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Week In Review

By Leslie Berman
Edited By Elissa Hecker

The following articles are divided into Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Media, and General News:


Warner Bros. Chief Quits Amid Inquiry Into Whether He Helped Actress Get Roles

The Chief executive of AT&T's Warner Bros. studios division, Kevin Tsujihara, has stepped down after accusations surfaced that he had pushed for roles in the company's films and television shows for Charlotte Kirk, a young woman with whom he had a sexual relationship. The allegations emerged in a Hollywood Reporter article, between Tsujihara Kirk quoting private text messages in which Kirk reminded Tsujihara that he promised to help her career, and subsequently Tsujihara contacted his lieutenants on her behalf.



Nirav Modi, Fugitive 'Jeweler to the Stars,' Is Arrested in London

Fugitive jeweler Nirav Modi, is in custody in London, having been denied bail for committing a three billion dollar Indian bank fraud. Modi is known for his opulent necklaces worn by A-list celebrities. The Indian government wants to extradite Modi from Britain to face charges that he, his family, and business associates assembled a global empire with money obtained illegally, mostly from government-run banks.


La Scala Rejects Saudi Investment

The Board of Directors of Teatro alla Scala in Milan has returned more than three million euros in funding received from Saudi Arabia, in the wake of criticism of that country's "jarring" human rights record. The Directors blocked several ventures that had been under discussion, including allocating a Board seat to Saudi Arabia's culture minister in exchange for substantial investments.



N.C.A.A. Appeals Latest Antitrust Ruling

The N.C.A.A. is appealing a Federal District Court's decision that barring athletes from being paid beyond a scholarship and related costs violated antitrust law. "We believe, and the Supreme Court has recognized, that N.C.A.A. member schools and conferences are best positioned to strengthen and revise their rules to better support student-athletes, rather than forcing these issues into continuous litigation," Donald Remy, the N.C.A.A.'s Chief Legal Officer, said. Remy said the decision to appeal, by the N.C.A.A. and the major college conferences named as defendants in the suit, was unanimous.


Former Auburn Assistant Pleads Guilty in Corruption Case

Former Auburn assistant basketball coach Chuck Person pleaded guilty to accepting nearly $100,000 to steer his players toward agents and advisers who had bribed him. Person was fired after the initial revelation of the charges in September 2017. He became the fourth assistant coach to plead guilty to charges that stemmed from cases alleging widespread corruption in college basketball recruiting. Person starred at Auburn before a successful National Basketball Association career in the 1980s and 1990s.


San Francisco Mayor and Civic Groups Call for Punishment of Giants C.E.O.

Mayor London N. Breed of San Francisco supported activists urging Major League Baseball to impose a serious penalty on Larry Baer, the CEO of the San Francisco Giants, for a public altercation with his wife that was caught on video. A coalition of women's groups posted an open letter online calling for Commissioner Rob Manfred to commit to "firm and appropriate action in disciplining" Baer.


Robert Kraft Refusing to Accept Deal to Drop Charges of Soliciting Prostitution

Talks have broken down between Robert K. Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, and prosecutors in Florida, who have offered to drop the misdemeanor charges against him if he will admit that he would have been found guilty at trial on charges of soliciting prostitution. However, Kraft and many of the other men similarly charged are unwilling to admit guilt because they believe that the police have mishandled aspects of the case. They contend that a search warrant was improperly obtained to install secret cameras inside the massage parlor that police say includes video of Kraft and the other men soliciting sex. The pretext for that warrant was predicated on the existence of human trafficking at that massage parlor, something the police have not yet proven.


Players Say Soccer Chief Sexually Abused Them for Years. He May Still Win.

Keramuddin Keram remains president of the Afghanistan Football Federation, which is in charge of men's and women's soccer, even though he is suspended by order of the attorney general, and is banned by FIFA, the governing body of world soccer, from participating in national and international soccer while he is under investigation of allegations of long-time sexual abuse of women's soccer team members. Kerman is accused of harassing and threatening women who wish to testify against him, while Afghani investigators have been unable to obtain visas to interview witnesses residing in exile abroad.


Bombed by ISIS, an Afghan Wrestling Club Is Back: 'They Can't Stop Us'

Last September, the Islamic State bombed Afghan's Maiwand wrestlers' gym and killed dozens of wrestlers. The bombing took place while Tolo TV News journalist Samim Faramarz reported live from the site in the ethnic Hazara neighborhood in western Kabul. Viewers then watched in horror as a second bomb exploded, killing Faramarz and his cameraman, Ramiz Ahmady on air. 26 wrestlers were found to have been killed, and 91 others wounded. This year, the gym has been rebuilt, bigger than before.


