September 16, 2018

Week In Review

By Leslie Berman
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker


Letter Claims Attempted Assault by a Teenage Brett Kavanaugh and Kavanaugh's Accuser Comes Forward, Saying He Pinned Her on Bed and Groped Her

A letter claiming Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh assaulted a teenage girl while he was at a party in prep school was shared with Senators and federal investigators. Although the woman who wrote the letter asked that its contents not be made public, it has been learned that she claimed that Kavanaugh, who had been drinking during a high school party, pinned her on a bed, groped her, and covered her mouth to keep her from screaming. A second boy was in the room with them, and the door was locked and music turned up louder during the attack. The woman managed to get free from Kavanaugh andl left the room without further harm. Saying she thought Kavanaugh might inadvertently kill her, Christine Blasey Ford, research psychologist at Palo Alto University in Northern California, told the Washington Post that Kavanaugh "was trying to attack me and remove my clothing."

Paul Manafort Agrees to Cooperate With Special Counsel; Pleads Guilty to Reduced Charges

Paul Manafort's agreement to plead guilty to reduced charges in exchange for his full cooperation - an open-ended arrangement that requires him to answer "fully, truthfully, completely and forthrightly" questions about "any and all matters" the government wants to ask - leaves speculation open about where Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is headed.

United Nations Chief Warns of a Dangerous Tipping Point on Climate Change

United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, claiming that climate change is the defining issue of our time, called on global leaders to rein in climate change faster than they have been. "If we do not change course by 2020," he said, "we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change." Guterres pointed to decades of studies by scientists warning that climate change will reach a point of no return, which have not yet motivated world leaders to make stronger and faster changes to their national climate policies. The next round of climate negotiations is scheduled for this year in Poland.

As Trump Embraces More Tariffs, U.S. Business Readies Public Fight

More than 85 U.S. industry groups launched a coalition - Americans for Free Trade - to mount a campaign against tariffs imposed by President Trump on billions of dollars worth of goods sold to the U.S. by the industries' overseas trading partners, which has promoted retaliation against U.S. exports. As a result, the top lobbyist for the National Marine Manufacturers Association, Nicole Vasilaros, said the group's members are weighing layoffs after costs have risen as much as 35% due to the tariffs. The anti-tariff lobbying group is headed by the National Retail Association and Farmers for Free Trade, which are placing television advertisements, hosting rallies in targeted congressional districts, and devising online persuasion communiques.

The Food and Drug Administration Targets Vaping, Alarmed by Teenage Use

The Food and Drug Administration has declared teenage "vaping" - use of electronic cigarettes - an epidemic, and is cracking down on manufacturers of the devices, as well as shops that distribute them to teenagers, such as 7-Eleven, Walgreens, Circle K, and Shell gas stations. The manufacturers have been given 60 days to prove they can keep the devices from minors, while the retailers have been fined for sales of the devices to minors.

Federal Trade Commission Hearings Add to Efforts That Threaten Tech Industry

While Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple have fought regulators in Europe on privacy, antitrust, and taxes over the last decade, they have had relatively benign relations with regulators in the United States. However, the Federal Trade Commission has now opened a series of up to 20 hearings to discuss whether the agency's competition and consumer protection policies should change to limit the expansion and power of tech companies. Later this month, Congress will bring executives from top tech companies to testify on proposals for privacy laws. The Justice Department has warned it may start investigations into whether Google and other social media sites are biased against conservative voices.

Protection of Voting Rights for Minorities Has Fallen Sharply, a New Report Finds

Five years ago, the United States Supreme Court struck down the core of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA). The Federal Commission on Civil Rights has now published a nearly 500-page report on voting issues, and concludes that even those parts of the VRA that remain in force have barely been enforced. Catherine E. Lhamon, who heads the Commission, called the present state of discrimination against minority voters "enduring and pernicious," and said that the report was unanimously endorsed by the Commission. There are six democrats who voted unanimously, and two republications who did not vote or left the room when voting was taking place.

As a New Hurricane Roars In, Trump Quarrels Over the Last One

While attempting to reassure Americans living along the eastern coast that the affects of Hurricane Florence would be alleviated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other government agencies' responses, President Trump first congratulated himself on the government's response to Hurricane Maria that devastated Puerto Rico in 2017. Trump then claimed that the official death toll of 3,000 from the Puerto Rican storm was a false overcount perpetrated by Democrats to make him look bad. A tweet storm of scorn was heaped on the President, news media and government officials "fact checked" the President's claims, and many pushed back at his count of 16 to 18 deaths.

$10 Million From FEMA Diverted to Pay for Immigration Detention Centers, Document Shows

Nearly $10 million from FEMA's budget was shifted to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as part of a transfer of more than $200 million from the budgets of other agencies to ICE's detention and removals use. The budget document was released by the office of Senator Jeff Merkley (D.OR), and shows that the money would come from FEMA's operations and support budget, as well as from accounts at Customs and Border Protection that pay for border fencing and technology. FEMA denies there will be any negative effect on rescue and other operations during this hurricane season.

Detention of Migrant Children Has Skyrocketed to Highest Levels Ever

Despite the release of hundreds of migrant children, the federal detention centers for children separated from their families grew fourfold to 12,800 in the last month, because fewer children are being released to live with sponsors or families. Many of those detained are teenagers who crossed over the border into the U.S. without their parents.

No Last Call at Trump Hotel: D.C. Board Rejects Liquor License Challenge

President Trump's International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue and near the White House has been a focus of an angry protest against the President. A citizens' group with financial backing from Jerry Hirsch, an Arizona-based Republican and chairman of the Lodestar Foundation, asked the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board of the District of Columbia to review whether the president met the city's "good character" test for holding a liquor license, citing ethical breaches and "lies . . . too long to list." Ultimately, the ABC Board declined to pursue the complaint.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo Easily Defeats Cynthia Nixon in New York Primary

Governor Cuomo beat first-timer candidate actress and activist Cynthia Nixon by more than 30% points, paving the way for his election as a third term Governor. Nixon had positioned herself and her supporters as the new direction for the Democratic Party in New York and beyond.

Letitia James Makes History by Winning Attorney General Primary in New York

Letitia James, the New York City public advocate who received Governor Andrew Cuomo's endorsement, won the Democratic Primary for New York State Attorney General against three other progressive Democratic candidates. That makes her the first black candidate to win a statewide democratic primary.

Kathy Hochul Beats Back Challenge From Jumaane Williams in Lieutenant Governor Race

Kathy Hochul, the present lieutenant governor of New York, prevailed in the Democratic primary over a challenge from Jumaane Williams, a three-term New York City councilman. For the last four years under Governor Andrew Cuomo, Hochul has worked on women's rights and family issues, largely playing a ceremonial role under Cuomo, pressing and amplifying his message.

Russian Suspects in Poisoning: We Were in UK as Tourists

Two Russian men who claim to have come to Britain to visit Salisbury's Cathedral are accused by that country of actually being highly trained military agents who were sent by the Kremlin to Salisbury to smear a deadly nerve agent on the front door of a former Russian spy. Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were both charged in absentia by Britain for trying to kill Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, with the nerve agent Novichok. The pair went on the Kremlin-funded RT satellite channel to proclaim their innocence, deny they were agents of the military intelligence service widely known as the GRU, and say they were merely tourists in the city southwest of London.

Russia Accuses Britain of Using Skripal Affair to Rally EU Allies

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Britain was using the case of poisoned former double agent Sergei Skripal to rally its European partners behind it at a time when Brexit was isolating London.

Pussy Riot Activist Hospitalized in Moscow as Fellow Members Suspect Poisoning

Pyotr Verzilov, the Pussy Riot activist who ran onto the field during the World Cup final, has been hospitalized in Moscow in what the protest group suspects was a poisoning attack. Verzilov's partner and a member of Pussy Riot herself, Veronika Nikulshina, told the Meduza website that Verzilov lost his sight, speech, and mobility, and was being treated in the toxicology wing of a hospital.

Rohingya Crisis 'Could Have Been Handled Better,' Aung San Suu Kyi Says

Since August of last year, more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to neighboring Bangladesh amid a frenzy of executions, rapes, and village burnings in the north of Rakhine State in Myanmar. International human rights groups have extensively documented the way Myanmar's military organized the bloodshed, in which at least 10,000 people were killed, according to a United Nations estimate. Speaking at an international forum in Hanoi, Vietnam, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's civilian leader, sidestepped widespread accusations that her country's military had unleashed ethnic cleansing on Rohingya Muslims. The campaign documented has been so brutal that the United Nations has recommended that top commanders be tried for genocide.

Lawmakers, Citing Muslim Camps, Ask Commerce Dept. to Limit Technology Sales to China

China has built internment camps to contain ethnic Uighurs - a Sunni Muslim Turkic-speaking minority, that are said to house more than a million members of Muslim minorities. Senator Marco Rubio (R.FL) and Congressman Christopher H. Smith (R.NJ) have asked Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to impose limits on sales by U.S. companies of technology that might be used by Chinese security forces for surveillance and human rights abuses against the Muslims. This would be one of the first sanctions by the Trump administration against China for its human rights abuses.

Hungary's Democracy Is in Danger, European Union Parliament Decides

European Union (EU) lawmakers voted to take action against Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban, for "breaching democratic norms", citing his autocratic tendencies and his shift toward more extreme positions on European identity, migration, and integration. The two-thirds majority vote needed for sanction was reached when members of his conservative alliance broke faith and voted to begin punishment proceedings.

Czech Prime Minister Says He Stands Behind Hungary After EU Parliament Vote

The Czech government stands behind Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban after a European Parliament vote to sanction the country for flouting EU rules, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis announced.

Around 1,000 Hungarians Protest Against Orban at Pro-EU Rally

Around 1,000 Hungarians protested against Prime Minister Viktor Orban at a pro-EU rally organized by leftist opposition parties, demanding that the government respect democratic rights and other EU values.

For your convenience, the following are divided into ENTERTAINMENT, ARTS, SPORTS, AND MEDIA


Cosby's Lawyers and Wife Seek Judge's Recusal Before Sentencing

Bill Cosby's sentencing for sexually assaulting a former Temple University staff member is scheduled for September 24th and 25th. Cosby's legal team have now asked that Judge Steven T. O'Neill, who presided over the case, recuse himself from the sentencing. They allege that Judge O'Neill is prejudiced by a feud he had with a key witness, former District Attorney Bruce Castor, who testified at a pre-trial hearing that he had decided not to prosecute Cosby for this same assault. The feud took place more than 20 years ago, when both men were vying for the Republication nomination for Montgomery County (PA) district attorney. Montgomery County Prosecutor Kevin Steele, who brought the case against Cosby, says the Judge should not recuse himself.

A Lady Vanishes: In China, a Movie Star Disappears Amid Culture Crackdown

Beijing is tightening the reins on popular culture, looking to stamp out behavior seen as antithetical to the ruling Communist Party's ideological line, and co-opting movie stars, pop bands, and online celebrities to endorse socialist values. A new movie promotion law requires entertainers to pursue both professional excellence and moral integrity. Amidst this political-cultural regime change, a popular Chinese Actress, Fan Bingbing, who has appeared in western movies, including "Iron Man" and "X-Men", vanished after suggestions were made online that there were some questions about tax payments on income from her films. Questions about her whereabouts go unanswered.


Oldest Known Drawing by Human Hands Discovered in South African Cave

An ancient drawing of nine red lines was unearthed in Blombos Cave, about 200 miles east of Cape Town, South Africa. The artifact reminiscent of a hashtag has been found on a small stone flake. Other archaeological deposits at the site include: Homo sapiens' teeth, spear points, bone tools, engravings, and beads made from seashells. The red lines are dated approximately 73,000 years old, more than 30,000 years older than previous finds.

Jewish Collector's Descendant Gets Nazi-Looted Renoir Back

Sylvie Sulitzer, the only living descendant of a Jewish family whose artworks were stolen by the Nazis, saw Renoir's "Two Women in a Garden" for the first time when she unveiled it at New York's Museum of Jewish Heritage at a ceremony that included law enforcement officials representing the offices that helped return her grandparents' painting back to her. Sulitzer will likely auction off the painting to pay back compensation she previously received from France for missing artworks.

Loss of Indigenous Works in Brazil Museum Fire Felt 'Like a New Genocide'

A handful of indigenous activists and researchers were outside celebrating a birthday huddled around a small pit fire when they noticed flames devouring a building a few dozen yards away. The fire was raging at Brazil's National Museum, and the group raced toward the building to try to put the fire out with buckets. By the time they reached the centuries-old palace, which had been home to the world's largest archive of indigenous Brazilian culture and history, the building's core had been gutted by fire, burning hundreds of thousands of documents, artifacts, and artworks.

How Much to Unload a Painting Off a Plane? Brazil Museum Got $320,000 Bill

Officials at an airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil have been holding hostage six 20th-century paintings from the Tate Modern in London until a $320,000 bill for unloading and storage -- triple the total budget to mount the exhibition -- is paid. The cargo fee for paintings had been assessed according to their weight. Now, some of Brazil's main international airports have begun charging a percentage of the paintings' values, which increased cargo fees from a few dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars.


The World Anti-Doping Agency Panel Recommends Reinstatement of Russian Agency

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) stated that its compliance review committee was satisfied with Russian promises to fulfill two key criteria for RUSADA's reinstatement: First, that authorities must provide access to data that could help corroborate positive tests uncovered during the investigation into the doping scandal, and second, that Russian sports entities publicly accept that there was a widespread, government-directed effort to manipulate drug tests in order to win medals. However, the compliance committee's recommendation came a day after the BBC published a WADA document that was to be distributed at next week's executive committee meeting, which says that neither of the criteria had been satisfied and that it would not recommend reinstatement.

Probst Leaves Complex Legacy After 10 Years as U.S. Olympic Committee Chairman

Larry Probst will step down as chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) at the end of the year, to be replaced by Susanne Lyons, a board member who recently finished serving as interim CEO of the USOC following the resignation of Scott Blackmun. Although Probst restored the federation's international reputation and repaired relationships that had fractured from decades of financial issues, and gave the U.S. a win by bringing the Olympics to Los Angeles in 2008, he leaves Lyons and new CEO Sarah Hirshland with the task of restoring credibility where the organization has been widely criticized for its slow response to mushrooming sex-abuse scandals in Olympic sports.


New Mexico Sues Mobile App Makers Over Children Privacy Concerns

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas is suing Google, Twitter, and other companies that develop and market mobile gaming apps for children, saying that the apps violate state and federal laws by collecting personal information that could compromise privacy. "These multi-million-dollar tech companies partnering with app developers are taking advantage of New Mexican children, and the unacceptable risk of data breach and access from third parties who seek to exploit and harm our children will not be tolerated in New Mexico," he said.

