Skip to main contentSkip to main content

    A federal judge has ruled that Walgreens can be held responsible for contributing to San Francisco’s opioid crisis for over-dispensing opioids for years without proper oversight and failing to identify and report suspicious orders as required by law. San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu says the pharmacy chain failed to track opioid prescriptions, prevented pharmacists from properly vetting prescriptions and missed red flags about over-prescribing doctors. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer ruled that for 15 years, Walgreens dispensed hundreds of thousands of pills, eventually contributing to the city's hospitals being overwhelmed with opioid patients. Walgreens said it would appeal the ruling, which it said was not supported by “the facts and the law.”

      Donald Trump says he invoked the Fifth Amendment and wouldn’t answer questions under oath in the long-running New York civil investigation into his business dealings. Trump arrived at New York Attorney General Letitia James’ offices Wednesday morning, but sent out a statement more than an hour later saying he declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution.” Anything he said during the deposition could have been used against him in a criminal case, if one ensues. While James’ investigation is civil in nature, the Manhattan district attorney is running a parallel criminal probe.

        Air travelers are finally getting a break on fares. The government said Wednesday that the average airfare dropped nearly 8% in July compared with June, to $311. The bad news is, that's still almost 28% higher than last July. Airlines pushed fares up for most of this year because demand was high and there are fewer flights, meaning fewer seats to sell. The airlines also blame high jet fuel prices. Fares peaked in May, when sales for summer vacations were in full swing. Travel-data researcher Hopper expects domestic U.S. fares to average $286 in August and remain at or below $300 until October, when many people book Thanksgiving and Christmas travel.

          U.S. officials won't approve a natural gas pipeline from Idaho to Wyoming until additional environmental studies are completed. A U.S. District Court on Wednesday approved an agreement between the U.S. Forest Service and two environmental groups that filed a lawsuit to stop the 50-mile Crow Creek Pipeline Project. The Forest Service agreed to complete a supplemental environmental impact statement before authorizing the project. Wyoming-based Lower Valley Energy wants to build the pipeline that would start near Montpelier, Idaho, and run to Afton, Wyoming. But the pipeline crosses Forest Service land, and the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Yellowstone to Uintas Connection say it will harm protected grizzly bears.

            Consumers struggling with skyrocketing prices for food, gas, autos and rent got a tantalizing hint of relief last month, when prices didn’t budge at all from June after 25 straight months of increases. With gas prices continuing to fall, inflation is probably slowing further this month. So has the worst bout of inflation in four decades possibly peaked? Economists say it’s way too soon to know for sure. Even if some prices should keep declining, others — housing costs, for example — are almost sure to remain painfully high. And that means there’s likely still a long way to go before inflation will get anywhere close to the 2% annual pace that Americans were long accustomed to.

              A Sesame Street-themed park has announced the implementation of diversity and inclusion training for its employees. The announcement Tuesday follows a $25 million class-action lawsuit alleging multiple incidents of discrimination after outcry sparked from a viral video of a costumed character snubbing two 6-year-old Black girls during a parade at Sesame Place in Pennsylvania. The park, which is operated by SeaWorld Parks, says in the statement that all employees will be mandated to participate in training created to address bias, promote inclusion and prevent discrimination by the end of September. An attorney says the family of one of the 6-year-olds is expected to meet with the SeaWorld CEO on Thursday.

                Falling prices for gas, airline tickets and clothes gave Americans a little bit of relief last month, though overall inflation is still running at close to its highest level in four decades. Government data released Wednesday showed that consumer prices jumped 8.5% in July compared with a year earlier. That's down from a 9.1% year-over-year increase in June. On a monthly basis, prices were unchanged from June to July, the first time that has happened after 25 months of increases. The reprieve offered no certainty that prices would stay on the decline. Inflation has sometimes slowed only to re-accelerate later.

                Hundreds of Bulgarians have taken to the streets of the capital Sofia, voicing fears that the country’s caretaker government could break with the policies of its pro-Western predecessor and revert to close energy ties with Russia. The second in a planned series of protests under the slogan #GAZwithme took place Wednesday in front of the presidential building in Sofia and organizers said they want greater accountability from the caretaker cabinet. The first public statements by the current caretaker government indicate that Bulgaria could restart talks with Russian energy giant Gazprom to avoid natural gas shortages later in the year. “We refuse to be dependent on Gazprom and finance Putin’s outrageous war!” read a banner at the protest.

                The European Commission says it's winding up years of surveillance of Greek government spending. The move, on Aug. 20, will mark a formal end to a major crisis that threatened to see Greece ejected from the euro single currency group. It also imposed severe hardship imposed on Greek citizens and created a deep rift between them and the EU's institutions. But the commission said Wednesday that “Greece has delivered on the bulk of the policy commitments” made to its partners in the 19-country euro area. Greece was granted billions of euros in three bailout funds after 2010 when Athens lost access to international bond markets after admitting it had misreported key financial data.

