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August 5, 2019

Week In Review

By, Angela Peco
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Below are sections divided into Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Media, and General News:

Entertainment

Katy Perry Loses Copyright Battle over "Dark Horse"

Katy Perry and her collaborators owe $2.78 million following a ruling that her song "Dark Horse" copied elements of "Joyful Noise," a Christian rap song. In determining the damages, the jury decided that the riff in question was responsible for 22.5% of the success of her song.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/29/arts/music/katy-perry-dark-horse-copyright.html

Hollywood's Two Biggest Public Relations Firms Announce Merger

PMK-BNC and Rogers & Cowan will merge to create a new agency of over 500 clients. The companies represent high-profile actors, music starts and an array of corporate clients. The move is seen as an effort to stave off competition from boutique publicity agencies in Hollywood.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/business/media/pmk-bnc-rogers-cowan-merger.html

Woodstock 50 Anniversary Festival Cancelled

Organizers called off the tribute festival just two weeks before the event. The article traces what went wrong, including rejections of two proposed festival sites in upstate New York and lost funding.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/01/arts/music/woodstock-50.html

A$AP Rocky Claims Self-Defense in Assault Trial; Returns to U.S. to Await Verdict

A$AP Rocky has returned to the U.S. while he waits for the verdict in his assault case, which is expected August 14. President Trump, who had demanded the rapper's release, sent a special envoy for hostage affairs to Sweden to observe the trial of someone the administration considered an "unjustly detained American."

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/arts/music/asap-rocky-sweden.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/02/arts/music/trump-asap-rocky.html

Fan Bingbing, China's Top Actress, Is Considering a Comeback Following Tax Scandal

The actress was out of public view last year and it is now being reported that she under a type of house arrest while tax authorities investigated her. Authorities also revealed she had been fined nearly $70 million in unpaid taxes and penalties. She is signaling her return on social media with reference to projects that had been put on hold since the scandal.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/02/world/asia/fan-bingbing-comeback-scandal.html

Arts

The Case for Keeping San Francisco's Disputed George Washington Murals

The San Francisco Board of Education voted unanimously to cover a series of murals from the 1930s depicting the life of George Washington and including images of slavery and Native American deaths. The article takes the position that destroying a work of art is never a solution to any offense it may give. It then explores less-permanent alternatives to overpainting that might be more conducive to debate.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/26/arts/design/george-washington-san-francisco-murals.html

New York's Arts Organizations Have a Diversity Problem

A study commissioned by Mayor de Blasio's administration shows that two-thirds of the people who run the city's cultural institutions are white. The study looked at institutions that receive city funding, including museums and theaters, and found that the disparity was striking when it came to race, with people of color significantly underrepresented in upper-level leadership positions and boards. The city then asked organizations to submit plans to boost diversity and inclusion among staff, though it is unclear how it plans to "enforce" these plans - whether by offering additional financial support or tying future funding for museums and arts groups to the diversity of their employees and board members.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/29/arts/design/diversity-new-york-culture.html

Photographer's Misconduct Raises Questions About Instagram Becoming a Venue for Predatory Behavior

The platform has come under renewed scrutiny after photographer Marcus Hyde was accused of engaging in appropriate behavior after soliciting nude photographs from models on Instagram in exchange for shooting them. Instagram has since disabled his account "for violating [its] sexual solicitation policies." While the platform has "democratized the process of discovery," it also provides a venue for anyone to pose as an agent or a modeling industry figure.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/25/style/instagram-model-predators.html

Picasso Show Captivates Beijing

Picasso has historically been accepted in China but the latest Picasso exhibition in Beijing is still bringing up questions of censorship in the art world there.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/28/world/asia/china-beijing-picasso-art.html

Sports

Proposed Legislation Would Increase Congressional Oversight of Olympic Sports

The Empowering Olympic and Amateur Athletes Act of 2019 is the result of an 18-month Senate investigation that found that the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics "knowingly concealed" Larry Nasser's sexual abuse of gymnasts. The law would require the USOPC to "submit yearly reports with audits of its finances to Congressional oversight bodies." With respect to the governing body's board, the bill increases athlete representation from one-fifth to one-third of the members and it subjects the board to "total dissolution by Congress if it acts negligently."

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/sports/usoc-abuse.html

Ashley Wagner Renews Accusations of Sexual Assault in Figure Skating

Olympian and three-time U.S. skating champion Ashley Wagner wrote in USA Today that she was sexually assaulted by an older male skater at a training camp in 2008, when she was 17. She describes a figure skating culture that "features social circles mixing older and younger skaters, ultimately putting minors at risk."

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/01/sports/ashley-wagner-sexual-assault.html

U.S. Soccer Responds to Calls for Equal Pay

In an open letter, U.S. Soccer's president outlined the federation's position in the debate about equal pay weeks before the governing body is scheduled to enter mediation with the women's players' association. In his analysis of 10 years of financial data, the president said that players on the women's team had earned more than their male counterparts, also highlighting the federation's investment in women's soccer.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/29/sports/soccer/us-soccer-equal-pay.html

Former Michigan State President to Receive $2.4 Million in Retirement Deal

Lou Anna Simon was charged with two felonies and was accused of lying about her knowledge of Larry Nasser's sexual abuse. She stepped down as president but remained a university employee, announcing her retirement effective late August 31.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/us/michigan-state-president-retirement-deal.html

Fans Ejected from Camden Yards Over Pro-Trump Banner

Four fans were escorted out of Camden Yards earlier in the week after they unveiled a banner in support of President Trump's re-election. The ballpark has a policy that "no banners can be hung anywhere in the stadium so as not to obstruct other fans' views of the game." Earlier in the week, President Trump had made disparaging comments about Representative Elijah Cummings and the city of Baltimore.

https://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/orioles/bs-sp-orioles-donald-trump-camden-yards-20190802-obx6lxanlnbpne4livxfretkb4-story.html

Swiss Court Bans Caster Semenya from 800-meter Race at World Championships

The Olympic gold medalist will not compete in September's world track and field championship in Qatar. Semenya had appealed the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport to a Swiss federal court which has temporarily barred her from international races between 400 meters and a mile. The Swiss Supreme Court ruled that she must adhere to the governing body's requirement that she take testosterone-suppressing drugs. Switzerland's Federal Supreme Court had previously suspended that rule, allowing her to compete without using medication.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/31/sports/caster-semenya.html

FIFA Considering Leaving its Swiss Headquarters

Senior FIFA executives are considering leaving Zurich for two primary reasons: difficulty in hiring staff from outside Europe and the city's reputation for corporate secrecy at a time when FIFA could benefit from a boost in public trust. One of the options is to open subsidiary offices or relocate to Paris, where the organization was first established.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/31/sports/soccer/fifa-headquarters-zurich.html

Brazilian Police Recommend No Charges for Neymar After Inquiry into Rape Accusations

The police investigator noted the lack of sufficient evidence to substantiate the accusation made by a Brazilian model that she was attacked by Neymar in a Paris hotel room. The final decision rests with state prosecutors.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/sports/neymar-rape-investigation.html

Media

Broadcast Networks Sue Free Streaming Service, Locast

The networks say Locast, a streaming service that transmits their broadcasts for free, is violating their copyrights and should be shut down. Locast argues it is allowed under copyright law to stream the networks without paying them because it is a non-profit that provides a public service.

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/07/31/business/ap-us-broadcasters-locast-lawsuit.html

General News

29 People Dead After Mass Shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio

The deadliest of the two shootings, in El Paso, is being investigated as an act of domestic terrorism and prosecutors there are considering federal gun charges that carry the death penalty. The suspect had allegedly written an anti-immigrant manifesto before attacking a Walmart and killing 20 people. Nine people were killed in Dayton in the early morning hours of Sunday. Officers on routine patrol responded and killed the gunman, who was wearing body armor and carrying a high-capacity magazine.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/04/us/el-paso-shooting-updates.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/04/us/mass-shootings-dayton-el-paso.html

Dan Coats Steps Down as Director of National Intelligence

His resignation is effective on August 15th. Reports say that Coats clashed with President Trump on Russia and North Korea. With Jim Mattis's earlier departure, the president is increasingly surrounded by loyalists.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/28/us/politics/dan-coats-intelligence-chief-out.html

President Withdraws Pick for Top Intelligence Post; Ratcliffe Faced Questions Over His Qualifications

Congressman John Ratcliffe of Texas, a staunch defender of the president, will not be nominated to replace Dan Coats. Democratic lawmakers and former officials were concerned that John Ratcliffe's appointment would have politicized an otherwise nonpartisan job. They also voiced concerns about Ratcliffe's qualifications and whether he had overstated parts of his professional experience, specifically his role in terrorism cases as a federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of Texas.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/us/politics/john-ratcliffe-resume-intelligence.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/29/us/politics/trump-ratcliffe-national-intelligence.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/02/us/politics/trump-ratcliffe-dni.html

Kelly Craft Confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

A former ambassador to Canada, Craft takes what is considered to be the second-most important foreign policy position, after secretary of state.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/31/us/kelly-craft-senate-confirmation.html

Lawmakers Criticize Trump Administration for Delaying F-16 Sales to Taiwan

Members of Congress are questioning whether the administration is delaying approval of an $8 billion sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan to placate China or use the sale as a bargaining chip now that trade negotiations are underway.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/world/asia/trump-taiwan-arms-china-trade-.html

Pentagon Delays Award of $10 Billion Cloud Computing Contract

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper will review the bid process for the military's cloud computing contract that was expected to go to Amazon. President Trump had criticized the process and suggested potential bias toward Amazon. Experts on federal contracting say that it is rare for a president to intervene in a contract competition, and it is unclear whether IBM and Oracle are now back in the bidding.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/01/us/politics/amazon-pentagon-contract.html

U.S. Terminates Cold War Missile Treaty

The U.S. withdrew from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces agreement and is planning on testing a new class of missiles later in the summer. American withdrawal comes after Russia was deemed to be non-compliant with the treaty.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/01/world/asia/inf-missile-treaty.html

Trump Instructs Pentagon Officials to Strip Medals From Prosecutors in War Crimes Trial

President Trump has directed the Navy to strip the four prosecutors in the case against Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher of their Navy Achievement Medals. In a court-martial earlier this month, Gallagher was charged but acquitted of first-degree murder in the death of a captured Islamic State fighter in Iraq.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/31/us/politics/trump-navy-seal-war-crimes.html

National Security Agency Did Not Fully Complete its 2018 Data Purge

In May 2018, the National Security Agency (NSA) began purging hundreds of millions of phone records it had inappropriately collected from telecom companies. According to some recent inspector general reports, however, some of the data seems to have survived the purge. The NSA's ability to collect phone records is based on the USA Freedom Act of 2015, which curtailed some of its previous powers to obtain records of Americans' domestic phone calls and texts to search for terrorist cells. Critics of the program point to this instance of overcollection and failure to discard the data as a reason to let the surveillance program end when the authorizing sections of the Act expire on December 15th.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/us/politics/nsa-call-data-program.html

Attorney General Barr Moves to Block Asylum Claims Based on Persecution of Family Members

Migrants are eligible for asylum if they can prove persecution on the basis of a few enumerated grounds, including "membership in a particular social group or political opinion." Attorney General Barr's position is that a migrant's family does not qualify as a particular social group, announcing his decision that people can no longer request protection because their relatives have been persecuted.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/29/world/americas/justice-department-asylum-families.html

900 Children Separated from Families Following Administration's Announcement to End the Practice

According to Justice Department data, family separations have occurred with even greater frequency in recent months. The reason that was often cited for removing children from an accompanying adult was the child's welfare, or that there were doubts that the adult was actually the parent. The American Civil Liberties Union is asking a federal judge in San Diego to clarify the standards governing these separations to ensure that children are removed only when there is evidence that the parent poses a genuine danger or is unfit to provide care.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/us/migrant-family-separations.html

Few Migrants Have Legal Representation at Their Hearings

The Trump administration instituted a rule requiring that asylum-seekers be sent back to Mexico for the duration of their court proceedings in the U.S. and be admitted back in to the U.S. to attend their hearings. Immigration court data shows that of the 1,555 cases decided under the so-called "Remain in Mexico" program, only 1.2% of petitioners had legal representation.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/03/us/migrants-court-remain-in-mexico.html

New Proposal Will Impact School Meal Eligibility of Nearly 500,000 Children

The Agriculture Department's proposed rule is intended to tighten access to food stamps. An estimated 3 million people would no longer qualify for food stamps. Children from those households would automatically lose eligibility for free meals at school but could qualify for reduced-price meals.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/us/politics/free-school-meals-children-trump.html

https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2019-15670.pdf

Federal Reserve Cuts Interest Rates by a Quarter of a Percentage Point

For the first time in more than a decade, central bankers voted to lower the interest rate as a precautionary effort to protect the U.S. from slowing global growth.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/31/business/economy/federal-reserve-interest-rate-cut.html

Is Scabby, the Rat Balloon, "Unlawful Coercion" of Free Speech?

