September 20, 2021

Week In Review

By Ariana Sarfarazi
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Technology/Media, and General News:


Kelly Sexually Abused Underage Singer Aaliyah, Witness Says

A former backup singer for R. Kelly testified at his federal criminal trial in Brooklyn that she saw Kelly, then in his mid-20s, engaging in a sexual act with the R&B singer Aaliyah when she was only 13 or 14 years old. Kelly later married a 15-year old Aaliyah illegally in 1994 using falsified documents before her death in a plane crash in 2001. Kelly is currently undergoing trial for one count of racketeering and 8 counts of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits transporting people across state lines for the purpose of prostitution. Kelly is accused by multiple victims of having sexual intercourse with them while they were underage.

Testimony of R. Kelly's Former Employee Points to Picture of a Bizarre Workplace Culture

Multiple former employees of R. Kelly have testified at his ongoing federal criminal trial in Brooklyn regarding the bizarre lengths Kelly would go to control women in his sphere, including even accompanying them to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases (and knowingly giving them herpes). Testimonies of the former employees support the government's contention that Kelly was not only a sexual predator himself, but also the ringleader of a decades-long conspiracy that used his stardom to prey on and control numerous women, men, and teenagers.

Kelly Pressured His Victims to Write Letters Absolving Him, Prosecutors Say

Multiple victims in R. Kelly's ongoing federal criminal trial in Brooklyn have testified that they were sexually involved with the singer and that Kelly forced them prepare letters designed to exonerate him from the accusations now levied against him. Multiple victims have testified that, despite previous writing letters denying any sexual involvement with Kelly, they did in fact participate in multiple sexual acts with the R&B superstar when they were underage, and then were forced by Kelly to write letters exonerating him in an effort to conceal his abuse.

'The Queen's Gambit' Slights a Champion

Nona Gaprindashvili, a history-making chess champion, has sued Netflix in Federal District Court in Los Angeles after a line in the final episode of its limited series "The Queen's Gambit" referenced her by name as the female world champion, but stated that she had "never faced men." In actuality, Gaprindashvili, the first woman to be named a grandmaster, had numerous successes against male opponents. She is now seeking removal of the reference to her, as well as millions of dollars in damages for what the suit claims is a "devastating falsehood, undermining and degrading her accomplishments before an audience of many millions."

Russia Plans to Shoot Full-Length Movie in Space

A commission of medical and safety experts in Russia have approved a plan by Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, for an actress and director to blast off to space in October to film a movie, "The Challenge", which tells the story of a doctor launched on short notice to the International Space Station to save the life of a cosmonaut. Last year, NASA previously announced plans by Tom Cruise to film at the International Space Station, but "The Challenge" would be the first feature-length fictional movie in space.


Bell v. Wilmott Storage Services LLC

The Ninth Circuit has ruled that, while the concept of de minimis copying is properly used to analyze whether so little of a copyrighted work has been copied that the allegedly infringing work is not substantially similar to the copyrighted work and is thus non-infringing, once copyright infringement is established (by proving ownership of a work and violation of one of the exclusive rights in copyright under 17 U.S.C. ยง 106), de minimis use of the infringing work is not a defense to an infringement act. In Bell v. Wilmott Storage Services LLC, plaintiff Bell alleged that defendant Willmott infringed his copyright in a photograph of the Indianapolis skyline when Wilmott publicly displayed the photo on its website without plaintiff's permission. Having concluded that Wilmott publicly displayed the Indianapolis photo, the Ninth Circuit panel concluded that the "degree of copying" was total because the infringing work was an identical copy of the copyrighted photo. Accordingly, there was no place for an inquiry as to whether there was de minimis copying. Agreeing with other circuits, the panel wrote that the Ninth Circuit has consistently applied the de minimis principle to determine whether a work is infringing by analyzing the quantity and quality of the copying to determine if the allegedly infringing work is a recognizable copy of the original work (e.g. whether the works are substantially similar). The panel concluded that the Ninth Circuit has never recognized a de minimis defense based on allegedly minimal use of concededly infringing material.

Bell v. Wilmott Storage Services copy.pdf

Broadway is Coming Back. It Won't Be Easy.

A year and a half after the pandemic forced all 41 theaters to go dark and threw thousands out of work, the industry's shows are resuming performances, but it comes at a time of uncertainty when the Delta variant has sent cases skyrocketing again. In addition to the virus itself, Broadway faces other challenges, such as the fact that New York City is still facing a sharp drop in tourists, which historically make up two thirds of the Broadway audiences, businesses are postponing bringing workers back to their offices, and consumer appetite for live theater after months of anxiety and availability of streaming remains unknown.

Prize Possession of Ill-Fated Archduke Goes Home

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has announced that it will return a ceremonial pageant shield to the Czech Republic after scholars determined that it had once belonged to the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and was later confiscated by the Nazis during World War II. The shield, which was created by an Italian artist during the Renaissance, was a bequest to the museum, where it has been on display since 1976. The museum has been working with historians in the Czech Republic to evaluate the history of the shield since 2016.

The Masks Come Off at Parties

As the fashion industry gathered at the Brooklyn Museum to celebrate the return of New York Fashion Week with the opening party for a new exhibit, "Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams", partygoers were required to present evidence of Covid-19 vaccinations at the door and to wear masks indoors. However, despite announced precautions, the masks largely came off once inside. Later that night, partygoers attended an after-party at the Standard High Line hotel, and vaccinations cards were not consistently checked at the door, but vaccination cards were more closely scrutinized at fashion week events at Saks Fifth Avenue. For the rich and famous attendees of New York Fashion Week events throughout the city, "a pandemic, what pandemic?" vibe largely prevailed.


U.S. Soccer Federation Announces That Men's and Women's National Teams Will Be Offered the Same Contract

The U.S. Soccer Federation announced that it will offer the respective players' unions for the men's and women's national teams the same contract proposal. This announcement comes after generations of U.S. Women's National Team Players have spoken out about the unequal treatment of female players and after multiple high-profile lawsuits for gender discrimination and unequal pay.

Judge Makes Final Rulings in Zion Williamson Lawsuit

A federal court judge in Greensboro has ruled that a contract between basketball player Zion Williamson, Florida-based agent Gina Ford and her Prime Sports Marketing agency is null and void because Ford violated North Carolina's athlete-agent laws by failing to register with the state pursuant to the North Carolina Uniform Athlete-Agent Act (UAAA). Additionally, the contract needed to include boilerplate language stating that any athlete signing the deal was forfeiting NCAA eligibility, which it did not. Although Williamson decided 6 weeks after signing the contract that he wanted to terminate the business relationship and sign with another agency, under the ruling, he does not owe the $100 million penalty to Ford for breaking the contract.

Federal Judge Blocks Vaccine Mandate for Western Michigan University Athletes

A federal judge in Michigan has issued a preliminary injunction blocking Western Michigan University's requirement that student athletes at the school be vaccinated against Covid-19. The decision comes in response to a lawsuit filed by multiple student athletes who applied for religious exemptions but were told they would not be able to participate in team activities, and argued that the mandate violates their religious rights. The judge ruled that the university, which does not require other students or staff to be vaccinated, has failed to provide the least restrictive means possible in an effort to prevent and control the spread of Covid-19.

Gymnasts Tell of Betrayal That Followed Abuse

Testifying before a Senate committee, U.S. gymnasts Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, and Maggie Nicholas blasted the FBI for botching the investigation of Lawrence G. Nassar, the former U.S.A. gymnastics team doctor convicted of sexually abusing hundreds of girls and women - including a majority of the members of the 2012 and 2016 U.S. Olympic women's gymnastics teams. At the hearing, Christopher A. Wray, the FBI director, apologized for the agency's "inexcusable" failures in its investigation, which included mishandling the case by failing to report the victims' abuse and mis-documenting the victims' claims. Wray's apology was the first time when anyone at the FBI had submitted to public questioning about the agency's failure to properly investigate the sexual abuse case.

