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Apple agrees to pay $9.75M settlement over alleged Powerbeats 2 ‘design defect’ – The Verge

If you’re a US resident who bought a pair of wireless Powerbeats 2 earbuds before August 7th, then you could soon get a payout over the allegedly “defective” device, MacRumors reports. Apple has agreed to pay out $9.75 million, after it was accused of falsely advertising the so-called “shoddy” earbuds as “sweat & water resistant” and “built to endure.” However, the plaintiffs say that these claims weren’t true, and that the earbuds would stop holding their charge after “minimal use.”

Although Apple has agreed to settle, it hasn’t admitted to doing anything wrong. The legal filing notes that the company decided that settling was cheaper than the expense of going to trial. Although the original lawsuit filing claims that Apple’s 2016 Powerbeats 3 headphones were also defective, the settlement only mentions the Powerbeats 2, which were first released back in 2014.

If you want to submit a claim, then you can do so by filling out a form on the lawsuit’s website by November 20th. The amount you could get out of the lawsuit will vary based on a number of factors, including the number of people that make a claim in the lawsuit, whether you submit a proof of purchase, and whether there are any records of you getting a warranty repair or replacement for your headphones. Page 5 of this document goes into more detail about how much you could receive, up to a theoretical maximum of $189 per proof of purchase.

A final hearing is scheduled for January 15th to determine the fairness of the proposed settlement. Relief will be provided to class-action members only after the court gives final approval of the settlement and all appeals are exhausted.

Update August 28th, 7:55AM ET: Updated with additional details on payout amounts.

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ICE Agrees To Rescind Policy Barring Foreign Students From Online Study In the U.S. – NPR

Harvard University, shown here, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sued the Trump administration over a rule change that would have barred international college students from taking fully online course loads in the United States. In court on Tuesday, a judge announced that the government would rescind the directive.

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Harvard University, shown here, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sued the Trump administration over a rule change that would have barred international college students from taking fully online course loads in the United States. In court on Tuesday, a judge announced that the government would rescind the directive.

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Updated at 6:34 p.m. ET

In a swift reversal, the Trump administration has agreed to rescind a directive that would have barred international college students from the U.S. if their colleges offered classes entirely online in the fall semester.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement rule change, released last week, would have prohibited foreign students from entering or remaining in the country to take fully online course loads. A number of colleges and universities had already announced plans to offer online-only classes because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The agency’s July 6 announcement was met with immediate backlash.

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sued the U.S. government in federal court two days later, calling the directive “arbitrary and capricious” and seeking to have it reversed and declared unlawful.

Many colleges, universities, municipalities and tech companies expressed their support for the legal challenge in their own court filings.

In Tuesday’s session at the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the universities were expected to make arguments saying that this rule was onerous for schools and even dangerous for students.

Instead, Judge Allison Burroughs announced that the schools had reached an agreement with ICE and its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security. She said the government will rescind this policy.

“The Court was informed by the parties that they have come to a resolution to the combined temporary restraining order/preliminary injunction motions,” read the court docket. “The Government has agreed to rescind the July 6, 2020 Policy Directive and the July 7, 2020 FAQ, and has also agreed to rescind their implementation.”

With the new directive rescinded “on a nationwide basis,” schools will follow ICE guidance from March that allows flexibility regarding student visa eligibility.

ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday afternoon.

The Department of Homeland Security had previously stood by its decision in a legal response on Monday, saying the request for leniency “subverts the deference afforded administrative agencies in complex and interrelated fields like immigration enforcement.”

According to the nonprofit Institute of International Education, more than 1 million higher education students in the U.S. — about 5% of the total student body — come from overseas.

Last week’s rule change left many scrambling to figure out their plans.

In order to remain in lawful status, students already in the country would have needed to transfer to a school with in-person instruction, which presented both logistical and public health challenges.

Sumana Kaluvai, an international student from India who graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles last year, created a Google Doc-turned-website to help international students find in-person classes.

She welcomed Tuesday’s news.

“It makes me feel so relieved, and I think it’s just proof that universities have a lot more power than we realize, and I’m glad that they took such quick action,” Kaluvai said.

Many colleges and universities had already begun taking steps to retain their international students.

Some announced or reiterated their fall semester plans for a hybrid model of in-person and remote instruction, under which students could stay in the U.S.

Others also began making arrangements for individualized in-person instruction should health conditions require them to convert to online-only operations.

In one example, Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken wrote in a July 8 statement that she had talked to most faculty members, and each one had volunteered to offer a one-on-one tutorial to international students to help them avoid deportation.

“One of my colleagues told me that he would teach outside in the snow if he needed to,” she added.

Pablo Ortiz, a vice president of Florida International University, oversees the school’s international students and global campuses and welcomed the reversal but said administrators will continue planning for multiple scenarios so as not to be caught off guard again.

They were in the process of reworking about 3,500 student course schedules for compliance when news of the reversal became public.

“We were happy to hear that but we are cautiously optimistic that it will remain as such, and we will be ready for any decisions that are made,” Ortiz said.

International students often pay full tuition, meaning that many of the schools attached to the now-resolved lawsuit would have faced big financial losses.