The National Labor Relations Board argues that the labor movement's deployment of the inflatable rat is unlawful and crosses the line from legitimate communication to unlawful coercion. In another filing, it is described as a form of illegal picketing. The board's position appears to "set up a larger fight over union actions and free speech." In earlier challenges, courts have consistently found that the rat "did not constitute picketing, a regulated and restricted action, and was instead a protected form of free speech." The board will likely continue to argue that inflatable vermin are similar to picketing in that they intimidate non-union employees from reporting to work, or potential clients from frequenting a business.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/31/nyregion/rat-balloon-union.html

LGBTQ Rights Cases Stall Under Betsy DeVos's Leadership in Education

The Center for American Progress's report found that the Trump administration was less likely to investigate student claims of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and more likely to dismiss them. The number of cases in which the school was required to take action to remedy the discrimination were 9 times lower than in the Obama years. The results are likely attributable to the Department of Education adopting the administration's position that gender identity is not covered under federal civil rights law. Department officials disagree with the characterization of the data, noting that the previous administration's numbers appear better because it resolved fewer cases.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/29/us/politics/gay-transgender-rights-devos.html

Justice Department Declined to Prosecute Comey Over Trump Memos

Prosecutors determined that Comey's handling of the memos in which he writes about his interactions with newly-elected President Trump did not warrant charges. The FBI had upgraded the memos to confidential and there were questions about whether Comey had mishandled them by keeping them at his home and sharing one with a friend.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/01/us/politics/comey-mueller.html

State Department Officials Force Out Top Policy Adviser to Secretary Pompeo

Kiron Skinner, the State Department's director of policy planning and one of the highest-ranking African American women in the department, was reportedly fired this week, but it is not clear why she was removed from her post. Some colleagues say that she clashed with department staff and diplomats.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/02/us/politics/kiron-skinner-state-department-pompeo.html

Representative Will Hurd, the Only African American Republican in the House, Retiring from Congress

The Texas representative announced that he will not seek re-election next year. He is the only Republican to represent a district along the southwestern border.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/01/us/politics/will-hurd-retires.html

U.S. Congressman Wants Social Media Companies to Clamp Down on Fake Accounts

Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois is in the early stages of preparing legislation that would force companies like Facebook to monitor and prevent fraud on their sites. Kinzinger was himself a victim of a scam where people impersonate U.S. service members to lure women into false relationships and cheat them out of their savings.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/01/technology/facebook-military-romance-scam.html

Federal Prosecutors Launch Lobbying Inquiry into Trump Contacts in the Gulf

Prosecutors in the public integrity unit are looking into what influence Trump's contacts exerted on the administration's position on energy policy, and whether they had any involvement with a proposal to give Saudi Arabia access to nuclear power technology.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/28/us/politics/thomas-barrack-foreign-lobbying.html

Democratic National Convention Lawsuit Alleging Trump-Russia Conspiracy is Dismissed

Judge Koeltl of the Southern District of New York dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Democratic National Convention (DNC) accusing Donald Trump's campaign, WikiLeaks, and Russia of illegally conspiring to damage a Democratic candidate's campaign. The judge acknowledged that Russia was the primary wrongdoer but was immune from liability as a foreign sovereign. While Trump campaign officials were eager to benefit for the publication of damaging materials, both their actions and those of WikiLeaks were protected by the First Amendment. Distinguishing between stealing documents and disclosing documents that someone else had stolen, Judge Koeltl stressed that WikiLeaks could not be held liable for releasing the documents as long as it did not participate in obtaining them.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/us/politics/dnc-trump-russia-lawsuit-dismissed.html

New Puerto Rico Governor Sworn In

Pedro Pierluisi was sworn in as Ricardo Rosselló's replacement after the former governor stepped down following weeks of protests over government mismanagement. Pierluisi will serve until the Senate's hearing on his nomination. If the Senate does not vote in his favor, he will step down and the justice secretary, who is next in line under the constitution, will receive the nomination.

https://www.apnews.com/8946b01f9fcf417bb0a1e23598755d9c

Manhattan D.A. Subpoenas Trump Organization Over Stormy Daniels Payments

State prosecutors subpoenaed the Trump Organization, asking the family business to provide documents related to money that was paid to Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence during the 2016 presidential campaign. They want to examine whether senior executives at the company filed false business records related to the $130,000 payment.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/01/nyregion/trump-cohen-stormy-daniels-vance.html

New York City Declares Melinda Katz as the Winner of the Queens District Attorney Primary

The city's Board of Elections certified Katz as the winner of the Democratic primary for Queen's D.A. following a two-week manual recount. Her opponent, Tiffany Cabán, has refused to concede and filed a lawsuit arguing that nearly 100 ballots were improperly invalidated.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/29/nyregion/melinda-katz-caban-queens-da.html

New York Law Bars School Districts from Allowing Teachers to Carry Guns in the Classroom

Governor Cuomo signed a bill that prevents local school districts from allowing teachers and administrators to carry guns on school grounds, an idea proposed primarily by the National Rifle Association as a means to prevent mass shootings. On the federal front, Congress has yet to pass legislation on this issue, but federal education officials did explore whether federal funding earmarked for academic programs could be used to buy guns for educators. Florida is one of 8 states to explicitly allow school employees to carry firearms on school grounds.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/31/nyregion/guns-schools-ban-teachers-ny.html

Police Administrative Judge Recommends That Officer in Eric Garner's Death Should Be Fired

Five years after Eric Garner's death in police custody, the judge in the disciplinary proceedings against Officer Daniel Pantaleo recommended that he be fired. The police commissioner has the final say on whether the officer is dismissed. James O'Neill could uphold, modify or reverse the findings. His decision is expected later this month. The Justice Department previously announced that it would not seek a federal indictment against Officer Pantaleo on civil rights charges.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/02/nyregion/eric-garner-daniel-pantaleo.html

New York Police Department Using Facial Recognition Technology

The New York Times reports that internal records show that the department has been loading thousands of arrest photos of children and teenagers into a facial recognition database, and using facial recognition technology to compare crime scene images with these photos. The department defended the practice, saying that it was an evolution of the longstanding police technique of using arrest photos to identify suspects.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/01/nyregion/nypd-facial-recognition-children-teenagers.html

Abuse Victim Rented 3 Billboards to Advocate Change to New York State Law

In the age of social media and grass-roots involvement, states are grappling with how to disentangle lobbying, activism, and normal speech. In a recent case from upstate New York, a survivor of sexual abuse spent $14,000 to rent 3 billboards that called for stronger protections against sex offenders. The state's ethics commission took the position that her activity met the definition of lobbying, especially since she surpassed the $5,000 annual threshold and identified a specific bill rather than mentioning sexual abuse more broadly.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/31/nyregion/lobbying-billboard-new-york.html

Arizona Files Lawsuit Against the Sackler Family in the Supreme Court

The state's filings allege that members of the Sackler family and Purdue Pharma were parties to massive cash transfers (of nearly $4 billion) "at a time when Purdue faced enormous exposure for its role in fueling the opioid crisis." Arizona alleges that these transfers threaten the company's ability to satisfy any future judgments against it and were intended to frustrate efforts by victims of the crisis to obtain compensation.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/31/us/politics/arizona-supreme-court-opioid-sackler.html

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6228041-Arizona-Motion-for-Leave-to-File-Bill-of-Complaint.html

California's New Election Law Requires Tax Returns Before Candidates Can Be Placed on the Ballot

Under the new law, candidates will not be eligible for California's primary ballot unless they submit copies of their tax returns from the last 5 years at least 3 months ahead of the primary. In describing the rationale for the law, Governor Newsom stated that this disclosure "will shed light on conflicts of interest, self-dealing, or influence from domestic and foreign business interests." To the extent that it applies to presidential candidates, critics say that the law is unconstitutional - states cannot add additional requirements for someone to serve as president.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/us/politics/california-trump-tax-returns.html

School Districts Becoming Vulnerable to Ransomware Attacks

Tech experts say that school districts are the next area of concern for government infrastructure. They are especially vulnerable to cyberattacks, given the amount of personal and financial student data they handle and the fact that not many have dedicated tech staff and resources to ward off these attacks. As an example, a malware attack was reported by a Syracuse school district and Louisiana recently declared a state of emergency after a virus disabled computers at 3 of its school districts.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/28/us/hacker-school-cybersecurity.html

Capital One Data Breach Compromises Information of Over 100 Million People

A Seattle-based software engineer hacked into a Capital One server and obtained 140,000 Social Security numbers and 80,000 bank account numbers. Another one million Canadian social insurance numbers were compromised in the breach. While Amazon Web Services hosted the server, the hacker actually exploited a "misconfiguration" of a firewall on a web application that Capital One itself had built to access the information.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/29/business/capital-one-data-breach-hacked.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/business/paige-thompson-capital-one-hack.html

Jeffrey Epstein's "Scientific" Plans

The New York Times published a report on Jeffrey Epstein this week based on public records and interviews with his acquaintances. The article describes how Epstein tried to cultivate relationships with prominent scientists "to pursue his interests in eugenics and other fringe fields like cryonics", and had a desire "to seed the human race with his DNA."

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/31/business/jeffrey-epstein-eugenics.html

U.S. Is Able to Confirm Death of Osama bin Laden's Son

It is being reported that the United States had a role in the operation that killed Hamza bin Laden. Though few details are being released, he was killed before the State Department announced a $1 million reward for information on his whereabouts. Intelligence agencies had not confirmed his death at the time. Bin Laden's son was considered an eventual heir to the leadership of Al Qaeda.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/31/us/politics/hamza-bin-laden-al-qaeda.html

Newly Released Tapes Record Racist Conversation Between Reagan and Nixon

The recording was made in 1971 when a then-Governor Reagan phoned President Nixon to express his frustration over a United Nations vote to expel Taiwan and seat representatives from communist China. In the exchange, Reagan is heard referring to the Tanzanian delegation, who supported the outcome of the vote, as "monkeys from those African countries," a comment that is met with laughter by Nixon.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/31/us/politics/ronald-reagan-richard-nixon-racist.html

Hong Kong Charges Dozens of Protesters with Rioting; China Reacts by Blaming the U.S.

Clashes between riot officers and demonstrators escalated in Hong Kong this week as protesters tried to approach the Chinese government's representative office there. Since the full withdrawal of the highly contested extradition bill, demonstrators have demanded an expansion of direct elections and an investigation into police use of force. Dozens of people were charged with rioting, which carries a prison term of up to 10 years. In recent days, as the crisis has deepened, Chinese officials have dialed up anti-American comments both in Washington and on state news media.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/world/asia/protests-in-hong-kong-arrests.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/28/world/asia/hong-kong-police-protest.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/02/world/asia/china-trump.html

China Sentences Internet Activist to 12 Years in Prison

Huang Qi was convicted of disclosing state secrets and illegally providing them to foreign entities. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison following a secret trial in January. Known as a "cyber-dissident," Huang launched a website in 1999 that documented and tracked state corruption and public protests.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/29/world/asia/china-huang-qi-prison.html

China Announces That It Has Released Muslims from Camps

Without disclosing how many individuals had been held, a government official announced that most people sent to mass detention centers in China's Xinjiang region have "returned to society". The United Nations has said that at least one million ethnic Uighurs and members of other Muslim minority groups had been detained in these centers, which China calls "vocational training camps."

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/world/asia/china-xinjiang.html

Saudi Arabia Extends New Rights to Women

Saudi women will now have the right to travel without a male relative's permission and to obtain family documents from the government. The new regulations erode the so-called guardianship system that subjects women's rights to the whims of their male guardians.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/02/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-guardianship.html

Teenage Climate Activist Will Travel to U.S. Aboard a High-Tech Racing Yacht

Swedish teenager and climate change activist Greta Thunberg will leave Britain next month and sail across the Atlantic to attend the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change talks. She has chosen an alternate means of traveling to the U.S. because of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with air travel.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/29/climate/greta-thunberg-sailing-climate-summit.html

Air Mass Responsible for Europe's Sweltering Heat Moves to Greenland

The hot air from Northern Africa has moved north over Greenland and caused the surface of the ice sheet there to melt. The World Weather Attribution group reiterated that climate change had made the heat wave at least 10 times more likely.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/02/arts/music/trump-asap-rocky.html

Ethiopia Planted Over 350 Million Trees in a Day

Government officials announced that over 353 million trees were planted in just 12 hours as part of a nationwide reforestation campaign.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/world/africa/ethiopia-tree-planting-deforestation.html

August 12, 2019

Week In Review

By La-Vaughnda A. Taylor
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Below is the previous week's news in the categories of Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Media, and General News:

Entertainment

R. Kelly Faces Two New Counts of Sex Crimes in Minnesota

Following an alleged incident involving the prostitution and solicitation of an underage fan at a concert, R. Kelly is now facing four sets of separate sex-crime charges. Kelly is already facing multiple federal and state sex-crime charges in the Eastern District of New York, Northern District of Illinois, and Cook County in Illinois. The three-year statute of limitations for such cases in Minnesota only applied if Kelly remained in the state. This case is also urging Minnesota to change its laws to "more properly reflect crimes" against children, because as it currently stands, the only available statute under which he can be charged is the prostitution statute.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/celebrities/2019/08/05/r-kelly-faces-sex-crimes-charges-minnesota-2001-allegation/1925302001/

'Rookie' Star Says She Was Sexually Assaulted

Star of the ABC "Rookie" series, actress Afton Williamson will not be returning to the second season after accusing fellow actor Demetrius Gross of sexual harassment and assault and the show's Hair Department Head of racial bullying and discrimination. The ABC network is waiting for the outside investigation to run its course before taking any action.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/05/arts/television/afton-williamson-the-rookie.html

Movie Studio Cancels Release of 'The Hunt' in Response to Shootings

Universal Studios has canceled the release of its upcoming satirical thriller, "The Hunt", about a group of Americans who are captured to be hunted and killed for sport. The decision came after criticism from President Trump and the back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-film-the-hunt-idUSKCN1V00TG

Arts

A Beloved Novelist of Black Identity in America: Toni Morrison, 1931 - 2019

Pulitzer Prize winning and Nobel laureate Toni Morrison passed away after a short illness at the age of 88. Morrison was a legendary novelist and playwright whose work who used the lenses of racial and gender identity to explore American identity. Born in 1931, Morrison did not publish her first novel, The Bluest Eye, until the 1970's, and it is considered to be a classic. Some of her other more notable works include Beloved and Song of Solomon. Morrison was the first black woman in history to win the Nobel Prize for Literature and also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama in 2012.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/06/books/toni-morrison-dead.html

Levine and Met Opera Settle Lawsuit Over Firing

The Metropolitan Opera and former conductor James Levine have ended their legal battle of more than a year, after the Met fired Levine amid sexual misconduct allegations. Levine was suspended back in 2017 after several male students accused the legendary conduction of sexual abuse dating all the way back to the 1960s. Levine filed suit against the opera house in March of 2018 claiming the accusations were baseless and he sought $5.8 million in damages. The Met subsequently filed a counterclaim. The details of the settlement have not been made public.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/06/arts/music/james-levine-metropolitan-opera.html