Guilty Plea by Ex-Coach at University in Bribe Case

The former men's and women's coach for Georgetown University has pled guilty to taking bribes to designate at least 12 students as recruits to the Georgetown tennis team, including some who did not even play tennis competitively, between 2012 and 2018. Gordon Ernst is the latest person to plead guilty in the admissions scandal investigation that has rocked elite schools across the country. According to the prosecution, Ernst has agreed to a sentence of at least once year and up to 4 years in prison, 2 years of supervised release, and the forfeiture of $3.4 million in proceeds derived from the scheme.

Calling a Reverse, the National Football League Embraces Ads for Gambling

Although the founding fathers of the National Football League (NFL) were themselves gamblers, the NFL has for decades gone to great lengths to distance itself from the billions of dollars wagered on its games, such as by backing the Unlawful Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act and fighting states' efforts to allow casinos and horse tracks to take bets on football games. However, as betting on football has ballooned into a multibillion-dollar industry and state after state has legalized it, the NFL was left with a stark choice - to continue to fight gambling on its games or embrace it in exchange for a significant cut of casino marketing dollars - and the NFL has chosen the latter. Starting this season, the NFL is now embracing betting advertisements and allowing the placement of gambling ads during its football game broadcasts.

Investigation Confirms Reports of Sexual Abuse of Female Basketball Players in Mali

Investigators with FIBA, basketball's world governing body, have confirmed the systematic sexual harassment and abuse of dozens of female basketball players in Mali since the early 2000s, the majority of whom were teenagers. However, investigators say that they cannot confirm whether the sport's top global official, Hamane Niang, knew about the reports of sexual abuse in his native country. Niang, who has not been accused of committing sexual abuse, stepped aside temporarily in June as the president of FIBA after the New York Times published an article alleging that he mostly disregarded the ongoing assault of women for years between 1999 and 2011 when he served first as president of Mali's basketball federation and then as the country's sports minister.


Two Rulings Protect Social Media's Control

Two new rulings by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) protect the flexibility of major social media companies to control political content shared on their platforms, thereby rejecting complaints from conservatives that Big Tech improperly aided Biden's presidential campaign. In one ruling, the FEC dismissed a formal complaint brought by the Republican National Committee, which accused Twitter of "using its corporate resources" to benefit the Biden campaign during the 2020 election. In a second ruling, the FEC rejected a complaint by the Trump Campaign, which argued that Snapchat had provided an improper gift to Biden by rejecting Trump from its Discover platform in the summer of 2020.

Battle for Users' Privacy Will Transform Internet

Big tech companies have begun enacting privacy changes regarding how users' personal data is collected and utilized, including allowing users to determine how their data is shared with advertisers. Apple, for example, has introduced a pop-up window that asks users for their permission to be tracked by different apps. Google also recently outlined plans to disable tracking technology in its Chrome web browser, and Facebook is working on a new method of showing ads without relying on people's data. These moves herald a profound shift in how people's personal information may be used online, with sweeping implications for the ways that businesses make money digitally including potentially dismantling a $350 billion digital ad industry.

Bitcoin Uses More Electricity Than Many Countries

Managing a digital currency like Bitcoin with no central authority takes a tremendous amount of computer power, particularly given that its popularity continues to grow. When cryptocurrency emerged in 2009, one Bitcoin could be mined using one computer in a living room, using a negligible amount of household electricity. Today, to mine one Bitcoin (worth $50,000), a room full of specialized machines, each costing thousands of dollars and 9 years' worth of household electricity costing about $12,500, would be used. The process of creating one Bitcoin to spend or trade consumes around 91 terawatt-hours of electricity annually, more than is used by the entire nation of Finland (with a population of about 5.5 million) and today the Bitcoin network uses more than 7 times as much electricity as all of Google's global operations.

Apple Issues Urgent Fix to Software to Stop Spies

Apple has issued an emergency security update after security researchers at Citizen Lab uncovered a flaw utilized by NSO Group, an Israeli spyware company, that allows highly invasive spyware called Pegasus to infect anyone's Apple product without even a click and without the victims' knowledge. Known as a "zero click remote exploit", Pegasus is considered the Holy Grail of surveillance because it allows governments, mercenaries, and criminals to secretly break into someone's device without tipping off the victim. Pegasus, which has been found on the phones of activists, dissidents, lawyers, doctors, and even children throughout the world, allows the hacker to turn on a user's camera and microphone, record messages, texts, emails, calls, and send them back to NSO's clients at governments around the world. The discovery means that more than 1.65 billion Apple products in use worldwide have been vulnerable to NSO's spyware since at least March 2021.

Biden Taps Privacy Expert for Trade Commission

President Biden will nominate Alvaro Bedoya, an online privacy expert, for a seat on the Federal Trade Commission. Bedoya is a lawyer who has studied the way new technologies can violate privacy and is the author of a report that called for Congress to more closely regulate the use of facial recognition software by law enforcement. If he is confirmed by the Senate, Bedoya will join an agency primed to take aggressive action against the tech industry and other corporate giants, such as by issuing regulations that would limit Silicon Valley's power over commerce and personal data.

Apple's Veil of Secrecy Can't Hide Labor Unrest

Hundreds of current and former Apple employees are complaining about their work environment, a rarity for a company known among its Silicon Valley peers for a secretive corporate culture in which workers are expected to be in lock step with management. Apple CEO Time Cook recently answered questions from workers in an all-staff meeting since the public surfacing of employee concerns over topics such as pay equity and whether the company should assert itself more on political matters. Over the past month, more than 500 current and former Apple employees have submitted accounts of verbal abuse, sexual harassment, retaliation, and discrimination at work, according to an employee-activist group that calls itself #AppleToo.

Brazil Rejects Leader's Ban on Removing Social Media Posts

After Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro issued rules forbidding social media networks from removing many posts that the sites considered misinformation about the upcoming presidential election, Brazil's Senate and top court quickly overturned the ban. The Brazilian Court and Congress therefore killed one of the most restrictive and intrusive internet laws in a democratic country. When Bolsonaro issued the policy, it was the first time that a national government had moved to stop social media companies from taking down content that violates their rules, which had alarmed technology companies and Bolsonaro's political opponents alike.

Tech Giants Pull Navalny App After Kremlin Threatens Prosecution

Google and Apple, under pressure from Russia, have removed a voting app created by allies of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny from its stores, reflecting a new level of pressure against U.S. technology companies in the country. The app was intended to coordinate protest voting in Russia's elections, and its removal is a blow to opponents of President Vladimir Putin.

Hong Kong Forces Group to Yank Online Profile

Hong Kong police have forced one of the city's most known activist groups, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, to scrub its online presence. The move exemplifies how Hong Kong officials have used a powerful national security law to restrict online speech and impose mainland Chinese-style internet censorship. The group, which has for decades organized annual vigils to commemorate the 1989 government massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing, openly criticized the government. Hong Kong's national security law empowers officials to order the removal of online content deemed to endanger national security.


Plan to Tax Rich Aims at Incomes, Not Big Fortunes

The Democrat-led House Ways and Means Committee presented a plan to pay for its social policy and climate change package by raising taxes by more than $2 trillion, largely on wealthy individuals and profitable corporations. While the proposal intends to pay for trillions of dollars in social spending by taxing the rich, it leaves wealth gains and inheritances amounting to vast fortunes alone and instead targets income, thereby proposing to raise revenue by raising tax rates on income rather than targeting wealth itself.

U.S. Poverty Rate Falls to a Record Low as Aid Helps Offset Job Losses

The Census Bureau recently reported that when government benefits are taken into account, the U.S. poverty rate fell to a record low last year and a smaller share of the population was living in poverty in 2020 even as the pandemic eliminated millions of jobs. In its report, the Census Bureau reported than 9.1% of Americans were living below the poverty line last year, down from 11.8% in 2019, if government programs are taken into account. The official measure of poverty, which leaves out some major aid programs, rose to 11.4% of the population.

U.S. to Swiftly Depart Throngs of Haitians Camping Out at the Border

The U.S. will begin deporting Haitians in South Texas back to Haiti and other countries as President Biden struggles to manage an already buckling immigration system. The Haitian migrants have gathered in the thousands at the southern border in the past week after illegally entering the United States and are overwhelming the South Texas town of Del Rio. The administration temporarily paused deportation flights to Haiti after the country was struck by a devastating earthquake in August, but the sudden surge in migrant crossings over the past week has prompted it to change course.

