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Week in Review

By Angela Peco
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

GENERAL NEWS

President Trump Revokes Ex-Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan's Security Clearance

The White House announced that John Brennan's clearance was being revoked due to his "erratic behavior" that "far exceeded the limits and far exceeded any professional courtesy that may have been due to him." High-level intelligence officials typically keep their clearances after they leave their agencies so that they can advise their successors.

Brennan described Trump's decision as an attempt to scare and silence his critics. Civil rights lawyers saw the move in a similar light, arguing that it was an abuse of presidential power to punish someone for publicly criticizing an elected official. Other clearances are also under review. Reports have Trump reaching into the bureaucracy to review the clearance of a midlevel Justice Department official, Bruce Ohr, whom he believes helped start the investigation into Russian election interference.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/15/us/politics/john-brennan-security-clearance.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/16/opinion/letters/trump-brennan.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/17/us/politics/trump-conspiracy-bruce-nellie-ohr.html?login=email&auth=login-email

Trump Signs Defense Spending Bill and Identifies Provisions That He Has Authority to Override

In a signing statement released after the public signing of the bill, Trump deemed about 50 of its statutes to be unconstitutional intrusions on his presidential power. Among them was a ban on spending military funds on any activity that recognizes Russian sovereignty over Crimea. Signing statements are meant to lay out the president's interpretation of new laws. The practice became controversial under President George W. Bush, who challenged more provisions of new laws than all previous presidents had combined. In 2006, the American Bar Association took the position that presidents should not use signing statements, but should instead veto legislation if it has constitutional defects. That would give Congress the opportunity to override that veto if lawmakers disagreed.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/14/us/politics/trump-signing-statements.html

The Federal Bureau of Investigations Fires Senior Counterintelligence Agent Peter Strzok

The Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) ordered Peter Strzok fired, even though the FBI's disciplinary office decided that he should be suspended for 60 days and demoted. Strzok was removed from the FBIs investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election after his anti-Trump texts surfaced. His texts became emblematic of President Trump's assertion that an alleged deep state of bureaucrats opposed to him was undermining his presidency. Along with the texts, Strzok was also accused of sending a highly sensitive search warrant to his personal email account.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/13/us/politics/peter-strzok-fired-fbi.html

Mueller Team Wants Jail Time for Trump Advisor Papadopoulos

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is seeking a six-month jail sentence for Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos. He is arguing that Papadopoulos misled investigators about the "timing, extent and nature" of his meetings with Russian operatives, which in turn caused damage to the government's inquiry.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/17/us/politics/trump-mueller-papadopoulos-russia.html

White House Counsel, Don McGahn, Said to Be Cooperating Extensively with Mueller Probe

McGahn is cooperating extensively with Mueller's obstruction of justice inquiry, giving at least three voluntary interviews totalling 30 hours. He's discussed the president's decision to fire former FBI director James Comey, the ouster of national security advisor Michael Flynn, and Trump's attempts to fire the special counsel himself. McGahn's cooperation was part of the strategy of Trump's first team of criminal lawyers, and reportedly continued due to a suspicion that he was being set up to take the blame for any possible illegal acts of obstruction.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/18/us/politics/don-mcgahn-mueller-investigation.html

President Trump Directs Securities and Exchange Commission to Study Quarterly Earnings Requirements for Public Firms

President Trump has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to consider eliminating requirements that publicly traded companies post quarterly earnings reports, directing the regulator to study moving corporate America to reporting earnings twice a year. The disclosures are required under federal securities law and keep investors informed about the financial health of publicly traded companies. Globally, European regulators abolished requirements that companies file quarterly reports in 2013, while Japan moved closer to current American rules, requiring quarterly reporting starting in 2008.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/17/business/dealbook/trump-quarterly-earnings.html

Federal Securities Regulators Subpoena Tesla Following Musk's Tweet

The SEC served Tesla with a subpoena days after regulators began inquiring about a Twitter post by Tesla's chief executive, Elon Musk. Musk tweeted that he is considering converting Tesla to a private company and that the financing for this transaction had been "secured." Tesla shares soared after the news, but it soon became clear that neither Tesla nor Musk had lined up the necessary financing. The serving of a subpoena indicates that an inquiry has advanced to a more formal, serious stage, but the scope of the SEC's investigation remains unclear.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/15/business/tesla-musk-sec-subpoena-goldman.html

