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May 4, 2020

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/Technology and General News:


May the Fourth Be With Disney

Disney ignited controversy on Twitter when it asked for fans to post their favorite Star Wars-related memory but then added a caveat that any tweet mentioning Disney+, the streaming service, and the hashtag #MayThe4th would become property of Disney's and potentially used in its media. Users began firing back, and one asked, referring to Jack Dorsey, Twitter's chief executive, "At what point do you step in and specifically say that hashtags don't belong to anyone?"


Oscars Rule to Allow Films to Skip a Theatrical Release This Year

The Academy Awards, scheduled for February 28, 2021, are going to be different than in previous years. Given the Covid-19 pandemic, the Academy approved new rules, including one that permits "a streaming film" to "skip a theatrical release entirely and still remain eligible for the Academy Awards." There is a caveat as well: "Only films that had a previously planned theatrical release are still eligible for Oscar consideration," which will exclude traditional television-only movies from being considered.



Supreme Court Rules Georgia That Cannot Copyright Entire State Code

The Supreme Court has ruled, in a 5-4 decision, that Georgia cannot copyright its state code and "annotations cannot be copyrighted if they are the official work of state lawmakers." Approximately 20 other states have also claimed "that parts of similar annotated codes are copyrighted," and Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that if they were copyrightable, "then states would be free to offer a whole range of premium legal works for those who can afford the extra benefit. A state could monetize its entire suite of legislative history. With today's digital tools, states might even launch a subscription or pay-per-law service."



Los Angeles Dealers Create Their Own Virtual Gallery

Galleries in Los Angeles have created a new marketing website, galleryplatform.la, and formed a group, Gallery Association Los Angeles, to help dealers throughout the city have a platform to market works. While analysts expect that the art market will not be as explosive as in recent years, the platform will help those with a more moderate budget to buy works and "stay engaged with art", as some galleries have reported not having "a single sale since the lockdown."


Face Masks and Fewer Seats: One Theater Tries Saving Summer

While many theaters have already cancelled their summer seasons, one theater in Massachusetts, the Barrington Stage Company, is attempting a "stripped-down season that combines performances with safety." Many of the shows will be one-person shows, and the theater is planning to remove 70% of the seats with more entrances and exits into the theater.


Alaska School District Votes Out Classics Deemed Too Controversial

In Palmer, Alaska, school board members have "raised concerns about language and sexual references in five books deemed too controversial", including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and The Great Gatsby. According to the board, the books contained "sexually explicit material" and "'anti-white' messaging", as well as "mentions of rape, incest, racial slurs, profanity, and misogyny."


In Seoul, the Art World Gets Back to Business

In South Korea, art galleries have reopened, and they foreshadow what a post-COVID-19 shopping experience for art may resemble in the United States as well: contract tracing and masks. While the South Korean government's approach differs from that in European countries and the United States, the galleries in South Korea's capital, Seoul, have reported that with "government-supplied N95-grade masks for everyone, comprehensive testing, thorough contact tracing of the infected, and immediate isolation of anyone exposed to an infected person," there is little concern of infection given the precautions taken.



U.S. Women's Soccer Team's Equal Pay Claims Dismissed by Judge

In the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Judge R. Gary Klausner has dismissed at the summary judgment stage the claims relating to the women's soccer team's equal pay. He preserved claims relating to "unequal treatment in areas like travel, hotel accommodations, and team staffing," and a trial limited to those issues is scheduled for June 16th, but the equal pay argument was "the heart of the players' case."


Some Sports May Have to Skip This Year, Fauci Says

The leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, has announced that "it might be very difficult for major sports in the United States to return to action this year." The crucial factor for the resuming of sports is "broad access to testing that quickly yields results." Although President Trump has urged sports commissioners to resume play, Fauci noted that, "if you can't guarantee safety, then unfortunately you're going to have to bite the bullet and say, 'We may have to go without this sport for this season.'"


Elite Gymnastics Coach Suspended for Eight Years

Maggie Haney, "an elite gymnastics coach," has been suspended for eight years by U.S.A. Gymnastics after a disciplinary hearing. She had been accused of "verbally abusing and mistreating athletes", such as forcing them "to train through injuries." Following the eight-year suspension, she will have a two-year probationary period after which she may reapply for membership after having completed courses that the United States Center for SafeSport oversees.


Summer Olympics in 2021 'Exceedingly Difficult' Without Coronavirus Vaccine

A prominent Japanese physicians' group is casting doubt about whether the 2021 Summer Olympics may be staged after all, even though they have been pushed to one year after the originally scheduled games. The determining factor may be whether there is an effective vaccine for COVID-19. One doctor noted that without a vaccine, "it would be exceedingly difficult" for the games to be held.



Facebook Restructures Its Security Teams

Facebook has "displaced more than two dozen employees who work on security" as the company continues to grapple with the threat of cyberattacks and other security issues with its platform. There have been cuts in the past two years to its security group, which were "spurred by infighting and long-running issues within the department." A company spokeswoman noted that Facebook is "investing more in automated detection and bringing in new skills."


With Little Hesitation, Struggling News Outlets Accept Federal Aid

Struggling news outlets have taken millions of dollars from the Paycheck Protection Program, and editors and publishers generally have said that "they see no real conflict of interest." The program is intended to help small business, which is defined as with 500 or fewer employees, and many smaller newspapers have had struggling finances for years leading up to the pandemic.


Europe's Privacy Law Hasn't Shown Its Teeth, Frustrating Advocates

When the General Data Protection Regulation was proposed in Europe, it was "heralded as a model to crack down on the invasive, data-hungry practices of the world's largest technology companies," but, two years later, the law has failed to achieve the hopes set for it. Thus far, it has not had the impact desired, as there has been "a lack of enforcement, poor funding, limited staff resources, and stalling tactics by the tech companies, according to budget and staffing figures and interviews with government officials."


Setback for Harry and Meghan in Legal Battle with U.K. Tabloids

On Sunday, a judge ruled that The Mail "would not be judged on whether it had acted dishonestly in publishing a letter from the Duchess of Sussex to her father, Thomas Markle." The case represented a move by Prince Harry and Meghan to fight back against the invasive British tabloids who had "stirred up conflict" and "published offensive and intrusive articles about the duchess." An article about this will appear in the upcoming Spring issue of the EASL Journal.


General News

The COVID-19 Pandemic Continues to Plague the United States and Europe as Reopening Becomes Closer

With the economy in the United States and Europe facing months of recovery and unemployment claims now topping 20 million in the United States alone, many people are prepared for a prolonged recession and recovery. Others have taken to protesting at their respective state capitals based on their governors extending stay-at-home orders and maintaining that non-essential businesses remain closed. Regardless, health experts have continued to state that widespread reopening is not safe until there is much greater access to testing, personal protective equipment, and contact tracing. Squabbling over the existing stimulus money for businesses is likely to continue, even if Congress proposes additional programs to relieve the stress of the pandemic.

Congress is likely to return to its session within the coming weeks, and is facing pressure to deliver another boost to the economy, small businesses, and the unemployed. The federal response to the pandemic has faced significant scrutiny, with various governments criticizing others': the Chinese government has accused the United States of disinformation and vice versa; the federal government has implied that hospitals and states should have done more to prepare for the pandemic and vice versa. With the United States the epicenter of the pandemic and continuing to face a high daily death toll, tragic scenes have played out with businesses closing and funeral homes and morgues unable to manage in places like New York City.

It is widely expected that the summer and fall will look drastically different than usual, even as testing continues to grow. Universities are seeing many students defer enrollment, and it is likely that classes will remain remote or reduced in size when the fall semester starts. Voting by mail has gained momentum, but it remains unclear what impact the pandemic may have on the presidential election in the fall.







































Supreme Court Dismisses Challenge to New York City Gun Ordinance

The Supreme Court has found a Second Amendment case to be moot after New York City repealed the challenged regulation. The case would have been the first Second Amendment case in nearly 10 years, and in a dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a 31-page decision claiming that the case was not moot and "that the regulation flatly violated the Court's Second Amendment precedents."


Supreme Court Rules for Insurers in $12 Billion Obamacare Case

In an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court has sided with insurers in ruling that "the government must shield insurers from losses under the Affordable Care Act." Justice Sonia Sotomayor authored the majority decision and said that it vindicated "a principal as old as the nation itself: The government should honor its obligations." The Affordable Care Act includes a provision promising insurers that they are protected and that it is not contingent on Congress appropriating money to cover the shortfalls.


Court Hears Case Regarding Subpoena and Border Wall

The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has heard arguments in two cases involving disputes between the House of Representatives and the Trump administration with the fundamental question yet to be decided: "May a chamber of Congress sue the executive branch?" It is likely that however the matter is decided, there will be an appeal to the Supreme Court, "given the long-term constitutional stakes", which involve whether the House may enforce a subpoena as related to a "former White House lawyer and spending on a border wall."


Detroit Students Have Constitutional Right to Literacy, Court Rules

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has ruled that the State of Michigan "had been so negligent toward the educational needs of Detroit students that children had been 'deprived of access to literacy'" in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The decision is the first one in decades that determined that "a federal court has declared that American public school students have a constitutional right to an adequate education."


Trump Appointees Manipulated Agency's Payday Lending Research

An ex-staffer at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has claimed that Trump's appointees there "had manipulated the agency's research process to justify altering a 2017 rule that would have sharply curtailed high-interest payday loans." The appointees allegedly pressured "staff economists to water down their findings on payday loans and use statistical gimmicks to downplay the harm consumers would suffer if the payday restrictions were repealed."


The Marine Corps Battles for Its Identity, Over Women in Boot Camp

The Marine Corps has faced scrutiny for keeping men and women separate during recruit training, and it represents a "last stand" for the military branch, which critics have called "slow to move toward gender integration." Some see it as a "last stand" and others "an attempt to keep at bay a changing American society that threatens the very fabric of a force that regards itself as the nation's toughest."