Report Warns of Catastrophe Over Warming

The United Nations has warned of a "catastrophic pathway" as evidence shows that the global average temperature will rise 2.7 degrees Celsius by century's end, even if all countries meet their promised emissions cuts. The rise in temperature is likely to worsen extreme wildfires, droughts, and floods and is likely to increase the frequency of deadly heat waves and threaten coastal cities with rising sea levels.

Hot Summer Nights Get Hotter and More Dangerous

This summer, minimum temperatures were the hottest on record for every state on the West Coast and parts of the Northeast, and most other states neared their record highs for overnight temperatures from June through August. This is a trend that aligns with the predictions of climate models - that nights are warming faster than days across the U.S. This effect is amplified in cities, which are typically warmer than their surroundings.

Justice Department Aims to Ensure That Grant Recipients Prevent Racial Bias

The Justice Department will review how it enforces prohibitions on racial discrimination by law enforcement agencies that receive federal funding, a move that could broaden the Biden administration's efforts to combat systemic racism in policing, prisons, and courts. The review is part of the Biden administration's efforts to make preserving civil rights a priority.

Clinic Urges Court to Reaffirm Roe v. Wade

Abortion providers in Mississippi have urged the Supreme Court to reaffirm Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion. In a new brief in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, a major abortion case before the Supreme Court, a clinic and a doctor have asked the Court to strike down a state law that largely bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

U.S. Tries to Halt Deal Shielding Sacklers From Opioid Suits

The Justice Department has moved to block a bankruptcy plan that would grant broad legal immunity to the pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma, whose drug OxyContin has been at the heart of the nation's opioid epidemic. The deal, which would release the Sackler family which owns Purdue Pharma, from future legal liability in exchange for a $4.3 billion financial contribution from the family's own fortune, had been approved by a New York federal judge. However, the U.S. trustee for the Justice Department filed a motion in federal court to halt confirmation of the settlement while the Department appeals the judge's decision to approve the deal.

Legal Defense is Formed for Harassed Poll Workers

Threatened by extremists and under fire by politicians, election workers now have their own legal defense network - the Election Official Legal Defense Network, which was formed to counter waves of political pressure and public bullying that election workers have faced in the last year. The organization, which is the creation of 2 powerhouse lawyers in Republican and Democratic legal circles, pledges free legal services to anyone involved in the voting process.

Judge Says Sept. 11 Trial is at Least a Year Away

A new judge presiding in the September 11th case at Guantanamo Bay has said that the trial of the 5 men accused of plotting the attacks would not begin for at least another year. The timeline set by the judge, Col. Matthew N. McCall, means that the trial of the 5 men, including the accused mastermind of the plot, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, would not get underway until more than 21 years after the attack.

Drone Attack Was a Mistake, Pentagon Says

The Pentagon has acknowledged that the last U.S. drone strike before American troops withdrew from Afghanistan was a tragic mistake that killed 10 civilians, after initially claiming that it had been necessary to prevent an attack on troops. The acknowledgement of a mistake came a week after a New York Times investigation of video evidence challenged previous assertions by the military, finding that almost everything senior defense officials asserted in the hours, days, and weeks after the August 29th drone strike turned out to be false.

Special Counsel on Russia Said to be Seeking Charges Against Lawyer

John H. Durham, the special counsel appointed by the Trump administration to scrutinize the Russia investigation, will ask a grand jury to indict Michael Sussamann, a prominent cyber security lawyer, on a charge of making false statements to the FBI. Sussmann, a former federal prosecutor and now a partner at the Perkins Coie law firm, represented the Democratic National Committee on issues related to Russia's 2016 hacking of its servers. The accusation against Sussman centers on a meeting that he had in 2016 with the FBI's top lawyer at the time, when he relayed data and analysis from cybersecurity researchers that might be evidence of covert communications between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, a Kremlin-linked Russian financial institution. The FBI eventually determined that Sussmann's concerns had no merit and the special counsel who took over the Russian investigation, Robert S. Mueller III, ignored the matter in his final report.

Two Parties, Two Maps and Plenty of Squabbling as Restricting Begins

Democrats and Republicans on New York's new bipartisan redistricting commission have failed to reach an agreement on an initial set of congressional and legislative map proposals. Instead, the New York State Independent Redistricting Commission, a body empowered by voters to remove politics from the mapmaking process, will proceed with 2 competing proposals - one by Democrats and one by Republicans - as New York is slated to lose a seat in its congressional delegation after last year's census.

Citing Bias, Judge Blocks Voter ID Law in North Carolina

A North Carolina court struck down the state's voter identification law, citing "persuasive evidence" that a Republican-dominated state legislature rushed its passage in order to make it harder for Black voters to cast ballots. In its decision, judges stated they did not find that Republican lawmakers acted out of racial animus, but rather that they wanted to depress Black turnout because most Black Americans cast ballots for Democrats. This is the second time in 5 years that a court has invalidated a North Carolina voter identification law as racially discriminatory.

In California, Thriving Claims of Voter Fraud

Republicans in California began pushing baseless allegations of cheating in the state's gubernatorial recall race even before Election Day. Soon after the recall race was announced in early July, false claims of voter fraud showed up on right wing news sites and social media channels, alleging that the recall vote would supposedly be "stolen" and blaming malfeasance ranging from deceptively designed ballots to nefariousness by corrupt postal workers. This swift embrace of false allegations of cheating in the California recall reflects a growing instinct on the right to argue that any lost election, or any ongoing race that might result in defeat, must be married by fraud.

After Rebutting Recall, Newsom Pivots to Face Many California Crises

While California Governor Gavin Newsom has successfully defeated a Republican-led effort of his attempted recall, he is left with multiple crises to confront in the state. In California, 90% of the state is in extreme drought, the median home price has eclipsed past $800,000, more than 100,000 homeless people sleep outside nightly, and more than 6 million public school children are struggling to make up the learning they missed because of the coronavirus pandemic, to name a few current crises faced by Californians.

Republicans in Pennsylvania Subpoena Personal Data in Every Voter in State

Pennsylvania Republicans have moved to seek personal information on every voter in the state as part of a partisan review of the 2020 election results. The expensive request for voters' personal information, directed at Pennsylvania's Department of State and approved in a vote by State Senate Republicans, is the first major step of the election inquiry. It is not immediately clear what legal basis Democrats, who control several of the top offices in Pennsylvania, would have to challenge the subpoenas.

191 to Be Freed as Chaos Rules Rikers Complex

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed a bill ordering the release of nearly 200 detainees from New York City's Riker's Island jail complex, a move that came amid increasing calls for federal or state intervention at the city-run jail, which officials and detainees say has plunged into chaos. The complex, described as "pressure cooker", is rife with health and safety risks for inmates and employees, and 10 detainees have died there since December, including several from suicide. Gov. Hochul also said that she would transfer 200 other detainees to state prisons in the coming days, but even with those moves, Rikers will still be way more overcrowded than it was last year.

Ex-U.S. Intelligence Officers Admit to Hacking Crimes in the United Arab Emirates

Three former American intelligence officers hired by the United Arab Emirates to carry out sophisticated cyberoperations have admitted to hacking crimes and to violating U.S. export laws that restrict transfer of military technology to foreign governments. Documents detail a conspiracy by the 3 men to furnish the Emirates with advanced technology to assist Emirati intelligence operatives in breaches aimed at damaging the nation's perceived enemies. The men helped the Emirates, a close American ally, gain unauthorized access to acquire data from around the world, including from the United States.

In Galactic Leap, Rocket Lifts 4 Non-Astronauts Into Orbit

SpaceX successfully launched a rocket carrying 4 Americans, none of whom work for NASA, from the Kennedy Space Center in a mission known as Inspiration 4. The launch marks the first orbital trip where not one of the people aboard is a professional astronaut and where the government is largely a bystander and an observer. The mission carried within it the ambition of making spaceflight more accessible to the broader public and is perhaps a step toward a future where space travel might be like airline travel today - accessible by almost everyone.

