Mercury completes an orbit every 88 days, and passes between the Earth and the Sun every 116 days, according to the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS).

But its orbit is tilted in relation to Earth’s, which means it usually appears — from our perspective — to pass above or below the Sun.

U.S. Supreme Court turns away Apple’s e-books antitrust appeal


Ending Apple’s legal feud with state and federal antitrust regulators, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected the Silicon Valley power’s last-ditch appeal of an order requiring the company to establish a $450 million compensation fund because it colluded with publishers in the electronic book market to jack up prices.

In a one-line order, the justices without comment let stand a federal appeals court ruling last year that backed a lower court decision against Apple, accused by the U.S. Justice Department and dozens of states of violating antitrust laws when the company entered the e-books market in 2010. The gist of the government’s case was that Apple tried to rig the e-books market in an effort to cut into Amazon’s grip on the industry.

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Apple’s Appeal in E-Book Pricing Case


The Supreme Court on Monday refused to review an appeals court’s determination that Apple had conspired with book publishers to raise the prices of digital books.

As is the court’s custom, its brief order turning down the case gave no reasons.

The case arose from Apple’s 2010 entry into the e-book marketplace, which had been dominated by Amazon and its Kindle reader. Publishers frustrated with Amazon’s low prices welcomed the new retailer, its iPad device and its willingness to let them set their own prices, with Apple taking a cut of each sale.

Last year, a divided three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in New York, said the terms Apple had offered to five big publishers allowed them to engage in a price-fixing conspiracy.

In urging the Supreme Court to hear the case, Apple Inc. v. United States, No. 15-565, the company said its actions had promoted competition.

“Apple’s launch of the iBookstore as a platform for tens of millions of consumers to buy and read digital books on the iPad dramatically enhanced competition in the e-books market, benefiting authors, e-book publishers, and retail consumers,” Apple said in its petition seeking a Supreme Court review. “Following Apple’s entry, output increased, overall prices decreased and a major new retailer began to compete in a market formerly dominated by a single firm.”

“If a new firm’s entry disrupts a monopoly and creates long-term competition, that is to be lauded, whether the previous prices were artificially high or artificially low,” the brief said.

The appeals court disagreed. “Competition is not served by permitting a market entrant to eliminate price competition as a condition of entry, and it is cold comfort to consumers that they gained a new e-book retailer at the expense of passing control over all e-book prices to a cartel of book publishers,” Judge Debra Ann Livingston wrote for the majority.

The case began in 2012, when the Justice Department accused Apple and five publishers of conspiring to raise e-book prices above Amazon’s standard of $9.99 for new titles by introducing an agency model of pricing. The five publishers settled, but Apple went to trial.

Jailed Kentucky clerk Kim Davis files appeal for freedom


Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refuses to issue same-sex marriage licenses due to her religious convictions, appealed a judge’s ruling that sent her to jail.

As Davis entered her fifth day in jail Sunday, the Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit working on her behalf, asked the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to expedite the appeal and set the contempt order aside, allowing her freedom.


gay-flag-gavel-court As Davis enters her fifth day in jail, the Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit working on her behalf, asked the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to expedite the appeal and set the contempt order aside, allowing her freedom.

“Mrs. Davis is entitled to proper notice and due process when she is threatened with the loss of her freedom. There was no indication that she would be incarcerated. We will be presenting our arguments on appeal and asking for an expedited ruling,” her attorney, Mat Staver, said in a statement.

Macy’s new Backstage chain aims to appeal to shoppers who want to treasure hunt.

download (29) The store, which is opening next week in Elmhurst, Queens, is about the same size as a T.J. Maxx and offers Calvin Klein, Sunglass Hut and many of the other designer brands that shoppers come to expect at Macy’s department stores.

But the outlet is distinctly different from Macy’s department stores. Backstage is working with new brands, like Fila and Reebok, and new labels like Elf in the beauty section. And whereas shoppers can get basics like suits and makeup at Macy’s, Backstage is meant more for treasure hunting, the company says.