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Week in Review

By Leslie Berman
Edited by Elissa Hecker


Trump Administration Says That It Needs More Time to Reunite Migrant Families

The Trump administration asked a federal judge for more time to reunite migrant families separated by authorities at the southwest border. Some parents separated from their children have already been deported, while the children remain here. The government says the parents' whereabouts are unknown, making it difficult to reunite the families. Judge Dana M. Sabraw of the Federal District Court in San Diego gave the government a hard deadline by which to come up with a list naming all 101 of the youngest children, along with an explanation of why it would be impossible to promptly restore each of them to a parent.


Trump Officials Reverse Obama's Policy on Affirmative Action in Schools

The Education and Justice Departments have announced that they rescinded seven Obama-era policy guidelines on affirmative action, which called on universities to consider race as a factor in admissions, in order to diversify incoming classes. The Trump administration will promote race-blind admissions standards.


Supreme Court Labor Decision Wasn't Just a Loss for Unions

The Supreme Court struck down mandatory union fees for government workers. This will certainly result in fewer dollars in union coffers. One effect of the decision will likely be the loss of public sector dollars that have been used to fund liberal causes - such as immigrants and civil rights - and turning out voters or placing ads in Democrats' campaigns.


Court Blocks Trump Administration From Blanket Detention of Asylum Seekers

In a sharply worded ruling, Judge James Boasberg of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia blocked the systematic detention of migrants who have shown credible evidence that they were fleeing persecution in their home countries, finding that the government's own directive calling for asylum applicants to be freed when appropriate while their cases are pending "has been honored more in the breach than the observance." While the government is entitled to hold asylum seekers in detention, a 2009 directive provides that those who have shown what is known as a "credible fear" in an initial interview have a right to be considered for release. In a court challenge, lawyers for nine plaintiffs who had been held in detention presented evidence that parole rates under the Trump administration have plummeted more than 90% to "nearly zero."


Lawyers for Neo-Nazi to Defend Alex Jones in Sandy Hook Case

The conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who claims the Sandy Hook massacre that killed 20 children and six adults was a hoax, has hired lawyers representing a founder of the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website to defend him against defamation claims brought in Connecticut by families of seven Sandy Hook victims. Jones has spread theories that the families were "crisis actors" in a government plot to confiscate firearms. His online supporters have harassed and threatened the families as a result. Jones is being sued in Texas by two more Sandy Hook families, but is represented by different lawyers in that State.


Emergency Rooms Run Out of Vital Drugs, and Patients Are Feeling It

Supplies of painkillers, heart medications, and many other sterile injectable drugs like morphine have virtually disappeared from emergency rooms around the country, endangering patients and limiting doctors' options for optimal care. These shortages are the result of several problems that have hit the pharmaceutical industry simultaneously. Pfizer, which produces the majority of generic injectable drugs, has had serious manufacturing problems at several of its plants. Puerto Rico, which manufactures many pharma products, was slammed by Hurricane Maria, and for a long period was unable to produce the small saline bags that are emergency room mainstays, adding to a years-long problem with keeping intravenous fluids in stock. Lowered profit margins for generic drugs have caused some pharmaceutical manufacturers to limit or even cancel production of those medicines.


Merkel, to Survive, Agrees to Border Camps for Migrants

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel - a standard bearer of the EU - planned on welcoming hundreds of thousands of migrants into Germany, but recent political shifts at home as in many EU countries have brought conservative anti-immigrant parties into power. In order to keep her seat and her party in power, Merkel announced that Germany would build border camps for asylum seekers and tighten the border. The nationalism and anti-migrant sentiment that has challenged multilateralism elsewhere in Europe is taking quickly root in mainstream German politics.


Austria Could Be the Next EU Country to Tighten Its Borders

Hours after Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc agreed to measures that would tighten Germany's southern border, Austrian leaders announced plans for similar actions that would further threaten Europe's system of free movement.


Russians Protest Over Retirement Age Hike

Russians protested over a government decision to increase the retirement age, but there were no demonstrations in the cities hosting the World Cup because of security restrictions in force during the tournament. Most of the rallies had been approved by local authorities, and there were no reports of arrests.


