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Week In Review

By Leslie Berman
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker


Despite Evidence on Khashoggi, Trump Sticks With the Crown Prince. Why?

Evidence pointing to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, de facto leader of the Saudi kingdom, implicates him in the brutal killing of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. However, President Trump refuses to concede any possibility that the Prince was involved in the crime. Trump who once condemned Saudi leaders for perpetrating "the worst cover-up in history" has now praised Saudi Arabia as a "truly spectacular ally" even after the CIA concluded that the Prince ordered the murder.


In Extraordinary Statement, Trump Stands With Saudis Despite Khashoggi Killing

President Trump defied the nation's intelligence agencies and a growing body of evidence that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman authorized the killing of Washington Post journalist and Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi, to declare his unswerving loyalty to Saudi Arabia, asserting that the Crown Prince's culpability for the killing of Khashoggi might never be known. The President's statement: "It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event -- maybe he did and maybe he didn't!" appeared calculated to end the debate over the American response to the killing of Khashoggi. "We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi," Mr. Trump added. "In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."


Trump Says No Penalty for Saudi Prince for Khashoggi Murder

Although he condemned the brutal slaying of Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul as a "horrible crime ... that our country does not condone," President Trump declared he would not further punish Saudi Arabia for the journalist's murder in an exclamation-filled statement that the benefits of good relations with the kingdom outweigh the possibility its crown prince ordered the killing. In making that statement, he rejected calls by many in Congress, including members of his own party, for a tougher response, and dismissed reports from U.S. intelligence agencies that the Crown Prince must have at least known about such an audacious and intricate plot.


Trump's Criticism of Architect of Bin Laden Raid Draws Fire

President Trump labelled the non-partisan Admiral William H. Mr. McRaven a "Hillary Clinton fan," impugning the highly regarded former Navy SEAL who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, thus raising the ire of Nicholas J. Rasmussen, a top counterterrorism official in the George W. Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations, who called the President's remarks wrong on every level.


Chief Justice Defends Judicial Independence After Trump Attacks 'Obama Judge'

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. defended the independence and integrity of the federal judiciary, rebuking President Trump for calling a judge who had ruled against his administration's asylum policy "an Obama judge." "We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges," Justice Roberts said in a statement. "What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for."


Federal Judge Blocks Trump's Proclamation Targeting Some Asylum Seekers

Judge Jon S. Tigar of the United States District Court in San Francisco ordered the Trump administration to resume accepting asylum claims from migrants no matter where or how they entered the United States. The temporary restraining order blocks the government from carrying out a new rule that denies protections to people who enter the country illegally. The order, which suspends the rule until the case is decided by the court, applies nationally: "Whatever the scope of the president's authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden."


The Price Tag of Migrant Family Separation: $80 million and Rising

The federal government has already spent $80 million to care for and reunite migrant children who were separated from their parents by immigration authorities, and the cost continues to grow months after the policy ended because more than 140 children are still in custody. The cost comes to about $30,000 per child. That data was handed over by the Health and Human Services Department to members of Congress. "That is outrageous," said Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations subcommittee that pays for the shelter program that houses the separated children.


Interpol Rejects Russian as President, Electing South Korean Instead

Interpol elected a South Korean police veteran as its next president, in the face of pressure from Western diplomats who said choosing a Russian candidate who had been considered the front-runner could jeopardize the independence of the world's largest international policing organization. South Korean Kim Jong-yang was elected by secret ballot at Interpol's annual conference in Dubai, where its top official downplayed the controversy surrounding the vote and offered assurances that the agency would remain independent. "No matter what the nationality of the president is, it is not affecting Interpol's neutrality and the independence of our organization."


Representative Mia Love, Once a Republican Star, Loses Re-election in Utah

Ben McAdams, the Democratic mayor of Salt Lake County, unseated Representative Mia Love, the first and only black Republican woman in Congress, whose bid for re-election in Utah failed by a narrow margin. After two drawn-out weeks of vote counting, McAdams won by about 700 votes, a feat that many viewed as unlikely in the Fourth District which has fewer than 15% registered Democrats.


Rick Scott Wins Florida Senate Recount as Bill Nelson Concedes

Republican Governor Rick Scott became Florida's next senator after a 12-day recount showed his Democratic opponent, Senator Bill Nelson, trailing by 10,033 votes out of more than 8.1 million cast, and leading Nelson to conceded the election.


Will Hurd Wins Re-election to Texas Congressional Seat

Gina Ortiz-Jones, the former Air Force intelligence officer and Democratic challenger, failed to unseat Representative Will Hurd, a two-term Republican congressman for the 23rd District in Texas's border region. Ortiz-Jones conceded the race, ending a nearly two-week dispute over the counting of provisional and other ballots in the tight race. Only 1,150 votes separating the two candidates, according to state elections officials.


