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Week In Review

By Chantelle A. Gyamfi
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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


Shane Gillis Dropped From 'S.N.L.' Cast Amid Criticism of Racist Slurs

Newly hired comedian Shane Gillis, along with 2 other new castmates, was dropped from the "Saturday Night Live" cast shortly after videos surfaced in which he used slurs and offensive language. A journalist unearthed a video of a podcast in which Gillis used a slur in referring to Chinese people and mocked a caricature accent of a Chinese person speaking English. In another podcast recording, Gillis used homophobic slurs to describe Judd Apatow, the comedy filmmaker and producer, and the comedian Chris Gethard. In yet another podcast recording, Gillis used a homophobic slur, this time prefaced by the word "Jew," in referring to the Democratic presidential candidates Andrew Yang and Senator Bernie Sanders. A spokesperson for the show said in a statement: "we want 'S.N.L.' to have a variety of voices and points of view within the show, and we hired Shane on the strength of his talent as a comedian and his impressive audition for 'S.N.L.'........the language he used is offensive, hurtful and unacceptable. We are sorry that we did not see these clips earlier, and that our vetting process was not up to our standard."


Writers Guild Re-elects Leadership at Odds with Agencies

It has been 5 months since thousands of movie and television writers fired their agents in a standoff that has consumed Hollywood. Union election results last week indicate that the impasse is likely to continue. A strong majority of writers voted to re-elect top leaders of the Writers Guild of America West, the biggest union that urged the mass firing of agents. The win is a blow to a band of writers who were running against current leadership and have argued that the agency dispute has been mishandled. The win is also a setback for many big-name writers, like Shonda Rhimes, Aaron Sorkin, and David E. Kelley, who endorsed the opposing candidates. The writers' contract with the studios is set to expire in 7 months. In the 2017 contract negotiation, it took a last-minute deal to avoid a strike. There were writers' strikes in 1988 and 2007-8 that lasted for months. This year's negotiations are expected to be difficult as well.


Tekashi 6ix9ine Testifies for Prosecution at Gang Trial

Rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine testified against Aljermiah Mack and Anthony Ellison, 2 alleged members of a Brooklyn street gang, describing how he discovered a formula for success with the crew before betraying it by becoming a prosecution witness. 6ix9ine explained that his role in the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods was to "just keep making hits and be the financial support for the gang ... so they could buy guns and stuff like that." The testimony in federal court in Manhattan was a dramatic turnabout for a performer who had gone out of his way to portray himself as a legitimate gang member. He told the jury he decided to cooperate only a day after his arrest last year on a racketeering indictment naming him as a member of the gang - a move that has put him at risk behind bars and prompted rap icon Snoop Dogg to label him a "snitch" in a recent Instagram post.


Tekashi 6ix9ine Recounts Kidnapping in Testimony

Prosecutors say that after a falling out with 6ix9ine, alleged Nine Trey Gangsta Blood member Anthony Ellison took revenge by abducting and robbing the rapper. 6ix9ine testified how Ellison and his cohort drove him around, stopping at various points to taunt and beat him. 6ix9ine said the men then took him to his Brooklyn home, where they stole a bag full of jewelry before driving him a few blocks away and releasing him. An attorney for Ellison is portraying the alleged kidnapping as a publicity stunt.


On Day Three of Testimony, Tekashi 6ix9ine Speaks on Kidnapping, Jim Jones, and Cardi B

On his final day testifying against members of his former gang, rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine told the court that he was not the only well-known rapper associated with Nine Trey. On the stand, Hernandez was asked by prosecutors to identify the voices on a recording of a phone conversation. He said one of them belonged to Jim Jones, whom he called a "retired rapper" and said was a member of the gang. Another well-known rapper, Cardi B, was drawn into the Tekashi saga - during cross-examination, 6ix9ine was asked if he "joined the Bloods specifically to advance" his music career. "Correct," 6ix9ine replied. When asked if he knew anybody else who furthered their music career by associating with Bloods, 6ix9ine said no. Then the lawyer, Alex S. Huot, who is representing Aljermiah Mack, asked if he knew Cardi B was a member of the Bloods. He replied yes. He also said he "didn't pay attention" to her work at that time. When asked if he knew that she made popular music videos with Bloods gang members in the background, 6ix9ine replied, "Correct." Cardi B appeared to respond to 6ix9ine on Instagram with a popular meme of the actress Keke Palmer saying, "I don't know who this man is." Cardi B has previously acknowledged being affiliated with the Bloods.