Truck Driver in Crash That Devastated a Hockey Team Is Sentenced to 8 Years

Truck driver Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, who slammed his tractor-trailer into a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos, a Canadian hockey team, was sentenced to 8 years in prison for killing 16 members of the team and injuring an equal number while driving distracted.



New Zealand Bans the Christchurch Suspect's Manifesto, and Spreading the Mosque Shooting Video Is a Crime

In the wake of the New Zealand mosque killings, New Zealand has classified the mosque-killer's so-called manifesto as "objectionable" on Saturday, making it a crime to possess or distribute it anywhere in the country. The chief censor in New Zealand's Department of Internal Affairs ordered citizens who had downloaded the document, or printed it, to destroy any copies. The ruling is part of a wider strategy by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to undermine the attempts by the suspect to gain global notoriety. She has pledged never to utter his name publicly, and to press platforms like Facebook to deny access worldwide to the manifesto, which was published just before the slaughter of 50 people in two mosques, as well as the video the gunman livestreamed of part of the attacks.

The white supremacist suspect in the Christchurch mosque killings streamed the shootings on Facebook Live for 17 minutes. Under New Zealand law, at least two people have already been charged for disseminating or possessing material depicting extreme violence and terrorism. Others could face related charges in connection with publicizing the terrorist attack, under a human-rights law that forbids incitement of racial disharmony. New Zealand's Department of Internal Affairs' chief censor has the authority to determine what material is forbidden. That means that New Zealanders could face legal consequences for intentionally looking at the Christchurch killer's video, which may have been seen millions of times around the world.



MillerCoors Sues Anheuser-Busch Over 'Misleading' Bud Light Ad

MillerCoors sued Anheuser-Busch on Thursday over the ad aired during the Super Bowl depicting a medieval king saying he just wanted to return some corn syrup to its rightful owners, in the Coors Light and Miller Lite castles, implying that the beers use corn syrup in their recipies. MillerCoors claimed that Anheuser Busch purposely misled consumers into believing there is corn syrup in Coors Light and Miller Lite, when there is not.


Devin Nunes Sues Twitter for Allowing Accounts to Insult Him

Representative Devin Nunes, a Republican from California, has sued Twitter and three users for defamation, claiming that the users smeared him and the platform allowed it to happen to further a political agenda. Nunes, a loyal ally of President Trump and the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, repeated several common Republican complaints that Twitter has repeatedly denied: that it censors Republicans, "shadow bans" their accounts, and actively helps their opponents.


U.S. Campaign to Ban Huawei Overseas Stumbles as Allies Resist

The Trump administration's aggressive campaign to prevent countries from using Huawei and other Chinese telecommunications equipment in their next-generation wireless networks has faltered, with even some of America's closest allies rejecting the United States' argument that the companies pose a security threat.

Over the past several months, American officials have tried to pressure, scold and, increasingly, threaten other nations that are considering using Huawei in building fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless networks. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has pledged to withhold intelligence from nations that continue to use Chinese telecom equipment. The American ambassador to Germany cautioned Berlin this month that the United States would curtail intelligence sharing if that country used Huawei. Regardless of these aggressive statements, some of the U.S's closest allies reject the argument that the companies pose a security threat.


It Wasn't Just Khashoggi: A Saudi Prince's Brutal Drive to Crush Dissent

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia authorized a secret campaign to silence dissenters including surveillance, kidnapping, detention and torture of Saudi citizens more a year before the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, according to classified intelligence reports about the campaign. At least some of the clandestine missions were carried out by members of the same team that killed and dismembered Khashoggi in Istanbul in October. Members of the team that killed Khashoggi, which American officials called the Saudi Rapid Intervention Group, were involved in at least a dozen operations starting in 2017.



Mueller Delivers Report on Trump-Russia Investigation to Attorney General

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III delivered a report on his inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election to Attorney General William P. Barr, closing down the investigation that has consumed the nation and cast a shadow over President Trump for nearly two years.
Barr told congressional leaders that he "remained committed to as much transparency as possible." While President Trump has relentlessly attacked the investigation as a "witch hunt," Barr said Justice Department officials never had to intervene to keep Mueller from taking an inappropriate or unwarranted step. A senior Justice Department official said that Mueller would not recommend new indictments, a statement aimed at ending speculation that Trump or other key figures might be charged down the line.


