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Week In Review

By Angela Peco
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Media, and General News:


Few Hollywood Productions Are Using Inclusion Riders

More than a year after Francis McDormand mentioned inclusion riders in her Oscar acceptance speech, only a handful of Hollywood productions have adopted the contractual stipulation that actors and filmmakers can use to assemble a more diverse cast and crew.


Jussie Smollett Case Will Be Investigated by Special Prosecutor

A special prosecutor has been appointed to investigate how authorities handled the decision to drop charges against Jussie Smollett, who was accused of staging an attack on himself and formally charged earlier this year. The Cook County judge who appointed the special prosecutor also said that the state's attorney, Kim Foxx, did not have legal authority to turn the case over to another prosecutor after recusing herself.


Carrie Underwood, NBC, and NFL Sued Over "Sunday Night Football" Theme Song

Singer Heidi Merrill alleges that she pitched the song to Underwood's producer in 2016 and that Underwood's version of the song "is substantially similar, if not identical" to hers.


Lawyers Representing Harvey Weinstein Are Slowing Leaving His Defense Team

Harvey Weinstein's legal team shrunk after several high-profile departures. With less than three months until his trial begins, attorney Jose Baez filed papers asking the court to let him withdraw from the case, citing fundamental disagreements with his client. Weinstein had reportedly grown frustrated with Baez and recently stopped paying him.


Soundgarden, Estates of Tom Petty and Tupac, Sue Universal Music Over Recordings Destroyed in 2018 Fire

A class action lawsuit seeking at least $100 million in damages was filed in Los Angeles following recent news that a fire decimated a storage facility where Universal Music stored master recordings. The suit states that Universal Music owes the musicians half of a confidential settlement negotiated with it, and half of an additional insurance settlement that Universal Music received for losses sustained in the fire.


Missing Phone Central to Kevin Spacey Case

A phone that Spacey's lawyers argue contains messages that would help their client disprove the sexual assault allegations against him is missing. The Nantucket judge who ordered the phone be turned over to Spacey's defense team has now ordered the father of the accuser to appear in court to explain what he knows about the phone's whereabouts after police returned it to him.



The Baltimore Symphony Has Locked Out its Musicians as Labor Talks Stall

The cash-strapped Baltimore Symphony locked out its musicians after failed labor talks. Management wants the players to agree to a shorter season and fewer weeks of work, changes that it says are necessary to reduce fiscal losses and keep the orchestra afloat. According to the musicians, a cut in performing weeks will impact the quality of the orchestra by making it more difficult to attract talent and compete with some of the top tier orchestras that offer year-round contracts.


Another Restoration Project Gone Bad - This Time, a 16th-Century Statue of St. George

A 16th-century wooden statue has been unrestored in Spain after a botched paint job replaced the original statue's muted shades with bright, loud colors that had St. George resembling the cartoon character Tintin. Working with photos of the original statue and $34,000 later, specialists in Navarra stripped back layers of paint to restore the statue's original colors.


Serpentine Galleries Chief Quits After Spyware Firm Controversy

The Serpentine Galleries is one of London's most popular art museums. Its chief executive, Yana Peel, has resigned after a newspaper revealed that she had connections to a cybersecurity firm whose technology has been used to track journalists and human rights activists. Peel's husband is co-founder of a private equity firm that recently bought a controlling stake in NSO Group, an Israeli company offering technology that can hack phones to gain access to encrypted communications.


Bamiyan Buddhas Are Being Resurrected as Holograms in Afghanistan

The Buddhas of Bamiyan, two 6th-century statues that were definitively destroyed by the Taliban in 2001, were "resurrected" in 2015 using holograms that beamed images of the Buddhas onto the sites where they originally stood. Since most archaeologists oppose reconstruction because the extent of the damage is too great, the goal going forward is to guard against continued degradation of the Bamiyan complex and conserve the remains as they are.