American Filmmaker Sued Over Film on Sexual Enslavement by Japan

Miki Dezaki, a Japanese-American filmmaker, decided to make a documentary for his graduate thesis; he wanted to examine a question that reverberates through Japanese politics: Why, 75 years later, does a small but vocal group of politically influential conservatives still fervently dispute internationally accepted accounts of Japan's wartime atrocities? Specifically, Dezaki focused on what historians call the Imperial Army's sexual enslavement of tens of thousands of Korean women and others in military brothels during World War II. He explored in detail the conservatives' case that the so-called comfort women were in fact paid prostitutes. Ultimately, Dezaki was unpersuaded -- he concluded that the conservatives were "revisionists," and used terms like "racism" and "sexism" to characterize some of their claims. Now, 5 of them are suing him for defamation.

In the film, Dezaki highlights a 1944 American Army document, cited by the conservatives, in which 20 Korean comfort women interviewed in Burma are described as "nothing more than" prostitutes who were "attached to the Japanese Army for the benefit of the soldiers." That same document says that the women were recruited under "false pretenses." Yoshiaki Yoshimi, a retired history professor who uncovered key documents describing the military's management of the brothels, said that by "denying one point," the conservatives "seek to deny the big picture."


Russian Celebrities Rally Behind Jailed Actor, Russia Then Releases Same Jailed Actor After Public Outrage

Russian entertainers joined in a rare show of defiance and solidarity, in support of actor Pavel Ustinov, who they said was wrongfully convicted of resisting arrest during an anti-Kremlin rally, despite clear evidence in his favor, and sent to prison. Publicly calling out injustice in the legal system is unusual in Russia and carries real risks; most of the actors who spoke out work in government-sponsored theaters and appear in state-supported films. Ustinov was the sixth person to be sentenced to a significant prison term in cases stemming from a wave of anti-Kremlin protests in Moscow this summer. After the public outrage, Russian authorities freed Ustinov from custody, pending an appeal from a 3 1/2 year conviction that will be heard next week.





Archaeological Sites Are Imperiled by Border Wall

According to a study conducted by the National Park Service, the construction of a wall along the southwestern border will significantly damage or completely destroy several archaeological sites in a natural park in the heart of Arizona's Sonoran Desert. Scientists have found stone tools, rock shelters, artifacts, and ancient engravings in the area, which has been populated for 16,000 years. That includes the historic Quitobaquito Springs, where ancient cultures obtained seashells and salt along what is known as the Old Salt Trail. The National Park Service found 17 archaeological sites that "likely will be wholly or partially destroyed by the forthcoming border fence construction." An additional 5 sites that park experts want protected under the National Register of Historic Places could also be damaged.


Parity for Female Artists Still Elusive

New data shows that between 2008 and 2018, only 11% of art acquired by the country's top museums for their permanent collections was by women. The report, which included more than 40 interviews with curators, artists, collectors, and dealers, suggests several reasons for the gender imbalance, including museum committees tasked with acquiring work that were often preoccupied with name recognition and wary of spending money on a female artist who didn't have a recorded reputation for selling at auctions. Of the roughly 5,800 female artists whose works were acquired, 190 women -- or just 3% -- were African-American.


Getty Trust to Invest $100 Million in Saving Threatened Antiquities

The J. Paul Getty Trust will invest $100 million in the conservation of antiquities from ancient societies across the world, citing threats, such as sectarian violence and climate change. The Trust, which operates the Getty Museum, has long focused on Greek and Roman antiquities. This new program, however, is designed to expand the conservation efforts it underwrites to countries where it has not worked before, including Southeast Asia and Central and South America.