Latest Tactic to Push Migrants From Europe: A Private, Clandestine Fleet

The government of Malta has attempted to stop the maritime migration from Africa to Europe, and it has deployed a fleet of "private merchant vessels" to "intercept migrants at sea and return them by force to a war zone in Libya." The fleet is privately owned, but the boats are acting "on the instructions of the Armed Forces of Malta." Maritime experts have said that the tactic is "among the most egregious" because it involves "a designated flotilla of private vessels" acting in waters that "fall within the responsibility of European coast guards."


In Victory for Women in Sudan, Female Genital Mutilation Is Outlawed

A new law in Sudan "criminalizes genital cutting, a harmful practice that nine in 10 Sudanese women are said to have endured," but some have warned that the new law alone will not eliminate the practice. The law creates a penalty of three years in prison and a fine, but experts have noted that the practice is "enmeshed with cultural and religious beliefs, considered a pillar of tradition and marriage, and supported by women as well as men."


Chinese Coffee Chain's Scandal Renews U.S. Calls for Oversight

A Chinese competitor to Starbucks, Luckin Coffee, once sought to compete with Starbucks in China, but its implosion, and the circumstances surrounding that implosion, have "bolstered the cause of American politicians aiming to stop opaque Chinese companies from raising money in the United States. Luckin Coffee had raised billions of dollars, with over half a billion coming from Wall Street, but an accounting fraud revealed that the company did not have the money or assets that it represented to investors. Congressional aides have argued that federal regulators should put a law in place that require transparency from companies, so that a future Luckin Coffee may be detected.


May 5, 2020

Copyright Office Extends Timing Adjustments for Persons Affected by the COVID-19 Emergency

The Acting Register of Copyrights is extending the temporary adjustments to certain timing provisions under the Copyright Act for persons affected by the COVID-19 national emergency. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act authorizes the Register to temporarily adjust statutory deadlines for copyright owners and other affected parties if she determines that a national emergency declared by the President is generally disrupting the normal operation of the copyright system. Under this authority, the Copyright Office has announced adjustments relating to certain registration claims, notices of termination, and section 115 notices of intention and statements of account.

These emergency modifications originally were set to expire on May 12, 2020. Because, however, the disruptions caused by the national emergency remain in effect, the Acting Register is extending them for up to an additional sixty days, or through July 10, 2020. For further details, please visit the Office's Coronavirus page.

The Copyright Office Public Information Office is available for questions through our website at copyright.gov/help/ or by phone at (202) 707-3000 or 1-877-476-0778 (toll-free).

For more information on COVID-19 generally, please visit coronavirus.gov, CDC.gov/coronavirus, and USA.gov/coronavirus.

May 8, 2020

Executive Order Temporarily Extending Statute of Limitations

From the NYSBA:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has extended his executive order for another 30 days that temporarily tolls all statutes of limitations during the coronavirus public health crisis.

The latest order extends through June 6. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-20228-continuing-temporary-suspension-and-modification-laws-relating-disaster-emergency)

Cuomo's order tolls "any specific time limit for the commencement, filing, or service of any legal action, notice, motion, or other process or proceeding, as prescribed by the procedural laws of the state, including but not limited to the criminal procedure law, the family court act, the civil practice law and rules, the court of claims act, the surrogate's court procedure act, and the uniform court acts, or by any other statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule, or regulation, or part thereof."

In March, the New York State Bar Association urged the governor to act on what was then a bill proposing such an order.

Cuomo's latest executive order also extended his previous order pertaining to remote witnessing, which clarifies the requirements needed to allow the remote signings of such documents as deeds, wills, power of attorney forms and healthcare proxies.

Suspension of the provisions of any time limitations contained in the Criminal Procedure Law from an earlier executive order was also modified by the governor to provide that:

Section 182.30 would not prohibit the use of electronic appearances for certain pleas;
Section 180.60 would allow that all parties' appearances at the hearing, including the defendant, may be by means of an electronic appearance, and the court may - for good cause shown - withhold the identity or image of and/or disguise the voice of any witness testifying at the hearing pursuant to a motion under 245.70 of the Criminal Procedure law;
Section 180.80 would require that a court must satisfy itself that good cause has been shown within 140 hours from May 8, 2020 that a defendant should continue to be held on a felony complaint due to the inability to impanel a grand jury due to COVID-19;
Section 190.80 to require that a court must satisfy itself that good cause has been shown that a defendant should continue to be held on a felony complaint beyond 45 days due to the inability to impanel a grand jury due to COVID-19 provided the defendant has been provided a preliminary hearing under Section 180.80.
These changes permit felony pleas by videoconference (all by Skype for Business) and open up the preliminary felony hearing process to those arrested on felony charges awaiting grand jury action. This will impact attorneys on the assigned counsel panels, especially in the New York City area, who will now be making virtual court appearances for hearings.

Lastly, Cuomo announced yesterday that the state's moratorium on coronavirus-related residential or commercial evictions will be extended for an additional 60 days until August 20, and that the state is banning late payments or fees for missed rent payments during the eviction moratorium and allowing renters facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 to use their security deposit as payment and repay their security deposit over time.

May 11, 2020

Week In Review

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

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


Second Circuit Upholds Dismissal of Copyright Suit Against Jerry Seinfeld Over "Comedians in Cars" Series

The Second Circuit has affirmed the Southern District of New York's (SDNY's) grant of the defendants' motion to dismiss in a copyright case regarding the ownership of the pilot episode of the show "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee." The Court agreed that the plaintiff's claims are time-barred because they accrued in 2012. Plaintiff did not sue until 6 years later, which is past the 3-year statute of limitation. The Court cites authority stating that an ownership claim accrues only once when a reasonably diligent plaintiff would have discovered that ownership was disputed. It found that the central issue is clearly a dispute over ownership, as opposed to a dispute over whether subsequent iterations of the show make use of the material in the script for the pilot. Therefore, the infringement claim is time-barred because the ownership claim is time-barred.


Everly v. Everly Copyright Case

In 1960, the Everly Brothers recorded, released, and copyrighted "Cathy's Clown" and 2 other songs, granting the copyrights to Acuff-Rose. The original copyrights listed Phil and Don as authors; both received royalties. The question before the court was when Phil in 1980 granted his ownership rights to Don in the hit song, did Don expressly repudiate Phil's status as a co-author of the song? Or did Phil retain his rights as a co-author? Phil's heirs have sought to terminate the 1980 agreement between the brothers. The district court granted Don's motion for summary judgment, finding the claim of Phil's heirs to authorship was barred by the Copyright Act's 3-year statute of limitations. The lower court concluded that Don expressly repudiated Phil's authorship right to no later than 2011, when Don filed his notice of termination of the 1960 Grant, thus triggering the statute of limitations. The Sixth Circuit has reversed, finding a genuine dispute of fact as to whether Don expressly repudiated Phil's authorship. The Court distinguished repudiation of ownership from repudiation of authorship. The Sixth Circuit sought to further the policies of the Copyright Act's termination provision.


A Setback for Quincy Jones on Payment for Michael Jackson Film

A California appellate court rejected most of the $9.4 million that Quincy Jones was awarded by a jury in 2017 after he claimed that he had been shortchanged on record sale royalties by Michael Jackson's production company. Jones produced much of Jackson's music, including the hit albums "Off the Wall" and "Thriller." A jury in Los Angeles County Superior Court found that Jones had been underpaid for his share of royalties for the use of music in the posthumous Jackson film "This Is It" and denied other profits to which he was entitled. However, a panel of the Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles said that the judge who handled the trial had erred in allowing jurors to interpret producer agreements and then issue awards in 2 specific categories, as that is solely a judicial function. The panel reversed a reward of $5,315,787 in royalties on record sales and licenses. It also reversed an award of $1,574,128 for fees that Jones would have received if the production company had given him the right of first opportunity to remix Jackson's master recordings. The panel allowed about $2.5 million in damages to stand.


Filmmaker Who Lampooned Egypt's President Dies in Jail

A young filmmaker who worked on a music video that mocked Egyptian president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has died in an Egyptian prison after being imprisoned without trial for more than 2 years. Shady Habash, 24, died inside Cairo's infamous Tora prison complex from "health issues not yet specified." His detention and death represent a stark reminder of the growing number of young people at risk inside Egypt's sprawling prison system. Many are detained for their work as artists, making dissenting statements against Sisi's rule or for no charge at all. There is growing concern over unsanitary and unsafe detentions, reflecting fears about the spread of COVID-19 in prisons around the world. The Egyptian authorities have been criticized for widespread and deadly medical neglect of prisoners. This case also highlights rising concerns about the lack of due process in Egypt.



Helping Black Artists, But at What Price?

A new lawsuit accuses a gallery of taking advantage of painters. Artists are claiming that George N'Namdi, one of the only black art dealers, along with his son and their related companies, cheated them and profited off of their vulnerability. In a lawsuit touching on issues of race, loyalty, and a lack of transparency in the art world, artist Howardena Pindell is seeking the return of 20 works of art from the N'Namdis, along with 3 works from a Texas-based collector, Arthur Primas, and punitive damages of "no less than" $500,000. The lawsuit was filed in January in the SDNHY and amended on April 21, alleging that accounts of sales and inventory, if provided at all, were willfully misleading and inaccurate, payments were not timely if received at all, and the identity of purchasers, as required by law, was not provided. The N'Namdis intend to move to dismiss the claims. Pindell is one of a growing number of black artists who have lately seen a surge of attention from museums, collectors, and critics after decades of neglect. They all exhibited early on with George N'Namdi. In a case that could strengthen protections for artists, it alleges that Al Loving, Herbert Gentry, and their estates also "publicly expressed their difficulties" with the galleries.