Democratic Senators Challenge Whitaker Appointment in Court

Three Democratic senators - Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii, and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island - who sit on the Judiciary Committee, which conducts confirmation hearings for attorney general nominees, asked a Federal District Court judge to issue an injunction barring Matthew G. Whitaker from exercising the powers of head of the Justice Department. They argued that an official who had not been confirmed by the Senate could not run the Justice Department, even temporarily.


Amazon, Apple, and Facebook Once Led the Market. Now They Are Driving It Down.

Slowing growth, a trade war with China, and revelations about privacy lapses, security issues, and mismanagement have eroded investors faith in the tech sector, and helped drive the stock market down. Apple's stock was worth more than $1 trillion at the start of November but has dropped to $880 billion. Apple is just one of the tech giants who seemed invincible, but whose stocks are down between 10 and 20% since the market peaked. This could affect the remainder of the market, because the sheer size of the tech giants can push markets up or down in their wake.


Why Big Law Is Taking On Trump Over Immigration

About 75 corporate lawyers at Paul Weiss, a prestigious Manhattan law firm, have been trying to find more than 400 parents separated from their families at the southern border who were deported without their children. Paul Weiss is looking for these parents, pro bono, as part of a federal American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against the Trump administration over its family separation policy.


City's Watchdog Claims Intimidation. Mayor's Response: 'Delusions of Grandeur.'

A small power struggle between officials in Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration and New York City's investigations commissioner over a little-known office that handled inquiries into the school system has ballooned into a public relations crisis for the mayor, exposing him to lurid allegations that he or his administration had tried to cover up embarrassing inquiries, accused the commissioner of being disloyal and ultimately dismissed him in the interest of damage control.


New York State's Lawsuit Against Trump Foundation Can Proceed, Judge Rules

Justice Saliann Scarpulla ruled that New York State courts do have jurisdiction over President Trump and the Trump Foundation, and that a lawsuit by the Attorney General alleging misused charitable assets, self-dealing, and campaign finance violations during the 2016 presidential campaign could proceed.


U.S.-China Clash at Asian Summit Was Over More Than Words

At a major international gathering in Papua New Guinea, Chinese officials barged uninvited into the office of the New Guinean foreign minister, demanding changes in the official statement that was to be one of agreement and cooperation, marking a striking break with diplomatic decorum among countries that ring the Pacific Ocean. The dispute meant that the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, forum attended by Vice President Mike Pence and China's leader, Xi Jinping, failed to issue a joint document for the first time since 1989.


'Like a Terror Movie': How Climate Change Will Cause More Simultaneous Disasters

Global warming involving so many types of phenomena, is posing such wide-ranging risks to humanity, that by the end of this century some parts of the world could face as many as six climate-related crises at the same time. A paper published in a respected academic journal shows the effects of climate change across a broad spectrum of problems, including heat waves, wildfires, sea level rise, hurricanes, flooding, droughts, and shortages of clean water. Such problems are already coming in combination, as has been seen recently in Florida and California.


U.S. Climate Report Warns of Damaged Environment and Shrinking Economy

If significant steps are not taken to rein in global warming, the consequences of climate change damage will knock as much as 10% off the American economy by century's end. The report from 13 federal agencies, which was mandated by Congress and made public by the White House, is notable not only for the precision of its calculations and bluntness of its conclusions, but also because its findings are directly at odds with President Trump's agenda of environmental deregulation, which he asserts will spur economic growth. In direct language, the assessment lays out the devastating effects of a changing climate on the economy, health, and environment.


Democrats to Investigate Ivanka Trump's Private Email Use for Work

A Congressional committee will investigate Ivanka Trump, U.S. President Donald Trump's daughter and a White House adviser, following reports that she repeatedly used a personal email account for government work. A White House review of Ivanka Trump's email found that she used her personal account up to 100 times last year to contact other Trump administration officials. Use of a personal account for government business potentially violates a law requiring preservation of all presidential records.


Federal Ban on Female Genital Mutilation Ruled Unconstitutional by Judge

Judge Bernard Friedman of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan considering the first legal challenge to a 1996 statute criminalizing and outlawing female genital mutilation - an ancient practice that 200 women and girls around the world have undergone - found the law unconstitutional, greatly diminishing the chances of it being used by federal prosecutors around the country. Judge Friedman ruled that Congress did not have the authority to pass the law.


