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Week In Review

By Chantelle A. Gyamfi
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Below are stories from Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Media, and General News:


Hollywood Big Shot to Raise Money for Battle Against Anti-Abortion Laws

Hollywood producer Peter Chernin has launched a campaign to contribute to the $15 million that is needed to fund the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) legal efforts to battle the national anti-abortion effort. Chernin wrote in an email to other entertainment titans that "we have a moral responsibility to act immediately" to fight Georgia's anti-abortion law. Recipients of the email included senior executives at all of the major movie studios, as well as entertainment power players like Jeff Bezos, Ari Emanuel, Ted Sarandos, Tim Cook, and Shonda Rhimes, with July 1st being the deadline for donating.


Apple Bids Farewell to iTunes After Just 18 Years

iTunes, Apple's "digital jukebox", has been cancelled after 18 years. Apple executives announced at their annual developer conference that iTunes would be dismantled, and its features would be split among three apps: Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, and Apple TV.



Central Park Five Presented With Courage Award

Actor Michael B. Jordan presented the men known as the "Central Park Five" with an award for their perseverance and courage during a luncheon in which the ACLU of Southern California honored Netflix's series about their case. "When They See Us", the Ava DuVernay produced mini-series - although not the first attempt to recount the story - renewed interest in the details of the case that changed five boys' lives forever. In the infamous 1989 case, a white woman was savagely raped and beaten in Central Park, where she had been out for a jog. Five black and Latino teenagers -- Korey Wise, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, and Yusef Salaam, who became known as the "Central Park Five" -- were convicted based on confessions that were full of contradictions and lacking in crucial information, and which the boys said were coerced. No forensic evidence connected them to the crime, and DNA evidence that was collected did not match any of them. The series has re-ignited outcry about how the case was handled. Linda Fairstein, the Manhattan sex crimes prosecutor who observed the teenagers' interrogation, has faced backlash for her role in their conviction.


Once a Celebrated Prosecutor, Now Disgraced and Dropped by Publishing Company

Linda Fairstein, a former sex-crimes prosecutor who became a successful crime novelist, was dropped by her publisher, Penguin Random House, after the Netflix mini-series "When They See Us" renewed focus on her role in the wrongful conviction of five teenagers, known as the "Central Park Five", for a brutal rape. Since the series premiered last week, Fairstein has been the target of tremendous public outrage, including online petitions and a #CancelLindaFairstein hashtag. As a result, she resigned from a number of prominent boards, including that of Vassar College, her alma mater. The Netflix series is a dramatized account of the 1989 rape case, and shows Fairstein as determined to see the boys convicted, regardless of inconsistencies and evidence that suggested their innocence. Fairstein has called her portrayal "grossly and maliciously inaccurate" and threatened legal action. Ava DuVernay, who directed the series and was one of its writers, has not commented on Fairstein's assertions.



France to End Disposal of Unsold Goods

France plans to outlaw the destruction of unsold consumer products, a practice that currently results in the disposal of new goods worth 800 million euros, or more than $900 million, in the country each year. Prime Minister, Édouard Philippe, said that by 2023, manufacturers and retailers will have to either donate, reuse or recycle the goods. This particularly affects the fashion industry.



#MeToo Hits Global Soccer

Coaches and administrators in at least five countries on four continents have been accused by players and colleagues of sexual misconduct, inappropriate behavior, and even rape. The harassment allegations against Ahmad Ahmad, the president of Africa's soccer confederation, are the first to be made against a leader of one of soccer's six regional governing bodies, or against a senior FIFA official. An internal investigation has begun into Ahmad, alleging that among other transgressions, he dismissed an employee in 2017 after she rejected his romantic advances. Ahmad has denied the accusation and separate claims that he sexually harassed several other women. Ahmad also has been accused of misusing confederation funds and entering into questionable contracts, potential offenses that led to his being detained by the French authorities in Paris last Thursday. He was later released without being charged.


FIFA Bans Soccer Chief for Life After Sexual Abuse Allegations

FIFA has banned Keramuddin Keram, the president of the Afghanistan Football Federation, from the sport for life, months after reports emerged that he had sexually assaulted players and had threatened them when they went public with their accusations. FIFA first suspended Keram after the accusations became public in December. That suspension was extended this spring while investigators for the FIFA ethics committee pursued the case. Other claims of abuse or inappropriate conduct have emerged in Canada, Colombia, and Ecuador, as well as in FIFA's top leadership.