How Game Apps That Captivate Kids Have Been Collecting Their Data

Without explicit, verifiable permission from parents, websites and apps aimed at children are prohibited from collecting personal details including names, email addresses, geolocation data, and tracking codes, like "cookies", if they're used for targeted ads under the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. Yet academic researchers who analyzed nearly 6,000 free children's Android apps reported that more than half of the apps shared details with outside companies in ways that may have violated the law. A much smaller New York Times sampling saw sites from both Android and iOS platforms that collected data that could potentially track children using those apps.

CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves Steps Down After Sexual Harassment Claims

Leslie Moonves, the longtime chief executive of the CBS Corporation, stepped down from the company he led for 15 years after the publication of new sexual harassment allegations against him. A New Yorker article by investigative journalist Ronan Farrow that was published last July included interviews with six women who accused Moonves of sexual harassment. On Sunday, the magazine published another article by Farrow in which six more women detailed claims against Moonves.

Threats and Deception: Why CBS's Board Turned Against Leslie Moonves

Leslie Moonves, chairman and chief executive of CBS, was accused of sexual harassment and assault, but told the CBS Board of Directors that there were no such incidents and that he was innocent. The Board agreed to keep him on with a strong show of support, despite opposition by Sharon Redstone, the corporation's largest shareholder. Meanwhile, Moonves was trying to find a job at CBS for one of his accusers, and he failed to let the Board know that she was threatening to go public with her allegations. When the Board found out that Moonves had suppressed this information and lied to them, they changed their minds about an ouster.

'60 Minutes' Chief Ousted for a Threatening Text as Upheaval at CBS Continues

Jeff Fager, only the second producer in the 50-year history of the award-winning news analysis and features television show, "60 Minutes", was fired for sending a text message threatening the career of a CBS reporter who was researching the sexual misconduct allegations against Leslie Moonves, Chairman and Chief Executive of the CBS network, which allegations Fager claimed were untrue.

September 13, 2018

New Federal Law Imposes Reporting Requirements for U.S.-Based Foreign Media Outlets

By Barry Skidelsky, Esq.

The recently enacted John MCain National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2019 (NDAA) adds §722 to the Communications Act. It requires the filing of reports with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by statutorily defined U.S. based foreign media outlets, including details of their legal structures and relationships, as well as of their funding sources.

All media outlets in the United States owned or controlled by foreign principals (see definitions of foreign principals and agents in the Foreign Agents Registration Act or FARA, 22 USC § 611 et seq.), including those physically located outside the U.S. who produce or distribute video programming transmitted (or intended for transmission) by a multi-channel video program distributor (MVPD) within the U.S., such as cable system operators or satellite service providers, should confirm their obligations under (and timely comply with) the new reporting obligations.

The new law responds to concerns that certain foreign governments and organizations have been using FARA's journalism or news reporting exception, which allows avoidance of otherwise applicable federal agent registration requirements that relate back to pre-World War II fears of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and the Soviet Union, as a mask or subterfuge to instead promote their own political agendas and to otherwise unfairly influence the American public.

Some critics of the new law, while nonetheless acknowledging legitimate American concerns, cite First Amendment free press implications and raise related fears that President Trump often seems hell-bent on labeling as "fake news" all coverage by any domestic or foreign media with which he disagrees.

Prompted by more serious and potentially subversive threats from, inter alia, Russia's RT America, China's Central Television, and Qatar's Al Jazeera -- the last of which was recently designated by the Department Of Justice (DOJ) under FARA as a foreign agent, and which faces calls for investigation into its positive promotion of terrorist organizations, such as Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah and Hamas, as well as other foreign state sponsored anti-Semitic and anti-America propaganda -- the new law effectively adds the FCC (under NDAA) to the DOJ (under FARA) as another way for our federal government to require reporting from, and to monitor domestic influence by, U.S. based foreign media outlets.

The deadline for affected media outlets to submit their first reports is October 12, 2018, with subsequent reports due no less frequently than every 6 months thereafter. In turn, the FCC will make those reports available to the public and summarize them in the FCC's own periodic reports to Congress. For more information, see FCC Public Notice DA 18-911 (rel. 9/4/18) at or contact the author of this note.

Barry Skidelsky is a NYC based attorney and consultant with a diverse national practice and expertise in entertainment and media. Currently Chair of EASL, Barry is a former broadcaster, former chair of the Federal Communications Bar Association's NY chapter, and former chair of EASL's Television and Radio Committee. He can be reached at or 212-832-4800.

September 10, 2018

Week In Review

By Eric Lanter
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

General News

Kavanaugh Hearings Draw Controversy

President Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, has faced pointed questions regarding the power of presidents to obstruct investigations and the issue of a president being indicted or being subpoenaed by special counsel Robert Mueller. The opening of his confirmation hearing was disrupted by several protesters shouting, each of which was arrested and removed from the hearing room. Throughout the questioning, he declined to answer "hypothetical questions", as he claimed that it would be inappropriate to offer public views on cases that may come before the Supreme Court if he were approved.

Trump's Justice Department Redefines Whose Civil Rights to Protect

The Justice Department's civil rights division has focused on protecting classes of people often the subject of discrimination or mistreatment: immigrants, African-Americans, and the LGBTQ communities. Under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Justice Department has switched its focus to supporting state laws that remove thousands of people from voter rolls and eased its supervision of police departments that have a record of violating citizens' rights. The Trump administration has framed this shift as part of the changing notion of equality and protection of civil rights.

In Immigration Courts, It is Judges vs. Justice Department

The Trump administration has found an unexpected opponent in its policy on immigration: immigration judges. Immigration judges have objected to the changes that have come from the Justice Department as the backlog of cases has exponentially grown, since the Trump administration began implementing its hard-line policies on immigration. While sitting judges are prohibited from speaking about political issues, retired judges are not, and retired immigration judges have come out against the Trump administration's policies as not being "outcome-oriented."

Trump Administration Discussed Coup Plans with Rebel Venezuelan Officers

According to American officials and a former Venezuelan military commander, the Trump administration held secret talks with military officers who were planning to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government. For many countries in Latin America (Brazil, Chile, Nicaragua, and Cuba included), the actions by the Trump administration fit into a long history of American intervention in the region. The White House declined to answer detailed questions about the talks with the rebels, but did disclose that it is important to engage in "dialogue with all Venezuelans who demonstrate a desire for democracy" and it wants to "bring positive change to a country that has suffered so much under Maduro."

Stirred by Sexual Abuse Report, States Take On Catholic Church

Attorneys general throughout the country are beginning to open inquiries into Catholic dioceses in the wake of the grand jury report in Pennsylvania detailing abuse of more than 1,000 children by hundreds of priests over the course of decades. Catholics are demanding more transparency from the church, and attorneys general in Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, and New Mexico have announced that they will investigate sex abuse by Catholic priests in their states and have already began asking dioceses for records. These actions come as Pope Francis is dealing with a crisis playing out around the world of abuse by priests.

DeVos Punts to Congress on Federally Funded Guns for Schools

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has punted to Congress the issue of whether states may use federal funds to purchase firearms for schools. Conservatives applauded the decision, as it allows local school districts to make the determination, but Democrats have come out against the decision and characterized it as an "abdication of the department's core function to help districts navigate the federal bureaucracy." It is expected that the budget negotiations in Congress will have an amendment dealing with the funds for firearms.

Trump Blasts Sessions for Charging GOP Members Before Midterms

On Twitter, President Trump has chastised Attorney General Jeff Sessions after the Justice Department indicted two Republican congressmen, as the indictments may endanger the Republicans' chances of holding the House of Representatives in the November midterm elections. Some analysts and Republicans have found the tweet by Trump to be not commentary, but an order, and one that may become part of an impeachment proceeding against the president.

Democrats, Eyeing a Majority, Prepare an Investigative Onslaught

Senior Democrats, rather than posture toward impeaching President Trump, have sought to pursue investigations into the Trump administration, including the potential of collusion with Russia, obstruction of justice, and what role Trump may have played in silencing two women that accused him of affairs. Congressional Republicans are fearful that the results may lead to impeachment of Trump or a referendum on Trump's policies and a Democratic wave in Congress in the midterm elections in November.

Mueller Will Accept Some Written Answers From Trump as Roger Stone Associate Subpoenaed

A political commentator and conspiracy theorist, Jerome Corsi, has received a subpoena from special counsel Robert Mueller. It is expected that Corsi will be questioned regarding his discussions with Roger Stone relating to the publication in 2016 from WikiLeaks of material damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign. Mueller's team has announced this week that they will accept some written answers from President Trump's team relating to the issue of collusion with Russia. It remains unclear whether or when Trump may sit with Mueller's team for an interview.

In 'Fear,' Bob Woodward Pulls Back the Curtain on the White House

Noted journalist Bob Woodward's new book, "Fear: Trump in the White House," is set to be released tomorrow. Extensive details in the book have already found their way to the pages of The New York Times and other major newspapers and magazines, and the details have been lurid. There have been reports of the back-stabbing among staffers and the unusual habits and statements of the President. Woodward's book delivers the background expected from one of the top journalists who is known for his extensive fact-checking.

Trump Lashes Out After Reports of 'Quiet Resistance' By Staff

Following a bombshell Op-Ed piece in The New York Times, President Trump has lashed out and vowed to find the person who sent it. The author of the Op-Ed stated that he or she is a senior Trump administration official, is part of a "quiet resistance" to the President's more dangerous policies, and is actively taking steps to stop the President from effectuating his agenda. Several top officials in Trump's cabinet have denied authoring the Op-Ed, including Vice President Mike Pence, who some suspected given his previous use of the word "lodestar," which appeared in the Op-Ed piece.

Ex-Trump Campaign Advisor Sentenced to 14 Days in Prison

A former Trump campaign advisor, George Papadopoulos, has been sentenced to 14 days in prison on charges of lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians throughout the campaign. During his sentencing, he said he was "deeply embarrassed and ashamed" of his actions, but vowed that he is "a good man who is eager for redemption." Prosecutors sought a maximum sentence of six months, but the 14 days is more than probation, which was the sentence Papadopoulos and his attorneys sought.

Michael Cohen Offers to Rip Up Deal for Stormy Daniels' Silence on Trump

Late Friday night, Michael Cohen made an offer to tear up a nondisclosure agreement with Stormy Daniels. This would free her from the contract and allow her to speak about the affair without fear of financial penalty, but it would also free President Trump from having to testify at a deposition about it. Michael Avenatti, the attorney representing Stormy Daniels, accused Cohen of "playing games and trying to protect Donald Trump."

Court Says No Time to Redraw North Carolina Maps Before Election

A court has ruled that there is insufficient time to redraw North Carolina's congressional maps ahead of the November midterm elections, even though the districts as currently drawn are illegal. The district lines were drawn by Republicans following the 2010 census. The court's ruling comes at a time when Democrats are campaigning throughout the country to pick up at least 23 seats in the House of Representatives and gain a majority in that chamber of Congress. The three-judge panel ruled that imposing a schedule for redrawing the districts would "unduly interfere with the State's electoral machinery and likely confuse voters and depress turnout."

California Supreme Court Holds That Conflict Invalidates Firm's Engagement Letter But Not Ability to Get Paid

The Supreme Court of California has voided an attorney's retainer agreement that contained a conflict waiver and an arbitration clause but opted not to disgorge the attorney of the fees earned through representing the client, J-M Manufacturing Company. The attorney Sheppard Mullin entered into an attorney-client relationship with J-M Manufacturing Company and put in a waiver of conflicts provision in the retainer agreement. While representing his client in a qui tam action, a company, South Tahoe, reported that Mullin had a conflict of interest and demanded his withdrawal from the case. Litigation ensued, and the Supreme Court of California has remanded the matter to the trial court for a determination of the appropriate amount of attorneys' fees that Mullin earned in his representation of J-M Manufacturing Company.

Lawyers Say They Face Persistent Racial and Gender Bias at Work

On Thursday, the American Bar Association released the results of a study showing that women and people of color continue to face barriers in the legal profession when it comes to being hired, promoted, and compensated. Women of color in particular reported the highest levels of bias and that they were not given equal access to the "high-quality" assignments that white men received. Women of all races reported having to "walk a tightrope" in their behavior, as they faced pressure to act a certain way and to do more of the "office housework", such as taking notes during meetings and ordering lunch for colleagues; hours that are not billable.

Amazon's Antitrust Antagonist Has Breakthrough Idea

Lina Khan may be one of Amazon's greatest menaces. She had an article published in the Yale Law Journal last year focusing on the antitrust aspects to Amazon's business. Khan wrote that Amazon is amassing power in numerous industries, increasing control over the economy, and is allowed to by antitrust standards of the 1970s, which valued prices and consumer happiness above all else. Khan's article became renowned for its new take on antitrust law and has spawned a flurry of articles in response. Whether antitrust laws will change remains to be seen, particularly as Amazon and other technology companies have extraordinary influence in Congress and lobbyist circles.

Bloomberg Forum in Beijing is Cancelled

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire media executive and former New York City mayor, has cancelled an event that was set to be held in Beijing in November. The event has apparently moved to Singapore because of the trade dispute between China and the United States, but the China Center for International Economic Exchanges chalked up the move to a conflict with "a number of large-scale events." The Trump administration is still considering enacting another round of tariffs this week.

Two Russians Named in Spy Poisoning

British detectives have announced that they identified two Russians who came into England under fake names and appear to have been involved in the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter. Britain has one of the most extensive surveillance networks in the world, and detectives with the help of "super-recognizers," humans with a gift for recognition, reviewed hour after hour of surveillance footage to find the two suspects. The men are believed to have returned to Russia after the poisoning.

Greek Court Rules for Russia in Fight Over Cybercrime Suspect

The Greek Supreme Court has ruled that Aleksandr Vinnik, a Russian, may return to Russia rather than be extradited to the United States as a potential witness in the investigation into Russian hacking in the 2016 presidential election. The federal government has accused him of running a Bitcoin exchange that laundered potentially as much as $4 billion in illegal funds. He has been in a Greek jail since July 2017 after having being arrested while on vacation.

India Gay Sex Ban is Struck Down

On Thursday, India's Supreme Court struck down a colonial-era law banning consensual gay sex. The eloquent, far-reaching decision is a monumental victory for gay rights, as the Justices of the Court went further than to decriminalize gay sex: they ruled that gay Indians must be accorded all the protections in India's Constitution. While swaths of India's population are extremely conservative, activists hope that this victory will lead to more progress.

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


U.S. Accuses North Korea of Plot to Hurt Economy as Spy Is Charged In Sony Hack

The Justice Department has charged one North Korean, Park Jin-hyok, for computer fraud and wire fraud in relation to the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment. While the charges were just unsealed, they were filed under seal in the days leading up to Trump's meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jung-un in June. While he was the only one charged in the hacking, the complaint described a team of hackers that are part of North Korea's intelligence agency and may have operated out of China or other Asian countries to hack into Sony, Britain's health care system, and Bangladesh's central bank to steal $81 million.

