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Week In Review

By Eric Lanter
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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


Blackbeard's Ship Heads to Supreme Court in Battle of Images of Wreckage

The Supreme Court is set to hear a case arising from the discovery of a ship that the pirate Blackbeard captured over 300 years ago. At the heart of the action is a claim that the State of North Carolina "stole copyrighted videos of the submerged remains of the ship" when it posted five of the videographer's recordings on a YouTube channel and printed one photograph in a newsletter. Lawyers for the state have argued that the materials were public record according to North Carolina law and that the publications fell under the "fair use" exception to copyright laws.


Mac Miller's Death Leads to Drug Charges Against California Man

Federal prosecutors have announced that charges are pending in the United States District Court in Los Angeles against Cameron James Pettit for allegedly selling counterfeit drugs that contained fentanyl to the rapper Mac Miller, leading to Miller's death two days later. The Medical Examiner-Coroner determined that Miller suffered from an "accidental fatal overdose of fentanyl, cocaine, and alcohol."


Latinos Are Underrepresented in Hollywood, Study Finds

Latinos "remain woefully underrepresented both in front of and behind the camera," according to a new study released by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California. The study analyzed the top 100 grossing films each year from 2007 to 2018 and found that 3% "featured Latino actors in lead or co-lead roles" and only 4.5% of the 47,268 speaking roles going to Latino actors. Additionally, only 4% of movies had a Latino director.



John W. Campbell Award Renamed After Winner Criticizes Him

The magazine Analog Science Fiction and Fact announced that it would drop John W. Campbell's name from its annual prize because of "racist sentiments he had expressed" when he ran the magazine from the late 1930s to 1971. He wrote that slavery was "a useful educational system," made "derogatory comments about women and homosexuality," and supported segregation.


Dallas Opera Cancels Gala Starring Placido Domingo

The Dallas Opera has cancelled the March 2020 gala concert that was set to feature opera star Placido Domingo based on new accusations that he has sexually harassed multiple women. The Dallas Opera joins the Philadelphia Orchestra and the San Francisco Opera in cutting ties with Domingo based on the allegations, and he is still scheduled to appear at the Metropolitan Opera in New York pending the outcome of an investigation by the Los Angeles Opera.


Complaint Filed After Door Closes on Drag Performers With Down Syndrome

A troupe of drag performers with Down Syndrome have performed in cities around the world under the name Drag Syndrome and were set to perform in Grand Rapids, Michigan until some members of the community began to speak out against the performance. Peter Meijer, a Republican congressional candidate and the man behind the supermarket chain, owns the venue where the performance was to occur, and last month declined to host them on the basis that he questioned whether the performers could give their "full and informed consent" to perform. On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights against Meijer, claiming discrimination against the performers based on disability and sex.


Jeffrey Epstein's New York Hunting Ground: Dance Studios

While in Florida dozens of girls were being targeted in "high schools and shopping malls," in New York City, Jeffrey Epstein was targeting young dancers at dance studios. The investigation into the trafficking charges, which has stretched to 6 employees, girlfriends, and associates, has revealed that there were recruiters in dance studios who funneled girls to Epstein on the pretense that he was interested in a dance workout, only to find that he would ask the girls to "take part in several sexually charged stretching activities."


Judging Margaret Atwood's Top Secret New Novel

Margaret Atwood's new book, The Testaments, has become a highly anticipated release as it follows her smash hit The Handmaid's Tale. One judge for the Booker Prize, Britain's most prestigious literary award, has had difficulty even having the book delivered to her home, and of all the 150 novels that judges read in considering the prize, none of them other than Atwood's required a nondisclosure agreement to be signed.


French Author Accused of Anti-Semitism Is Snubbed for a Top Literary Prize

The recent book by Yann Moix, an author and "resident provocateur" on one of France's popular late-night talk shows, had stirred up controversy based on his telling of physical and psychological abuse by his parents. When it was released in August, some began whispering that it may receive the Goncourt Prize, France's top literary award, but when the digging into Moix's past began, the French news media uncovered "vicious anti-Semitic drawings and texts" that Moix had made in his 20s, which were published in a student magazine. He initially denied having created them then admitted that he had, and has since stopped promoting his book and apologized.


