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The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear a challenge to Virginia's decades-old ban on uranium mining.

The state has had a ban on uranium mining in place since 1982, soon after the discovery of a massive uranium deposit in the state's Pittsylvania County. It's the largest known deposit in the United States and one of the largest in the world.

The owners of the deposit put its value at $6 billion and said it would be enough uranium to power all of the United States' nuclear reactors continuously for two years.

A few years after the deposit was discovered, the price of uranium plummeted and interest in mining it waned for about two decades. But after the price of uranium rebounded, the deposit's owners attempted between 2008 and 2013 to convince Virginia lawmakers to reconsider the ban. After that effort failed, they sued Virginia in federal court in 2015. The hope was that a court would invalidate the ban and clear the path for mining the uranium. Lower courts agreed with the state, however, and dismissed the lawsuit.

In asking the high court to take the case, the companies underscored the importance of uranium to the United States. Nuclear reactors powered by uranium generate about 20 percent of the electricity consumed in the United States, the companies say. Uranium also powers the nation's fleet of nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers. But 94 percent of the uranium the U.S. needs is imported, they said.

Turning the Virginia deposit into usable uranium would involve three steps. First, the uranium ore would have to be mined from the ground. The uranium would then need to be processed at a mill, where pure uranium is separated from waste rock. The waste rock, called "tailings," which remain radioactive, would then have to be securely stored.

The owners of the Virginia deposit argue that the state can regulate the uranium mining, the first step in the process, but not if the state's purpose in doing so is protecting against radiation hazards that arise from the second two steps. They say that's what motivated the state's ban. They argue the Atomic Energy Act gives federal regulators the exclusive power to regulate the radiation hazards of milling of uranium and of handling and storing the leftover tailings.



Calling it a “historic step” toward justice, the Palestinian foreign minister asked the International Criminal Court on Tuesday to open an “immediate investigation” into alleged Israeli crimes committed against the Palestinian people.

The development was sure to worsen the already troubled relations between the internationally backed Palestinian Authority and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. Peace talks have been frozen for over four years, and contacts between the two sides are minimal.

Speaking to reporters at the ICC in The Hague, Netherlands, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said he submitted the “referral” to the court during a meeting with the ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda.

The referral sought an investigation into Israeli policies in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip since the state of Palestine accepted the ICC’s jurisdiction in 2014, he said.

This includes Israeli settlement policies in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, as well as the recent round of bloodshed in the Gaza Strip, where Israeli fire killed over 100 Palestinians during mass protests along the Gaza border, Malki added.



The Supreme Court is asking Washington state's highest court to take another look at a land dispute between a Native American tribe and its neighbors.

The dispute concerns a roughly 40-acre plot of land purchased by the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe in 2013. A land survey convinced the tribe that a barbed wire fence between its land and land owned by Sharline and Ray Lundgren is in the wrong place. The tribe wanted to tear down the fence and build a new one in the right spot. The Lundgrens sued, but the tribe argued it was immune from suit.

The Washington Supreme Court sided with the Lundgrens. The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 Monday the court's reasoning was flawed and asked the court to take another look at the dispute. Native American tribe and its neighbors.

The dispute concerns a roughly 40-acre plot of land purchased by the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe in 2013. A land survey convinced the tribe that a barbed wire fence between its land and land owned by Sharline and Ray Lundgren is in the wrong place. The tribe wanted to tear down the fence and build a new one in the right spot. The Lundgrens sued, but the tribe argued it was immune from suit.

The Washington Supreme Court sided with the Lundgrens. The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 Monday the court's reasoning was flawed and asked the court to take another look at the dispute.



The Supreme Court says employers can prohibit their workers from banding together to dispute their pay and conditions in the workplace, an important victory for business interests.

The justices ruled 5-4 Monday, with the court's conservative members in the majority, that businesses can force employees to individually use arbitration, not the courts, to resolve disputes.

The outcome does not affect people represented by labor unions, but an estimated 25 million employees work under contracts that prohibit collective action by employees who want to raise claims about some aspect of their employment.

The result could prompt a new round of lawsuits aimed at limiting class or collective action to raise allegations of racial discrimination.

The Trump administration backed the businesses, reversing the position the Obama administration took in favor of employees.

The court's task was to reconcile federal laws that seemed to point in different directions. On the one hand, New Deal labor laws explicitly gave workers the right to band together. On the other, the older Federal Arbitration Act encourages the use of arbitration, instead of the courts.


A Southern California man who was arrested on an explosives charge after a blast killed his former girlfriend last week at her day spa is scheduled to appear in court.

Fifty-nine-year-old Stephen Beal is set to appear in federal court in Santa Ana Monday afternoon.

Beal is charged with possessing an unregistered destructive device that the FBI says was found at his home.

He has not been charged with the blast that killed 48-year-old Ildiko Krajnyak (IL-di-koh KRY-nyak) on May 15 when she opened up a cardboard box at the spa in the city of Aliso Viejo south of Los Angeles.

Beal and Krajnyak dated until recently and remained business partners.

Beal did not enter a plea during a court appearance last week and his public defender would not comment.


A dispute about the size of eye drops has failed to catch the eye of the Supreme Court.

Drug companies including Allergan, Bausch & Lomb, Merck and Pfizer had asked the court to get involved in the case.

The companies were sued by patients using their eye drops to treat glaucoma and other eye conditions. The high court said Monday that it won't take the case.

That means a lower-court decision allowing the lawsuit to go forward will stand.

The patients said that drug companies' bottles dispense drops that are too large, leaving wasted medication running down their faces. The patients said they would pay less for their treatment if their bottles were designed to dispense smaller drops.


A court has dismissed charges against Barclays relating to its emergency fundraising from Qatar at the height of the financial crisis.

The Serious Fraud Office had accused Barclays over a 2008 deal to give to Qatar Holding LLC a $3 billion loan that was then used to invest in the bank, saving it from a government bailout.

Prosecutors had also accused Barclays' operating unit with unlawful financial assistance "for the purpose of directly or indirectly acquiring shares in Barclays Plc."

Southwark Crown Court in London dismissed all of the charges on Monday. However, Barclays warned in a statement to the markets that the fraud office is likely to seek to reinstate the charges. Individuals still face charges, as Monday's dismissal only refers to Barclays as a corporate entity.

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