Rape Accusation Against Neymar Captivates News Media and Spooks His Sponsors

Brazilian soccer star Neymar has been accused of raping Brazilian model Najila Trindade. Neymar has denied the allegations and his marketing company released a lengthy statement to announce that for now, there had not been any breach of contract. It repeated Neymar's denials that he had raped his accuser, although it conceded that some campaigns involving the player had been delayed. Nike, which has been with Neymar for 13 years -- more than half his life -- said in the past week that the company is "very concerned" by the allegations.



Amazon + Google at The Center of Big Tech Storm

Amazon and Google are two of the largest tech companies, and as such, they yield tremendous power. The tech giants' actions have gone largely unregulated but now, the two federal agencies that handle antitrust matters, the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), have split up oversight of the two companies, with the Justice Department taking Google and the FTC taking Amazon, signaling a shift in the United States' attitudes towards the companies.


YouTube Ban Addresses Extremism

YouTube announced plans to remove thousands of videos and channels that advocate neo-Nazism, white supremacy, and other bigoted ideologies in an attempt to clean up extremism and hate speech on its popular service. The new policy will ban videos claiming that Jews secretly control the world, women are intellectually inferior to men and therefore should be denied certain rights, or suggesting that the white race is superior to another race, among other things. Channels that post some hateful content without violating YouTube's rules with the majority of their videos may receive strikes under YouTube's three-strike enforcement system, but will not be immediately banned.


Apple Backs Off Crackdown on Parental-Control Apps

As news broke that federal officials were stepping up antitrust scrutiny of Apple and its peers, Apple abruptly disclosed that screen-time apps were allowed to return to the App Store. After the company's Worldwide Developers Conference, it announced in a short blog post on a section of its website for developers that said parental-control apps could now use two technologies - mobile device management (M.D.M.), which enables parents to take control of a child's phone, and virtual private network (V.P.N.), which parents can use to block certain apps on a child's phone - that Apple had recently cited as grounds for their removal from iPhones.


Australian Police Raids Target News Media Over Leaked Documents

The Australian Federal Police raided the Sydney offices of Australia's public broadcaster in connection with an article published in 2017 about Australian special forces being investigated over possible war crimes in Afghanistan. This raid happened a day after the same agency searched the home, computer, and cellphone of a journalist who reported on secret correspondence between government ministries over a plan to expand intelligence agencies' surveillance powers, but the police said the two raids were not related.


Raids on Journalists Show Australia's Secretiveness

One journalist is being investigated for reporting that several boats filled with asylum seekers recently tried to reach Australia from Sri Lanka. Another reporter had her home raided by the authorities after reporting on a government plan to expand surveillance powers. The Australian Federal Police raided the main office of Australia's public broadcaster with a warrant for notes, story pitches, emails, and even the diaries for entire teams of journalists and senior editors -- all in connection with a 2017 article about Australian special forces being investigated over possible war crimes in Afghanistan. These extremes are not uncommon - among its peers, Australia stands out as one of the most secretive nations in the world; experts say that no other developed democracy holds as tightly to its secrets, and these raids are just the latest example of how far the country's conservative government will go to scare officials and reporters into submission.


China Tightening Censorship After 30th Tienanmen Anniversary

The 30th anniversary of the crackdown of a democracy movement in Tienanmen Square was tense, with China detaining activists, tightening censorship, and denouncing calls for a full accounting of the bloodshed. The looming trade war with the United States heightened the strain as China denounced Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statement a day earlier honoring the protesters and criticizing continuing human rights abuses. The Chinese Embassy in Washington said that Pompeo's statement was made "out of prejudice and arrogance" and "grossly intervenes in China's internal affairs, attacks its system, and smears its domestic and foreign policies".


China's Leading Investigative Reporter Quits Journalism

Liu Wanyong spent over a decade at the China Youth Daily, a newspaper run by the Communist Party, but has now quit journalism altogether. Many are calling his resignation the "end" of investigative journalism in China. Reporters claim that "the most important figure in investigative journalism has disappeared" and investigative journalism would never be the same.


Reporter's Arrest Sets Off Widespread Protests in Russia

Ivan Golunov, an investigative journalist focused on exposing corruption, was detained on drug charges last week in Moscow, sparking a series of protests from supporters. In an extraordinary move, three important newspapers printed the same large front-page headline: "I/We are Ivan Golunov". Golunov, who works for the Meduza online news service, is well-known for exposing corruption in Moscow's City Hall. In addition to the headline, the three newspapers -- Vedomosti, Kommersant and RBC -- published similar statements suggesting that Golunov was detained because of his work and demanding a transparent investigation into the police actions that led to his arrest. Golunov's attorney has filed a complaint that accuses the police of using violence against the him. Golunov, who has denied using or possessing drugs, was examined in a hospital and found to have abrasions on his back and a bruise around one eye. A court later released him into house arrest.