Trump Wanted to Order Justice Department to Prosecute Comey and Clinton

President Trump told Donald F. McGahn II, the former White House counsel, that he wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute two of his political adversaries: his 2016 challenger, Hillary Clinton, and the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey. McGahn told the president that he had no authority to order a prosecution which could prompt accusations of abuse of power. McGahn had White House lawyers write a memo for Trump warning that if he asked law enforcement to investigate his rivals, he could face a range of consequences, including possible impeachment.


Below are stories this week regarding Entertainment, Arts, Sports, and the Media:


Satanic Temple Settles Lawsuit Over Goat-Headed Statue in 'Sabrina'

The Satanic Temple announced a settlement in its federal lawsuit alleging copyright infringement and injury to the temple's reputation, accusing Warner Bros. and Netflix of copying the temple's goat-headed statue in their new "Sabrina" series. The temple will be acknowledged in the credits for episodes of "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" that have already been filmed. The rest of the settlement, including any possible financial details, is confidential, according to the temple's lawyer.


Rapper 6ix9ine Was Part of a Violent Street Gang, Prosecutors Say

The Brooklyn-based rapper and Instagram star known as 6ix9ine was part of a violent gang that sold drugs, robbed rivals, and shot at people who crossed them, according to a federal indictment. The rapper, whose legal name is Daniel Hernandez, was charged along with five other men, some of whom were once part of his management team, including Kifano Jordan, known as Shottie. Hernandez and Jordan were part of a gang known as the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods, who committed a series of violent crimes and drug-trafficking offenses, including attempted murder and armed robbery. Gang members robbed a man at gunpoint in Times Square in April, in an attack that prosecutors said was directed, and filmed, by
Hernandez himself.


Taylor Swift Announces New Record Deal With Universal Music

The pop star Taylor Swift became a free agent and after more than 12 years, six albums, and 10 Grammy Awards as the star of the Nashville-based Big Machine Records, has signed a multi-year, multi-album deal with Universal Music Group's Republic Records. As part of the deal, Swift will own her master recordings moving forward, and if the company sells any of its equity in the streaming service Spotify, which went public earlier this year, the money would be distributed to artists. "It's really important to me to see eye to eye with a label regarding the future of our industry," Swift said.


Jamaica Seeks to Add Reggae to a Unesco Cultural Heritage List

Jamaica has applied to put reggae on the Unesco list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity. The musical style, which gave a voice to the oppressed and the hopeful, was born in Jamaica. Unesco will announce its decision whether or not to add reggae to its list this week.



How to Crush an Outlaw Biker Club: Seize Its ... Logo?

After a decade of trying to take down the Mongols, a biker group federal law enforcement authorities consider one of the most dangerous criminal enterprises in the country, they have failed to seize control of the Mongols' trademarked logo, a drawing of a brawny Genghis Khan-like figure sporting a queue and sunglasses, riding a chopper while brandishing a sword. Now, in a racketeering trial underway in Orange County, California, federal prosecutors believe they have a good chance to take the Mongols' intellectual property under asset forfeiture law, which allows the seizure of goods used in the commission of crimes.


Rich, Ancient City Is Unearthed in Greece

Archaeologists exploring Tenea, which is thought to have been founded by the Trojans, have discovered tombs, coins, and urns, among other items, in and around the site. An archaeological team working under Dr. Elena Korka, director of the Office for Supervision of Antiquaries and Private Archaeological Collections in Greece's Ministry of Culture, has found the ancient city of Tenea, allegedly built by the Trojans after the end of the Trojan War. In an area of 733 yards the team found a dense, organized residential space of marble, stone and clay floors in good condition. The discovery of the tombs of two babies, and a storage space with amphoras (tall jugs), indicated that this was a city, as babies were only buried in residential areas, and not in graveyards outside cities.


A Stolen Picasso Buried in the Woods? Not So Fast

Six years after thieves made off with seven celebrated works of art from a Dutch museum, a Dutch-Romanian author who wrote a book about the theft said she received an anonymous tip that one of the stolen paintings, a Picasso, was buried under a rock in Romania. The author, Mira Feticu, a Dutch-Romanian based in the Netherlands, informed the Dutch police about the letter she received on November 6th, pointing to the location of Picasso's "Tête d'Arlequin" ("Harlequin Head"). She said then when she did not hear back from the letter writer, she and a colleague flew to Romania to find out if the letter's claim was genuine.


Suit Accuses Dutch Museums of Holding On to Nazi-Tainted Art

Dutch art dealers Benjamin and Nathan Katz sold art they owned, including works by Rembrandt and Jan Steen, to Nazi officials throughout World War II, in one case in exchange for exit visas that enabled 25 Jewish relatives to escape the German-occupied Netherlands. Three generations of Katzes have fought for decades to regain possession of scores of works transferred during the war, which they claim were sold under duress. They say more than 140 of the works are held by the Dutch government to whom the Allies returned them after seizing them back from the Nazis. Now an American heir of Benjamin Katz has brought the dispute to the U.S. court system with a lawsuit that demands the Dutch government and museums return 143 works.