Amid Beeping Machines, Bach Wafts From iPhones

Staff at New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital have begun playing music from accomplished performers--recently out-of-work chamber music players; winners of international competitions and prizes; teachers at prestigious music schools--for the coronavirus patients who struggle to survive in isolation. The musicians perform from California, Kentucky, Maine, Virginia, Massachusetts, and New York, wherever they are sheltered in space. The musicians are hoping to offer a brief moment of comfort or distraction or beauty. The Allen Hospital serves a community that is largely low income and minority, on which the toll has been particularly devastating.


Metropolitan Opera to Furlough Dozens

The Metropolitan Opera (Met) has announced that it will furlough dozens of administrators. Due to financial woes, the Met would furlough 41 members of its administrative staff and 11 others will be cut to part-time hours. The furloughed workers will receive 2 weeks pay and retain their health benefits. General Manager Gelb has said that the magnitude of the long-term damage--the immediate and long-term effects of the health crisis on the performing arts--seem graver and more challenging than they appear, and this was a hard decision that needed to be made.


Museum Creates Diversity Fund In Response to Claims of Racism

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston plans to set up a $500,000 fund for diversity and inclusion initiatives under an agreement with Attorney General Maura Healey's office, following a 2019 incident in which a group of black middle school students said that they had been subjected to racist comments while on a field trip there.


Kennedy Center Cancels Summer Lineup

The Kennedy Center announced that it is cancelling or postponing all performances scheduled through August 9 due to the spread of coronavirus.


Bankruptcy Is Expected for J. Crew

J. Crew has filed for bankruptcy, making it the first major retailer to fall prey to the pandemic. The company was forced to close 500 stores and furlough all but 2,000 of its 13,000 employees. Other companies are very likely to go under in these times. The company filed for Chapter 11, which allows a debt-laden company to reorganize and stay in business. Gold's Gym has also filed to bankruptcy, with apparently Neiman Marcus and JCPenney also in discussions with to lenders about a bankruptcy filing.


L Brands and Buyer Agree to Scrap a Deal to Acquire Victoria's Secret

L Brands Inc. and Sycamore Partners have agreed to scrap their plans to take Victoria's Secret private, dropping a pact that was reached just weeks before coronavirus forced the lingerie retailer to shut its stores. Last month, L Brands and Sycamore traded lawsuits after the private-equity firm sought to break the deal. The 2 have agreed to walk away and end the litigation. L Brands said that it still plans to split itself into 2 parts and that its longtime leader Les Wexner will step down as chief executive.



Ohio State Pays $41 Million to Settle Sex Abuse Claims

Ohio State University will pay about $41 million to settle a dozen lawsuits by 162 men alleging decades-old sexual abuse and mistreatment by a team doctor, Richard Strauss. About 350 former athletes and other men had sued the school for failing to stop the late doctor despite concerns raised during his tenure. The men can't confront Strauss, who died in 2005. No one has publicly defended him. The money will come from Ohio State's discretionary funding, not tuition or taxpayer or donor money.


U.F.C. Makes Return (Minus a Few Staples)

Last Saturday night, in a nearly empty arena in Jacksonville, Florida, U.F.C. 249 made the world's biggest mixed martial arts organization the first major North American sport ot return from an industrywide shutdown amid the coronavirus pandemic. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared pro sports an essential industry when issuing a stay-at-home order last month. With no competition from Major League Baseball (MLB) or from hockey and basketball playoffs, U.F.C. is positioned for big viewership win.


Proposal Would Give Pro Team Sports, and Las Vegas, a Way Back

MGM Resorts International, in hard-hit Las Vegas, has proposed audacious plans to the leagues to come back in a quarantined environment. Sports leagues are desperate for a safe way to start playing games again. Las Vegas has tens of thousands of empty hotel rooms and a tourism-based economy that has been wracked by the coronavirus pandemic. MGM has pitched several sports leagues, including the National Basketball Association, the Womens National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, and Major League Soccer, an audacious proposal to house their athletes and necessary support staff to hold their seasons on a quarantined block on the Las Vegas Strip. The athletes would be joined by their families, league, and broadcast media employees, as well as the staff and vendors needed to serve them, with access to lounges, spas, restaurants, and all other perks the resorts offer. Most league executives have been publicly noncommittal about their plans.


Head of the Women's Tennis Association Adds His Support for a Merger

Women's Tennis Association (WTA) chief Steve Simon has said that a merger with the men's Association of Tennis Professionals "makes all the sense in the world", but that it would not take the form of "an acquisition." The tennis season was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic and the hiatus will continue at least until mid-July, depriving lower-level players who depend solely on tournament winnings of the chance to earn to a living. Some top WTA players have said that they want an equal standing for the women players in a combined body. A merger of the Tours could simplify television contracts and sponsorship deals.


No Fans. No Food. No High-Fives. Play Ball!

With sports events canceled across much of the world because of the coronavirus pandemic, Taiwan, which has so far kept the outbreak under control, is pushing forward with the rarest of spectacles: A professional baseball season. Sports officials are adapting the game by filling the stands with fake spectators instead of real ones, stocking locker rooms with bottles of sanitizer, and urging players and coaches to keep a distance. Players are encouraged to bump elbows rather than give each other high-fives. The restrictions have sucked some of the life out of the game, giving high-stakes matches the feel of everyday practice. The noise on a the field paled in comparison to the typical atmosphere at games in Taiwan, where baseball has been a part of the culture for more than a century, since the days of Japanese colonial rule.



Sinclair Fined $48 Million By the Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communications Commission "FCC" has fined Sinclair a record $48 million for deceptive bid for Tribune Stations, making this the largest civil fine in the federal agency's history. Sinclair agreed to the fine and entered into a consent decree to close 3 separate FCC ongoing investigations. Sinclair owns and operates more than 190 stations across the country, making it one of the nation's largest players in local TV. It sought to become even more dominant by taking over Tribune Media. The FCC blocked that bid in July 2018, saying that the company sought to deceive regulators in selling off stations in markets where it would control multiple properties. The buyers were 2 companies to which Sinclair's founding family had deep and longstanding ties. Tribune Media sued Sinclair later that summer.


With Push From Trump, Senate Moves to Install Conservative at U.S. Media Agency

Senate Republican leaders, under pressure from President Trump to install an ally who would dictate more favorable news coverage of his administration, are moving swiftly to confirm a conservative filmmaker to lead the independent agency in charge of state-funded media outlets.


A Fresh Generation Transforms News Unions

Cheered on by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others, a new generation is making gains on everything from layoff protections to gender-neutral pronouns. Nobody pays much attention to labor union elections, and the recent NewsGuild elections marked a little-noticed but powerful generation shift that is changing the culture inside newsrooms. These millennial leaders' experiences differed sharply from those of the veteran newspaper men who had long run the unions. Their sensibility was shaped not only by social media but the progressive political moment. Journalists started to see themselves as "workers" rather than "professionals." They lost faith in a single, supposedly objective, typically white and male point of view, and their message has been overwhelmingly embraced by newsrooms. The NewsGuild and its rival, the Writers Guild of America, East, have won virtually every organizing battle they've taken on, including some in Southern states with anti-union laws.


Facebook Names Board to Monitor Content

Facebook has announced the first 20 members of its Oversight Board, which is an independent body that can overturn the company's own content moderation decisions. The Board will begin hearing cases in the coming months. It will govern appeals from Facebook and Instagram users and questions from Facebook itself, although it admitted that it will have to pick and choose which content moderation cases to take, due to the sheer volume of them. Facebook announced the Board's formation in 2018. The members are a globally diverse group with lawyers, journalists, human rights advocates, and other academics. Notable members include Alan Rusbridger, former editor in chief of The Guardian newspaper, Andras Sajo, a former judge and VP of the European Court of Human Rights, and Helle Thorning-Schmidgt, a former Prime Minister of Denmark is one of the four co-chairs.


Trump Finagles a Seat at Mr. Lincoln's Feet

Citing the extraordinary circumstance of the coronavirus crisis, Trump has a federal law prohibiting events inside the Lincoln Memorial waived so he could stage a Fox TV coronavirus-focused virtual "town hall."


U.S. Escalates Media War with Beijing

New 90-day limits on work visas for Chinese journalists followed Beijing's expulsion of American journalists and raised the threat of further retaliation by the Chinese government.


Newspapers in Britain Struggle with Fewer Ads But More Readers

Heavily dependent on advertising and circulation, local and regional newspapers in the U.K. could face financial ruin as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Hundreds of journalists have been put on leave. More than 50 small and regional publications have temporarily suspended producing their print or online products. For those still printing, some communities are depending on volunteers to deliver newspapers. For many, cash has all but stopped coming in. Advertising revenues have dwindled to near zero for many publications, leaving the print copies a skeleton of what they used to be. In the U.K., where home delivery subscriptions are less common than in the U.S., newspapers rely more heavily on street sales, and many newsstands and other stores are closed. Although traffic to newspapers' websites is higher than normal, relatively few have paywalls to collect digital subscriptions.


TV Giant in Philippines is Closed By Government

The leading broadcast network in the Philippines went off the air under government order last Tuesday, sparking shock over the loss of a major news provider during the coronavirus pandemic and accusations of targeting a presidential critic. The National Telecommunications Commission ordered ABS-CBN Corp. to stop operating after its 25-year congressional franchise ended last Monday. The network's application for renewal has been pending in Congress, which is controlled by President Rodrigo Duterte's allies, but hearings have been delayed, in part by a coronavirus lockdown. ABS-CBN is one of the country's oldest and most influential networks. Government officials denied that the closure was a press freedom issue.


General News

Supreme Court to Hear Cases By Telephone

For the first time in its 230-year history, the Court offered a live audio stream of an oral argument, going far beyond its usual protocol and giving advocates of greater transparency hope it will become a trend. The justices selected a rather technical case to begin its 2 weeks of telephone oral arguments necessitated by the pandemic, whether the hotel reservation website Bookings.com can trademark its name. It also wasn't the usual case, because the lawyers for both sides were women, who make up only a small percentage of the Court's advocates. For decades, the Court ignored most of the technological and transparency advancements adopted by other branches of government. Even as lower federal and state courts began livestreaming and broadcasting sessions for public consumption, the Supreme Court remained cloistered.


