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Week In Review

By Angela Peco
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Based on reader feedback, we're flipping the script and leading with EASL-related subjects. The General News category has been moved to the end.


Rapper 21 Savage Arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Atlanta, Faces Deportation

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 21 Savage, whose real name is Shayaabin Abraham-Joseph, in Atlanta this weekend. ICE alleges that he entered the U.S. legally in July 2015 when he was a minor, but subsequently failed to depart under the terms of his non-immigrant visa and became unlawfully present when his visa expired in 2016. He has been placed into removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts and is currently in ICE custody in Georgia.


"Empire" Actor Jussie Smollett Attacked in Chicago

Smollett was targeted by two men in Chicago in what his family is calling a racial and homophobic hate crime. According to the actor, the men yelled racial and homophobic slurs, tied a rope around his neck, and poured a chemical substance on him before fleeing the scene.


Gwyneth Paltrow Sued for $3 Million in Alleged "Hit and Run" on Ski Slope

A Utah doctor is suing the actress over an alleged hit-and-run ski crash that took place three years ago. The plaintiff alleges that he broke four ribs and suffered a brain injury after Paltrow crashed into him while approaching him from behind, and that her actions were the product of carelessness and cruelty.


Bill Cosby Accuser Settles Defamation Suit with Former Prosecutor

Andrew Constand reached a confidential settlement in the defamation lawsuit against Bruce Castor. Castor was the former prosecutor in Bill Cosby's criminal sexual assault case. Constand claimed that comments he had made to explain his decision not to prosecute Cosby had hurt her reputation by depicting her as a liar.


Thai Singer Apologizes for Wearing Swastika Shirt on Television

A member of Thailand's most popular girl band offered a tearful apology after wearing a swastika T-shirt to a televised rehearsal. Nazi imagery pops up with disturbing regularity in Asia, which critics attribute to a lack of knowledge or awareness of the horrors of the Nazi regime, and possibly prejudice.



Opera Star David Daniels Arrested on Charges of Sexual Assault

Countertenor David Daniels and his husband were arrested in Michigan on a warrant from the Houston police. They have been charged with sexually assaulting a 23-year-old singer. Both face extradition to Texas.


El Museo del Barrio Cancels Jodorowsky Show

New York City's El Museo del Barrio has cancelled a retrospective devoted to Chilean-born artist and filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky. The move came following an assessment of his remarks "regarding an act of sexual violence he perpetrated" on his co-star Maria Lorenzio, who Jodorowsky said he raped during the making of his 1970 film "El Topo".


Young Adult Author Pulls her Debut Novel After Pre-Publication Accusations of Racism

Amelie Wen Zhao is pulling her young adult fantasy novel, Blood Heir, after readers raised objections over the novel's depiction of slavery. Her publisher, Delacorte Press, says that it supports her choice but did not urge her to cancel the book's June release. Children's book publishers have grown increasingly cautious when acquiring books that deal with charged subjects and now hire "sensitivity readers" to vet books and identify harmful stereotypes.


Singapore Weighs the Fate of its Brutalist Architecture

Brutalist landmarks in Singapore are on the verge of being sold to private developers and might face demolition. Architecture enthusiasts want to see the buildings protected under conservation laws, setting off a debate about whether this type of architecture is even worth saving. Some residents see them as important markers of national identity because they were designed by a generation of local architects who had their own take on the style, which evolved to reflect local sensibilities and a tropical climate.



National Football League Players Association Says Retiree Benefits Are a Priority

Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said that the union would push for more generous benefits for all retired players in the coming negotiations over the collective bargaining agreement. Though the union has long been criticized for not doing enough to improve pensions and health insurance for older retired players, more recently the president of the Pro Football Hall of Fame took a stand by refusing to attend the annual induction ceremony until all members of the Hall of Fame receive health insurance and a salary.


Missouri Vows to Appeal Stiff NCAA Penalties for Tutor's Academic Misconduct

The NCAA handed one-year postseason bans and other penalties to Missouri's football, baseball, and softball programs over academic misconduct. Tutor Yolanda Kumar told investigators that she had felt pressured to ensure that athletes passed certain courses and that she herself completed course work on their behalf.