                The Louisiana Department of Health is advising people to stay away from a recent oil spill and not to fish in areas with visible oil slicks or sheens. The statement Wednesday also warns against driving vessels through slicks or sheens. The Coast Guard says nearly 14,000 gallons of oil spilled from a tank on Monday, after an oil tank platform collapsed in Terrebonne Bay. The agency said Tuesday that nobody was hurt and it has not received any reports of affected wildlife. The spill occurred at Hilcorp's Caillou Island facility. The company has not responded to a request for comment made Tuesday through its website. The cause of the collapse is being investigated.

                Research that analyzed social media posts finds that hateful references to gays, lesbians and other LGBTQ people surged online after Florida passed a law that bars instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. References to pedophiles and “grooming” rose by more than 400 percent in the month after Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” measure was approved, according to a report by the Human Rights Campaign and the Center for Countering Digital Hate. The authors of the report say the increased anti-LGBTQ rhetoric is inciting hatred that could lead to violence. They say social media platforms must do more to enforce their own policies on hate speech.

                A cybersecurity firm informed a major Indian online insurance brokerage last month that critical vulnerabilities in its network could expose sensitive personal and financial data from at least 11 million customers. CyberX9 followed the standard ethical-hacker playbook, giving the brokerage time to patch the flaws and inform authorities. A week later, the insurance brokerage, Policybazaar, said it had been illegally breached but “no significant customer data was exposed.” It said little more. CyberX9 wants Indians to know the broker had multiple critical vulnerabilities that left itself open to intrusion. The incident highlights the gray area in which many security researchers operate when computer crime laws such as India's make no adjustment for good-faith work.

                Slovakia's economy minister says oil shipments from Russia through a critical pipeline to several European countries have resumed after a problem over payments for transit was resolved. Russian state pipeline operator Transneft said Tuesday it halted shipments through the southern branch of the Druzhba oil pipeline, which flows through Ukraine to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. Transneft cited complications due to European Union sanctions for its action on Aug. 4, saying its payment to the company’s Ukrainian counterpart was refused. Slovakia's Economy Minister Richard Sulik said Wednesday the shipments resumed once the payments was made by Slovak refiner Slovnaft after both the Russian and Ukrainian sides agreed.

                China’s 11 million university graduates are struggling in a bleak job market as repeated shutdowns under China’s “zero-COVID policy” force companies to retrench and drive many restaurants and other small employers out of business. When Liu Qian entered the job market, she said she felt as if her future had been smashed and didn’t know if she could piece it together. The 26-year-old graduate sent out more than 100 job applications and saw two openings she interviewed for eliminated before landing a job. Countless others are still looking. China’s job drought echoes the difficulties of young people worldwide in finding work in depressed economies.

                Affiliate

                As concerns about social media’s harmful effects on teens continue to rise, platforms from Snapchat to TikTok to Instagram are bolting on new features designed to make their services safer and more age appropriate. But the changes rarely address the elephant in the the room — the algorithms pushing endless content that can drag anyone, not just teens, into harmful rabbit holes. Snapchat, for instance, just added new controls that let parents see who their teens are messaging, though not what they're saying. Even if it works — and kids  opt in — it's still one more constantly evolving feature for parents to master.

                Eviction filings around the country are returning to pre-pandemic levels in many cities and states. The numbers have spiked from Connecticut to Utah, driven in part by rising rental prices and dwindling federal rental assistance. Legal advocates say some landlords are choosing not to take rental assistance, in favor or finding new tenants who will pay higher rents. Advocates are calling for states and cities to enact greater legal protections for tenants and support a federal bill that would make rental assistance permanent. Evictions dropped significantly during the pandemic and started rising after a federal eviction moratorium went away about a year ago.

                Germany’s finance minister says the government plans to make tax cuts worth more than 10 billion euros ($10.2 billion) to benefit broad sections of the population squeezed by high energy costs and inflation. Finance Minister Christian Lindner said Wednesday that about 48 million people in Germany would profit from changes to the tax system that prevent them from being taxed more than their pay increases. The plan was criticized by the Greens, who are part of a three-party governing coalition in Germany. Calculations show that people on higher incomes will see the biggest absolute gains from the proposed tax cuts.

                Italy's far-right leader Giorgia Meloni, who is leading in opinion polls ahead of next month's elections, is insisting she won't be a danger to democracy if she becomes the country's next premier. In a message she released on Wednesday, and recorded in English, French and Spanish, she dismissed any concern that if her Brothers of Italy party comes to power, there would be a risk of “an authoritarian turn" or of Italy's exiting the euro currency. Her party's symbol features an icon borrowed from an Italian neo-fascist party. Critics say Meloni has been ambiguous about denouncing Italy's fascist past under dictator Benito Mussolini. On Wednesday she denied that the right has been ambiguous about 20th-century fascism.