Justices Throw Out Convictions in 'Bridgegate', But Find Abuses

The Supreme Court has thrown out the convictions of 2 key players in the so-called Bridgegate case that rocked the administration of former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. A former Christie aide and the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the George Washington Bridge, were found guilty in 2016 after a jury determined that they had shut down 2 of 3 lanes leading to the bridge, resulting in a monumental traffic jam in Fort Lee, New Jersey. In a unanimous opinion by Justice Elana Kagan, the Court said that federal prosecutors wrongly charged the 2 officials with violating laws that target fraudulent schemes for obtaining property. Realigning the bridge traffic was an exercise of regulatory power, not an attempt to get money or property, according to the Court. The brief opinion was a complete rejection of the prosecution's theory of the case.


Supreme Court Hears Arguments Tying a Pledge to AIDS Grants

In the roughly hour-long session, the justices heard arguments in a dispute over whether a condition for federal funding imposed on organizations fighting HIV/AIDS abroad is constitutional. Justice Elena Kagan, a former solicitor general, is recused from the case. Congress passed a law in 2003 known as the U.S. Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Act, which included the condition that nongovernmental organizations receiving funds under the law must "have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking." In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled 6-2 that the policy requirement for U.S.-based organizations violates the First Amendment. Now the justices are asked to determine whether the government can apply the funding conditions to affiliates of U.S.-based groups incorporated overseas. A federal district court ruled applying the funding requirement to those foreign affiliates is unconstitutional, and the Second Circuit agreed.


White House Asks Justices to Keep Mueller Grand Jury Secrets Hidden From House

The Trump administration has asked the Supreme Court to temporarily halt an appeals court ruling that would force the Justice Department to hand over to Congress secret grand jury materials produced in connection with former special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe. Solicitor General Noel Francisco wrote in a brief with the top Court that allowing the lower court ruling to stand would require the government to disclose the materials. He wrote that the March decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit created "substantial constitutional difficulties." The request is the latest to thrust the justices into the middle of a partisan fight between Democrats and Republicans. The 9-member court has a 5-4 conservative majority, including 2 of Trump's own appointees.


Supreme Court Considers Latest Challenge to a Contraceptive Mandate

The justices considered whether the Trump administration may allow employers to refuse to provide free insurance coverage for birth control on religious or moral grounds.


Ginsburg Has Gallbladder Procedure

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been released from the hospital, following a non-surgical procedure related to a benign gallbladder condition. The Justice will return to The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, for follow-up outpatient visits over the next few weeks to eventually remove the gallstone non-surgically. According to the Court's office of public information, Ginsburg, 87, was hospitalized to undergo treatment for acute cholecystitis.


Trump Pick Among Judges Opposing Ban on Joining Conservative Group

Judge Justin Walker joined a bevy of judges, many appointees of the president, in railing against an ethics proposal on the Federalist Society.


U.S. Unemployment is Worse Since Depression

20.5 million people lost their jobs in April, the Labor Department said last Friday. The U.S. unemployment rate jumped to 14.7% in April, the highest level since the Great Depression, as many businesses shut down or severely curtailed operations to try to limit the spread of the deadly coronavirus.


All 98 Environmental Rules the Trump Administration is Revoking or Rolling Back

Trump promised to deregulate environmental and climate policies, and he's delivered. Using the Congressional Review Act, 64 rules have been reversed and 34 are in progress. The majority of rollbacks have been carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These rollbacks haven't occurred without a fight. The National Resources Defense Council has taken the EPA to court 65 times and won 60 of its cases. The group has filed 107 lawsuits against the U.S. government's rollbacks.


White House Blocks Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Reopening Guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created a detailed document with recommendation for how schools, religious institutions, and businesses might safely reopen, but the White House reportedly suppressed that guidance. Top White House officials suppressed guidelines from public health experts on reopening the economy for weeks, and only ordered the approval of parts of that guidance after reports exposed the delay. The document was meant to help nonessential businesses as states begin to relax coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions. However, the Trump administration quashed the guidance on April 30, saying that CDC Director Robert Redfield had not approved it and that it had not been vetted through the interagency reviewer process.


Senate Fails in Push to Curb Trump's War Power

President Trump called the measure to curb his military authority "insulting" and accused Democrats of playing politics. The Senate fell short of overriding Trump's veto of a war powers resolution that would limit his ability to initiate military action against Iran without Congressional authorization, despite garnering bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress. In a 49-44 vote, supporters in the GOP-led chamber were unable to reach the two-thirds backing, or 67 senators, needed to overturn the president's veto of a resolution sponsored by Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia. While a rare move, it's the second time in a year that Congress has voted to rein in the president's powers related to military force.


Adviser's Quest to Tie Diseases to Immigrants

The president's chief adviser on immigration, Stephen Miller, had long tried to halt migration based on public health, without success. Then came the coronavirus. He has repeatedly tried to use an obscure law designed to protect the nation from diseases overseas as a way to tighten the borders. He pushed for invoking the president's broad public health powers in 2019, when an outbreak of mumps spread through immigration detention facilities in 6 states. On some occasions, Miller and the president were talked down by cabinet secretaries and lawyers who argued that the public health situation at the time did not provide sufficient legal basis for such a proclamation. That changed with the pandemic. Within days of the confirmation of first case in the U.S., the White House shut American land borders to nonessential travel, closing the door to almost all migrants, including children and teenagers who arrived at the border with no parents or other adult guardians. Other international travel restrictions were also introduced, as well as a pause on green card processing.


U.S. Quietly Fears That Virus's Daily Toll Will Soon Double

An internal Trump administration model projects a near-doubling of daily coronavirus deaths by June 1 as the nation begins to reopen, as well as a rapid rise in daily infections. His administration is privately projecting a steady rise in coronavirus infections and deaths over the next several weeks, reaching about 3,000 daily deaths on June 1. The projections, based on data collected by various agencies, including the CDC, and laid out in an internal document obtained by The New York Times, forecast about 200,000 new cases each day by the end of May, up from about 30,000 cases now. There are currently about 1,750 deaths per day. Others forecasting these changes say the increase partly reflects "changes in mobility and social distancing policies.


Cases Could Soar as Evidence Shows That Children Can Transmit Virus

Fewer children seem to get infected by the virus than adults, and most of those who do have mild symptoms, if any. Yet one of the most important unanswered questions about COVID-19 is what role do children play in keeping the pandemic going? The answer is key to deciding whether and when to reopen schools, a step that President Trump urged states to consider before the summer. Two new studies offer compelling evidence that children can transmit the virus. Neither proved it, but the evidence was strong enough to suggest that schools should be kept closed for now, said many epidemiologists who were not involved in the research.


Mystery Illness Linked to Virus Claims 3 Children in New York and Sickens 73 Others

An initial survey by the New York State (NYS) Department of Health has found 64 cases of children presenting new pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome likely linked to COVID-19. NYS issued an advisory on the syndrome and its potential association with COVID-19 in children. It was sent to all healthcare facilities, clinical labs, and local health departments to inform providers of the condition as well as to provide testing and reporting guidance. Any suspected cases in individuals under the age of 21 must be reported to the NYS Department of Health. The inflammatory syndrome has features that overlap with Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome may occur days to weeks after acute COVID-19 illness. Early recognition by pediatricians and referral to a specialist including to critical care is essential. The mysterious syndrome has killed 3 young children in New York and sickened 73 others so far.



Are Antibodies the Way Back? The Research is Mixed

The fundamental mystery to solve is how people develop immunity, the key to which will be testing for antibodies in the blood. Identifying antibodies will help inform contact tracing; determine the effectiveness of vaccines; and clarify who may be susceptible to re-infection, and at what point, and why. Antibody tests have begun rolling out across the country, to much fanfare. Last week, New York Governor Cuomo announced an "aggressive" deployment of tests and early numbers have suggested that about 15% of people in the state have antibodies to the coronavirus. Some pundits have implied that high rates of antibodies mean that cities could reopen quickly. Some take the apparently high number of asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 to mean the disease is not that bad and that social-distancing measures have proved to be an overreaction. This is false hope, going beyond what science can yet say. The basics of immunity have suddenly been politicized to the point that they seem much more confusing than they actually are.


Coronavirus Becomes the Latest Battle Cry for U.S. Extremist Groups

White supremacists seek to stoke the fear and disruption caused by the pandemic to push their agenda to recruit. America's extremists are attempting to turn the coronavirus pandemic into a potent recruiting tool both in the deep corners of the internet and on the streets of state capitals by twisting the public health crisis to bolster their white supremacist, anti-government agendas. April is typically a busy month for white supremacists, but this April the coronavirus wreaked havoc on society and became the extremists' battle cry. Extremists spread disinformation on the transmission of the virus and disparage stay-at-home orders as "medical martial law"--the long-anticipated advent of a totalitarian state. New research indicates a significant jump in people consuming extremist material while under lockdown. Various violent incidents have been linked to white supremacist or anti-government perpetrators enraged over aspects of the pandemic.


Food Banks to Get Glut Being Saved From Farms

While millions of Americans are worried about having enough to eat and lines at food banks grow, farmers have been plowing under vegetable fields, dumping milk, and smashing eggs that cannot be sold because the coronavirus pandemic has shut down restaurants, hotels, and schools. The destruction of fresh food on such a scale has prompted action by the Trump administration and state governments, as well as grass-roots efforts, like a group of college students who are renting trucks to rescue unsold onions and eggs from farms. However, they most likely won't be enough to address the problem if businesses remain closed for months. Over the next few weeks, the Department of Agriculture will begin spending $300 million a month to buy surplus vegetables, fruit, milk, and meat from distributors and ship them to food banks. The federal grants will also subsidize boxing up the purchases and transporting them to charitable groups--tasks that farmers have said they cannot afford, giving them few options other than to destroy the food.