Japan-South Korea Tussle Forces Art Exhibit Closing

An exhibit at a major Japanese art festival was recently shut down following protests. This comes at a time when diplomatic ties between Japan and South Korea are at a new low because of disputes over wartime history and trade policy. The exhibit "Statue of a Girl of Peace" depicted "comfort women" or "ianfu" who provided sex (most often against their wills) for Japanese troops before and during WWII. The exhibit has received many threats and criticism, which led to its closing.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/08/03/national/protests-may-see-comfort-women-statue-removed-japanese-art-event-aichi/#.XVDW-K2ZPwc

Murder Attempt Charge in Tate Balcony Case

A 17-year-old has been charged with attempted murder after tossing a 6-year-old boy off of the popular viewing platform at the Tate Modern. The boy fell approximately 100 feet before he landed on a fifth-floor rooftop and was airlifted to a nearby hospital. He has remained in stable but critical condition. There is no known connection between the teenager and the young boy and the motive is unknown. The museum is still open to the public, but it is unknown whether the platform will be reopened.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/06/arts/design/tate-modern-teenager-court.html

Sports

Sponsors Join Soccer's Equal-Pay Fight, Taking a Cue From Consumers

U.S. soccer players and their union are in a battle with U.S. Soccer Federation over gender discrimination against female athletes. The players are using the power of media and the influence of their sponsors to apply pressure to U.S. Soccer. Sponsors such as Nike (who has recently had its own gender discrimination issues), Visa, and Secret have already launched campaigns pushing for gender equality in sports. This all comes at a time when consumers want brands to make public their stands on a variety of social and political issues. Consumers want to support brands who share their values.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/05/sports/soccer/womens-soccer-nike-sponsors.html

Driven by Olympic Mandates, Sport Adds More Women to the Mix

After continuing to lag behind most other sports at the Olympic Games, World Sailing has voted for full gender equity in the number of athletes and medals for the 2024 Olympics. World Sailing will achieve this goal in part by adding new races to the sport: a mixed two-person offshore race and a mixed kiteboarding relay. World Sailing's president said that these new measures have a two-fold objective, to make the sport more interesting to youth and bring up the level of mixed sport. National governing bodies have already started to mobilize to form these new teams.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/04/sports/sailing/-olympics-gender-equity.html

Miami Player Chides Owner For His Politics

Stephen Ross, the billionaire owner of the Miami Dolphins and investor in Equinox gyms and SoulCycle has come under fire for defending his decision to hold a Trump fundraiser. The decision has drawn boycott threats and criticism from within his own businesses. SoulCycle has since tried to distance itself from Ross. Kenny Stills, a wide receiver for the Dolphins, called Ross out on social media for his inconsistent efforts to fight racial inequality. Ross has a nonprofit called the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality that champions social justice and improving race relations.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/07/sports/football/kenny-stills-dolphins-trump-ross.html

Plea on Gun Violence Draws Not a Penalty, but an Award

Major League Soccer (MLS) player Alejandro Bedoya made a passionate statement against the gun violence epidemic plaguing the U.S. after scoring a goal in a game. Only hours after the mass shooting in El Paso and Dayton, Bedoya grabbed and on-field microphone and shouted "Hey Congress, do something now. End gun violence! Let's go!" Joining a long list of outspoken athletes who are calling attention to our societal ills, many thought that Bedoya would be penalized by the MLS because the outburst happened during a nationally televised game. However, not only did MLS not discipline Bedoya, it made him Monday's MLS' "Player of the Week".

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/columnist/nancy-armour/2019/08/05/shootings-mls-right-not-stand-alejandro-bedoya-gun-violence/1925086001/

Video Games Get Blame, Despite Lack of Evidence

After 2 more mass shooting this year, politicians are looking for a scapegoat and have circled back to an old refrain: video games. Trump and other Republicans are blaming society's glorification of violence for the uptick in mass shooting in the U.S. Video games have been getting the blame for these shooting since Columbine in 1999, although there is no evidence of a causal link between the games and violent behavior.

https://blendle.com/i/the-new-york-times/video-games-get-blame-despite-lack-of-evidence/bnl-newyorktimes-20190806-13_2?sharer=eyJ2ZXJzaW9uIjoiMSIsInVpZCI6ImxhdmF1Z2huZGF0YXlsb3IiLCJpdGVtX2lkIjoiYm5sLW5ld3lvcmt0aW1lcy0yMDE5MDgwNi0xM18yIn0%3D

MEDIA

8chan on Web Is a Dark Refuge For Extremists

8chan, a "free speech" website started in 2013, has since become a haven for violent extremist rhetoric. Initially started by Fredrick Brennan as a free speech utopia in response to the increasingly restrictive 4chan, the site has now become a go-to resource for violent extremists with connections to at least 3 mass shooting this year (Christchurch, the Poway, California synagogue shooting, and the El Paso shooting). 8chan has always been home to fringe movement and internet-based communities whose speech and behavior get them removed from more mainstream sites (i.e. GamerGate, "incels", and QAnon supporters). Now being used as a megaphone (because of being nearly completely unmoderated) for mass shooters and a recruiting platform for violent white nationalists, its founder is now calling for the site to be shut down. Critics have also lobbied the site's service providers to get it taken down, since the new owners of the site are remaining defiant in the face of the criticism and one of the site's providers, Cloudflare, has since stopped working with the site.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/04/technology/8chan-shooting-manifesto.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/05/technology/8chan-cloudflare-el-paso.html?rref=collection%2Fbyline%2Fkevin-roose&action=click&contentCollection=undefined®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=collection

How Trump Campaign Used Facebook Ads to Amplify "Invasion" Claim

According to the New York Times, the Trump campaign has posted more than 2,000 Facebook ads this year that use the word "invasion" spending over $1.25 million on the immigration-specific ads. With immigration a central issue for the 2020 presidential election, this is a big deal. In light of the recent El Paso shooting, these ads are coming under fire, with such lines as, "America's Safety is at Risk" and "It's Critical that we Stop the Invasion", which were mirrored in the shooter's manifesto. There is no direct evidence that these ads influenced the shooter, but the ads and Trump's rhetoric are coming under heavy scrutiny.

https://www.gq.com/story/trump-campaign-invasion-facebook-ads

Why Hate Speech On the Internet Is a Never-Ending Problem

Most of today's internet giants that are now the topic of heated debated about free speech and their roles in the spread of domestic terrorism were not around when the Communications Decency Act of 1996 was passed. This federal law has helped companies such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and many others thrive. However, this law also protects sites that host content from users that can be classified as hate speech on these fringe sites. Section 230 of the Act shields these websites from liability for content posted by their users, and they can moderate their sites without being liable for the content they host. In light of recent events and intensified scrutiny of big tech companies, lawmakers are questioning whether Section 230 should be changed.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/06/technology/section-230-hate-speech.html

Palin's Lawsuit Against New York Times Is Reinstated

A federal appeals court has ruled that a lower court was wrong to dismiss former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's defamation lawsuit against the New York Times over an editorial linking her to a 2011 mass shooting. The editorial, published in 2017, suggested that material distributed by Palin's Political Action Committee played a role in inciting a mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz. that killed 6 people and wounded Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The New York Times corrected the editorial two days later, saying there was "no such link established." Due to a procedural irregularity, the case was sent back down and the actual merits of the defamation case will be up to a lower court to decide.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/06/business/sarah-palin-lawsuit-new-york-times.html

Facebook Loses Appeal on Facial Recognition

Facebook lost a federal appeal in a lawsuit over facial recognition data after a federal appeals court rejected its effort to undo a class action lawsuit claiming that it illegally collected and stored biometric data for millions of its users without their consent. The company now faces a massive damages payment over its privacy practices.

https://www.usnews.com/news/top-news/articles/2019-08-08/facebook-loses-facial-recognition-technology-appeal-must-face-class-action

Trump Echoes 'Fox & Friends' On Shootings

President Trump's talking points around major U.S. events recently have been mirroring statements and theories that emerged from conservative media outlets, such as Fox News. Not only did Trump's statements after the El Paso shooting echo media pundit statements, but so did his statements about the city of Baltimore last month. Trump is even following suit by "condemning" the "racism, bigotry and white supremacy", while blaming mental health issues and video games for the violence and refusing to toughen gun control measures. The New York Post, a pro-Trump outlet, has broken from the pack, urging the President to take action on the mass shooting and gun control.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/05/business/media/trump-shooting-media-coverage.html

Acquisition of Gannett Creates Print Goliath in a $1.4 Billion Deal

New Media Investment Group Inc. (GateHouse Media) agreed to acquire Gannett Co. (USA Today and more than 100 other publications nationwide) in a $1.4 Billion deal that unites the two biggest U.S. daily newspaper chains in an industry that's consolidating to survive.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/gatehouse-media-parent-to-buy-gannett-for-1-4-billion-11565031875

GENERAL NEWS

Fight Turns to Domestic Terror Without a Clear Path to Follow

The recent shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH has renewed the debate over how the U.S. should combat domestic terrorism. Homegrown terrorism, especially that by white supremacists, is now as big a threat as terrorism from abroad, but the U.S. is ill-equipped to protect against it. Officials say that preventing these attacks requires adopting the same type of broad, aggressive approaches used to fight international extremism, but many in this administration are hesitant to do so. Under current federal law, officials have few options to curtail these events before they happen domestically because of First Amendment issues, lack of agency jurisdiction, and a lack of penalties.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/05/us/politics/domestic-terrorism-shootings.html

G.O.P. Gets Behind Bills in Congress for Gun Seizures and Washington's Eyes Turn to McConnell for Response to Gun Violence

After recent mass shootings, Congressional Republicans are under intense pressure to come together around legislation that would move to take weapons from high-risk individuals. If the measure is signed into law, it would be the most significant gun control legislation within the last 20 years. These "red flag" laws, although not as strong as now-expired assault weapons ban or the bills passed by the House in February, are still running into opposition from Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. After the back-to-back shootings, Republicans are starting to call for more restrictions.

Gun control organizations are also turning their focus on Mitch McConnell and other vulnerable Senate Republicans who are up for re-election in 2020. These politicians blocked a background check bill passed in February by the Democratic-controlled House. In light of the recent mass shootings, the conversations around background checks and other gun control methods are at the forefront of the political debate.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/06/us/politics/congress-gun-control.html

https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/article233677772.html

An Echo of Trump's Language In Texas Gunman's Manifesto

The 21-year old accountable for the El Paso shooting that killed 20 people and injured dozens more wrote a manifesto decrying immigration and used language akin to the fear-stoking language President Trump uses when discussing border security and immigration. Trump denies any connection or influence, while Democratic presidential candidates argue that he is encouraging this extremism. Trump's staff and advisors say it is unreasonable to hold him responsible for the heinous acts of these extremist or white supremacists.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/breakingnews/in-el-paso-shooting-suspects-manifesto-an-echo-of-trumps-language/ar-AAFkIui

Trump Adds to Sanctions on Venezuela

In an effort to force Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro to step down, the Trump administration has escalated its pressure campaign by placing new sanctions on the Venezuelan government. In an executive order issued last week, the U.S. will freeze and block the transfer of all Venezuelan government property and assets in the U.S. These sanctions will also apply to any U.S. individuals or entities who/that try to do business with Venezuela. While this is going on, the humanitarian and economic crisis still ravages the country. The U.S. has now put Venezuela in the same league as Cuba and Nicaragua. It is unclear what effect these new sanctions will have on Maduro and the status quo.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/06/us/politics/venezuela-embargo-sanctions.html

How Hot Was July? Hotter Than Ever, Data Shows

According to the World Meteorological Organization, July was the hottest or equal to the hottest month in recorded history. This news comes along with the forecasting of the years 2015 to 2019 being the 5 hottest on record. Temperature records have been shattered all around the world this year as an effect of climate change and climate disruption.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/july-record-heat-world-temperatures_n_5d481dd1e4b0aca341211de9

Water Crisis May Grip a Quarter of Humanity

Water usage has been growing at more than twice the rate of the human population and as of 2019, 17 countries are now experiencing "extremely high" levels of baseline water stress. Around 1.7 billion people are currently living in areas where agriculture, industries, and cities withdraw 80% of their available water supply every year. Water stress can lead to food insecurity, conflict and migration, and financial instability. New solutions are emerging, but not fast enough. It's a grim future if the world's population doesn't improve its agricultural efficiency, decrease water usage, and recycle.

https://www.sciencealert.com/17-countries-are-facing-extreme-water-stress-and-they-hold-a-quarter-of-the-world-s-population

The Food Supply is at Dire Risk, U.N. Experts Say

The United Nations warns that the world's land and water resources are being exploited at "unprecedented rates", which combined with climate change, is putting dire pressure on the ability of the world to feed itself. The report also concluded that the window to address the threat is closing rapidly, half a billion people already live in places turning into desert. Climate change will make it even worse as extreme weather threatens to disrupt, and over time shrink, the global food supply.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/08/todayspaper/quotation-of-the-day-the-food-supply-is-at-dire-risk-un-experts-say.html

Jailhouse Lawyer Propels a Case to the Supreme Court

Calvin Duncan, a former inmate at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, identified an issue that is now before the U.S. Supreme Court. The pending case, Ramos v. Louisiana, is asking the Court whether it is constitutional to allow nonunanimous verdicts in state criminal trials. The Court might overrule a 1972 decision and hold that the Sixth Amendment requires unanimity; this case has the potential to save hundreds of individuals from life in prison, although the change would not apply retroactively.

