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Week In Review

By Nick Crudele
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Trump Insists That the U.S. Has a Trade Deficit With Canada

President Trump is sticking to his claim that the United States has a trade deficit with Canada, following reports that he stated such at a fundraiser. Trump insisted on Twitter that "We do have a Trade Deficit with Canada..." when, in fact, the U.S. runs a surplus with that country when the value of services is included. Trump claimed at a fundraiser that when he spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau about trade, he had "no idea" whether or not the U.S. had a trade deficit. Trudeau's office denies that the conversation ever took place.


Trump's Tough Talk Rattles Trade

President Trump's steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum might be the first shot in what some see as a global trade war, or worse. Experts believe that Trump's tariffs, which exempt some countries but not others, and his threats to remove the exemptions if NAFTA is not renegotiated, could upset the economic prosperity and security the United States and its allies have experienced for the last few decades.


Tillerson Ousted

President Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after months of speculation about the turbulent relationship between the two. Trump made the announcement of Twitter before calling Tillerson. CIA Director Mike Pompeo was nominated to take over for Tillerson.


ICE Spokesman Resigns in Protest

ICE spokesperson James Schwab resigned from the San Francisco Division, citing what he called falsehoods being spread by members of the Trump administration. Schwab said, "he just couldn't bear the burden continuing on as a representative...knowing that the information was false."


Kudlow Becomes Presidential Advisor

Television host Larry Kudlow accepted the role to become President Trump's chief economic advisor, replacing Gary Cohn, who resigned after losing a battle over steel and aluminum tariffs. Kudlow, an advocate for lowering taxes on the rich, is one of many TV personalities under consideration for top White House positions.


Employee Diversity Still Eludes Google

Google has made little progress in its attempt to diversify its workforce. Google, one of the first tech companies to release its race and gender statistics, has struggled to diversify its largely white and Asian male workforce. A series of lawsuits brought by former employees have accused Google of discriminating against white men in its attempt to be more inclusive.


Mass Protests Unites Students Against Gun Violence

Students across the country left class on Wednesday to protest gun violence after the school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School. This was the first major student-led coordinated movement against gun violence. Two more protests are set for March 24th and April 20th, the latter being the anniversary of the Columbine shooting.


Trump Backtracks on Gun Control

President Trump's tough talk on gun control and opposing the NRA has turned into a whimper, bowing to the group, and backing away from any real gun control. Instead, Trump is pushing the idea of arming teachers and small improvements to background checks.


Democrat Lamb Wins House Seat in Trump Country

Democrat Conor Lamb won a tightly contested special election for a House seat in southwestern Pennsylvania, the same area where Donald Trump carried the 2016 presidential election by more than 20 percentage points. Lamb campaigned as an independent-minded, anti-Pelosi candidate, echoing themes of unions' rights and economic fairness, while taking a conservative approach to the issue of guns.


Trump Succeeds in Blocking Broadcom from Buying Qualcomm

Days after President Trump blocked Singapore based Broadcom's hostile takeover bid for U.S. based Qualcomm, Broadcom officially withdraw its $117 billion bid. Trump blocked the deal after a government panel reviewing the deal disclosed serious concerns about national security.


Texas Law Banning Sanctuary Cities Moves Forward

A federal appeals court ruled that Texas can move forward with its law banning sanctuary city policies. The Court upheld most provisions of the law, which established civil penalties for local governments and law enforcement that do not comply with immigration laws and detention requests. The law was blocked by a lower court in August. The appeals court struck one provision of the law, which punished officials for "endorsing" policies that limit immigration law enforcement.


House Republicans Opposed to Intel Community on Russian Meddling

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin was not trying to help Donald Trump win the 2016 election, despite the intelligence community, which they oversee, reaching the opposite conclusion. The Committee Republicans said that they found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, but did say that Russia meddled in the election to cause chaos.
Special counsel Robert Mueller continues his probe.


Jackpot Winner Can Remain Anonymous

A judge held that the winner of one of the country's biggest lottery jackpots can remain anonymous. The women, who won $560 million, argued that she feared being overwhelmed with requests for a share and was concerned about her safety. The state of New Hampshire argued that the name must be disclosed to ensure the prizes are distributed fairly, and that the winners are not related to lottery employees. The judge sided with the woman, writing that "she will be subject to an alarming amount of harassment, solicitation and other unwanted communications."