Battle Looms Over Executive Privilege as Congress Seeks Access to Mueller Files

As Attorney General Barr announced that he had received Mueller's long-awaited report about the Trump-Russia investigation, Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer, immediately reiterated their demands to see the entire document, supporting evidence, and investigative files.


As Mueller Report Lands, Prosecutorial Focus Moves to New York

Federal and state prosecutors are pursuing about a dozen other investigations that largely grew out of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's work, all but ensuring that a legal threat will continue to loom over the Trump presidency. Most of those investigations focus on President Trump or his family business or a cadre of his advisers and associates. They are being conducted by officials from Los Angeles to Brooklyn, with about half of them in the United States attorney's office in Manhattan. Mueller's mandate was largely focused on links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government's interference in the 2016 presidential election. However, Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have authority that has enabled them to scrutinize a broader orbit around the President, including his family business.


Supreme Court Will Hear Case of Lee Malvo, the D.C. Sniper

The Supreme Court granted cert. to decide whether Lee Malvo, the younger of the two men who terrorized the Washington region with sniper shootings in the fall of 2002, may challenge his sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Malvo, now 34, was 17 when he and John Allen Muhammad killed 10 people in sniper attacks in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. Muhammad was sentenced to death and was executed in 2009. Malvo was sentenced to life in prison by judges in both Virginia and Maryland. He challenged his Virginia sentences under Supreme Court decisions that limit life sentences for juvenile offenders


Supreme Court Weighs Race Challenge to Virginia Voting Map

The Supreme Court heard arguments for the second time in a voting-rights a race-discrimination case in Virginia, in which Democrats challenged parts of the voting map for Virginia's House of Delegates. In 2017, the Justices instructed a three-judge Federal District Court to take a fresh look at whether racial consideration had played too large a role in drawing the legislative map for the state's House of Delegates. In 11 voting districts drawn after the 2010 census, each with at least a 55% population of black residents of voting age, Democratic voters in those districts sued, saying that lawmakers had run afoul of the Constitution by packing too many black voters into the districts, diminishing their voting power.


Trump Signs Executive Order Protecting Free Speech on College Campuses

President Trump signed an executive order directing federal agencies to link grants and certain other funds for higher education to how colleges and universities enforce the right to "free inquiry" on their campuses. Trump said that he wanted to give notice to "professors and power structures" seeking to prevent conservatives "from challenging rigid, far-left ideology." A senior administration official said grant-making agencies would work with the Office of Management and Budget to make sure that institutions receiving funding promote free speech rights within applicable law. The issue has become a cause célèbre among conservatives, who argue that their voices are being silenced on liberal campuses. There is no guidance on how the order might relate to some of the more contentious areas of discussion on college campuses in recent years, such as the movement to boycott or divest from Israel. It was also unclear as to what mechanisms would be used to enforce the order.


Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump Use Private Accounts for Official Business, Their Lawyer Says

Chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, revealed that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner used private messaging services for official White House business in a way that may have violated federal records laws. The chairman said that a lawyer for the President's daughter and his son-in-law told the committee that in addition to a private email account, Kushner uses an unofficial encrypted messaging service, WhatsApp, for official White House business, including with foreign contacts. Cummings said the lawyer, Abbe Lowell, also told lawmakers that Trump did not preserve some emails sent to her private account if she did not reply to them. Ironically, Trump attacked Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state in his campaign stump speeches.


Trump Overrules Own Experts on Sanctions, in Favor to North Korea

President Trump suddenly announced that he had rolled back newly imposed North Korea sanctions, appearing to overrule national security experts as a favor to Kim Jong-Un, the North Korean leader. This created confusion at the highest levels of the federal government, just as the President's aides were seeking to pressure North Korea into returning to negotiations over dismantling its nuclear weapons program.


Mississippi Bans Abortions if Heartbeat Can Be Heard. Expect a Legal Fight.

Phil Bryant, the Republican governor of Mississippi, signed a bill largely banning abortions once doctors can detect a trace of a fetal heartbeat with an ultrasound, a milestone that can come as early as six weeks into pregnancy. Mississippi is only the latest state to press for the strict abortion limit -- the sort that has already been passed and then blocked in the courts in states including Kentucky, which approved it earlier this month, and Iowa, where a law passed last year was struck down by a state court in January. About 10 other states are debating bills to ban abortions once fetal heartbeats are found, a point at which some women and girls are not yet aware that they are pregnant.


