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Week in Review

By Michael Smith

Obama Signs Law to Aid in Recovery of Nazi-Looted Art

Last Friday, President Obama signed legislation that will extend statutes of limitations to allow heirs of those whose artwork was stolen by Nazis during World War II to sue for recovery of the art.


German Court Rules That Collection of Questionable Provenance can go to Museum

When Cornelius Gurlitt died in 2014, he bequeathed 1,500 artworks to the Museum of Fine Arts in Bern, Switzerland. His cousin, Uta Werner, challenged the bequest, arguing that Gurlitt was not mentally competent when he drew up his will. Last Thursday, a Munich court found that Gurlitt was competent, and that the works should be transferred to the museum. Even as that question is resolved, however, hundreds remain. A team of researchers continues to look into the history of all the works and has already identified 680 pieces within the collection that may have been looted by Nazis.


Dutch Court Rules That Crimean Artifacts Must Be Returned to Ukraine

In 2014, Crimean museums lent 565 artifacts to the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam. After the Dutch exhibition opened, Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula. Ukraine, which considers the annexation to be a violation of international law, claims ownership over the artifacts and sued for their return to Kiev. On Wednesday, a Dutch court ruled that the works should be returned to Ukraine, but that an Ukranian court would determine the ownership of those pieces.


Facebook Tries to Compensate for Ignorance, Apathy of Users

Under fire for its role as a conduit for fake news, Facebook announced that it is taking steps to limit such misinformation by crowdsourcing fact-checking, as well as partnering with outside fact-checking organizations. Facebook also says that it will change some advertising practices to make it harder to profit from dissemination of fake news stories.


"Porn Troll" Lawyers Indicted

Paul Hansmeier and John Steele of Prenda Law were charged this week with fraud, perjury, and money laundering in connection with their scheme to extort millions of dollars through sham lawsuits. Prenda Law filed "John Doe" complaints based on the IP addresses of downloaders of pornography, obtained defendants' identities through discovery, and then extorted "settlement" payments.


Supreme Court Declines to Review National Football League Head Trauma Settlement

Last Monday, the United States Supreme Court denied a request by some retired players that it review a settlement reached between the National Football League (NFL) and former players who accused the NFL of hiding and ignoring the dangers of head trauma. The NFL is now free to begin implementing the settlement, which could involve payments of $1 billion to former players who have or develop conditions covered by the settlement.


Texas Launches Study of Brain Trauma in High School Sports

The state of Texas has began tracking two dozen high school sports to determine what can be done to better protect athletes from head trauma. The state is working with the O'Donnell Brain Institute at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.


National Basketball Association and Players Reach Labor Deal

The National Basketball Association (NBA) reached an agreement in principle with the players' union, the National Basketball Players Association, on a 7-year collective bargaining agreement. The deal keeps the players' share of basketball-related income roughly the same at 51%, but expands the definition of "basketball-related income" such that the players' share will be worth hundreds of millions of dollars more. The NBA also agreed to limit back-to-back games--an acknowledgement of player concerns about the physical toll of consecutive games.


Russia Loses International Frozen Water Slide Competition

The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association announced that it will be removing the upcoming world championships from Russia to avoid a boycott due to reports of widespread state-sponsored doping by Russian teams, including the recently-released World Anti-Doping Agency report. A new location has yet to be announced.


Princeton Trails Harvard, Columbia Yet Again

In response to an anonymous complaint about vulgar, offensive, misogynistic, and racist materials, Princeton suspended the season of its men's swimming and diving teams. Last month, Harvard and Columbia each suspended the seasons of their men's soccer and wrestling teams, respectively, for similar behavior. Just last week, Harvard put its men's cross-country team on probation.


Gophers Show Solidarity with Accused Teammates

The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers have threatened to boycott all football activities to protest the suspensions of 10 players accused of sexual assault. The football players believe that their teammates did not receive due process, and as a result have had their names unfairly "destroyed." The University has said that it could not discuss the case, but the football coach tweeted his support for the team on Thursday.


Louisville Suspends Coach Involved in Wake Forest Scandal

Lonnie Galloway, a co-offensive coordinator for the University of Louisville Cardinals, was suspended for his failure to alert Wake Forest that he had received confidential game play information about their Deamon Deacons. Galloway received the information from Tommy Elrod, a former broadcaster for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, who gave similar information to Virginia Tech and Army.