A Popular Sight at Tate Modern: The Neighbors' Apartments

Tate Modern's viewing terrace is about 60 feet away from its nearest neighbor, and museum-goers can often see into the apartments across the way. The terrace offers one of London's best views, taking in St. Paul's Cathedral; the Leadenhall Building, a skyscraper known for its distinctive appearance as the Cheesegrater; the Houses of Parliament; and a swath of South London.


Museums in France Should Return African Treasures, Report Says

The Quai Branly Museum in Paris has some 70,000 objects from sub-Saharan Africa in its collection, including statues from present-day Benin and delicate paintings that once decorated church walls in Ethiopia, but those treasures may be returned to their countries of origin, following publication of an academic report proposing restitution of pieces of African cultural heritage. The report was ordered by French President Macron. The academics, Bénédicte Savoy of France and Felwine Sarr of Senegal, recommend that objects that were removed and sent to mainland France without the consent of their countries of origin be permanently returned -- if the country of origin asks for them. This restitution should be part of a collaborative process of information gathering, research, scientific exchange, and training in the next five years.



Vijay Singh and PGA Tour Settle Suit Over Deer Antler Spray

Vijay Singh was about to turn 50 when he said in a Sports Illustrated article at the start of 2013 that he used deer antler spray, which was said to include an insulin-growth factor that was on the PGA tour's list of banned substances. Singh has finally settled his lawsuit against the PGA over how it investigated his use of the spray, ending more than five years of litigation less than a week before the case was to go to trial in New York. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, and are covered by a confidentiality agreement.


U.S.A. Gymnastics Won't Willingly Give Up Status as a Governing Body

The United States Olympic Committee says that U.S.A. Gymnastics will face a hearing that could lead to the organization's demise after it decided against surrendering its status as the sport's national governing body. The Olympic committee filed a complaint seeking to remove U.S.A. Gymnastics' recognition as a national body after the sexual abuse of hundreds of female athletes by Lawrence G. Nassar, a former national team doctor.


Boxing Federation Controversy Puts Sport At Risk in the Next Olympics

The International Olympic Committee is moving toward expelling boxing's international federation, a step that could imperil one of the main events of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. The boxing federation, which is known by the acronym A.I.B.A., has been the subject of controversy for years, including a financial scandal that pushed the group to the brink of bankruptcy. The latest blow was struck by the election of "one of Uzbekistan's leading criminals" as the new president, replacing C.K. Wu, who was forced out in the financial crisis.



CNN's Jim Acosta Has Press Pass Restored by White House

The Trump administration ended its nearly two-week-long dispute over the removal of CNN reporter Jim Acosta's White House press credentials, formally restoring the journalist's badge. CNN in turn dropped its lawsuit. The administration used the occasion to set rules governing reporters' behavior at future White House news conferences, restricting the reporters to one question each with follow-ups at the discretion of the president or the White House official at the lectern. "Failure to abide," the administration warned, "may result in suspension or revocation of the journalist's hard pass."


On Thanksgiving Eve, Facebook Acknowledges Details of Times Investigation

On Thanksgiving eve, when it could be expected that traffic on the social media site would be relatively slow, Facebook took responsibility for hiring a Washington-based lobbying company, Definers Public Affairs, that pushed negative stories about Facebook's critics, including the philanthropist George Soros. Facebook's communications and policy chief, Elliot Schrage, said that he was responsible for hiring the group, and had done so to help protect the company's image and conduct research about high-profile individuals who spoke critically about the company.


The Website That Shows How a Free Press Can Die

Hungary's leading news website, Origo, was once an independent news outlet, exposing corruption among the country's leaders. Today it is a willing supporter of the prime minister, attacking migrants and George Soros and pouncing on the prime minister's political opponents. The about face of Origo is a cautionary tale for an age in which democratic norms and freedom of expression are being challenged globally.


In China, Dolce & Gabbana Draws Fire and Accusations of Racism on Social Media

Dolce & Gabbana, the Italian luxury brand, abruptly canceled a Shanghai fashion show it had been planning to hold as waves of online Chinese users accused Stefano Gabbana, one of the two designers of the fashion line, of being racist. They pointed to private Instagram messages from Mr. Gabbana's account that the recipient posted publicly. Zhang Ziyi, the Chinese actress best known in the West for the film "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," took the brand to task online. Two dozen models said they would pull out of the show. Dolce & Gabbana said its account and the account of Mr. Gabbana had been hacked and disavowed the messages.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 26, 2018 9:48 AM.

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