White House Aides Blur Legal Line with Media Messages

White House aides, including Kellyanne Conway and Jared Kushner, are blurring the legal lines barring them from using their positions to engage in partisan politics with their media presence. At least eight complaints have been filed against aides for potential violations of the Hatch Act, the 1939 law barring government officials from using their positions to engage in partisan politics. Conway's alleged violation occurred when she weighed in on the Alabama Senate race during a televisioninterview. Kushner used his White House title on a news release about President Trump's re-election bid. During the eight years of the Obama administration, only six complaints were filed.


F.B.I. Agent McCabe Fired Over Candor Questions

F.B.I. Agent Andrew McCabe, a frequent target of President Trump's ire and Twitter taunts, who stepped down from the F.B.I. in January after accusations surfaced that he failed to be forthcoming about conversations between the F.B.I. and a journalist, was fired just days before he was set to retire. In a yet to be released report, an F.B.I. internal investigation found that McCabe had shown a lack of candor under oath on multiple occasions, a fireable offense.


Ex-Cuomo Aide Found Guilty of Taking Bribes

Governor Cuomo's former aide Joseph Percoco was found guilty of taking bribes from two executives at companies seeking to do business with the State government. The prosecutors alleged that Percoco was bribed by the executives when they give his wife a no-show job and when he received cash bribes through shell companies.


President Xi Given Indefinite Rule

In a vote of 2,958 to 2, Chinese legislatures voted to amend the constitution to remove term limits for the president, thus giving President Xi the power to rule indefinitely. The amendment, along with other amendments that included adding a salute to Xi in the constitution, gave constitutional backing to the Communist Party.


Philippines Will Withdraw From International Criminal Court

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced that his country would withdraw from the International Criminal Court ("ICC"), claiming that its withdrawal would trigger the "beginning of the end" for the ICC. The announcement comes weeks after the ICC opened an investigation into possible crimes against humanity as part of Duterte's deadly war on drugs.


Myanmar Disputes United Nations Accusations of Human Rights Violations

Myanmar disputed United Nations reports claiming that there was evidence of genocide and ethnic cleansing in Rakhine state. The Myanmar army is accused of murder and rape of Rohingya Muslims, as well as the burning of their villages. Government officials insist that threats from militant group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army and the lack of jobs and food force the Rohingya from their homes and has denied any human rights violations.


Putin Suggests Jews Behind 2016 Election Hacks, Dems Demand Russian Extradition

Democratic leaders implored President Trump to do everything in his power to extradite 13 Russians charged with subverting the presidential election, after Russian President Putin suggested that Jews might have been behind the hack. Putin, in an interview with NBC, said about the 13 Russians, "Maybe they are not even Russians but Ukrainians, Tatars or Jews...Maybe the U.S. paid them for this."


Human Rights Court - Burning Picture of King and Queen is Free Speech

The European Court of Human Rights held that burning the picture of the Spanish King and Queen is justifiable political criticism and overturned the convictions of two men sentenced to 15 months in prison for insulting the monarchy. The Court said the burning "had not been a personal attack on the king...but a denunciation of what the king represented."


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


Visual Effects Firm Fights Hollywood Studios with New Copyright Theory

Rearden LLC ("Rearden"), the visual effects firms that claims ownership to a widely used facial motion-capture technology, is continuing its copyright fight against Hollywood. Rearden, which successfully sued two technology companies for stealing its product, is continuing its fight against Hollywood studios who used the stolen technology. In Rearden's original complaint against the studios, it alleged patent, trademark, and copyright claims. The district judge allowed the patent and trademark claims to move forward. Rearden's copyright claim, which alleged that it owned the copyright in a software program's output, and therefore anything derived from that software, was dismissed with prejudice, with the judge writing that the software's output is not plausible without any substantial contribution from the actors or directors. Rearden amended its complaint on the theory that the studios are vicariously and contributorily liable for infringement, because they were in a position to police the technology companies that stole the technology.


Stormy Daniels Sued By Trump After Lawyers Trade Barbs over "60 Minutes" Interview

President Trump's lawyers filed a lawsuit against porn star Stormy Daniels for allegedly violating a confidentiality agreement she signed after a supposed affair with the Trump. This is the first time that Trump has formally joined his legal team's fight against Daniels. Prior legal wrangling was conducted by Trump's lawyers on behalf of a shell company.