Florida High School Baseball Players Sue District Over Alleged Harassment

Two former Florida high school players have filed a negligence suit against their district and the school board. The players allege that they experienced bullying, harassment, hazing, racial slurs, and sexual depravity from their teammates, and that coaches did nothing to stop it.


Who Owns the Ironman? The Four-Decade Legal Fight Over the First Ironman Triathlon

The Ironman Triathlon puts on more than 260 races in 44 countries and is valued at nearly $1 billion. When the race ballooned in popularity, John Dunbar, the runner-up in the two original races, started selling copies of the original trophy and continues to assert his role and his rights in the birth of the event.


Thailand Prosecutors Request to Extradite Detained Soccer Player to Bahrain

Thai prosecutors submitted a request for Thailand to extradite to Bahrain a detained soccer player who has refugee status in Australia. Hakeem al-Araibi was detained when he arrived in Bangkok for his honeymoon. Bahrain wants the player extradited to serve a 10-year prison sentence for vandalizing a police station. al-Araibi left Bahrain due to political repression and risks torture if he is sent back.



U.S. Court Finds Syrian Government Liable in 2012 Death of American Journalist

The Syrian government was found liable in a Washington, D.C. civil trial for Sunday Times war reporter Marie Colvin's death. The suit, filed by Colvin's sister, accused Assad's regime of targeting Colvin by tracking her satellite calls before ordering an artillery strike on her media center. The judge ordered $302 million in damages for what she said was a targeted attack intended to intimidate journalists.


Free Broadcast TV Streaming Service Locast Tests Legal Boundaries

Lawyer David Goodfriend has set up a streaming service that threatens to upend the media industry by making network programming available to subscribers via an app called Locast. The service launched in New York City in 2018 and has since added six other cities. By giving away TV, Locast is undercutting the licensing fees that major broadcasters charge cable and satellite companies, and is doing so as a non-commercial entity. The company insists that it operates under the copyright statute that allows non-profit translator services to rebroadcast local stations without receiving a copyright license from the broadcaster. Will its fate be similar to that of Aereo?


New York Settles with Company that Sold Fake Social Media Followers

Devumi, the firm that sold fake followers on social media platforms, has settled with the New York attorney general's office after an investigation found that its conduct violated the state's fraud and false advertising laws. Though the fine was only $50,000, the settlement is one of the first major efforts by regulators and law enforcement to investigate social media fraud.


Apple Paralyzes Facebook for Distributing a Research App that Monitored Online Activity

Facebook employees were unable to carry out basic work functions this week after Apple shut down Facebook's internal, custom built iPhone apps. The situation stemmed from Facebook breaching its agreement with Apple by publicly distributing a research app that was approved only for internal use and that allowed Facebook to monitor users' online activity.


Apple Slow to Act on FaceTime Bug that Allows Spying on Phones

New York state officials have opened a consumer rights investigation and others are raising questions about how long it took Apple to address a Group FaceTime bug that allowed iPhone users to hear through someone else's iPhone even if the person did not answer the call.


Tom Brokaw Apologizes for Comments About Hispanics and Assimilation

Former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw apologized for comments he made on "Meet the Press" that Hispanics should "work harder at assimilation" into American culture. An alliance of Latino advocacy groups is calling on NBC to improve the diversity of bookings on "Meet the Press" and produce a series about the Hispanic community in the U.S. to address anti-Latino sentiment.


Russia's Playbook for Social Media Disinformation Has Gone Global

Twitter and Facebook have detected disinformation campaigns tied to various governments that follow a similar pattern to Russian efforts around the 2016 presidential election. The spread of these tactics is worrisome in a year when major elections are set to take place in India and Ukraine, among other countries.



Intelligence Chiefs Contradict President Trump on North Korea and Iran

The annual Threat Assessment Report stressed the growing cyberthreats from Russia and China. It also contradicted President Trump on two major issues. First, it concluded that North Korea is unlikely to give up its nuclear stockpiles. Secondly, it found that Iran is not currently taking steps to make a nuclear bomb, undermining the president's assertion that Iran was contravening the 2015 nuclear agreement. The intelligence report also found that American trade policies and unilateralism have strained traditional alliances and prompted U.S. partners to seek new relationships.


