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Uber suffered a new blow Wednesday as the European Union's top court ruled that it should be regulated as a transport company instead of a technology service, a decision that crimps its activities around Europe and could weigh on other app-based companies too.

Taxi drivers honked horns to celebrate the ruling, which punctures Uber's image as the pioneer of a new gig economy that's setting its own rules while governments clamber to keep up.

Uber — which is wrapping up a particularly punishing year — sought to downplay the decision, which might only affect the company's operations in four countries. Uber said it will try to keep expanding in Europe anyway.

The decision by the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice in theory applies to ride-hailing services around the 28-nation EU. But the ruling leaves it to national governments to decide how and whether to change the way they regulate Uber and similar services.

Uber has gained a strong foothold and customer base in most European countries, adapting its multiple services to bend to local rules when faced with legal challenges. Its hallmark low-cost service — hooking up unlicensed freelance drivers with riders via an app — is already banned in many European cities, and instead Uber's services are much like taxis, just more flexible and sometimes cheaper.

Some other internet-based businesses fear the ruling could suppress innovation and usher in other restrictions, as European authorities look for ways to regulate companies that operate online and outside traditional sectors and don't fit in with existing laws.

The decision stems from a complaint by a Barcelona taxi drivers association, which wanted to prevent Uber from setting up in the Spanish city. The taxi drivers said Uber drivers should have authorizations and licenses, and accused the company of engaging in unfair competition.

Arguing its case, San Francisco-based Uber said it should be regulated as an information services provider, because it is based on an app that connects drivers to riders.


Kentucky's Judicial Nominating Commission has announced the names of three nominees for an upcoming vacancy on the state's Court of Appeals.

The commission says the judicial seat for a district covering 22 eastern Kentucky counties will become vacant when Judge Janet L. Stumbo retires Dec. 31.

The names of the commission's three nominees will be submitted to Gov. Matt Bevin. The governor has 60 days to appoint a replacement.

The commission says the nominees for the Court of Appeals judgeship are attorneys Gene Smallwood Jr. of Whitesburg, Jimmie Garner Vanover of Prestonsburg and Marcia Lynn Wireman of Jackson. All three are graduates of the University of Kentucky College of Law.


The ex-wife of slain NBA star Lorenzen Wright has made her first court appearance in California, where she was brought in to court in a wheelchair.

News media report authorities say 46-year-old Sherra Wright's case was delayed until Wednesday while she undergoes a medical evaluation.

She was arrested Friday in California and charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.

In court in Riverside on Monday, Wright's lawyer, Eric Keen, wouldn't comment on her medical condition or why she was in a wheelchair.

Thirty-four-year-old Lorenzen Wright was found shot to death in 2010. A new tip in 2016 led investigators to Walnut, Mississippi, where divers found a firearm. Earlier this month, 46-year-old Billy Ray Turner was arrested and pleaded not guilty to a murder charge.


Visitors to the Supreme Court's gift shop have asked for years: Where is the court's cookbook?

Now, the shop has an answer. It's called "Table for 9: Supreme Court Food Traditions & Recipes." The book out this month is part history book, part cookbook. It includes more than three dozen recipes associated with justices and their families.

Food is a way the court's nine justices connect. There are welcome dinners for new justices and retirement dinners for those who are departing. The justices regularly eat lunch together and celebrate birthdays together.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg writes in the book's introduction: "Food in good company has sustained Supreme Court Justices through the ages."


China on Monday welcomed a Spanish court's decision to grant Beijing's request for the extradition of 121 Taiwanese nationals to China, a move that has drawn criticism from Taiwan, a self-ruled island.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters at a regular briefing that Beijing appreciated Spain's firm support of its "One China" principle, which is Beijing's view that it has sovereignty over Taiwan.

Scores of Taiwanese have been arrested around the world over the past two years in connection with telecoms fraud scams targeting Chinese nationals. Countries including Malaysia, Cambodia and Kenya have deported Taiwanese suspects to China, in deference to Beijing which views Taiwan as its own territory without sovereign legal status and has long tried to diplomatically isolate it.

The deportations have highlighted Beijing's efforts to assert its sovereignty over Taiwan, and the leverage it wields over smaller nations to achieve that.

The Taiwanese foreign ministry on Sunday urged the Spanish government to send the suspects back to Taiwan instead of China. Taiwanese media reports cited a ministry spokesman as saying the European nation should observe the principles of nationality, proportionality and humanity.

In Beijing, Hua said the Spanish court's decision Friday was an "important outcome" of cooperation between China and Spain in using extradition to crack down on crime.

The Taiwanese nationals are accused of belonging to Spain-based gangs that swindled people in China out of millions of euros by telephone.

Interpol told Spain about the scam a year ago, and Spanish and Chinese authorities cooperated in an operation against the perpetrators.

Officials said the gangs made contact with people in China, pretending at first they were friends or family and warning them of fraud scams. In later calls, they pretended to be police investigating the scams and convinced many of the victims to put money into bank accounts run by the gangs.

Spain's National Court ruled there was no impediment to the extradition. Spain has an extradition treaty with China and no diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The democratic island split from the Chinese mainland during a civil war in 1949.



A judge has entered a not guilty plea for an 18-year-old charged with murder in the fatal shooting of an Indiana University doctor and educator.

Ka’Ron Bickham-Hurst made his first court appearance Monday following his arrest Thursday in connection with the Nov. 20 slaying of Dr. Kevin Rodgers at the victim’s home near Eagle Creek Park on the city’s northwest side. Bickham-Hurst has also is charged with burglary and theft.

Investigators say they believe the 61-year-old Rodgers walked in on a burglary and was shot in the head and stomach. A 15-year-old juvenile also was arrested.

Rodgers was the program director emeritus of the emergency medicine residency at the IU School of Medicine.


A court in Myanmar sentenced four members of a family to as much as 16 years in prison with hard labor on Friday after finding them guilty of enslaving and abusing their two teenage maids, in a case that has prompted widespread public outrage over the girls' treatment.

The two girls were 11 and 12 when they were sent to the city from their poor village in Myanmar's delta to work as maids for a family that owned a tailor shop. Five years later, a local journalist heard allegations of child abuse at the shop and investigated, pretending he wanted a suit. He wrote an article about the girls' broken fingers and scars from cuts, burns and beatings.

Police then investigated and arrested six family members who were accused of locking up and torturing the girls for five years, stabbing them with scissors and knives, and burning them with an iron. They were charged with assault and violations of anti-trafficking and child protection laws.

After a trial lasting more than a year, a district court in Yangon, Myanmar's largest city, on Friday sentenced the mother, Tin Thuzar, to 16 years and one month and two adult children to 13 years and one month, defense lawyer Hnin Su Aung said. The husband of one of the children also received a sentence of 13 years and one month.


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