Are African Artifacts Safer in Europe? Museum Conditions Revive Debate

The Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper has found that many of the artifacts on display in Berlin have been stored in "less-than-ideal conditions," including in rooms that have been flooded and depots that are "choked with toxic dust." The report comes as officials continue to debate whether repatriating artifacts to Africa is better or worse for the condition of the artifacts, setting aside the issue of rightful ownership. The museum released a statement conceding that it had issues common to museums throughout Germany, which included "outdated facilities, a lack of staff members, and a sense of disarray that dates to moments of crisis in German history."


H&M Stops Buying Brazilian Leather Over Amazon Fires

H&M, the second-biggest fashion retailer in the world, has announced that it will stop buying leather from Brazil given concerns that the country's cattle industry is contributing to the "deforestation of the Amazon rainforest." This announcement comes after VF Corporation, which includes international brands, such as The North Face, announced a temporary suspension of purchases as well. While it is unclear the precise amount of deforestation attributable to the cattle industry, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization "linked 80 percent of deforestation in the country to cattle grazing."



US Open Fines Mike Bryan for Making Gun Gesture at Line Judge

At the US Open, a doubles player, Mike Bryan, challenged a call that the tennis ball had landed out despite being called in. When the screen showed the reversed call, Bryan "held his racket in both hands and pointed the handle at the line judge as if it were the barrel of a rifle." For that, he has received from the US Open a $10,000 fine and an unsportsmanlike conduct warning.


Has Sports Betting Arrived to Transform the National Football League?

With the Supreme Court's ruling last year striking down a law that prohibited sports betting, football fans in 12 states are now able to gamble on sports, and several more states are planning to permit the activity as well. While some expected that the Supreme Court decision would open the floodgates and change the way consumers watched football, given the opportunity to now bet on various parts of each game, the change has been slow to occur. One National Football League (NFL) executive identified the reason for this: "We get great engagement, we don't need to integrate sports betting directly into that," hinting at the terms of the contracts that the NFL enters into with television networks.


Education Department Hits Michigan State With Record Fine Over Nassar Scandal

Michigan State University has agreed to pay a $4.5 million fine as part of a larger settlement between the Education Department and the university. The fine stems from the university's mishandling of the former team doctor Lawrence Nassar's long-known sexual abuse of students, which the department has called systemic in nature and occurring over the course of decades. The president of the university pledged to improve the school and accepted the resignation of the school's provost effective immediately.


After Tyler Skaggs' Death, Major League Baseball Turns a Cautious Eye to Its Drug Policy

The players' association and Major League Baseball plan to re-evaluate their drug policy following the report that the Los Angeles Angels pitcher, Tyler Skaggs, died with fentanyl, oxycodone, and alcohol in his system on July 1st. While players in the major league are testified for drugs other than performance enhancing ones, players in the minor league are not tested unless there is "reasonable cause" to do so.


In Italy, Racist Abuse of Romelu Lukaku is Dismissed as Part of the Game

Romelu Lukaku, a former star in the English Premier League, is playing at Inter Milan and has become used to hearing from fans behind the goal "a prolonged round of monkey chants" when he takes a penalty shot. Italian soccer has long been plagued by racist incidents, and one fan group has summed up the way that some Italians think of these incidents: "We understand that it could have seemed racist to you, but it is not like that. In Italy we use some 'ways' only to 'help our teams' and to try to make our opponents nervous, not for racism but to mess them up."



Google Is Fined $170 Million for Violating Children's Privacy on YouTube

On Wednesday, Google agreed to pay a record $170 million fine and has vowed to change its platform YouTube to ensure that children's privacy is protected when using the site. Regulators had identified that YouTube had "knowingly and illegally harvested personal information from children and used it to profit by targeting them with ads." Critics have voiced their concern that the settlement of the matter, which was with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and New York's Attorney General, are "paltry" and will not lead to the necessary changes that will truly protect children's privacy on YouTube.