So would the economy itself: one analysis showed that international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities contributed $41 billion during the 2018-2019 academic year, and supported more than 458,200 jobs.

Still, Tuesday’s announcement was not universally cheered.

Dan Stein, president of Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates for lower levels of immigration, issued a statement denouncing the move as “caving to the pressure of the business lobby and open borders advocates.”

NPR’s Elissa Nadworny and Jeffrey Pierre contributed to this report.

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AstraZeneca agrees to supply Europe with 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine – Reuters

ROME (Reuters) – AstraZeneca Plc has signed a contract with European governments to supply the region with its potential vaccine against the coronavirus, the British drugmaker’s latest deal to pledge its drug to help combat the pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: Small bottles labeled with a “Vaccine COVID-19” sticker and a medical syringe are seen in this illustration taken taken April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

The contract is for up to 400 million doses of the vaccine, developed by the University of Oxford, the company said on Saturday, adding that it was looking to expand manufacturing of the vaccine, which it said it would provide for no profit during the pandemic.

Deliveries will start by the end of 2020.

The deal is the first contract signed by Europe’s Inclusive Vaccines Alliance (IVA), a group formed by France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands to secure vaccine doses for all member states as soon as possible.

“This will ensure that hundreds of millions of people in Europe will have access to this vaccine, of course if it works and we will know that by the end of summer,” the company’s chief executive, Pascal Soriot told journalists. He said he has “good hope” that it will work, based on initial data.

The alliance “will work together with the European Commission and other countries in Europe to ensure everybody across Europe is supplied with the vaccine,” he said.

“We have a very self-sufficient supply chain for Europe” with manufacturers lined up in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Italy, among others, he said.

The vaccines are for all EU member states. The four nations that agreed the deal will pay for the total amount, which has not been disclosed, and the scheme allows other countries to join it under the same conditions, a source from the Italian health ministry said.

China, Brazil, Japan and Russia have also expressed interest, he said.

The British Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved the start of Phase III trials of the vaccine after studies showed sufficient efficacy and safety, Soriot said.

At a meeting of EU Health Ministers on Friday, IVA agreed to merge its activities with those of the EU Commission, Germany’s Health Ministry said.

The deal is the latest by AstraZeneca to promise to supply its vaccine to governments who have scrambled to agree advance purchases of promising coronavirus immunisation treatments.

It has agreed manufacturing deals globally to meet its target of producing 2 billion doses of the vaccine, including with two Bill Gates-backed ventures and a $1.2 billion agreement with the U.S. government.

The deal will add a further 100 million doses to the 2 billion already committed by the group, AstraZeneca said.

There are no approved vaccines or treatments for COVID-19, the highly contagious respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

“Many countries in the world have already secured vaccines, Europe has not yet. The rapid coordinated action of a group of member states will create added value for all EU citizens in this crisis,” Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said.

Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte in Rome and Rama Venkat in Bangalore; additional reporting by Madeline Chambers in Berlin, Anthony Deutsch in Amsterdam and Ludwig Burger; writing by Giulia Segreti; editing by David Holmes and Louise Heavens

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Lufthansa agrees to give up airport slots for $9.7bn bailout – Aljazeera.com

Lufthansa has agreed on a compromise with the German government and the European Union on the way towards final approval of a nine-billion-euro ($9.7bn) bailout deal.

The German airline said in a statement on Saturday its supervisory board had decided to accept the deal worked out between negotiators for Berlin and the EU Commission which involves the giving up several slots at Frankfurt and Munich airports.

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Late on Friday, government sources told DPA news agency the German government had also agreed to the compromise.

Lufthansa said the scope of commitments required of it by the EU Commission had been reduced compared with initial plans.

The company must remove up to four of its aircraft from Frankfurt and Munich airports to allow competitors to take those slots, which means giving up three takeoff and three landing rights per aircraft a day, according to Lufthansa.

The vacated slots are reportedly only available to new competitors at Frankfurt and Munich airports for at least 18 months.

If no new competitor makes use of the opportunity, it will also be extended to existing competitors at the respective airports.

The slots are to be allocated as part of a bidding process – and only to be taken over by a European competitor who has not received any significant state recapitalisation due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The EU said the compromise reflects commitments from Germany and Lufthansa “to preserve effective competition”.

“This would enable a viable entry or expansion of activities by other airlines at these airports to the benefit of consumers and effective competition,” a spokesperson for the EU said on Saturday morning.

Approvals pending

Lufthansa’s supervisory board has to approve the rescue package including these requirements, called for by the European Commission’s competition watchdog.

The company then plans to convene an extraordinary general meeting promptly to obtain shareholder approval for the package.

The $9.7bn bailout deal provides for aid and equity measures for the ailing carrier.

In addition to full approval from Lufthansa’s supervisory board, the European Commission’s competition watchdog still also needs to sign off.

Germany’s economy ministry also pointed out that the bailout has not had final approval yet.

“In addition, talks with the EU Commission on state aid approval are ongoing,” the ministry said in a statement on Saturday morning.

Lufthansa is Europe’s second-largest airline by passenger numbers. It was profitable before the pandemic grounded about 90 percent of its planes. At one point during the health crisis, the company was losing about 800 million euros ($888m) per month.

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