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/jailhouse-lawyer-who-fought-nonunanimous-jury-verdicts-helped-propel-issue-to-supreme-court

In Puerto Rico, Installation of the New Governor is Challenged

Puerto Rico is facing its biggest constitutional crisis and days of protests after Governor Ricardo Rossello was forced to leave office. Senate President Schatz has filed a constitutional challenge after Rossello's handpicked successor, Pedro Pierluisi was sworn in as governor without confirmation from the Senate. The lawsuit claims that consent duty under the island's constitution was usurped and Pierluisi should be removed. This case could lead to further political turmoil of the bankrupt government.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-puertorico/puerto-ricos-new-governor-faces-legal-challenge-idUSKCN1UW2GJ

In Ferguson, the Children Inherit Scars

Veteran protestors, as young as 7 years old, have had to flee gunshots and tear gas while marching against police brutality. A generation of largely African-American children in Ferguson have been molded by the unrest of 2014 and the aftermath that has followed. They are no longer able to just be kids; they are now scarred by their traumatic experiences and the stigma of Ferguson.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/08/us/ferguson-riots-michael-brown.html

Epstein is Dead; Found in His Cell in New York Jail

The Justice Department is investigating the "apparent" suicide, while in federal custody, of disgraced millionaire financier who was accused of sex trafficking. The 66-year-old was not on suicide watch at the time of his death, even though two weeks prior he was found injured in his cell with marks on his neck. His death came the day after a trove of court documents was unsealed, providing new details about the sex ring and naming names. Epstein's death leaves many questions unanswered.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/10/nyregion/jeffrey-epstein-suicide.html

Huntsman Steps Down as U.S. Envoy to Russia

The U.S ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, is resigning after a "historically difficult" term. Huntsman's 2-year tenure in Moscow was repeatedly undermined by frictions between the two superpowers. In 2018, critics called for Huntsman's resignation after the questionable summit in Helsinki between Trump and Putin. Huntsman has served in 5 presidential administrations and is rumored to be considering a third term as Utah governor once he returns to his home state. He officially steps down on October 3rd.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/06/world/europe/huntsman-ambassador-russia.html

One of Two Charges Against Ex-Obama Aide is Dropped

Former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig, accused of lying about foreign lobbying for Ukraine, has had one of his two criminal charges dropped by a federal judge. Judge Amy Berman Jackson dismissed a count of making false and misleading states to the Department of Justice's Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA unit, because of ambiguity in the breadth of the provision under which the charge was brought. The other lying charge was brought under a separate but related law and will still proceed to trial. Craig had argued that both counts should be dismissed. He faced a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison for each count.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/06/us/politics/obama-aide-trial.html

Man Who Sent Pipe Bombs to Trump Critics is Sentenced to 20 Years

Fifty-seven-year-old Floridian Cesar Sayoc who admitted to sending 16 pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and CNN was sentenced to 20 years in prison. His bombs targeted individuals such as Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and Robert DeNiro, as well as the New York and Atlanta CNN offices.

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/man-who-sent-pipe-bombs-to-cnn-and-trump-critics-sentenced-to-20-years

Federal Bureau of Investigation Opens Domestic Terrorism Investigation in Gilroy

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has now opened a domestic terrorism investigation into last month's mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California after finding that the shooter had a list of potential targets of violence. The motive for the attack is still unknown. The 19-year-old gunman killed 3 people before dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, when he opened fire on July 28th. The potential targets on the list included religious institutions, federal buildings, courthouses, and political organizations from both parties.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/06/us/gilroy-shooting-domestic-terrorism.html

FBI Agent Says His Firing Was Politically Motivated

Former FBI agent Peter Strzok is suing the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI, alleging that his firing was politically motivated and violated his constitutional rights. Strzok is accusing FBI deputy director of relenting to pressure from President Trump and his political allies after Strzok criticized the President. Strzok also alleges that the DOJ and FBI violated his First and Fifth Amendment rights by firing him for expressing his political views and depriving him of the right to due process to challenge his firing and violations of the Privacy Act. Furthermore, Strzok's lawsuit contrasts his firing with the way the White House has handled other controversies.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/06/us/politics/peter-strzok-lawsuit.html

Lawsuit Accuses Boy Scouts of Hiding Extent of Abuse

800 former Boy Scouts accuse leaders of abuse. They claim that Boy Scouts of America didn't properly vet volunteers and engaged in a cover-up to hide "the extent of the pedophilia epidemic within their organization." Incidents were either not reported to law enforcement or were kept hidden from family members.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/07/us/boy-scouts-abuse-lawsuit.html

When A Message From Mom is Against the Law: A Battle Over Extending Birth Parents' Rights

Lawmakers are clashing over a new New York adoption law that would give more rights to birth parents even when adoptive parents object. The emotionally charged legislation would fundamentally shift the relationship between birth parents and their children after a court has taken the children away permanently and another family steps in to adopt them. Under this new law, a judge can order children stay in contact with their birth parents if it "helps the child". Only 8 other states allow similar leeway. The New York legislature has passed the measure and the bill is currently awaiting Gov. Cuomo's signature.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/07/nyregion/adoption-laws-new-york.html?rref=collection%2Fbyline%2Fnikita-stewart&action=click&contentCollection=undefined®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection

Prosecutors in California Say District Set Up Purposely Segregated School

A school district in one of California's wealthiest counties has agreed to desegregate a flailing school that the state attorney general found was intentionally created to segregate students and it "knowingly and intentionally maintained and exacerbated" racial segregation. To track the district's progress, the state has created a desegregation advisory group after a 2-year state investigation.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/09/us/sausalito-school-segregation.html

Trump Campaign Challenges California's Tax Return Law

President Trump's re-election campaign and the Republican party has sued California over a new state law requiring presidential primary candidates to release their tax returns. The new legislation would require the returns to qualify for the state ballot and its constitutionality has been called into question in a number of legal challenges. Qualifications for running for president are defined in the U.S. Constitution and it is argued that California is overstepping its authority. It is unclear in which direction the courts will go, as legal opinions are varied on the constitutionality, but the lawsuits will delay its implementation until after the 2020 election.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/06/us/politics/california-trump-tax-returns.html

New York Expands National Rifle Association Investigation to Include Group's Board Members

The National Rifle Association's (NRA's) court battle began in early 2018 when Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed banks, insurers, and other state-licensed financial companies to review their relationships with the NRA and other gun rights groups for "reputational risk". The NRA fired back with free-speech claims, but their latest maneuver demanding that NY produces a wide range of investigatory documents was rejected by U.S. Magistrate Judge Christian Hummel. On August 6th, Attorney General Letitia James issued a subpoena for documents from more than 90 current and former members of the NRA's board, looking at whether the organization has misused funds earmarked for charitable purposes.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/06/us/nra-board-subpoena-letitia-james.html

FedEx Will End Some U.S. Deliveries for Amazon

FedEx has announced that it is ending its ground delivery contract with Amazon.com, essentially severing ties with one the world's biggest shippers. Amazon is bolstering its own delivery network. FedEx ended its air cargo services for the company back in June. It is noted that Amazon accounted for less than 1.3% of FedEx's total revenue for 2018. Amazon's aggressive plans to expand internal shipping is threatening regular delivery providers, like FedEx and UPS.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/fedex-to-end-u-s-ground-deliveries-for-amazon-11565182535

U.S. Moves to Ban Huawei From Government Contracts

In furtherance of the trade war between the U.S. and China, the White House is expected to start implementing provisions of a law that bars the U.S. government from doing business with Huawei Technologies and several other Chinese companies. The Chinese telecommunications giant is trying to block the rule in court. Huawei is a giant maker of telecommunications equipment and smartphones. The prohibition is part of a broader defense bill signed into law last year that covers direct purchases that have raised security concerns inside the American government.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/07/business/huawei-us-ban.html

China Deploys Currency as Lever in Trade Feud, Jolting Global Markets

In response to President Trump's trade tariffs and the intensifying trade war between the U.S. and China, the Chinese central bank let the yuan depreciate, which led to a global fall in financial markets. This move could in turn stall the U.S.'s economic expansion. In response, the U.S. has designated China a currency manipulator with the International Monetary Fund for the first time since 1994. This back and forth between the world's two largest economies will continue to have an effect on global financial markets.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-currency-weakening-escalates-trade-war-11565027431

Hindu-Led India Puts Clamp on Muslim Kashmir

India has revoked Kashmir's "special status" as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist project, raising fears of unrest, and tried to cut off all communications of that region with the outside world. It's a controversial move to usurp power from the nation's only Muslim-majority state. Essentially, the government has scraped the portion of the constitution that gave the state of Jammu and Kashmir near-autonomous authority to conduct its own affairs (except for matters of foreign policy and defense). Now the area has turned from a state to a union territory under the control of India's central government in New Delhi. India unilaterally pushed to change Kashmir's status without Pakistan's buy-in which could lead to widespread unrest in the region.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/indias-decision-to-split-kashmir-met-with-protests/2019/08/07/c1bd43ec-b91f-11e9-8e83-4e6687e99814_story.html

Beijing to Hong Kong: Don't 'Take Restraint for Weakness'

Amid the third month of violent anti-government protests, Chinese officials have urged protesters in Hong Kong not to mistake Beijing's "restraint" for weakness. Beijing has said it will take a hard line against the protests and has no plans to open a dialogue on activists' demands for political reforms. They are also urging Hong Kong citizens to turn on the protesters. The amount of violence and property damage continues to rise and there is growing speculation that the Chinese Government will send in the People's Liberation Army.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-06/hong-kong-protesters-warned-by-chinese-officials/11388966

Parliament Removes Lawmaker in Kenya for Taking Baby to Work

Kenyan lawmaker Zuleika Hassan was removed from parliament after bringing her 5-month-old baby to work. Hassan had a domestic emergency and there is no child care in the legislative building. Under Kenya's laws, the parliamentary speaker is entitled to remove anyone classed as a "stranger"--even if a child. Her ejection has prompted an uproar on both sides of the debate.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/07/world/africa/kenya-parliament-baby.html

Celebrations in Sudan as Factions Sign Pact for Civilian Rule

After the recent ouster of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (who served in that capacity for 30 years) and months of unrest, the ruling military council and pro-democracy protesters have signed a constitutional declaration establishing a 3-year transitional military-civilian period. Although this is a step towards establishing democracy in Sudan, there are still many issues (i.e. the fate of the paramilitary, immunity from prosecution and other humanitarian law issues) that were left undecided in this landmark power sharing agreement aimed at establishing civilian rule.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/04/world/africa/sudan-agreement.html

Theater Critics as State Bar Association Presidents

By Bennett Liebman
Government Lawyer in Residence
Government Law Center, Albany Law School

In the Broadway musical "Curtains", composers Fred Ebb and John Kander say of theater critics, in the song "What Kind of Man?": "Who could be mean enough, Base and obscene enough, To take a job like that? ... Who could be jerk enough, Hard up for work enough, To want a job like that?" The short answer, as far the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) is concerned, is former State Bar Association presidents.

Two NYSBA presidents worked doing entertainment criticism and writing up news of the entertainment field. Take Sidney B. Pfeiffer of Buffalo, who served as NYSBA president in 1965, for example. Besides serving as an attorney active in the entertainment field, Pfeiffer worked as a correspondent for Variety, the entertainment magazine mainstay, for over 40 years. He started working for Variety in 1919, and even before the conclusion of his work there in the 1960's, he was recognized as the magazine's "longest consecutive out-of-town correspondent." Pfeiffer's devotion to the theater and arts fields is memorialized in Buffalo at his namesake Pfeiffer Theater, a 350-seat theater in downtown Buffalo run by the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts.

Even odder than a NYSBA president stringing for decades for Variety is the case of Elihu Root. Root, in the late 19th century and early 20th century, epitomized the lawyer as a public servant. He served as a United State Senator, Secretary of War, and Secretary of State. He won the Nobel Peace Prize. Not only was he the president of the State Bar from 1910 -1911, he also served terms as the president of both the New York City Bar Association and the American Bar Association. He helped establish the firm that became the basis for the current firm of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.

Yet, as a young lawyer he also worked as the assistant drama editor for the New York Sun from 1870-1874.The toned-down conservative Root would seem to make an unlikely theater critic, and in reviewing a book that cataloged American theater critics, Variety regarded his entry as a critic as a "surprise". In addition to Root's theater criticism, his junior law partner at the time, the future Court of Appeals Chief Judge Willard Bartlett, was the actual theater critic for the New York Sun. Root was his junior partner's assistant at the Sun. Moreover, while Bartlett handled the deeper and more challenging plays, Root generally reviewed the lighter, more burlesque types. One wonders whether they had an assignment editor calling on a future Court of Appeals Chief Judge to review "King Lear" while telling a future Nobel Peace Prize winner to review a "Beetlejuice"-type of musical.

So, if anyone is looking to head the NYSBA or to become a future Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, the toughness and orneriness celebrated by Kander and Ebb might suggest that theater criticism could serve as the proper career vehicle path to achieving these goals.