Popular YouTube Toy Review Channel Accused of Blurring Lines for Ads

Watchdog group Truth in Advertising filed a complaint with the FTC accusing the YouTube channel Ryan ToysReview of "deceiving children through 'sponsored videos that often have the look and feel of organic content.'" The videos are hosted by a 7-year-old boy, Ryan Kaji, and has amassed 21 million subscribers since it began in 2015 as each video shows Kaji trying new toys. Nearly 90% of the videos include a "paid product recommendation aimed at preschoolers, a group too young to distinguish between a commercial and a review," the watchdog group alleges in its complaint.


Radio Free Europe Is Poised to Return to a Less Free Hungary

The United States Agency for Global Media, an independent federal agency, is contemplating opening up Radio Free Europe 26 years after it stopped broadcasting. Radio Free Europe had been the alternative for Eastern Europeans for listening to what was happening in the world other than what their governments were telling them. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and collapse of the Soviet Union, the broadcasting stopped in 1993 with the belief that the mission has been accomplished. Congress is set to green light the service, and that approval may happen this month.


The World's First Ambassador to the Tech Industry

Casper Klynge is the world's first foreign ambassador to the technology industry. Denmark created the post after acknowledging that technology companies often have as much power--if not more than--as other countries given their impact on daily life, values, institutions, democracy, and human rights. Thus far, Silicon Valley companies have given Klynge "a mixed reception," and he has not met with the heads of Facebook, Google, and Apple as of yet.


China Expels Wall Street Journal Reporter After Article on Xi's Cousin

A Wall Street Journal reporter has been expelled from China following his writing of an article investigating a cousin of China's top leader, Xi Jinping. The Chinese government declined to renew the press credentials of the reporter and noted, "We are resolutely opposed to an individual foreign journalist maliciously smearing and attacking China. As for such journalists, we do not welcome them." This move is the latest of Xi's that takes a harder stand against the media, both inside and outside of China, as the country seeks to more closely control its image in the world.


Now Streaming on YouTube: Confessions From a Presidential Hit Squad in Gambia

Gambia, a nation of 2 million people on the Atlantic coast of Africa, is grappling with the atrocities that occurred during the 22-year reign of Yahya Jammeh, a leader "who created a culture of fear and misinformation so deep that many still take care to call him a gentleman." On YouTube, one man confessed that he killed one of the country's "best known journalists" based on a kill order that came directly from Jammeh. Officials have been eliciting testimony from hundreds of people through live feeds that transmit through YouTube, Facebook, television, and radio in what is essentially a "public truth and reconciliation commission."


Life in an Internet Shutdown: Crossing Borders for Email and Contraband SIM Cards

Internet shutdowns have become one of the most popular tools for government repression in this century. In Zimbabwe, during a recent crackdown, a prominent government critic "had no way of knowing when it was safe to emerge from hiding" and thus remained in his home where he was arrested after 3 days. He noted, "If I had been connected maybe I would have got information that it wasn't safe to be out there." The crackdowns not only allow governments to round up those who may go into hiding but also "batter whole economies and individual businesses, as well as drastically disrupt the daily life of ordinary citizens."


A Million Refugees May Soon Lose Their Line to the Outside World

Approximately 1 million Rohingya Muslims in Bangladeshi camps may soon lose cell service. The telecommunications minister in Bangladesh ordered a halt this week to mobile phone service citing "state security" and "public safety." The occupants of the camps are entirely Rohingya Muslims that fled their native Myanmar due to ethnic cleansing by the Myanmar military government, and one refugee noted, "Our suffering will be unlimited if mobile phone communication goes off."