Justice Kavanaugh's Record Suggests That He Would Favor Religious Interests in School Debates and Unlock Funding for Religious Education

School voucher champions see Judge Kavanaugh as a critical vote in overturning longstanding constitutional prohibitions, often called Blaine amendments, that outlaw government funding of religious institutions in more than three dozen states. The amendments have been used to challenge programs that allow taxpayer funding to follow children to private and parochial schools. There are currently 26 states with voucher systems that provide a certificate of government funding for a student at a school chosen by the student or the student's parents. Kavanaugh's record suggests that he is supportive of school choice and of including religious schools in voucher programs. Over his career, Kavanaugh has argued in favor of breaking down barriers between church and state and has filed amicus briefs to support the right of religious groups to gain access to public school facilities.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/14/us/politics/kavanaugh-vouchers-religious-education.html

Judge Bars Statements Made by Guantanamo Detainees During FBI Interrogations

A military commission judge ruled that prosecutors cannot use statements made by five Guantanamo detainees accused of aiding the September 11th attacks. The statements were made to FBI interrogators shortly after their transfer out of a "black site" prison. The FBI had sent in a "clean team", whose agents did not know what the detainees had previously said, to start over with questioning them and to get the statements in question. The detainees' defense lawyers argued that the lingering effects of their clients' previous torture also tainted those subsequent interrogation sessions conducted by "clean teams" and, as such, the government is not allowed to introduce any of the clean team statements.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/17/us/politics/guantanamo-detainees-fbi-interrogations.html

Justice Department is Increasingly Filing Briefs in Support of States with Voter ID Laws

The Justice Department has not launched any efforts challenging state voter ID laws and has instead supported states that advocate for tighter restrictions on voter registration. According to critics of these laws, and of the government position vis-à-vis these laws, there is no evidence of widespread impropriety during elections to justify these restrictions. Instead, the aim of laws adding requirements like photo IDs is to discourage certain voters and empower the Republican party.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/12/us/voting-rights-voter-id-suppression.html

Four U.S. Agencies Deny Responsibility for Unaccompanied Children Released from Custody to Sponsors in the U.S.

Speaking before a Senate subcommittee, administration officials acknowledged that they have no system for tracking the tens of thousands of migrant children who are released from federal custody and handed over to sponsors. They said they have neither the authority nor the funding to exercise that degree of oversight. The director of the federal immigration courts testified that unaccompanied minors were about twice as likely as other migrants to fail to appear in court and are ordered deported in abstentia, although most remain the country illegally.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/16/us/trump-immigration-unaccompanied-minors.html

U.S. and China Started Mid-Level Trade Talks

Chinese and U.S. negotiators are reportedly working on a plan to hold talks to end the trade dispute at a summit where President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are expected to meet. Beyond tariffs, currency concerns have also resurfaced. The Treasury Department will seek to pressure the Chinese to lift the value of their currency. The Chinese government sets a baseline for the currency and only allows it to fluctuate within a narrow band. Since April, China's currency has fallen about 10% against the dollar, making Chinese products cheaper for foreigners to purchase and helping offset the impact of U.S. tariffs on Chinese products.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/16/us/politics/us-china-tariffs-trade.html

The Trump Administration is Sanctioning Companies Helping North Korea

The Treasury Department announced new sanctions against three organizations based in China, Singapore, and Russia for facilitating illicit shipments to North Korea. The shipments violated both U.S. and United Nations sanctions, and included exports of alcohol, tobacco, and refined oil products.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/15/world/asia/trump-sanctions-north-korea.html

U.S. is Reluctant to Agree to a Peace Declaration Between North and South Koreas

So far, American officials have refused to embrace a formal peace declaration to end the decades-long Korean War. North Korea insists on securing it before moving forward with denuclearization, while the Trump administration wants North Korea to first halt its nuclear weapons program. Officials also worry that a peace declaration could dilute the U.S. military footprint in Asia, and that the president of South Korea might push for a lesser American military presence after an end-of-war declaration.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/13/world/asia/korea-peace-treaty-trump-us.html

U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Myanmar Military Over Rohingya Atrocities

The Treasury Department announced that it imposed economic sanctions on Burmese security forces and military commanders for what American officials said was their role in ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims and widespread human rights abuses against other ethnic minority groups.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/17/us/politics/myanmar-sanctions-rohingya.html