President Trump Signs Executive Order Aimed at Helping U.S. Manufacturers

The Executive Order will push for federal dollars spent on infrastructure projects to be put toward American companies. The presidential guidance expects agencies to examine ways in which American resources can be directed toward American products and people. The order will recommend but not outright require that about $700 billion in federal financial assistance go toward American-manufactured products. It will
also seek to tamp down on waivers that agencies have used to bypass American products in favor of foreign-made ones.


Senate Rebukes President Trump Over Middle East Troop Withdrawals

The Senate voted overwhelmingly to advance an amendment rebuking President Trump's decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and Syria. Majority leader Mitch McConnell drafted the amendment, warning that the precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces could put at risk hard-won gains and national security. The amendment will likely pass next week as part of a bipartisan Middle East policy bill.


Senate Evidence Clarifies Mystery Calls Around Trump Tower Meeting

New evidence obtained by Senate investigators sheds light on whether President Trump knew that his son met with Russians offering information about Hilary Clinton in 2016. Phone records show that Don Jr. received calls from a blocked number around the time of the meeting, but that those calls were not from his father; rather, they were from two family friends who used blocked numbers.


Senate Supports End to Sanctions on Firms Tied to Putin Ally

The Senate blocked a Democratic bid to keep the Treasury Department from lifting sanctions on three Russian companies linked to Oleg Deripaska. The Treasury Department had already decided to remove financial restrictions on the companies following an agreement that reduced Deripaska's ownership stakes.


Steven Mnuchin Faces Conflict of Interest Claims in Decision to Lift Sanctions on Russian Companies

Democrats in Congress raised ethical concerns about Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and his decision to lift sanctions on Russian oligarch Deripaska's companies. The potential conflict of interest arises from Mnuchin's personal and professional relationship with a billionaire Republican donor who is a major shareholder in one of the delisted companies and who stands to benefit financially from the decision.


U.S. Suspends Nuclear Arms Control Treaty with Russia; Russia Pulls out of Pact in Symmetrical Move

The Trump administration has suspended one of the last major nuclear arms control treaties with Russia. The 1987 pact, known as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, had banned ground-launched cruise missiles within a range of 500-5000 kilometers. The move comes after the U.S. accused Russia of violating the treaty with the development of a new missile. Critics say that the move has the potential to incite a new arms race, but the Trump administration is of the view that leaving the pact will allow the U.S. to counter the fear that China, not a signatory to the pact, has gained a significant military advantage. In response, Putin suspended Russia's observance of the pact and announced that Russia would build weapons previously banned under the treaty.



U.S. and Taliban Agree in Principle to a Framework for Peace Deal

American and Taliban officials have agreed in principle to a peace deal that could lead to a full pullout of American troops in return for a cease-fire and Taliban talks with the Afghan government.


U.S. Files Fraud Charges Against Chinese Tech Giant Huawei

The Justice Department unveiled charges against Chinese telecom firm and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, who the U.S. is seeking to have extradited from Canada. The indictments outline a decade-long attempt by the company to steal trade secrets, obstruct a criminal investigation, and evade economic sanctions on Iran.


Trump Properties Continue to Fire Undocumented Workers

The president's company has terminated dozens of undocumented workers at its New Jersey, Philadelphia, and New York locations. The revelations about the company employing immigrants who are in the country unlawfully has been an embarrassment for the Trump Organization, given the President's stance on illegal immigrants, and the company has often claimed that employees used false documents to get their jobs.



New York Legislature Passes First Major Gun Control Bills

New York lawmakers passed a comprehensive set of gun bills that include measures that would ban bump stocks, prohibit teachers from carrying guns in schools, and extend the waiting period for gun buyers who do not pass an instant background check.


Virginia Governor, Ralph Northam, Defies Calls to Resign Over Racist Photo

Northam initially acknowledged that it was he in a yearbook photograph that surfaced showing two men, one wearing Ku Klux Klan robes and the other appearing in blackface. The governor is now denying that he is in the racist photo and has so far refused calls to resign.