Durst Is Convicted of Murder After 2 Decades of Suspicion

Robert Durst, the onetime heir to a Manhattan real estate empire, has been convicted of killing a close confidante in Beverly Hills, California in 2000. Durst, who became a national sensation after damaging admissions were aired in a 2015 documentary on HBO, was convicted in the execution-style murder 2 decades ago of Susan Berman, a friend who prosecutors said helped him cover up his wife's 1982 disappearance and death.


Pfizer Booster Not Needed for Most, Key Panel Says

A key advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) overwhelmingly rejected recommending Pfizer booster shots for most recipients of the company's coronavirus vaccine, instead endorsing them only for people who are 65 or older or at high risk of severe Covid-19 and received their shot at least 6 months ago. The vote, the first on boosters in the United States, is a blow to the Biden administration's strategy to make extra shots available to most fully vaccinated adults in the United states 8 months after they received a second dose.

GOP Seethes at Biden Mandate

Republican governors who are fighting President Biden's Covid-19 mask and vaccination requirements also preside over states that already impose vaccination requirements of their own. Governors of states like Mississippi and Texas have publicly criticized Biden's imposition of vaccine mandates on federal workers and healthcare workers, and as well as his plan to require all private sector businesses with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccines or weekly testing for their workforces, while simultaneously leading states that already mandate other vaccinations in other contexts.

September 17, 2021

Sports News for the Week of September 17th

By Bennett Liebman

MLB Network Settles Fired Makeup Artist's Retaliation Suit,

Larry Nassar's enablers in the FBI should face criminal charge,

Celeb Boxing Promoter Wants Out of TV Host's Image Suit,

US Department of Interior Approves Connecticut's Expanded Gaming Compacts,

Checklist for University Policies Addressing NIL,

Skylines and Stadium Seating,

Seattle Mariners T-Mobile Park ADA Lawsuit Handicapped Seating,

Name, Image and Likeness Scouting Report,

An Interview with the Legal Team from Canucks Sports,

3 more Tribes approved to offer sports betting in Washington,

Burr & Forman Launches Resource Website for Student Athletes,

Who is Eligible to Participate in Single-Sex Sports Under Title IX?,

Title IX Is Turning 50, But More Work Remain,

Rams and National Scrutiny,

Settle or go to trial? NFL faces choice after St. Louis relocation suit setback,

Notre Dame Play Like a Champion Today Deal Troubles Oklahoma Fans,

U.S. Soccer CBA USWNT USMNT Equal Offers Legal Impact,

Tiger Woods Analogy Legal Beyond a Reasonable Doubt Jury Selection,

Will Breeders' Cup Officials Act To Protect Their Brand?,

Excel Sues Endeavor/WME For Poaching Baseball Agents,

How DNA Determined Sample Identity In An Anti-Doping First For India,

Sports Court Upholds Ban for Former Nike Coach Alberto Salazar,

Bans on Salazar and Brown,

Sha'Carri Richardson Effect: Anti-Doping Authority to Re-Examine Cannabis,

Zion Williamson lawsuit: Agent violated state laws,

Theater News for the Week of September 17th

By Bennett Liebman

Summer theater 2021: Great because it happened,

For one couple, a downtown theater brings dreams to life,

The Theatre Industry's Internship Problem,

Broadway's Biggest Hits Reopen in Festive Night of Theater,

Tony Awards afterparties by organizers, Rick Miramontez, canceled,

Stephen Sondheim Writing New Musical 'Square One', Reveals Plans To Stephen Colbert,

Broadway is back: producer says 'pent-up demand' is a 'good harbinger',

'The Lion King,' 'Hamilton' and 'Wicked' return to Broadway -- and it's the heart that sings,

Broadway Makes Its Long-Anticipated Return, But How Does It Feel?

Broadway is back -- are high ticket prices, too?

As Broadway reopens, theater industry confronts racial inequality criticism,

'It's the balm we need right now': how Broadway fought its way back,

Broadway Is Brimming with Black Playwrights. But for How Long?,

Broadway Theater Owner Floating on Air After Record-Breaking Deal,

'Hamilton' Cancels Atlanta Performance Over Covid Concerns,

Robert Falls to Depart Goodman Theatre in 2022,

What Actors Need to Know About COVID Protocols,

Ruben Santiago-Hudson Brings 'Lackawanna Blues' to Broadway,

TheaterWorks postpones live return due to worker shortages and COVID concerns,

Nataki Garrett, Shaking Up and Stabilizing Oregon Shakes,

'Six' Is Back in Rehearsals and Hoping to Get to Opening Night,

Broadway Coming Back With Diverse Voices On And Off Stage,

Memories of Jesus Christ Superstar at 50,

Community, Theatre - Which Comes First? Community,

Amy Adams makes her West End debut in The Glass Menagerie,

Theatre District restaurants welcome return of Broadway fans,

September 13, 2021

Week In Review

By Angela Peco
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Technology/Media, and General News:


Britney Spears's Father Files to End her Conservatorship

After announcing that he would step down from his role in the conservatorship, James Spears filed a petition asking the court to consider ending the conservatorship.

Hollywood is a Black Box

The film industry is finding it difficult to determine the success of new releases given the pandemic's impact on the box office and unreliable streaming numbers.

Mattel Dusts Off He-Man, In a Nod to Diversity

The '80s character will be added to the Masters of the Universe roster and will feature in 2 animated series on Netflix.

China's Weibo Suspends K-Pop Fan Accounts

Blogging platform Weibo has banned 22 K-Pop fan accounts over "illegal fund-raising". The move is part of a "broader government crackdown on celebrity worship and online fan culture in China."


Top Orchestras Have No Female Conductors

With the recent departure of Marin Alsop as music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, there are now no women serving as music directors in the country's 25 largest ensembles.

Hurricane Ida Delivered New Blow to Jazz Scene

While most music venues sustained only minor damage, the hurricane was still another blow to the city's musicians, who have already been out of work for 18 months due to the pandemic.

Supermodels Speak Out Against Sexual Harassment

Several high-profile supermodels are speaking out in support of the women who are expected to testify against Gerald Marie, a modeling agency boss accused of rape and sexual misconduct.

Lee Statue Comes Down in Richmond

A statue of Robert E. Lee has come down after Virginia's Supreme Court affirmed the governor's power to remove the statue.

Anarchy, and Money, in the Vintage Punk Clothing Market

The article describes the demand for punk clothing and the lengths to which counterfeiters will go to fake punk pieces.

Diversity Disputes Continue in Literary Organizations

The article profiles different literary organizations and the disputes that are dividing their membership as a result of stalled diversity initiatives.

Art Fairs Come Blazing Back

A series of art fairs are profiled in the article.


U.S. Soccer Proposes New Plan Toward Equal Pay

The governing body's president invited both the men's and women's teams to sit down and negotiate collective agreements that allow for a more equal split of World Cup prize money.

Soccer Player Kaku Breached Contract by Signing with Saudi Arabian Club

A U.S. federal court upheld an arbitrator's finding that Kaku breached his agreement with Major League Soccer (MLS) when he disregarded the terms of his contract after MLS and the New York Red Bulls "validly exercised an option to extend Kaku's contract through 2021".

Former Football Players Plead Guilty to Defrauding Insurance Plan

Three former National Football League (NFL) players pleaded guilty over a scheme to steal from a health care fund that replays retired players for out-of-pocket medical care expenses.

What to Know About the Lawsuits Against Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson faces 22 civil lawsuits alleging a pattern of sexual misconduct and coercive behaviour toward women hired to provide personal services. The article discusses the timeline of events, the possibility of Watson facing criminal charges, and the status of the NFL's investigation.

Quarterbacks Trying to Change Football's Status Quo

As more quarterbacks are speaking out against certain team or league practices, it is becoming clear that star athletes in other leagues are bringing about more change in their respective leagues than has been observed in the NFL.

Athletes Meet Fiercest Rival

The article profiles Louisiana high school teams whose activities and ability to complete are increasingly being impacted by climate change and extreme weather events.

European Games Host Refusal to Withdraw Anti-LGBT Resolution Puts Funding at Risk

The European Union has threatened to withhold funding that could impact preparations for the 2023 European Games because of the Polish region's resolution declaring itself an "LGBT-free" area.