August 20, 2019

Week In Review

By Chantelle A. Gyamfi
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Below is the previous week's news in the categories of Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Media, and General News:

Entertainment

CBS and Viacom to Merge

After more than a decade apart, CBS and Viacom, both under Shari Redstone's control, agreed to merge on Tuesday in a deal that will reunite a roster of once-mighty media businesses. Viacom's Paramount film studio and MTV and Nickelodeon cable networks will be added to the broadcast giant CBS and the book publisher Simon & Schuster. The deal will allow the company to invest more in streaming, which is the future of entertainment. Redstone will be chairwoman of the combined company.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/13/business/cbs-viacom-merger.html?searchResultPosition=1

Bill Cosby's Appeal Begins

Actor Bill Cosby is trying to appeal his conviction for sexual assault. Cosby is currently serving a 3-to-10-year sentence for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home outside Philadelphia after giving her some pills. His lawyers are arguing that the trial judge should never have allowed the testimony of 5 other women who said they too had been drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby. The prosecution, however, contended that the women's testimony showed a series of "prior bad acts" that fit the pattern of conduct in the Constand case. His defense challenged the existence of such a pattern and said the admission of the women's testimony had hurt the presumption of innocence toward their client, but the trial judge didn't buy it.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/12/arts/television/bill-cosby-new-trial-appeal.html?searchResultPosition=1

ASAP Rocky Found Guilty in Sweden Assault Case but Will Serve No More Time

Rapper ASAP Rocky was found guilty of assault for his part in a street brawl in Stockholm on June 30th that left a 19-year-old man bleeding and needing medical treatment. Rocky - born Rahkim Mayers - and two members of his entourage, Bladimir Emilio, Corniel and David Tyrone Rispers, spent almost a month in a Swedish jail following the fight, having been detained from July 5th until their trial ended on August 2nd. The court sentenced Rocky and his co-defendants to time-served and awarded the victim 12,500 Swedish kronor ($1,300 USD) for pain, insult, and injuries from each defendant. Following the verdict, Rocky expressed his "disappointment" via a post on Instagram and it is unclear whether the rapper will appeal.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/14/arts/music/asap-rocky-sweden-guilty.html

'Sopranos' Actress May Testify at Weinstein Trial

The Manhattan district attorney is seeking a new grand jury indictment against Harvey Weinstein that would allow actress Annabella Sciorra, who has accused him of rape, to testify at his criminal trial next month, even though Weinstein is not charged with assaulting her. Sciorra, who is known for her work in "The Sopranos", has said that Weinstein attacked her in her Gramercy Park apartment in 1993. As the incident is too old to be prosecuted under state law, District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. is maneuvering to use Sciorra's account at trial to bolster counts in the indictment that charge Weinstein with predatory sexual assault. The charge carries a life sentence.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/16/nyregion/harvey-weinstein-annabella-sciorra-trial.html?searchResultPosition=1

Chrisleys Indicted for Tax Fraud

Todd and Julie Chrisley, the stars of the reality TV show "Chrisley Knows Best", are facing a 12-count indictment on charges of tax evasion, wire fraud, and hiding income from the Internal Revenue Service. A federal grand jury in Atlanta indicted the couple on charges of tax evasion, wire fraud, and hiding income and the Chrisleys' accountant, Peter Tarantino, was also indicted on tax-related offenses.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/15/arts/todd-julie-chrisley-knows-best.html?searchResultPosition=1

TLC Reality Show '90 Day Fiancé' Invites Viewers to Offload Ambivalence Around Immigration

TLC's hit series "90 Day Fiancé", which premiered in 2014, follows couples as they navigate the K-1 visa process, in which an American citizen petitions for a foreign beneficiary to enter the United States. Once that beneficiary arrives, the couple has 90 days to marry. Otherwise, the foreign national must leave. Immigration to the US, as currently practiced, depends on narrative. If you are not from one of the 30-odd countries that receive visa waivers and you want to come here, legally, you will have to tell a story about what you do or whom you love or from what you are running, and you will have to make some judge and/or consular official and/or case officer believe it.

The "90 Day Fiancé" franchise depends on narrative. Every season, TLC and Sharp Entertainment, the show's producers, select 6 or 7 couples who have already applied for a K-1 and then tell their stories. Those stories need to keep fans watching past the commercial breaks, so episodes -- each a commercial-heavy, lavishly underscored, 2-hour event -- emphasize conflict, some of it funny, like disagreements over wedding venues, some of it not, like accusations of cheating and allegations of domestic abuse. That's "the good stuff". That formula has created a hit for TLC, where it is often the top-rated ad-supported cable show in its time slot, especially among women 25 to 54, a demographic coveted by advertisers. The subject of immigration has polarized Americans, on and off, for centuries. Now and as the 2020 elections near, it is polarizing us again. The incredible popularity of "90 Day Fiancé" suggests that stories that signal immigration as a joke, a crime, or a dubious privilege, are the stories that some Americans want to hear.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/15/arts/television/90-day-fiance-immigration.html?searchResultPosition=9

Fortnite Champ Targeted in Hoax

Fortnite champ Kyle Giersdorf, who plays online as "Bugha", recently won $3 million in a Fortnite competition in New York. Over the weekend, his home was the target of a fake crime report to the police. Kyle was live-streaming a game of Fortnite on Twitch Saturday when he blurted out that his home in Upper Pottsgrove Township in Pennsylvania was being "swatted," referring to the phenomenon where someone makes a false report about a crime to force a response from the authorities. The police were dispatched by a call just after 11 p.m. on Saturday in regards to a possible shooting, after a caller falsely reported to the authorities that he had shot his father and tied up his mother. The authorities quickly cleared the incident and no one was harmed.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/13/us/bugha-swatted-fortnite.html?searchResultPosition=1

ARTS

Artist's Estate Says Caretaker Neglected Him

A lawyer for the estate of artist Robert Indiana has accused a former caretaker of taking advantage of and neglecting Indiana in the final years of his life at home on a remote island in Maine. The executor of the Indiana estate has argued that Indiana had been poorly cared for by the caretaker, Jamie L. Thomas, who, the court filing says, "improperly lined his pockets" with $1.1 million from the artist and took more than 100 works of art by claiming that they were gifts. The filing comes more than a year after Indiana's death and is a response to a case filed by Thomas in July, in which he sued the estate for millions of dollars for legal fees he incurred fighting a separate lawsuit in New York by Morgan Art Foundation, a former business partner of Indiana's.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/15/arts/design/robert-indiana-caretaker-neglect.html?searchResultPosition=1

Opera Star to Be Investigated for Sexual Harassment

Opera star and Los Angeles Opera co-founder, Plácido Domingo, is under investigation after The Associated Press reported that multiple women had accused him of decades of sexual harassment. The Associated Press reported that Domingo, 78, had pressured several women into sexual relationships in a series of encounters beginning in the late 1980s -- including 7 women who said that they felt their careers had been harmed after they rebuffed him. Domingo said in a statement that he believed "all of my interactions and relationships were always welcomed and consensual."

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/13/arts/music/placido-domingo-sexual-harassment-opera.html

San Francisco School Board Votes to Hide Murals

The San Francisco Board of Education voted 4-to-3 to conceal, but not destroy, a series of Depression-era school murals that some considered offensive to Native Americans and African-Americans. The vote came after a meeting that nullified the board's earlier vote to paint over the murals, a decision that had brought widespread complaints of censorship. Even though the murals would now be preserved, defenders of the artwork objected to the new decision to hide them from view.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/14/arts/san-francisco-murals-george-washington.html?searchResultPosition=1

Author J.D. Salinger Joins the Digital Revolution

Matt Salinger, son of "The Catcher in the Rye" author J.D. Salinger, has decided to do what his late father refused to do 10 years after his death - publishing digital editions of his four books. In addition to the e-books, Salinger is partnering with the New York Public Library, which will host the first public exhibition from his father's personal archives, featuring letters, family photographs, and the typescript for "The Catcher in the Rye" with the author's handwritten edits, along with about 160 other items. He will also publish decades worth of his father's unpublished writing. Salinger is working to keep his father's works alive in the digital age and relevant for a new generation of readers, although the senior Salinger detested publicity and considered publishing to be "a terrible invasion of privacy."

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/11/books/jd-salinger-ebooks.html?searchResultPosition=1

Who Calls the Shots on Broadway?

Women, such as Paula Wagner ("Pretty Woman"), Eva Price ("Oklahoma!" and "Jagged Little Pill"), Diana DiMenna ("What the Constitution Means To Me"), Mara Isaacs ("Hadestown"), Dori Berinstein ("The Prom"), Dale Franzen ("Hadestown"), Carmen Pavlovic ("Moulin Rouge!" and "King Kong") and Lia Vollack ("Almost Famous") are arriving on Broadway as lead producers in ever greater numbers, and their influence is reshaping theater's top tier. Of the 4 shows that won the top prizes at the 2019 Tonys, 3 featured women as first-billed lead producers -- Isaacs and Franzen of "Hadestown", Friedman of "The Ferryman", and Price of "Oklahoma!". Despite these changes, Broadway still has a long way to go, as women continue to be significantly underrepresented as writers and directors.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/14/theater/broadway-women-producers.html?searchResultPosition=1

Versace, Givenchy and Coach Apologize to China After T-Shirt Row

Luxury brands Coach, Givenchy, and Versace have apologized to China for producing T-shirts that were regarded to have undermined the country's sovereignty. The apparel, which identified the semiautonomous regions of Hong Kong and Macau as countries, set off an angry online backlash from Chinese consumers who perceived the designs as violations of the "One China" policy. The outcry over the luxury apparel underscores the growing pressures faced by foreign companies that seek to do business in China. In recent months, Beijing appears to have increased its policing of how overseas companies refer to semiautonomous Chinese territories. Versace, Givenchy, and Coach are just the latest foreign companies to draw fierce criticism from consumers in mainland China over sovereignty sensitivities, and boycott calls and online backlashes have been on the rise in recent months.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/12/fashion/china-donatella-versace-t-shirt.html?searchResultPosition=1

Judges Block Girl's Attempt to Join Boys Choir

Berlin's administrative court blocked a 9-year-old German girl from joining Berlin's oldest cultural institution, its all-boys' choir, after she sued to be allowed to sing with the chorus, in a case that pitted a push for gender parity against centuries of musical tradition. The suit argued that because the choir -- the State and Cathedral Choir, part of Berlin's University of the Arts -- is a publicly funded cultural institution, its high-quality, intense musical education, voice training, and performance opportunities must be made available to everyone, regardless of gender. The court, however, said that artistic freedom was more important than equal treatment in this case.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/16/world/europe/berlin-boys-choir-lawsuit.html?searchResultPosition=1

Slippery Slope for Star Architect

An Italian court ordered one of the world's leading architects, Santiago Calatrav, to pay damages to Venice for negligently building a bridge that failed to take into account "what everyone understands" about the city -- namely, that it has a ton of tourists with luggage. The 5 judges on a Roman court overseeing the use of public funds ruled on August 6th that Santiago Calatrava, the Spanish-Swiss architect globally renowned for his sleek and elegantly curved designs, had committed "macroscopic negligence" in constructing the glass-and-steel bridge that opened near Venice's train station in 2008. They fined him 78,000 euros. Calatrava's lawyers have not commented or responded to questions about whether they would appeal the decision.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/16/arts/design/santiago-calatrava-venice-bridge.html?searchResultPosition=1

SPORTS

U.S. Women's Soccer Gender Suit to Continue After Failed Talks

Mediation talks between the United States women's soccer team and U.S. Soccer collapsed without a resolution, damaging hopes that the sides could avoid a showdown in federal court over the gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the players earlier this year. The sides had agreed to meet secretly for several days in New York, just over a month after the women's team won its second straight World Cup championship. The mediation sessions were set to resolve issues between the team and the federation about equal pay and other workplace issues, since they hammered out the details of the players' current collective bargaining agreement in April 2017.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/14/sports/uswnt-mediation-us-soccer.html?searchResultPosition=1

Wide Receiver Loses Helmet Grievance

Raiders' wide receiver, Antonio Brown, appears to have lost an ongoing dispute about his helmet. Brown, already dealing with a foot issue that required him to sit out of training camp, prefers to wear the make of helmet he has been wearing for years, but the National Football League says that model, now 10 years old, is no longer approved.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/13/sports/football/antonio-brown-helmet-hard-knocks.html?searchResultPosition=1

U.S. Fencer and Hammer Thrower Lead Silent Protests at Pan-American Games

U.S. fencer Race Imboden could face sanctions for kneeling at a medal ceremony during the Pan-American games. The U.S. men's foil team won the gold medal at the games in Lima, Peru, and Imboden knelt as the national anthem played and the American flag was raised. The next day, hammer thrower Gwen Berry raised her fist during the national anthem. The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee said in a statement that Imboden may face consequences, as "every athlete competing at the 2019 Pan-American Games commits to terms of eligibility, including to refrain from demonstrations that are political in nature" and "in this case, Race didn't adhere to the commitment he made to the organizing committee and the USOPC." Imboden has said that he doesn't regret his decision.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/11/sports/race-imboden-fencer-kneels.html?searchResultPosition=1

Degree Rule for Agents is Reversed

The NCAA backtracked from new criteria it had imposed on agents representing college basketball players considering the National Basketball Association (NBA) draft, dropping the requirement for a bachelor's degree. Instead, the NCAA said, it will adopt regulations used by the National Basketball Players Association to certify agents -- including an option to grant waivers for any prospective agent who does not have a bachelor's degree. This comes after the rule faced fierce criticism from players and agents alike, including Rich Paul, one of the NBA's most prominent agents. Paul wrote an essay that said requiring a bachelor's degree could make the profession inaccessible to "young people from less prestigious backgrounds, and often people of color."

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/12/sports/ncaa-rich-paul-rule-agents.html?searchResultPosition=1

New York Casinos Are Struggling

Resorts World Catskills, about 85 miles northwest of New York City, has lost money every quarter since it opened in February 2018, dragged into the red by a combination of underwhelming attendance and 9-figure loans. Last month, the largest stockholder of Empire Resorts, the company that operates the casino, argued that it should go private because it no longer believed it had "any reasonable prospect for becoming financially self-sustaining in the future." The company's most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed a $36 million loss in the second quarter of 2019, after a $37 million loss in the first 3 months. The company warned that it may seek bankruptcy protection if it does not secure financing.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/16/nyregion/casinos-ny-gambling-catskills.html?searchResultPosition=1

MEDIA

Jimmy Kimmel Skit with Fake Emergency Alert Ends in Federal Communications Commission Fine for ABC

Simulated wireless alert tones used in a "Jimmy Kimmel Live" skit making fun of a presidential alert test have cost ABC $395,000 in civil fines with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC has fined several other networks, such as AMC Networks, Discovery's Animal Planet channel, and Meruelo Radio Holdings smaller amounts for similar violations. The use of the emergency alert system or wireless emergency alert tones is barred by FCC rules "to avoid confusion when the tones are used, alert fatigue among listeners and false activation of the system by the operative data elements contained in the alert tones." ABC told the FCC that the tones had been improperly included because of a "misunderstanding that the use of the tone was permissible." The FCC said that ABC had taken steps to remove the portion of the episode containing the tones from its website and other streaming sites, and decided not to rebroadcast the episode.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/15/business/kimmel-fcc-fine-alert.html?searchResultPosition=6

El Paso Killer Echoed the Words of Right-Wing Pundits

Echoing the words and views of folks like Tucker Carlson, Rush Limbaugh, and Ann Coulter - among others - the El Paso gunman who confessed to killing 22 people at a Walmart this month posted a 2,300-word screed on the website 8chan, saying that he was "simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion." An extensive New York Times review of popular right-wing media platforms found hundreds of examples of language, ideas and ideologies that overlapped with the mass killer's written statement -- a shared vocabulary of intolerance that stokes fears centered on immigrants of color. The programs, on television and radio, reach an audience of millions. The cumulative effect is a public dialogue in which denigrating sentiments about immigrants are common.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/11/business/media/el-paso-killer-conservative-media.html?searchResultPosition=1