U.S. Soccer and Women's Team Agree to Mediate Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

The mediation is set to begin soon after the Women's World Cup is over. The players' lawsuit accuses the federation of gender discrimination and seeks equitable pay. It also alleges discrimination related to the players' medical treatment, their working conditions, and the surface on which they play during matches.


The Real Reason Why the U.S. Women's Soccer Team Isn't Getting Equal Pay: Men Still Dominate the Governing Bodies

The article addresses the systemic repercussions of the gender imbalance observed in the sport governing bodies, with a specific focus on U.S. women's soccer, where women remain largely outnumbered in the organization.


Are Women Athletes Forced to Choose Between Sponsorship and Motherhood?

This ESPN feature chronicles the experiences of several female athletes balancing motherhood and sporting careers, with a focus on their sponsorship contracts.


Major League Baseball and Players' Union Set to Begin Early Labor Talks

League and union officials met earlier this week "to discuss logistics for negotiations" in a meeting that comes two years before the current labor agreement expires. The union is hoping to bring about substantive changes to the agreement after a slow-moving free agent market during the last two off-seasons. Some of the pressing issues for the union include restoring meaningful free agency and establishing a system that rewards younger players who have limited earning power. Though the current deal runs through 2021, both sides have reopened it in recent years to address performance-enhancing drug testing and penalties for domestic violence.


Prime Sports Marketing Files Its Own Lawsuit Against Zion Williamson Ahead of National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft

Prime Sports Marketing filed a lawsuit in Florida accusing the number one draft pick and Creative Artists Agency (CAA) of breach of contract. It is seeking $100 million in punitive damages. Zion Williamson signed with Prime Sports Marketing in April before hiring an agent, but filed a lawsuit last week to terminate the five-year contract, arguing that the contract was in violation of the state's agent laws.



David Ortiz Shooting in the Dominican Republic Was a Case of Mistaken Identity

Local officials say the shooting was ordered by a man associated with a Mexican drug cartel. The intended target of the shooting was the man's cousin, who was also a friend of Ortiz, and had been with Ortiz that evening.



United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Changes Its Name to U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC)

The change makes the U.S. the fourth nation to merge its Olympic and Paralympic teams. Last year, the board voted to increase monetary awards for U.S. Paralympic medalists to match those earned by Olympic athletes.


USA Gymnastics Overhauls its Safe Sport Policy

The new regulations cover male and female athletes across all USA Gymnastics disciplines and are designed to clear up "gray areas." For example, the updates address what the boundaries are for one-to-one contact between a coach/trainer and an athlete, and also outline the types of behaviors that dictate mandatory reporting.


Adidas' Black Workers Describe a Workplace Culture that Contradicts the Brand's Image

Black employees at the company's North American headquarters describe a workplace culture that leaves them feeling marginalized and sometimes discriminated against. Fewer than 4.5% of the workers there identify as black, a number that some see as staggeringly low for a company that has built much of its name in the U.S. through its association with black superstars, who are often its most influential customers.


30th Horse Dies at Santa Anita After Sustaining Injuries on the Training Track

Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer was banned by the Stronach Group after a fourth horse from his stable died at the Southern California track. It was the 30th death since the racing season began. The horse was euthanized after sustaining an injury on the training track, which is not used for racing.


Serbian Point Guard Withdraws from BIG3 After the International Basketball Federation Threatens His Olympic Eligibility

Dusan Bulut has withdrawn from the BIG3 after the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) threatened sanctions that could have resulted in him not being able to participate in the 2020 Olympics. Bulut is ranked as the best 3-on-3 player internationally and was recently drafted in the BIG3, which is the biggest professional 3-on-3 league that features former NBA players. Reports say that FIBA had previously informed athletes involved in 3-on-3 competitions that participation in any other league would not impact on player eligibility for the Olympics.


