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Britain's Supreme Court says the government is entitled to set a minimum-income threshold for people wanting to bring foreign spouses to the country, a measure introduced to ensure immigrants won't draw on public welfare funds.

But the court says the way the rules have been implemented is unlawful.

Since 2012, Britons who want to bring spouses from outside the European Union to the U.K. must earn at least 18,600 pounds ($23,000) a year.

Several people who were rejected under the rules took the government to court, arguing the law breached their right to a family life.

The judges ruled Wednesday that the income requirement was lawful but had been implemented in a "defective" way.

They said authorities must consider the welfare of children and whether applicants have other funding sources.



A court in Moscow has ordered a leading independent newspaper to retract an article about a luxury yacht allegedly owned by the chief of Russia's top state-controlled oil company. retract

The Basmanny District Court ruled Monday that the Novaya Gazeta report linking Rosneft Chairman Igor Sechin to the St. Princess Olga yacht was untrue.

The newspaper used social media and ship tracking data to allege that Sechin was the yacht's possible owner, but the court ruled that the allegations were unfounded.

Sechin has been a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He served as a deputy prime minister before taking helm of the giant Rosneft oil company.

Last month, another Moscow court ordered the business daily Vedomosti to withdraw a report about a mansion it claimed belonged to Sechin.


Brazil's top court voted unanimously Thursday to suspend the scandal-tainted and controversial leader of the lower house of Congress from his duties.
 
Chamber of Deputies Speaker Eduardo Cunha, one of the most powerful politicians in Brazil, is accused of corruption and obstruction of justice.

A nemesis of President Dilma Rousseff, Cunha began the impeachment case that now has the Senate considering whether to put her on trial.

Justice Teori Zavascki stripped Cunha of his duties early in the day, then the 10 other justices voted to back that move.

Cunha said in a statement that he won't resign. He is expected to give a news conference later, but has repeatedly denied wrongdoing in all the cases against him.

The court's decision was based on a request made in December by chief prosecutor Rodrigo Janot.

Janot, who called Cunha "a criminal" in his accusation, alleges the speaker used his position to obstruct investigations against him involving corruption at state-run oil giant Petrobras and at the lower house's ethics committee.

Justice Luis Roberto Barroso said the decision to interfere in another branch of government was harsh, but needed. "I don't want to live in a different country. I want to live in a different Brazil," he said while casting his vote.

Outside the Supreme Court, fireworks erupted as the majority vote needed to suspend Cunha was reached.

Zavascki said that because the speaker is under investigation, he is unfit to be in line for the presidency should Rousseff be impeached.


A German court has ruled that Etihad Airways and Air Berlin can't continue code-sharing on some of their routes beyond mid-January.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad holds 29.2 percent of Germany's second-biggest airline and their code-sharing provides important income for Air Berlin. However, the German government says some of the routes aren't covered by an aviation agreement with the United Arab Emirates. The problem involves 31 routes, with more than 50 others unaffected.

German authorities in October approved the disputed code-shares through Jan. 15, saying they were giving the companies time to find a solution.

Etihad sought a ruling from an administrative court in Braunschweig extending that permission to the end of the winter timetable in late March. However, the court said Wednesday it had rejected the application.


Lufthansa has canceled 930 flights scheduled for Wednesday at three hubs in Germany after efforts failed to halt an ongoing strike by flight attendants.

The cancellations affect 100,000 travelers going to or from Frankfurt, Munich and Duesseldorf.

They were announced even as the airline and the union said late Tuesday they were open to mediation.

Officials for the UFO flight attendants union did not call a halt to the ongoing stoppages at Frankfurt, Munich and Duesseldorf, but indicated they would be open to mediation under certain conditions, the dpa news agency reported. A mediation proposal had been sent by the company.

As things stood, the union was to strike long-haul and local flights Wednesday through Friday at the three airports. The strike action started Friday and took a break Sunday.

Lufthansa has been able to carry out most flights despite extensive cancellations.

A court decision in the German city of Duesseldorf added to uncertainty. The labor court there ordered a temporary halt to the strike in that town, saying the strike's goals were not clearly formulated.

Court spokeswoman Anke Salchow said the decision only applied Tuesday. The court was to hear another request from Lufthansa on Wednesday.




Lufthansa has canceled 930 flights scheduled for Wednesday at three hubs in Germany after efforts failed to halt an ongoing strike by flight attendants.

The cancellations affect 100,000 travelers going to or from Frankfurt, Munich and Duesseldorf.

They were announced even as the airline and the union said late Tuesday they were open to mediation.

Officials for the UFO flight attendants union did not call a halt to the ongoing stoppages at Frankfurt, Munich and Duesseldorf, but indicated they would be open to mediation under certain conditions, the dpa news agency reported. A mediation proposal had been sent by the company.

As things stood, the union was to strike long-haul and local flights Wednesday through Friday at the three airports. The strike action started Friday and took a break Sunday.

Lufthansa has been able to carry out most flights despite extensive cancellations.

A court decision in the German city of Duesseldorf added to uncertainty. The labor court there ordered a temporary halt to the strike in that town, saying the strike's goals were not clearly formulated.

Court spokeswoman Anke Salchow said the decision only applied Tuesday. The court was to hear another request from Lufthansa on Wednesday.

The UFO union wants to secure transition payments for its 19,000 members if they retire early, among other demands as part of its contract dispute with Lufthansa, which is trying to cut costs.


The European Union's top court says the Bitcoin virtual currency that is used online and over the Internet should be exempt from sales taxes within the 28-country bloc.

The European Court of Justice said Thursday that there was no reason to treat Bitcoin differently than other transactions involving "currency, bank notes and coins used as legal tender."

The Court made its ruling following a complaint by a Swedish citizen wanting to provide a service on the exchange of Bitcoin with other traditional currencies with the arguments that the service should be tax-free.


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