National Football League Set to Interview Antonio Brown's Accuser, Leaving the Star's Future Uncertain

Five days after a woman who was once his trainer filed a federal lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida accusing him of sexual assault and rape, receiver Antonio Brown made his debut for New England in a 43-0 victory over the Miami Dolphins. The New England Patriots released Antonio Brown after just 11 days, ending his brief but turbulent tenure with the team as the National Football League (NFL) was investigating him for multiple accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior, including rape. Brown's brief tenure with New England ended the same day that NFL officials spoke with an artist who accused the star wide receiver of unwanted sexual advances. Cathy Lanier, the NFL's chief of security, met with the artist, an unnamed woman, who said she endured unwelcome sexual advances from Brown 2 years ago. The woman also accused the wide receiver of sending her texts she found intimidating. In addition, Brown was accused of rape in a federal lawsuit filed recently by Britney Taylor, a former gymnast who met Brown while they attended Central Michigan and whom he later hired as a trainer. Brown, who has denied the accusations from both women through his lawyer, Darren Heitner, posted about his release several times on social media, saying: "Thank you for the opportunity" to the Patriots on Twitter. The NFL was investigating and opted not to suspend Brown. In spite of this, Nike became the second sponsor to end its relationship with Brown, and a spokesperson for Nike said that "Antonio Brown is not a Nike athlete."




Pirates Reliever Arrested on Solicitation and Other Charges

Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Felipe Vazquez was arrested and charged with 3 felonies, including statutory sexual assault and unlawful contact with a minor, among other charges, in Pennsylvania and Florida. Authorities began investigating Vazquez last month after they "obtained information that Vazquez had a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old female victim". Vazquez was charged in Florida with computer pornography offenses, including solicitation of a child. The girl is now 15 and had still been communicating with Vazquez by text message, according to the law enforcement department, which said in the release that Vazquez had sent text messages to the girl "suggesting they would meet for sex after his baseball season was over." Law enforcement agents in Pennsylvania and Florida obtained a warrant, and officials searched Vazquez's residence in Pittsburgh, taking "several electronic devices" to examine, which could lead to more charges. Pirates president, Frank Coonelly, said that Major League Baseball's commissioner's office would put Vazquez on administrative leave, meaning that Vazquez would be ineligible to play but still receive pay.



Football Players or Human Lab Rats??

New technology points to an arms race in college football, while also raising privacy questions. Specifically, the new training room in the $28 million football operations building at Louisiana State features jetted tubs, antigravity treadmills, and sodium-infused water coolers. A room nearby holds a centrifuge - a machine used for blood work for injury treatments such as platelet-poor plasma therapy and stem-cell injections. It is another example of how modern efforts to improve performance in big-time college athletics have moved beyond smoothies and sleep monitors. The rapid increase in slick gadgetry now factors into the recruiting arms race for the top programs in college football. It has also prompted questions about player privacy and, in some cases, criticism over athletic spending -- for everything but player compensation.


Saudi Satellite Provider Is Behind the Piracy of Soccer Broadcasts

An investigation financed by FIFA, 2 of its confederations, and a group of top European soccer leagues has concluded "without question" that a Saudi Arabia-backed satellite provider has played a vital role in a piracy operation that has stolen and aired hundreds of soccer matches and other sporting events whose rights were purchased by the Qatar-owned broadcaster beIN Sports. BeIN has contended for more than 2 years that the piracy operation, which broadcasts stolen content to subscribers in the Middle East and elsewhere on a rogue network named beoutQ, has operated with signals transmitted by Arabsat, a communications company based in Saudi Arabia, with at least the tacit support of powerful figures in Saudi Arabia. BeIN's top executive said that he welcomed the release of the report, but also suggested that little would change until the Saudi authorities took action.


Russian Athletes Set to Remain 'Neutral' at World Track Championships

A panel investigating Russian doping in track and field is unlikely to finish its work in time for Russian athletes to compete under the country's flag at the world championships, which begin soon in Qatar. The special panel of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that has been dealing with the years-long fallout from the unmasking of Russia's institutional doping program will meet days before the start of the world championships later this month. The panel, which could still change its mind, has rejected Russia's efforts to regain full status for its track and field federation 11 times. Rune Andersen of Norway, who leads the IAAF task force on Russia, has taken a hard line on the country's athletics federations.


Montaño to Receive Medals She Was Cheated Out of at Worlds

American athlete Alysia Montaño will receive bronze medals she was cheated out of by a Russian who finished ahead of her at the 2011 and 2013 world championships but was later disqualified for doping. Montaño announced on social media that she had been invited to world championships in Doha, Qatar, where she'll receive the medals for the 800-meter races in a ceremony on September 30th.


