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Week in Review

By Michael Smith

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into Entertainment, Art, Sports, and Media. First, of general interest:

Ninth Circuit Partially Reinstates Trump Travel Ban

The Ninth Circuit Court ruled that the Trump administration's travel policy blocking entry to travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen can be implemented, except as to people who have a "bona fide relationship" with close family or an organization in the United States.


Australians Vote to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

61.6% of Australians responding to a government survey voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. The votes were non-binding, but sent a message to legislators regarding public support for legalization.


Signs of Russian Interference in Brexit, British Infrastructure

Researchers have identified more than 150,000 Russian Twitter accounts that tweeted messages meant to inflame xenophobia and otherwise encourage Brits to vote for Brexit. On Tuesday, Britain's National Cyber Security Centre accused Russian hackers of attacking the British energy grid and telecommunications and media industries.


Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Upholds Standing to Challenge Secrecy of Its Opinions

In a first of its kind and closely decided en banc decision, the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court vacated its initial decision that the ACLU and Yale Law School's Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic suffered no injury-in-fact and thus lacked standing to bring First Amendment claims seeking access to redacted portions of the court's opinions. The six-judge majority concluded the initial opinion had improperly considered the merits of the claim, which were not relevant to the standing inquiry. The dissent argued that the First Amendment right of public access does not apply to judicial proceedings that have never been public.



Old Vic Reports 20 Accusations of Spacey

London's Old Vic theater released the reports of an investigation into Kevin Spacey's tenure as the theater's artistic director, revealing that 20 people have alleged that Spacey engaged in inappropriate behavior. The theater was not able to independently verify the allegations, but apologized for "not creating an environment or culture where people felt able to speak freely."


Fox's "Empire" Doesn't Infringe On Record Label's Trademark

The Ninth Circuit Court affirmed the Central District's ruling that Fox Television's use of "Empire," the name of its hit music-industry drama is protected by the First Amendment and does not infringe upon the rights of real-life music company Empire Distribution, Inc.



Alec Baldwin Settles with Art Dealer

Actor Alec Baldwin settled his dispute with art dealer Mary Boone over a painting that Baldwin purchased in 2010. Baldwin claims that the painting Boone delivered was not the one for which he paid $190,00. Reportedly, Boone will pay Baldwin a seven-figure sum and two paintings.



FIFA Trial Moves Forward

On Monday, the trial of three former presidents of the soccer associations of Peru, Paraguay, and Brazil opened in the Eastern District of New York. The men are charged with soliciting and accepting bribes in exchange for television and marketing contracts. They are three of dozens of defendants, many of whom have plead guilty or avoided extradition to the United States.


Accusations of Misconduct in FIFA Trial

Prosecutors asked Judge Pamela Chen to revoke bail for defendant Mauel Burga, former president of the Peruvian soccer federation, for intimidating witness Alejandro Burzaco. Prosecutors say that Burga made throat-cutting gestures during Burzaco's testimony. Burzaco's lawyer, Bruce Udolf, says Burzaco is a "serial liar," and Burga was simply scratching a rash on his neck. Judge Chen will hold a hearing next week on the allegations of witness tampering, and said Burga should be examined by a dermatologist.


Apparent Suicide Linked to FIFA Trial

On Tuesday, Jorge Delhon, an attorney who worked for Argentina's government-run soccer television program "Futbol Para Todos," was hit by a train and killed. His death came hours after a witness in the FIFA trial testified that Delhon had received bribes.


Marketing Executive Says That Fox Sports Paid Bribes

On Tuesday, a former executive of sports marketing company Torneos y Competencias testified in the FIFA trial that media companies, including Fox sports, paid bribes to obtain television rights for soccer matches.


Paraguayan Judge Authorizes Extradition of Former Soccer Official

On Thursday, a Paraguayan judge authorized the extradition to the United States of Nicolas Leoz, the 89-year-old former head of the South American Football confederation. Leoz is accused of bribery.


