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Week In Review

By Jana S. Farmer
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Supreme Court Reviews Google Class Action Settlement Over Privacy

Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments whether it should allow or limit class-action settlements in which class members receive nothing, whereas their lawyers recover millions of dollars.



Dawn Spacecraft Goes Quiet After Over A Decade In Space

NASA's Dawn Spacecraft, in orbit around asteroid Ceres, lost its radio signal. Ceres is one of the two largest asteroids in the belt between Mars and Jupiter. Dawn was launched in 2007 and lasted two years longer than originally planned. Dawn is also notable for previously orbiting the asteroid Vesta and then leaving its orbit for Ceres.



A Lawsuit Over a Teapot-Dome-Era Tax Provision Possible In Continuing Fight for the Release of the President's Tax Returns

An obscure tax provision dating back to the time of Warren G. Harding's administration may be used to demand the President's tax returns from the Treasury Department. Steven Mnuchin, the Secretary of Treasury, said that his team would analyze any demands for the President's returns and fulfill them if required by law, but some believe that a legal clash over any such request is likely.



Bankers Face Money Laundering Charges

Federal prosecutors announced bribery and money laundering charges against a second Goldman Sachs employee following the guilty plea from one former Goldman Sachs banker as part of the investigation into the alleged embezzlement of billions of dollars from a state-run investment fund in Malaysia. The money was used to buy a Picasso painting, diamond necklaces, and Birkin bags, as well as to pay for the Hollywood blockbuster "The Wolf of Wall Street".


Special Counsel Mueller Asks FBI To Investigate Emails Offering Women Money To Fabricate Sexual Misconduct Complaints Against Him

Two women claim that they were offered compensation to fabricate sexual misconduct stories about Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Mueller's office asked the FBI to investigate the claims.



U.S. and Great Britain Step Up Pressure For a Cease Fire In the Yemen War

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his British counterpart, Jeremy Hunt, urged Saudi Arabia to cease hostilities in Yemen as criticism of Saudi Arabia has surged over its recent bombing campaign and the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi. Previous calls to cease fire have been unsuccessful.


Justice Department Indicts Chinese Intelligence Officers For Stealing Aerospace Secrets

In the indictment unveiled last Tuesday, the Justice Department accused two intelligence officers who worked in the Jiangsu Province office of the Ministry of State Security, China's primary intelligence-gathering agency, of working with hackers to steal turbofan technology used in American and European commercial airliners.


Pakistani Court Acquits Death Row Inmate In Blasphemy Case

Asia Bibi, a Christian Pakistani woman, who was on death row for eight years after an accusation of speaking against the Prophet Muhammad, was freed this week. Her arrest and conviction in 2009 rallied international condemnation of a law that has inspired violence and of lack of evidence against her. Her freedom may come at a cost, however, both for her and the three justices of Pakistan's Supreme Court that acquitted her, as protests erupted in several cities.


Below, for your browsing convenience, are summaries of news reports in categories divided into Entertainment, Art, Sports, and Media


GLAAD Finds That LGBTQ Representation On Television Has Improved

GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) found that the LGBTQ community was better represented on television in 2018. Men and women were equally represented among L.G.B.T.Q. characters on TV.



French Movie Director Accused Of Sexual Misconduct

Abdellatif Kechiche, well known for his film "Blue Is the Warmest Color", was accused by an unnamed actress of sexually abusing her. The Paris prosecutor's office has opened an investigation.



Art and Cultural Heritage

Cleveland Orchestra's Concertmaster Fired As a Result of Sexual Misconduct Allegations

William Preucil, the Cleveland Orchestra's concertmaster, was fired when an investigation concluded that he had engaged in "actions ranging from serious sexual misconduct to sexually harassing behavior" with a number of women. He will also be replaced as the violinist on Suzuki Method instructional materials amid the resulting backlash from music teachers and parents of violin students.


The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York Swap Directors

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF) announced the appointment of Thomas P. Campbell, the former director and chief executive of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) in New York, as its new director and chief executive. He will be replacing Max Hollein, the former FAMSF director who took over Campbell's job at the Met earlier this year.



Director of Contemporary Arts Museum In Houston Resigns

Contemporary Arts Museum In Houston director Bill Arning resigned last Wednesday after nearly 10 years at the institution's helm, citing lack of progress and need for director rotation.