FEMA Supply Effort Tangled by Kushner Team

Young, inexperienced workers scrambled to sort through tips on equipment desperately needed to fight the coronavirus while warehouses ran bare and doctors made their own gear. The volunteers, foot soldiers in the Trump administration's new supply-chain task force, had little to no experience with government procurement procedures or medical equipment. Yet they were put in charge of sifting through more than a thousand incoming leads and told to pass only the best ones on for further review by FEMA officials. Many of the volunteers were told to prioritize tips from political allies and associates of President Trump. The fumbling search for new supplies--heralded by Trump and Jared Kushner as a way to pipe private-sector hustle and accountability into the hidebound federal bureaucracy--became a case study of Trump's style of governing, in which personal relationships and loyalty are often prized over governmental expertise, and private interests are granted extraordinary access and deference.


Nominee to Oversee Bailout Money Says He Won't Bow to White House

Brian D. Miller, the White House lawyer tapped to oversee the Treasury Department's $500 billion bailout, said he would not be influenced by political pressure. He has vowed to be fair and impartial in his efforts to combat misuse of the bailout money, telling a Senate committee that he would resign if the White House pressured him to overlook wrongdoing. Lawmakers created the inspector general role to oversee disbursement of the huge sums of money that the government is quickly rolling out to bail out businesses that are battered by the coronavirus crisis.


Whistle-Blower Describes Clashes and 'Cronyism' in Administration Response

Rick Bright, the ousted chief of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency, said he was pressured to steer millions of dollars to the clients of a well-connected consultant. Dr. Bright said in a formal whistle-blower complaint that he had been protesting "cronyism" and contract abuse since 2017. Dr. Bright has said that he was retaliated against by his superiors, who pushed him out because of "his efforts to prioritize science and safety over political expediency. In a 89-page complaint.


Federal Watchdog Says Whistle-Blower Should be Reinstated as it

A U.S. government watchdog agency has recommended the temporary reinstatement of a whistleblower who was removed as director of a government research office because he raised concerns about coronavirus preparedness. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) made a "threshold determination" that the Trump administration unlawfully sidelined disease expert Rick Bright because he "made protected disclosures in the best interest of the American public." The OSC's recommendation is not binding on the administration.


A Bridge of Federal Relief May Crumble in Summer

As the nation confronts unemployment levels not seen since the Great Depression, Congress and the Trump administration face a pivotal choice: Continue spending trillions trying to shore up businesses and workers, or bet that state re-openings will jump-start the U.S. economy. Yet the federal government is lurching away from the strategy that has thus far helped slow the spread of the coronavirus and sustain people and companies struggling during the self-inflicted economic shutdown. As the virus threatens to haunt the nation and its economy longer than some officials had anticipated, Trump and many Republicans in Congress have grown weary of federal spending to support workers and businesses and have begun urging states to get back to what was considered normal.


Hotel Group Plans to Return $70 Million in Aid Meant for Small Businesses

Ashford Inc., one of the biggest beneficiaries of the government's small business lending program, has come under scrutiny after receiving at least $70 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans. It has now said it will return the money. Ashford oversees a a tightly interwoven group of hotel and resorts and its subsidiaries applied for $126 million in loans. The Trump administration scrambled to tighten the program's rules after it became clear that companies like Ashford, along with other publicly-traded firms, were benefiting from a $660 billion program. Last week, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said that companies had until May 7 to voluntarily return the funds and that firms could be held "criminally liable" if they did not meet the program's criteria. The U.S. will audit any company that received more than $2 million in loans.


Two Men Face First Federal Fraud Charges Tied to Small-Business Loan Program

Two New England men were arrested on charges of attempting to defraud the government's small-business lending program, marking the first federal fraud charges related to the $660 billion program that was aimed at helping businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic but has been riddled with problems. The case against the men, David Staveley and David Butziger, is part of the Justice Department's broad effort to fight coronavirus-related crimes, including health care fraud, hoarding, price gouging, and scams devised to steal money both from people and from federal economic assistance programs for businesses in need of aid. Across the Justice Department, anything coronavirus related is a top priority.


Task Force to Wrap Up Even as Virus Bears Down

Despite growing evidence that the pandemic is still raging, administration officials have said that they had made so much progress in bringing it under control that they planned to wind down the coronavirus task force in the coming weeks and focus the White House on restarting the economy. Vice President Pence, who has led the task force for 2 months, said that it would probably wrap up its work around the end of May, and shift management of the public health response back to the federal agencies whose work it was to coordinate. This decision came days after the revelation of new estimates that suggest deaths from the coronavirus, now about 70,000 could double by early August, and that infection rates may rise sharply as businesses reopen. Trump somewhat reversed himself after receiving excessive pushback from supporters.


As Hunger Grows, Republicans Push Back Over Food Stamps

Democrats are seeking to raise benefits as research shows a rise in food insecurity without modern precedent amid the pandemic. However, Republicans have balked at a long-term expansion of the program. Among mothers with young children, nearly one-fifth say that their children are not getting enough to eat, according to a survey by the Brookings Institution, a rate 3 times as high as in 2008, during the worst of the Great Recession. Democrats want to raise food stamp benefits by 15% for the duration of the economic crisis, arguing that a similar move during the great Recession reduced hunger and helped the economy. Republicans have fought for years to shrink the program, saying that earlier liberalization led to enduring caseload growth and a backdoor expansion of the welfare state.


DeVos's Rules Bolster Rights of Students Accused of Sexual Misconduct

The U.S. Education Department finalized campus sexual assault rules that bolster the rights of the accused, Secretary Betsy DeVos announced. The new policy also reduces legal liabilities for schools and colleges, and narrows the scope of cases schools will be required to investigate. The change reshapes the way the nation's schools respond to complaints of sexual misconduct. It is meant to replace policies from the Obama administration that DeVos previously revoked, saying they pressured schools to deny the rights of accused students. Under the new rules, the definition of sexual harassment is narrowed to include only misconduct that is "so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive" that it effectively denies the victim access to the school's education programs. The rules add dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking to the definition of sexual harassment.


Biden's Request to Release Files Hits Legal Snag

At the center of Tara Reade's sexual assault allegation against former Vice President Biden is a complaint she says she filed with a personnel office on Capitol Hill around the time of the alleged incident in the early 1990s. Reade says that she doesn't have a copy of the complaint and doesn't remember where and to whom, specifically, she filed it. As part of his sweeping denial of any sort of inappropriate behavior with Reade, Biden sought to cast himself as bending over backward to be transparent about the existence of the complaints. He says that it should be at the National Archives and that he is requesting that the Senate ask the Archives to identify any record of the complaint she alleges she filed and make available to the press. However, the secretary of the Senate has released a statement saying that she can't legally do what Biden is asking. Now the Biden campaign has a transparency problem.


Three Virus Czars Are Isolating After Contact with Carriers

Three top public health officials have begun partial or full self-quarantine for 2 weeks after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus. This is the lastest sign of worry that the coronavirus could be spreading through the senior ranks of the Trump administration. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has confirmed that he has started a "modified quarantine" given what he called a "low risk contact. The actions come after the disclosure that Pence's press secretary, Katie Miller, tested positive for the virus.


White House is Rattled by Aide's Positive Test

President Trump said on Thursday that the White House staff would be tested every day for the coronavirus after a military aide who has had contact with him was found to have the virus. Both Trump and Pence had both tested negative for the virus since their exposure to the military aide, but the episode has raised new questions about how well-protected Trump and other top officials are as they work at the White House, typically without wearing masks.


Administration Bars Fauci From House Testimony

The White House is blocking epidemic expert Anthony Fauci from testifying before a Congressional committee, less than 2 months after Dr. Fauci critiqued the nation's coronavirus testing system during a public hearing. The House Appropriations Committee had sought his testimony at a subcommittee hearing to look into the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic that has killed nearly 65,000 Americans. A White House spokesman said that the administration is busy fighting the spread of the virus, re-opening the economy, and seeking a vaccine, so "it is counter-productive to have the very individuals involved in those efforts appearing at Congressional hearings. Dr. Fauci said during a March 12 House hearing that the nation's coronavirus testing system was not what it should be. Instead of him, the House committee will hear next week from Dr. Tom Frieden, the former director of the CDC.


Lawmakers Decline Offer of Rapid Testing at Capitol

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected an offer from the Trump administration to provide Congress with rapid results testing, citing the need to direct resources where they are most needed.


First At-Home Saliva Kit is Authorized by the Food and Drug Administration

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an emergency authorization for the first at-home COVID-19 test that uses saliva samples. Testing for COVID-19 so far has usually involved nose or throat swab samples. If people are committed to do self-collection and facilitate that collection at home, certainly with a prescription under medical care, we can get to those that are quarantined, don't have means for transportation or are too scared to go outside. Authorizing additional diagnostic tests with the option of at-home sample collection will continue to increase patient access to testing for COVID-19.


FDA Presses for Data on Accuracy of Results

The agency had come under fire from members of Congress and other groups for allowing dozens of wildly inaccurate tests to proliferate without oversight. The FDA announced last Monday that companies selling coronavirus antibody tests must submit data proving accuracy within the next 10 days or face removal from the market. Since mid-March, the FDA has permitted dozens of manufacturers to sell the tests without providing evidence that they are accurate. Its action follows a report by more than 50 scientists, which found that only 3 out of 14 antibody tests gave consistently reliable results, and even the best had flaws. The FDA has also been under fire from several members of Congress, with numerous lawmakers raising questions about the validity of some of the tests.


Generic Drug Maker Admits to Fixing Prices for Cholesterol Medication

Apotex Corp., a generic pharmaceutical company headquartered in Florida, agrees to pay a $24.1 million criminal penalty for fixing the price of the generic drug pravastatin.


Nine Senators Ask Amazon for Details on Firings

Nine Democratic senators asked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to answer questions about the company's decision to fire employees who criticized its treatment of warehouse workers, as well as to provide more details about Amazon's internal policies. Amazon has fired at least 4 workers in recent months who were outspoken critics of its labor policies. Workers across the country have called for the company to put in place greater safety protections, including closing down facilities where there are positive cases for additional cleaning.


