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The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the Tennessee Valley Authority can be sued over its commercial activity. But it left a lower court to decide whether the case of an Alabama man injured by a power line can proceed.

This week's decision comes in the case of Gary Thacker, who was boating in the Tennessee River in 2013 when he struck a low-hanging wire being worked on by TVA crews. Thacker was injured and a passenger killed.

Thacker sued TVA for negligence. Lower courts ruled the utility has immunity from such lawsuits because it is a government agency.

The high court unanimously decided TVA can be sued when it performs the same functions as private companies. Under certain circumstances, TVA may have immunity when acting more like a government agency.

 

Facebook bans Farrakhan, Jones

After years of pressure to crack down on extremist content, Facebook has banned Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones and other extremists, saying they violated its ban against hate and violence.

The company also banned right-wing leaders Paul Nehlen, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson and Laura Loomer, along with Jones' site, Infowars. The latest bans apply to both Facebook's main service and to Instagram and extend to fan pages and other related accounts.

Decried as censorship by several of those who got the ax, the move signals a renewed effort by the social media giant to remove objectionable material — and individuals — promoting hate, racism and anti-Semitism.

Critics praised the move, but said there is more to be done on both Facebook and Instagram.

"We know that there are still white supremacists and other extremist figures who are actively using both platforms to spread their hatred and bigotry," said Keegan Hankes, senior research analyst for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

 

Shares double for Beyond Meat

The shares of Beyond Meat, the purveyor of plant-based burgers and sausages, more than doubled Thursday in its Nasdaq debut. It's the first pure-play maker of vegan "meat" to go public, according to Renaissance Capital, which researches and tracks IPOs.

Beyond Meat raised about $240 million selling 9.6 million shares at $25 each. Those shares rose 163% to close at $65.75.

The 10-year-old company has attracted celebrity investors like Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and actor Leonardo DiCaprio and buzz for placing its products in burger joints like Carl's Jr. It sells to 30,000 grocery stores, restaurants and schools in the U.S., Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom and Israel.

Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown said the IPO timing is right because the company wants to expand overseas. He also wants consumers to be able to buy shares since they have fueled the company's growth.

"It really is a wonderful feeling to be able to welcome people in who have helped this brand," Brown said.

 

Mortgage rates dip; 30-year at 4.14%

U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week after four weeks of increases, giving a boost to prospective home buyers during the spring sales season.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 4.14% from 4.20% last week. By contrast, a year ago the benchmark rate stood at 4.55%.

The average rate for 15-year, fixed-rate home loans declined this week to 3.60% from 3.64% last week.

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