Officials Are on Alert for Match-Fixing at Women's World Cup

World Cup matches are drawing millions of dollars worth of bets, prompting the governing body to turn its attention to integrity matters in women's soccer. FIFA has rolled out the most extensive program to date to detect attempts at match-fixing, briefed the players, and requested that each team assign one official to act as a liaison with FIFA on integrity matters. It has also set up a monitoring hub in Paris for the duration of the Women's World Cup. More generally, there are still concerns that chronic underfunding in women's soccer could make the players an appealing target for match fixers.


Former UEFA President Michel Platini is Detained as Part of Qatar World Cup Probe

Platini was detained as part of an investigation into alleged corruption in the 2022 World Cup bidding process that saw the event awarded to Qatar. At the time of the vote in 2010, Platini publicly backed the Qatar bid and had a direct vote in the elections as a member of the FIFA executive committee that was then electing World Cup hosts.


Adidas' Three-Stripe Trademark Ruled Invalid by European Court

Adidas has failed in its attempt to broaden trademark protection for its symbol in the European Union. The European Union's second highest court upheld a 2016 decision of the European Intellectual Property Office, ruling that Adidas' three-stripe branding "was invalid as a trademark as it lacked a distinctive character." Adidas registered the trademark in 2014 but has been in a decade-long dispute with Belgian company Shoe Branding Europe, whose products feature two stripes sloping in the opposite direction.



Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Investigating YouTube Over Child Privacy Concerns

The FTC is reportedly looking into YouTube's handling of videos aimed at children after complaints by parents and consumer groups that the company had collected data of young users and allowed harmful and adult content to appear in searches for children's content.


Five NY1 Anchorwomen Sue Cable Channel for Age and Gender Discrimination

The plaintiffs, who age in range from 40 to 61, are suing the network over age and gender discrimination and are alleging a systematic effort by managers to force them off the air in favor of younger, less experienced hosts.


Digital Newsrooms Are Unionizing

BuzzFeed News staff members staged a four-hour walkout at the company's offices to pressure their employer to come to the bargaining table.
This was the latest in a wave of unionizations that has seen reporters and editors who work for online publications following in the footsteps of their print predecessors.


Alex Jones Sent Lawyers of Sandy Hook Families an Image of Child Pornography

Lawyers for the families said that they had received an image that appeared to be child pornography in a trove of discovery materials produced by Jones' legal team. The families have filed a defamation suit against Jones, who has repeatedly claimed that the shooting was a hoax.


Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theorist Loses to Father of Sandy Hook Victim

A Wisconsin judge has ruled that the editors of a book claiming the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax defamed one of the murdered children's fathers by alleging that he had faked his son's death certificate to promote the conspiracy. The case will go to a jury to determine damages. The book's publisher also agreed to stop selling the book in a separate agreement.


U.N. Report Reveals Chilling Details Behind Journalist Khashoggi's Murder

The U.N. report calls for a full investigation into the Saudi crown prince's role in Khashoggi's murder after finding that the Saudi investigation into the killing was not conducted in good faith and could even count as obstruction of justice. The special rapporteur concluded that Khashoggi was the victim of a deliberate, premeditated execution for which Saudi Arabia is responsible under international human rights law.


New Zealand Man Gets 21 Months Sentence for Sharing Video of Attacks

A 44-year-old businessman pleaded guilty to charges of distributing objectionable material and was sentenced to 21 months in jail after sharing a video of the mosque shootings and asking that crosshairs and a "kill count" be added to the footage.



Supreme Court Upholds the Ability of Congress to Delegate to the Executive in Sex Offender Registration Case

The Court upheld a federal law that allows the attorney general to decide whether to require registration by sex offenders who were convicted before the law was passed. Justice Kagan wrote that the law satisfied the test of whether a delegation of authority was proper because it provided an "intelligible principle" to guide the attorney general's actions. According to the law, the attorney general has to require registration to the maximum extent possible, while considering the difficulty of notifying offenders convicted before the law took effect.


Supreme Court Affirms Exception to Double Jeopardy

By a vote of 7-2, the Supreme Court has ruled that criminal defendants may be prosecuted for the same offenses in both federal and state court. While the Constitution's double jeopardy clause forbids subsequent prosecutions, the Supreme Court upheld an exception to the double jeopardy clause, saying that the federal government and the states are independent sovereigns and could each prosecute the same conduct. The ruling also has implications for associates of President Trump, who could be subject to state prosecutions should the president decide to pardon them.