State Department Effectively Cancels Grant Intended to Support Independent Media Outlets in Hungary, Inviting Speculation that Trump will Engage with Hungary

The State Department failed to select a recipient and recently announced that the $700,000 grant may now be used in other parts of Europe. The grant was offered to help nurture independent media outlets in Hungary, where President Orban's allies control many of the major regional newspapers that support his administration and anti-immigrant agenda. The move might be part of a larger pivot by the Trump administration that signals a new engagement with Hungary. To some European diplomats, Trump's pivot in Hungary deepens their belief that the administration is trying to divide the European Union by supporting a Europe-wide alliance of far-right politicians.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/15/world/europe/hungary-us-orban-trump.html

Trump Administration to Pull Back Funding for Syria Reconstruction Efforts

The State Department will pull back the $230 million in funding it had allocated to rebuild parts of Syria once held by the Islamic State, areas that were largely destroyed by U.S. airstrikes and proxy combat on the ground. The repairs were seen as vital to persuading Syrian refugees to return home. The announcement comes as Syria's dual wars - the civil conflict to overthrow President Assad and the fight against the Islamic State - have increasingly overlapped.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/17/us/politics/syria-stabilization-foreign-aid.html

Citing Costs, President Trump Cancels Massive Military Parade in the Capital

Several administration officials described a "sticker shock" after seeing a Pentagon estimate of $92 million to pay for the parade. Trump sought to blame local government officials in Washington for inflating the price of the parade, a charge that they swiftly denied.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/17/us/politics/trump-military-parade.html

Grand Jury Report Finds Catholic Priests Abused 1,000 Children in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania's Supreme Court released a grand-jury report on sexual abuse in Pennsylvania's Catholic Church, detailing decades of alleged abuse, sexual assault, and attempted cover-ups. Following an 18-month investigation into six of Pennsylvania's eight dioceses, the report lists more than 300 "predator priests" accused of preying on more than 1,000 victims. Attorney General Shapiro said the systematic cover-up served a legal purpose - the longer the church covered it up, the less chance that law enforcement could prosecute the priests.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/14/us/catholic-church-sex-abuse-pennsylvania.html

Overdose Deaths Hit a Record 72,000 in 2017

Drug overdoses led to 72,000 deaths in 2017, a record number that reflects a rise of around 10%. Analysts pointed to two major reasons for the increase: a growing number of Americans are using opioids and drugs becoming deadlier. Preliminary 2018 numbers in some states suggest that the number of overdoses and the death rate has begun to fall. States began tapping a $1 billion grant program to help fight the problem after the president declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency in 2017.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/15/upshot/opioids-overdose-deaths-rising-fentanyl.html

Puerto Rico Residents Finally Have Power Restored After 11 Months in the Dark

Most residents in Puerto Rico have now had power restored, but the new head of the electric utility estimates that a quarter of the work done after the storm will have to be redone and billions more must be spent to reconstruct the grid.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/14/us/puerto-rico-electricity-power.html

New York Officials Estimate That President Trump's Plan For Immigrants on Welfare Could Hurt One Million New Yorkers

The proposed rule would make it difficult for immigrants who use any welfare benefits to obtain green cards, as their reliance on benefits could indicate they would be a burden on government resources. New York City officials warn that the children of immigrants seeking green cards would be the most vulnerable. The administration's plan is based on the more than 100-year-old law of "public charge" - a person who is very likely to become "primarily dependent" on government services cannot become a legal permanent resident. The proposal is now set to include children's health insurance, supplemental nutritional plans, tax credits for low- to moderate-income families, and housing and transit subsidies. Any applicant or dependent who has used such benefits in the past 36 months could be ineligible.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/13/nyregion/welfare-immigrants-trump-public-charge-rule.html

Manafort Jurors Ask for Clarification on Meaning of 'Reasonable Doubt'

The jury in Paul Manafort's bank and tax fraud trial posed questions about 'reasonable doubt" and sought clarification on financial laws at the close of their first day of deliberations. Jurors also asked about the requirements to disclose foreign bank accounts, and whether it was possible to match the government's 388 exhibits to the 18 counts in the indictment, after which they were told that they needed to rely on their own memories to do.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/16/us/politics/manafort-jury-reasonable-doubt.html

