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Week In Review

By Nick Crudele
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

General News

United Nations Says Rohingya Purge Is Genocide

The United Nations (UN) declared that the mass killing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar is genocide. The Myanmar army generals and commanders carrying out the genocide should face trial for their actions, according to an investigation by UN experts. More than 700,000 Muslims have fled their homes as the government's Buddhist-majority security force has waged a military campaign against what the government claims are Rohingya militants.


Judge Blocks 3D Gun Blueprints From Being Released

A federal judge extended an earlier ruling that the blueprints for a 3-D printed gun cannot be published over the internet until a lawsuit trying to stop its publication is resolved. Nineteen states attorney generals and Washington, D.C. argue that 3-D printed guns are difficult to detect and trace and are a threat to national safety. Judge Robert S. Lasnik of the District Court in Seattle wrote that First Amendment rights "are dwarfed by the irreparable harms the states are likely to suffer if the existing restrictions are withdrawn and that, over all, the public interest strongly supports maintaining the status quo through the pendency of this litigation." Despite the judge's orders, the self-described crypto-anarchist who owns the plans said that he would instead send them to buyers in the mail for whatever they are willing to pay.


Senate Confirms Justice Department Veteran to Lead Civil Division

Joseph H. Hunt was confirmed by the Senate to lead the Justice Department's civil division. Hunt, who has served as an attorney in the Justice Department for nearly 20 years, was confirmed despite the fact that he had served as chief of staff to the embattled attorney general Jeff Sessions. Hunt helped guide the Trump administration through the firing of James Comey as the F.B.I. director and the drafting of the president's travel bans.


Hurricane Maria Death Toll Raised in Puerto Rico

The Puerto Rican government raised its official Hurricane Maria death toll to 2,975, which is 46 times larger than described previously. The new toll includes people who died from storm related deaths, as well as those killed during the storm.


Senate Considers Renaming Building After McCain

The Senate is weighing whether it should rename the Russell Senate Building to honor the late Senator John McCain. McCain's name would replace Senator Richard B. Russell Jr's name. Russell, a New Deal Democrat, led the filibuster that almost killed the Civil Rights Act, a show of defiance that underscored his strident support of racial segregation and white supremacy.


Trumps "Flippers" View Not Allowed at Trial

A defense lawyer, during his closing arguments in a routine drug trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan, questioned the credibility of
one of the government's cooperating witnesses by referring to Paul Manafort's conviction and President Trump's "flippers" comment about cooperating witnesses. The attorney said the witness' testimony "should be disregarded because it's not true....You know what's funny? Yesterday, Manafort was convicted." The comment drew an immediate "objection" from the prosecutor. At a sidebar, the lawyer explained that he wanted to tell the jury about President Trump's criticism of cooperating witnesses when he called them "flippers." The judge did not allow the comments, as they were not evidence presented in the case.


Companies Feel the Squeeze of New Immigration Limits

The Trump administration is constricting the flow of foreign workers into the country by limiting the number of legal arrivals. The government is denying more work visas, asking for additional information, and delaying approvals more frequently than in the past, which hospitals, hotels, technology companies, and other businesses say are hindering them from filling jobs with the foreign workers they need.


Unions Still Fear Tighter Labor Rules

While the Trump administration seemed to suffer a setback when a judge rebuffed its efforts to impose tighter labor rules in federal agencies, the judge largely found fault with the means by which it had acted, and not with the ends it was pursuing - that is, to make it easier to fire federal employees and limit the power of their unions. Workers and union officials are therefore bracing for the administration's next legal moves.


Internet Companies Try to Make Privacy Laws On Their Own Terms

In the face of mounting regulations on privacy from Europe and California, Internet companies are lobbying Washington to have a say in any U.S. federal privacy laws. Companies like Facebook, Google, IBM, and Microsoft are lobbying the Trump administration and other policy makers to draft legislation to overrule California's law and put into place a friendlier law.


Tariffs on Canadian Paper Overturned

The U.S. International Trade Commission, an American government agency that reviews unfair trade practices, overturned tariffs on Canadian newsprint, saying that American paper producers are not harmed by newsprint imports. The decision eliminates tariffs that have been in effect since January. The Commission said it "determined that a U.S. industry is not materially injured or threatened with material injury by reason of imports of uncoated groundwood paper from Canada."


China Withholding Deadly Influenza Samples

The Chinese government is withholding samples of a rapidly evolving and potentially deadly influenza virus which the United States could use to develop vaccines and treatments. Normally, such exchanges are routine under rules established by the WHO, but as the US and China spar over trade, there are worries that the exchange of medical supplies and information could slow or stop, threatening the preparedness for the next biological threat.