Previously, Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen and Daniel's attorney Michael Avenatti had a war of words in the media. Avenatti was on a media blitz trying to pressure Trump into releasing Daniel from a non-disclosure agreement that she signed after an alleged affair with Trump. Avenatti recently tweeted a photo of his client speaking with Anderson Copper of "60 Minutes" for a yet-to-be aired segment.



Harper Lee Estate Sues Aaron Sorkin over Mockingbird Portrayal

The estate of author Harper Lee has sued screenwriter Aaron Sorkin over his depiction of Atticus Finch in Lee's classic novel "To Kill a Mockingbird." Lee's original story portrays Finch as a heroic figure crusading against the unjust accusation of a black man on trial for rape. Lee's estate alleges that Sorkin's betrayal of Finch as naïve apologist for the racial status quo breaches the contract of the parties to "not derogate or depart in any manner from the spirit of the Novel nor alter its characters."


Bankrupt IHeartMedia Has Plan To Halve Debt

IHeartMedia Inc. filed bankruptcy plans to halve its debt load by more than $20 billion. The largest U.S. radio station owner has been hurt by its legacy of leveraged buyout and the increase of new digital rivals.


Cosby Judge Allows Five More Accusers to Testify

The judge in the Bill Cosby sexual assault case said that prosecutors can present up to five more accusers as witnesses. The judge is letting the prosecution choose five witnesses out of a list of eight who have accused the comedian of sexual assault dating back to the 1980's, including model Janice Dickenson. Cosby's lawyers said that the prosecution's attempt to bring up "ancient allegations" shows "how desperate they are and that this is a very weak case."


Saudi Kingdom Building Entertainment Industry

Notoriously conservative Saudi Arabia has started to lighten up, allowing its citizens to enjoy entertainment that is common-place to most of the world. The kingdom is now allowing events such as comic book festivals, dance performances, concerts, and truck rallies, all of which would have been strictly forbidden years ago. This is an attempt by Saudi Arabia to create jobs by keeping Saudis from going abroad in search of fun and employment.



Pepe the Frog Artist Sues for Copyright Infringement

Pepe the Frog artist Matt Furie sued right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for copyright infringement over a poster sold on Furie's Infowars website. The pro-Trump poster featured an image of the frog among right-wing figures, including Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter, with the acronym "MAGA". Furie has been waging a fight against Jones for months to reclaim his "peaceful frog-dude".



Sotheby's Ends Meier Show Amid Harassment Claims

Prominent architect Richard Meier had his exhibition closed at Sotheby's amid New York Times reports on sexual harassment allegations. The show, which opened onFebruary 28th and was scheduled to close on March 29th, featured collages and silk-screens. The harassment claims include Meier exposing himself to female assistants and asking a former female employee to help with a collage that included images of female genitalia.



The Metropolitan Opera Fires Levine After Investigation; Levine Sues

The Metropolitan Opera ("the Met") has fired former director emeritus James Levine after its investigation into sexual abuse and harassment allegations. The investigation found that Levine "engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct towards vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers." Levine, who served as the musical director for 40 years until he retired, was suspended by the Met during the investigation. Levine filed a lawsuit saying that the company exploited baseless allegations to tarnish his reputation and fire him.



Levine's Firing and Lawsuit Reveals Fractured Relationship With Met

Conductor James Levine's firing from the Met amid an investigation into sexual harassment conduct and his lawsuit that followed reveals the fractured relationship between the two parties, despite their outward appearance. Only seven years ago, the Met marked Levine's 40th anniversary with the company with two lavish boxed sets surveying his career and a PBS produced documentary. Yet behind the scenes, the relationship was fracturing. Levine, who for health reasons had to step down as conductor, said in his lawsuit that the company "brazenly seized" on allegations of misconduct as a pretext to end its relationship with him. The lawsuit goes on to say that the Met's general manager Peter Gelb routinely made jokes and comments about Levine's physical condition.


Rubble Makes Protest Art in Beijing

Chinese artist Yang Qian has turned the ruble from the government-demolished homes of migrant workers into protest art. Qian hopes that his work - a display of crystallized sealed objects from the homes, including stuffed animals, broken glasses, and children's shoes - will convey the idea that wealthier people treat migrants like garbage.



FIFA Hopes to Launch Women's Soccer League

FIFA plans to launch a new global women's soccer league as early as 2019. FIFA's president Gianni Infantino will ask the organization's executive council to approve the plan. The league would feature 16 of the world's top women's national teams and four regional leagues to encourage the development of women's soccer globally.