Trump Campaign Files Arbitration Case Against Omarosa Manigault Newman for Breach of Confidentiality Agreement

The claim was filed in New York City for breach of a confidentiality agreement Manigault Newman had signed with the Trump campaign in 2016. The suit followed the release of Manigault Newman's book, in which she says the president harbors bigoted views. Candidate Trump had aides on the campaign sign nondisclosure agreements that say that no confidential information is to be released during the term of service or anytime thereafter.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/14/us/politics/omarosa-trump-campaign-arbitration-case.html

West Virginia House of Delegates Votes to Impeach Entire State Supreme Court

In a series of votes, lawmakers approved 11 articles of impeachment against the four sitting justices, sending the process on to the State Senate. The vote was prompted by reports of extravagant spending on office renovations. The chief justice is already facing a charge of "unnecessary and lavish spending" in addition to a 23-count federal indictment on charges of fraud and false statements. The court as a whole was impeached for not creating policies to rein in the wasteful spending.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/14/us/west-virginia-impeach-supreme-court.html

GOP Candidate Admits to Lying About her Degree, Drops Out of Race

Melissa Howard, the Republican candidate for the Florida House, admitted that she lied about having a college degree and has now withdrawn from the race. She initially disputed the reports, posing with a framed degree, and providing the media with what she claimed to be a college transcript.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/13/us/melissa-howard-diploma-florida-gop.html

New York University Medical School Makes Tuition Free for Medical Students

New York University's School of Medicine announced that it will offer full scholarships to all current and future students in its Doctor of Medicine program. The move is meant to encourage students to pursue careers in primary care without amassing a lifetime of student debt.

https://www.npr.org/2018/08/17/639467023/nyu-medical-school-says-it-will-offer-free-tuition-to-all-students

Canada Appears to Be on the Sidelines as U.S. and Mexico Near an Agreement on NAFTA

The United States and Mexico appear close to agreeing on a NAFTA deal. President Trump confirmed that Canada has not been a party to the latest round of talks, citing Canada's high tariffs. Negotiators from all three sides have said that bilateral talks are being held for the U.S. and Mexico to work out specific differences, especially as they pertain to the agriculture and automobile industries. Others view the move as a way to pressure Canada to move more quickly and offer more concessions.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/17/us/politics/nafta-canada-mexico.html

Emerging Markets Contagion? Turkey's Financial Meltdown Matters Globally

Turkey's currency collapsed by more than 20% in a week and President Erdogan is feuding publicly with President Trump, leading to trade sanctions that are hurting its economy. Some analysts also worry that its problems could soon morph into a debt repayment crisis and that Turkey's financial problems could spread to other fast-growing but risky countries. Turkey plays a key geopolitical role as a NATO member that makes any threats to its stability concerning to its neighbors.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/13/business/turkey-lira-emerging-markets.html

Kofi Annan, Seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dies at 80

Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) from 1997 to 2006, died in Switzerland at the age of 80. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, Annan was the first black African to head the United Nations. He was credited with revitalizing the UN's institutions, shaping what he called a new "norm of humanitarian intervention." His leadership of the UN peacekeeping operations from 1993 to 1997 was not without its critics, after UN forces were outgunned and showed little resolve in both Rwanda and Bosnia.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/18/obituaries/kofi-annan-dead.html

Ouster of Zuma Loyalists Bolsters South Africa's Corruption Fight

South African's Constitutional Court ordered the country's chief prosecutor to step down immediately in what many viewed as an important step toward restoring a more independent justice system. The judgement addressed political interference in prosecutorial decisions, especially as they related to officials linked to allegations of state capture, where a small number of business families were shaping government policy to their advantage.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/13/world/africa/south-africa-corruption-shaun-abrahams.html

ENTERTAINMENT

Aretha Franklin Dies at 76; How Her Single 'Respect' Became a Battle Cry for Musicians Seeking Royalties

The Queen of Soul's No. 1 hit, "Respect", played a symbolic role in a long fight over copyright issues that have deprived artists of royalty payments. Franklin did not earn any royalties from the millions of times the song played on the radio because under copyright law, American radio stations pay only the writers and publishers of a song, and not the performer. The song was held up as Exhibit A in every effort to change the law.

