A San Francisco-based driver for smartphone-based ride-hailing service Uber is an employee, not a contractor, according to a ruling by the California Labor Commission. The ruling, filed on Tuesday in state court in San Francisco, was the latest in a host of legal and regulatory challenges facing Uber and other highly valued start-ups in the United States and other countries. The commission said Uber is "involved in every aspect of the operation." Classifying Uber drivers as employees opens the company up to considerably higher costs, including Social Security, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance.
Russia does not want to enter a costly new arms race with the United States, a top Kremlin aide said Wednesday, after President Vladimir Putin said it was boosting its nuclear arsenal. "Russia is trying to react to possible threats with some sort of means but that's it," Yury Ushakov, Putin's top foreign policy aide, told a briefing. "We are against any arms race because it naturally weakens our economic capabilities," Ushakov said.
An apartment balcony crowded with birthday revelers collapsed early on Tuesday near the University of California at Berkeley, killing five college students from Ireland and an American friend, and injuring seven others, authorities said. The victims, most of whom were working in the San Francisco Bay area on temporary visas for the summer vacation, had been celebrating a friend's 21st birthday on the fourth-floor balcony when the accident occurred, according to local police and Irish government officials.
By Kristen Hays and Terry Wade HOUSTON (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Bill headed further into central Texas with heavy rains and high winds on Wednesday before losing its punch and no serious injuries were reported, relieving officials and residents just three weeks after floods killed about 30 people in the state. The National Hurricane Center said the storm had weakened into a tropical depression. The second named tropical storm of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season made landfall on Tuesday near the sportfishing town of Matagorda, then lost much of its power, the U.S. National Weather Service said.
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — A 21st-birthday party thrown by a group of visiting Irish college students turned tragic early Tuesday when the fifth-floor balcony they were crammed onto collapsed with a sharp crack, spilling them about 50 feet onto the pavement. Six people were killed and seven seriously injured.
Reports that a sexual relationship had developed between two escaped New York inmates and a prison employee who has been charged with helping them break out 11 days ago illustrates the difficulties of policing relationships within prisons. The problem of sex between prisoners and staff is well documented and enough of a concern that New York set up a special statewide office in 1996 to investigate and prevent it. Joyce Mitchell, 51, was charged this week with providing chisels and hacksaws to convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat, who were found missing from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, near the Canadian border on June 6.
A New York state appeals court heard arguments on Tuesday over unsealing minutes of a grand jury that declined to indict a white New York police officer in the chokehold death of an unarmed black man. A coalition of groups seeking release of the transcripts told the four-judge panel that grand jury secrecy undermined confidence in the justice system and hampered debate among state lawmakers weighing grand jury reforms. The groups, which included the Legal Aid Society, want the appeals court to overturn a Staten Island justice's decision in March to bar release of records of the grand jury that probed the death of Eric Garner, 43, last year.