International Judo Federation Bans Athlete Who Withdrew from Olympics

The governing body's Disciplinary Commission suspended the Algerian national and his coach for a decade after they withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics to avoid facing an Israeli opponent.,suspended%20both%20for%20a%20decade.

Brazil-Argentina Soccer Match Stopped After Health Officials Storm Field

The game was suspended after Brazilian health authorities interrupted play "as part of an effort to deport four Argentine players accused of violating coronavirus quarantine regulations."

Soccer Players Under Threat Escape to Italy

Facing threats back home, Afghan female soccer players and team staff relocate to Italy.

Ukraine's Paralympians' Home is Their Biggest Hurdle

Ukraine continues to perform well at the Paralympic Games, a major feat given reports of how difficult it is for disabled individuals to navigate life in Ukraine, in terms of infrastructure, funding and public opinion.


Ruling Loosens Apple's Grip on App Store

As part of a lawsuit involving game developer Epic Games, Apple has been ordered to allow app developers to include links to other payment methods, ending Apple's ability to force companies to use the App Store to complete transactions (of which Apple gets a cut).

Texas Forbids Political 'Censorship' by Social Media Companies

The law prohibits social media platforms from banning users or removing posts because of the political views expressed in them.

A Smartphone for Conservatives

A Bitcoin millionaire is marketing a low-end ($500) phone to Republicans, promising a "freedom phone" that will liberate Americans from big tech. It is part of growing right-wing tech industry that includes free-speech video streaming sites and conservative social networks.

Facebook Testing Smart Glasses

Facebook "has teamed up with Ray-Ban to create glasses that can take photos, record video, answer phone calls and play podcasts."

Brazil's President Blocks Social Networks from Removing Posts

The policy restricts removal to posts that involve certain topics outlined in the measure (nudity, drugs, violence, among others); a court order is required to take down others.

Afghan Reporters Face an Intolerant Regime

Despite promising to respect press freedoms, the Taliban government has already begun a crackdown on demonstrations and the journalists covering them, detailing and assaulting several freelance journalists.

Pro-democracy Media Company in Hong Kong Forced to Close

Media company Next Digital, which has taken a critical stance toward the Chinese government, announced that it will shut down, saying the latest crackdown has left it with no financial means to operate.

Murdoch's Australian News Outlets to Ease Climate Change Denial

Australian outlets are "planning an editorial campaign ... advocating a carbon-neutral future," which could put pressure on Fox News to take a similar stance.

Russia Influences Hackers but Stops Short of Directing Them

A recent report of a cybersecurity company found that Russia's intelligence services "have influence over Russian criminal ransomware groups" but do not control their targets, an "arrangement [that] allows the Russian government some plausible deniability for attacks."

Journals Pull DNA Articles from China

Two scientific journals retract articles involving Chinese DNA research after concerns were raised about China's DNA collection practices and whether Chinese researchers obtained consent from Uyghur subjects.

General News

Supreme Court Stays Execution in Dispute Over Pastor's Role in Death Chamber

The Supreme Court stayed the execution of a Texas man convicted of murder in a case that engaged religious rights and the role that spiritual advisers can play in a death row inmates' final moments. In this specific case, prison authorities denied the man's request to have his pastor hold his hand and pray out loud with him in the execution chamber. The Court has confronted 2 similar cases in the past, in the first allowing the execution of a Muslim man when Alabama allowed only a Christian chaplain employed by the prison system to offer spiritual guidance; in the second, it stayed the execution of a Buddhist inmate in Texas over a similar denial. In his concurring opinion in the latter case, Justice Kavanaugh wrote that excluding advisers of certain faiths from attending executions, while allowing others, amounted to unconstitutional religious discrimination. The case will be argued in October or November 2021.

Justice Department Sues Texas Over Abortion Law

The Justice Department is arguing that the law is unconstitutional because it allows "Texas to essentially prohibit abortion while technically complying with Supreme Court rulings that forbid such a ban by deputizing private parties to enforce the new restrictions." The attorney general describes the enforcement mechanism as a scheme to nullify the constitution.

Democrats Move to Expand Social Safety Net

The Democrats take a "from cradle to grave" approach in proposing a $3.5 trillion bill, seeking to expand Medicare coverage, paid family and medical leave, and childcare, among other things.

Pandemic Aid Prevented Rise in Hunger Rate

Government figures show no overall rise in hunger, as observed in past recessions. The results are attributable to expansions in government aid.

Top 1% Evade $163 Billion a Year in Taxes

The findings of the Treasury Department report are expected to be used by the Biden administration to propose additional investments for the Internal Revenue Services (more enforcement staff, new technolog,y and new information-reporting requirements).

White House to Withdraw Bureau Pick

President Biden will withdraw his nomination of David Chipman as head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), conceding that he does not have the Senate votes.

Biden Administration Moves to Protect Alaska's Bristol Bay

The administration filed a motion "to quash a Trump-era decision that had stripped environmental protections for Bristol Bay," an area with gold and copper deposit. It signals the government's intention to craft permanent protections for the area.

NASA's Perseverance Rover Stashes First Mars Rock Sample

The robotic explorer has collected the sample but has no way to deliver them back to Earth for now.

New York and New Jersey Residents to Receive Federal Aid

With an estimated $50 million in damages in New York alone, a disaster declaration will help federal funding flow to both states to support recovery efforts.

Texas Governor Signs Election Law

The bill that passed last week has now been signed into law, putting in place new voting restrictions.

The Conservative Lawyer Behind the Texas Abortion Law

The article profiles Jonathan Mitchell, who developed the legal approach used in the Texas bill and whose efforts have been to devise laws that survive legal challenges.

Mexican Supreme Court Votes to Decriminalize Abortion

The ruling paves the way for legalizing abortion nationwide.

Quandary at the United Nations: Who Speaks for Myanmar and Afghanistan?

As the United Nations convenes its annual General Assembly, both the Taliban and the Myanmar junta that seized power earlier this year are expected to seek diplomatic representation.

El Salvador Adopts Bitcoin as Currency

It is the first country to allow cryptocurrency to be used in any transaction; the rollout was, expectedly, marked by glitches.

Coronavirus Update

President Biden Issues Vaccination Mandate

The mandate applies to federal employees and contractors, and to businesses with 100 or more employees; those who are unvaccinated will face weekly testing. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is drafting the emergency temporary standard, but enforcement mechanisms are not clear. The authority to mandate vaccines comes from the application of a 51-year-old law "that grants the federal government the power to protect employees from 'grave dangers' at the workplace." The mandate has deepened political divisions and Republican leaders quickly spoke out against the requirements.

U.S. Records 40 Million Known Virus Cases

25% of new cases in the country are among children.

More Jobs Requiring Vaccination as a Qualification

Companies Offering Time Off and Other Perks to Combat Burnout

After a year plus of remote work, employees are starting to re-evaluate what is important to them while employers try to offer perks like extended breaks to stave off resignations.

Los Angeles Mandates Vaccines for Students Attending In-Person Classes

Data Shows Less Alarming Picture of Delta

The chances of a breakthrough infection for vaccinated individuals are one in 5,000.

Macy's Announces Thanksgiving Day Parade Rules

Participants will need to be masked and vaccinated.