General News

Bahamas Relief Efforts Frustrated as Dorian Pulls Away

Hurricane Dorian passed through the Bahamas and struck the continental United States last week, causing significant flooding and several deaths. President Trump had claimed that the hurricane would strike Alabama, and despite the forecast not coming to fruition, the parent agency of the National Weather Service issued a statement claiming that Alabama "will most likely be hit" by the hurricane despite forecasts not showing that to occur. Since then, the President has taken to Twitter to attack the news media for its "corrupt reporting."





House Panel Subpoenas Department of Homeland Security Over Alleged Trump Pardon Offers

The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed the Department of Homeland Security for documents that may shed light on President Trump's "alleged offer of pardons to officials implementing US immigration policy." The Judiciary Committee is contemplating whether to recommend impeachment against Trump, and citing reports in the media that he offered pardons to officials who may face legal consequences for closing sections of the US-Mexico border, have sought to obtain information and documents showing President Trump's dangling of pardons in this realm.


As Trump Escalates Trade War, US and China Move Further Apart

On Tuesday, President Trump predicted that China's manufacturing infrastructure would "crumble" if the country did not agree to the terms on which his administration have insisted, but newly released data show that the trade war has been hurting domestic factories as well as Chinese. A reputable index of American manufacturing activity has fallen for the first time since 2016, and companies have identified "shrinking export orders as a result of the trade dispute" as well as "moving supply chains out of China to avoid the tariffs" for that fall in production. It is unclear whether either side will back down from the trade war in the short term, and that uncertainty has caused consternation in the markets.




Trump Administration Reverses Abrupt End to Humanitarian Relief

On August 7th, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services eliminated its "deferred action" program that had previously allowed immigrants to avoid deportation if they or their relatives were in the middle of "lifesaving medical treatment." The Trump administration
announced that it would reconsider its decision to eliminate the program, as there is growing outrage and condemnation from the medical establishment. It is unclear what will happen to the deportation proceedings initiated against those between August 7th and last week, but an agency official noted that the agency "is taking immediate corrective action to reopen previously pending cases for consideration."


How a Trump Tax Break Became a Windfall for the Rich

The 2017 tax-cut legislation was touted as a boost to "low-income areas" outside of the country's major cities. It was said that the tax benefits would "coax investors to pump cash into poor neighborhoods, known as opportunity zones, leading to new housing, businesses, and jobs." However, "billions of untaxed investment profits are beginning to pour into high-end apartment buildings and hotels," and financial institutions are "boasting about the tax savings that await those who invest in real estate in affluent neighborhoods."


Pentagon to Divert Money From 127 Projects to Pay for Border Wall

The Pentagon has determined that it will divert $3.6 billion away from 127 projects to fund the construction of a border wall along the US-Mexico border, pursuant to instructions from the Trump administration. This has included taking millions of dollars from projects, such as constructing a middle school that contains students from military families along the Kentucky-Tennessee border who are currently crammed into an antiquated school with insufficient supplies and classrooms.



Justice Department Investigates California Emissions Pact That Embarrassed Trump

The Department of Justice has opened an antitrust inquiry into 4 automakers that "struck a deal with California this year to reduce automobile emissions." The deal, among Ford, Volkswagen, Honda, and BMW, set stricter emissions standards than those the Trump administration has espoused, and the announcement of the deal had created embarrassment for the administration and prompted Trump to label the deal as nothing more than a "P.R. stunt." The Justice Department will determine whether the agreement violated federal antitrust laws on the grounds that it "could potentially limit consumer choice."


When Apps Get Medical Data, Your Privacy May Go With It

Medical organizations, such as the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, are warning consumers and regulators that technology companies are taking patients' data and potentially facilitating invasions of privacy. The federal government is set to approve and put into effect rules that will "require health providers to send medical information to third-party apps" as part of an effort to "make it easier for people to see their medical records, manage their illnesses, and understand their treatment choices." However, without more restrictions in place as to what can happen with the data, the groups have urged that those consumer apps will "be free to share or sell sensitive details like a patient's prescription drug history."