Nicaraguan Government Accused of Rights Violations

The United Nations accused Nicaragua's government of turning a blind eye while armed mobs rounded up, raped and tortured protesters. The report cited disproportionate use of force and extrajudicial killings by the police, disappearances, widespread arbitrary detentions, and the use of torture and sexual violence in detention centers. Nicaragua said the report ignored violence aimed at overthrowing a democratically elected government.


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


Ninth Circuit Dismisses Copyright Infringement Claim

The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a copyright infringement lawsuit brought against Thomas Gonzales by a company that holds the copyrights to the 2015 Adam Sandler movie "The Cobbler". The company accused Gonzales of downloading the movie illegally. The court said Cobbler's direct infringement claim failed because the only connection between Gonzales and the infringement was the internet service subscription. Although Cobbler's allegations fit the definition of infringement, they weren't supported by an independent investigation and were not "enough to raise a right to relief above a speculative level." The court said that Cobbler had to prove that Gonzales actively encouraged or induced copyright infringement.


Hollywood Strives for Diversity Among its Writers

Television executives are trying to diversify their writers' rooms amid heightened scrutiny and in the wake of #OscarsSoWhite and other controversies. Diverse shows and storylines have also stoked demand because many of these new series have people of color and women as lead characters and a desire to find the next "Empire" or "Jane the Virgin".


Disney Reaches Deal for $15 Minimum Wage

Disney reached a deal with its Walt Disney World Resort unions to hike the minimum wage for workers to at least $15 an hour by 2021. The deal, expected to be approved by the union members, would also retroactively pay workers the greater of an additional 50 cents an hour or 3% for all hours worked since September of 2017.



Shakeup at City Ballet

The New York City Ballet announced that male principal dancers Chase Finlay, Amar Ramasar, and Zachary Catazaro, would not be performing in the coming season. A statement by the Ballet's board said the company had "received a letter alleging inappropriate communications made via personal text and email by three members of the company." After an investigation by the company it was "determined that each man had violated the norms of conduct that New York City Ballet expects from its employees."


Carnegie Library Archivist Accused of Stealing $8 Million Worth of Books

An archivist in charge of the rare books collection at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh was arrested on charges that he and a book dealer stole about 300 books and other artifacts worth about $8 million over two decades. Their arrests last month sent a shudder across the rare books industry, a niche world based on trust, where confidantes are currency and handshake deals are commonplace.


"Queer Museum" To Reopen in Brazil

The "Queer Museum" exhibition, which closed last year after much controversy and heated debates, will reopen in a public park in Rio de Janeiro. The exhibit featured such works as a painting of the Virgin Mary cradling a monkey and sacramental wafers with words like "vagina" and "penis" written on them, and sparked national debates about freedom of expression and what qualifies as art.


Jewish Heirs Challenge Lost Art Foundation

The German Lost Art Foundation, a database of art likely looted by the Nazis, is being criticized by the heirs of a Nazi victim for removing from public view some of the databases work after lobbying from several dealers. The database removed works by Austrian artist Egon Schiele, which were believed to be owned by Viennese performer Fritz Grunbaum and confiscated by the Nazis after he was sent to a concentration camp.


Erdogan Statue Removed in Germany

A golden statue of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan installed in a square in the German city of Wiesbaden has been removed after outcries and security concerns. The 4-meter-tall statue depicted Erdogan with his right hand up in the air, drawing comparisons to a statue of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. The statue was erected as part of the Wiesbaden Biennale art festival. Germany has a significant Turkish minority and some people tried to deface the statue, vandalizing it with an expletive and the words "Turkish Hitler."



3 Killed at Madden Video Game Tournament

A video game tournament in Miami turned deadly when one of the contestants killed two other contestants and himself. The Madden Tournament
turned deadly when David Katz shot fellow contestants Taylor Robertson, Eli Clayton, and 11 other contestants after he was eliminated from the tournament.


Arbitrator Denies the National Football League's Request to Dismiss Kaepernick's Collusion Case

An arbitrator declined to dismiss Colin Kaepernick's collusion case against the National Football League after the latter's request for a summary judgment.



First Black Woman to Cover White House to Be Honored

Alice Allison Dunnigan, the first African American Women to report on the White House, will be honored with a bronze statue at the Newseum in Washington D.C. Dunnigan was the first accredited black women to cover the White House, later became the head of the Associated Negro Press Washington Bureau, and spent 14 years filing stories for 112 African American newspapers.


Ally of South Korea's Moon Conspired to Rig Opinion

A special counsel in South Korea found that a political ally of President Moon Jae-in conspired with online bloggers to illegally influence public opinion ahead of Moon's election last year. However, the special counsel found no evidence that Moon was involved.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 3, 2018 10:00 PM.

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