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Delaware Schools To Be Barred From Monitoring Students’ Social Media

Delaware is on the verge of prohibiting schools from monitoring students’ social media activity without their consent. The state Senate unanimously voted to ban public and private schools from requiring students to allow access to their social media lives, the Los Angeles Times reported. The bill, which also passed the Delaware House, only needs the governor’s signature to become law. Some colleges and universities have required students to download social media monitoring software on their personal electronic devices or accounts as a condition of their scholarships or participation in athletics. Under the Delaware bill, institutions are forbidden from requesting or requiring a student or applicant to disclose any passwords or related account information; asking them to log on to a social media site in the presence of an agent; requiring the installation of a monitoring device that gives the institution access; or requiring the student to add an agent to their contacts. Maryland saw a similar bill pass the state Senate, but it stalled when the legislature was unable to pass a budget.

Supreme Court To Decide If Human Genes Patentable

The Supreme Court agreed on Friday that it would make the decision as to whether human genes can be patented. Reuters reports that the controversial issue, which has the potential to impact global healthcare, treatment, and research worldwide, is now in the hands of the court, who will decide whether corporations have the right to patent genes they discover. As previously reported on SmartPlanet, Myriad Genetics Inc. is at the heart of the issue. The U.S. biotechnology company believes that it has the right to patent two genes linked to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2. Myriad Genetics acquired a patent for the BRCA1 breast cancer genetic mutation in 1994, based on the terms that could be considered an ‘invention’.  To be understood, the gene became an “invention” once it was removed from the body and was discovered using Myriad’s gene test, BRACAnalysis. However, critics say allowing any private firm to patent a gene could hamper scientific research and overall future patient care. The Federal Circuit upheld Salt Lake City-based Myriad’s patents last year in court, saying the firm had the right to patent “isolated” genes, but denied the company the right to patent methods of “analyzing or comparing” DNA sequence strands.

California Port Labor Disputes Costing U.S. $1 Billion Per Day

A national coalition of U.S. business groups is urging an end to a strike at the twin California ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach amid fears that a prolonged stand-off will cost the American economy many billions of dollars, and could even spread to the east coast, reports Reuters. Trade groups led by the National Retail Federation have sent letters to U.S. President Barack Obama and leading members of Congress asking them to intervene and help end the strike at America’s two busiest container harbor facilities. Those industry groups say the strike, which entered its sixth day on Sunday, is already costing $1 billion a day. The labor dispute has been triggered by 500 clerical workers at the ports, members of the relatively small Office of Clerical Union Workers. Their industrial action and clout has been significantly strengthened because some 10,000 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have supported them, refusing to cross the clerical workers’ picket lines. Their action has effectively shut down 10 of the two ports’ combined 14 container terminals. Four other container terminals have remained opened, along with facilities for handling break-bulk cargo such as raw steel and tanker traffic.

USB Near $450 Million Settlement With U.S. Over Libor

UBS AG, Switzerland’s biggest lender, is close to agreements with U.S. and U.K. regulators to pay more than 290 million pounds ($466 million) in fines over allegations traders tried to rig global interest rates, a person with knowledge of the talks said. An announcement may come as soon as next week, said the person, who declined to be identified because the talks are private. More than 25 people have already left UBS after the lender’s own internal probe, another person said last month. Global authorities are investigating claims that more than a dozen banks altered submissions used to set benchmarks such as the London interbank offered rate to profit from bets on interest-rate derivatives or make the lenders’ finances appear healthier. UBS’s fine may surpass the record 290 million pounds Barclays Plc (BARC), the U.K.’s second-biggest bank, paid in June to settle claims it attempted to manipulate Libor.

Madoff Trustee Seeks To Block $80 Million Fairfield Settlement

The trustee seeking to recover funds for the victims of convicted Ponzi scheme operator Bernard Madoff asked a federal judge to block a $80 million settlement with the founders of Fairfield Greenwich Group , which funneled billions of dollars to Mr. Madoff. In court papers, lawyers for Irving Picard, the Madoff trustee, said the settlement, if allowed to proceed, will “thwart the Trustee’s efforts to recover funds for equitable distribution to the victims of the Ponzi scheme.” They asked a federal bankruptcy judge to block the settlement. The $80 million settlement reached with a group of Fairfield investors earlier this month represents a “substantial portion” of the assets that might be recovered from the individual Fairfield defendants, including Fairfield Greenwich’s founding partners, according to court papers.

 

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