Judo Champion in Hiding After Defying Iran's Rules

Defending world champion Saeid Mollaei has been in hiding since he left the Iranian judo team last month, saying that he had been ordered to withdraw from the world championships on political grounds. Israel's Sagi Muki was his biggest rival for the gold medal. There was one problem -- Iran has a policy of boycotting all competitions against Israelis, even if that means an athlete's training was all for nothing. Mollaei told the Associated Press that he was ordered to lose a preliminary bout against a Russian in order to cover up the reason for his withdrawal. When he refused and won, he received more intimidating calls from senior officials. "For once, I decided to live as a free man for myself, and prove to the world that I am a brave man," Mollaei said in a recent interview in Germany, where he is living in an undisclosed location. Now he is training for next year's Olympics without a guarantee that he can compete.


Hacker Who Revealed Soccer Secrets Is Charged With 147 Crimes

Rui Pinto, a hacker who ran a website called Football Leaks, published hundreds of internal documents onto the platform Pinto and later collaborated with a European media consortium led by the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel to disseminate even more documents. The information Football Leaks made public -- including player contracts, internal team financial documents, and confidential emails -- pulled back the curtain on the murky world of soccer finance, led to criminal tax prosecutions of several top players, and even helped prompt officials in the United States to reopen a sexual assault investigation involving the Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo. While Pinto won praise as a whistle-blower, Portugal's authorities consider him a criminal.



U.S. Tries to Seize Edward Snowden's Proceeds from New Memoir

The Justice Department sued former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, seeking to seize his proceeds from his new memoir because he did not submit the manuscript for review before it was published so that officials could make sure it contained no classified information. Snowden's 2013 leaks of top secret documents about the National Security Agency set off an international debate about government surveillance.


Facebook Takes Steps to Combat Extremism

Facebook announced steps to address extreme speech on the social network the day before a Congressional hearing on how Facebook, Google, and Twitter handle violent content. The company began its announcements by saying that it would expand its definition of terrorist organizations, adding that it planned to deploy artificial intelligence to better spot and block live videos of shootings. Facebook also said it would prevent links from the fringe sites 8chan and 4chan from being posted on its platform and it detailed how it would develop an oversight board of at least 11 members to review and oversee content decisions.


Facebook's Suspension of 'Tens of Thousands' of Apps Reveals Wider Privacy Issues

Facebook said in a blog post that it had suspended tens of thousands of apps for improperly sucking up users' personal information and other transgressions, a tacit admission that the scale of its data privacy issues was far larger than it had previously acknowledged. Facebook said that in an investigation it began in March 2018 -- following revelations that Cambridge Analytica, a British consultancy, had retrieved and used people's Facebook information without their permission -- had resulted in the suspension of "tens of thousands" of apps that were associated with about 400 developers. That was far bigger than the last number that Facebook had disclosed of 400 app suspensions in August 2018.


Moroccan Journalist on Trial for an Abortion She Says She Never Had

Moroccan journalist Hajar Raissouni and her fiancée Rifaat al-Amin were arrested on August 31st as they were leaving a gynecologist's office in the Moroccan capital Rabat. They were charged with having sex outside of marriage and an abortion, both crimes in the North African kingdom. The doctor, an anesthesiologist, and an office assistant, have also been charged with performing an abortion. The doctor, however, insists that he did not perform an abortion on Raissouni - he says he treated her after she suffered a blood clot. The arrests have outraged many in Morocco who see this as another example of the government persecuting critical journalists and activists by charging them with moral crimes.


China Unleashed Twitter Trolls to Discredit Hong Kong's Protesters

Beginning last year, a mysterious Twitter account retweeted news, most of it in English, about Roger Federer and the Premier League, and it shared juicy clickbait on Zsa Zsa, an English bulldog that won the 2018 World's Ugliest Dog contest. Then, suddenly, the account began posting, in Chinese, about a different obsession: politics in Hong Kong and mainland China. The account, @HKpoliticalnew, and more than 200,000 other Twitter accounts were part of a sprawling Russian-style disinformation offensive from China, Twitter now says, the first time an American technology giant has attributed such a campaign to the Chinese government. Twitter last month took down nearly 1,000 accounts that it said were part of a state-directed effort to undermine the antigovernment protests in Hong Kong. It also suspended 200,000 other accounts that it said were connected to the Chinese operation but not yet very active. Facebook and YouTube quickly followed suit. All 3 platforms are blocked in mainland China but not in Hong Kong.