U.S. Visitors Face New Travel Restrictions in Europe

September 10, 2021

Theater News for the Week of September 10th

By Bennett Liebman

Theater Talk: COVID rules 'not uniform, but ubiquitous' as Buffalo theaters open,

Broadway League's Equity, Diversity & Inclusion commitment is not 'just talk.',

'Broadway Rising' Feature Documentary To Chronicle Industry Reopening.',

Supporters Fuel Fiscal Year 2021 Grant-making Past $13 Million,

How Broadway, How Surreal! How Radical! How Avant-Garde! How Broadway?,

A 'Wicked' revelation: Bold and on Broadway, a former Princeton athlete finds his way home again,

Broadway Return of Waitress Sets House Record at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre,

How Broadway helped keep NYC alive after 9/11,

Transgender March on Broadway Slams Cameron Mackintosh,

Bernadette Peters and Lin-Manuel Miranda on the Privilege of Creativity,

Sharon D. Clarke Talks 'Caroline, or Change',

Why Theater Can't Go Backward,

'Working' is restaged as a vehicle for activism on Black Lives Matter Plaza,

'Come from Away' review: Musical has folksy charm on screen,

Sexual misconduct claims at Artists' Exchange trigger backlash,

Steppenwolf Emerges from the Pandemic with New Leadership,

Why Can't Theatres Be More Like Public Parks?,

'The Doors Didn't Open Easily' on Her Path to 'Cinderella',

Hilary Mantel on staging The Mirror and the Light,

What's The Future Of Musical Theater Post-Covid?,

Why London's West End will always win,

'I felt completely lost': the actors navigating an arts crisis and long Covid,

New 'Los Angeles Anti-Racist Theater Standards' Seek To Create Lasting,

College Theatre Programs Must Be Held Accountable for Their Promises of Change,

Once on This Island: How LaChanze Helped Me Heal After 9/11,

When 'The Crown' left Black voices out of an episode about Kenya, Marcia Johnson got angry -- and then she wrote a play,

Sports News for the Week of September 10th

By Bennett Liebman

Ex-NFL Team GC Accused Wilkinson Of 'Trickery',

Washington NFL Team Lawyer Said Harassment Probe Unethical,

Former WFT lawyer urged documents related to claim against Daniel Snyder destroyed,

Ex-NFLer Wants $118K Fees After 9th Circ. Benefits Win,

Sports Supply Co. Can't Dodge Ruling In Dick's Burst Ball Suit,

Coronavirus: Brazil coach Tite says football 'not above the law',

IPO Of Sports Data Giant Sportradar Likely To Mint New Billionaire,

Minor Leaguer's Fight For Fairer Wages Enters Final Innings,

MLB Restructuring of Minor League Faces Lawsuit That is Advancing,

Yankees fail to dismiss lawsuit over ending affiliation with minor league team,

Why Deshaun Watson Isn't Playing,

IIHF bans Belarus hockey president for five years for code of conduct violations,

Seattle Mariners T-Mobile Park ADA Lawsuit Handicapped Seating,

Division I Athletes Can Proceed with Wage Claim,

Texas A&M Blocks '12th Man' Copyright Claim,

How college athletes who aren't stars make money off NIL,

Dr. Mark Keenum: talking NIL, conference transfer policies, and future of the NCAA,

Ole Miss softball coaches cleared after allegations over relationship,

NFL Season Gets Under Way With New Lawyers Filling Team Ranks,

Former NFL star Clinton Portis broke the law, but it doesn't mean he was wrong,

Tyler Skaggs case: Angels object to request for documents,

Angels counter government's motion for more documents in Tyler Skaggs case,

LA Dodgers' Ex-Scout Claims Age Bias Led To His Firing,

New York's highest court to hear Orioles-Nats TV dispute,

Antonio Brown alleges in suit that ex-agent Drew Rosenhaus hid marketing agency ties,

Kroenke to Missouri Supreme Court: Hands off my portfolio,

September 6, 2021

Week In Review

By Angela Peco
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Technology/Media, and General News:


Testimony from Week 3 of the R. Kelly's Sex-Trafficking Trial

The trial centers around 6 women, 3 of whom were underage when Kelly pursued relationships with them. Among the witnesses testifying this week was a minister who married Kelly to singer Aaliyah, who was 15 at the time and may have been pregnant with his child. One accuser that said Kelly forced her to have sex with another man as punishment for breaking one of his rules, and another accuser became the third woman to testify that Kelly had exposed her to herpes.

Singer Nicole Scherzinger Sued by Pussycat Dolls Founder Over Reunion Tour

Founder Robin Antin claims that Scherzinger is "refusing to participate in the tour unless given creative control and a larger share in the group's business venture." Based on a 2019 agreement, Scherzinger would have been given 49% of shares and profits from the tour if she performed. According to Antin's complaint, Scherzinger is allegedly demanding 75% and final decision-making authority.

'Dancing with the Stars' to Feature First Same-Sex Partners

JoJo Siwa will be the first contestant to compete in a same-sex pairing. Siwa came out as part of the LGBTQ community earlier this year.

Mike Richards Is Out as 'Jeopardy!' Executive Producer

Sony announced that Richards will leave the program entirely, citing "disruption and internal difficulties." The news comes 3 weeks after Richards was named as the show's host, a role from which he subsequently stepped away.


Four Galleries Join Forces, Upending Traditional Model

Four powerful art dealers have joined to create LGDR, "a consortium that will represent artists, organize exhibitions, advise collectors and broker auction sales," aiming to offer a "new model of one-stop shopping" for artists and collectors.

Black Representation Remains Work in Progress at Fashion Magazines

The article discusses fashion magazines' perennial diversity problem and asks whether these publications will "fall back into old patterns of treating racial progress as a trend" rather than "truly embrace systemic reinvention."

Fake Art Joins the Long List of Recyclables

The article describes the diverse afterlives of fake works of art. Some are inevitably recycled to unsuspecting buyers, others are retained by universities for study purposes, and others are used in undercover stings.

Bank of England Removes Portraits of Leaders Linked to Slave Trade

Several portraits and oil paintings depicting bank governors and directors have been removed because of these individuals' connections to the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

New Accord to Protect Garment Workers in Bangladesh

Over 200 international brands have signed an agreement to bring better working conditions for the country's garment workers, including "legally binding safety commitments, independent inspections at the factories, and contributions for safety training and factory improvements."


USA Gymnastics Proposes $425 Million Settlement to Abuse Victims

The proposed settlement was submitted jointly with the court-appointed committee of sexual abuse survivors in bankruptcy court.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Files Amicus Brief in Support of U.S. Women's National Soccer Team

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed an amicus brief supporting the team's fight for equal pay. The team is appealing last year's ruling, which held that it had not demonstrated that the players received unequal pay.

Details on the Investigation into Tyler Skaggs' Overdose Death

At the center of the investigation is former Los Angeles Angels employee Eric Kay, who was indicted by a grand jury for distributing a controlled substance that resulted in Skaggs's death, and for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute fentanyl. With the trial scheduled to begin in October, prosecutors are expected to provide details on how Kay obtained and distributed drugs.

Alexander Zverev Soars on the Tennis Court as Abuse Allegations Linger

The German tennis player managed to obtain a preliminary injunction against Slate and the author of an article detailing allegations of abuse against him by former girlfriend and tennis player Olga Sharypova. The way Sharypova's disclosure has played out has exposed a gap in the ATP Tour's policies. The ATP typically waits for legal proceedings to conclude before issuing its own penalties for players, but it recently announced that it will "review its strategy for handling players who are accused of domestic abuse or sexual misconduct" in an effort to put in a place a policy of more proactive involvement.

Putting the "Open" Back into the U.S. Open

Arthur Ashe Stadium operated with full spectator capacity as the Grand Slam Tournament welcomed vaccinated fans. This was an added requirement after the tournament's initial "lax coronavirus protocols."

'Inspiration Porn': Paralympians Know It When They See It

The phrase has gained prominence in recent years, prompting news organizations to rethink their coverage of people with disabilities, including Paralympians, who "reject the idea that they should be admired just for coping with disabilities, and not also for what they've accomplished."


McCarthy Threatens Technology Firms that Comply with Riot Inquiry

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy discouraged tech companies from complying with an order to preserve phone and social media records of Republican lawmakers, as part of a Congressional committee investigation into the January 6th riots. He said that complying with the order is a violation of federal law that would make them "subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States."

Justice Department Accelerating Google Advertising Inquiry

The investigation into Google's digital advertising practices may result in a second antitrust lawsuit against the company. The first lawsuit alleged that Google "abused its monopoly in internet search to harm rivals and consumers" and this second inquiry is focused on whether Google abused its dominance in digital advertising, specifically, on how it operated digital advertising auctions.

The Silent Partner Cleaning up Facebook for $500 Million a Year

The article describes how consulting firm Accenture and its "content moderators" work to keep toxic material off the platform. The firm is now contending with claims of psychological trauma from employees and contractors who review content and are repeatedly exposed to graphic imagery.

