Massive Gulf of Mexico lease auction scheduled
The Department of Interior put all available unleased oil and gas development blocks in the Gulf of Mexico—totaling 73 million acres in offshore Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida—on the auction block. The proposed lease sale involves 13,725 unleased blocks located from three to 230 miles offshore, in water depths ranging from nine to more than 11,000 feet.
Better mileage doesn’t boost car prices
A report from Consumers Union debunks automobile industry claims that federally-mandated fuel efficiency standards means higher costs for consumers. To the contrary, the report found that increased mileage results in lower operating costs and industry-fed fears of higher vehicle costs have not materialized.
SCOTUS punts transgender bathroom case
The U.S. Supreme Court sent a landmark transgender rights case back to the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals with instructions to consider whether the rescission of Departments of Justice and Education guidance would change its decision. The high court’s action was termed “a detour, not the end of the road” by the American Civil Liberties Union which filed the suit on behalf of Gavin Grimm, a transgender teenager in Gloucester County, Va., who was ordered to use a separate restroom apart from other students in his high school. The National Women’s Law Center called the SCOTUS action “a blow to transgender students who will live in limbo for another year.”
New category created for cybershoppers
A new category of consumer has emerged in the marketplace, The Conference Board said, referring to people who engage in online commerce as “connected spenders.” The category replaces predictive models that are based on income differences. Connected Spenders, who will account for 46% of the world’s consumer spending by 2026, are defined by their access to the Internet and their access to discretionary income.
22 countries made excessive maritime claims in FY2016
An annual report from the Department of Defense identifies 22 countries that made excessive maritime claims during FY2016 that required a response by U.S. military forces. Besides China, Iran and Venezuela, the Freedom of Navigation report contains such surprises as Italy, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
Defender of porn copyright admits fraud guilt
John Steele, 45, of Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to bilking victims out of $6 million by threatening them with copyright infringement lawsuits for downloading pornographic movies from file-sharing websites, the Department of Justice said. Steele and a co-conspirator acquired copyrights to movies—some of which they filmed themselves—and uploaded them to file-sharing websites where they could be downloaded. The victims were anxious to settle charges and avoid an embarrassing court procedure.
Las Vegas liquor retailer pocketed cash
Jeffrey Nowak, the owner of Super Liquor Store South Strip in Las Vegas, Nev., was given a 41-month prison sentence for tax evasion. According to the Department of Justice, Nowak kept two sets of books—one for himself and one for his tax accountant—while he skimmed an estimated $4 million in cash receipts from the store’s register.
Colombian Army commander arrested by ICE
Hector Cabuya de León, 52, a former Colombian National Army battalion commander, was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at his residence in Dallas, Tex. Cabuya de León is wanted in Colombia to face criminal charges for forced disappearance, homicide of a protected person, and weapons and ammunition trafficking, ICE said.
Rip ‘n Read is a daily compilation of press releases found on hundreds of websites that are maintained by the federal government, think tanks, watchdog groups and national advocacy organizations. Press releases selected for this feature are, in the opinion of the editor, exceptionally newsworthy, interesting or just plain curious.
The press releases and documents linked to this report were posted on their websites on Monday, March 6