Whistle-Blower Complaint Is Said to Involve Trump and Ukraine

A potentially explosive complaint by a whistle-blower in the intelligence community has emerged as the latest front in a continuing oversight dispute between administration officials and House Democrats. While the allegation remains shrouded in mystery, it involves at least one instance of Trump making an unspecified commitment to a foreign leader and at least part of the allegation deals with Ukraine. The complaint, submitted by a member of the intelligence community to its inspector general, renewed questions about how Trump handles delicate matters. Trump defended his actions on Twitter, writing, "I would only do what is right anyway, and only do good for the USA!" Though it is not clear how Ukraine fits into the allegation, questions have already emerged about Trump's dealings with its government. In late July, he told the country's new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, that Ukraine could improve its reputation and its "interaction" with the United States by investigating corruption, according to a Ukrainian government summary of the call. Some of Trump's close allies were also urging the Ukrainian government to investigate matters that could hurt the president's political rivals, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his family.


Pressure to Impeach Trump Builds as He Admits to Discussing Biden With Ukraine

Trump acknowledged that he raised corruption accusations against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. during a phone call with Ukraine's leader, a stunning admission as pressure mounted on Democrats to impeach Trump over allegations he leaned on a foreign government to help damage a political rival. Many Democrats said that the evidence that has emerged in recent days indicating that Trump pushed the Ukrainian government to investigate Biden, and his administration's stonewalling of attempts by Congress to learn more, were changing their calculations about whether to charge him with articles of impeachment.




The Federal Bureau of Investigations Failed to Follow-Up on Kavanaugh Allegations Before Nomination

As the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) began looking into allegations of sexual assault against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings last year, Senator Chris Coons of Delaware wrote to Christopher A. Wray, the FBI director, saying that he had "information relevant" to the inquiry - but the FBI apparently failed to follow up. The letter, sent early last October, has come to light after a forthcoming book by 2 New York Times reporters surfaced a new allegation of sexual impropriety by a young Kavanaugh. In his letter, Coons told Wray that he and his colleagues had heard from several people who wanted to share information about Kavanaugh, but "have had difficulty reaching anybody who will collect their information." Democrats, then and now, argue that the inquiry was insufficient and geared more toward clearing Trump's Supreme Court pick rather than toward uncovering the truth.


Candidates Call for Kavanaugh's Impeachment Amidst College Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Several Democratic presidential candidates have called for the impeachment of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh after The New York Times published new information about allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Trump took to Twitter, accusing news outlets of trying to pressure the justice into taking more liberal positions and suggested that the "Justice Department should come to his rescue." Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote on Twitter: "Like the man who appointed him, Kavanaugh should be impeached." Senator Kamala Harris, a member of the Senate committee that presided over his confirmation hearings, on Twitter echoed the call for impeachment, saying "he was put on the Court through a sham process and his place on the Court is an insult to the pursuit of truth and justice."





Supreme Court Says Judges Are Above Politics

Supreme Court justices insist that politics plays no role in their decision-making. However, their voting patterns and the titanic partisan confirmation battles for seats on the Court tell a different story. Back in 2016, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said "we don't work as Democrats or Republicans," - not long before the start of a successful 10-month Republican blockade of President Barack Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick B. Garland. Several Supreme Court justices have said that they worked much harder to come together in the year that they were short-handed after Justice Antonin Scalia's death, however, political science data tends to demonstrate a significant correlation between judges' political affiliations and their voting.


Secret FBI Subpoenas Scoop Up More Personal Data

Newly released documents show that the FBI has used secret subpoenas to obtain personal data from far more companies than previously disclosed. The requests, which the FBI says are critical to its counterterrorism efforts, have raised privacy concerns for years, but have been associated mainly with tech companies. Now, records show that the practice extends to banks, credit agencies, cellphone carriers, and even universities. The demands can scoop up a variety of information, including usernames, locations, IP addresses, and records of purchases. They don't require a judge's approval and usually come with a gag order, leaving them shrouded in secrecy.


