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Supreme Court rejects Apple e-books conspiracy appeal

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear Apple Inc’s challenge to an appellate court decision that it conspired with five publishers to increase e-book prices, meaning it will have to pay $450 million as part of a settlement.

The court’s decision not to hear the case leaves in place a June 2015 ruling by the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that favored the U.S. Department of Justice and found Apple liable for engaging in a conspiracy that violated federal antitrust laws.

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Apple, in its petition asking the high court to hear the case, said the June decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upholding a judge’s ruling that Apple had conspired with the publishers contradicted Supreme Court precedent and would “chill innovation and risk-taking.”

The 2nd Circuit’s ruling followed a 2013 decision by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote after a non-jury trial that Apple played a “central role” in a conspiracy with publishers to eliminate retail price competition and raise e-book prices.

The Justice Department said the scheme caused some e-book prices to rise to $12.99 or $14.99 from the $9.99 price charged by market leader Amazon.com Inc.

Publishers that the Justice Department said conspired with Apple include Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group Inc, News Corp’s HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Penguin Group Inc, CBS Corp’s Simon & Schuster Inc and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH’s Macmillan.

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On Feb. 17, the appeals court in New York upheld the proposed settlement, which had been challenged by an e-books purchaser.

The case is Apple v. United States, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 15-565.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley)

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Giggling Fox & Friends hosts gloat over Lewandowski hearing: ‘He gave as good as he got!’

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The hosts of "Fox & Friends" giggled and gloated over Corey Lewandowski's contentious appearance before the House Judiciary Committee.

President Donald Trump's former campaign manager claimed executive privilege over testimony he gave before special counsel Robert Mueller, admitted he had lied in TV appearances and cracked jokes during five hours of testimony -- and the Fox News hosts were delighted.

"He gave as good as he got," said co-host Steve Doocy.

Co-host Ainsley Earhardt was laughing so hard she could barely speak.

"She said the truth shall set you free," Earhardt said, quoting Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) through guffaws. "'Answer the question,' there was no question."

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Netanyahu, Gantz deadlocked after Israeli polls

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main challenger Benny Gantz were deadlocked Wednesday after an Israeli general election, reports said, raising the possibility of a unity government or even the end of the premier's long rule.

Various Israeli media reported that Netanyahu's right-wing Likud and Gantz's Blue and White had 32 seats each of parliament's 120 with more than 90 percent of the vote counted.

The reports were citing sources with the elections committee, as that level of results had not been officially posted yet and were not expected before Wednesday afternoon.

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Saudi Arabia to announce oil attacks findings as US weighs retaliation

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Saudi Arabia said it will unveil the results later Wednesday of its probe into attacks on key oil installations, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo heads to the kingdom to discuss possible retaliation.

Riyadh, which is bogged down in a five-year war against Tehran-aligned rebels in neighbouring Yemen, has said that the weapons used were Iranian-made, but has not directly blamed its arch rival.

However, the Saudi defence ministry said its spokesman would present evidence from the site of the weekend attacks that halved Saudi oil production, sending global energy markets into a tailspin.

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