trial date of Nov. 25 set for U.S. challenge to AMR-US Airways merger

WASHINGTON, Aug 30 (Reuters) – A federal judge on Friday set
a tentative Nov. 25 trial date in the U.S. government’s legal
challenge to an American Airlines merger with U.S.

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who will try the case without
a jury, announced the date at a hearing in U.S. District Court.

Aug 30, 2013

Judge in American/US Airways merger wants trial before March

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A federal judge said on Friday that the trial of a U.S. government lawsuit to block an American Airlines (AAMRQ.PK: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) merger with U.S. Airways Group Inc (LCC.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) should take place before March, the date sought by the U.S. Justice Department.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said in open court: “March 3, I think, is too far off. It needs to be a tighter, expedited schedule.”

Aug 29, 2013

U.S. allows states to legalize recreational marijuana within limits

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In a move marijuana advocates hailed as a historic shift, the Obama administration on Thursday began giving U.S. states wide leeway to experiment with pot legalization and started by letting Colorado and Washington carry out new laws permitting recreational use.

The Justice Department said it would refocus marijuana enforcement nationwide by bringing criminal charges only in eight defined areas – such as distribution to minors – and giving breathing room to users, growers and related businesses that have feared prosecution.

Aug 22, 2013

Outgoing FBI chief stands up for record on Wall Street fraud

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – FBI Director Robert Mueller sought on Wednesday to dispel any perception among Americans that the bureau and the Justice Department let bankers go free after they helped bring about the U.S. financial crisis.

The complexity of the crisis made it difficult to identify what crimes might have occurred and to explain to Americans why there was a scarcity of prosecutions on Wall Street, Mueller told reporters in response to questions about the crisis.

Aug 22, 2013

U.S. says it will sue Texas over voter ID law

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government said on Thursday it would sue to keep Texas from carrying out a voter identification requirement enacted in 2011, setting up a new battle between the Obama administration and a state that is a conservative stronghold.

Texas state lawmakers passed the requirement to deny the right to vote to racial minorities and, unlike other states with similar laws, failed to take steps to prevent the law from being discriminatory, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Aug 15, 2013

U.S. judge in airline mega-merger once ran Microsoft case

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The federal judge assigned to hear a lawsuit to block the latest U.S. airline mega-merger began her career as a prosecutor, oversaw the resolution of the Microsoft Corp antitrust case and for years presided over a secret surveillance court.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly was described by lawyers on Wednesday as a thorough, experienced jurist likely to weigh equally the views of the Justice Department and the two companies that want to create the world’s biggest airline.

Aug 13, 2013

In airline suit, U.S. antitrust enforcers try to build on wins

WASHINGTON, Aug 13 (Reuters) – AMR Corp’s American Airlines
and US Airways Group Inc could be in for a
long and bruising courtroom battle against seasoned lawyers if
they choose to keep fighting the U.S. Justice Department’s
objection to their merger.

Several experts in antitrust law said in interviews that the
aggressive stance taken by the Justice Department in the suit it
filed in U.S. District Court in Washington signals a sincere
intention to block the deal, not just a mere negotiating ploy to
get concessions before possible future approval.

Aug 13, 2013

U.S. sues to block AMR-US Airways merger; stocks fall

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government on Tuesday sued to block American Airlines and US Airways’ proposed merger to create the world’s biggest airline, saying consumers would end up paying higher fares and fees.

The surprising move, which could also hinder American parent AMR Corp’s efforts to emerge from bankruptcy, triggered a 5.4 percent decline in U.S. airline shares.