Facebook Knew of Risks Before 2018 Breach

Facebook users suing the world's largest social media network over a 2018 data breach say it failed to warn them about risks tied to its single sign-on tool - which connects users to third-party social apps and services using their Facebook credentials - even though it protected its employees. The lawsuit, which combined several legal actions, stems from Facebook Inc.'s worst-ever security breach back in September 2018, when hackers stole login codes - or "access tokens" - that allowed them to access nearly 29 million accounts. "Facebook knew about the access token vulnerability and failed to fix it for years, despite that knowledge," the plaintiffs said in a heavily redacted section of the filing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco.

https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2019/08/16/business/16reuters-facebook-privacy-lawsuit.html?searchResultPosition=1

New York Times Editor is Demoted After Tweets About Race

Jonathan Weisman, a deputy Washington editor of The New York Times, has been demoted and will no longer oversee the paper's congressional correspondents, because he repeatedly posted messages on social media about race and politics that The Times says showed "serious lapses in judgment." Weisman came under scrutiny for tweets he posted on July 31st and August 7th. In the July 31st posts, he implied that it was inaccurate to describe certain politicians from urban areas as being representative of the Midwest and the South - specifically mentioning Representatives Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Lloyd Doggett of Texas, and John Lewis of Georgia. In the August 7th tweets, Weisman replied to a tweet by the progressive political organization Justice Democrats that included a photograph of Morgan Harper, a candidate the group was backing for a United States House seat in Ohio. Weisman's response noted that she would be challenging Representative Joyce Beatty, an African-American Democrat. Harper replied to Weisman's message, telling him, "I am also black." To that, Weisman replied, "@justicedems's endorsement included a photo," insinuating that she isn't black because he looked at a picture and can't see it.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/13/business/media/times-editor-weisman-demoted.html?searchResultPosition=1

India Shut Down Kashmir's Internet Access

In Kashmir, Indian security forces are stopping people from moving freely and a communications blackout has cut residents off from the outside world. As the Indian government's shutdown of internet and phone service in the contested region, Kashmir has become paralyzed - pharmacists can't restock medicines; workers aren't being paid; and doctors can't communicate with their patients. The block has brought everyday transactions, family communications, online entertainment, and the flow of money and information to a halt.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/14/technology/india-kashmir-internet.html?searchResultPosition=1

Journalists Chronicle Kashmir Crackdown with Pens + Paper

Kashmir's journalists are striving to rise to the occasion and simply hold on in the face of one of the most severe clampdowns this predominantly Muslim war-torn region has faced. India's government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cast Kashmir into more turmoil by abruptly canceling the limited autonomy it has held since the 1940s. That decision raised tensions with Pakistan instantly. Indian security forces shut down the internet, mobile phone services, and landlines, rendering the Kashmir Valley, home to about 8 million people, incommunicado. Television news channels, which were allowed to broadcast news of the canceled autonomy, were later taken off the air.

Out of the 50 or so well-known Kashmiri newspapers, only about half a dozen are still publishing. They put out thin paper editions, a maximum of 8 pages, that are quickly bought and then passed hand to hand for the rest of the day. Since the reporters have no access to the news wires or social media, they cannot fact check anything online or even make phone calls, and are forced to do their work the old-fashioned way, with notebooks and pens.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/12/world/asia/kashmir-crackdown-newspapers.html?searchResultPosition=1

How YouTube Radicalized Brazil

Members of Brazil's newly empowered far right -- from grass-roots organizers to federal lawmakers -- say their movement would not have risen so far, so fast, without YouTube's recommendation engine. YouTube's search and recommendation system appears to have systematically diverted users to far-right and conspiracy channels in Brazil. The recommendation system is engineered to maximize watchtime, among other factors, by suggesting what to watch next, often playing the videos automatically, in a never-ending quest to keep viewers glued to their screens. As the system suggests more provocative videos to keep users watching, it can direct them toward extreme content that they might not otherwise find. it is also designed to lead users to new topics to pique new interest - so much so that people like Zeynep Tufekci, a social media scholar, are calling it "one of the most powerful radicalizing instruments of the 21st century."

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/11/world/americas/youtube-brazil.html?searchResultPosition=1

Military Prosecutes Its Critics for Defamation

Since 2016, 25 Myanmar Army colonels have bypassed the battlefield to fight their adversaries in civilian courts, using criminal defamation cases to stifle criticism of the army's authority ahead of parliamentary elections next year. Under the Myanmar Constitution's system of divided government, the military is autonomous and is largely able to avoid civilian scrutiny. The military's spokesman, Brig. Gen. Zaw Min Tun, says the officers are simply defending the "dignity" of the armed forces, known as the Tatmadaw.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/16/world/asia/myanmar-army-elections.html?searchResultPosition=1

China Wages "Disinformation War" Against Hong Kong Protesters

In response to the growing numbers of protesters, China has more aggressively stirred up nationalist and anti-Western sentiment using state and social media, and it has manipulated the context of images and videos to undermine the protesters. Chinese officials have begun branding the demonstrations as a prelude to terrorism. China has long curated the content that it allows its citizens to see and read. Its new campaign has echoes of tactics used by other countries, principally Russia, to inundate domestic and international audiences with bursts of information, propaganda and, in some cases, outright disinformation.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/13/world/asia/hong-kong-protests-china.html?searchResultPosition=1

Russia Suspected in Bulgaria Hack

Kristiyan Boikov is accused by prosecutors of stealing the personal data of nearly every working adult in Bulgaria from the National Revenue Agency and working to "create instability in the country." The hack was made public -- with the data leaked to news media organizations from an email bearing a Russian address -- just as Bulgaria was finalizing its purchase of 8 new F-16s as part of an American-backed plan to replace the country's aging Soviet-era jets and bring its air force in line with NATO standards. The deal, worth $1.25 billion -- the largest military procurement by post-Communist Bulgaria -- includes the jets, ammunition, equipment, and pilot training. Six single-seat and 2 2-seat F-16s would be delivered by 2023. In the immediate aftermath of the breach, Bulgaria's interior minister, Mladen Marinov, raised the prospect that Russia might have had a hand in the attack, given the timing.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/14/world/europe/bulgaria-hack-russia.html?searchResultPosition=1

U.K. Bans Ads Over Sexist Stereotypes

Britain's advertising authority has banned 2 television ads under new rules against harmful gender stereotypes. The ads, from the local branches of Volkswagen and the food giant Mondelez, were found to be in breach of the rules, which stipulate that ads must not include "gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offense." Volkswagen's ad showed a series of men "engaged in adventurous activities," while the only two women depicted were asleep in a tent and sitting by a baby carriage. The main characters of the ad from Mondelez, for the cheese spread Philadelphia, were two distracted young fathers in a restaurant who appeared "unable to care for children effectively." Jessica Tye, the investigations manager at the Advertising Standards Authority, said that both ads contained stereotypes with the potential to cause "real-world harms", such as affecting children's career choices.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/14/world/europe/uk-sexist-ad-ban.html?searchResultPosition=1

GENERAL NEWS

Trump Administration Weakens Endangered Species Act

The Trump Administration announced that it would change the way the Endangered Species Act is applied. The new rules would make it easier to remove a species from the endangered list and weaken protections for threatened species, the classification one step below endangered. The changes will make it more difficult for regulators to factor in the effects of climate change on wildlife when making classification decisions.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/12/climate/endangered-species-act-changes.html?searchResultPosition=2

Trump's Policy to Allow U.S. to Deny Green Cards to Poor Immigrants

The Trump administration plans to implement a new rule that would deny permanent residency to legal immigrants if they are judged likely to use government benefit programs. Starting in October, poor immigrants would be denied green cards under the new rule if they are deemed likely to use government benefit programs, like food stamps and subsidized housing. Officials would also consider an immigrant's age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, and education. Officials would be given broad leeway to determine whether immigrants are likely to use public benefits, deny them green cards, and order them deported.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/12/us/politics/trump-immigration-policy.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/14/us/immigration-public-charge-welfare.html?searchResultPosition=15

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/13/us/trump-green-card-lawsuit.html?searchResultPosition=16

Trump Official Says 'Huddled Masses' in Statue of Liberty Poem Are European

Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, a top Trump administration immigration official and acting director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), has set off a controversy with his comments about "The New Colossus", the 136-year-old sonnet at the base of the Statue of Liberty. The poem reads: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free," but Cuccinelli added a caveat: "Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet, and who will not become a public charge," later saying that the poem referred to "people coming from Europe where they had class-based societies and people were considered wretched if they weren't in the right class."

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/14/us/cuccinelli-statue-liberty-poem.html?searchResultPosition=7

Court Rules That Migrant Children Are Entitled to Toothbrushes and Soap

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has rejected the government's argument that it is not required to provide migrant children with toothbrushes, soap, and showers. A lawyer for the government had tried to parse the meaning of "safe and sanitary" conditions -- the existing legal standard for detained, arguing that provisions, such as soap and toothbrushes, might not be necessary under the rules that govern facilities in which children are held for only a short period of time. The ruling strengthens protections for children being held in detention after crossing the border without authorization.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/15/us/migrant-children-toothbrushes-court.html?searchResultPosition=1

Appeals Court Rules That U.S. Can Block Migrants Seeking Asylum in Some States

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has held that Trump can begin blocking some Central American migrants from applying for asylum in the United States, but only along parts of the border with Mexico. Under the administration's new rules, migrants who seek asylum in New Mexico and Texas can be subjected to the rules, which will effectively prohibit them from requesting protection if they traveled through another country on their way to the United States unless they already tried and failed to receive asylum in that other country or countries.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/16/us/politics/asylum-rules-migrants.html?searchResultPosition=1

Scientists Confirm That July Was the Hottest Month Ever Recorded

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirmed that July 2019 was the hottest month on record, edging out the previous record-holder, July 2016. The findings are in line with those of European scientists at the Copernicus Climate Change Service, who said earlier this month that July was 0.07 degree Fahrenheit higher than 3 years ago.

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/08/15/world/europe/ap-eu-july-heat-record.html?searchResultPosition=1

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/15/climate/hottest-july-noaa.html?searchResultPosition=2

Trump Delays New Tariff Plans Until December

Trump unexpectedly put off a new 10% tariff on many Chinese goods, including cellphones, laptop computers, and toys, until after the start of the Christmas shopping season, acknowledging the effect that his protracted trade war with Beijing could have on Americans. Trump pushed the tariff on some imports to December 15th, and excluded others from it entirely, while facing mounting pressure from businesses and consumer groups over the harm that they say the trade conflict is doing.

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/08/13/us/politics/ap-us-us-china-trade.html?searchResultPosition=1

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/13/business/economy/china-tariffs.html?searchResultPosition=6

The House of Representatives v. Trump

Democrats took control of the House this year promising to use legislation and investigations to check Trump. Living up to those promises, the House has already become a party to 9 separate lawsuits this year, while also filing briefs for judges in 4 others. The surge in litigation is a consequence of Trump's norm-busting presidency. House Democrats are looking for additional venues through which to take him on -- or, in some cases, fighting lawsuits that the president filed against Congress himself to try to block lawmakers from obtaining information about him from entities outside the federal government.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/13/us/politics/trump-house-lawsuits.html?searchResultPosition=1

Court Allows Trump to Defund Planned Parenthood, Title X

A 3-judge panel on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Trump administration's "domestic gag rule", which blocks health providers that offer abortion care or even discuss it from receiving federal funding via Title X, can go into effect immediately. Planned Parenthood announced the decision to withdraw from the federal family planning and reproductive health grant program, known as Title X, after the Court declined to intervene. This comes after Planned Parenthood filed a final letter in a last-ditch effort to persuade the Court to act against the rule that effectively blocks Planned Parenthood from Title X. The rule says that clinics that also provide or even refer patients for abortion may no longer receive and Title X grants. This was widely seen as an attack on Planned Parenthood and its network of clinics, which currently serves 40% of the patients who receive Title X-funded care.

https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2019/06/236042/abortion-appeals-court-ruling-title-x-domestic-gag-rule-trump?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email_share

States Sue Trump Administration Over Rollback of Obama-Era Climate Rule

A Trump administration plan to regulate coal-fired plants more lightly faces a major legal challenge, as 29 states and cities sued to block the administration from easing restrictions on coal-burning power plants, setting up a case that could determine how much leverage the federal government has to fight climate change in the future. It is the most significant test to date of the Trump administration's efforts to eliminate or weaken President Obama's regulations to reduce the United States' contribution to global warming.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/13/climate/states-lawsuit-clean-power-ace.html?searchResultPosition=1

Lawyer's Trial Will Test Crackdown on Unregistered Foreign Agents

Gregory B. Craig, a well-known Washington lawyer, is charged with deceiving Justice Department officials who sought to determine whether he should have registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, for work that earned his law firm more than $4.6 million. His trial is being viewed as a litmus test of the Justice Department's growing effort to hold more foreign lobbyists criminally responsible for conduct the agency once treated as mere administrative infractions.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/11/us/politics/gregory-craig-trial.html?searchResultPosition=1

State Department Fails to Provide Update on Yemen

In defiance of federal law, the State Department is refusing to submit reports to Congress detailing efforts by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Trump administration officials have missed both Congressionally mandated deadlines this year to submit the biannual reports. This has further inflamed tensions between the administration and legislators who were already furious with the administration's unflagging support of the Saudi government and were still stung by the White House's decision in May to circumvent Congress to sell arms to Riyadh.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/16/us/politics/state-department-yemen-reports.html?searchResultPosition=1

Couple Sues Big Law Firm Over Parental Leave

Julia Sheketoff and Mark Savignac are suing their former firm, Jones Day, over its parental-leave and wage practices, along with Savignac's dismissal. Their lawsuit asserts that Jones Day's policy unlawfully denied Savignac the full leave he was entitled to after their son was born in January and that it unlawfully fired him when he complained about the policy. Under the firm's policy, biological mothers who seek to be a primary caregiver receive 10 weeks of paid family leave plus 8 weeks of disability leave, while biological fathers who seek to be a primary caregiver receive 10 weeks of family leave. The firm also awards new adoptive parents of either gender 18 weeks of paid leave if they seek to be a primary caregiver. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has held that employers can award biological mothers 8 weeks more paid leave than biological fathers if the additional time is tied to their recovery from the physical toll of childbirth - however, in their legal complaint, Savignac and Sheketoff argue that Jones Day awards mothers 8 additional weeks of paid leave without regard to whether their physical condition warrants it, and that the policy gives "female associates more time to enable their husbands to prioritize their careers over child care" and "reflects and reinforces archaic gender roles and sex-based stereotypes."