2.9 Billion Birds Have Vanished

Scientists have reported that the number of birds in the United States and Canada has fallen by 29% - about 2.9 billion - since 1970. The analysis, published in the journal Science, is the most exhaustive and ambitious attempt yet to learn what is happening to avian populations. The results have shocked researchers and conservation organizations. Experts have long known that some bird species have become vulnerable to extinction, but the new study, based on a broad survey of more than 500 species, reveals steep losses even among such traditionally abundant birds as robins and sparrows. There are likely many causes, the most important of which include humans - habitat loss and wider use of pesticides.


50,000 G.M. Union Workers Strike

The United Automobile Workers (UAW) regional leaders in Detroit voted unanimously last week to authorize the strike, the union's first such walkout since 2007. The UAW union members organized a strike against General Motors in an effort to improve wages, reopen idled plants, add jobs and narrow the pay difference between new hires and veteran workers.


U.S. Cuts $100 Million in Aid to Afghanistan, Citing Government Corruption

The State Department cut $100 million in aid for Afghanistan as the Trump administration's chief peace negotiator briefed House lawmakers on the failed efforts to strike a deal with the Taliban and wind down the 18-year war. The funding was slated for a hydroelectric project to provide power to the cities of Kandahar and Ghazni in southern and southeastern Afghanistan. The dam project will continue but without the American funds, "given the Afghan government's inability to transparently manage U.S. government resources," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a written statement.


America's Abortion Rate at All Time Low

Abortion in the United States has decreased to record low levels, a decline that may be driven more by increased access to contraception and fewer women becoming pregnant than by the proliferation of laws restricting abortion in some states, according to new research. "Abortion rates decreased in almost every state and there's no clear pattern linking these declines to new restrictions," Elizabeth Nash, senior state policy manager at the Guttmacher Institute, which issued the findings in a report and policy analysis. The institute, which supports abortion rights, periodically compiles abortion data by surveying hospitals and abortion clinics, and by reviewing information from health departments and other sources. The institute estimated that there were about 862,000 abortions in 2017, nearly 200,000 fewer than in 2011. The abortion rate -- the number of abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age -- dropped to 13.5 in 2017 from 16.9 in 2011, the lowest rate since abortion became legal nationwide in 1973.


Former Trump Aide Tells Congress 'I Wasn't Asked to Do Anything Illegal'

Trump's former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, confirmed in Congressional testimony that Trump had once asked him to help curtail the scope of the Russia investigation, possibly obstructing justice. Democrats focused on trying to draw out details about how Trump asked Lewandowski to pressure the attorney general at the time, Jeff Sessions, to diminish the scope of the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. Lewandowski refused to provide new details about his encounters with Trump beyond what the special counsel report documented. A combative Lewandowski also insisted that Trump's request did not amount to "anything illegal."


Guidelines Say No Sweetened Drinks for Children Under 6 Years

A panel of scientists issued new nutritional guidelines for children describing in detail what they should be allowed to drink in the first years of life. The panel said that babies should receive only breast milk or formula; water may be added to the diet at 6 months; infants receiving formula may be switched to cow's milk at 12 months. The guidelines further state that for the first 5 years, children should drink mostly milk and water and should not be given any drink with sugar or other sweeteners, including low-calorie or artificially sweetened beverages, chocolate milk or other flavored milk, caffeinated drinks, and toddler formulas. The guidelines, considered to be the most restrictive yet, were issued by Healthy Eating Research, a nutrition advocacy group, and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The recommendations are likely to be influential, as they were developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Heart Association, and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.


Trump Weighs Retaliation Against Iran and Names National Security Adviser

While speaking with reporters on the tarmac, Trump teetered between hitting back at Iran and maintaining the peace and he also named Robert C. O'Brien, the State Department's chief hostage negotiator, as his national security adviser (Trump's fourth national security adviser in 3 years).


Pentagon Spent $184,000 in 2 Years at Trump Resort

In a letter sent to Congressional investigators, the Defense Department said that it has spent at least $184,000 at the Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland since 2017, as it sent several dozen crews from flights making a refueling stopover to the resort hotel. The spending figure from the Defense Department came after the House Oversight and Reform Committee asked in June about a surge in Air Force flights stopping for refueling at the Glasgow Prestwick Airport in Scotland. Flight crews and passengers from some of those flights spent the night at the Trump Turnberry resort, about 25 miles away. The Defense Department also reported that there was an additional $59,729 in travel charges associated with the Trump Turnberry that could not be tied to actual travel vouchers. The letter did not detail how the additional money was spent, but suggested it could have been on "meals eaten at restaurants while on official travel."