Showbiz Lawyers Question 'Handshake' Contracts

Gentlemen's agreements pervade Hollywood, and talent lawyers are known by those agreements to receive 5% of their clients' pay. Johnny Depp won a recent court battle against his former attorney, Jake Bloom, by having a judge rule that he may void the oral agreement with his Bloom. Now, Depp is seeking a full refund of the approximately $30 million he paid Bloom since 1999. This development is leading many lawyers in the industry to question whether they should seek a retroactive written agreement from clients despite the industry norm. It is likely that the matter between Depp and Bloom will go to trial next year and that Bloom will be able to recover, according to quantum meruit, a reasonable fee for his services.

Les Moonves Said to Be Negotiating Possible Exit From CBS

The chief executive of CBS, Les Moonves, is exiting the corporation and may be getting a payout while going out the door. There have been multiple allegations of sexual harassment against him, many of which were recounted in detail in the New Yorker magazine through reporting by Ronan Farrow. His departure is likely to change the face of the CBS Corporation, as he was also part of a boardroom battle over the control of CBS. With his departure, it is unclear who will take his place and how merger discussions may be affected.

Dorothy's Ruby Slippers Were Stolen 13 Years Ago and Have Been Found

The FBI announced on Tuesday that it recovered a pair of stolen ruby slippers that Judy Garland wore in "The Wizard of Oz" 13 years after the slippers were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum. A private donor offered a $1 million reward for locating the slippers, and leads came pouring into the FBI regarding the whereabouts of the slippers, but they were recovered in a sting operation in Minneapolis.

Prosecutors Decline to Charge Kevin Spacey and Steven Seagal in Sex Abuse Cases

Prosecutors at the Los Angeles County district attorney's office have announced that they will not file criminal charges against actors Kevin Spacey, Steven Seagal, and Anthony Anderson after sexual abuse allegations arose separately for the three actors. The office has declined to file charges against the three based on the statute of limitations. While California has removed the statute of limitations for some sex crimes, it is not retroactive and only applies after January 1, 2017.

New Spotify Initiative Makes the Big Record Labels Nervous

Spotify has begun experimenting with a novel arrangement with artists: direct licensing deals that give the artists a way onto the platform without having to go to a major label. Thus far, the deals have been mostly with less famous artists, but big record labels are concerned, as it may lead to a change in an industry that they have dominated for decades. Spotify would offer artists a bigger financial cut, ownership of their recordings, and allow them to license their songs to other streaming companies.

WarnerMedia Unveils New Diversity Protocols for Movies and Shows

With AT&T as its new parent company, WarnerMedia has pledged that all divisions of the company would use their "best efforts to ensure that diverse actors and crew members are considered for film, television and other projects, and to work with directors and producers who also seek to promote greater diversity and inclusion." The policy does not require Warner filmmakers and show runners to meet diversity benchmarks with cast and crew, which advocates had encouraged, but the policy is meaningful, as it is a commitment to greater diversity and inclusion in an industry that has been slow to embrace those principles.

Roy Moore Sues Sacha Baron Cohen and Showtime Seeking $95 Million

Following Roy Moore's appearance on the Showtime show, "Who is America?" starring Sacha Baron Cohen, he has filed suit against the network and actor for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and fraud. He accused Cohen, CBS, and Showtime of leading him to be interviewed and be "falsely painted, portrayed, mocked and with malice defamed . . . as a sex offender, which he is not." However, he conceded in the complaint that he did sign a release to his rights in being interviewed but that the release was obtained through fraud and was void and inoperative.

Dolores O'Riordan of Cranberries Died Accidentally

The lead singer of the group The Cranberries, Dolores O'Riordan, died from drowning after heavy drinking. She was found with no evidence of self-harm or injuries, but her blood alcohol level was more than four times the legal limit for driving in Britain, according to a London coroner.

Modeling in the #TimesUp Era

The Council of Fashion Designers of America, ahead of New York Fashion Week, released a pre-show missive calling for models to be protected in the #TimesUp era as never before. The missive calls for private changing areas to prevent predators from approaching models while they are changing or naked. There have been multiple scandals involving sexual assault and harassment in the fashion industry from photographers to stylists, and the #TimesUp movement has sought to protect models.

'Crazy Rich Asians' May Not Fly in China

As the first major Hollywood release in 25 years with an all-Asian cast, "Crazy Rich Asians" was a hit in the United States and topped the box office in North America for three consecutive weekends. It is unclear whether it will become a hit in China, however: China's strict quota system permits only a limited number of foreign films to be imported each year. Given China's "core socialist values," some analysts expect that the government will not permit the film to be imported because it depicts "profligate spending and vast wealth inequality."


Double Blow to Brazil Museum: Neglect, Then Flames

Many Brazilians had feared that the worst would happen one day, given the flammable plastic on the room, the uncovered wires, and the evidence of jury-rigged wiring. On Tuesday, a fire broke out at the National Museum of Brazil and destroyed the 200-year-old institution, leaving little left of the 20-million-item collection and serving as a symbol of a nation in disrepair. As recently as in July, citizens filed a complaint with the federal prosecutor's office noting the disrepair of the building, but what steps the museum took, if any, are not known. Prosecutors had warned the museum and two different federal government agencies of the risk of fire a month before the fire broke out, but there was no immediate action.

City Ballet and Chase Finlay Sued by Woman Who Says Nude Photos Were Shared

Alexandra Waterbury filed a suit in New York State Supreme Court against the New York City Ballet and her ex-boyfriend Chase Finlay for sharing sexually explicit photos and videos of her taken without her knowledge or consent. Finlay resigned when the company began questioning him regarding Waterbury's allegations. Her lawsuit also claims that she was not alone in being victimized: other female dancers were the subject of text exchanges that included lewd and misogynistic language among members of the company and a least one patron.

Gallerist Pleads Guilty to Filing False Tax Returns

Mary Boone, a veteran gallerist in the New York art world, pleaded guilty to filing false federal income tax returns, according to law enforcement officials. She used business funds to pay for personal expenses, including remodeling her apartment, and then claimed those personal expenses as business deductions, making her profit of $3.7 million appear to be a mere $52,000 profit in 2011. The United States Attorney called it a shell game "with bank accounts to hide her true assets." She agreed to pay restitution and is scheduled to be sentenced in January.

Contractor Sues Glenstone Museum Foundation for $24 Million

One month before the unveiling of the revamped Glenstone Museum, a contractor has sued the foundation that runs the institution and is seeking over $24 million in damages. The contractor has accused the foundation of breach of contract and mismanagement, as it added a "torrent of changes" causing disruptions and delays for the work. The museum is set to open on October 4th, and the foundation has not commented on the pending litigation.

The Paul Taylor Company Without Paul Taylor

The modern dance visionary Paul Taylor has died, but he had meticulously planned how his company would proceed after his death. The organization now is comprised of two dance companies, an archive, and a school, and Michael Novak is at the head of the foundation. In May, Taylor began training Novak to head the foundation in his stead. This differs from the approach of others, such as Merce Cunningham, who made plans to dissolve the dance company after a final, two-year tour, and Martha Graham, whose legacy ended up in litigation.

Frank Lloyd Wright House for Sale

A Frank Lloyd Wright home in Phoenix is now for sale for nearly $13 million after being saved from demolition and a promise to become an architectural school. The plans fell through for the conversion into an architectural school based on fund-raising concerns, but neighbors had expressed concerns about having a nonresidential use of the property in a neighborhood.

New 'Popular' Oscar Scrapped by Film Academy for 2019

A recent decision by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been reversed. There will not be a category for achievement in "popular" films, but the Academy is likely to explore other options for how to "honor excellence across a wider scope of films" than is currently happening with the awards. When the decision was initially announced, it prompted backlash, as there was no detail as to what would constitute a "popular" film.

Burberry to Stop Burning Clothing and Other Goods It Cannot Sell

This summer, Burberry disclosed that it had burned tens of millions of dollars of unsold goods to maintain "brand value." On Thursday, it announced that it would no longer burn unsold goods. This is despite the fact that burning unwanted items is widespread in the retail and consumer industry to preserve high-end prices. Burberry's actions may be to meant to impress its younger shoppers, as they tend more than older generations to make purchasing decisions based on ethical and environmental concerns.

Church Statues Get an Eye-Popping Paint Job

In the Asturias region of Spain, a recent repainting of figures has drawn unwanted attention. A local shopkeeper obtained permission from the clergy to repaint several figures from the 15th Century in a chapel, and the result: St. Anne has fuchsia lips, black eyeliners, and a bright dress. The Virgin Mary has turquoise hair, and baby Jesus looks akin to a Playmobil figure. It is not yet known whether the new paint can be removed and the original paint recovered.


USA Gymnastics Chief Forced Out

The head of USA Gymnastics, Kerry Perry, was forced to resign over the weekend by the United States Olympic Committee after holding the job for less than a year and after having dealt with the recent sexual abuse scandal. Senator Richard Blumenthal released a statement, admonishing Perry for her "willful and heartless blindness to the concerns of survivors who were abused by Larry Nassar." USA Gymnastics is expected to find an interim chief executive while a search committee looks for a permanent replacement.

The National Football League Struggles to Handle Issue of Tackling

The National Football League (NFL), in an effort to reduce concussions, adopted a new rule prohibiting any player from lowering his head to make contact with an opponent. Violation of the rule may lead to a 15-yard penalty, an ejection, a fine, or a suspension. The new rule comes as the NFL struggles to deal with the fact that players crashing into each other is both a reason many enjoy watching the sport and apparently a proximate cause of the brain disease known as CTE that has led to the death of several players.

Nike Returns to Familiar Strategy With Kaepernick Ad Campaign

Nike has long relied on controversy in keeping an image of "edgy youthfulness," and that has continued with the revealing of its new ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, the polarizing former NFL quarterback. The controversy surrounding Kaepernick began in 2016, when he began kneeling during the national anthem before NFL games to protest "racism, police brutality and social injustice." The latest ad campaign has prompted some to burn or discard their Nike equipment, presenting a problem for the NFL, as it is a major partner of Nike's and is being sued by Kaepernick for colluding not to give him a contract because of his actions during the national anthem.


New Yorker Festival Pulls Steve Bannon as Headliner Following High-Profile Dropouts

President Trump's former strategist Stephen Bannon will not appear at this year's New Yorker Festival. The magazine announced this change to its staff by email last week after several high-profile headliners vowed not to appear if Bannon was going to be invited, including John Mulaney, Judd Apatow, Jack Antonoff, and Jim Carrey.

NBC News and Ronan Farrow Trade Jabs Over Weinstein Reporting

NBC News and Ronan Farrow, the reporter who broke the Harvey Weinstein story in The New Yorker magazine, traded jabs last week. Farrow accused the news network of impeding the reporting of the story, which caused him to go to The New Yorker magazine for publication of an award-winning series centered on Weinstein's decades of sexual abuse and harassment in the industry. Farrow called NBC's handling of the matter "a massive breach of journalistic ethics", as he claims it attempted to kill the investigation into Weinstein.

'Five Eyes' Nations Quietly Demand Government Access to Encrypted Data

The Trump administration has warned technology firms that it and Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada (the "Five Eyes" nations) will demand "lawful access" to "encrypted emails, text messages and voice communications," and even threatened to compel compliance if the technology companies refuse to provide access. The issue has been a carry-over from the Obama administration, as criminals have taken to communicating in encrypted formats that are not easily accessed by intelligence agencies. On this issue, Congress has not shown that it is ready to take on technology companies and legislate on the issue of whether companies, such as Apple, Facebook, and Google, should be required to provide government investigators to all communications in their products and services.

Facebook's Private Groups Offer Refuge to Fringe Figures

Alex Jones, the founder of InfoWars and someone who obtained fame through spreading conspiracy theories has not been banned from Apple, Facebook, YouTube, and Facebook. Facebook groups have allowed fans of his and others who operate on the fringes of political discourse to gather. The groups, which are private, are safer for them to communicate, as the private groups' conversations do not disseminate into the broader Twittersphere, where it could be violating the company's policies, as happened with Twitter.

A Facebook War: Libyans Battle on Streets and Screens

Facebook has become one of the strongest tools in the arsenal of Libya's fighters. It has served as a platform for fighters to post maps and suggestions for battle plans. In July, Facebook began removing misinformation from its pages in relation to events happening in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and India as online rumors were leading to violence against ethnic minorities. Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, has defended Facebook's efforts to limit disinformation and hate speech, and it has a team of Arabic-speaking content reviewers that review posts and remove prohibited content.

What Jack Dorsey and Sheryl Sandberg Taught Congress and Vice Versa

When Jack Dorsey, the head of Twitter, and Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, testified before the House and Senate, they touched on some of the "deepest tech policy issues" rather than delve into apologies like some analysts feared. Their testimony highlighted the difficulty that legislators have had in dealing with the tech issues that have arisen in the past several years with Twitter, Facebook, and other social media having an outsized influence on American lives. Dorsey's testimony earned plaudits for his candor, by not appearing for the hearing appeared to be tone-deaf on the debate of how and why tech companies should be regulated.

Myanmar Sentences Reuters Journalists to Seven Years in Prison

Myanmar has sentenced Reuters journalists to seven years in prison for documenting the genocide of the Rohingya minority. The International Criminal Court ruled that it was empowered to exercise jurisdiction to investigate the deportation of the Rohingya Muslims as a crime against humanity. The United Nations has estimated 10,000 deaths, gang rapes, and widespread destruction in the 700,000 Rohingya men, women, and children traveling from Myanmar into Bangladesh beginning in 2017. Myanmar's de facto leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, has not held the nation's military leaders accountable for their role in deporting the Rohingya.

As Germans Seek News, YouTube Delivers Far-Right Tirades

In more conservative parts of Germany, such as Saxony, a far-right fringe group has been growing in numbers, and many have taken to going on social media to get their news and correspond with like-minded people. YouTube has been an unexpected place for them to gather, as the platform has a recommendation system that allows it to get people to watch more videos and thus increase the company's advertisement revenues, but also brings those on the far-right together in a way that other social media platforms do not. Users looking for news may be drawn to a far-right video and be "sent down a rabbit hole of misinformation and hate," which was shown when in Germany false reports emerged that a man died trying to stop asylum seekers from molesting a local woman.

September 4, 2018

The Real Reason Why Artists Like Prince And Aretha Franklin Die Without A Will

By Daniel Scott
Daniel Scott

As if the death of the Queen of Soul was not tragic enough, then came the news that Aretha Franklin died without a will. How could this happen, again? Franklin did not die suddenly or unexpectedly -- she was 76 years old and her health had been declining for some time. Further, another music icon, Prince, died only two years earlier without having any will or estate plan, and his estate has been a mess ever since. Shouldn't she have learned her lesson and prioritized getting her affairs in order?