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/14/business/economy/jones-day-lawsuit.html?searchResultPosition=1

Cure Found for the Deadliest Strain of Tuberculosis

After a groundbreaking clinical trial, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) effectively endorsed the approach, approving the newest of the 3 drugs used in the regimen. Usually, the World Health Organization adopts approvals made by the FDA or its European counterpart, meaning the treatment could soon come into use worldwide. Tuberculosis has now surpassed AIDS as the world's leading infectious cause of death, and the so-called XDR strain is the ultimate in lethality. It is resistant to all 4 families of antibiotics typically used to fight the disease. The drug regimen tested has shown a 90% success rate against the drug-resistant tuberculosis.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/14/health/tuberculosis-xdr-tb-cure.html?searchResultPosition=1

N.Y.P.D. Has Thousands of People's DNA in a DNA Database but Many Are Unaware

The New York Police Department has taken DNA samples from people convicted of crimes, as well as from people who are only arrested or sometimes simply questioned. The city's DNA database has grown by nearly 29% over the last 2 years, and now has 82,473 genetic profiles, becoming a potentially potent tool for law enforcement, but one that operates with little if any oversight. The practice has exposed the Police Department to scrutiny over how the genetic material is collected and whether privacy rights are being violated.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/15/nyregion/nypd-dna-database.html?searchResultPosition=1https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/12/nyregion/epstein-barr.html?module=inline

https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2019/08/13/us/13reuters-people-jeffrey-epstein.html?searchResultPosition=8

Water Crisis in Newark Resembles Flint

Newark officials have begun giving out bottled water out of concerns about elevated lead levels in tap water, the culmination of years of neglect that has pushed New Jersey's largest city to the forefront of an environmental problem afflicting urban areas across the nation. State and local officials said that they were making free water available to 15,000 of the city's 95,000 households, and hundreds of people waited in long lines in the summer heat to pick up cases of water. Officials had to halt the distribution temporarily after discovering that some of the water exceeded its best-by date. The intensifying worry about the safety of Newark's drinking water has raised comparisons to Flint, MI, where dangerous levels of lead led to criminal indictments against state and local officials and forced residents to rely on bottled water.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/14/nyregion/newark-water-lead.html?searchResultPosition=3

Before Suicide, Epstein Was Left Alone in His Cell by Sleeping Guards

Jeffrey Epstein, the financier accused of trafficking girls for sex, was left alone in a cell for hours - only 11 days after he had been taken off a suicide watch - exposing "serious irregularities" at the Manhattan facility in which he was being held. At 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, guards doing morning rounds found him dead in his cell after he hanged himself. Epstein was supposed to have been checked by the 2 guards in the protective housing unit every 30 minutes and because he may have tried to commit suicide 3 weeks earlier, he was supposed to have had another inmate in his cell. However, the jail had recently transferred his cellmate and allowed Epstein to be housed alone. His guards are said to have been sleeping during the times when he was left alone. These failures in Epstein's detention at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) deepened questions about his death and are now the focus of inquiries by the Justice Department and the F.B.I. The guards and the warden of MCC have now been removed from their positions.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/11/nyregion/epstein-death-manhattan-correctional-center.html?searchResultPosition=1

Epstein's Estate Will Still Deal with Litigation + Investigations

Several women who have said they were victimized by Epstein said they planned to file lawsuits, and a new state law in New York that expands the amount of time that some sexual abuse victims can sue could open the door to more claims. While Epstein's recent death ended a federal criminal prosecution on child sex trafficking charges, his estate will still have to defend against civil suits. He was believed to have been worth at least $500 million. Stephen Gillers, a professor at New York University School of Law, said that "death does not end civil liability, death ends criminal liability," "the person is gone, but their assets remain."

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/11/nyregion/jeffrey-epstein-suicide-investigation.html?searchResultPosition=1

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/14/nyregion/epstein-lawsuit-jennifer-araoz-rape.html?searchResultPosition=8

U.S. Suspects New Nuclear Missile in Russian Explosion

The mysterious explosion that recently released radiation off the coast of northern Russia apparently happened during the test of a new type of nuclear-propelled cruise missile hailed by President Vladimir V. Putin as the centerpiece of Moscow's arms race with the United States. The blast, being considered as possibly the worst since Chernobyl, killed at least 7 people. The explosion came at a critical moment in the revived United States-Russia nuclear competition. This month, the United States withdrew from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces agreement, citing long-running Russian violations, and there are doubts that New START, the one remaining major treaty limiting nuclear forces, will be renewed before it runs out in less than 2 years.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/12/world/europe/russia-nuclear-accident-putin.html?searchResultPosition=21

Fake News, Real Radiation Following Blast in Russia

The explosion which took place at the Nenoska naval weapons range on the coast of the White Sea in northern Russia apparently involved a test of a new type of cruise missile propelled by nuclear power. The military and a state nuclear energy company announced the deaths but few details of the accident. A flurry of murky, misleading reports surfaced, as Russians have been mostly left guessing about what happened.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/12/world/europe/russia-nuclear-reactor-explosion-response.html?searchResultPosition=1

Trump Doesn't Criticize China

In comments to reporters and in a series of afternoon tweets, Trump took no strong position on the demonstrations that have gripped Hong Kong for weeks and have drawn an increasingly brutal response from local security forces. He echoed none of the defenses of freedom and democracy coming from both Democrats and Republicans. He simply stated that "The Hong Kong thing is a very tough situation. Very tough," thus presenting himself as a neutral observer.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/13/us/politics/hong-kong-trump.html?searchResultPosition=1

Hong Kong Crisis Hits Boardroom

The chief executive of Cathay Pacific Airways, one of Hong Kong's best-known international brands, stepped down after a storm of criticism from the Chinese government over its employees' participation in street protests that have seized the territory in recent months. In a filing with Hong Kong's stock exchange, Cathay said its chief executive, Rupert Hogg, was resigning "to take responsibility as a leader of the company in view of recent events."

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/16/business/cathay-pacific-ceo-resigns-rupert-hogg.html?searchResultPosition=1

Israel Bars Two Reps. From Visiting After Trump's Urging

Under intense pressure from Trump, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government barred 2 members of Congress - Representatives Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota - from entering Israel for an official visit. Netanyahu cited their support for boycotting Israel, acceding to the wishes of the American president, who declared on Twitter shortly before Israel's announcement that letting them in would "show great weakness." By enlisting a foreign power to take action against two American citizens, let alone elected members of Congress, Trump crossed a line that other presidents have not, in effect exporting his partisan battles beyond the country's borders. Israel relented slightly after barring Rep. Tlaib and said that she could visit her 90-year-old grandmother, who lives in the occupied West Bank. Tlaib, an outspoken Palestinian-American, agreed in writing not to promote boycotts against Israel during the trip. She then quickly reversed course herself, saying that she could not make the trip under "these oppressive conditions".

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/15/world/middleeast/trump-israel-omar-tlaib.html?searchResultPosition=9

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/16/world/middleeast/rashida-tlaib-israel-visit.html?searchResultPosition=4

Afghan Women Fear Losing Rights in Peace Deal

An agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban, for new talks with Kabul, raises concerns that women may lose rights in future Afghan governments. Roya Rahmani, a longtime women's rights activist, was appointed as the first female Afghan ambassador to the United States to signal Kabul's commitment to women's rights as the Trump administration pushes for a peace deal with the Taliban. The agreement is expected to outline steps for the eventual withdrawal of 14,000 American troops and pave the way for future talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government. Officials said that the preliminary deal is not expected to include specific assurances that women will continue to have equal opportunities in education, employment, and government.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/16/world/middleeast/afghanistan-peace-womens-rights-.html?searchResultPosition=1

India Plans Big Detention Camps for Migrants

More than 4 million people in India, mostly Muslims, are at risk of being declared foreign migrants as the government pushes a hard-line Hindu nationalist agenda that has challenged the country's pluralist traditions and aims to redefine what it means to be Indian. State authorities are rapidly expanding foreigner tribunals and planning to build huge new detention camps. Hundreds of people have been arrested on suspicion of being a foreign migrant -- including a Muslim veteran of the Indian Army. Local activists and lawyers say the pain of being left off a preliminary list of citizens and the prospect of being thrown into jail have driven dozens to suicide.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/17/world/asia/india-muslims-narendra-modi.html?searchResultPosition=1

August 27, 2019

Week In Review

By Lisa Ornest
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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

Entertainment

Weinstein Trial Starts 9/9

Weinstein is seeking a change of venue because he claims he that he can't get a fair trial in NYC. Typical stall tactic. Maybe he'll get it. The trial is supposed to start on September 9th. Justice Burke is at 100 Centre. Better get to court early so you don't trip over the cameras.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/20/nyregion/harvey-weinstein-trial-manhattan.html

San Francisco Theaters Come to an Agreement

There are 3 commercial theaters in San Francisco, and they have been jointly run by the Nederlander and Shorenstein families for decades. However, then they got into a fight, which ended up in a courtroom, about whether one of the theaters, the Curran, should be allowed to compete with the other two, the Orpheum and the Golden Gate. The settlement states that Carole Shorenstein Hays will retain ownership and control of the Curran, and Robert Nederlander will solely own and operate the others. The Curran will open with "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" in October, and the Orpheum and Golden Gate will present touring productions of "Mean Girls" and "the Band's Visit."

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/19/theater/san-francisco-theater-owners-settle-litigation.html

Many Years Ago, Placido Domingo Was a Jerk

More guilty until proven innocent "zero tolerance" based on anonymous accusations. One of 3 accusers on NPR said that Placido Domingo didn't touch her, didn't interfere with her employment, and didn't do anything else except keep asking her out (admittedly as a euphemism), when she wasn't interested. Yet now, many years later, he's being humiliated and losing his livelihood. Yeah, he acted like a jerk. So what? Who hasn't? Hopefully time will tell as to what really occurred.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/18/arts/music/placido-domingo-opera-harassment.html

https://www.operanews.com/Opera_News_Magazine/2019/8/News/Pl%C3%A1cido_Domingo_Accused_of_Sexual_Harassment.html

Arts

Bootlegging Blair

Apparently Amazon is selling, non-ironically, counterfeit copies of Animal Farm, 1984 and Down and Out in Paris and London, among others. From the excerpts, it sounds like the counterfeits are translations into English from another language of books that were originally written and published in English. This is also a problem of optical scanning. Some, especially the ones from India, which does not appear to have much in the way of copyright law, are not just inaccurately copied but actually censored, uh, I mean, "made more palatable." This is a big problem when it comes to face cream, but it's corrupt and unforgivable when it comes to texts. Amazon doesn't seem to be especially concerned, although it did remove some of the counterfeit editions from sale after communications from the article's author.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/19/technology/amazon-orwell-1984.html

Metropolitan Museum of Art Considers What To Do About Probably Stolen Loot

This is about our old friend and smuggler of cultural artifacts, Subhash Kappor, and his transactions with the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met). To recap, last month, Kapoor was charged with 86 felony counts and accused of trafficking in $145 million in antiquities, over about 45 years. The Met became a customer in the 90's, and currently possesses 15 works that Kapoor either "gifted" or sold to it, without any provenance prior to the date of his own "ownership." The items include a set of first century terra-cotta rattles and an eleventh century celestial dancer carved from sandstone. The Met is now scrambling to establish more plausible provenances. UNESCO calculates that at least 50,000 artworks have been stolen from India, although it's not clear that Kapoor stole them all. In 1972 India ratified a treaty prohibiting the export or transfer of cultural property without explicit government approval. So far, only about 40 items have been returned.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/18/arts/design/india-met-museum-accused-looter.html

Sports

To Coach or Not to Coach

Last year, Serena Williams was accused by an umpre of being coached from the stands, which Williams's coach later admitted was true. Nevertheless, at the time, it made Williams feel that she was being accused of cheating. While coaching is not allowed at the Open or other Grand Slam events, like Wimbledon and the French Open, or on the men's tour, it is in fact allowed on the women's tour. This is probably confusing to players. One gets used to a way of doing things. There is dissent about whether coaching should be allowed at all, and it turns out that women are fined more often for breaking coaching rules than men. The article doesn't say whether the men are actually doing it as often or not. It does say that even more than the players, the dwindling tennis fan base needs to have some understanding of the rules and see consistency in their application. Doesn't every other sport allow coaching on the field?

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/23/sports/tennis/us-open-coaching-serena-williams.html?action=click&module=Features&pgtype=Homepage

Football and Non-Symptomatic Brain Injury

Apparently, the ordinary rough and tumble of football can induce brain damage even without anything as extreme as an actual concussion. Impact seems to affect "white matter," the job of which is to connect neurons, in the midbrain. The study was done by placing "accelerometers" that tracked the "number and intensity" of every impact of those players who did not experience concussion. At the end of the season, all the players showed "'fraying'" of the tissue, even though the players had no symptoms. They did not do a study to show if this "fraying" could reverse itself over time. In addition, the players they studied had in fact already played for several seasons but showed no damage at the beginning of this particular season, so maybe the whole thing is meaningless.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/14/well/move/football-may-take-a-toll-on-the-brain-even-without-concussions.html

Major League Baseball Players Linked to Dominican Republic Crime Ring

Pitcher Octavio Dotel was arrested by the Dominican Republic authorities, and infielder Luis Castillo was "cited," both for alleged links to drug trafficking and money-laundering schemes. It sounds like Cesar Emilio Peralta is the kingpin who used, allegedly, the players as a way to hide his assets.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/20/sports/baseball/octavio-dotel-luis-castillo-drug-ring.html

Media

Smear Campaigns Against Journalists

Conservative "operatives," including one Arthur Schwartz (not Deitz's partner), who works with Stephen Bannon, are keeping busy this summer by compiling dossiers and publicly releasing embarrassing any private information they can find, with the intention of discrediting journalists who are skeptical of the president. These journalists are from organizations like CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times. The "research" extends to the journalists' families and other generally liberal activists. This appears to be a "smear campaign." The info is released on Breitbart, then twittered by the president, and then repeated on Breitbart. The only named journalist in the article is a Mr. Wright-Piersanti, who wrote a negative review of the new press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, and who apparently made anti-Semitic remarks when he was a teenager. He has apologized.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/25/us/politics/trump-allies-news-media.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage§ion=Politics

Don't Tell Misha!