NASA to Allow Tourists in Space For $35K

NASA has announced plans to open the International Space Station to commercial business, including tourism. For the first time, NASA is allowing private citizens to fly, if not to the moon, then at least to the International Space Station, the only place where people currently live off the planet. For roughly $35,000 a night, up to two private citizens could visit the space station each year.



Trump Administration Curbs Fetal Tissue Research

The Trump administration announced that the federal government would sharply curtail federal spending on medical research that uses tissue from aborted fetuses, mainly by ending fetal-tissue research within the National Institutes of Health, in a move that helps fulfill a top goal of anti-abortion groups. The announcement is the latest in a series of Trump administration moves to appease opponents of abortion, which include barring Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortion referrals from receiving federal family planning money, and expanding protections for health care providers who refuse to take part in abortions on moral or religious grounds. Since fetal tissue is used to test drugs, develop vaccines, and study cancer, AIDS, Parkinson's disease, birth defects, blindness, and other disorders, scientists say there is no substitute for the tissue and as such, "the ban on fetal tissue research is akin to a ban on hope for millions of Americans suffering from life-threatening and debilitating diseases".


Trump Calls Off Plan to Impose Tariffs on Mexico

Trump backed off his plan to impose tariffs on all Mexican goods and announced via Twitter that the United States had reached an agreement with Mexico to reduce the flow of migrants to the southwestern border. Trump's threat to impose potentially crippling tariffs on Mexico to leverage the immigration changes he demanded was met with sharp criticism from all sides and brought both countries to the brink of an economic and diplomatic crisis. The threat had rattled companies across North America, including automakers and agricultural firms, which have built supply chains across Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Republican senators had threatened to try to block the tariffs if Trump moved ahead with them. According to a United States-Mexico Joint Declaration distributed by the State Department, Mexico agreed to "take unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration," including the deployment of its national guard throughout the country to stop migrants from reaching the United States. Most of these terms had been agreed to in December.


Judges Skeptically Hear Arguments from Both Sides in Youth Climate Case Against the Government

Three federal judges heard arguments about whether young people have a constitutional right to be protected from climate change. The case, Juliana v. United States, was scheduled to begin last October, but the court granted the Trump administration an unusual pretrial appeal, which could have important implications for this and other attempts to use the courts to pursue climate action across the United States.


U.S. Vows to More Aggressively Deport Migrant Families

Mark Morgan, the acting director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), announced that the Trump administration will ramp up its efforts to deport families of undocumented migrants in the United States. In a statement, he said that deporting migrants "was necessary to deter a record-high number of Central American migrants from approaching the border". The new focus will apply to any migrant who has missed a court hearing or otherwise received deportation orders. Despite Trump's threat to place tariffs on Mexican imports, Mexican officials said they would reject the "safe third country" agreement proposal, which would require migrants from Central America to apply for asylum in Mexico, rather than in the United States.


House Intelligence Committee Says That Russia is Likely to Try to Influence 2020 Presidential Election

Representative Adam B. Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that the Russian government is likely to try to influence the 2020 presidential election, not through the release of stolen emails and other documents, but through faked videos. During the 2016 presidential campaign, emails and documents were stolen by Russian hackers from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign and then released publicly, influencing the presidential race. Schiff said he was particularly worried about the effect of falsified videos, known as deep fakes, which could be easily introduced into social media, spread rapidly, and be "hugely disruptive and hugely influential."


Judge Says That Flynn Call Transcript Can Stay Private

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled that prosecutors no longer have to publicly file a transcript of the call between former adviser Michael Flynn and Sergey Kislyak, the former Russian ambassador to the United States, reversing course from an order last month.



Trump Administration's Potentially Unethical 'Bridge' to China

Trump's transportation secretary, Elaine Chao, has raised ethical flags. Chao's office had made a series of unorthodox requests related to her first scheduled visit to China as a Trump cabinet member back in October 2017. The trip was abruptly canceled by Chao after the ethics question was referred to officials in the State and Transportation Departments and, separately, after The New York Times and others made inquiries about her itinerary and companions. Chao oversees the American maritime industry and her family's shipping company, Foremost Group, has deep ties to the economic and political elite in China where most of the company's business is centered. Officials have questioned the ethics of Chao's position and her family's business and have described the requests made as "alarmingly inappropriate".


