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Federal judge dismisses Courser’s suit against House, ex-leaders

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit in which a former Michigan lawmaker who resigned over a sex scandal accused ex-leaders of the state House of Representatives of conspiring to remove him from office and subject him to criminal charges.

Todd Courser’s suit was tossed last week by U.S. District Judge Gordon Quist.

He ruled that the House and its former leaders and staffers have immunity. He said Courser’s claim of a conspiracy “is not only implausible, but absurd on its face.”

Courser resigned in 2015 while another legislator, Cindy Gamrat, was expelled. Courser had asked an aide to send a bogus, sexually explicit email to thousands of fellow Republicans as a trick so his extramarital affair with Gamrat would not be believed if it was revealed by an extortionist.


Judge slashes $80M award in Monsanto cancer case

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge lowered a jury’s damage award from $80 million to $25 million for a California cancer victim who used Monsanto’s Roundup weed-killer.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports Monday that U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said he was required to reduce the punitive damage award because it went beyond constitutional limits set by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In March, a jury found that glyphosate was a likely cause of 70-year-old Edwin Hardeman’s diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Jurors awarded him $200,000 for economic losses, $3 million for past pain and suffering, another $2 million for emotional distress in his future years, and $75 million in punitive damages. Hardeman’s cancer is in remission.

Chhabria refused last Friday to overturn the jury’s verdict that Monsanto’s product was a likely cause of Hardeman’s cancer.


Apple, Google continue inclusive push with new emojis

Apple and Google are rolling out dozens of new emojis that include cute critters, of course, but also expand the number of images of human diversity.

Apple Inc. is releasing new variants of its holding hands emoji that allow people to pick any combination of skin tone and gender, 75 possible combinations in all. There are also wheelchairs, prosthetic arms and legs, as well as a new guide dog and an ear with a hearing aid.

And then there’s the sloth, the flamingo, the skunk, the orangutan, as well as a new yawning emoji.

Google, meanwhile, will offer 71 versions of couples with different skin tones once the additions are completed. Google is also adding an emoji for the Diya lamp so that Diwali can be celebrated alongside Christmas and Thanksgiving.

New emojis routinely pop up every year. Earlier this year the Unicode Consortium approved 71 new variations of emoji for couples of color. Apple and Google unveiled their designs Wednesday to coincide with World Emoji Day .

It’s this group that ultimately weighs in on whether we get a sad pile of poop to complement the smiling one, or whether sliced bagel deserves an emoji alongside bread and croissant.

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