Supreme Court Allows 40-Foot Peace Cross on State Property

The Supreme Court has ruled that a 40-foot cross honoring soldiers who died in World War I did not violate the First Amendment's ban on government establishment of religion and could remain on state property. Justice Alito, writing for five justices, said the monument did not primarily convey a religious message and the cross has taken on an added secular meaning when used in World War I memorials. There were also vehement dissents.


Supreme Court Finds That Racial Bias Tainted Mississippi Murder Conviction

By a vote of 7-2, the Supreme Court threw out the conviction of Curtis Flowers, an African-American man who stood trial six times and was convicted of murder by a Mississippi court. Over the course of those six trials, the prosecutor dismissed 41 of the 42 prospective black jurors.

Writing for the majority, Justice Kavanaugh said that the Court was merely applying settled legal principles and that "equal justice under the law requires a criminal trial free of racial discrimination in the jury selection process." The Court's decision turned on the scope of Batson v Kentucky, in which the Court ruled that peremptory challenges during jury selection may not be used to exclude jurors based solely on their race.


Supreme Court Dismisses House of Delegates' Appeal in Virginia Racial Gerrymandering Case

The case that gave rise to this decision concerned 11 voting districts in Virginia, each with at least a 55% population of black residents of voting age. A lower court had struck down parts of the voting map on race-discrimination grounds after Democratic voters sued, saying that lawmakers had violated the Constitution by packing too many black voters into the district, thus diminishing their voting power. Virginia's House of Delegates appealed the ruling that struck down the voting maps after the state's attorney general decided not to appeal. In a 5 to 4 vote, the Supreme Court said that Virginia's House of Delegates was not authorized to pursue the appeal on behalf of the state and had not suffered the type of direct injury that would give it standing.


Supreme Court Upholds Virginia's Decades-Old Ban on Uranium Mining

Virginia imposed a moratorium on uranium mining 37 years ago. The question in this case was whether the federal Atomic Energy Act (AEA) pre-empts the state law, which on its face regulates an activity within its jurisdiction (uranium mining) but has the purpose and effect of regulating radiological safety hazards of activities that are under federal responsibility. The majority wrote that the AEA did not affect the longstanding power of states to regulate mining, and that the federal government's authority to regulate radiation safety standards arises only after uranium is mined.


Supreme Court Won't Rule on Clash Between Bakery and Gay Couple

The Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from the owners of an Oregon bakery who were ordered to pay $135,000 in damages after refusing to create a wedding cake for a gay couple. As a result, the question of whether businesses may discriminate against same-sex couples on religious grounds remains unresolved.


New Judge in the 9/11 Trial at Guantanamo Inherits a Complex History

Air Force Colonel Shane Cohen is the third judge to be assigned to the military trial of the five defendants charged in the September 11th attacks. Cohen is expected to guide the case into its trial phase and inherits 23,039 pages of transcripts, following 36 pretrial sessions and about 500 substantive motions, some still awaiting rulings.


Visa Delays at Backlogged Immigration Service Strand International Students

Citizenship and Immigration Services is projecting a lag of up to five months this year due to a surge in employment authorization requests. Longer processing times for student visas are impacting schools' abilities to recruit and retain foreign talent, and international students are finding it increasingly difficult to start their jobs or complete their degrees.


President Trump Postpones Raids That Aimed to Deport Undocumented Families

President Trump announced a two-week delay to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids that would have targeted families who have received deportation orders. The president's reversal comes as the House of Representatives is considering a measure to send $4.5 billion in humanitarian aid to the border, money which Democrats do not want to see going toward the raids.