Fifty Years Later, Police Finally Apologize for Stonewall Riot

Police commissioner James P. O'Neill said that he was sorry on behalf of the New York Police Department for officers' actions during the violent 1969 police raid at the Stonewall Inn - which signifies a seminal event in the gay rights movement. "The actions taken by the N.Y.P.D. were wrong -- plain and simple. . . .the actions and the laws were discriminatory and oppressive, and for that, I apologize", said O'Neill, during an event at Police Headquarters. It was an admission that gay rights leaders said was momentous and unexpected, if overdue. Corey Johnson, an openly gay City Council speaker, said: "To have the N.Y.P.D. commissioner make these very explicit remarks apologizing, it's really moving".



JPMorgan Chase Seeks to Prohibit Card Customers from Suing

JPMorgan Chase is trying to require its credit card customers to go into private arbitration to settle disputes -- even if they involve an older account -- by restoring arbitration provisions it dropped a decade ago. The change, which will affect around 47 million accounts, is a part of a broader effort by Wall Street firms to prevent customers and employees from engaging in class-action lawsuits that can result in large settlements and bad publicity. To prevent the new individual arbitration agreement from taking effect, customers must object to it in writing by mail by August 7th.


Texas Couple vs. 573 Tribes - A Custody Battle That Calls Indian Child Welfare Act into Question

In 1978, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to protect "the best interests of Indian children" and to promote the stability of tribes and Indian families. At the time, studies showed that 25% to 35% of American Indian children were being placed in foster homes, with 85% of those outside their tribal communities. Some studies have shown that social workers removed many Indian children not for neglect or abuse, but because of the household's perceived poverty. Now, 40 years later, the Brackeen family of Fort Worth (among several other families) argue that the law is unconstitutional because it is based on race. The case, Texas v. Zinke, includes the States of Texas, Louisiana, and Indiana as plaintiffs claiming that the ICWA interferes with state sovereign authority over domestic issues within state borders.


Oral arguments are available here: http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/OralArgRecordings/18/18-11479_3-13-2019.mp3

Shelters Housing Migrant Children May Lose School, Sports, and Legal Aid

The Trump administration said that it would begin restricting or canceling education, legal aid, and playground recreation for migrant children housed in government shelters as a result of financial constraints created by the "crisis at the border". Around 13,200 migrant children - some who arrived at the border alone, others who were separated from their families at the border - are currently housed in more than 100 shelters across the country where they receive English, math, civics, and other classes. Most facilities have a sports field and allow children to go outside at least once a day. Civil rights and child welfare advocates rebuked this announcement, saying that any move by the government to eliminate education and recreation would constitute a violation of the Flores settlement, which in 1997 established the standards for treating migrant children held in government facilities, and would prompt them to sue for reinstatement of the activities.



Opioid Drug Maker to Pay $225 Million to Settle Fraud Charges

Insys Therapeutics has agreed to pay $225 million to settle federal criminal and civil charges that it illegally marketed a highly addictive fentanyl painkiller to doctors. As part of the deal, a subsidiary of Insys will plead guilty to five counts of mail fraud and the company will pay a $2 million fine and $28 million in forfeiture. The company will also pay $195 million to settle allegations that it violated the federal False Claims Act, which involves defrauding the federal government through drug sales to health care programs like Medicare.


Carmakers Warn Trump That His Pollution Rules Could Mean 'Untenable' Instability and Lower Profits

In a letter signed by 17 companies, including Ford, General Motors, Toyota, and Volvo, the automakers asked Trump to go back to the negotiating table on the planned rollback of one of President Barack Obama's signature policies to fight climate change, warning that Trump's plan to weaken tailpipe pollution standards threatens to cut their profits and produce "untenable" instability in a crucial manufacturing sector.


Deceased Strategist's Files Detail Republican Gerrymandering in North Carolina

The Supreme Court is considering cases regarding alleged gerrymandering in Maryland and North Carolina after the hard drives of a deceased Republican strategist revealed new evidence last week about the Trump administration's decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The late strategist, Thomas Hofeller, was the mastermind behind the G.O.P.'s gerrymandering strategy, and left behind four hard drives and 18 thumb drives containing more than 75,000 files that were found by his estranged daughter after his death in August. Advocacy group Common Cause said in court documents that the Hofeller files include new evidence showing how North Carolina Republicans misled a federal court to prolong the life of their map of state legislative districts, which had been ruled unconstitutional.