Same-Sex Couples Entitled to Equal Visa Rights, Hong Kong Court Says

Hong Kong's top court ruled that committed same-sex couples have the same rights to spousal visas as married heterosexual couples, a decision that advocates said could have ripple effects in advancing gay rights. Banks and law firms had pushed for such recognition to lure and keep top talent in the financial and business center. The woman at the center of the case came to Hong Kong as a visitor in 2011, several months after entering a same-sex civil partnership in Britain with a woman of South African and British nationality who had taken a job in Hong Kong. Their application for a dependent visa was refused on the basis that marriage is defined in Hong Kong as the union of one man and one woman.


Poland Purges Supreme Court and Protesters Take to Streets, with its Supreme Court in Disarray After Judges Defy the Order

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Warsaw in opposition to the forcible retirement of nearly one third of Poland's Supreme Court justices, including the Chief Justice, by lowering the mandatory retirement age from 70 to 65. The right wing Law and Justice Party, which has taken control over the Constitutional Tribunal, has asserted new powers to select judges and created a judicial disciplinary chamber. These actions erode the judiciary's independence, and are likely to force a confrontation with the EU over the rule of law.

However, despite their firing, Poland's Supreme Court Judges showed up for work the following day, supported by demonstrators. Former president Lech Walesa was among those in the streets.



In Denmark, Harsh New Laws for Immigrant 'Ghettos'

Denmark has had trouble integrating immigrants into its homogeneous society, so it is taking steps to train Muslims, among others, living in "ghettos" - urban centers in which immigrants are a sizable community - in the culture of the country, including Christmas and Easter traditions and the Danish language. This controversial process starts with children as young as one-year olds for 25 hours per week.


López Obrador, an Atypical Leftist, Wins Mexico Presidency in Landslide

The leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador was elected president of Mexico in a landslide victory upending the nation's centrist and globalist political establishment. López Obrador promised to end corruption, reduce violence and address Mexico's endemic poverty - issues that were immensely popular with voters angry at Elites. Now the trick will be to deliver on those promises without shaking up the already-fragile economy, and without retaining some "bad actors" who were instrumental in the presidential campaign.



Star Flutist Sues Boston Symphony Over Pay Equity

The Boston Symphony Orchestra's principal flutist and one of its most prominent musicians has filed a gender pay discrimination, claiming that her compensation is only about 75% that of her closest comparable colleague, the orchestra's principal oboist, who is a man. The suit is the first under a new law in Massachusetts requiring equal pay for "comparable work" that became effective this week, after employers had two years to rectify disparities.


Harvey Weinstein Faces New Sex Assault Charges in Manhattan

A grand jury in State Supreme Court in Manhattan has voted to allow an amended indictment against Harvey Weinstein, adding a third victim and
new charges against the former film mogul. The new charges carry higher penalties than the charges of sexual assault on which Weinstein is currently bound for trial. Although more than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexually harassing or assaulting them, usually after luring them with a promise of a business meeting, prosecutors have had difficulty finding other victims whose allegations fall within the statute of limitations and are willing to testify.


Unwelcome Sound on Germany's Stages: Musicians Who Boycott Israel

The Scottish rappers Young Fathers were dropped from an arts festival in Germany last month because they openly support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, also known as B.D.S., which asks companies and people to avoid doing business with Israel in protest of its treatment of Palestinians. Another B.D.S. supporter, the musician Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, who is revered in Germany, has feuded with the mayor of Munich over the boycott. In Germany, where calling for a boycott against the Jewish state carries deep historical associations with the Nazis, the movement is widely viewed as anti-Semitic.



Statue of Liberty Stamp Mistake to Cost Postal Service $3.5 Million

The United States Postal Service mistook a Las Vegas-based replica for the real Statue of Liberty, and used it as the basis for a 2010 Forever Lady Liberty postage stamp. The replica's sculptor has now been awarded $3.5 million from the Post Office for violating his copyright. The sculptor filed the infringement lawsuit in 2013, claiming that his sculpture was sufficiently different from the original, thereby deserving protection.


French and Swiss Museums to Share a Cézanne With a Murky Past

The family of Paul Cézanne and the museum in Switzerland that holds the controversial art collection of Cornelius Gurlitt have settled a dispute over the ownership of a majestic landscape, "Montagne Sainte-Victoire", painted by Cezanne in 1897. Gurlitt, a recluse who hoarded about 1,500 artworks, some looted by the Nazis, bequeathed the painting to the Kunstmuseum Bern. Gurlitt inherited many of the works, including the Cézanne, from his father, Hildebrand Gurlitt, a dealer who purchased art in occupied France for Adolf Hitler's planned Führermuseum in Linz, Austria. The Cézanne is known to have been in the possession of the artist's family until at least 1940. Under the terms of the agreement, the Bern museum will loan the painting to the Musée Granet in Cézanne's hometown Aix-en-Provence, France, for about three months a year.