Landlords Oppose the President's Plan to Evict Undocumented Immigrants

Landlords across the country are opposing a proposed plan to evict undocumented immigrants from federally subsidized housing. Public housing administrators say that the plan would add immigration enforcement to their responsibilities and it will be the housing authority that will bear the brunt of the expense of having to evict these families.


Lawmakers Join Forces to Fight Shared Nuisance of Robocalls

If passed, the bipartisan bill will require phone carriers to offer screening technology to their customers, at no extra costs, to identify and block automated/spam calls.


House Panel Explores Reparations at Historic Hearing on Slavery

Discussions at the historic hearing on Capitol Hill focused on bill H.R. 40, proposed legislation that would create a commission to address the effects of slavery and consider a national apology for the harm it has caused, if not the enactment of a more comprehensive reparations program.


House Speaker Pelosi Dismisses Calls to Censure President Trump

Censuring President Trump would require a vote on the House floor to reprimand him, but Speaker Pelosi is of the view that the move would have little effect and that if Democrats conclude he should be charged for misconduct, impeachment is the only option.


Senate Votes to Block Arms Sales to Gulf Nations

The Senate voted to block the sale of billions of dollars of munitions to Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. The White House tried to circumvent Congress by declaring an emergency over Iran and then invoking an emergency provision in the Arms Export Control Act to allow American companies to sell munitions to the gulf nations. The House is also expected to block the sales, but President Trump has pledged to veto the legislation.



President Trump Approved Strikes on Iran But Later Delayed the Attack

President Trump approved military strikes on several Iranian targets after Iran shot down an American navy drone. Shortly thereafter, he pulled back from launching the attacks, announcing instead potential new sanctions aimed at Iran's top political and military leaders.


Trump Nominates Mark Esper as Next Defense Secretary After Shanahan Withdraws as Nominee

President Trump has nominated Mark Esper as the next defense secretary after acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan withdrew his name from consideration. The FBI was reportedly still conducting a background investigation into incidents of family violence that Shanahan had not disclosed during his confirmation as deputy secretary. The new nominee, Mark Esper, is a West Point graduate who served in the gulf war. He has worked for the Heritage Foundation and was a lobbyist for Raytheon, a major military contractor.




The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Finalizes Its Plan to Replace Obama-Era Climate Plan

A new regulation, known as the Affordable Clean Energy rule, gives states the authority to decide how far to scale back carbon emissions. The move is a departure from the Obama administration's plan, which would have set national emissions limits and required the reconstruction of power grids to move utilities away from coal.


Schumer Requests Investigation into Mnuchin's Handling of the $20 Bill Redesign

Senator Schumer has asked the Treasury Department's inspector general to open an investigation into delayed design concepts of the $20 bill featuring Harriet Tubman. Secretary Mnuchin has said the delay was due to the complexity of new anti-counterfeiting measures.


President Trump Accuses Europe of Bolstering Its Economy at America's Expense

In a series of tweets this week, President Trump accused the European Central Bank (ECB) of trying to prop up Europe's economy and weaken its currency to gain a competitive edge over the U.S. The tweets followed an announcement from ECB President Draghi that he was open to boosting monetary stimulus if economic conditions in Europe did not improve.


President Trump's Tariff Threat Has Retailers Sounding the Alarm

The Trump administration's threat to impose new tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports resulted in retailers and analysts saying that the move could be disastrous, especially for traditional retailers, since the next round of tariffs is aimed at consumer goods like footwear, toys, and apparel.


Trump Campaign Fires Pollsters After Leak of Unflattering Numbers

President Trump's re-election campaign is cutting ties with some of its pollsters after leaked internal polling showed the president trailing Joe Biden in critical 2020 battleground states.


President Trump Emphatically Denies Sexual Assault Allegation by Advice Columnist

E. Jean Carroll, a former advice columnist for Elle magazine, is accusing President Trump of sexually assaulting her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in 1995 or 1996. The president denied the accusation, saying that he had never met and did not know Carroll.


