WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Department regulations meant to ensure truck drivers get more rest were mostly upheld by a federal appeals court, a defeat for companies that said the rules would add cost without improving highway safety.
A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals in Washington Friday rejected most arguments made by the American Trucking Associations Inc. as highly technical points best left to the agency. The court, giving one win to the industry, vacated a 30-minute rest requirement for short-haul truck drivers.
Longer rest breaks and the need to redesign routes may reduce productivity by 3 percent, translating into $18 billion in additional costs to the trucking industry annually, according to freight data and forecasting firm FTR Associates.
Tycoon ordered to pay millions in fees
A phone company owned by the world’s richest man, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, has been ordered by the state’s public utility regulator to pay California $24.4 million in unpaid fees and interest.
TracFone Wireless, a prepaid phone company owned by the tycoon, didn’t pay fees required of all regulated telecommunications companies, according to a July 11 decision from ALJ McKinney, the California Public Utilities Commission’s Presiding Officer.
No penalty is warranted, regulators said, but because no fees or surcharges were collected from customers up front, the company will bear the cost.
Stomach illnesses tied to salad mix
The Food and Drug Administration says an outbreak of stomach illnesses in Iowa and Nebraska is linked to salad mix served at Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants in those states and supplied by a Mexican farm.
The outbreak of cyclospora infections has sickened more than 400 people in 16 states in all. The agency says it is working to determine whether the salad mix is the source of illnesses in the other 14 states.
Egypt moves to end pro-Morsi sit-ins
Authorities outlined plans Friday to break up two sit-ins by supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi, saying they would set up a cordon around the protest sites, and riot police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators threatening a TV complex.
Morsi backers also showed their defiance by briefly setting up a third camp near the airport, but later folded their tents and left.
The second-ranking U.S. diplomat arrived in the Egyptian capital for talks on the political crisis, as Secretary of State John Kerry warned both sides that the last thing we want is more violence.
Guard fighters clip wings; 1 pilot ejects
Two Air National Guard fighter jets clipped each other’s wings midair, forcing one of the pilots to eject into the ocean and be rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter a few hours later off the Virginia coast, officials said Friday.
The other pilot involved in the collision was able to fly back to Joint Base Andrews, Md. Both jets were from the 113th Wing D.C. Air National Guard and were on a routine training mission Thursday night when the collision happened.