"Respect" has also become a battle song in the fight over digital rights. Laws passed in the 1990s let performing artists collect royalties from internet and satellite radio, but songs were exempt if they were recorded before 1972. A 2014 bill to change that was named the Respect Act in honor of the song she recorded in 1967. That fight continues through a current bill in Congress, the Music Modernization Act, that would force digital radio services to pay royalties for songs recorded before 1972.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/17/arts/aretha-franklin-respect-copyright.html

U.S. Judge Blocks Programs Letting "Grand Theft Auto" Players Cheat

U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton of the Southern District of New York granted a preliminary injunction against the creator of unauthorized software programs "for cheating in and manipulating" the plaintiff's "Grand Theft Auto" products. Take-Two Interactive Software, the maker of the game, accused David Zipperer of selling computer programs that let users cheat by altering the game for their own benefit, or "griefing" other players by altering their game without permission.

Giving effect to the forum-selection clause in the online "license agreement" agreed to by the defendant to play the game, the court found that the defendant consented to jurisdiction in New York. The opinion upheld the complaint's cause of action for "intentional interference with a contract" but found that the claim for "unfair competition" was pre-empted. It then granted a preliminary injunction on the plaintiff's copyright claims. The case is Take-Two Interactive Software Inc v Zipperer, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 18-02608.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-take-two-grand-theft-auto/u-s-judge-blocks-programs-letting-grand-theft-auto-players-cheat-idUSKBN1L12NS

Judge Allows Sex-Trafficking Suit Against Weinstein, Citing History of the Casting Couch

U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet ruled that an aspiring actress can sue Weinstein for violating sex-trafficking laws because the proverbial casting couch, in which women are asked to trade sex for Hollywood opportunities, could be considered a "commercial sex act". He also stated that sex-trafficking laws had an "expansive" definition of what could be considered a commercial sex act. In addition, the judge rejected the argument that nothing of value was exchanged, saying that even if the prospect of a film role or continued professional relationship with Weinstein were not enough to constitute "things of value," then the actress's reasonable expectation of receiving those things in the future, based on Wienstein's representations that she would, was sufficient.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ct-weinstein-lawsuit-20180814-story.html

Director with a History of Domestic Violence Record Steps Away from Movie "Eve"

Matthew Newton stepped down as director of the movie "Eve" following an online petition and a torrent of criticism surrounding his history of domestic violence.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/10/arts/matthew-newton-jessica-chastain.html

ARTS

U.S. Authorities Seize Half a Billion Dollars Worth of Fake Luxury Goods Shipped from China

New York's special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New York said this was the largest investigation that the agency had had in terms of the number of counterfeit items. The government charged 33 individuals with conspiracy, trafficking in counterfeit goods, and trademark counterfeiting. The goods were part of a scheme originating in China that stretched to warehouses in Queens.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/16/nyregion/fake-luxury-goods-handbags.html

Colorado Baker Sues the State Over New Discrimination Allegation

Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips, who won a Supreme Court case after refusing to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, is now suing Colorado, this time for investigating his refusal to bake a cake celebrating a gender transition. The ruling was specific to Phillips' case. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission argued that the transgender client was denied "equal enjoyment of a place of public accommodation," while Phillips' lawyers argue that he is being targeted by potential customers eager to test the limit of the law.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/16/us/masterpiece-cakeshop-colorado-jack-phillips.html

British Museum Will Return Looted Artifacts to Iraq

The artifacts were stolen from the site of a Sumerian city in Southern Iraq and were handed over to Iraqi officials during a ceremony in London. The objects were held unclaimed by the London police for more than a decade and were passed to the British Museum for analysis this year. Among the eight restituted objects were three fired-clay cones, around 4,000 years old, featuring Sumerian script. They were identical to others found during a British-led excavation in Tello, Iraq.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/10/arts/iraq-looted-objects-british-museum.html

Chile Will Ask For the Return of a Statue From the British Museum on Behalf of Easter Island's Indigenous People

The Chilean government plans to form a committee to try to recover a 1,000-year-old statue for the Rapa Nui, the indigenous people of Easter Island, arguing that it is a tangible link to the island's history. Chile annexed the island in 1888. If Chile makes a formal request for its return, it will add to the growing pressure European museums are facing to repatriate objects to their countries of origin.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/16/arts/design/easter-island-british-museum.html

SPORTS

University of Maryland Accepts Legal and Moral Responsibility For Events That Led to Football Player Jordan McNair's Death

University of Maryland president Wallace Loh and athletic director Damon Evans acknowledged that the university's "mistakes" and "misdiagnoses" led to the 19-year-old's death. Two weeks before his death, McNair experienced a heatstroke in the aftermath of practice that was not addressed promptly.