U.S. Orders Duke and the University of North Carolina to Recast Tone in Mideast Studies

In a rare instance of federal intervention in college course content, the Education Department has ordered Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to remake the Middle East studies program run jointly by the 2 schools after concluding that it was offering students a biased curriculum that, among other complaints, did not present enough "positive" imagery of Judaism and Christianity in the region. The department asserted that the universities' Middle East program violated the standards of a federal program that awards funding to international studies and foreign language programs.


Purdue Warns That Sackler Family May Walk From Opioid Deal

Members of the Sackler family could withdraw their pledge to pay $3 billion as part of a nationwide deal to address the opioid crisis if a bankruptcy judge does not block outstanding state lawsuits against them and their company, Purdue Pharma. The $3 billion to be paid over 7 years, plus another contribution the Sacklers would make with the proceeds of the sale of their British drug company, Mundipharma, is a key component of the deal. Their lawyers say that all lawsuits must be resolved. The new complaint, filed in bankruptcy court in White Plains, is aimed at about two dozen states that have not signed on to the settlement and are continuing to pursue cases against both the company and various Sacklers.


Colt to Suspend Production of AR-15 Rifles for Consumers

Gun maker Colt announced that it would effectively suspend production of sporting rifles, including the AR-15, for the civilian market but continue to manufacture rifles for government weapons contracts. In a statement on its website, Colt emphasized that while the company remained "committed to the Second Amendment," the "market for modern sporting rifles has experienced significant excess manufacturing capacity." However, Timothy D. Lytton, an expert on the gun industry at Georgia State University, says Colt's decision is unlikely to make it more difficult for gun buyers to get their hands on powerful semiautomatic weapons because "if there's market demand, I'm sure there are other companies with the capacity to fill it."


California + 23 Other States Sue the Trump Administration in Its Escalating War Over Auto Emissions

California and nearly two dozen other states filed suit against the Trump administration's unprecedented legal reversal of the state's authority to set its own rules on climate-warming tailpipe emissions. Jurisdictions joining the lawsuit include Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Carolina, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, as well as the District of Columbia. The decision could ultimately have wide-ranging repercussions affecting states' control over their own environmental laws, the volume of pollution produced by the United States, and the future of the nation's auto industry.


Manhattan D.A. Orders 8 Years of Trump Tax Returns

State prosecutors in Manhattan have subpoenaed Trump's accounting firm, Mazars USA, to demand 8 years of his personal and corporate tax returns. The subpoena opens a new front in a wide-ranging effort to obtain copies of the tax returns, which Trump initially said he would make public during the 2016 campaign but has since refused to disclose. The subpoena was issued soon after the D.A.'s office opened a criminal investigation into the role that Trump and his family business played in hush-money payments made to Stormy Daniels. Trump and his company reimbursed Michael D. Cohen, Trump's former lawyer and fixer, for money Cohen paid to buy the silence of Daniels, a pornographic film actress who said she had an affair with Trump. In particular, state prosecutors are examining whether the company falsely accounted for the reimbursements as a legal expense. In New York, filing a false business record can be a crime and it can become a felony if prosecutors can prove that the false filing was made to commit or conceal another crime, such as tax violations or bank fraud.


Trump Lawyers Say That He Cannot Be Criminally Investigated

Trump's legal team is trying to block a subpoena seeking 8 years of his tax returns, claiming that any criminal investigation of Trump is unconstitutional. Trump's lawyers argued in the complaint that the Constitution effectively makes sitting presidents immune from all criminal inquiries until they leave the White House. Presidents, they assert, have such enormous responsibility and play a unique role in government that they cannot be subject to the burden of investigations, especially from local prosecutors who may use the criminal process for political gain.


New York Moves to Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that he would pursue emergency regulations to quickly ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. This comes days after Trump announced an effort to ban similar vaping products at the federal level. If New York does outlaw flavored e-cigarettes, it would become the second state to move toward such a ban, following Michigan, which announced earlier this month that it would prohibit such products.