The reality is, there is a long list of famous people who died without having a will, and a recent study shows that 60% of all Americans currently do not have wills. Why? Some will say that the reason is simply that artists do not want to think about their deaths, that they feel a sense of immortality, and that in terms of priorities, planning for death is just not at the top of the list and feels like it can always be taken care of tomorrow. While there is some truth to these assertions, the problem is actually much more complex. In fact, the real reason why artists like Prince and Franklin die without wills has less to do with the artists failing to act and more to do with how we -- legal, tax and financial experts, as well as other professional advisors -- are addressing the issue. To see the three things "we" are doing wrong, visit:

September 3, 2018

Week In Review

By Nick Crudele
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

General News

United Nations Says Rohingya Purge Is Genocide

The United Nations (UN) declared that the mass killing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar is genocide. The Myanmar army generals and commanders carrying out the genocide should face trial for their actions, according to an investigation by UN experts. More than 700,000 Muslims have fled their homes as the government's Buddhist-majority security force has waged a military campaign against what the government claims are Rohingya militants.

Judge Blocks 3D Gun Blueprints From Being Released

A federal judge extended an earlier ruling that the blueprints for a 3-D printed gun cannot be published over the internet until a lawsuit trying to stop its publication is resolved. Nineteen states attorney generals and Washington, D.C. argue that 3-D printed guns are difficult to detect and trace and are a threat to national safety. Judge Robert S. Lasnik of the District Court in Seattle wrote that First Amendment rights "are dwarfed by the irreparable harms the states are likely to suffer if the existing restrictions are withdrawn and that, over all, the public interest strongly supports maintaining the status quo through the pendency of this litigation." Despite the judge's orders, the self-described crypto-anarchist who owns the plans said that he would instead send them to buyers in the mail for whatever they are willing to pay.

Senate Confirms Justice Department Veteran to Lead Civil Division

Joseph H. Hunt was confirmed by the Senate to lead the Justice Department's civil division. Hunt, who has served as an attorney in the Justice Department for nearly 20 years, was confirmed despite the fact that he had served as chief of staff to the embattled attorney general Jeff Sessions. Hunt helped guide the Trump administration through the firing of James Comey as the F.B.I. director and the drafting of the president's travel bans.

Hurricane Maria Death Toll Raised in Puerto Rico

The Puerto Rican government raised its official Hurricane Maria death toll to 2,975, which is 46 times larger than described previously. The new toll includes people who died from storm related deaths, as well as those killed during the storm.

Senate Considers Renaming Building After McCain

The Senate is weighing whether it should rename the Russell Senate Building to honor the late Senator John McCain. McCain's name would replace Senator Richard B. Russell Jr's name. Russell, a New Deal Democrat, led the filibuster that almost killed the Civil Rights Act, a show of defiance that underscored his strident support of racial segregation and white supremacy.

Trumps "Flippers" View Not Allowed at Trial

A defense lawyer, during his closing arguments in a routine drug trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan, questioned the credibility of
one of the government's cooperating witnesses by referring to Paul Manafort's conviction and President Trump's "flippers" comment about cooperating witnesses. The attorney said the witness' testimony "should be disregarded because it's not true....You know what's funny? Yesterday, Manafort was convicted." The comment drew an immediate "objection" from the prosecutor. At a sidebar, the lawyer explained that he wanted to tell the jury about President Trump's criticism of cooperating witnesses when he called them "flippers." The judge did not allow the comments, as they were not evidence presented in the case.

Companies Feel the Squeeze of New Immigration Limits

The Trump administration is constricting the flow of foreign workers into the country by limiting the number of legal arrivals. The government is denying more work visas, asking for additional information, and delaying approvals more frequently than in the past, which hospitals, hotels, technology companies, and other businesses say are hindering them from filling jobs with the foreign workers they need.

Unions Still Fear Tighter Labor Rules

While the Trump administration seemed to suffer a setback when a judge rebuffed its efforts to impose tighter labor rules in federal agencies, the judge largely found fault with the means by which it had acted, and not with the ends it was pursuing - that is, to make it easier to fire federal employees and limit the power of their unions. Workers and union officials are therefore bracing for the administration's next legal moves.

Internet Companies Try to Make Privacy Laws On Their Own Terms

In the face of mounting regulations on privacy from Europe and California, Internet companies are lobbying Washington to have a say in any U.S. federal privacy laws. Companies like Facebook, Google, IBM, and Microsoft are lobbying the Trump administration and other policy makers to draft legislation to overrule California's law and put into place a friendlier law.

Tariffs on Canadian Paper Overturned

The U.S. International Trade Commission, an American government agency that reviews unfair trade practices, overturned tariffs on Canadian newsprint, saying that American paper producers are not harmed by newsprint imports. The decision eliminates tariffs that have been in effect since January. The Commission said it "determined that a U.S. industry is not materially injured or threatened with material injury by reason of imports of uncoated groundwood paper from Canada."

China Withholding Deadly Influenza Samples

The Chinese government is withholding samples of a rapidly evolving and potentially deadly influenza virus which the United States could use to develop vaccines and treatments. Normally, such exchanges are routine under rules established by the WHO, but as the US and China spar over trade, there are worries that the exchange of medical supplies and information could slow or stop, threatening the preparedness for the next biological threat.

Nicaraguan Government Accused of Rights Violations

The United Nations accused Nicaragua's government of turning a blind eye while armed mobs rounded up, raped and tortured protesters. The report cited disproportionate use of force and extrajudicial killings by the police, disappearances, widespread arbitrary detentions, and the use of torture and sexual violence in detention centers. Nicaragua said the report ignored violence aimed at overthrowing a democratically elected government.

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


Ninth Circuit Dismisses Copyright Infringement Claim

The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a copyright infringement lawsuit brought against Thomas Gonzales by a company that holds the copyrights to the 2015 Adam Sandler movie "The Cobbler". The company accused Gonzales of downloading the movie illegally. The court said Cobbler's direct infringement claim failed because the only connection between Gonzales and the infringement was the internet service subscription. Although Cobbler's allegations fit the definition of infringement, they weren't supported by an independent investigation and were not "enough to raise a right to relief above a speculative level." The court said that Cobbler had to prove that Gonzales actively encouraged or induced copyright infringement.

Hollywood Strives for Diversity Among its Writers

Television executives are trying to diversify their writers' rooms amid heightened scrutiny and in the wake of #OscarsSoWhite and other controversies. Diverse shows and storylines have also stoked demand because many of these new series have people of color and women as lead characters and a desire to find the next "Empire" or "Jane the Virgin".

Disney Reaches Deal for $15 Minimum Wage

Disney reached a deal with its Walt Disney World Resort unions to hike the minimum wage for workers to at least $15 an hour by 2021. The deal, expected to be approved by the union members, would also retroactively pay workers the greater of an additional 50 cents an hour or 3% for all hours worked since September of 2017.


Shakeup at City Ballet

The New York City Ballet announced that male principal dancers Chase Finlay, Amar Ramasar, and Zachary Catazaro, would not be performing in the coming season. A statement by the Ballet's board said the company had "received a letter alleging inappropriate communications made via personal text and email by three members of the company." After an investigation by the company it was "determined that each man had violated the norms of conduct that New York City Ballet expects from its employees."

Carnegie Library Archivist Accused of Stealing $8 Million Worth of Books

An archivist in charge of the rare books collection at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh was arrested on charges that he and a book dealer stole about 300 books and other artifacts worth about $8 million over two decades. Their arrests last month sent a shudder across the rare books industry, a niche world based on trust, where confidantes are currency and handshake deals are commonplace.

"Queer Museum" To Reopen in Brazil

The "Queer Museum" exhibition, which closed last year after much controversy and heated debates, will reopen in a public park in Rio de Janeiro. The exhibit featured such works as a painting of the Virgin Mary cradling a monkey and sacramental wafers with words like "vagina" and "penis" written on them, and sparked national debates about freedom of expression and what qualifies as art.

Jewish Heirs Challenge Lost Art Foundation

The German Lost Art Foundation, a database of art likely looted by the Nazis, is being criticized by the heirs of a Nazi victim for removing from public view some of the databases work after lobbying from several dealers. The database removed works by Austrian artist Egon Schiele, which were believed to be owned by Viennese performer Fritz Grunbaum and confiscated by the Nazis after he was sent to a concentration camp.

Erdogan Statue Removed in Germany

A golden statue of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan installed in a square in the German city of Wiesbaden has been removed after outcries and security concerns. The 4-meter-tall statue depicted Erdogan with his right hand up in the air, drawing comparisons to a statue of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. The statue was erected as part of the Wiesbaden Biennale art festival. Germany has a significant Turkish minority and some people tried to deface the statue, vandalizing it with an expletive and the words "Turkish Hitler."


3 Killed at Madden Video Game Tournament

A video game tournament in Miami turned deadly when one of the contestants killed two other contestants and himself. The Madden Tournament
turned deadly when David Katz shot fellow contestants Taylor Robertson, Eli Clayton, and 11 other contestants after he was eliminated from the tournament.

Arbitrator Denies the National Football League's Request to Dismiss Kaepernick's Collusion Case

An arbitrator declined to dismiss Colin Kaepernick's collusion case against the National Football League after the latter's request for a summary judgment.


First Black Woman to Cover White House to Be Honored

Alice Allison Dunnigan, the first African American Women to report on the White House, will be honored with a bronze statue at the Newseum in Washington D.C. Dunnigan was the first accredited black women to cover the White House, later became the head of the Associated Negro Press Washington Bureau, and spent 14 years filing stories for 112 African American newspapers.

Ally of South Korea's Moon Conspired to Rig Opinion

A special counsel in South Korea found that a political ally of President Moon Jae-in conspired with online bloggers to illegally influence public opinion ahead of Moon's election last year. However, the special counsel found no evidence that Moon was involved.

August 27, 2018

Week In Review

By Jana S. Farmer
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

General News

John S. McCain Passes Away At 81

Vietnam War hero John S. McCain served two terms in the House of Representatives, and six in the Senate, and was a two-time contender for the presidency. A staunch supporter of the First Amendment, Mr. McCain strongly disagreed with the recent claims that news media was "the enemy of the American people," noting that "the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press."

SEC Will Rehear Cases After SCOTUS Ruling

After the Supreme Court's ruling this past June that the Securities and Exchange Commission had failed to properly appoint administrative law judges it uses in cases where it has identified misconduct by someone involved in securities markets, the SEC announced this week that it reaffirmed appointments of five judges but that pending cases would be reheard by different in-house judges.

Federal Student Support Program May Potentially Be Used To Fund Guns For Schools

Following inquiries from the States of Texas and Oklahoma, the Education Department is considering allowing the use of federal funding that is part of the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants to purchase guns for educators. The student support program's stated purpose is to provide academic and enrichment opportunities in the country's poorest schools, including improving the use of technology for digital literacy.;

National Inquirer's Chief Granted Immunity in Cohen Case; So Was Trump Organization's Chief Financial Officer

David Pecker, the CEO of American Media, Inc. and publisher of the National Enquirer, received immunity in exchange for meeting with the prosecutors and allegedly sharing details about helping Michael Cohen bury negative stories in 2016. Allen Weisselberg, who has served as chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, reportedly received a similar deal. Weisselberg allegedly helped reimburse Cohen through the Trump Organization and the President's personal trust for the payment to Stormy Daniels for staying silent over her alleged affair with Donald Trump.

Lawyer's Remarks To The Media Result in Subpoena From New York's Tax Authorities

Lanny J. Davis, Michael Cohen's counsel, told CNN and NBC News this week that he believes that Cohen has information that would be "of interest" both in Washington and New York State, referring to the New York State's investigation into the Trump Foundation into possible tax law violations. New York State's Department of Taxation and Finance promptly followed with a subpoena for relevant information.

Elon Musk Will Not Be Taking Tesla Private

Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO, announced that Tesla will not become a privately held company after all, claiming that the process of going private is more involved than anticipated and it would be a time-consuming distraction.

Presidential Tweet On South Africa Land Seizures Causes Controversy

President Trump announced on Twitter this week that he was directing the U.S. Secretary of State to scrutinize what he said was the targeting of white farmers for land seizures and "large-scale killing" in South Africa. This tweet appeared to embrace a common talking point among white supremacists and thus drew sharp rebukes.

Reality Winner Gets Five Years In Federal Prison

Reality Winner, a former Air Force translator and intelligence contractor, was sentenced this week to five years and three months in federal prison for the unauthorized release of government information to the media. She is reportedly the first person to be sentenced under the Espionage Act since President Trump took office.

Female Activist In Saudi Arabia Is Facing Death Penalty

Israa al-Ghomgham, a 29-year-old female activist, is accused of encouraging demonstrations in the Qatif area of Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia for greater rights for the Shiite Muslim minority. The Saudi authorities are reportedly seeking capital punishment for her, which is highly unusual in cases of nonviolent political crime.

"Crazy Rich Asians" Author Is Wanted In Singapore For Defaulting On Military Service

Kevin Kwan, the author of the book Crazy Rich Asians, is wanted in Singapore for defaulting on his military service, according to the country's defense ministry. Kwan left Singapore at age 11 and has lived in the United States since. He had tried to renounce his Singapore citizenship in 1994, but his application was denied. Singapore makes it illegal for men to give up citizenship without having completed their military service of about two years.

Below, for your browsing convenience, are summaries of news reports in categories divided into Entertainment, Art, Sports, and Media:


The Queen of Soul Dies Intestate, Which May Lead To Potential Family Disputes

According to documents filed this week in a Michigan court by Aretha Franklin's four sons, she died without a will. High-profile probate proceedings may last years and cause familial infighting, and are especially complicated when music rights are involved.

Weinstein's Accuser Settled A Sexual Assault Claim Of Her Own

Asia Argento, an Italian actress who accused Harvey Weinstein of rape last October, settled a claim by actor and musician Jimmy Bennett, who reportedly claimed she sexually assaulted him when he was 17.

Can Sacha Baron Cohen Be Held Liable For His Pranks?

Embarrassed victims of Sacha Baron Cohen's pranks consider lawsuits against the comedian and producer, but will they win? Entertainment lawyers who weighed in on the issue pointed out that prospective prank victims signed releases designed to protect Cohen and his producers from liability.

Renowned Countertenor David Daniels Is Accused Of Rape

David Daniels will take a leave of absence from his position as a music professor at the University of Michigan following allegations that he and his now-husband drugged and raped a young singer in 2010 after a performance in Houston. The allegations are reportedly under investigation.

Art and Cultural Heritage

Italy Seeks Repatriation of A Painting From The Frick

Italy is seeking repatriation of the portrait of Prince Camillo Borghese by the French painter François Gérard, which the Frick Collection acquired last year. Italy has revoked the export license for the piece, claiming that the application for the license was incomplete and did not specify that the subject of the portrait was Napoleon's brother-in-law, and that the painting is a "rare and significant document of the Napoleonic era in Italy".

Protesters Topple Confederate Statue

Protesters who gathered at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this week to oppose possible sanctions against a student who splashed red ink on the "Silent Sam" monument in April of this year toppled the confederate statue and tried to bury its head. University officials intervened and removed the monument to a Confederate soldier.

Monuments Of Civil War Will Remain, With Update

North Carolina's Historical Commission voted to reject a request to remove three Confederate monuments from the grounds of the State Capitol in Raleigh. Instead, the Commission voted to add information providing more context about slavery and the civil rights movement to the displays and urged the addition of a monument honoring the contributions of African-Americans.


