Down and out. Facebook users in the Eastern Hemisphere (and some Americans who were pulling all-nighters) held their breath as the site experienced a worldwide outage earlier today. The outage hit the United Kingdom between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. local time. Users took to Twitter and even Google Plus to whine about the problem. It was the site’s longest downtime in four years. The website for London newspaper The Guardian even started a live blog with updates about the site’s status. So what was the length of the historic outage? Twenty minutes.
In check. In a decision that will make it harder to hide taxpayer abuse, the U.S. Supreme Court granted more checks and balances on IRS power. The case was brought by a people who ignored IRS summonses because they thought the IRS was retaliating against them for prior run-ins with the agency. The taxpayers wanted a chance to prove the IRS’s motives at a hearing. The court ruled unanimously that if taxpayers can show evidence of bad faith on the part of the IRS, they are entitled to plead their case.
Pay out. The City of New York has settled a lawsuit with five men who were erroneously convicted in the 1989 Central Park jogger attack. The five African-American and Hispanic men were accused of beating and raping a woman in a case that inflamed racial tensions in the city. Each served six to 13 years in prison. Their convictions were overturned in 2002 after evidence emerged linking someone else to the crime. The men, who were teenagers at the time, said police coerced their confessions. The city has agreed to settle the case for $40 million.
Same-sex sick leave. President Barack Obama has directed the Department of Labor to ensure same-sex spouses receive family sick leave. The new rules would clarify that the Family Medical Leave Act, which allows an employee time off to care for a sick family member, applies to gay and lesbian marriages, too. The move came after Obama spoke at the Democratic National Committee’s LGBT fundraising gala earlier this week. “If you think about everything that’s happened in the last 12 months, it is remarkable,” Obama said.
Miniature golf. A sixth-grader from the San Francisco Bay area is the youngest qualifier ever for the U.S. Women’s Open. With her hair in braided pigtails, Lucy Li, 11, finished 8 strokes over par and 11 shots behind leader Stacy Lewis. “She looks 11. She doesn’t talk 11. And she doesn’t hit the ball like she’s 11,” said Catherine O’Donnell, who played with her in the opening round. Li celebrated completing her first round by getting ice cream.