U.S. Drops Pursuit of Flynn, In Move Backed By Trump

The Justice Department's move to dismiss charges against President Trump's first National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is likely one of the last shoes to drop in the highly politicized Russia investigation. Yet the president appears to be using an investigation that has overshadowed his presidency as part of his 2020 reelection campaign against Joe Biden. With the election just 6 months away, the Trump campaign has started to tie Biden to the Obama administration's alleged involvement in the Flynn case.


Flynn Case Raises Fears of a Politically Tainted Justice Department

President Trump and his supporters praised Attorney General William P. Barr's decision to drop the prosecution of Michael T. Flynn, even as career law enforcement officials warned that the action set a disturbing precedent and Democrats accused the administration of further politicizing the Justice Department.


New York Must Hold Primary, Judge Rules

Last week, Democrats on the State Board of Elections voted to remove all the presidential candidates who had suspended their campaigns, leaving Biden as the only name on the ballot, and canceled the presidential primary amid coronavirus fears. Governor Cuomo issued an executive order in March moving the primary from its originally scheduled date of April 28 to June 23. The preliminary injunction, granted by U.S. District Judge Torres, came in response to a lawsuit last week from former presidential candidate Andrew Yang and several New Yorkers who had hoped to serve as his delegates to the Democratic National Convention. A judge has ruled that the NYS Democratic presidential primary will take place as planned next month.


New York's Criteria For When to Reopen

Despite pressure from business owners, regional leaders, and crowds of protestors, Cuomo has vowed to stay unmoved by emotion or politics when it comes time for him to decide on reopening NYS for business amid the coronavirus pandemic. Cuomo has outlined his region-by-region 7-part criteria needed to restart the economy across various parts of the state starting as early as May 15, when his PAUSE executive order on social restrictions expires. As it stands, no region in the state meets all of the requirements, though the central part of the state is closest. Most only need to get more coronavirus tests before being given the green light.


Echo of 'Stop and Frisk' Is Seen In Social-Distance Crackdown

Tensions are increasingly flaring in black and Hispanic neighborhoods over officers' enforcement of social-distancing rules, leading some prominent elected officials to charge that the New York Police Department is engaging in a racist double standard as it struggles to shift to a public health role in the coronavirus crisis. The arrests of black and Hispanic residents, several of them filmed and posted online, occurred on the same balmy days that other photographs circulated showing police officers handing out masks to mostly white visitors at parks in Lower Manhattan, Williamsburg, and Long Island City. Video captured crowds of sunbathers, many without masks, sitting close together at a part on a Manhattan pier, uninterrupted by the police.


For the First Time, New York Shuts the Subway for Cleaning

The Metropolitan Transit Authority has shut down New York City subways for the first time in 115 years, employing workers to disinfect more than 500 stations as the state battles the coronavirus pandemic.


Protesters Say Social-Distancing Rules are Being Used to Silence Their Dissent

After the police broke up a demonstration in New York City on Sunday, activists expressed concern that safety orders were being used to curtail free speech. The episode highlighted a challenge for activists participating in traditional protests: How to gather, and draw attention, while keeping a safe distance from one another and onlookers? Some civil rights lawyers fear that social distancing rules could also be used as an excuse to curtail free speech. Similar issues have been raised with other recent protests across the country, many involving demonstrators who refuse to wear masks or to maintain social distancing. In New York, enforcement has not been uniform.


With Unemployment Rising and No End in Sight, Groups Press for Rent Strike

May 1 marked the second rent day since coronavirus shutdowns began. With more than 30 million people filing for unemployment benefits in recent weeks, tenant groups across the country on Friday called for a rent strike until the economy recovers. Across New York City, organizers estimate that more than 50 buildings have organized to formally withhold rent. More than 13,000 individual tenants in the city are striking on their own. Rent strikes have also been organized nationally from Los Angeles to Seattle to Chicago. Organizers believe that it's the largest coordinated rent strike in almost a century.


Eastern States to Buy Equipment Together

Governor Andrew Cuomo said New York would join in a consortium of 7 neighboring states to purchase and share personal protective equipment needed to fight the spread of the coronavirus.


Mississippi Audit Finds Welfare Block Grants Paid for Concerts and Football

According to a state audit, Mississippi allowed of millions of dollars in federal anti-poverty funds to be used in ways that did little or nothing to help the poor.


Video of Georgia Shooting Emerges as Prosecutor Sends Case to Grand Jury

The 2 white men involved in the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man jogging through their Georgia neighborhood, were arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault. The arrests of the father and son come after Arbery's family released a video on Tuesday showing the last moments of the 25-year-old's life. The footage sparked outrage among criminal justice advocates across the country and led a Georgia prosecutor to call for a grand jury to investigate more than 2 months after the fatal shooting.


Georgia Killing Puts Spotlight on Police Force's Troubled History

The shooting death of Arbery has renewed criticism of the police agency that initially released the 2 suspects, only to be charged by the state months later. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has said that even if local police had to arrested the individuals, there historically has been the "backstop of our justice department to step in and make sure that people are properly prosecuted. We don't have that leadership at the top right now. She went on to say that if the video of Arbery's death had not been released to the public, she believes that they would not be charged. According to the New York Times, cronyism and conflicts of interests between the McMichaels and the Glynn County Police Department delayed the arrests of the McMichaels.


After 300 Days in Jail, U.S. Citizen Leaves Egypt

Egyptian-American Reem Desouky was released from prison after more than 300 days of being detained in Egypt. Her release is welcomed progress and a step forward in the right direction that we hope is built on for the release of others. Desouky was detained and interrogated upon her arrival at the Cairo airport in July 2019. Other American citizens and permanent residents remain imprisoned in Egypt--their situation made all the more vulnerable by the coronavirus outbreak.


The European Union Forecasts A Sharp Slide Into Recession

The European Union is facing its worst recession ever. New forecasts predict a 7.4% economic collapse and risks of even worse decline if the reopening triggers a second virus wave. The good news for Europe is that the worst of the pandemic is beginning to ease, but the relief could be short-lived. To put this figure in perspective, the 27-nation bloc's economy had been predicted to grow by 1.2% this year. In 2009, at the end of the global financial crisis, it shrank by 4.5%.


As Official Toll Ignores Reality, Mexico's Hospitals Are Overrun

The Mexican government is not reporting hundreds, possibly thousands, of deaths from the coronavirus in Mexico City, dismissing anxious officals who have tallied more than 3 times as many fatalities in the capital than the government publicly ackledgnes, according to officials and confidential data. Tensions have come to a head in recent weeks, with Mexico City alerting the government to the deaths repeatedly, hoping it will come clean to the public about the true toll of the virus on the nation's biggest city and by extension, the county at large. However, that hasn't happened. Doctors in overwhelmed hospitals in Mexico City say the reality of the epidemic is being hidden from the country.


Toxic Leak at LG Factor Leaves 11 Dead in India

A gas leak at a chemical factory owned by a South Korean company in southern India early Thursday left at least 11 people dead and about 1,000 struggling to breathe. Three of those who died were children.


Potent Hacking Weapon is Tied to China's Military

An Israeli company said the hacking software called Aria-body had been deployed against governments and state-owned countries in Australia and Southeast Asia.


Pandemic Study Shows Rise in Extremism

A paper has examined municipal spending levels and voter extremism in Germany from the time of the initial influenza outbreak until 1933. The paper concludes that deaths caused by the 1918 influenza pandemic "profoundly shaped German society" in subsequent years and contributed to the strengthening of the Nazi Party. Together, the lower spending and flu-related deaths "had a strong effect on the share of votes won by extremists." The paper's findings are likely due to "changes in societal preferences," suggesting the influenza pandemic's disproportionate toll on young people may have "spurred resentment of foreigners among the survivors" and driven voters to parties "whose platform matched such sentiments." The conclusions come amid fears that the current coronavirus pandemic will shake up international politics and spur extremism around the world.


Seeking Truth, Mourners in Wuhan Receive Threats and Interrogations

In Wuhan, where the pandemic started, the police have threatened and interrogated grieving relatives. Lawyers have been warned not to help them sue. The Chinese authorities are clamping down as grieving relatives, along with activists, press the ruling Communist Party for an accounting of what went wrong in Wuhan. Lawyers have been warned not to file suit against the government. The police have interrogated bereaved family members who connected with others like them online. Volunteers who tried to thwart the state's censorship apparatus by preserving reports about the outbreak have disappeared.


May 13, 2020

New York State Court Of Appeals Notice About Digital Filings

From the NYSBA:

The New York State Court of Appeals has issued a notice to the bar about digital filings through a companion upload portal similar to the state court's Court-PASS system. (https://www.nycourts.gov/ctapps/news/nottobar/nottobar05112020.pdf?utm_campaign=Membership&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=87826062&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8eRpcTuaO4UjdsQrhpL7B9QsMperBN_AnPqO-FaJzGNP2l1MJDHB-Fql2_eKP3nkW81nirxMeXW0K23vbllH-5jae9KSA6Gr9LoSlsxcWm8sXwX5g&_hsmi=87826062)

The Court of Appeals has amended its Rules of Practice to require, for motions and responses to Rule 500.10 jurisdictional inquiries, submissions in digital format as companions to the printed papers that are filed and served.

In the notice to the bar, John P. Asiello, chief clerk and legal counsel to the Court of Appeals, explained that the court has also amended its Rules of Practice to reduce the number of printed copies that must be filed from six to one for civil motions for leave to appeal, reargument motions and papers in opposition to those motions.

Motions submitted with proof of indigency may still be made on one set of papers. Parties can request to be relieved of the digital submission requirements based on a showing of undue hardship.

The amended rules are effective May 27, 2020. Any responses to Rule 500.10 jurisdictional inquiries requested on or after May 27 and any motions returnable on or after June 1, must comply with the amended rules.

Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words - About Contract Modifications

By Tin-Fu (Tiffany) Tsai

We know that actions speak louder than words, but is this true regarding contract formation and modification? As contracts are being reviewed and revised more frequently due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is something that parties should consider.

To honor the freedom to contract, common law imposes very few requirements of contract formalities--the Statute of Frauds is one that renders certain contracts unenforceable if not in writing. The New York General Obligation Law (GOL) codifies this principle and mandates certain contracts to be in writing, including the sale of real estate, the costs of goods over $500, a marriage contract, the guarantee of another's debt or contracts that cannot be completed within one year.

When it comes to contract modifications, the "No Oral Modification" (NOM) clause becomes standard in contracts, which spells out the procedure of contract modification to bar the possibility of oral variations. GOL §15-301(1) and The Uniform Commercial Code §2-209(2) recognizes the enforceability of the NOM clause.

From the above, in the world of contracts, the written words usually speak louder than actions in the form of oral agreements. Under certain circumstances, actions do prevail even when there are NOM clauses in place. In the New York courts' eyes, the NOM clause can be waived when the party that benefited from the clause acts inconsistently with its term. Therefore, a "No Oral Waiver" clause can serve as additional protection to prevent unintentionally waiving contractual rights and obligations orally.

Another exception to the NOM clause is when "Partial Performance" comes into play, where one party partially completed performance under an oral contract. Yet, it must be "unequivocally referable to the oral modification". As an example, the emails sent after the closing date of a real estate contract with an unexecuted proposed amendment are not explainable solely by reference to the oral modification, but rather explainable as preparatory steps toward a future agreement. GOL §5-703 provides partial performance exception for contracts regarding the conveyance of an interest in real property.

The "Equitable Estoppel" is also an exception. It applies if one party has induced another's significant and substantial reliance upon an oral modification and if the conduct relied upon is not otherwise compatible with the agreement as written. For example, a continuous payment for service after the contract expiration date may not be sufficient to prove the parties' oral modification of the extension.

The best practice is to put contracts and modifications in writing, and maintain a consistent position during the life of the contract.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.

May 20, 2020

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/Technology, and General News:


Concert to Test Whether America Is Ready to Rock Again, When Concert Was Postponed by State Officials

While the world's big touring acts remain on hiatus or confined to sporadic online performances, Travis McCready, a country-rock singer, was set to take the stage last Friday for an intimate acoustic live performance at a venue in Fort Smith, Ark. The performance, though modest, attracted outsized attention, not only because it was testing whether people were ready to return in numbers to listen to live music, but also because it was challenging the restrictions the governor put on such performances. Governor Asa Hutchinson had said that indoor venues, such as theaters, arenas, and stadiums could reopen on May 18, as long as they limit their audiences to fewer than 50 people. The venue, Temple Live, a former Masonic Temple, was saying that the show was to be held 3 days earlier, with more than 4 times that number of fans allowed in -- 229 in the 1,100-seat theater.

The Arkansas authorities seized the liquor license of the concert hall, forcing the promoters to delay the show. A day earlier, the state Department of Health issued a cease-and-desist order to the promoter, Temple Live, anticipating that it intended to violate state rules governing the reopening of concerts. The promoters said that they were applying to reschedule the Travis McCready concert for just a few days later, on Monday, May 18, at Temple Live. The promoters denounced what they characterized as a pre-emptive and heavy-handed enforcement action while, they said, negotiations were ongoing. "'We the people,' three amazing words, and they have been trampled on today," Mike Brown, a representative of Temple Live, said at a televised news conference.



Billboard Charts + a Dispute

Last year, Billboard magazine came under intense criticism over how its charts accounted for sales bundles -- when artists tack a copy of their new album as a bonus for buying a T-shirt or other merchandise, or a concert ticket. Long a useful marketing tool, bundles have run rampant in the streaming age, leading to concerns about chart manipulation. Billboard tweaked its rules in January. But complaints have flared up again over albums that come bundled with concert tickets during the coronavirus pandemic, when touring has been halted. Is it fair to count an album tacked on to a ticket for a show that may be delayed for months -- or might not happen at all?


Movie Theaters Are on the Brink

With movie theaters closed because of the pandemic, many Hollywood producers have delayed the release of potential blockbusters. On April 10, Universal Pictures made the animated sequel to its 2016 hit "Trolls" -- based on the popular toys with their neon, upcombed hair -- available as a digital rental on streaming platforms for $19.95. A month later, "Trolls World Tour" has brought in well over $100 million, a record for streaming. None of that has to be shared with theater operators, which typically take half the box office when they show a film. Universal Pictures said that when movie theaters reopened, it planned to release its films simultaneously in theaters and online, eliminating the theaters' traditional window of exclusivity.


Quibi Co-Founder Blames Covid for Launch Fail

Quibi co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg blames the app's botched launch on the global pandemic. Ouibi, which offers entertainment and news programs in five- to 10-minute chunks, was designed to be watched on the go by people who are too busy to sit down and stream TV shows or movies. It came out when millions of people were not going anywhere because of stay-at-home orders across the country. As a result of global stay-at-home orders, downloads of the $1.8 billion short-form streaming app, meant for phones, are paltry. "I attribute everything that has gone wrong to coronavirus," Katzenberg said. "Everything."


Malaysia Drops Charges Against "Wolf of Wall Street" Producer

A Malaysian court dismissed money laundering charges against the Hollywood producer Riza Aziz, a stepson of the country's disgraced former prime minister Najib Razak, under an agreement in which he will return assets worth more than $107 million. Riza, whose Red Granite Pictures produced the Oscar-nominated film "The Wolf of Wall Street", had been accused of laundering $248 million in money misappropriated from a government investment fund while it was under his stepfather's control. The charges were part of a long-running, billion-dollar scandal involving Najib and his spendthrift family members that brought down his government 2 years ago. Shifting political tides have returned his allies to power, and some critics questioned whether dropping the charges against Riza was a sign that the new government was preparing to go easy on Najib.



Court Denies Dismissal of Copyright Infringement Suit

Landon Mondragon sued Kasey King and his hat business, Nosrak LLC, alleging that King published on Instagram, without Mondragon's license, permission, or consent, 5 of his photographic images, each of which depicts a clothed female model wearing a hat. Mondragon requests actual damages, an accounting for "all profits, income, receipts, or other benefits" from the infringement, and an award of costs, expenses, and attorneys' fees. Alternatively, he seeks "statutory damages of up to $150,000 per copyrighted work infringed pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 504." On December 10, 2019, King, proceeding pro se, moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint under Rule 11(b) and due to the conduct of counsel, claiming in part that Mondragon's counsel, Richard Liebowtiz "neglected to properly review the facts of the case." King claims that Liebowitz violated Rule 11(b) because the model depicted in the photographs, Jessica Moore, and not the plaintiff, actually owns the rights to the photographs at issue. The court also interpreted King's motion as a request for dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) because it argued, in part, that the plaintiff failed to state a factual claim. The court denied King's motion, holding that neither Rule 11(b) nor Rule 12(b)(6) provides grounds for dismissing this case.


Some Major Museum Shows Won't Open After Covid

As exhibitions around the world close or cancel the next stops on their tours, logistical and emotional carnage follow. Museum exhibitions in much of the world were put on pause in early or mid-March, postponed indefinitely as many countries issued strict stay-at-home orders. As shutdowns continue, it has become clear that some shuttered shows will not reopen. Others will never open their doors. Many more are in limbo. The behind-the-scenes work on a major museum exhibition usually takes years, involving fund-raising, difficult loan negotiations with other museums and collectors, scholarship and catalog production, events planning, complicated transport, and sometimes major restoration. A cancellation can be heartbreaking for those who have spent years planning an exhibition. For museums that have invested money and depend on the ticket revenues, it can be a grim financial reality.


Broadway Extends Hiatus to Labor Day

The Broadway League, a trade organization representing producers and theater owners, announced that Broadway's 41 theaters would remain shuttered at least through Labor Day. The announcement is not a surprise as the coronavirus pandemic is continuing to kill more than 150 people a day in New York state (down from the peak of 800), and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has put arts and entertainment in the last phase of his reopening plan. It remains unclear when Broadway might reopen and many industry officials believe it will be considerably later than Labor Day.


The Call That's NOT Put on Hold

For the past month, more than 200 arts leaders have been getting on the same daily Zoom call seeking comfort, counsel, and connection as they try to stave off institutional failures prompted by the coronavirus pandemic. More than just a logistical feat, the phone call has become a singular measurement of how worried, desperate, and vulnerable cultural organizations have become since the virus hit. Just as notable is how much they are actually acting these days like the "arts community" to which they often aspire.

Disney Closes 'Frozen' on Broadway, Citing Pandemic

Disney Theatrical Productions said Thursday that its stage adaptation of "Frozen" will not reopen on Broadway once the pandemic eases, making the musical the first to be felled by the current crisis. "Frozen" had been the weakest of the three Disney musicals that had been running on Broadway -- the others were "The Lion King" and "Aladdin" -- and the company made it clear that it does not believe audiences will return in substantial enough numbers to sustain all of those shows.


Cunningham Centennial is Moving Online

Last year, dance companies around the world celebrated the centennial of Merce Cunningham's birth by performing some of his vast repertory. Now, over the next few months, more than a dozen of those performances will be viewable online. The idea germinated when New York Theater Ballet, whose 40th anniversary performances were canceled because of the pandemic, asked Patricia Lent, the Cunningham trust's director of licensing, for permission to stream some of its recent renditions of Cunningham works. The trust's standard licensing agreements allow for the streaming of short clips, but not full works. Lent would have to get the other rights holders, such as composers and designers, to sign off as well. She was inclined to make the arrangements as an exception, "But then I thought, wait a minute, nobody can do a live performance right now," she recalled. "And there are these videos out there. Might other companies also be interested in streaming right now?" Many were: Stephen Petronio Company, Ballet de Lorraine, Lyon Opera Ballet, and more. The other rights holders, according to Lent, were "cooperative and generous, wanting to help out in this time when we have no live dance." Ken Tabachnick, the trust's executive director, had a further thought: to aggregate all of the videos on the trust's website, thereby creating an online festival.