Most Streaming Services Failed Privacy Test

A report published by a non-profit advocacy group this week found that most streaming services had similar "data habits" to Facebook and Google. For example, they use or make available to other companies information about what users do on their services for targeted ads.

New Mexico Attorney General Files COPPA Suit Against Angry Birds Game Developer

Attorney General Balderas sued Rovio Entertainment, alleging that it violated the federal Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) "by knowingly collecting data from players under age 13 and sharing it with advertisers," without providing notice to parents or obtaining parental consent, as required by the law.

Ireland Fines WhatsApp Over Data Transparency

Irish regulators fined Facebook's messaging service $270 million for breaking EU's data privacy law. The ruling says Facebook was not "transparent about how it uses data collected from people on the service."

Apple Making Concessions on App Store Rules

Apple will allow some companies to direct their users to payment methods outside its App Store.

South Korea Force Apple and Google to Change In-App Payments

South Korean legislators passed a law requiring companies to allow third-party payments for in-app purchases. This prevents app marketers like Google and Apple "from forcing certain payment methods, unfairly delaying the review of mobile content and unfairly deleting mobile content from the app market."

China Tightens Limits for Young Online Gamers

Children and teenagers are barred from online gaming on school days and limited to one hour a day on weekend and holiday evenings.

Can Afghanistan's Leading Broadcaster Survive the Taliban?

Broadcaster Tolo's usual lineup has already been replaced by educational programming about Islamic morality; how much of its programming survives in the new climate "will be a barometer" of the Taliban's "tolerance for dissenting views and values."

Alibaba Faces Reckoning Over Harassment

Alibaba employees are speaking out on the toxic work culture at the Chinese e-commerce giant after rape accusations first shed light on both the sexism and the retaliation that complainants faced.

General News

Supreme Court Refuses to Block Texas Abortion Law

The Supreme Court denied an emergency request by abortion providers to block Texas Senate Bill 8, a law that bars abortion in the state at around 6 weeks of pregnancy. In its 5-4 decision, the Court did not rule on the constitutionality of the law, but cited "complex and novel procedural issues" in denying the request. The law outsources enforcement to private individuals, who are allowed to sue abortion providers or anyone else who "aids or abets" an abortion, and possibly earn $10,000 if the suit is successful.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi Announces Vote on Bill to Codify Roe v Wade

Pelosi said that the House would vote on a bill codifying the right to an abortion, but the bill is expected to stall in the Senate.

Texas Abortion Case Highlights Concerns Over Supreme Court's 'Shadow Docket'

The Supreme Court is increasingly taking up matters with significant policy implications and addressing them in late-night decisions with minimal or no written opinions. This practice is creating a "shadow docket," using a process that was intended to deal with emergency petitions and routine case management requests that did not engage important rights (with the exception of last-minute stays of execution, which traditionally attracted the most attention).

Does the First Amendment Protect the Censuring of Politicians?

The Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether the censure (typically, a formal reprimand) of an elected official in Houston violates the First Amendment. The latest word on the issue is last year's decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which ruled that a "reprimand against an elected official for speech addressing a matter of public concern is an actionable First Amendment claim."

U.S. War in Afghanistan Ends

U.S. forces have left Kabul, with the last evacuation flight departing on August 30th. The U.S. leaves behind a complicated legacy, with the country falling back into Taliban control after a 20-year war that took 170,000 lives and cost the U.S. over $2 trillion.

U.S. Education Department Investigates Several States Over Mask Mandate Ban

President Biden ordered the education secretary to explore legal action against states that blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures. Civil rights investigations will determine if these prohibitions restrict access for disabled students who are protected from discrimination under federal law.

Social Security Projected to Be Insolvent a Year Earlier than Forecast

Annual government reports released indicate that the Social Security fund will run out of reserves in 2033 and would only be able to pay out 76% of scheduled benefits. The pandemic has put additional strain on the programs due to a decline in government revenues.

Federal Jobless Aid, a Lifeline to Millions, Reaches an End

Almost 7.5 million people are expected to lose their unemployment benefits when federally funded emergency unemployment programs end. States can use existing federal funds to extend the benefits. States that already ended some federal benefits that they said were discouraging people from returning to work experienced job growth that was similar from states that retained the programs.

Loopholes Leave Gaps in Mandated Coverage for Mental Health Care

Health plans for state and local workers, including teachers and police, can opt out of the federal law that requires them to treat mental health like other medical conditions. Exemptions and lax oversight of these plans have deepened gaps in coverage under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, resulting in unequal access for millions.

Dozens Dead as Record Deluge Devastates the Northeast

Hundreds of thousands of people, most in New Orleans, remain without electricity after catastrophic damage from Hurricane Ida. In the Northeast, large volumes of rain caused deaths in the region and overwhelmed infrastructure, flooding homes, and crippling mass transit. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged that a more aggressive response will be required in the future, including travel bans and evacuation of basement apartments.

Overlapping Disasters Expose Harsh Climate Reality

Fires and floods across the U.S. are showing the limits of adapting to climate change (and its role in causing extreme weather events). The billions of dollars invested in storm protection in New York City post-Hurricane Sandy, for example, did little to protect against the recent downpour, which dumped more water than factors into the city's plans.

Purdue Pharma is Dissolved; Sacklers Pay $4.5 Billion to Settle Opioid Claims

The company was dissolved as part of a bankruptcy settlement that will require the owners to pay $4.5 billion for the company's role in fueling the opioid epidemic. The ruling shields the owners from all civil opioid claims and several states have already indicated that they plan on appealing the ruling.

Texas Legislature Passes Election Bill, Raising Voting Barriers Even Higher

In a major overhaul to the State's elections, the legislation bans drive-through polling places, 24-hour voting and temporary voting
locations, methods introduced last year to facilitate voting during the pandemic. Election officials are also barred from sending unsolicited absentee ballot applications and from promoting the use of mail voting. In terms of enforcement, the law creates new criminal and civil penalties for poll workers and requires large counties to livestream video at ballot-counting locations.

Mysterious Absence of Defense Lawyer Capitol Riot Cases to a Standstill

John Pierce, who is representing 17 clients, has missed several court appearances in the last week, with his associate providing different reasons for his absences to presiding judges.

Tensions with China Imperil Climate Talks

The article describes John Kerry's latest activities as climate envoy. Kerry "ended talks in China with a pledge to continue negotiations," while Chinese officials warned that "political ill will could undermine cooperation."

Fear Spreads in Kabul as Taliban Take Charge; 98 Countries Pledge to Accept Afghans

The Taliban's chief negotiator said the group would not stop people from departing, regardless of nationality or prior involvement with U.S. efforts during the war. Frustrated with how evacuations unfolded, members of Congress are connecting with other countries and NGOs to help arrange additional evacuations.

Afghan Women Stage Rights Protest

Afghan women said they were willing to accept the burqa if girls could still obtain an education and hold employment under Taliban rule.

Coronavirus Update

Data Confirm COVID Vaccines Still Provide Strong Protection Against Hospitalization

COVID Medical Bills About to Get Bigger

As temporary waivers by major health insurers expire, patients will have to start paying their normal co-payments or deductibles for COVID-related medical care, including testing, emergency room visits and hospital stays.

Hospitalizations for Children Rise Sharply as Delta Surges

It is not clear from the CDC study if the rise is attributed to Delta's high infectiousness or to its causing more severe disease in children.

Study Finds Lingering Kidney Problems in COVID Survivors

In a study involving veterans, COVID survivors were "35 percent more likely than other patients to have long-term kidney damager or declines in kidney function."

Supply Chain Still Tangled, with No Sign of Clearing

Product shortages are still being felt, showing the effects of the pandemic on the global supply chain.