Former White House Communications Director, Hope Hicks, Declines to Answer Lawmakers' Questions

Transcripts of a closed hearing before the House Judiciary Committee show that Hicks declined to answer nearly every question about her time working in the administration, citing instructions from the president that she was "immune" from answering. She did, however, answer questions about her work on the campaign, which is not subject to executive privilege, as lawmakers pressed her on her recollections of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia.


Paul Manafort and Sean Hannity Traded Messages for Months

Fox News host and Trump ally Sean Hannity exchanged hundreds of text messages with Paul Manafort, discussing, among other things, the special counsel's investigation and Manafort's defense strategy.


Manafort Will Not Be Serving His Sentence at Rikers After Justice Department Intervenes

Like many federal inmates facing state charges, Manafort was expected to start serving his seven-and-a-half-year sentence at Rikers Island. Manafort will now remain in federal custody after deputy attorney general Jeffrey Rosen passed along a letter from Manafort's attorney to the Bureau of Prisons asking that Manafort remain at the low-security Loretto prison facility in Pennsylvania due to health and other concerns.


Amidst a Profound Democratic Shift in New York, the State Approves One of the World's Most Ambitious Climate Plans

Voting 104-35, New York's lawmakers have agreed to one of the nation's most aggressive plans to combat climate change, including a pledge to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It is the second U.S. state (after California) to pledge the creation of a carbon-neutral economy. Lawmakers also passed the strongest tenant protections in decades and gave farm workers collective bargaining rights.



Sexual Harassment Laws Toughened in New York State

The new legislation eliminates the state's "severe or pervasive" standard for proving harassment. The measure also restricts an employer's ability to avoid liability for the behavior of its employees and expands the time frame to file complaints of workplace harassment with a state agency. A separate bill extended the statute of limitations for second- and third-degree rape.


Driver's Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants Are Approved in New York State

New York will become the 13th state to permit undocumented immigrants to apply for drivers' licenses. The bill passed with just one more vote than the minimum needed, and Governor Cuomo signed it soon after, reversing a nearly 20-year-old ban.


New York State Legislature Bans "Gay Panic" Defenses in Murder Cases

New York became the seventh state to ban "gay panic" or "transgender panic" defenses that have allowed those accused of murdering LGBTQ people to claim that they did so in a state of temporary insanity caused and justified by their victim's sexual orientation or gender identity.


Marijuana Decriminalization Expanded in New York State

The new measure treats possession of up to two ounces of marijuana as a violation instead of a crime, with fines dropping to $50. The state will also automatically expunge many low-level marijuana convictions.


Trump Will Not Apologize for Comments About Central Park Five

When asked about the wrongly convicted defendants in the 1989 rape case, President Trump said that he would not apologize for his harsh comments or for his actions in taking out a newspaper advertisement shortly after the attack, in which he called for New York State to adopt the death penalty.


Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds Last-Minute Laws that Limited the Incoming Democratic Governor's Powers

Last November, Wisconsin's legislature pushed through a series of measures limiting the incoming Democratic governor's rule-making authority and his ability to withdraw the state from lawsuits that had already been filed. The state supreme court has now upheld those measures, saying the Republicans carried out a legal exercise of legislative power.


72 Philadelphia Officers Benched After Offensive Social Media Posts

Dozens of police officers were taken off regular duty for posting racist and hateful comments on social media. The posts were exposed by Plain View Project, a database of officers' social media activity that released a compilation of posts from accounts belonging to current or former officers. Departments across the country have taken the position that these posts undermine the integrity of policing as well as their efforts to improve interactions between police and the communities they serve.


Deutsche Bank Faces Criminal Investigation for Potential Money-Laundering

Federal authorities, including the U.S. attorney's offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn, are investigating Deutsche Bank's anti-money laundering operations. Authorities are also following up with a former anti-money-laundering compliance officer at the bank, who says she flagged transactions involving Jared Kushner's company, but that her superiors declined to file suspicious activity reports.


Google Pledges to Invest $1 Billion to Ease Housing Crisis in the Bay Area

The company plans to repurpose commercially zoned land and work with local governments to allow developers to lease the land and build homes.