Texans' Cheerleader Director Steps Down As Several More Cheerleaders File Suit

Altovise Gary, the director of the Houston Texans cheerleaders, is named as a defendant in a lawsuit alleging that she failed to protect her staff from harassment and intimidation. She resigned this week, citing personal reasons. Meanwhile, several more teams were recently accused of mistreating cheerleaders, including the New Orleans Saints, the Miami Dolphins, and the Washington Redskins, as the National Football League (NFL) works to counter the perception that it does little to promote women.;

Ex-Coach Charged With Lying About Nassar

Kathie Klages, the former women's gymnastics coach at Michigan State University, was charged with lying to investigators in connection with the sex abuse scandal involving Larry Nassar.

Urban Meyer Suspended For Three Games For Mishandling Abuse Allegations

Ohio State University suspended Urban Meyer, one of the nation's most successful football coaches, after an investigation concluded that he had mishandled domestic abuse allegations against a former assistant coach and waited too long to report them to the University.

FIFA Ousts Top Lawyer

Marco Villiger, who was the head of FIFA's legal department under Sepp Blatter, left the organization this week. Blatter was reportedly forced out in 2015 after a U.S. Department of Justice indictment revealed a corruption scandal that devastated the organization's top leadership and its reputation. Villiger was the last senior official remaining from the Blatter era.

Fisher Remains Confident In Face of Allegations Of NCAA Violations

Following this week's allegations by former Aggies linebacker Santino Marchiol of possible NCAA violations, New Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher expressed his confidence that things have been handled properly since he arrived from Florida State, stating that he is open to inquiries.

NFL Will Not Revise Its New Helmet Rule, Despite Criticism

The NFL reaffirmed this week that it will not change its recently-reworked rule for use of a helmet to initiate contact. The rule in question forbids players from intentionally lowering their heads before contact with others. Critics of the rule, including players and coaches, pointed out that even in a perfect form tackle, the body is led by the head.

Head Of Palestinian Federation Banned By FIFA For A Year

FIFA banned the head of the Palestinian Football Association from attending soccer games for a year for allegedly inciting hatred and violence toward star player Lionel Messi to stop Argentina's national team from playing in Israel.

Peru's Guerrero Is Blocked From Playing

After being cleared to play at the World Cup by Switzerland's Supreme Court, Peruvian footballer Paolo Guerrero is banned from playing again after the Swiss Federal Tribunal ended the freeze on his 14-month doping ban. Guerrero reportedly tested positive for a metabolite of cocaine at a World Cup qualifying game against Argentina last Fall. He claims that the detected cocaine was not performance enhancing and was accidentally consumed in contaminated tea.

Unified Korean Team Somewhat Eases Tensions Between North and South Korea, But Not Quite

A unified Korean women's basketball team is doing well at the Asian Games in Indonesia, but it is perhaps less successful at alleviating fears of war on the Korean Peninsula. While Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, is trying to soften the image of his regime through sports diplomacy, many in South Korea remain skeptical as they have not yet seen North Korea truly cease hostilities and threats toward the South.


Further Russian Hacking Attempts; Lawmakers To Seek Further Sanctions

Microsoft Corporation disclosed that it detected and seized websites created in recent weeks by hackers allegedly linked to a Russian military intelligence unit that sought to interfere with conservative American think tanks that supported continued sanctions against Russia. Lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle expressed an intent to seek further sanctions to cripple Russia's struggling economy.

New Research Shows That Facebook Fueled Anti-Refugee Attacks in Germany

Researchers at the University of Warwick (England) scrutinized over 3,000 attacks on refugees in Germany over a period of two years. They concluded that in towns where Facebook use was higher than average, attacks on refugees increased measurably.

Turkey Lifts Travel Ban For German Journalist Facing Trial

A Turkish court has allowed Mesale Tolu, a German journalist of Turkish ancestry, to travel prior to her trial. Tolu, who was working in Istanbul, was arrested last year on charges of spreading propaganda for terrorist organizations. Germany's foreign minister welcomed the move as "a step toward improving our relations with Turkey," but noted that at least seven other German citizens are jailed in Turkey for alleged political reasons.

Google Deletes YouTube Channels Tied To Iran

Google terminated 39 YouTube channels, 6 blogs on its Blogger service and 13 Google+ accounts that it determined were linked to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting and were running an influence campaign since January 2017.

August 23, 2018

NYC Employers Must Post Sexual Harassment Poster and Provide Fact Sheet to New Hires by September 6th

By Kristine A. Sova

Earlier this year, the Stop Sexual Harassment in New York City Act went into effect. One of the law's requirements is that NYC employers must post and display a sexual harassment rights and responsibilities poster and provide a fact sheet to new hires by September 6, 2018. This month, the New York City Commission on Human Rights published both the model poster and fact sheet. The model poster is available at, and the fact sheet is available

August 20, 2018

Week in Review

By Angela Peco
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker


President Trump Revokes Ex-Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan's Security Clearance

The White House announced that John Brennan's clearance was being revoked due to his "erratic behavior" that "far exceeded the limits and far exceeded any professional courtesy that may have been due to him." High-level intelligence officials typically keep their clearances after they leave their agencies so that they can advise their successors.

Brennan described Trump's decision as an attempt to scare and silence his critics. Civil rights lawyers saw the move in a similar light, arguing that it was an abuse of presidential power to punish someone for publicly criticizing an elected official. Other clearances are also under review. Reports have Trump reaching into the bureaucracy to review the clearance of a midlevel Justice Department official, Bruce Ohr, whom he believes helped start the investigation into Russian election interference.

Trump Signs Defense Spending Bill and Identifies Provisions That He Has Authority to Override

In a signing statement released after the public signing of the bill, Trump deemed about 50 of its statutes to be unconstitutional intrusions on his presidential power. Among them was a ban on spending military funds on any activity that recognizes Russian sovereignty over Crimea. Signing statements are meant to lay out the president's interpretation of new laws. The practice became controversial under President George W. Bush, who challenged more provisions of new laws than all previous presidents had combined. In 2006, the American Bar Association took the position that presidents should not use signing statements, but should instead veto legislation if it has constitutional defects. That would give Congress the opportunity to override that veto if lawmakers disagreed.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations Fires Senior Counterintelligence Agent Peter Strzok

The Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) ordered Peter Strzok fired, even though the FBI's disciplinary office decided that he should be suspended for 60 days and demoted. Strzok was removed from the FBIs investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election after his anti-Trump texts surfaced. His texts became emblematic of President Trump's assertion that an alleged deep state of bureaucrats opposed to him was undermining his presidency. Along with the texts, Strzok was also accused of sending a highly sensitive search warrant to his personal email account.

Mueller Team Wants Jail Time for Trump Advisor Papadopoulos

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is seeking a six-month jail sentence for Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos. He is arguing that Papadopoulos misled investigators about the "timing, extent and nature" of his meetings with Russian operatives, which in turn caused damage to the government's inquiry.

White House Counsel, Don McGahn, Said to Be Cooperating Extensively with Mueller Probe

McGahn is cooperating extensively with Mueller's obstruction of justice inquiry, giving at least three voluntary interviews totalling 30 hours. He's discussed the president's decision to fire former FBI director James Comey, the ouster of national security advisor Michael Flynn, and Trump's attempts to fire the special counsel himself. McGahn's cooperation was part of the strategy of Trump's first team of criminal lawyers, and reportedly continued due to a suspicion that he was being set up to take the blame for any possible illegal acts of obstruction.

President Trump Directs Securities and Exchange Commission to Study Quarterly Earnings Requirements for Public Firms

President Trump has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to consider eliminating requirements that publicly traded companies post quarterly earnings reports, directing the regulator to study moving corporate America to reporting earnings twice a year. The disclosures are required under federal securities law and keep investors informed about the financial health of publicly traded companies. Globally, European regulators abolished requirements that companies file quarterly reports in 2013, while Japan moved closer to current American rules, requiring quarterly reporting starting in 2008.

Federal Securities Regulators Subpoena Tesla Following Musk's Tweet

The SEC served Tesla with a subpoena days after regulators began inquiring about a Twitter post by Tesla's chief executive, Elon Musk. Musk tweeted that he is considering converting Tesla to a private company and that the financing for this transaction had been "secured." Tesla shares soared after the news, but it soon became clear that neither Tesla nor Musk had lined up the necessary financing. The serving of a subpoena indicates that an inquiry has advanced to a more formal, serious stage, but the scope of the SEC's investigation remains unclear.

Justice Kavanaugh's Record Suggests That He Would Favor Religious Interests in School Debates and Unlock Funding for Religious Education

School voucher champions see Judge Kavanaugh as a critical vote in overturning longstanding constitutional prohibitions, often called Blaine amendments, that outlaw government funding of religious institutions in more than three dozen states. The amendments have been used to challenge programs that allow taxpayer funding to follow children to private and parochial schools. There are currently 26 states with voucher systems that provide a certificate of government funding for a student at a school chosen by the student or the student's parents. Kavanaugh's record suggests that he is supportive of school choice and of including religious schools in voucher programs. Over his career, Kavanaugh has argued in favor of breaking down barriers between church and state and has filed amicus briefs to support the right of religious groups to gain access to public school facilities.

Judge Bars Statements Made by Guantanamo Detainees During FBI Interrogations

A military commission judge ruled that prosecutors cannot use statements made by five Guantanamo detainees accused of aiding the September 11th attacks. The statements were made to FBI interrogators shortly after their transfer out of a "black site" prison. The FBI had sent in a "clean team", whose agents did not know what the detainees had previously said, to start over with questioning them and to get the statements in question. The detainees' defense lawyers argued that the lingering effects of their clients' previous torture also tainted those subsequent interrogation sessions conducted by "clean teams" and, as such, the government is not allowed to introduce any of the clean team statements.

Justice Department is Increasingly Filing Briefs in Support of States with Voter ID Laws

The Justice Department has not launched any efforts challenging state voter ID laws and has instead supported states that advocate for tighter restrictions on voter registration. According to critics of these laws, and of the government position vis-à-vis these laws, there is no evidence of widespread impropriety during elections to justify these restrictions. Instead, the aim of laws adding requirements like photo IDs is to discourage certain voters and empower the Republican party.

Four U.S. Agencies Deny Responsibility for Unaccompanied Children Released from Custody to Sponsors in the U.S.

Speaking before a Senate subcommittee, administration officials acknowledged that they have no system for tracking the tens of thousands of migrant children who are released from federal custody and handed over to sponsors. They said they have neither the authority nor the funding to exercise that degree of oversight. The director of the federal immigration courts testified that unaccompanied minors were about twice as likely as other migrants to fail to appear in court and are ordered deported in abstentia, although most remain the country illegally.

U.S. and China Started Mid-Level Trade Talks

Chinese and U.S. negotiators are reportedly working on a plan to hold talks to end the trade dispute at a summit where President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are expected to meet. Beyond tariffs, currency concerns have also resurfaced. The Treasury Department will seek to pressure the Chinese to lift the value of their currency. The Chinese government sets a baseline for the currency and only allows it to fluctuate within a narrow band. Since April, China's currency has fallen about 10% against the dollar, making Chinese products cheaper for foreigners to purchase and helping offset the impact of U.S. tariffs on Chinese products.

The Trump Administration is Sanctioning Companies Helping North Korea

The Treasury Department announced new sanctions against three organizations based in China, Singapore, and Russia for facilitating illicit shipments to North Korea. The shipments violated both U.S. and United Nations sanctions, and included exports of alcohol, tobacco, and refined oil products.

U.S. is Reluctant to Agree to a Peace Declaration Between North and South Koreas

So far, American officials have refused to embrace a formal peace declaration to end the decades-long Korean War. North Korea insists on securing it before moving forward with denuclearization, while the Trump administration wants North Korea to first halt its nuclear weapons program. Officials also worry that a peace declaration could dilute the U.S. military footprint in Asia, and that the president of South Korea might push for a lesser American military presence after an end-of-war declaration.

U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Myanmar Military Over Rohingya Atrocities

The Treasury Department announced that it imposed economic sanctions on Burmese security forces and military commanders for what American officials said was their role in ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims and widespread human rights abuses against other ethnic minority groups.

State Department Effectively Cancels Grant Intended to Support Independent Media Outlets in Hungary, Inviting Speculation that Trump will Engage with Hungary

The State Department failed to select a recipient and recently announced that the $700,000 grant may now be used in other parts of Europe. The grant was offered to help nurture independent media outlets in Hungary, where President Orban's allies control many of the major regional newspapers that support his administration and anti-immigrant agenda. The move might be part of a larger pivot by the Trump administration that signals a new engagement with Hungary. To some European diplomats, Trump's pivot in Hungary deepens their belief that the administration is trying to divide the European Union by supporting a Europe-wide alliance of far-right politicians.

Trump Administration to Pull Back Funding for Syria Reconstruction Efforts

The State Department will pull back the $230 million in funding it had allocated to rebuild parts of Syria once held by the Islamic State, areas that were largely destroyed by U.S. airstrikes and proxy combat on the ground. The repairs were seen as vital to persuading Syrian refugees to return home. The announcement comes as Syria's dual wars - the civil conflict to overthrow President Assad and the fight against the Islamic State - have increasingly overlapped.

Citing Costs, President Trump Cancels Massive Military Parade in the Capital

Several administration officials described a "sticker shock" after seeing a Pentagon estimate of $92 million to pay for the parade. Trump sought to blame local government officials in Washington for inflating the price of the parade, a charge that they swiftly denied.

Grand Jury Report Finds Catholic Priests Abused 1,000 Children in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania's Supreme Court released a grand-jury report on sexual abuse in Pennsylvania's Catholic Church, detailing decades of alleged abuse, sexual assault, and attempted cover-ups. Following an 18-month investigation into six of Pennsylvania's eight dioceses, the report lists more than 300 "predator priests" accused of preying on more than 1,000 victims. Attorney General Shapiro said the systematic cover-up served a legal purpose - the longer the church covered it up, the less chance that law enforcement could prosecute the priests.

Overdose Deaths Hit a Record 72,000 in 2017

Drug overdoses led to 72,000 deaths in 2017, a record number that reflects a rise of around 10%. Analysts pointed to two major reasons for the increase: a growing number of Americans are using opioids and drugs becoming deadlier. Preliminary 2018 numbers in some states suggest that the number of overdoses and the death rate has begun to fall. States began tapping a $1 billion grant program to help fight the problem after the president declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency in 2017.

Puerto Rico Residents Finally Have Power Restored After 11 Months in the Dark

Most residents in Puerto Rico have now had power restored, but the new head of the electric utility estimates that a quarter of the work done after the storm will have to be redone and billions more must be spent to reconstruct the grid.