How the Delta Variant Spread from a Teacher to Half of Her Students

September 3, 2021

Sports News for the Week of September 3rd

By Bennett Liebman

Vaccine Requirements Could Convince More Than a Quarter of Unvaccinated Sports Fans,

NFL Fraud Case Ends In Mistrial As Tempers Flare On Jury,

Feds Drop 'Varsity Blues' Racketeering Conspiracy Charges,

USA Gymnastics Floats $425M Ch. 11 Plan For Abuse Victims,

USA Gymnastics, Abuse Victims Reach $425 Million Bankruptcy Deal,

Vizquel Accuser Didn't Report Alleged Harassment,

Soccer Player Kaku Breached Contract By Signing With Saudi Club,

Considerations for Entering Into a Student-Athlete NIL Agreement,

California accelerates NCAA athlete pay law,

Why women and social media stars are becoming college sports' big winners,

Dealmaking Pitfalls in NCAA's New NIL Policy,

Inside Maryland's law allowing college athletes to make money,

College NIL Athlete Protections Get Short Shrift as New Era Unfolds,

Ron Burkle Lawsuit Sacramento MLS Stadium,

Tax Crimes Randolph Morris Chinese Basketball Association Income,

Jaguars respond to NFLPA probe following Urban Meyer's vaccination comments,

Knicks Player's Ex-Agent Says Rival's Truck Gift Crossed Line,

20 States Sue Biden Admin Over LGBT Directives, Guidance for School Sports,

Judge rejects attempt by NFL, Rams and Kroenke to move relocation lawsuit from St. Louis,

Trustee seeks court's permission to sue Tom Dundon in bankruptcy,

Sponsorship Empire Such as Roger Federer's Sparks an Interesting Debate: Do Celebrities Make the Brand or Do the Brand Make the Celebrities,

Athletes Sue W. Michigan University Over Vaccine Mandate,

Benjamin Mendy's criminal charges - employment, sporting & financial repercussions,

Notre Dame Debit Card Deal Shows Banks Pay Up to Push Fee Products,

SEX SCANDAL IN THE SEC, SEX SCANDAL IN THE SEC: Ole Miss Softball Coach Is In Hot Water For Secretly Hooking Up With One Of Her Players,

US Department of Interior's Decision on Florida Sports Betting Compact Likely to Inspire Future Gaming Expansion If It Survives Pending Legal

Theater News for the Week of September 3rd

By Bennett Liebman

When The World Shuffled Off to Buffalo,

Musicals Return to Broadway With 'Waitress' and 'Hadestown,

What Theater Learned While Being Closed for 18 Months,

Celebrities wade into West Stockbridge feud as permit hearing looms for The Foundry,

Broadway shows are back, but different from before,

Broadway Theater Safety, Proof of Vax, Masks and Live Theater,

Broadway Returns! But Where Will it Go Now?,

Broadway Theater Owners and Producers Start Campaign to Bring Back Locals,

TKTS Times Square reopens Sept.14,

Patti LuPone Is Anxious and Emotional About Broadway's Return,

Broadway Musicals Return, But COVID Concerns Are Center Stage,

Trans March on Broadway, Protesting Statements Made by Cameron Mackintosh,

Alexandra Billings Counters Transphobic Cameron Mackintosh Comments,

How 'Pass Over' on Broadway and other shows are rehearsing safely,

3 Broadway Veterans Prepare For Opening Night After The Pandemic,

Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz: 'The US arts scene is like a totalitarian state,

At 23, She Created A Not-For-Profit To Give Women And Non-Binary Theater Artists All The Tools,

'Hamilton' reopens at the Hollywood Pantages,

Inside Disney Theatrical's Global Restart After Pandemic Shutdown,

Oregon Shakespeare Festival Announces New Leadership Structure,

Theatre's Fall Plans, and the Delta Variant,

'Let It Go' was about pressure on women: Frozen's songwriters on redefining Disney,

Tom Stoppard admits being at odds with 'lively' leftwing UK theatre scene,

Edinburgh's festivals bounce back to sell more than 520,000 tickets despite late lifting of restrictions,

Watch Hadestown Cast Serenade Audience With "Lean On Me" After First Show Back,

August 30, 2021

Week In Review

By Christina Stylianou
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Technology/Media, General News, and COVID News:


2nd Circuit Affirms Goldsmith Copyright Infringement Win; Rejects Warhol Foundation's Interpretation of the Supreme Court's Intervening Google v. Oracle Decision

In Eddy Grant's lawsuit against Trump for Improper Use of 'Electric Avenue' in Campaign Ad, SDNY Requires Parties to Submit Supplemental Briefs Addressing 2nd Circuit Affirmation of Goldsmith Copyright Infringement Win

9th Circuit Rejects District Court Finding That "Exclusive Ownership" Under California's Copyright Statute Includes the Right of Public Performance

Why the Baby on Nirvana's 'Nevermind' Album is Suing Now

Woman Says R. Kelly Abused Her and Pressured Her to Have an Abortion

Second Accuser Testifies in R. Kelly Trial

Sequins and Soul-Searching in the Competitive Dance World

He's No Longer Host. But Mike Richards is Still Running 'Jeopardy!'

Andrew Cuomo Loses His Emmy on Same Day He's Replaced as Governor

China's Celebrity Culture is Raucous. The Authorities Want to Change That


He Sold Antiquities for Decades, Many of Them Fake, Investigators Say

Smithsonian Begins Two-Year Racial Justice Initiative

Met Opera Reaches Deal With Orchestra, Paving Way for Reopening

Luxury's Gray Market Is Emerging From the Shadows

Broadway Power Brokers Pledge Diversity Changes as Theaters Reopen

Virus Fears Prompt a Major New York Theater to Postpone Its Return

Amsterdam's Mayor Announces Talks with Jewish Heirs on Kandinsky Claim


EEOC Backs U.S. Women's Soccer Team in Pay Discrimination Case

FIFA Will Share in $200 Million Payout From Corruption Scandal

Under Armour's Attempt To Dismiss UCLA Lawsuit Rejected

Peloton Facing Lawsuits, Government Investigations

The Business Of Being Notre Dame Football Star Kyle Hamilton

How Graham Mertz's Family-Led Business Plan Helped Him Become the 'Face of NIL' While Keeping His Focus on the Field

Nike Shareholders Seek Racial Equity Data

Sports NFT Sales Plunge, but the Overall NFT Market is Surging, With $7 Billion in Sales


Apple and Google's Fight in Seoul Tests Biden in Washington

Facebook Said to Consider Forming an Election Commission

New Mexico Attorney General Files COPPA Suit Against Game Developer

OnlyFans Says It Won't Ban Sexually Explicit Content

Former 'Good Morning America' Producer Accused of Sexual Assault in Lawsuit

Russian Journalists Meet a Crackdown With Dark Humor, and Subscribers

General News

Supreme Court Allows Revival of Trump-Era 'Remain in Mexico' Asylum Policy

Supreme Court Ends Biden's Eviction Moratorium

House Passes $3.5 Trillion Budget Plan for Vast Expansion of Safety Net

Inside the Diverse and Growing Asian Population in the U.S.

Suicide Bombers in Kabul Kill Dozens, Including 13 U.S. Troops

At Least 250,000 Afghans Who Worked With U.S. Haven't Been Evacuated, Estimates Say

Evacuations From Kabul Wind Down as U.S. Prepares to Pull Last Troops

Judge Orders Sanctions Against Pro-Trump Lawyers Over Election Lawsuit

Just Dept. to Close Troubled Jail Where Jeffrey Epstein Died

Cuomo Commutes Sentences of 1981 Brink's Robbery Participant and 4 Others

Hochul Is Sworn In: 'I Want People to Believe In Their Government Again'

Hochul Appoints 2 Women to Key Posts in Her Cabinet

State Senator Brian Benjamin Is Kathy Hochul's Pick for NY Lieutenant Governor

Time's Up C.E.O. Resigns Amid Crisis Over Cuomo Ties

Smoke From Caldor Fire Suffocates Lake Tahoe

How Did Larry Elder Become a Front-Runner in California's Governor Race?

Capitol Police Officers Sue Trump and Allies Over Election Lies and Jan. 6


FDA Fully Approves Pfizer Vaccine

Extra Shots from J. & J. and Pfizer Give Immune Boost, Companies Report

2 New York Judges Ordered Defendants to Get Vaccinated. Can They Do That?

Delta's Extra $200 Insurance Fee Shows Vaccine Dilemma for Employers

Rejecting Covid Inquiry, China Peddles Conspiracy Theories Blaming the U.S.