FBI Records Reveal Monitoring of Muhammad Ali's Involvement with Nation of Islam

Newly-released government records from 1966 show that the FBI was closely monitoring the involvement of boxer Muhammad Ali with the Nation of Islam, which is referred to in the documents as an "all-Negro, semireligious, antiwhite" organization.


New Jersey Drops Domestic Violence Charges Against Mets Pitcher

A municipal court judge in Fort Lee, New Jersey dismissed a domestic violence charge against Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia for lack of evidence. Familia may still face discipline from Major League Baseball (MLB) under its relatively new domestic violence policy.


Buccaneers Quarterback Settles Rape Suit

Jameis Winston, quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, reached a settlement with Erica Kinsman, who accused Winston of raping her when they were both students at Florida State University (FSU). Winston was never prosecuted, and FSU found insufficient evidence of misconduct. Kinsman also sued FSU for violating her rights under Title IX, a suit FSU settled in the high six figures without admitting liability.


Argentine Marketing Company Fined in Soccer Bribery Scandal

Torneos y Competencias, an Argentinian sports marketing firm, agreed to pay over $112 million in penalties for bribing high-ranking FIFA officials to secure World Cup broadcast rights. The deal spares the company prosecution by the United States Department of Justice.


MLB Rookies Can No Longer Dress Up as Pretty Princesses

MLB established a new rule that would prevent players from dressing up as women during the ritual hazing of new players. The rule comes as a response to increasing complaints that some of the costumes were demeaning and offensive to women. Players can still dress up, just not in drag.


Manslaughter Conviction for Slayer of Saints' Smith

Cardell Hayes was convicted of manslaughter for fatally shooting retired New Orleans Saints football player Will Smith after their cars collided. Hayes testified that he was acting in self-defense and that Smith had a gun. This testimony appeared to conflict with Hayes' prior statements. Hayes faces 40 years in prison when he is sentenced in February.


Morehead Coach Accused of Battery Resigns

Morehead State University men's basketball coach Sean Woods resigned after two players accused him of assaulting them during a game last month. Woods is facing a misdemeanor battery charge.


Atlanta Councilwoman Proposes Restrictions on Hip-Hop Studios

Citing concerns about noise and safety, an Atlanta councilwoman has proposed beefing up the permitting process for music recording studios, requiring them to be soundproofed, and keeping them out of residential areas. The proposal met with sharp resistance from many in a city whose cultural and economic identity is increasingly tied to hip-hop.


Cosby's Lawyers Move to Exclude Accusations of Assault

Just days after losing their bid to exclude his own admission that he used drugs to aid in his pursuit of sexual encounters, Bill Cosby's lawyers asked the Pennsylvania judge presiding over Cosby's criminal trial to exclude the testimony of 13 women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault. Cosby's lawyers attacked those women's credibility and argued that their testimony was not relevant to the issue in the criminal case, namely, whether Cosby drugged and raped Andrea Constand in 2004. The district attorney argued that the testimony was admissible as evidence of a pattern of behavior consistent with the charged offense.


Redstone's Ex Sues his Daughter for Spying

Sydney Holland, who dated media mogul Sumner Redstone for five years, accused Redstone's daughter, Shari Redstone, of hiring private investigators to spy on her as part of a scheme to interfere with Mr. Redstone's plans to support her financially. Mr. Redstone sued Holland for elder abuse, claiming Holland and another ex-girlfriend tricked him into giving them money.


Fox Offers to Buy Sky

21st Century Fox, which owns a minority stake in British entertainment company Sky PLC, has formally submitted a $14.6 billion offer to purchase the remaining shares. The deal may face challenges from shareholders and regulators.


Fox News Reporter Suit Alleges Harassment by Ailes

Lidia Curanaj, a reporter for Fox 5 in New York, is the latest to accuse former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes of sexual harassment. Curanaj sued 21st Century Fox for discrimination and creating a hostile work environment. She alleges that Ailes turned her down for a job at Fox News because she would not "put out."


Warner Elevates Emmerich

Toby Emmerich has been promoted from manager at New Line Cinema to President and Chief Content Officer for Warner Bros. Pictures Group. Meanwhile, Greg Silverman will step down as President of Ccreative Development and Production for Warner Bros. Pictures.


Cerutti Ascends at Christie's

Guillaume Cerutti will replace Patricia Barbizet as Chief Executive Officer of Christie's auction house. Cerutti left Sotheby's last year to become Christie's President of Europe, Middle East, Russia and India operations.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 19, 2016 11:42 AM.

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