New York Officials Estimate That President Trump's Plan For Immigrants on Welfare Could Hurt One Million New Yorkers

The proposed rule would make it difficult for immigrants who use any welfare benefits to obtain green cards, as their reliance on benefits could indicate they would be a burden on government resources. New York City officials warn that the children of immigrants seeking green cards would be the most vulnerable. The administration's plan is based on the more than 100-year-old law of "public charge" - a person who is very likely to become "primarily dependent" on government services cannot become a legal permanent resident. The proposal is now set to include children's health insurance, supplemental nutritional plans, tax credits for low- to moderate-income families, and housing and transit subsidies. Any applicant or dependent who has used such benefits in the past 36 months could be ineligible.

Manafort Jurors Ask for Clarification on Meaning of 'Reasonable Doubt'

The jury in Paul Manafort's bank and tax fraud trial posed questions about 'reasonable doubt" and sought clarification on financial laws at the close of their first day of deliberations. Jurors also asked about the requirements to disclose foreign bank accounts, and whether it was possible to match the government's 388 exhibits to the 18 counts in the indictment, after which they were told that they needed to rely on their own memories to do.

Trump Campaign Files Arbitration Case Against Omarosa Manigault Newman for Breach of Confidentiality Agreement

The claim was filed in New York City for breach of a confidentiality agreement Manigault Newman had signed with the Trump campaign in 2016. The suit followed the release of Manigault Newman's book, in which she says the president harbors bigoted views. Candidate Trump had aides on the campaign sign nondisclosure agreements that say that no confidential information is to be released during the term of service or anytime thereafter.

West Virginia House of Delegates Votes to Impeach Entire State Supreme Court

In a series of votes, lawmakers approved 11 articles of impeachment against the four sitting justices, sending the process on to the State Senate. The vote was prompted by reports of extravagant spending on office renovations. The chief justice is already facing a charge of "unnecessary and lavish spending" in addition to a 23-count federal indictment on charges of fraud and false statements. The court as a whole was impeached for not creating policies to rein in the wasteful spending.

GOP Candidate Admits to Lying About her Degree, Drops Out of Race

Melissa Howard, the Republican candidate for the Florida House, admitted that she lied about having a college degree and has now withdrawn from the race. She initially disputed the reports, posing with a framed degree, and providing the media with what she claimed to be a college transcript.

New York University Medical School Makes Tuition Free for Medical Students

New York University's School of Medicine announced that it will offer full scholarships to all current and future students in its Doctor of Medicine program. The move is meant to encourage students to pursue careers in primary care without amassing a lifetime of student debt.

Canada Appears to Be on the Sidelines as U.S. and Mexico Near an Agreement on NAFTA

The United States and Mexico appear close to agreeing on a NAFTA deal. President Trump confirmed that Canada has not been a party to the latest round of talks, citing Canada's high tariffs. Negotiators from all three sides have said that bilateral talks are being held for the U.S. and Mexico to work out specific differences, especially as they pertain to the agriculture and automobile industries. Others view the move as a way to pressure Canada to move more quickly and offer more concessions.

Emerging Markets Contagion? Turkey's Financial Meltdown Matters Globally

Turkey's currency collapsed by more than 20% in a week and President Erdogan is feuding publicly with President Trump, leading to trade sanctions that are hurting its economy. Some analysts also worry that its problems could soon morph into a debt repayment crisis and that Turkey's financial problems could spread to other fast-growing but risky countries. Turkey plays a key geopolitical role as a NATO member that makes any threats to its stability concerning to its neighbors.

Kofi Annan, Seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dies at 80

Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) from 1997 to 2006, died in Switzerland at the age of 80. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, Annan was the first black African to head the United Nations. He was credited with revitalizing the UN's institutions, shaping what he called a new "norm of humanitarian intervention." His leadership of the UN peacekeeping operations from 1993 to 1997 was not without its critics, after UN forces were outgunned and showed little resolve in both Rwanda and Bosnia.

Ouster of Zuma Loyalists Bolsters South Africa's Corruption Fight

South African's Constitutional Court ordered the country's chief prosecutor to step down immediately in what many viewed as an important step toward restoring a more independent justice system. The judgement addressed political interference in prosecutorial decisions, especially as they related to officials linked to allegations of state capture, where a small number of business families were shaping government policy to their advantage.


Aretha Franklin Dies at 76; How Her Single 'Respect' Became a Battle Cry for Musicians Seeking Royalties

The Queen of Soul's No. 1 hit, "Respect", played a symbolic role in a long fight over copyright issues that have deprived artists of royalty payments. Franklin did not earn any royalties from the millions of times the song played on the radio because under copyright law, American radio stations pay only the writers and publishers of a song, and not the performer. The song was held up as Exhibit A in every effort to change the law.

"Respect" has also become a battle song in the fight over digital rights. Laws passed in the 1990s let performing artists collect royalties from internet and satellite radio, but songs were exempt if they were recorded before 1972. A 2014 bill to change that was named the Respect Act in honor of the song she recorded in 1967. That fight continues through a current bill in Congress, the Music Modernization Act, that would force digital radio services to pay royalties for songs recorded before 1972.

U.S. Judge Blocks Programs Letting "Grand Theft Auto" Players Cheat

U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton of the Southern District of New York granted a preliminary injunction against the creator of unauthorized software programs "for cheating in and manipulating" the plaintiff's "Grand Theft Auto" products. Take-Two Interactive Software, the maker of the game, accused David Zipperer of selling computer programs that let users cheat by altering the game for their own benefit, or "griefing" other players by altering their game without permission.

Giving effect to the forum-selection clause in the online "license agreement" agreed to by the defendant to play the game, the court found that the defendant consented to jurisdiction in New York. The opinion upheld the complaint's cause of action for "intentional interference with a contract" but found that the claim for "unfair competition" was pre-empted. It then granted a preliminary injunction on the plaintiff's copyright claims. The case is Take-Two Interactive Software Inc v Zipperer, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 18-02608.

Judge Allows Sex-Trafficking Suit Against Weinstein, Citing History of the Casting Couch

U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet ruled that an aspiring actress can sue Weinstein for violating sex-trafficking laws because the proverbial casting couch, in which women are asked to trade sex for Hollywood opportunities, could be considered a "commercial sex act". He also stated that sex-trafficking laws had an "expansive" definition of what could be considered a commercial sex act. In addition, the judge rejected the argument that nothing of value was exchanged, saying that even if the prospect of a film role or continued professional relationship with Weinstein were not enough to constitute "things of value," then the actress's reasonable expectation of receiving those things in the future, based on Wienstein's representations that she would, was sufficient.

Director with a History of Domestic Violence Record Steps Away from Movie "Eve"

Matthew Newton stepped down as director of the movie "Eve" following an online petition and a torrent of criticism surrounding his history of domestic violence.


U.S. Authorities Seize Half a Billion Dollars Worth of Fake Luxury Goods Shipped from China

New York's special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New York said this was the largest investigation that the agency had had in terms of the number of counterfeit items. The government charged 33 individuals with conspiracy, trafficking in counterfeit goods, and trademark counterfeiting. The goods were part of a scheme originating in China that stretched to warehouses in Queens.

Colorado Baker Sues the State Over New Discrimination Allegation

Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips, who won a Supreme Court case after refusing to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, is now suing Colorado, this time for investigating his refusal to bake a cake celebrating a gender transition. The ruling was specific to Phillips' case. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission argued that the transgender client was denied "equal enjoyment of a place of public accommodation," while Phillips' lawyers argue that he is being targeted by potential customers eager to test the limit of the law.

British Museum Will Return Looted Artifacts to Iraq

The artifacts were stolen from the site of a Sumerian city in Southern Iraq and were handed over to Iraqi officials during a ceremony in London. The objects were held unclaimed by the London police for more than a decade and were passed to the British Museum for analysis this year. Among the eight restituted objects were three fired-clay cones, around 4,000 years old, featuring Sumerian script. They were identical to others found during a British-led excavation in Tello, Iraq.

Chile Will Ask For the Return of a Statue From the British Museum on Behalf of Easter Island's Indigenous People

The Chilean government plans to form a committee to try to recover a 1,000-year-old statue for the Rapa Nui, the indigenous people of Easter Island, arguing that it is a tangible link to the island's history. Chile annexed the island in 1888. If Chile makes a formal request for its return, it will add to the growing pressure European museums are facing to repatriate objects to their countries of origin.


University of Maryland Accepts Legal and Moral Responsibility For Events That Led to Football Player Jordan McNair's Death

University of Maryland president Wallace Loh and athletic director Damon Evans acknowledged that the university's "mistakes" and "misdiagnoses" led to the 19-year-old's death. Two weeks before his death, McNair experienced a heatstroke in the aftermath of practice that was not addressed promptly.

The family is well-positioned to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Maryland and potentially other parties, including the NCAA and Big Ten Conference. While Maryland law caps pain and suffering damages for wrongful death to approximately $2 million, the state's law does not cap damages for economic loss, which is significant because McNair died relatively young and his career was on an upward trajectory. If a settlement is reached, it will likely include a substantial monetary payment in exchange for the family relinquishing any legal claims it may have against the school.

Education Department Opens Civil Rights Inquiry Into Abuse at Ohio State

The investigation will look into how Ohio State University officials handled reports of sexual misconduct by a former team doctor, Richard Strauss, from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. It is another in the list of high-profile sexual abuses cases at state universities, even as the Education Department issued guidance intended to scale back investigations of civil rights violations at public schools.

Gymnasts Describe Emotional and Physical Abuse By a Prominent Coach

Several gymnasts described patterns of emotional and physical abuse by coach Qi Han at Everest Gymnastics, one of gymnastics' top training facilities in North Carolina. Monica Avery, a gymnastics coach in the state, said she filed a complaint against Han after she witnessed him kicking an injured gymnast. Complaints to USA Gymnastics were forwarded to SafeSport, which is responsible for investigating abuse claims in Olympic sports.

ESPN Will No Longer Show National Anthem Before Monday Night Football Games

ESPN announced that it would not show the national anthem before the "Monday Night Football" games it broadcasts this season. ESPN's president told reporters the National Football League (NFL) did not pressure the network. Under its recent policy, the NFL made it mandatory for players to stand for the anthem, but later decided to freeze the new policy and seek ways to modify it in negotiations with the NFL Players Association, which had already filed a grievance against the NFL for unilaterally changing its policy.

John Elway's Public Comments on Colin Kaepernick

The Broncos GM stated that the Broncos had offered Kaepernick a contract that he rejected. His comments come as an NFL-appointed arbitrator weighs a motion by the NFL to throw out the grievance brought by Kaepernick, accusing the former and team executives of shunning him because of his protests during the national anthem. Elway did not mention, however, that the offer came before the 2016 season, when Kaepernick had not yet begun protesting. The comments also appeared to be in breach of the confidentiality order in the collusion case.

First Month of Sports Betting in New Jersey Nets Nearly $4 Million in Revenue

New Jersey sports books produced $3.8 million in gross revenue from $40.7 million in wagers during July, the first full month of gambling on sporting events in the state. Monmouth Park Sports Book's numbers tumbled dramatically in July after becoming the first sports book to accept wagers in June. FanDuel Sportsbook at The Meadowlands Racetrack generated a state-best $1,357,477 in gross revenues, producing average daily revenues of $75,415.

National Hockey League's Signing Bonuses Are Creating a Rift Between Teams and the League

Signing bonuses will be an interesting issue to monitor as the National Hockey League (NHL) and the NHL Players Association gear up for the next round of collective bargaining negotiations. Signing bonuses have become a popular stipulation for players under the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and offer myriad benefits to the players. First, signing bonuses are taxed at a substantially lower tax rate. They have also become "lockout protection" because, unlike straight salary, they must be paid if the NHL decides to shut its doors. Reports indicate that the NHL has asked teams to stop handing them out, and they could very well be a point of contention in the next round of talks.


Sandy Hook Father is Combating Blogging Platform Over Conspiracy Theories

The father of one of the victims in the Sandy Hook school shooting is launching a challenge against, one of the internet's biggest blogging platforms, over posts that call the shooting a hoax and label his son a "crisis actor". In the absence of uniform online policies about hoaxes, Leonard Pozner has been filing copyright claims on images of his son. Automattic, the company that operates WordPress, has made it a corporate cause to fight copyright claims and adopt policies that it says prevent these claims from being used to censor criticism and journalism on its platform.

Twitter Suspends Infowars and Its Founder, Alex Jones, For One Week

Twitter suspended the accounts of the far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his media website Inforwars for a week, for violating the Twitter's rules against inciting violence. Both accounts had posted a video calling for supporters to get their "battle rifles" ready against media and others. Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify had already taken steps to ban Jones and Infowars from their platforms because of hate speech.

New Calls For Facebook to Ban Holocaust Denials

Pressure is mounting on the tech giant from inside and outside the Jewish community to ban Holocaust denials on its platform. Facebook's recent move to ban conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars website is helping to fuel the effort. Mark Zuckerberg recently defended the right of Holocaust deniers to use the platform, on the grounds that while Holocaust denial is offensive, deniers may be sincere in their beliefs. However, many see a similarity between Alex Jones and Holocaust deniers, as both parties pursue an agenda of hate and incitement to hate.

The Justice Department Backs Suit Accusing Facebook of Violating Fair Housing Act

The United States Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York filed a 'statement of interest' this week that sides with housing groups who claim that Facebook's advertising platform violates fair housing laws. Facebook is being accused of creating and harvesting user data to develop profiles for each user. It could be held liable if housing providers used the site's targeting tools to discriminate against prospective renters and buyers in advertising their properties.

Google Employees Protest Secret Work on Censored Search Engine for China

Google has been secretly planning a censored version of its search engine for the Chinese government that will edit out content about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest. In response to the news, about 1,400 Google employees have reportedly signed a letter demanding more transparency to understand the ethical consequences of their work. Google previously withdrew from China in protest of censorship and government hacking, and may be considering a return there.

Qatar's beIN Sports Network Says That It Can Link a Pirate Network to Saudi Arabia

The crisis between a Qatari media network and Saudi Arabia is entering its second year, with the Qatari beIN Media Group now saying that it has irrefutable proof that Saudi Arabia is pirating and illegally broadcasting its content on the Arab-language channel beoutQ. BeIN Media Group says that it has carried out tests that provide irrefutable proof of its long-held position linking the beoutQ signal to a Riyadh-based company in which Saudi Arabia is the biggest investor.

It has taken months for beIN to persuade many of the sporting organizations to speak out publicly about this, including FIFA and UEFA. The French professional soccer league, which enjoys enormous Qatari investment, has called on Europe's top trade body to put pressure on Saudi Arabia to shut down the pirate channel.

Protesters in Russia Accuse Government of Entrapping Young Critics Online

Demonstrators protested a growing number of arrests of young Russians on extremism charges for material shared or stored on social media sites, as part of what they say is an online entrapment campaign by security agencies. The immediate cause of the protest was the arrest of two teenage girls who were steered by an older man in a chat room into renting an office and drafting an anti-government manifesto as members of the "New Greatness" group. They were charged under the anti-extremism law of 2003, which criminalized online content in 2014, in what many view as a government effort to fight dissent.