Palestinian Harvard Student Blocked From Coming is Now Allowed to Enter

Ismail Ajjawai, a matriculating Harvard student, had been denied entry into the United States last month from Palestine but was permitted this week to enter the country and begin his classes. The group that sponsored him, Amideast, announced that he was permitted entry and that the United States Embassy in Beirut had reviewed the case and reissued a visa. He was initially denied entry when officials checked his friends' social media posts, prompting furor from free speech advocates and corroborating the concern amongst university officials that the Trump administration's policies were affecting the student population.


Pence's Stay at Trump Hotel in Ireland 'Business as Normal'

When Vice President Mike Pence visited Ireland last week, rather than stay in Dublin for a night, he stayed 181 miles away by car, on the other side of Ireland, at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in Doonbeg. According to Pence's chief of staff, Marc Short, "it was a suggestion" that the President made: "I don't think it was a request, like a command." Pence thus has become part of a "well-established trend among prominent Republicans" as since 2015 "nearly $20 million has been spent at the Trump family hotels" by "various mostly Republican political groups."


US Imposes Sanctions in Iranian Shipping Network

The Trump administration has imposed sanctions on an "elaborate shipping network that Iran uses to sell oil, and unveiled a $15 million reward to anyone with information that disrupts the scheme, stepping up its effort to exert pressure on the Iranian economy." The sanctions are an attempt to return Iran to the negotiating table and work on an agreement regarding the country's nuclear program since President Trump withdrew from the 2015 agreement in May 2018. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has announced that the sanctions "should serve as a strong warning to anyone considering facilitating the Quds Force's oil sales that there will be swift consequences."


Judge Rules Terrorism Watchlist Violates Constitutional Rights

On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled that the federal government's database that contains a list of "known or suspected terrorists" violates the rights of the citizens on that list. The ruling calls "into question the constitutionality of a major tool the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security use for screening potential terrorism suspects." Judge Anthony Trenga of the Eastern District of Virginia ruled that the standard for being included on the list was too vague: "The court concludes that the risk of erroneous deprivation of plaintiffs' travel-related and reputational liberty interests is high, and the currently existing procedural safeguards are not sufficient to address that risk."


DeVos Toughens Rules for Student Borrowers Bilked by Colleges

The Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has tightened Obama-era rules governing student borrowers, "imposing a deadline on claims and eliminating a requirement that the department automatically wipe away the loans of some students whose schools closed while they were enrolled." The new rules are set to apply for loans made going forward starting on July 2020, and the rules will require that students demonstrate the college made a deceptive statement "with knowledge of its false, misleading or deceptive nature or with reckless disregard for the truth" and that the student remained in the school based on that statement and suffered financial harm as a result. Then, the student must submit the claim within three years of graduating or leaving the school, whereas now students have no statute of limitations on submitting their claims.


Cases of Vaping-Related Lung Illness Surge, Health Officials Say

Medical experts warned that the use of vaping devices has resulted in severe lung illness in at least 450 cases in 33 states. In the New England Journal of Medicine, one doctor wrote, "There is clearly an epidemic that begs for an urgent response," and the editorial called for doctors to discourage their patients from using any electronic cigarettes and develop the public's awareness as to the "harmful effects of vaping."


Three SEAL Team Leaders Fired for Breakdowns in Discipline

The Naval Special Warfare Command has fired 3 senior leaders of SEAL Team Seven, the most prestigious of the SEAL teams, for "failure in leadership" that "caused a breakdown of good order and discipline." Team Seven's Foxtrot platoon was "abruptly removed from Iraq in late July after reports of serious misconduct during a Fourth of July celebration," and the firings this week appear to be related to that misconduct. It is alleged that during a party, a senior enlisted member "raped a female service member" and a second SEAL made "unwanted sexual contact with a second female service member." Additionally, some team members, against regulations, consumed alcohol at the party.


Looming Over the College Admissions Case: Will Parents Like Felicity Huffman Get Jail?

