By Eric Lanter
Billionaire Art Dealer Cleared of Tax Fraud
A French tribunal of judges cleared Guy Wildenstein of tax fraud. He was charged with money laundering allegedly facilitated with the formation of foreign trusts to avoid inheritance taxes with his art collection. After his father died in 2001, prosecutors alleged, Wildenstein and his brother developed a scheme of complex trusts and moved assets to tax havens in Switzerland. The court's decision acknowledged that Wildenstein's behavior fell into a gray area of French law, in that he was required to declare foreign trusts. His attorneys argued that he had no knowledge of the structure of his financial assets.
Doping at Beijing Olympics Costs China Three Golds
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) stripped three Chinese women of their gold medals in weightlifting from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This came as a result of retesting of samples, and China may incur a one-year ban from international weightlifting. This round of IOC retesting has yielded eight disqualifications thus far.
National Antidoping Groups Want Russian Athletes Barred
Organizations focused on antidoping from 19 countries have called for sanctions against Russia for its doping offenses. The IOC has been reluctant to impose a punishment as severe as banning Russian athletes outright, but the organizations advocated for such a ban, particularly after recent developments. Last month, the World Anti-Doping Agency released a report showing that the Russian doping program extended to 1,000 athletes in 30 sports.
Team Relocations Keep National Football League Moving Up Financially
The San Diego Chargers announced that they will be leaving their city and moving north, permanently. The team will take the name the Los Angeles Chargers and join one other team in that city, the Rams, giving Los Angeles two football teams in two years after decades without any. Additionally, there is the potential for the Oakland Raiders, located in the San Francisco metropolitan area, to move to Las Vegas in the coming weeks. These moves are part of the National Football League's (NFL's) plan to increase revenue by $1 billion annually. Already, the Rams' move from St. Louis to Los Angeles has produced an increase in revenue for the teams in the NFL, and the same effect is expected with the movement of the Chargers, and potentially the Raiders. Some analysts have concluded that the drop in ratings and momentum for the sport because of the link between concussions and brain disease will not stop the upward financial trajectory that the NFL desires.
President-elect Donald Trump pledged to name a nominee to the United States Supreme Court "within about two weeks" of his inauguration. He indicated at a press conference at Trump Tower that he intends to choose a strong conservative to fill the seat left vacant by Justice Antonin Scalia's death. Democrats vow to put up a vigorous fight against any nominee "out of the legal mainstream," citing the Republicans' not considering the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, who was nominated by President Barack Obama in early 2016.
HarperCollins Pulls Book by Trump Pick After Plagiarism Report
Monica Crowley's 2012 book What the (Bleep) Just Happened? was pulled from bookshelves after evidence has come to light that she may have plagiarized. President-elect Donald Trump picked Crowley to be in a high-ranking communications role in the National Security Council. Since then, it has been revealed that her book plagiarized passages from Wikipedia and newspaper articles with no attribution of credit. While plagiarism used to spell the end of a writer's career, some publishers, like Simon & Schuster, have given second chances to those who plagiarized.
Fox News Settled Sexual Harassment Cases Against Broadcast Personality Bill O'Reilly
Around July 2016, when Roger Ailes was being ousted as chairman of Fox News, company executives were also dealing with allegations that broadcaster Bill O'Reilly had sexually harassed an employee of Fox News in 2011. The employee rejected his advances, and he sought to "derail her career" afterward, according to a draft letter from her lawyers to Fox News. It is rumored that the matter settled out of court and the employee received a sum of money in the high six figures for remaining silent about his conduct. This also came at the time that Fox News was dealing with a former anchor, Gretchen Carlson, alleging that Ailes had sexually harassed her.
France Arrests 17 in Kardashian Robbery
French police arrested 17 individuals who are suspected of being involved in the robbery of Kim Kardashian West in October 2016. Under French law, police can hold suspects for four days before charging or releasing them. While information about the suspects was not entirely revealed, it is known that at least some of the suspects are older individuals who have a history in organized crime, including drug trafficking and aggravated theft. The suspects were located through DNA evidence, which was left on a necklace dropped in the street and found by a passer-by.
Norway Becomes the First Country to Start Switching Off FM Radio
Norway, as a measure to save money, ended the broadcasting of FM radio and switched all radio to digital broadcasting. Proponents of the switch say that it is beneficial, as it will result in a wider range of options for listening and superior sound quality. Others have articulated concerns, such as the risk drivers face as their cars will no longer have an emergency alert system, as they had with their FM radios. One analyst has argued that Norway is uniquely suited to eliminating FM radio and switching to digital, noting that the possibility of FM radio disappearing in the United States is very slim.
Martha Swope, 88, Photographer of Dance and Theater, Has Died
Martha Swope, a photographer revered for her compelling photographs of dancers and actors, died in New York at the age of 88. As a young amateur photographer, she photographed the directing and choreography of "West Side Story," and when Life Magazine published one of her photographs, her career blossomed. By the end of her career, she had a studio with over a million images, which she sold to Time and Life Pictures. The deal did not go smoothly. After a saga of litigation, she regained possession of her archive as a result of a settlement in 2002. In 2010, she donated her life's work to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.