Cuba Opens Nine-Hour Internet Window, Plans to Sell Mobile Phone Plans that Include Internet Service

The Cuban government recently tested wireless internet directly on mobile phones nationwide for nine hours. Customers were not alerted about the free trial but found out through word of mouth and social media. Etesca, Cuba's state-run telecommunications company, plans to sell mobile phone plans that include internet service. Until then, Cubans will have to continue to buy internet access cards from Etesca for use at a public hotspot.

August 13, 2018

Week in Review

By Leslie Berman
Edited By Elissa Hecker


DeVos Ends Obama-Era Safeguards Aimed at Abuses by For-Profit Colleges

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos eliminated an Obama-era regulation that required for-profit colleges to prove that their students would be able to find competitive employment at reasonable wages. The "gainful employment" rule was to hold for-profit and career college programs accountable if they graduated unprepared students leaving them with poor job prospects and overwhelming debt, by revoking federal funding and access to financial aid.

U.S. to Issue New Sanctions on Russia Over Skripals' Poisoning

The Trump administration said it would soon impose new sanctions against Russia in response to the attempted assassination of a former Russian spy and his daughter who were living in England. The new sanctions would automatically deny any attempts by U.S. companies to obtain export licenses for anything with a potential national security purpose, such as gas turbine engines, electronics, integrated circuits, and testing and calibration equipment. Outside experts say that the actual amount of exports involved is fairly small, because the Obama administration had already banned exports of materials and equipment that could be used for military purposes.

Trump Says His Son Sought Information on Clinton From Russians in 2016

President Trump tweeted that Donald Trump Jr. had indeed met with Russians in 2016 to obtain information about Hillary Clinton, and said that it was "totally legal" and "done all the time in politics." The President had previously insisted that the meeting was about the adoption of Russian children by Americans. President Trump also denied reports that he was concerned that his eldest son could be in legal trouble because of the meeting with the Russians, including a lawyer with Kremlin ties, repeating that he had not known about the meeting in advance. People close to the president believe that he may be increasing his legal jeopardy by continuing to speak publicly about sensitive matters, even as his campaign is under investigation for possible collusion with Russia, and he himself is under scrutiny for possible obstruction of justice.

Steel Giants With Ties to Trump Officials Block Tariff Relief for Hundreds of Firms

Nucor and United States Steel, two of the U.S.'s largest steel manufacturers, have successfully objected to more than 1,600 tariff exemption requests by American companies that buy foreign steel. The steel giants with close ties to the administration have argued that the imported products are readily available from American steel manufacturers. To date, their efforts have resulted in denials for exemptions from companies that are based in the U.S. but rely on imported pipes, screws, wire, and other foreign steel products for their supply chains.

Judge Orders Migrants Returned to U.S. in Midst of Deportation Flight

Washington D.C. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered an immigrant mother and daughter - two of 12 plaintiffs in a lawsuit by the ACLU challenging changes in asylum policies ordered by Attorney General Jeff Sessions - be brought back to the United States, after learning during a hearing to stay their deportation that they were already on a flight to El Salvador. Upon hearing of the deportation, Judge Sullivan ordered their flight returned and suggested that Sessions could be held in contempt of court. The lawsuit's plaintiffs had been fast tracked for deportation under a directive by Sessions that eliminated the fear of gangs and domestic violence as acceptable bases for seeking asylum. Removing these routes to asylum will have a disproportionate effect on tens of thousands of Central American women.

Judge Upholds Order for Trump Administration to Restore Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Judge John D. Bates of the D.C. Federal District Court upheld his previous order to revive the Obama-era program known as the Deferred
Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which shields 700,000 young immigrants from deportation, because the Trump administration had failed to justify ending the program within the 90-day window Judge Bates had ordered. The government was given 20 days to appeal this current decision. Another case to be decided soon in Texas may conflict with this ruling. Two other federal district judges, in Brooklyn and San Francisco, previously issued injunctions ordering the government to keep the program, however neither ruling required acceptance of new applications, as Judge Bates' ruling does. The earlier decisions are pending before appeals courts.

Some Separated Children Will Go Home, Despite Government's Failure to Act

Eight Guatemalan children were deported to join their parents who were deported without them, after the parents and children were separated by the Trump administration at the southern border. Their flight was arranged by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but the reunion effort has fallen to volunteers, activists, and lawyers around the country. U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw had ordered the government to reunite more than 2,500 children with their families by July 26th, after the ACLU sued on behalf of separated parents. Nearly 400 of those children have been separated from parents already deported. The government did not meet that target date or come up with a reunification plan, but instead told the ACLU to come up with its own plan.

Trump Hits Turkey When It Is Down, Doubling Tariffs

President Trump announced that he would double the rate of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Turkey, inflicting additional pain on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose country is in the midst of an economic crisis. The President's abrupt and unilateral action came amid worsening relations with Turkey, which continues to detain an American pastor on espionage charges despite the U.S.'s insistence that he be released. The President's hostile tweet set off a flight of money from emerging markets.

Judge Rejects Drugmaker's Attempt to Block Nebraska Execution

A German pharmaceutical company brought suit attempting to block the execution in Nebraska of Carey Dean Moore, convicted in 1979 of killing two cabdrivers. Federal Judge Richard G. Kopf refused to block Nebraska's first execution since 1997, and its first execution by lethal injection, saying that to do so would thwart the will of the voters who brought back the death penalty in 2016. Fresenius Kabi, the pharmaceutical company, claimed that Nebraska had illegally obtained its drugs, which are to be used to execute Moore, contravening the company's contract with distributors that bans sales to prisons for executions.

Melania Trump's Parents Become U.S. Citizens, Using 'Chain Migration' Trump Hates

President Trump has repeatedly and vehemently denounced what he calls "chain migration," in which adult American citizens can obtain residency for their relatives. However, his Slovenian in-laws, Melania Trump's parents Viktor and Amalija Knavs, became United States citizens in a private ceremony by taking advantage of that same family-based immigration program.

Trump's Lawyers Counter Mueller's Interview Offer, Seeking a Narrower Scope

President Trump's lawyers and those from the office of the Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III have been negotiating for eight months about the terms of an interview with the President in the Russia investigation, and have once again rejected the Special Counsel's requested scope of the interview. The president's team countered with an offer that suggests a narrow path for answering questions. The president's lead lawyer in the case, Rudolph W. Giuliani, said, "We're restating what we have been saying for months: It is time for the Office of Special Counsel to conclude its inquiry without further delay."

Congressman Collins, Son Charged With Insider Trading

Republican Congressman Christopher Collins, one of President Trump's earliest supporters, was indicted on charges of securities fraud, wire fraud, and other crimes involving an Australian biotechnology company on whose board he served. Representative Collins was seeking a fourth two-year term in November's elections. At first he claimed that the charges were baseless and stated that he would run for re-election in November in his upstate New York district. A few days later he reversed his position and stated that he would withdraw from the race, and finish the rest of his term.

Before 'Unite the Right' Rally, Trump Does Not Condemn Supremacists

As white nationalists planned to mark the anniversary of last year's march in Charlottesville that resulted in the death of a counter-protestor, President Trump reprised the message he had posted then, by tweeting that he condemns all types of racism, but not specifically white supremacists. Just as last year, when President Trump blamed both right and left protesters for the violent actions that jarred most of the country, the president has proved reluctant to condemn specifically the acts of white supremacists, who were supportive of his candidacy.

'Unite the Right' Rally Planned Near White House; Hundreds Denounce Racism in Charlottesville

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered to denounce racism and hate groups in a park in Charlottesville, Virginia, to remember last year's counterdemonstration at a violent rally there at which a young woman was killed by a white supremacist, just hours before a planned white nationalist rally in front of the White House.

Rick Gates Testifies That He Committed Crimes With Paul Manafort

Rick Gates was the prosecution's star witness in Paul Manafort's trial on tax and bank fraud charges stemming from work they did together for pro-Russia political forces in Ukraine. Gates, who was Manafort's protégé, turned against his mentor and agreed to a plea deal, which allowed him to divulge all the lurid details of his own and their joint criminal activity in a multiyear tax and bank fraud scheme. Gates testified that Manafort invented the scheme and that he, Gates, helped organize the paperwork for secret foreign bank accounts in the names of 15 shell companies, which he helped conceal "at Mr. Manafort's direction."

Manafort Lawyer Press Gates on 'Lies'

A lawyer for Paul Manafort cross-examined Gates, and said that Gates had told so many lies that he can't remember them all. The attorney focused on Gates' lies to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigators, as well as about an extramarital affair and hundreds of thousands of dollars he admitted to embezzling from his former boss.

Top Trump Campaign Aides Are Portrayed as Corrupt at Manafort Trial

The Manafort trial turned into a referendum on the character of two of President Trump's top campaign aides, as prosecutors cast Manafort as the architect of a sprawling swindle, and defense lawyers portrayed the prosecution's star witness as a thief, adulterer and liar. The testimony managed to further sully the reputations of both Manafort, Mr. Trump's campaign chairman for three months in mid-2016, and the witness, Gates, who was the deputy campaign chairman and later the executive director of Trump's inaugural committee.

Manafort Leaned on Ties to Trump to Win Loans, a Bank Official Testifies

Manafort sought millions of dollars of loans from Federal Savings Bank, a small Chicago bank. Federal Savings Bank's chairman, Stephen M. Calk, hoped to further his political ambitions and pushed the bank to loan Manafort $16 million, over the bank's top deputy's qualms about Manafort's ability to repay the loan.

When a Female C.E.O. Leaves, the Glass Ceiling Is Restored

Indra Nooyi's announced departure as chief executive of PepsiCo will leave only 24 women as chief executives of the top publicly traded companies in Standard & Poor's 500-stock index, accounting for just 4.8% of its leaders. Two other female chief executives, Denise M. Morrison of Campbell Soup and Irene Rosenfeld of the snack food maker Mondelez International, also recently resigned, and neither is being replaced by a woman. The numbers of women holding down top jobs are declining, even while attention has been focusing on gender diversity.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Bemoans a 'Divisive' Term, but Vows to Stick Around

For the last six years, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has given a State of the Supreme Court message. She delivered this year's message at a Duke Law School summer program in Washington, saying that the Court had fallen woefully short in its quest for consensus. The number of closely divided rulings had skyrocketed, she said, making up more than a third of the Court's signed decisions in argued cases. Justice Ginsburg also made clear that she plans to stick around. "Justice Stevens stepped down when he was 90," she said. "If I aspired to that same tenure, I'd have five more years to go."

Phone Calls From New York City Jails Will Soon Be Free

Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed a bill into law that will eliminate the phone call charges for those jailed in the New York City. The City had been collecting about $5 million per year from calls made by incarcerated people and their families. The Corrections Accountability Project, which advocated for the bill, noted that the Department of Corrections already provides free phone calls in certain circumstances: Indigent people could make three free phone calls per week, and sentenced inmates could make two per week. Now calls by all inmates will be free.

Elon Musk Says That Tesla May Go Private, and Its Stock Soars

After fluctuations in its stock's price became "distracting," Elon Musk tweeted that he is planning to take Tesla private, as the stock market that made his company worth more than $60 billion isn't worth the hassle. The buyout deal purportedly worth $72 billion might not succeed, and that would likely expose Musk and Tesla to class-action lawsuits from shareholders and potential legal trouble from the Securities and Exchange Commission.\

Trump's Border Wall Could Waste Billions of Dollars, Report Says

The Government Accountability Office has published a report saying the Trump administration could waste billions of dollars on a border wall because it has failed to fully account for factors like varying terrain and land ownership along the Southwest border.

Trump Inaccurately Claims That California Is Wasting Water as Fires Burn

President Trump blamed California's wildfires on the state's environmental policies, and tweeted, inaccurately, that water that could be used to fight fires was being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. State officials and firefighting experts dismissed the president's comments. President Trump appeared to have confused the perennial dispute between farmers and environmentalists over how water should be allocated among irrigating crops and retaining rivers to protect fish stocks.

Iran and Its Leaders Brace for Impact of New U.S. Sanctions

Iranian citizens who can afford to, are buying gold to help ride out the economic drought that will come with the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions. The Iranian government has been preparing for the sanctions by hoarding foreign currency and cutting off unnecessary imports, while stocking up on others, such as the five 70-seat turboprop passenger planes built by an Italian and French consortium that landed at the capital's airport before the cutoff date. These new sanctions are a result of President's Trump's decision to withdraw from an international deal to limit Iran's nuclear program.

Canada Defiant After Saudi Arabia Freezes New Trade Over Human Rights Call

Canada denounced Saudi Arabia's arrests of more than a dozen high-profile campaigners for women's rights, and called for the release of civil society activists imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis objected to what they called Canada's interference in their country's domestic issues, and retaliated by freezing new trade and investment and expelling the Canadian ambassador on 24-hours' notice. Riyadh also recalled its own ambassador from Canada. It was not clear whether the new trade ban would affect existing annual Saudi-Canadian trade of nearly $4 billion and a $13 billion defense contract. The Saudis also threatened to break off trade with other Western countries if they spoke out about political repression in Saudi Arabia.

Michelle Bachelet, Ex-President of Chile, Picked As Next United Nations Rights Chief

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has replaced the United Nations's outgoing Human Rights chief, Jordan's Prince Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, with Michelle Bachelet, a prominent women's rights advocate and Chile's first woman president. Prince Zeid became one of the most forthright critics of abuses by governments in many countries, including the United States, during his four years as the high commissioner for human rights. Bachelet, who was imprisoned and tortured during Chile's right-wing dictatorship, became a pediatrician and politician.

For your convenience, the following stories are divided into Entertainment, Arts, Sports, and Media:


Russian Authorities Stop Pussy Riot Member From Travelling to Edinburgh's Fringe Festival

Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina was blocked by the Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) from leaving Russia last week when she was on her way to Edinburgh's Fringe Festival to perform from her book Riot Days. In a tweet from Moscow's Domodedovo airport, she wrote that "the guys from the FSB border service told me that I am barred from leaving the country." Alyokhina and her Pussy Riot comrade Nadezhda Tolokonnikova spent nearly two years in prison after being arrested and convicted of of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" for their "punk prayer" against Vladimir Putin at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral. The pair have since become activists for prisoners' rights, starting a news website called MediaZona that documents trials and abuses, and staging protests and performances against torture.


Ex-Nike Employees Sue Company, Alleging Unequal Compensation

Four women who worked for Nike filed a federal lawsuit in Portland, Oregon, alleging that the company violated state and U.S. equal-pay laws and fostered a work environment that allowed sexual harassment. Nike responded to earlier complaints about bad managers and unequal pay scales by ousting at least 11 executives, but the good old boys' culture in which women enter the company with lower pay and receive smaller raises and bonuses alledgedly continues.

Metropolitan Opera Reaches Deals With Unions for Singers, Musicians

The Metropolitan Opera (Met) has reached tentative labor agreements with the American Guild of Variety Artists, which represents principal singers, choristers, and production personnel, and with Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, which represents the orchestra. Those deals must be ratified by the unions' members to remove the threat of a work stoppage. It is not known whether the agreements would allow for Sunday performances, which Met general manager Peter Gelb has repeatedly sought, as he believes that Sundays would draw better than weeknights. The Met has been struggling with its bottom line in recent years, and Moody's downgraded its credit rating in May.