Pacific-12 Recommends Sweeping Changes Amid NCAA Investigation

The Pacific-12 (Pac-12") Conference announced its support for several reforms to college basketball amid federal investigations into recruiting practices. The reforms include encouraging the National Basketball Association ("NBA") and NBA Players Association to end the "one-and-done" rule and allow high school players to be drafted, but if they choose to go to college, they must stay three years. The report by the Pac-12 Conference also recommended barring summer basketball programs from being run by shoe companies and full transparency of apparel deals with coaches and universities.


U.S. Looking into Ways to Punish Russian Doping Officials

The United States Anti-Doping Agency is exploring the use of government sanctions normally reserved for terrorists and murderers to punish Russian doping officials. The agency wants to sanction the Russian officials who were responsible for the state-sponsored doping program that embroiled the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Any sanctions would freeze the assets of the Russian officials.


Clyde Drexler Takes Over as Big3 Commissioner

Clyde Drexler was named the commissioner of the Big3 three-on-three basketball league. Drexler takes over for Roger Mason Jr., who was dismissed after allegations of an inappropriate relationship with two Qatari investors.


John Skipper Explains His Sudden Departure From ESPN

John Skipper, the former president of ESPN and co-chairman of Disney, told The Hollywood Reporter that an extortion plot by someone from whom he bought cocaine led to his resignation. Skipper, who in his resignation letter cited substance addiction, was with Disney for 27 years. Skipper gave his resignation to Disney CEO Bob Iger after telling Iger about the plot.



Parkland Students Take Their Battle to Social Media

The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School learned quickly that the best way to get their message out about gun control is through social media; particularly Twitter. Harnessing their millions of followers, the students confronted politicians and the media head-on with their messages. However, the social media activism has come at a cost, including the stresses of managing their message and dealing with competing views.


AT&T Antitrust Trial Begins

The government's antitrust trial against AT&T's attempted acquisition of Time Warner begins this week. The government argues that if the acquisition is allowed to proceed, consumers will end up paying more to watch television shows, whether on a television screen or other mobile device, because of the decrease in competition. AT&T says that it needs Time Warner to compete against Amazon, Google, and similar companies. Experts believe that if deal is allowed to move forward, it could spur other similar acquisitions. If it is blocked, big internet players will have to build out their own content.


Trump Consultants Accused of exploiting Facebook User Data

A whistleblower at voter-profiling company Cambridge Analytica accused the company of harvesting the private information of millions of Facebook users to help the Trump administration influence their behavior in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. Cambridge Analytica apparently paid a third-party, who claimed to be collecting it for academic purposes, to acquire the personal information of the users.


Facebook Blocks Hate Group in England

Facebook blocked far-right group Britain First for breaking rules against inciting hatred. Facebook said that it took down the group's page and those of its leaders for repeatedly violating rules designed to hatred against minority groups. Britain First received global attention when President Trump retweeted one of its anti-Islamic posts.


National Geographic Accepts Racist Past

A report commissioned by National Geographic to examine the magazine's troubled history on race found that the magazine "reproduced a racial hierarchy with brown and black people at the bottom, and white people at the top", with a complete absence of urban, educated Africans. University of Virginia professor John Edwin Mason's report was featured prominently in the magazine under a headline "For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It."


Seth Rich's Family Sues Fox News

The family of Seth Rich, the former Democratic aide whose murder fueled conspiracies about his involvement with leaking DNC emails prior to the 2016 presidential election, sued Fox News for causing them "extreme and outrageous" conduct. The suit stems from Fox News' publication of an article, which implied that Rich was murdered in retaliation for his having leaked DNC emails. Fox News later retracted the story.


Slovak Leader Clings to Power After Murder and Protests

Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico and his party are clinging to power after mass protests over the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée. It is believed Kuciak was killed because he was investigating ties between an Italian crime syndicate and the Slovakian government. The protesters took to the streets calling for Fico's resignation and expressing their anger over the government's handling of the murder investigation.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 18, 2018 9:27 PM.

The previous post in this blog was De Havilland v. Pacific 2.1 Entertainment Group, Inc. et al.

The next post in this blog is Ninth Circuit Affirms, 2-1, "Blurred Lines" Infringement Judgment.

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