Columbine High School Could Be Torn Down to Deter Copycats

In the 20 years since the massacre at Columbine High School, the building has become a tourist attraction for the curious and the obsessed. in an effort to stop the escalating threats against the school and lessen Columbine's perverse appeal to copycats and so-called Columbiners, school officials are proposing a radical idea: Tear it down. The idea has divided a tight-knit community of current Columbine students, survivors of the 1999 attack, and victims' families, who share a fierce love for the school. It has also stirred a debate about whether schools, churches, and other places devastated by mass shootings can ever exorcise their legacy by demolishing the buildings where the violence unfolded.


Hate Crimes Spike in N.Y.

There has been a sharp increase in reported hate crimes in New York, even as crime has fallen overall. As of June 2nd, there were 184 hate crimes reported in the city, a 64% increase over the same period in 2018. The increase is being propelled largely by anti-Semitic incidents, which were up 90%. City officials have vowed to increase their efforts to reverse the trend, including by opening a new Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes within the mayor's office this summer.


Lawyers By Day, Uber Drivers and Bartenders By Night

At least one-third of Legal Aid Society attorneys are forced to take on second and even third jobs in order to make ends meet. The Legal Aid Society, the nation's oldest nonprofit legal services organization, offers law school graduates starting salaries of $53,582, which increase to $62,730 upon admittance to the bar - this pales in comparison to the median salary of first year associates at private firms, which is $135,000. Legal Aid officials are asking New York City Council leaders for help in closing the pay gap.


Judge Comes Forward with Sexual Abuse Story

Former Acting New York State Supreme Court Justice Charles Apotheker published a personal letter that detailed the sexual abuse he suffered as a child. Apotheker's abuser, Dr. Reginald Archibald, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Rockefeller University Hospital, has allegedly spent decades abusing young boys, with many of his actions just recently coming to light.


Paris Climate Goals Could Save Many Lives

Under the Paris climate agreement, 195 countries pledged to cut their greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to hold global warming to two degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, above preindustrial levels. They also promised efforts to limit the temperature increase even further, to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The half-degree difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees may not seem like much, but, according to research published in the journal Science Advances, it could mean saving or losing thousands of lives each year in the United States alone.


Deal Might Put Bomb Secrets in Saudi's Hands

The Trump administration declared an emergency last month and fast-tracked the sale of more American arms to Saudi Arabia. The move has raised concerns that the Saudis could gain access to technology that would let them produce their own versions of American precision-guided bombs -- weapons they have used in strikes on civilians since they began fighting a war in Yemen four years ago. The emergency authorization allows Raytheon Company, a top American defense firm, to team with the Saudis to build high-tech bomb parts in Saudi Arabia. That provision, which had not been previously reported, is part of a broad package of information the administration released this week to Congress.


Antibiotics Push is Breeding Drug Resistant Germs

Facing a surge in drug-resistant infections, the World Health Organization issued a plea to farmers two years ago: "Stop using antibiotics in healthy animals." A "Pig Zero" brochure by Elanco, one of the largest manufacturers of drugs for animals, urged farmers to give antibiotics to every pig in their herds, even as it told the public and policymakers that it was aware of the hazards that the overuse of antibiotics poses to human health. The brochures encouraged farmers to give antibiotics to every pig in their herds rather than waiting to treat a disease outbreak caused by an unknown "Patient Zero". It was an appealing pitch for industrial farms, where crowded, germ-prone conditions have led to increasing reliance on drug interventions.


New Rules on American Travel to Cuba Include Cruise Ban

The Trump administration imposed new restrictions on Americans going to Cuba, banning the most common way Americans travel to the island - via cruises. The United States will no longer permit group educational and cultural trips known as "people to people" trips to the island unless they were booked before June 5th, nor will it allow cruises, private yachts or fishing vessels to stop in Cuba. Group people-to-people trips have been used by thousands of American visitors. Cruises have become the most popular way for Americans to travel to Cuba since 2016, when President Obama reopened relations with the island.


Kim Jong-un Suspends "Mass Games"

North Korea will temporarily suspend its epic mass gymnastics show, after the propaganda-filled festival was panned by Kim Jong-un. The mass games performances, which North Korea has staged on and off for years under different names, typically feature thousands of schoolchildren and other youthful performers making synchronized moves in what is widely regarded as the biggest and most spectacular entertainment for North Korean elites. The shows aimed at instilling North Koreans with national pride and loyalty to Kim's family, which has ruled the country from its beginning in 1945, and the regime has invited foreign tourists to the show, charging as much as $900 per person. However, Koryo Tours, a travel agency based in Beijing that takes foreign tourists to the show, said it had been told that the 2019 mass games would be "temporarily suspended from June 10 for a yet-to-be-confirmed amount of time to allow changes to be made to the performance." It said the suspension could last "several days through to potentially a few weeks."



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