Pacific Gas and Electric Files for Bankruptcy After Billions in California Wildfire Claims

California's largest power company, Pacific Gas and Electric, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after being pursued for billions of dollars in damage claims. The company was linked to a series of wildfires in California, including the Camp Fire, which caused 86 deaths and destroyed 14,000 homes. It now needs to use the bankruptcy process to shed some of its debt, pay for $7 billion in damages, and stay in business.


Speaking Black Dialect in Courtrooms Can Have Striking Consequences

A soon-to-be published study found that court reporters in Philadelphia regularly made errors in transcribing sentences that were spoken in a dialect that linguists term African-American English. The findings could have far-reaching consequences as errors or misinterpretations in courtroom transcripts can impact the official court record in a way that is harmful to defendants.


Elite Law Form's All-White Partner Class Stirs Debate on Diversity in Big Law

A LinkedIn post announcing the latest class of partners at Paul, Weiss prompted social media criticism over its overwhelmingly white, male profile. In an open letter, general counsels at major companies called on large firms to reflect the diversity of the legal community or they would send their business elsewhere. Paul, Weiss has since released a statement that it regrets the gender and racial imbalance of its 2019 class, and that the class was an outlier.


Davos Elites Express Fears About Mentoring Women in the Age of #MeToo

In an unintended consequence of the #MeToo movement, companies are seeking to minimize the risk of sexual harassment and misconduct seem to be minimizing contact between female employees and male executives, effectively depriving women of valuable mentor opportunities.


Charles Hynes, Former Brooklyn District Attorney, Dies at 83

Hynes spent 24 years as Brooklyn district attorney and won praise for his approach to public corruption and nonviolent drug cases.


Iran Takes an Interest in Bitcoin in Effort to Undermine U.S. Sanctions

Transactions in Bitcoin could allow Iranians to make international payments and bypass banking restrictions brought on by U.S. sanctions. Certain Iranian industries, including mining, are relying on these transactions because they are difficult to trace and can be made anonymously. In response, the U.S. Treasury has warned digital marketplaces that buy and sell Bitcoin that they should not provide services to Iranian clients.


Pakistani Court Upholds Blasphemy Acquittal of Christian Woman

Pakistan's Supreme Court upheld the acquittal of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who spent years eight years on death row after she was accused of insulting Islam's prophet in 2009. Islamists in the country had filed a petition calling for her execution. Bibi is expected to join her daughters who were granted asylum in Canada


How Cold Weather and Climate Change are Connected

A popular question seems to be that if global warming is occurring, why are we being subjected to harsher winter weather? In a series of reports, The New York Times takes a global view and unpacks a number of studies linking climate change to extreme weather.


Government Inquiry Exposes Widespread Bribery Among South Africa's Leaders

South Africa's senior ruling politicians, including former President Zuma, have been publicly accused of taking bribes as the commission of inquiry on state corruption continues to hear from key witnesses. The chief operating officer of a South African logistics company has provided the most explosive testimony about cash bribes given to senior officials to secure government contracts.


Theresa May Survives Critical Brexit Vote

British Prime Minister May survived a critical vote in Parliament that could have delayed Brexit and undermined her strategy for leaving the European Union. Legislators failed to approve an amendment that would have given Parliament the power to instruct her to essentially postpone the March 29th Brexit if there is no agreement on a Brexit plan.


Opposition Leader and Oil Become Focus of Venezuela - U.S. Diplomatic Struggle

The Trump administration imposed sanctions on Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, which the U.S. considers to be a vehicle for embezzlement for President Maduro's regime. President Trump also threw his support behind opposition leader Juan Guaido earlier this week. As Venezuelans try to gauge the full impact of the sanctions and are wary of how they might affect their already limited access to basic goods, Maduro's opponents believe the restrictions will hasten Maduro's exit.



Chinese Human Rights Lawyer Sentenced to 4.5 Years in Prison

The lawyer was found guilty of "subversion of state power" and is the latest to be prosecuted among hundreds of legal activists who were arrested during the 2015 government crackdown of individuals it believes were organizing political challenges to Xi Jinping's regime.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 4, 2019 10:42 AM.

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