The family is well-positioned to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Maryland and potentially other parties, including the NCAA and Big Ten Conference. While Maryland law caps pain and suffering damages for wrongful death to approximately $2 million, the state's law does not cap damages for economic loss, which is significant because McNair died relatively young and his career was on an upward trajectory. If a settlement is reached, it will likely include a substantial monetary payment in exchange for the family relinquishing any legal claims it may have against the school.

https://www.si.com/college-football/2018/08/14/maryland-admission-death-jordan-mcnair-carries-major-legal-consequences

Education Department Opens Civil Rights Inquiry Into Abuse at Ohio State

The investigation will look into how Ohio State University officials handled reports of sexual misconduct by a former team doctor, Richard Strauss, from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. It is another in the list of high-profile sexual abuses cases at state universities, even as the Education Department issued guidance intended to scale back investigations of civil rights violations at public schools.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/16/us/politics/ohio-state-sexual-abuse-civil-rights.html

Gymnasts Describe Emotional and Physical Abuse By a Prominent Coach

Several gymnasts described patterns of emotional and physical abuse by coach Qi Han at Everest Gymnastics, one of gymnastics' top training facilities in North Carolina. Monica Avery, a gymnastics coach in the state, said she filed a complaint against Han after she witnessed him kicking an injured gymnast. Complaints to USA Gymnastics were forwarded to SafeSport, which is responsible for investigating abuse claims in Olympic sports.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/18/sports/gymnasts-coach-abuse.html

ESPN Will No Longer Show National Anthem Before Monday Night Football Games

ESPN announced that it would not show the national anthem before the "Monday Night Football" games it broadcasts this season. ESPN's president told reporters the National Football League (NFL) did not pressure the network. Under its recent policy, the NFL made it mandatory for players to stand for the anthem, but later decided to freeze the new policy and seek ways to modify it in negotiations with the NFL Players Association, which had already filed a grievance against the NFL for unilaterally changing its policy.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/17/sports/espn-nfl-anthem-protests.html

John Elway's Public Comments on Colin Kaepernick

The Broncos GM stated that the Broncos had offered Kaepernick a contract that he rejected. His comments come as an NFL-appointed arbitrator weighs a motion by the NFL to throw out the grievance brought by Kaepernick, accusing the former and team executives of shunning him because of his protests during the national anthem. Elway did not mention, however, that the offer came before the 2016 season, when Kaepernick had not yet begun protesting. The comments also appeared to be in breach of the confidentiality order in the collusion case.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/16/sports/john-elway-colin-kaepernick.html

First Month of Sports Betting in New Jersey Nets Nearly $4 Million in Revenue

New Jersey sports books produced $3.8 million in gross revenue from $40.7 million in wagers during July, the first full month of gambling on sporting events in the state. Monmouth Park Sports Book's numbers tumbled dramatically in July after becoming the first sports book to accept wagers in June. FanDuel Sportsbook at The Meadowlands Racetrack generated a state-best $1,357,477 in gross revenues, producing average daily revenues of $75,415.

https://www.app.com/story/sports/2018/08/14/nj-sports-betting-monmouth-park-revenue-totals-plummet-july/970655002/

National Hockey League's Signing Bonuses Are Creating a Rift Between Teams and the League

Signing bonuses will be an interesting issue to monitor as the National Hockey League (NHL) and the NHL Players Association gear up for the next round of collective bargaining negotiations. Signing bonuses have become a popular stipulation for players under the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and offer myriad benefits to the players. First, signing bonuses are taxed at a substantially lower tax rate. They have also become "lockout protection" because, unlike straight salary, they must be paid if the NHL decides to shut its doors. Reports indicate that the NHL has asked teams to stop handing them out, and they could very well be a point of contention in the next round of talks.

https://www.tsn.ca/signing-bonus-issue-lingers-over-next-nhl-labour-deal-1.1154204

