In our news wrap Wednesday, a federal judge in Philadelphia approved the NFL settlement of thousands of concussion lawsuits. An estimated 6,000 former players who develop Alzheimer’s or moderate dementia will get an average of $190,000 each. Also, the Senate passed legislation to help sex trafficking victims, clearing the way for a vote on President Obama’s attorney general nominee, Loretta Lynch.
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A federal judge in Philadelphia today approved the National Football League’s settlement of thousands of concussion lawsuits. It could cost $1 billion over 65 years, but the NFL has dropped an earlier cap on total damages. An estimated 6,000 former players who develop Alzheimer’s or moderate dementia will get an average of $190,000 each.
The U.S. Senate has passed legislation to help victims of sex trafficking 99-0. Today’s vote followed a lengthy dispute over abortion funding. The end to the impasse clears the way for a vote tomorrow on the president’s nomination of Loretta Lynch to be U.S. attorney general.
Italian naval vessels saved yet another group of migrants today in the Mediterranean. Nearly 450 people, including 59 children, were brought to the Sicilian port of Augusta. They’d been rescued off Italy’s southern coast.
In Rome, the Italian prime minister appealed for the European Union to stop smugglers and recognize the migrants are desperate.
MATTEO RENZI, Prime Minister, Italy (through interpreter):
The central point is that when a person is ready to risk his own life, when he’s ready to put his life at risk because he needs to get out from a situation where he could be beheaded, you cannot discourage the departures with a simple statement. You do it by taking action.
E.U. leaders are set to hold an emergency summit tomorrow, days after some 800 migrants drowned off Libya.
More than 100,000 people marched in Ethiopia’s capital today. They protested the killing in Libya of 30 Ethiopian Christians who’d been trying to reach Europe. A video released Sunday showed Islamic State militants shooting and beheading the victims. Today’s protesters vowed to fight terror. They also condemned Ethiopia’s chronic poverty, and some fought with police, who fired tear gas to disperse them.
The European Union accused Russia’s state-owned energy giant today of price-gouging and monopoly practices. It was the latest sign of rising tensions between the E.U. and Moscow. The E.U.’s competition commissioner charged Gazprom is using its dominant position to strong-arm countries in Eastern and Central Europe.
MARGRETHE VESTAGER, Competition Commissioner, European Union:
Gazprom has been able to charge higher prices in some countries without fearing that gas would flow in from other countries, from resellers or where the prices were lower. What we have seen then in our data is that Gazprom has been charging what we think of as unfairly high prices.
Gazprom dismissed the accusations as unfounded.
Back in this country, the Supreme Court is making it easier to sue the government for negligence. The justices ruled 5-4 today that deadlines for filing such lawsuits may be extended in some cases. It’s seen as a victory for military veterans whose medical malpractice claims are delayed by red tape.
A federal appeals court has thrown out former baseball player Barry Bonds’ conviction for obstructing justice. The court, in San Francisco, also ruled that he will not be tried again. It said an answer he gave to a grand jury in 2003 had no bearing on a steroid investigation. Bonds was convicted in 2011, but he remained free while he appealed.
This was the 45th annual Earth Day, and New York City marked the occasion with a plan to reduce its trash by 90 percent by the year 2030. Meanwhile, President Obama toured Florida’s Everglades National Park. He said a warming climate threatens the region, and he warned, action can no longer be delayed.
It’s gotten more expensive to rent a home or apartment in the past year, and in some places, much more expensive. Real estate data firm Zillow reports prices climbed an average of 3.7 percent nationwide, but in San Francisco, they jumped almost 15 percent, to average more than $3,000 a month. Rents also spiked in Denver and Kansas City, but fell in Chicago and Minneapolis.
And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 88 points to close above 18000 again. The Nasdaq rose 21, and the S&P 500 added 10.