Jones v. Goodell Continues

Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, has been vocal in his opposition to the extension of Commissioner Roger Goodell's contract, which is being negotiated by the National Football League's (NFL's) compensation committee. Jones hired David Boies and threatened to sue the league and its owners, and other owners believe that his actions are motivated by resentment over Goodell's decision to suspend Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. Jones says he is trying to make the contract talks more transparent, and is pushing to have all team owners vote on the contract extension. In a letter sent to Boies last week, the members of the committee accused Jones of "conduct detrimental to the league's best interests"--language evocative of the basis for sanctions (including possible suspension) against a team owner.



Elliott Drops Suspension Appeal

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott will not continue to pursue an appeal of his six-game suspension. Elliott was suspended after an NFL investigation concluded he had engaged in acts of domestic violence. Elliott denies the allegations and says his decision is not an admission of wrongdoing.


Players Say NFL is Standing in the Way of Settlement Payments

Retired players and their families are accusing the NFL of delaying or obstructing payments due to them pursuant to a 2015 settlement of a lawsuit over the NFL's dealing with head trauma. Of 1,400 claims filed so far, only 140 have been approved, and only about half of the approved settlements have been paid out. Players say the hoops they have to jump through to get paid are unreasonable, and that the NFL is unreasonably denying claims and intentionally moving slowly.


WADA Committee Recommends Russia Not be Re-Certified

The World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA's) compliance review committee recommended that Russia not be deemed compliant with anti-doping regulations. If WADA adopts the recommendation, Russia will remain banned from major sports events, such as the New York City Marathon and the Paralympics.


Trump Intervenes on Behalf of UCLA Basketball Players

When President Trump learned that three UCLA students visiting China as part of a sponsored sports program had been arrested for shoplifting, he raised it during his meeting with China's president, Xi Jinping. Soon thereafter, charges were reduced and the players were released to their hotel.


Virginia Marathoners Disqualified for Russian Connections

The winner of the men's division of the Richmond, VA marathon and the first- and third-place finishers in the women's half marathon, were all disqualified because they share an agent: Larisa Mikhaylova, a Russian who has been accused of providing runners with performance-enhancing drugs. Mikhaylova registered the athletes using an alias.



Federal Communications Commission to Loosen Media Ownership Regulations

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai said on Wednesday that the FCC intends to roll back regulations that ban cross-ownership of a newspaper and broadcast TV station in the same market. Pai said the decades-old rules, which were instituted prior to the ascendancy of cable news and the Internet, no longer make sense.


Missouri Investigating Google Business Practices

Missouri's attorney general disclosed that his office subpoenaed Google for information concerning the company's collection and use of private information, the use of other content providers' information on its sites, and possible bias in search engine results.


YouTube Purges Awlaki Videos

After years of criticism and pressure, YouTube has taken much more aggressive steps to eliminate videos of Anwar al-Awlaki, a jihadist known as the "Osama bin Laden of the Internet". Awlaki was killed six years ago by a U.S. drone strike, but until recently YouTube hosted tens of thousands of videos of Awlaki's recordings. Using a combination of video fingerprinting technology and human review, YouTube has drastically reduced the number of videos of Awlaki available on the site, and those that remain tend to be reportage or commentary.


Journalist Charged in Inauguration Protests Goes to Trial

Alexei Wood, one of two reporters set to stand trial for his involvement in Inauguration Day protests in front of the Capitol, appeared in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on Wednesday. Nine journalists were charged, but charges against seven were dropped. Wood and the other remaining journalist, Aaron CantĂș, are charged with rioting and destruction of property.


Advertisers Send Mixed Messages on Hannity

After Sean Hannity made comments on his television show calling one of Roy Moore's alleged encounters "consensual," many called on advertisers to pull their ads from his show. Some advertisers, including Keurig, Reddi Whip, Realtor.com, Nature's Bounty, and Volvo tweeted messages indicating that they had pulled their ads. However, earlier this week many of those advertisers were clarifying or deleting those tweets.


Russia May Require Foreign Media to Register

On Wednesday, Russia's Parliament approved legislation that could require foreign media organizations operating in Russia to identify themselves as "foreign agents". President Putin, who must sign the legislation into law, expressed concerns the rule may go too far. The move is seen as a response to the United States Justice Department's decision to require Russian state-run TV to identify itself as a "foreign agent" under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, which was intended to combat Nazi propaganda.


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