This woman is not an anomaly, but rather, the tip of an iceberg unaffected by global warming. There are entire sections of the boroughs where people think like this, and who knows what else.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/23/arts/dance/lara-spencer-ballet.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage§ion=Dance

Floating Digital Billboards Banned in NY

All digital/video billboards should be banned, on waterways especially, but also on regular roads. It's dangerous for drivers, and it's a blight on the landscape. There has to be some rest and respite for the eyes and the soul, not just the constant bombardment of advertising. Of course the Florida-based company wants to keep doing it anyway, but apparently it is having a hard time in Florida, as well as in New York.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/20/nyregion/floating-billboards-ban-new-york.html

It's Not Paranoia if It's Really Happening

Facebook has a new tool to allow you to see which apps and websites, outside of Facebook, are tracking you. Don't we have enough to do in life? Won't everyone just feel too overwhelmed by this and throw up their hands in despair? Further, this doesn't mean that Facebook is going to stop doing anything it's been doing so far to exploit its users for its own profit. Granted, there is the option of wiping the browsing history clean, but it turns out that while the data can be "disconnected," it cannot actually be deleted.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/20/technology/facebook-tool-privacy-apps-websites.html

Facebook to Hire Humans

Facebook is, allegedly, hiring journalists to help tweak algorithms, at least in regard to "News Tab," a new news section separate from the news stories in the feeds. The journalists will help discover the stories and properly tailor them to users. Part of this is about trying to disseminate some non-dis-information. Part of it is about sharing "content" with "other" news organizations. How this really going to work? What is the goal? Facebook absorption of all news media? Like Invaders from Mars?

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/20/technology/facebook-news-humans.html

Tucker Carlson's Ad Revenue in a Slump

Apparently Tucker Carlson has lost "dozens" of advertisers over the last year as the result of his racist, sexist, and otherwise generally divisive demeanor and remarks, like calling white supremacy a hoax. There's a chart showing the reduction in minutes of commercials and number of advertisers. Last year Carlson was responsible for 18% of Fox News's advertising revenue, this year, 13%. It's a start.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/20/business/media/tucker-carlson-fox-advertisers.html

Twitter Bans State-Sponsored Accounts

Social media is full of propagandists and agent provocateurs, many of them state-sponsored. Surprise! Right now it seems a good idea that Facebook and Twitter police these things, removing pages and accounts (on Twitter, in this instance, 936 accounts) that seem to be acting together to spread "disinformation," like spinning the Hong Kong protests and protesters by calling them, among other things, cockroaches. Bangladesh, Iran and Venezuela have engaged in the same behavior. A spokesperson for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs says, of course a country will try to present its own side of things, and he doesn't understand why everyone is so upset. Facebook still wants to think some more before enacting anything like a ban (China is a big advertising purchaser), but Twitter is banning promoted tweets from state-sponsored media. How long before they start removing legitimate dissent?

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/19/technology/hong-kong-protests-china-disinformation-facebook-twitter.html

Something is Rotten!

In Denmark, as in other places, prosecutors used cellphone location data to trace alleged perps to crime scenes, but it turns out that the info may have been flawed. The first flaw was in the way the IT system converted raw data, and the second was because of tracking to wrong cellphone towers. Both problems may have wrongly "placed" innocent people at crime scenes. Over 10,000 verdicts dating back to 2012 are being reviewed. Apparently no one previously thought to question the accuracy of any of the data.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/20/world/europe/denmark-cellphone-data-courts.html

General News

You Can't Get a Man With a Gun, or Can You?

For a brief moment Trump tried to make it sound like the lax gun laws were the fault of the Democrats (and probably Hillary's emails), but now that he is in charge we can have "'very meaningful'" background checks. Then he talked to Wayne LaPierre on the phone, and now he's back to spouting the NRA party line, including pretending to know about the Bill of Rights.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/19/us/politics/trump-gun-laws.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/20/us/politics/trump-gun-control-nra.html

Broken Promises

The Justice Department argues, essentially, that it's o.k. for the U.S. government to go back on its word. It argues that the Department of Homeland Security "correctly and reasonably concluded" that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is unlawful. However, as we all know, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has no constitutional right to "conclude" anything, either about legislation or executive orders issued by the previous president. Nor does DHS have the sua sponte right to pick and choose which laws it supports and which ones it doesn't. Yet "lawyers" for the current administration wrote briefs stating exactly that. Of course, this is the same Justice Department that doesn't believe that children in custody separated from their parents and with no one to take care of them should have dry clothes and soap, so it's not like they have an iota of credibility.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/19/us/politics/daca-trump.html

Let Them Drink Coke

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wrote a letter (to whom?) on August 9th stating that the lead in Newark's water (and children), was at an unacceptable level. For this agency to exercise itself over any kind of environmental situation must mean the situation is pretty severe. Not to mention that every plastic bottle is eventually going to end up in a whale's belly, although maybe that doesn't matter, because the bottled water distribution office is only open for one hour a day.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/20/nyregion/newark-water-crisis.html

Take Back Your Mink

The new Title X rules say that Planned Parenthood can't refer at all, for anything, to doctors who perform abortions, much less for actual abortions. However, Planned Parenthood believes that its duty is to advise women of all of their reproductive options and help them to exercise those options. So if the Title X funding rules won't allow it to do that, then it won't take the money, about $60 million. However, it's not just about the money, it's about the low income "Title X" women who will now have nowhere to go for their birth control, pregnancy tests, and screening for sexually transmitted diseases and breast and cervical cancer. Planned Parenthood says that the rules are unethical, and it simply cannot agree to be in the program on those terms. The anti-abortion, anti-choice groups are thrilled. The government agency in charge (DHHS) says that Planned Parenthood and other groups are "'now blaming the government for their own actions'" and '"abandoning their obligations to serve their patients.'" The American Medical Association supports Planned Parenthood and the right of patients to speak freely with their doctors. Planned Parenthood is challenging the rule in court. DHHS will not allow "intermediate" status until the rule is adjudicated. Basically, in or out. DHHS says that the rule is not a "gag rule." It's wide open for the faith based providers now.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/19/health/planned-parenthood-title-x.html

When Smoke Doesn't Get in Your Eyes

Trump tried to roll back pollution standards and the Obama regulation that car companies must double fuel efficiency by 2025, but the car companies won't go along with it. They are throwing their lot in with California, which is mounting a lawsuit. This is great fun, but it's not entirely altruistic. The car companies are worried that consumers will prefer cars that adhere to emissions reduction standards and split the market. There is probably also a big technology commitment. At the White House, the official in charge of this, uh, initiative, is 29 years old. The EPA is trying to write the rule, but is having trouble. In a fit of pique, Trump said he might be willing to keep the Obama regulations, but now wants to "revoke" CA's ability to regulate itself. Spite much?

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/20/climate/trump-auto-emissions-rollback-disarray.html

King of the Jews

The problem is that despite the obvious bad faith there are too many Jewish supporters who are just as stupid as anyone and will fall for this and not realize they are being played. The word is collaborator.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/21/us/politics/trump-jews-disloyalty.html

Trump Wants Russia Back in G7 (or 8)

Trump is projecting, saying that the only reason Russia is not in G7, nee G8, is because of "Obama's wounded pride," and not Russia's annexation of Crimea, which other countries regarded as a violation of international law.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/20/us/politics/trump-russia-g7.html

Trump Wants China Out

And/or he wants us out of China. He is threatening to make all American businesses leave China, and he says he has the authority to do it. He is citing the "International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977 ("IEEPA"), a law which can be used to enable a president to "isolate criminal regimes, not sever economic ties with a major trading partner." It's the case of a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Daniel M. Price, international economic adviser to George W. Bush, says to use the Act for these purposes would be an "abuse." What does Trump think, that Russia can take China's place? He has supposedly "ordered," via Twitter, American companies to look for an "alternative" to China. However, the IEEPA allows a president to declare a national emergency in case of any "unusual and extraordinary threat" to the "national security, foreign policy, or economy of the US from abroad." It has been used before, but never for "Pure economic warfare" when there was no national security threat. Trump has people finding this stuff. He is not going to go quietly.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/24/world/europe/trump-g7-summit.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

The Cold Coast of Greenland

Apparently the president has been talking about buying Greenland for more than a year and even "detailed" the National Security Council staff to study the idea. The article says he joked about trading it for Puerto Rico. However, when the Prime Minister of Denmark said it was not for sale, Trump threw a hissy fit and canceled a trip to Denmark scheduled for September. He became misogynistic and dismissive of NATO countries in general, because Denmark belongs to NATO. The article discusses some other irrational actions of the first executive, like saying he was chosen by God to lead a trade war with China, and how he made fun of a fat man (for being fat) who turned out to be a supporter.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/21/us/politics/trump-greenland-prime-minister.html

Kids Still in Cages

Since the mid-80's there have been protections in place for migrant and refugee children, codified in the "Flores Agreement." The Flores Agreement was enacted as the result of a class action lawsuit regarding shameful abuses during a period of heavy immigration activity from El Salvador. Children were crowded together in unsanitary conditions, with no exercise or education or protection. The immigration agents were doing body cavity searches on CHILDREN. The Flores Agreement said, among other things, that children could not be held indefinitely, they had to be released quickly to a family member or to a licensed care facility that "did not operate like a jail," and that generally children could spend no longer than 20 days in detention. Now, of course, the president wants to do away with all of that and use the children as political bait.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/20/us/flores-migrant-children-detention.html

Blue-Green Algae in NYC

The New York Times reports that bodies of water in Central Park, Morningside Park, and Prospect Park are infected with the algae, which can cause neurological disorders, liver damage and respiratory paralysis in animals. No swimming in natural bodies for your best friend this summer, please.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/25/nyregion/toxic-algae-nyc-parks.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage§ion=New%20York

And Maybe Hurting Florida Panthers

Florida panthers, especially the young ones, and a bobcat on the Gulf side, are staggering when they try to walk. It started in 2017, but this year there seems to be an increase. As a result of not being able to walk, more of them are being hit by cars. The article says that the cause may be neurological but does not suggest the trigger. The cats were almost extinct, down to about 20, and then they started coming back, but we're losing them again. I wonder if it's the algae.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/20/science/florida-panther-crippled-video.html?fallback=0&recId=1PwBy01lV8EBehGUg49sbZcpgaL&locked=0&geoContinent=NA&geoRegion=NY&recAlloc=control&geoCountry=US&blockId=home-discovery-vi-prg&imp_id=883320206&action=click&mod

A Populism Primer

Things seem to be imploding all over the place. Like another country we could mention, in Italy, the populists are in ascension. Yet of course populists are not serious or responsible, so their agendas are not sustainable, and the "leader" of the "Five Star Movement," Mattea Salvini, who seems to be a Trump clone, behaving like a spoiled infant rather than a dignified adult leader, became disillusioned with his own party's "inaction" and pulled away, trying to grab all the power for himself. Salvini is the kind of guy who refuses to staff important government posts and then decries the government as inept when nothing gets done. Sound familiar? At any rate, the prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, then accused Salvini of opportunism and resigned his post, which "collapsed" the government, which I don't quite understand, but at least it was a protest. Opponents of Five Star and Salvini are hoping they can "sap" his strength by putting off elections, but it may not work. This is worth keeping an eye on, as maybe we can learn something.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/20/world/europe/italy-pm-giuseppe-conte-resign.html

Luxury Cruise

A prosecutor has ordered that a ship carrying 80 mostly African migrants, prevented by the blowhard Matteo Salvini (see above) from docking for almost 3 weeks, must be allowed to dock. It contains 80 people, 2 bathrooms, children, and pregnant women. People were jumping overboard, trying to swim the 3 miles. They were rescued. Salvini pretends that he's being humanitarian by claiming that rescue ships like Open Arms are really just a front for traffickers. He is being investigated on charges of illegal detention of the people on the ships. The president of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, seems not to be completely under Salvini's thrall.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/20/world/europe/italy-migrant-ship-salvini.html

Did They Lose Another One?

There was an explosion at a naval weapons range in Russia on August 8th. Seven people were killed, and elevated levels of radiation were found 25 miles away. On August 10th, 2 radiation sensors that send information to an international monitoring network based in Vienna, as part of the test ban treaty, went offline. On August 13th, 2 more went offline. The Russians say they they don't have to share this information if they don't want to, and Putin is assuring everyone that there is no risk to the public. Of course Trump probably believes him, and the sensors were just experiencing "'communications and network issues.'" Yet then another official seemed to suggest that it was in fact Russia's exercise of a prerogative not to send the information and not an accident. Russian scientists admitted that it was a nuclear device. Trump and others think it was a nuclear cruise missile that NATO calls Skyfall.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/20/world/europe/radiation-russia-nuclear-accident.html

David Koch Dead at 79

Please read Jane Mayer's Dark Money, which explains what the Kochs do with the money, and then perhaps this recent book by Christopher Leonard, Kochland, which explains how they obtained it. The Koch brothers want a world where they can operate freely and not have to think about anyone or anything but themselves, and they have pretty much achieved that. Although, of course, like many rich people, they live with the constant nagging anxiety of going broke any second, which I suppose is its own kind of hell. But not hellish enough. Where is Dickens when you need him?

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/15/books/review/kochland-christopher-leonard.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage§ion=Books

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/23/us/david-koch-dead.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage§ion=Obituaries

About August 2019

This page contains all entries posted to The Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Blog in August 2019. They are listed from oldest to newest.

July 2019 is the previous archive.

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