Florida Republicans Push to Make Ex-Felons Pay Fees Before They Can Vote

Supporters of a bill approved by Florida's Republican-controlled House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice approved the measure that would require former felons to pay fees and fines before having their voting rights restored. Critics of the bill say that it will undermine a new law that allows more than a million former felons to vote again. Supporters contend that it is meant merely to resolve questions over how to put Amendment 4, which voters approved in November, into practice. However, voting rights advocates say that the bill would unfairly punish those who are unable to pay and undermine the central objective of the amendment, which is ending permanent disenfranchisement.


Trump Supporter Sobs as He Describes Mailing Bombs to Obama, Clinton, and Other Democrats

Cesar A. Sayoc Jr. described for a federal jury in Manhattan how he painstakingly assembled homemade pipe bombs that he sent to prominent Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, and other critics of President Trump last fall. Sayoc paused in his explanation and description of the 16 bombs he built and delivered, and broke into sobs, just before pleading guilty to the attacks. Sayoc mailed the devices to his intended victims around the country, who also included the actor Robert De Niro and CNN. He was arrested in Florida after a four-day manhunt, where he appeared to be living in a white van plastered with conservative slogans and images.


25 States Are at Risk of Serious Flooding This Spring, U.S. Forecast Says

Nearly two-thirds of the lower 48 states will have an elevated risk of some flooding from now until May, and 25 states could experience "major or moderate flooding", according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The major flooding this month in Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, and elsewhere is "a preview of what we expect throughout the rest of the spring." Edward Clark, director of NOAA's National Water Center said that above-average rainfall that scientists expect for the spring, along with melting snow, would add to the flooding and extend it through the central and southern United States. NOAA identified the greatest risks for moderate to major flooding in the upper, middle, and lower Mississippi River basins, the Red River of the North, the Great Lakes, and the eastern Missouri River, lower Ohio River, lower Cumberland River, and Tennessee River basins.


Dead Whale Found With 88 Pounds of Plastic Inside Body in the Philippines

A beached whale found in the Philippines died with 88 pounds of plastic trash inside its body, an unusually large amount even by the standards of what is a common threat to marine wildlife. The 1,100-pound whale, measuring 15 feet long, was found in the town of Mabini with plastic bags and a variety of other disposable plastic products inside its stomach. Darrell Blatchley, owner of the D'Bone Collector Museum in Davao City, attended a necropsy on the whale and called it the worst collection of plastic inside an animal he had ever seen.


Lion Air Crash Families Say They Were Pressured to Sign No-Suit Deal

Families still mourning relatives lost in the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia were crammed into a hotel conference room and told to "sign this form," to receive 1.3 billion rupiah, or $91,600 in compensation for their losses. That amount, while not insignificant for desperate families, was roughly the minimum they were entitled to receive under Indonesian law. To collect the money, families had to sign a release and discharge that they would not pursue legal action against Lion Air, its financial backers and insurers, as well as Boeing, which manufactured the nearly brand-new 737 Max 8 plane.


A Sexism Storm Over Italy's Courts, With Female Judges at Its Center

In Italy, two cases decided by female judges have been decried as sexist: One involving a man who stabbed his wife to death and was sentenced to a reduced term of 16 years, the other, an appeals court decision to clear two men of rape charges. In both cases, the judges made biased statements against the victims: In the stabbing case, the judge cited the killer's "anger and desperation, profound disappointment and resentment" over the victim's relationship with another man. In the rape case, the appellate judges had doubted the accuser's account in part because they considered her "too masculine" to have made an attractive victim.


How Strongmen Turned Interpol Into Their Personal Weapon

Hakeem al-Araibi thought he had escaped the reach of the Bahraini government when he fled to Australia years ago as a political refugee. Yet last year he ventured to Thailand for a belated honeymoon and was immediately arrested and scheduled to be sent back to his native country. Bahrain, which has been accused of torture and other abuses, had used what is known as an Interpol red notice to reach across the world and grab him, despite rules meant to protect refugees. Years of cases like this had provoked accusations that the world's largest international police organization had become a tool of repressive governments. For a time after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, world leaders hoped that Interpol would become a unifying force for the rule of law. Interpol's goals of safety and security were supposed to transcend national boundaries and bring together democracies and autocracies alike.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 25, 2019 6:13 PM.

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