How Robert Indiana's Caretaker Came to Control His Artistic Legacy

In a lawsuit filed one day before the pop artist's death in May, a business agent for Robert Indiana, famous for his oversize stacked letters sculptures LOVE and HOPE, claimed that Jamie L. Thomas, Indiana's caretaker, had purposely isolated the artist to enable a scheme by an art publisher, Michael McKenzie, to forge and sell multiple works falsely attributed to Indiana. Thomas, who held a variety of jobs on the island in Maine where Indiana had retreated decades ago, had ended up as Indiana's caretaker. Indiana's will named Thomas as executive director of a foundation that will control Indiana's art and his house, which is to be converted into a museum.

As Brexit Looms, Musicians Brace For the Worst

British and European classical musicians anticipate that Brexit will severely harm their industry, which relies on multinational touring and other benefits that flowed from European Union membership. The composer Howard Goodall posted comments to that effect on Twitter, and received at least 1.6 million views, about 8,500 retweets, and nearly 19,000 likes. In July, the House of Lords, the upper chamber of the British Parliament, warned that the government's plans for life outside the European Union are worryingly vague, especially about immigration, saying that there could be grave repercussions for the cultural sector if it became harder for performers and creative artists to enter Britain. The European Union Youth Orchestra had long since announced that its administrative team would be leaving London for a new home in Ferrara, Italy. "You can't ask for E.U. funding and then not be in the E.U.," its chief executive, Marshall Marcus, said.

A Museum Held a Show of Protest Art. Then the Artists Protested the Museum.

A group of about 20 artists arrived at the Design Museum in London to remove their art from the exhibition "Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008-18," a show that traces the recent history of activist art and design, starting with Shepard Fairey's "Hope" poster from Barack Obama's first presidential election campaign, through to a "Make America Great Again" baseball cap. The artists were upset that the Design Museum had rented its atrium to Leonardo, one of the world's largest aerospace and defense companies, for a drinks reception in July. Many of the artists in "Hope to Nope," including Fairey and Milton Glaser, the designer behind the "I ♥ NY" logo, expressed shock when they learned about the reception, and asked that their works to be removed from the museum.

With New Urgency, Museums Cultivate Curators of Color

The country's demographics are changing, and mainstream art museums that have excluded people of color from artist shows and curatorships are now eager to include them, to attract new audiences with diversity programming. In New York, a growing number of museums are addressing diversity with new urgency, as the City has linked funding to inclusion. More minority staff members are being hired in museums around the country, and they are offering paid internships and teaming with foundations and universities that fund curatorial jobs, to ensure that the next generation of leaders of color enter the pipeline.

A U.S. Collector Returned 12 Ancient Treasures to Thailand as Part of a Crackdown on Looted Artifacts

A dozen looted ancient artifacts believed to be between 1,800 and 4,300 years old, including decorated pottery and bronze jewelry, have been returned to Thailand, which has been campaigning in recent years for the return of smuggled treasures. The objects are believed to have been made by an ancient civilization in Ban Chiang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in northeast Thailand. The Thai government is currently investigating objects at several U.S. museums that are said to have been taken illegally from the country. The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco has also removed two ancient lintels from display after finding evidence that they were stolen from temples in northeastern Thailand.

Malaysia Orders Pictures of LGBT Activists Removed From Exhibit

A Malaysian minister of Islamic Affairs, Mujahid Yusof Rawa, ordered the removal of portraits of two lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists from a public photography exhibition, as they "promoted" LGBT activities. The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community is routinely persecuted in Muslim-majority Malaysia, where sodomy is a crime and seen as a threat to the government and conservative values.

Petitions and Protests As Art World Rallies to Free Imprisoned Photographer Shahidul Alam

Artists, curators and writers have expressed their support for the Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam, who has been detained and charged by police in Dhaka for criticizing the government's handling of road safety demonstrations that engulfed Dhaka. The Art Newspaper understands that a high court judge ordered the Bangladeshi government to take Alam--who says that he has been tortured in prison--to the hospital. He has since been returned to custody. The Kochi Biennale Foundation in India is urging supporters of the arts to sign a petition demanding that Alam be freed.


Hall of Famer Jim Brown Says That He Would Never Kneel During Anthem

Jim Brown, who has spent much of his post-National Football League (NFL) career fighting for social justice and change, says that he would never kneel during the national anthem. Brown championed civil rights during his playing career and became an activist in retirement. Nevertheless, the Hall of Famer said that while he respects players' rights to do as they choose, his preference is that they would stand during singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner".

Trump Blasts NFL Players as Protests Resume During Anthem

A handful of NFL players renewed their protests against social inequality and police brutality by raising fists or kneeling during the playing of the national anthem last week, and President Trump renewed his criticism of their actions.

Donald Trump and the Black Athlete

President Trump responded to National Basketball Association star LeBron James's measured criticisms with the tweet: "LeBron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made LeBron look smart, which isn't easy to do. I like Mike!" James' interview had been about his foundation that benefits at-risk youth by funding a non-charter school and provides college scholarships for Akron, Ohio public school graduates. In response to the tweet, Michael Jordan publicly stated that he supports James's efforts.

Urban Meyer Says That He Followed Protocols on Abuse Claim, Contradicting Earlier Denial

Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer said that he had "followed proper reporting protocols and procedures" after learning of a 2015 incident in which a longtime assistant, Zach Smith, was accused of domestic abuse. However, in an eight-paragraph statement released on Twitter two days after Ohio State placed him on paid administrative leave pending an investigation, Meyer also said he had failed to be "clear, compassionate and, most of all, completely accurate" when he said last week that he had just become aware of the incident.

'It Can Happen Even to Guys': Ohio State Wrestlers Detail Abuse, Saying #UsToo

After Nick Nutter, an All-American heavyweight wrestler at Ohio State turned professional martial arts fighter, watched the young women, former gymnasts and Olympians, who took the stand in a Michigan courtroom to detail how their team doctor, Lawrence G. Nassar, had used his power to sexually abuse them, he could no longer bury the memories of his college team doctor's persistent abuse during medical examinations. Nutter called his former college teammates to ask, "Are you watching this stuff?'"

Maryland Suspends Football Coach D.J. Durkin After Report of Abuse

University of Maryland football coach, D.J. Durkin, has been placed on administrative leave while the university investigates accusations about mistreatment of players that surfaced after offensive lineman Jordan McNair collapsed during a May workout and died weeks later. The suspension followed an article by ESPN detailing a culture of fear, according to current and former players and staff members, who said that coaches and trainers commonly embarrassed and humiliated players. The sources of the accusations were anonymous.

Jets Linebacker Pleads Guilty to Drunken Driving in Crash

New York Jets linebacker Dylan Donahue pleaded guilty in Weehawken Municipal Court to DWI charges in connection with a wrong-way crash in the Lincoln Tunnel in which four people were injured. Three other charges were dismissed as part of his plea deal.

NASCAR Chairman France Takes Leave After DWI, Drug Arrest

NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France announced that he was taking an indefinite leave of absence following his arrest in the Hamptons on charges of driving while intoxicated and criminal possession of Oxycodone. His arrest places NASCAR at a crossroads - the family-owned stock-car racing business has had declining television ratings and opaque finances that put off potential investors. France's leave of absence adds leadership instability to the business's woes. In May, Reuters reported that the France family was quietly exploring the possibility of selling NASCAR. No such news has been announced since then. France's uncle Jim France, a sizeable shareholder in the company, has taken over France's responsibilities.

Wake Forest Coach Is Arrested After Punch Leads to Man's Death in Queens

Jamill Jones, a Wake Forest University assistant basketball coach, was arrested in New York City after a Queens man whom the police say he punched died of his injuries. Wake Forest placed Jones on leave.

NCAA Alters Rules for Agents and Draft in Wake of Basketball Corruption Scandal

As the NCAA continues to grapple with the fallout from federal indictments that suggested extensive corruption in the recruiting process, the body has decided to allow college basketball players who declare for the NBA draft to hire agents, a move directly counter to the sports' longtime ban on agents. This change may also apply to certain high school athletes.

Star Athlete Is Injured in Egg Attack, and Italy Debates 'a Racism Emergency'

Daisy Osakue, a Nigerian immigrant and Italian track and field athlete, was attacked outside her apartment complex by young Italian men who threw eggs at her, including one that cut her cornea. Osakue is the most recent casualty in Italy's explosive debate over whether the country is becoming more racist under its new populist anti-immigrant government, or whether politically motivated liberals and a sensationalist media are unfairly sounding the alarm. After the assault, Osakue leveled accusations of racism on television, and her bandaged left eye was emblazoned across the cover of the national newspapers.

Checkmate Averted: U.K. Reversal Opens Door for Chess Prodigy, 9, to Stay Put

British authorities appear to have reversed their decision to deport a 9-year-old Chess prodigy, Shreyas Roya, and his family. Shreya's father's five-year work visa had expired, and he was told that it could not be extended once it expired in September. Britain's Home Office was not going to grant an exception, but then it informed the family that it could apply for a new visa based on Shreya's exceptional talent, waiving the requirement that such visas must be applied for from outside of Britain. Immigration law in Britain allows for visas to be granted to those with "exceptional talent" or in "certain areas of sport". Chess mastery apparently did not qualify as an exceptional talent in a sport.


Judge in AT&T Case Ignored 'Economics and Common Sense,' Says Government

The Justice Department criticized a judge for "erroneously ignoring fundamental principles of economics and common sense" in an argument made to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The government is making a second attempt to stop the $85.4 billion merger of AT&T and Time Warner. The central antitrust arguments presented by the Justice Department in the appeal were unchanged from the trial. The antitrust regulators say that the combination of a major distributor of entertainment with a creator of video content will harm competitors. It was argued that AT&T could threaten to withhold Time Warner content or charge higher prices from competitors, like Dish Network and Comcast, leading to hundreds of millions of dollars in higher cable bills for consumers.

Free Speech Scholars to Alex Jones: You're Not Protected

Apple, Facebook, and Google removed the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his far-right news site Infowars from their various online platforms. Jones, among other conspiracy theories, has advanced the idea that the Sandy Hook massacre was a performance by "crisis actors". Then Jones and his allies complained that he had been deprived of his First Amendment rights to free speech. The removal of Jones and Infowars came after months of mounting pressure on technology companies to tackle the spread of misinformation online. Scholars of free speech had already concluded that many of the things Jones has said online were not in fact protected by the First Amendment. However, having banned Jones and Infowars, following an outpouring of complaints that he was perpetrating hate speech, Facebook is in a quandary: Did Jones become popular through Facebook's algorithmic feeds and recommendation engines? If so, how could the platform be redesigned so that the next Jones remains on the ideological fringe?

With Alex Jones, Facebook's Worst Demons Abroad Begin to Come Home

Before there was Jones, there was Amith Weerasinghe, the Sri Lankan extremist who used Facebook as his personal broadcast station, to spread paranoia and hatred of the country's Muslim minority. Before Weerasinghe, there was Ashin Wirathu, the Myanmar extremist, whose Facebook hoaxes incited riots in 2014. Three years later, Wirathu would contribute to a wave of Facebook-based rumors and hate speech that helped inspire widespread violence against Myanmar's Rohingya minority. "Facebook doesn't seem to get that they're the largest news agency in the world," Harindra Dissanayake, a Sri Lankan official, said a few days after Weerasinghe's arrest.

Inside Twitter's Struggle Over What Gets Banned

At one of the social media company's policy meetings, Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey gathered with 18 colleagues, including the safety team, to debate ways to make the social media service safer for its users. The discussion quickly turned to how to rid the site of "dehumanizing" speech, even if it did not violate Twitter's rules, which forbid direct threats of violence and some forms of hate speech but do not prohibit deception or misinformation.

Cybersecurity Firm Finds Way to Alter WhatsApp Messages

A cybersecurity company said that it had discovered a flaw in WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging service with 1.5 billion users, which allows scammers to alter the content or change the identity of the sender of a previously delivered message. WhatsApp acknowledged that someone could manipulate its quote feature that allows people within a chat to display a past message and reply to it, but disagreed that this was a flaw. The company said that it was working as intended.

Cuomo Attacked New York's Largest Cable Company. Its Channels Ignored the News.

When Governor Cuomo was questioned by a veteran NY1 news reporter about possible straw donors to his gubernatorial campaign, the Governor lashed out at the reporter and Charter Spectrum, the news station's parent company. Neither the Governor's outburst nor his later explanation made privately to NY1 were aired on the cable news channel.

Democrat Accuses Charter Spectrum of Censoring Political Ad

Anthony Brindisi, a Democratic candidate for Congress in Central New York, accused cable company Charter Spectrum of trying to "censor" his campaign by refusing to air a television ad that criticizes his Republican opponent, as well as the cable company's record. "If you're watching this ad on Spectrum cable, you're getting ripped off," Brindisi, a state assemblyman, says to the camera at the start of the ad. Spectrum has refused to air the campaign commercial, Brindisi said in an interview.

The Flourishing Business of Fake YouTube Views

Inflating the number of views a video has received violates YouTube's terms of service. Yet Google searches for buying views turn up hundreds of sites offering "fast" and "easy" ways to increase a video's count by 500, 5,000 or even five million views. The sites, offering views for just pennies each, also appear in Google search ads. In addition, other online platforms have been plagued by inflated and faked views.

Facebook Is Asked to Change Rules for Journalists and Scholars

How does the First Amendment apply to the social media era? While Facebook has been grappling with stringent enforcement of its user rules in order to respond to public scrutiny of its failure to stop Russia's use of fake accounts to manipulate the 2016 election, the online platform has also been asked to change rules restricting how journalists and scholars conduct research on the site, including to alter the user agreement, to create a news-gathering exception to its bans on creating accounts in pseudonymous names, and to allow researchers and journalists to use automated tools to sift public data for large-scale analyses of information.

August 7, 2018

Franklin, Weinrib, Rudell & Vassallo Seeking Associate

Franklin, Weinrib, Rudell & Vassallo, a top-ranking boutique entertainment law firm located in New York City, is seeking an associate with 2-5 years of experience and a superior academic background.

The ideal candidate will have meaningful corporate, entertainment, intellectual property and/or media law experience, in addition to excellent drafting and analytical skills, meticulous attention to detail, strong verbal and interpersonal skills, and the ability to handle a varied and high volume workload. Candidates without significant entertainment law experience but who otherwise have a substantial transactional background and a strong, long-term interest in entertainment may also be considered.

Candidates must be passionate about working in the entertainment business and be admitted to the New York Bar. Contact:

Franklin, Weinrib, Rudell & Vassallo has over 50 years of experience representing clients in the entertainment industry with a diverse practice ranging from the core entertainment areas of film, television, music, theater and literary publishing, to cutting edge developments in branded entertainment and digital media.