New York City Grants Permission Slip for Students to Participate in Climate Protests - But Teachers Are Barred

New York City announced that public school students could skip classes without penalties to join the youth climate strikes planned around the world on September 20th. The protests, which were held three days ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit, had parents wondering how to word emails to principals requesting excused absences; had teachers wondering how to react and whether to accompany students to the protests; and had some students vowing to protest no matter what. Opponents said Mayor Bill de Blasio was using school attendance policy to promote a political aim. The New York Post's editorial board called the decision "out-and-out government sponsorship of a particular point of view."

Despite the decision allowing students to attend, the city's Education Department ruled that employee participation would violate rules ensuring a "politically neutral learning environment," as would schools that stage their own climate-action walkouts on school property. The guidelines about staff participation state that staff members are allowed to participate in rallies outside school hours. The Education Department opted to share resources with schools to help them plan appropriate climate events in school.



Charges Say U.C.L.A. Seat Cost Woman $400,000 Fee

Prosecutors said a Chinese woman living in Canada had paid $400,000 to bribe her son's way into U.C.L.A., raising the total number of parents accused in the case. The woman, Xiaoning Sui, was arrested by Spanish authorities on Monday night and was being held in Spain, according to the office of Andrew Lelling, the United States attorney for the District of Massachusetts. That office said it would seek her extradition to Boston to face the charges. The charges against Sui bring the number of wealthy parents who have been charged in the fraudulent admissions scheme to 35, a group that includes the Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.


Nobel Peace Laureate Could Face Prosecution

Myanmar's civilian leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate once extolled as a champion of democracy, could face prosecution for crimes against humanity because of the military's attacks on Rohingya Muslims and other minority groups. She was first acclaimed as an icon of the pro-democracy movement in Myanmar, having won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 and endured many years of house arrest. Now she has become an international pariah for her government's response to brutal oppressions by Myanmar's military.


Fires in Indonesia Spur Fears as Amazon Burns

Brazil has captured global attention over deliberately set fires that are burning the Amazon rainforest, often called the earth's lungs. Now thousands of wildfires are burning in Indonesia, most of them set deliberately to clear land for agriculture. The fires are the worst Indonesia has seen in several years, in part because this year has been particularly dry.


Spanish Court Turns Down Extradition Request from U.S., Saying It's Political

Spain rejected a United States request to extradite Hugo Carvajal, the former intelligence chief of Venezuela, saying that the request was politically motivated. The court ruling also said the drug trafficking charges leveled against Carvajal were too "abstract," and lacking sufficient detail. At his extradition hearing earlier this month, Carvajal's lawyers argued that the United States wanted to extradite
Carvajal for "a spurious purpose" -- to make him stand trial for drug trafficking -- while their main goal was to get information from him about President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela.


Photo of Trudeau in "Brownface" Disrupts Canadian Election

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has apologized after a photograph surfaced of him wearing "brownface" makeup at a 2001 private school party. The photograph had been taken when Trudeau, then a 29-year-old teacher, attended an "Arabian Nights" themed costume gala at the West Point Grey Academy in Vancouver, British Columbia. The photograph appeared in the school's 2000-01 yearbook, Time Magazine said, adding that it had obtained a copy of the yearbook, The View, from a Vancouver businessman who first saw the image in July and felt that it should be made public. Trudeau confirmed that he was in the photo and that he was dressed as Aladdin. "This is something I shouldn't have done many years ago," Trudeau said. "It was something that I didn't think was racist at the time, but now I recognize it was something racist to do, and I am deeply sorry." Trudeau further stated "I did not realize at the time how much this hurt minority Canadians, racialized Canadians." Trudeau also admitted to donning blackface on another occasion.




Japan Clears 3 Executives in Meltdown at Tepco Site

A Japanese court acquitted 3 former Tokyo Electric Power Company executives who had been accused of criminal negligence for their roles in the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The verdict makes it likely that no one will be held criminally responsible for one of the worst nuclear accidents in history -- a catastrophe that led to a global backlash against nuclear power and created environmental damage that will haunt Japan for generations to come. Although the ruling has likely cleared it of criminal liability, the company, known as Tepco, still faces civil litigation and the burden of mitigating the continuing harm caused by the meltdown of three reactors at the Daiichi nuclear plant in Fukushima after a huge earthquake and tsunami in 2011.


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