Curator Says MoMA PS1 Wanted Her, Until She Had a Baby

MoMA PS1, the Queens museum known partly for its inventive live art, music and dance series, courted a new creative hire for months before formally offering her the position as curator of performance last August. However, within a few weeks and after she mentioned to the museum's chief curator that she had just had a baby, the offer was rescinded. Now she has filed a complaint with the New York City Commission on Human Rights, asserting that the museum discriminated against her in violation of the city's laws on caregivers, pregnancy, and women's rights. The complaint said that the museum tried to assert, inaccurately, that she had turned down its job offer.


Turmoil at Lincoln Center: Infighting, Money Troubles, Scrapped Projects

Lincoln Center has had four leaders in five years, and that instability has affected every aspect of the institution. There have been shuffled and abandoned priorities and financial difficulties, just when major cultural institutions are struggling to retain and build donors and audiences. There will be no Lincoln Center Festival this summer, the promised Hall of Fame hasn't happened, and the Philharmonic's Geffen concert hall renovation is being "rethought."


The Philadelphia History Museum Is Closing Its Doors (Maybe for Good)

Falling revenues and the abrupt abandonment of a proposed partnership with Temple University have placed the Philadelphia History Museum's future in doubt. It will certainly be closed for at least six months, and may never reopen. Philadelphia is home to many well-known tourist attractions, such as the Liberty Bell, but the History Museum is home to some of the city's most valuable artifacts, including a desk used by President George Washington, the preserved body of a small dog named Philly who once served on the front lines during World War I, and boxing gloves worn by Joe Frazier during a championship match in the 1970s.


Protests Shutter a Show That Cast White Singers as Black Slaves

When the show "Slav", featuring performances by white women as slaves picking cotton, premiered at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, it immediately spawned a backlash and criticism that white artists had recklessly appropriated black culture. Critics called the work an insulting and insensitive performance. The production by the celebrated Quebec director Robert Lepage claims to be inspired by traditional African-American slave and work songs, and featured white and black performers. The backlash was swift and severe, causing the show to close after two performances of 16 scheduled.



When Sports Betting Is Legal, the Value of Game Data Soars

England has dealt with the issue of official versus unofficial sports data sources for years, and has not been able to curtail unofficial sources, which create lucrative niches for private betting companies. Just like bootleggers steal music and films by recording them during live performances using hidden miniature equipment, data collectors attend sports events incognito. Using various types of electronic equipment, they can send real-time play-by-play info that may beat the official data collectors' captures by just a few seconds, which can be enough to give the unofficial collectors a competitive edge. These practices raise many important questions: How should sports data from any source, official or unofficial, be regulated, monitored and purchased? Who should settle a dispute over whether an in-play bet was won or lost? Does real-time data from a sporting event, like the sounds of a musical performance, have a claim to royalties and copyright protection for those who produce it? By creating a sort of monopoly, could a mandate for official data actually do more harm than good?


Jim Jordan Is Defiant as Allegations Mount, and Supporters Point to 'Deep State'

New accusers have come forward to say that Jim Jordan, the wrestling coach turned six-term congressman, was aware of sexual misconduct at Ohio State University but did nothing to stop it. The Ohio Republican's stalwart supporters are already defending the conservative powerhouse, saying that he is the victim of the same "deep state" conspirators -- liberal bureaucrats embedded in the government -- who are trying to bring down President Trump. In a Fox News interview, Jordan disparaged some of the former college wrestlers who have come forward to say that he knew of allegations that the team doctor, Richard H. Strauss, had fondled them. He said he could not explain why other more friendly wrestlers had leveled similar charges.


Jenrry Mejia, Barred for Life in 2016, May Return to the Mets Next Season

Jenrry Mejia, the Mets closer who became the first player in Major League Baseball (MLB) to be barred for life for using performance-enhancing drugs, has been conditionally reinstated. According to the provisions of the MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, a player who receives a lifetime ban may apply for reinstatement after two years. Mejia will be allowed to begin workouts under the Mets' supervision after the All-Star Game this month and to start a minor league rehabilitation assignment in mid-August.