He Won a Landmark Case for Privacy Rights. He's Going to Prison Anyway.

As part of a month-long project exploring privacy rights and technology, the New York Times discusses the case of Timothy Carpenter, the plaintiff in the landmark Carpenter v United States case. The case set a new benchmark for privacy by requiring that police obtain a warrant before obtaining cellphone location history from a phone company. As with similar Fourth Amendment rulings, however, the plaintiff's civil liberties win did not spare him from prison time. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that the cellphone tracking data that was obtained without a warrant in his case could still be used under the good-faith exception.

The ACLU is now challenging the adoption of a good-faith exception in other jurisdictions, saying that "it leaves the public and police without clear guidance about what the Fourth Amendment means and how it should apply to novel but important digital-age intrusions."


Boeing CEO Says Handling of 737 Max Warning Light Was a Mistake

Boeing's chief executive says the company made a mistake in how it handled a cockpit warning light on the now-grounded 737 Max. The warning
light was a necessary safety feature that would notify pilots of a potential malfunction, but it only worked if customers had bought a separate, optional indicator. What Boeing thought was a standard safety feature was actually a premium add-on that neither the Lion Air nor the Ethiopian Airlines plane were equipped with.


Nxivm's Keith Raniere Convicted in Sex Trafficking Case

Following a six-week trial, the leader of the cult-like group Nxivm was found guilty of racketeering and sex-trafficking for his role in setting up a supposed self-help organization that recruited women as slaves and coerced them into sexual acts.


Russian Millionaire Sues Over Trump Inauguration Tickets

A Ukrainian-Russian developer is suing Republican fundraiser Yuri Vanetik for a refund of the $200,000 payment he made in exchange for access to a package of events organized by Trump's inaugural committee. The case may be of interest to federal prosecutors who are investigating whether foreigners illegally gave money to the committee.


Walmart Agrees to Pay $282 Million in Fines to Settle a Global Corruption Investigation

The agreement resolves a seven year investigation into Walmart's violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it illegal for American corporations to bribe overseas officials.


Mexico Ratifies Trade Deal with the U.S. and Canada

Mexico is the first country to ratify the trade agreement that was signed late last year. The trade agreement will not go into effect until it has been approved by the legislatures of all three countries. Earlier this year, Mexico surpassed Canada to become the United States' largest trading partner and the largest market for American goods.


Hong Kong Protesters Return to the Streets While China Continues to Back Their Leader and Censor News of Civil Unrest

Nearly two million people flooded the streets of Hong Kong, demanding that their leader resign and calling for her to withdraw the extradition
bill that she recently suspended. The bill would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be extradited and prosecuted in mainland China. Protesters are also calling for an investigation into police use of force and officials' characterization of the protests as "illegal rioting."



Saudi Youth Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison, Avoids Death Penalty

Saudi prosecutors had initially sought a death sentence for a teenager who faced charges related to his attendance at antigovernment protests, some that took place when he was 10 years old. A human rights group that has been monitoring his case is reporting that the 18-year-old will now receive 12 years in prison, four of which he has already served.


U.N. Reports That Number of People Fleeing Conflict is the Highest Since World War II

The global population of people displaced by conflict reached nearly 71 million last year. Most of those uprooted by conflict in 2018 remained displaced in their own countries. 80% of those who fled their own countries are taking shelter in neighboring nations, a figure that pushes back at the narrative that most refugees are heading to the U.S., Europe or Australia. More than half of the 2018 refugees were children.


Rising Temperatures Are Ravaging the Himalayas

Considered the water towers of Asia and an insurance policy against drought, the glaciers of the Himalayas are shrinking at an alarming rate due to rising global temperature, according to a study based on 40 years of satellite data.


Vatican Will Start Ordaining Married Men as Priests

In an exception to the celibacy requirement for priests, the Vatican will start ordaining married, elderly men to the priesthood to address a shortage of priests in remote areas of the Amazon.


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