MEDIA

Sandy Hook Father is Combating Blogging Platform Over Conspiracy Theories

The father of one of the victims in the Sandy Hook school shooting is launching a challenge against WordPress.com, one of the internet's biggest blogging platforms, over posts that call the shooting a hoax and label his son a "crisis actor". In the absence of uniform online policies about hoaxes, Leonard Pozner has been filing copyright claims on images of his son. Automattic, the company that operates WordPress, has made it a corporate cause to fight copyright claims and adopt policies that it says prevent these claims from being used to censor criticism and journalism on its platform.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/13/business/media/sandy-hook-conspiracies-leonard-pozner.html

Twitter Suspends Infowars and Its Founder, Alex Jones, For One Week

Twitter suspended the accounts of the far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his media website Inforwars for a week, for violating the Twitter's rules against inciting violence. Both accounts had posted a video calling for supporters to get their "battle rifles" ready against media and others. Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify had already taken steps to ban Jones and Infowars from their platforms because of hate speech.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/14/technology/twitter-alex-jones-suspension.html

New Calls For Facebook to Ban Holocaust Denials

Pressure is mounting on the tech giant from inside and outside the Jewish community to ban Holocaust denials on its platform. Facebook's recent move to ban conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars website is helping to fuel the effort. Mark Zuckerberg recently defended the right of Holocaust deniers to use the platform, on the grounds that while Holocaust denial is offensive, deniers may be sincere in their beliefs. However, many see a similarity between Alex Jones and Holocaust deniers, as both parties pursue an agenda of hate and incitement to hate.

https://jewishweek.timesofisrael.com/new-calls-to-ban-holocaust-denial/

The Justice Department Backs Suit Accusing Facebook of Violating Fair Housing Act

The United States Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York filed a 'statement of interest' this week that sides with housing groups who claim that Facebook's advertising platform violates fair housing laws. Facebook is being accused of creating and harvesting user data to develop profiles for each user. It could be held liable if housing providers used the site's targeting tools to discriminate against prospective renters and buyers in advertising their properties.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/17/us/politics/justice-dept-facebook-fair-housing.html

Google Employees Protest Secret Work on Censored Search Engine for China

Google has been secretly planning a censored version of its search engine for the Chinese government that will edit out content about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest. In response to the news, about 1,400 Google employees have reportedly signed a letter demanding more transparency to understand the ethical consequences of their work. Google previously withdrew from China in protest of censorship and government hacking, and may be considering a return there.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/16/technology/google-employees-protest-search-censored-china.html

Qatar's beIN Sports Network Says That It Can Link a Pirate Network to Saudi Arabia

The crisis between a Qatari media network and Saudi Arabia is entering its second year, with the Qatari beIN Media Group now saying that it has irrefutable proof that Saudi Arabia is pirating and illegally broadcasting its content on the Arab-language channel beoutQ. BeIN Media Group says that it has carried out tests that provide irrefutable proof of its long-held position linking the beoutQ signal to a Riyadh-based company in which Saudi Arabia is the biggest investor.

It has taken months for beIN to persuade many of the sporting organizations to speak out publicly about this, including FIFA and UEFA. The French professional soccer league, which enjoys enormous Qatari investment, has called on Europe's top trade body to put pressure on Saudi Arabia to shut down the pirate channel.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/16/sports/qatar-saudi-arabia-beoutq-bein-sports.html

Protesters in Russia Accuse Government of Entrapping Young Critics Online

Demonstrators protested a growing number of arrests of young Russians on extremism charges for material shared or stored on social media sites, as part of what they say is an online entrapment campaign by security agencies. The immediate cause of the protest was the arrest of two teenage girls who were steered by an older man in a chat room into renting an office and drafting an anti-government manifesto as members of the "New Greatness" group. They were charged under the anti-extremism law of 2003, which criminalized online content in 2014, in what many view as a government effort to fight dissent.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/15/world/europe/russia-online-extremism-teenagers.html

Cuba Opens Nine-Hour Internet Window, Plans to Sell Mobile Phone Plans that Include Internet Service

The Cuban government recently tested wireless internet directly on mobile phones nationwide for nine hours. Customers were not alerted about the free trial but found out through word of mouth and social media. Etesca, Cuba's state-run telecommunications company, plans to sell mobile phone plans that include internet service. Until then, Cubans will have to continue to buy internet access cards from Etesca for use at a public hotspot.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/15/world/americas/cuba-internet-mobile-phones.html

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 20, 2018 9:52 AM.

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