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Week in Review

By Michael B. Smith

Syrian Recapture of Palmyra Halts Destruction of Ruins

The Syrian Army seized the ancient city of Palmyra from ISIS last Sunday, bringing for now an end to ISIS's wanton destruction of human life and priceless antiquities among the ruins. Although ISIS destroyed some of Palmyra's best-preserved monuments during its 10-month occupation of the city, antiquities experts expressed relief that the military action did not cause significant additional damage.


Soccer Pros Accuse U.S. Soccer of Wage Discrimination

On Wednesday, five players on the U.S. Women's Soccer team filed a wage discrimination claim with the EEOC against U.S. Soccer, alleging that female players earn as little as 40% of what their male counterparts earn -- despite the fact that the women's team is, by many measures, superior. U.S. Soccer called the allegations "inaccurate, misleading or both," and said it was willing to discuss compensation in connection with the negotiation of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. U.S. Soccer has separate Collective Bargaining Agreements with the men's and women's teams, with very different financial terms.


Study Suggests "Head Snaps", Not Concussions, May Pose a Greater Risk

In a study reported in the Journal of Neurotrauma this week, Boston University researchers attempted to connect overall exposure to head trauma in high school and college football players to later onset of neurological issues, such as depression, apathy, or memory loss. The results of the study, which included data from helmet accelerometer studies, suggest that cumulative exposure to "subconcussive" blows that snap the head is a greater risk factor than the total number of concussions. Such blows are particularly frequent and unavoidable in football games.


NCAA "Inching" Toward Stronger Stance Against Discrimination

On Thursday, NCAA officials told the Division I board of directors that the universities and colleges that make up the NCAA's membership would likely support a more proactive role by the association in withholding athletic events from states whose laws are seen as discriminatory, such as the recently-passed North Carolina law eliminating discrimination protections for LGBT citizens.


Heller Gets One More Shot At "Straight Outta Compton"

On Wednesday, the Central District of Los Angeles dismissed claims brought by music executive Jerry Heller alleging that Paul Giamatti's portrayal of him in the NWA biopic "Straight Outta Compton" violated his rights. The court found that Heller could not state a claim for "misappropriation of likeness" under California law because the film "concerns matters of public interest," but granted leave to amend Heller's defamation claim in order to identify specific disparaging statements made in the film.


FIFA Corruption Case Moves Forward in Brooklyn

Judge Dearie of the Eastern District of New York told the parties that he intends to set a trial date this month in the criminal case involving corruption at FIFA. Of the 42 defendants, 16 have pleaded guilty -- most recently, former president of Honduras Rafael Callejas; 9, including Paraguayan FIFA executive Juan Angel Napout, have pled not guilty; and 17 have not answered the charges. Judge Dearie indicated that he will not delay the trial while the United States works to extradite those defendants from countries throughout the Americas.


FTC Sues Volkswagen Over "Clean Diesel" Ads

On Tuesday, the FTC accused Volkswagen of selling or leasing more than 550,000 diesel vehicles by falsely claiming that they were environmentally friendly, met emissions standards, and had a high resale value. This is the latest U.S. action against the embattled German car company, which admitted in September that it had cheated on emissions tests. The Department of Justice (DOJ) sued Volkswagen in January, and Volkswagen also faces hundreds of lawsuits from car dealers and individual consumers.


Silver Is Disbarred After Corruption Conviction

Former New York State Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver was disbarred on Tuesday. Silver was convicted last November of fraud and extortion. The Appellate Division denied Silver's request that the disbarment be delayed pending resolution of his motion for a new trial. Silver will be sentenced on April 13th.


National Hockey League Officials Acknowledged Fight Risks

Recently unsealed email exchanges between National Hockey League (NHL) Commissioner Gary Bettman and top NHL officials reveal candid discussions acknowledging that fights can increase the risk of injury, depression, and suicide. The emails indicated that the NHL officials were contemplating taking action to eliminate fighting from the game. These statements are inconsistent with positions taken by the NHL in a class action lawsuit brought by former players over the effects of concussions.


Justice Department Says That It Unlocked Shooters's iPhone

After a very public showdown between the FBI and Apple, Inc. over whether Apple should be required to help the FBI unlock an encrypted iPhone used by mass shooter Syed Rizwan Farook, the DOJ now says, "never mind, we got this." The FBI reportedly managed to crack the phone's security without Cupertino's assistance, apparently with the help of a private security firm.


Street Artist Is Arrested for Subway Heart Art

Hans Honschar, who performs chalk sketches on the sidewalks of the Upper West Side, was recently arrested after he started to draw a heart on a subway "customer information center." The NYPD charged Honschar with 29 counts of "possession of a graffiti instrument" (one for each of the markers he was carrying at the time) and confiscated the markers. Mr. Honschar was allowed to keep the box cutter he also was carrying. He is scheduled to appear in court on April 7th.


Cirque De Soleil Sues Justin Timberlake for Copyright Infringement

Cirque du Soleil has accused Justin Timberlake of sampling its original composition in his hit song, "Don't Hold the Wall." The allegedly infringed work is called "Steel Dream," and appears on Cirque du Soleil's 1997 album, "Quidam." "Don't Hold the Wall" appears on Timberlake's 2013 album, "20/20."


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 2, 2016 8:26 AM.

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