Former Owner's Family and a German Art Dealer At An Impasse Over Art Stolen By the Nazis

The family of Paul Rosenberg, a Paris art dealer, was successful in recovering over 400 works the Nazis looted from him. Some artworks, however, elude recovery efforts due to unfavorable national laws. One example is a pastel portrait by Edgar Degas, "Portrait of Mlle. Gabrielle Diot", created in 1890. The family knows that a German dealer tried to sell it several times, although the present possessor of the artwork is unknown. The intervention of the German officials on the Rosenbergs' behalf to find out the possessor's identity has not been successful. German law experts comment that the country's law is not conducive to recovery of looted artwork; although the law states that a good faith purchaser cannot pass good title to a stolen work, theft claims must be made within 30 years. Furthermore, after 10 years, the law recognizes the possession rights of the current holders unless it can be shown they knew the work had been stolen when it was purchased. Meanwhile, selling the portrait is difficult because it is listed on several international databases of looted art.


Venice Museums Reopen After The Flood

After the worst flood in 10 years, with water rising more than five feet, Venice's museums reopened last week. Piazza San Marco, home to the Basilica di San Marco and Doge's Palace, was submerged during the flood. Early reports indicated that the cultural institutes suffered no damage. The Architecture Biennale reopened as well, its venues not affected by the flooding. The floods came less than a month after a UNESCO report warned that the city was at a severe risk due to climate change. Venice hopes to prevent future flooding by building underwater barriers that would be raised when tides reach a certain level, but the project is behind schedule by several years.



Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro May Thwart Rio Museum's Reconstruction Efforts

Brazil's Newly-Elected President wants to remove the country's Ministry of Culture, which may have an impact on rebuilding the National Museum. Meanwhile, UNESCO launched an emergency mission to help the Rio Museum assess the damage and rebuild its collection after the devastating fire this summer as the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC), the Royal British Columbia Museum, and the embassies of several countries pledge their support.



University of Maryland In Upheaval Following Death of Football Player

The University of Maryland's president announced his retirement, the football coach, DJ Durkin, was fired, and the chairman of the university's governing board resigned following the death of a 19-year-old football player Jordan McNair. McNair died from heatstroke after practice in the sweltering heat in May.




WNBA Players' Union Opts Out of Its Labor Deal

The WNBA players' union announced last Thursday that it would opt out of the league's collective bargaining agreement after the 2019 season, seeking higher pay and financial transparency. Players and WNBA have long been at odds over the league's pay scale and allegedly poor working conditions.


FIFA Acknowledges Hacking, Braces For Possible Scandal From Anticipated Leaks

FIFA revealed that its computer systems were hacked again this year and that it may have suffered a data breach. A prior hacking incident led to the publication of a list of failed drug tests by soccer players, among other revelations. The group Football Leaks reportedly originally obtained the documents.



U.S. Officials Take a Wait and See Approach In the Investigation Into the Killing of Saudi Writer

U.S. officials are waiting to see the results of a Saudi investigation into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a Virginia resident and Washington Post columnist. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this week that the administration was "reviewing putting sanctions on the individuals . . . engaged in that murder."



Social Site Gab Did Nothing To Control Hate Speech By the Man Who Became the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooter

Gab, an alternative social media website, welcomed all speech, no matter how offensive. After revelations that Robert Bowers, the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooter who was indicted on 44 counts, aired his hatred on the platform, the company's web hosting provider, Joyent, the domain name provider, GoDaddy, and payment processing platforms Stripe, and PayPal either cancelled Gab's accounts or suspended service. Bowers entered a plea of not guilty to all 44 counts against him and requested a jury trial.





"Not O.K., Google", Say Company's Workers Worldwide As They Protest Its Handling of Harassment

About 20% of Google's employees staged walkouts in 50 cities after the New York Times reported that Google paid Android co-founder, Andy Rubin, $90,000,000 as part of the exit package after he was accused of sexual harassment. The protesters demanded change in how Google handles sexual harassment, including ending its use of private arbitration in such cases.




Following Journalist's Effective Exclusion, Hong Kong's Future As A Civil Rights Haven In Asia Is In Question

Hong Kong declined to renew the visa of a journalist for The Financial Times, Victor Mallet, after the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Hong Kong decided in late July to invite a political activist to speak at its event and Beijing demanded that the club cancel the speech. These developments raise questions about the city's future as a haven for rule of law and civil rights in Asia.


Petra Laszlo, Camerawoman Filmed Kicking Refugees, Was Cleared

Hungary's highest court overturned the conviction of Petra Laszlo, who was convicted of disorderly conduct for kicking refugees fleeing the war in Syria. The court acknowledged that Laszlo's conduct was "morally deplorable and against the law," but found that she should have been charged with "disturbance" instead, a regulatory offense usually punished by a fine. The statute of limitations for the lesser charge has expired, however.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 5, 2018 4:09 PM.

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