With sentencing on the horizon in the college admissions action, there remains a question as to whether anyone will serve jail time. For actress Felicity Huffman, who pleaded guilty "to paying a consultant $15,000 to inflate her elder daughter's SAT score," prosecutors are recommending 1 month in jail. Prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum that "some period of incarceration is the only meaningful sanction for these crimes," but it will be a test of the federal judge's belief when the first sentencings begin next week.


Gregory Craig Acquitted on Charge of Lying to Justice Department

After fewer than 5 hours of deliberation, a jury acquitted Washington lawyer Gregory Craig of a felony charge that he lied "to federal authorities about work he did seven years ago for the Ukrainian government" while he was working at the prominent law firm Skadden Arps. While the case showed how "a foreign government was able to harness Washington's industry of lawyers, lobbyists and public relations experts," the only question before the jury was whether he had lied to or misled officials who were investigating "whether he should register as a foreign agent."


Texas Shooting Brings New Urgency to Gun Debate in Congress

The shooting in West Texas has given "fresh urgency to a debate that was already expected to be at the top of lawmakers' agenda when they return to the Capitol," as it left 7 people dead and 22 wounded just weeks after gunmen killed dozens in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas. President Trump even weighed in on the issue, saying that he was considering "really common-sense sensible, important background checks" for those buying guns. Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, promised a debate in the Senate.


Walmart to Limit Ammunition Sales and Discourage 'Open Carry'

The retailer Walmart has announced that it will "stop selling ammunition that can be used in military-style assault rifles" and that it would "discourage its customers from openly carrying guns in its stores and would call on Congress to increase background checks and consider a new assault rifle ban." The announcement came 1 month after the shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas and, according to the retailer, "after weeks of discussion and research about how best to respond." The decisions that the retailer has made are "in line with public opinion polls that favor more gun controls."


She Sued New York Over Harassment. Then the Gaslighting Began, She Said

Alexis Marquez worked for one month in 2017 as a principal court attorney for a New York State Justice, but when she sued New York State last year for ignoring complaints of workplace sexual harassment, it argued that she "had not actually been an employee of the state." Instead, she was employed by her boss, Justice Douglas Hoffman, and could only hold him accountable for the accusations of sexual harassment. While New York recently passed a law that made it "easier to hold employers liable for their employees' behavior," harassment suits like Marquez's remain difficult for plaintiffs, as highlighted by the State's position in Marquez's case.


A Judge Refused to Hire a Party Boss' Aide. A Demotion Followed

Three months after the Bronx Democratic Party announced that it would support Judge Armando Montano, the party chairman requested that the newly-elected judge "hire the chairman's former aide as a confidential assistant." Seven months later, he was reassigned from presiding over felonies to presiding over domestic violence cases, and when he refused the assignment, the chief administrative judge stripped him of "his caseload, chambers, and staff." The former judge has maintained that the move from the Office of Court Administration came because he did not hire the chairman's aide, but officials insist that it was a "routine assignment that had nothing to do with politics."


White Supremacists Targeted Her. Now She's Fighting Hate Crime

The New York Police Department has noted that incidents of hate crimes have increased 41% as compared with the same time last year, and the City has adopted "an unusual strategy to combat the wave of bias-driven incidents": it hired an anti-hate crime czar, Deborah Lauter. She heads the new Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes, which will not investigate bias incidents; rather, it will seek to prevent and shed light on them. She noted that, in a remarkable paradox, if she does her job well, there will be more reported instances of hate incidents which will cause the numbers to "rise as her office's education efforts spread."


The Battle Over the Files of a Gerrymandering Mastermind

The Republican strategist and "master of gerrymandering," Thomas Hofeller, who died last year, is at the heart of a court ruling this week striking down North Carolina's state legislative maps. More specifically, "computer backups" of legislative maps that Hofeller has drawn in his work for Geographic Strategies, LLC a consultancy that advised the Republican Party on redistricting, was at the center of the action. There have been numerous motions seeking to seal or destroy the documents and maps that Hofeller and Hofeller's partner, Dalton Oldham, created, as they are claimed to be "trade secrets" and "attorney-client privileged."


