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Iranian court overturns American’s spying conviction

The Supreme Court of Iran has tossed out the death penalty conviction of a former U.S. Marine accused of spying and ordered a retrial in a separate court, Iranian news services reported Monday.

The reports, carried by the Iranian Students’ News Agency and the Fars News agency, which both have close ties to the government, quoted a state prosecutor as saying that shortcomings had been found in the case against the American, Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, and that a new trial would be held.

“To the extent that I am aware, the Supreme Court has objected to Hekmati’s sentence,” Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, the prosecutor-general of Iran, was quoted as saying. “It has overturned the conviction and sent it to an equivalent court for retrial.”

The Hekmati case has become a source of friction between the United States and Iran, coming against the backdrop of their increasing confrontation over Iran’s disputed nuclear program. It was unclear whether the Supreme Court’s reported decision to order a new trial represented a political decision in the Iranian hierarchy to offer a diplomatic gesture.

The Supreme Court’s decision came as lawyers representing Hekmati said they had begun an appeal of his conviction.

—J. David Goodman, The New York Times

Former Iceland leader goes on trial in financial crisis

LONDON — Iceland opened a criminal trial Monday against its former prime minister, Geir H. Haarde, becoming the first country to prosecute one of its leaders over the financial crisis of 2008.

Haarde is charged, in effect, with doing too little to protect the country against the depredations of its bankers as they pursued wildly expansionary lending that resulted in financial disaster for the country. He was indicted in 2010 by a sharply divided Parliament, charged with violating the laws of ministerial responsibility.

Public opinion in Iceland about the case is split, according to Hannes Holmsteinn Gissurarson, a professor at the University of Iceland. Some people hope the case will help to shine more light on a traumatic episode, but “many think that Haarde is a sacrificial lamb, and that it is strange to drag him in front of court for something he failed to do,” Gissurarson said. “He may be a failed politician, but is he a criminal?”

The trial opened a month after a prosecutor indicted the former heads of Kaupthing, one of three failed Icelandic banks, on charges of fraud and market manipulation. Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson, Kaupthing’s former chief executive, and Sigurdur Einarsson, the former chairman, have pleaded not guilty and are due in court later this year.

—Julia Werdigier, The New York Times

Half a million US jobs credited to Apple in study

Apple has made its first attempt to quantify how many American jobs can be credited to the sale of its iPads and other products, a group that includes the Apple engineers who design the devices and the drivers who deliver them — even the people who build the trucks that get them there.

On Friday, the company published the results of a study it commissioned saying that it had “created or supported” 514,000 U.S. jobs. The study is an effort to show that Apple’s benefit to the U.S. job market goes far beyond the 47,000 people it directly employs here. Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., released the study on its website but declined to say why it published the results. The company’s employment practices have come under closer examination. Apple and other high-tech companies, including Internet companies, create relatively few jobs compared with other stalwarts of U.S. business, like General Motors and General Electric in their heyday. Apple, which has recently become the most valuable company in the world and holds nearly $100 billion in cash, has created more jobs overseas, approximately 700,000 through a network of suppliers that make iPhones, iPads and other products.

A number of companies, including Microsoft, have commissioned similar research aiming to tally up such indirect employment, by suppliers and other partners. The use of “job multipliers” has become common practice, sometimes put forth by businesses when they lobby for tax breaks from local and state governments.

—Nick Wingfield, The New York Times

Limbaugh says ‘so be it’ over boycott

Defending himself against a growing ad boycott, the radio host Rush Limbaugh told his listeners Monday that the companies that have defected from his program have decided “they don’t want you or your business anymore.”

“So be it,” he said, reminding his audience that the advertisers “have profited handsomely from you” in the past and asserting that the defectors would be replaced.

But shortly before Limbaugh’s program started Monday, two more companies, AOL and Tax Resolution Services, said that they had suspended their advertising on his talk show, reflecting a continued campaign by activists against the program’s sponsors.

Later in the day, a local station in Hawaii stopped carrying The Rush Limbaugh Show, and several other companies said they were taking steps to ensure that their ads did not run on the show. The companies included Allstate Insurance, Sears and Bonobos.

In the past four days, a dozen companies have distanced themselves from Limbaugh, who speculated at length last week about the sex life of a Georgetown University law school student, Sandra Fluke, calling her a “slut” and a “prostitute.” Outrage over his comments sparked an ad boycott and a rare apology by Limbaugh, first in a statement Saturday and again on his program Monday.

By attacking Fluke, “I became like the people we oppose,” Limbaugh said Monday. “I ended up descending to their level.” He insinuated that the advertiser pressure had had no effect on his decision to apologize.

—Brian Stelter, The New York Times