For Tennis Players, Numbers in Antidoping Program Don't Add Up

Some players are never tested, some are tested occasionally, and some are tested frequently for performance enhancing drug use. Serena Williams expressed no qualms about antidoping officers showing up unannounced to collect urine and, on occasion, blood samples. She wasn't even bothered when it happened twice in the same week in the lead-up to this year's French Open until she saw numbers, plucked from the United States Anti-Doping Agency's public database and included in a recent Deadspin article, that seemed to suggest that she was being tested three times and five times more often than her competitors.


Canadian Police Charge Truck Driver in Hockey Team Bus Crash

Canadian police filed charges against a truck driver whose semi-trailer rig collided with a bus carrying a junior hockey team in April, killing 16 people, in one of the worst disasters to strike the country's sporting community.


The World Cup's Hot New Accessory Comes With a Few Questions

The must-have World Cup 2018 accessory is a laminated credential badge hanging from a FIFA lanyard, called a Fan ID, without which no fan can get into a World Cup stadium. It also grants access to perks like visa-free entry into Russia, free transport in and occasionally between host cities, and discounts in certain shops and restaurants. However, it has also raised concerns about privacy in a country that has been a base for international hackers and that has a long history of closely monitoring its citizens. The Russian authorities said the only purpose of the badges is to improve the security and comfort of fans. The badges, however, do give World Cup organizers and security officials the ability to track the location of fans during the tournament and provide the authorities those fans' personal information.


Russia Win in World Cup Offers Distraction as Putin Benefits

Russia's surprise victory over Spain in the World Cup has changed official policy on wild in the streets celebrations, as Moscow became a giant street party with the eager support of the Kremlin. With the anticipation of a Russia-U.S. summit the day after the tournament final, President Vladimir Putin is basking in good news. Even protests against a government plan to raise the retirement age (see above in General News) were drowned out by the cheers.




Instagram Account That Sought Harassment Tales May Be Unmasked

The now-removed anonymous Instagram account "Diet Madison Avenue," which solicited and published reports of sexual misconduct in the advertising field, has been named in a defamation lawsuit filed by Ralph Watson, former Chief Creative Officer of the Boulder, Colorado location of advertising agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky (CP&B). As a result, the identities of the account owners of Diet Madison Avenue may be required to be revealed by Instagram. Posts on the Instagram account claimed that Watson was a serial sexual predator and demanded that CP&B to fire him to prove that it supported its staffers and the tenets of #MeToo. Watson was fired by the agency shortly thereafter.


Hard News. Angry Administration. Teenage Journalists Know What It's Like

High school educators across the country have been clamping down on students who publish articles on protests, sexuality, and other hot-button issues. In Prosper, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, Prosper High School's principal fired the faculty advisor to the school's student-run newspaper, Eagle Nation Online, after he forbade publication of three articles written by students, including an opinion piece on the National School Walkout protest.


Yelp Can't Be Ordered to Remove Negative Posts, California Court Rules

In a decision widely scrutinized by free speech advocates, the California Supreme Court has ruled that Yelp, the local search and review site, does not need to remove negative comments posted by a user. In a 4-to-3 opinion, the court said that federal law protected internet companies from liability for statements written by others. Forcing a site to remove user-generated posts could interfere with and undermine the viability of an online platform. The role of moderating speech on online platforms has become a hotly contested topic, as the reach and influence of companies like Facebook and Google have grown. Such companies have long argued that they are not liable for posts published by others on their platforms.


New York Times Reassigns Reporter in Leak Case

The New York Times reporter whose email and phone records were secretly seized by the Trump administration will be transferred out of the newspaper's Washington bureau and reassigned to a new beat in New York. The reporter had been the subject of an internal review by the newspaper after revelations that she had a three-year affair with a high-ranking aide on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which she covered for several news organizations before joining The New York Times in December. The aide, who handled classified material for the committee, was arrested last month as part of a leak investigation in which the Justice Department also seized the reporter's communications, an unusually aggressive move against a journalist that prompted an outcry from press advocates.


Sri Lankan Lawmakers Target Reporters in New York Times Investigation

A New York Times investigation into the seizure by China of a Sri Lankan seaport caused a backlash by Sri Lankan lawmakers, who denounced the paper, and focused on two local journalists. The lawmakers, who are allies of the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, held a televised news conference in which they claimed that the journalists, Dharisha Bastians and Arthur Wamanan, were working on behalf of the current government to malign Rajapaksa.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 9, 2018 10:49 PM.

The previous post in this blog was National Football League Files Motion for Summary Judgment to End Colin Kaepernick's Collusion Case.

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