Billionaire wins wine fight; jury awards $380,000
A federal jury sided late Thursday with a Florida billionaire, finding he was defrauded by a California businessman who sold him two dozen bottles of fake vintage wine at a 2005 auction. The U.S. District Court jury awarded William Koch $380,000 in compensatory damages and will return today to decide if punitive damages are warranted. Koch paid $29,500 for the most expensive bottle he bought from Eric Greenberg, a 1921 magnum bottle of Chateau Petrus. Koch said he hopes the verdict sends a message to those in the wine auction market who follow a code of silence about fake wines.
Bus crash kills 2, injures dozens
At least two people were killed and more than 40 were hospitalized Thursday after a charter bus careened off a North Texas highway and flipped onto its side, authorities said. The Cardinal Coach Line bus was carrying about 45 people, mostly senior citizens, to a casino in Oklahoma when it crashed just east of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. The cause of the accident has not been determined.
Global warming not behind drought
Last year's huge drought was a freak of nature that wasn't caused by man-made global warming, a new federal science study finds. Scientists say the lack of moisture usually pushed up from the Gulf of Mexico was the main reason for the drought in the nation's midsection. Thursday's report by dozens of scientists from five different federal agencies concluded that it was so unusual and unpredictable that it couldn't have been forecast.
Court rules for women at Wall
In the latest twist in the struggle for the character of the Western Wall, a magistrates' court ruled Thursday that five women detained at the Jewish holy site for performing rituals reserved for men were not disturbing public order. The activists with Women of the Wall, a feminist and pluralist religious group, were released without conditions. The courtroom turnaround came days after the head of the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency offered a compromise for worship to ease tensions between Orthodox and more progressive worshipers at the site.
Washington: Former Illinois state Rep. Robin Kelly was sworn in Thursday for the House seat held 17 years by scandal-tarnished Jesse Jackson Jr.
Miami: Sandy was retired Thursday from the list of tropical storm names because of the catastrophic damage its massive size and strength caused along the East Coast last year.