The High School Course Beijing Accuses of Radicalizing Hong Kong

The protests in Hong Kong have continued even after the leader of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, announced that the bill that prompted the protests -- regarding the extradition of Hong Kong residents to mainland China for crimes -- would not be debated or passed. The tension between Hong Kong and China continues particularly as Hong Kong continues to hold on to traditions, such as one class in its high schools where students "debate the merits of democracy and civil rights." The mandatory course is known as liberal studies and has been "a hallmark of the curriculum in Hong Kong for years."



China's Prisons Swell After Deluge of Arrests Engulfs Muslims

Throughout the Xinjiang region of China, the government has set up "re-education camps" for the Uighur and Kazakh minorities, which are largely Muslim. Now, China is filling prisons in Xinjiang as the space in the camps is taken up with too many prisoners. The region has seen a surge "in arrests, trials, and prison sentences in the past two years," and the move from camps to prisons "is throwing into doubt even China's limited protections of defendants' rights."


Robert Mugabe, Strongman Who Cried, 'Zimbabwe Is Mine,' Dies at 95

At the age of 95, Robert Mugabe, the only leader Zimbabwe had from 1980 to 2017, died this week. He had begun his public career as a liberator but then became a tyrant who oversaw the decline of what was once "one of Africa's most prosperous lands." He labeled himself as inspired by "Marxist-Leninism-Mao-Tse-tung thought," and he predicted even in 2017 that he would run again as president. But because of health reasons, he capitulated. He died in Singapore, where he had been receiving medical treatment for an undisclosed illness.


Afghans Push Back on US Deal With Taliban as Violence Intensifies

The Afghan government, concerned that a proposed agreement with the US "lacks assurances that the insurgents will honor their promises once American troops leave," is pushing back against the deal. The American special envoy has finalized "in principle" the deal after nearly a year of negotiations with the Taliban. One condition for the withdrawal of American troops is the assurance "that the Taliban will break from international terrorist groups and start direct negotiations with Afghan officials over Afghanistan's political future."


After Meeting With Trump, Myanmar Clergyman Could Be Prosecuted

A Baptist minister from Maynmar spent less than one minute in the Oval Office to speak with President Trump about the mistreatment he has seen in his country at the hands of the military government. A colonel in the Myanmar army "has gone to court seeking to have the minister prosecuted for his comments about the military during that conversation with Mr. Trump." The minister, Hkalam Samson, returned to his home after the White House visit, and it is expected that the judge will decide next week whether the case may proceed. If it does proceed, there have been similar cases where "the military has taken advantage of Myanmar's sweeping criminal defamation laws," and Samson said in an interview, "There is no freedom of expression for Myanmar citizens wherever you are because you can get in trouble even when you talk about the truth in the White House."


Teenager Dies in Kashmir Amid Protests After Autonomy Was Revoked

A 16-year-old teenager in Kashmir has died as a result of security officers hitting him in the face with buckshot, and his death is the first linked to the protests regarding the Indian government's revocation of Kashmir's autonomy one month ago. Kashmir has been "simmering with fury" since the Indian government announced that it was "stripping away the special status the state has held for more than 70 years and splitting the territory into two federally controlled enclaves." Before the announcement, security forces had already "cut off internet, mobile phone, and landline service in the region."


Brexit Votes Goes Against Boris Johnson, and He Calls for Election

In a chaotic week in Britain's Parliament, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has faced 2 stinging defeats. He called for an election on October 15th, but the ministers rejected the call "out of fear he could secure a new majority in favor of breaking with Europe, deal or no deal." Then, Parliament "blocked his plans to leave the union with or without an agreement." The maneuvers thus far have shown that Johnson faces the same herculean obstacles that his predecessor Theresa May faced prior to her resigning earlier this summer.



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