Tanglewood, Musical Haven in the Berkshires, Cancels Summer Season

For the first time since the Second World War, Tanglewood's season, a staple of summer in the Northeast, has been canceled because of the continued threat of the coronavirus pandemic. The Boston Symphony's season at Tanglewood, where it started summering in 1937, is a huge draw for visitors across the Northeast. More than 340,000 people attended events at the festival last summer, The Berkshire Eagle reported, when Tanglewood added lectures and master classes to its slate of programming and opened the Linde Center for Music and Learning. Mark Volpe, the Boston Symphony's president and chief executive, said that the organization explored various alternatives to canceling the season, at one point sending a drone up above the expansive lawn to think about how social distancing might work. However, with the thousands of people who congregate each summer in lines to the bathrooms and walk back to their cars at the end of the evening, it just wasn't feasible.


Frieze New York Goes Virtual

Frieze New York, the city's first test of whether a virtual art gathering forced by the pandemic could survive online, wound down with surprisingly strong results, suggesting that the schmooze-centric art market may never be the same. Reported sales from the fair were solid, compared with those of last year, when the event took place under a large white tent on Randalls Island -- at least for mega galleries, defying conventional wisdom that online prices can't match those in person. Dealers said that George Condo's "Distanced Figures 3," for example, sold for $2 million at Hauser & Wirth; El Anatsui's "Metas III," for $1.5 million at Acquavella; and Alice Neel's "Veronica," for $550,000 at David Zwirner. "We were very surprised by how successful we were," said Marc Payot, a co-president of Hauser & Wirth. "We have to focus on other creative ways of connecting with our audiences and this pushes the online part of our business forward."


Library of Congress Unveils Digital DJ Tool

The Library of Congress is challenging hip-hop fans and music lovers to remix sounds from its extensive archive. A new digital tool called Citizen DJ, created by one of the Library's Innovators in Residence, Brian Foo, will allow users to explore the Library's recordings to create and download original beats and sounds. Foo, a data-visualization artist, early hip-hop fan, and former break dancer, said in a phone interview that the inspiration for the project draws on the genre's roots, when D.J.s scoured record-store crates for obscure sounds to sample in their music.


Christie's Tries to Reinvent The Auction

Christie's has a new auction format for a July 10 event that it hopes will revive at least some of the drama -- and the prices -- of the live evening sales that were held pre-pandemic. Billed as "ONE: A Global Sale of the 20th Century," the auction will include a livestream with auctioneers offering works of Impressionist, modern, and contemporary art in consecutive sessions from Christie's salesrooms in Hong Kong, Paris, London, and New York. This gives owners of high-value artworks an opportunity to sell in a globally marketed live sale preceded by public exhibitions where allowed. Since the advent of the pandemic, auction houses have had to rely on more routine online-only sales to generate revenue, which require bidders to buy items without physically examining their quality or condition. Buyers are rarely confident enough to bid above $1 million. This relay-style auction is expected (perhaps optimistically) to last about 2 hours and consists of 50 to 70 lots. It will start in Hong Kong at 8 p.m. local time, then progress across time zones, becoming an afternoon sale in Europe and a morning sale in the United States, finishing by about 10 a.m. Eastern time. Buyers can bid online, by telephone, and, where "government advice allows," in the salesroom, Christie's said in a statement.

This hybrid of live and online auction is a response to the postponement of Christie's series of 20th-century sales that would have taken place in New York in May. The company originally rescheduled the series, incorporating works from its canceled summer auctions in London, for the third week of June. However, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York has said that a true reopening of the city remains "a few months away at minimum."


J.C. Penney, 118-Year-Old Department Store, Files for Bankruptcy

J.C. Penney filed for bankruptcy protection after a prolonged decline over the past 20 years, becoming the latest and largest retailer to fall during the coronavirus pandemic, which has devastated the industry. The chain has more than 800 stores and nearly 85,000 employees. Its collapse follows other retail bankruptcies this month, including J. Crew, the Neiman Marcus Group, and the designer men's clothing brand John Varvatos. J.C. Penney represents the biggest casualty by far based on the number of locations, with stores that are anchors at many of the nation's malls.




Colombian Director Films Quarantine "The Bathroom" Comedy With Mobile Phones

Colombian director Harold Trompetero, who has directed 21 films and produced another 30, is now tackling an unusual project amid a nationwide coronavirus quarantine that has his actors stuck at home. The new movie "The Bathroom" is filmed on phones, with actors' family members helping with camera work, make-up, and costuming as Trompetero gives instruction via video chats. The comedy movie is the story of a group of university friends who are still in touch 10 years later when the quarantine is declared and secrets come to light. Why the bathroom? "We started thinking the privacy of home starts to lose personal privacy under quarantine, you don't have any space to yourself," Trompetero said. "The bathroom is the space left in lots of homes where you can be by yourself for five minutes of solitude." Actress Marcela Carvajal said she cried when Trompetero called, asking her to star. "I cried because I thought I wasn't going to return to acting for a long, long time - theaters are closed, TV channels are closed," she said. "It's a dream to make a film in this era."


Australian Soap Opera Returns with Social Distancing

"Neighbours", a long-running Australian soap opera that returned to production in late April amid coronavirus restrictions, is hoping to still convey the same heightened conflict, intimacy, and drama that the show's fans have come to love even as its actors must stand 5 feet apart, cannot hold hands, kiss or simulate a brawl. The series, which has run for 35 years and aired more than 8,300 episodes, had been on a month-long hiatus because of social distancing measures that have halted the production of television and films in Australia and around the globe. As Australia charges toward its goal of totally eliminating the virus within its borders, "Neighbours" has become among the first TV shows in the world to have its cast and crew return to set, if at a distance.



National Football League Releases Schedule Despite Pandemic

The National Football League (NFL) released a full schedule of games that on the surface included no obvious backup plan in case the pandemic prevents the season from starting on September 10. Yet the odds that the NFL will be able to keep to its schedule are decreasing by the day. Before games can be played, teams must first open their offices and training facilities, which have been shut since mid-March, then hold training camps, which are to begin in mid-July. To keep what they call "competitive equity," NFL executives say that teams can reopen their offices and training facilities only when it is safe for every team to do so. The NFL is also requiring its teams, scattered across 2 dozen states, to follow local and state guidelines, including frequent testing and limits on the size of gatherings, to determine when it will be safe enough for coaches, staff, and players to return.


Major League Baseball Proposes July Start Games With No Fans

Major League Baseball (MLB) has formalized its plan to return to the field, with teams agreeing on a proposal to send to the players' union for an 82-game season that would start without fans in early July. The plan would include an expanded playoff field and the designated hitter for all games, even those in the National League, where it is not typically used. The plan must clear major obstacles to become reality. Even if the union accepts the structure of a truncated season, the sides would also have to agree on a salary structure for players. MLB would also need to have enough tests for players and employees without depleting the public supply, and agree with the union on working conditions, including protocols in case of positive tests. Details of the proposal were confirmed by multiple baseball officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan cannot be official until authorized by the union.


More Touring Pros Embracing CBD

PGA and Champions Tour players have become more vocal about using CBD to treat their ailments since the compound was removed from banned substances list in 2018. Billy Horschel - a five-time PGA Tour winner who began using cannabidiol, or CBD, products shortly after he missed the cut at the British Open in July - joins a growing group of tour members, including Bubba Watson, a two-time Masters champion, and Scott McCarron to advocate for the acceptance of CBD use in the conservative world of professional golf.


Ultimate Fighting Championship's Coronavirus Plan is Careful, But Spotty

As stay-at-home orders swept across the United States, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) insisted that it would overcome the forces that had upended virtually all top sporting leagues. In the week leading up to UFC 249, the promotion company's officials spoke of a 25-page document that laid out extensive health and safety protocols that the organization would follow to ensure a safe event. A review of the guidance in the document -- the UFC's "Jacksonville Event Operations Plan," a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times -- indicated that UFC officials and fighters routinely deviated from the outlined procedures in the days leading up to UFC 249 and on the night of the pay-per-view event itself. In the statement, the UFC said the plan "provides a road map for a prudent, safe, and responsible working environment" as fighting resumes. It noted that the plan "is not the sum total of our protocols, which also includes Covid-19 antibody blood tests and antigen tests" and said the UFC would be "updating it regularly with key learnings from each event going forward."


For US Open Tennis, Florida and California May Be Escape Hatches

After weeks of clinging to its hopes of holding the United States Open at its traditional New York home in front of fans, the United States Tennis Association has begun to seriously explore a series of alternative plans for the signature event that accounts for more than 80% of its revenue. The scheduled late-August start of the tournament, one of the largest events in New York City, is still 3 months away, but the dual realities of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the financial peril the U.S. Tennis Association would face if it has to cancel have forced the organization to consider whether it can hold its premier event somewhere besides Flushing Meadows, the park next to the central Queens neighborhoods that have been at the epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak in the city.


PGA Tour Lays Out Plan to Restart

With the goal of resuming tournament play next month in Texas, PGA Tour officials outlined safety procedures that they intend to implement, including layers of coronavirus testing for players, caddies, and support personnel. The Tour's plan would restrict the movement of players during events, which will be conducted without live spectators, and encourage golfers to isolate themselves from the public when off the golf course. Despite the provisions, which were laid out in a conference call with reporters, tour officials, who have not hosted a tournament in 2 months, indicated that they were also prepared and willing to reverse course. "Just to be perfectly clear, we're not going to play if we can't do it in a safe and healthy environment for all our constituencies," Tyler Dennis, the tour's senior vice president and chief of operations, said.


NFL Owners Will Review Incentives to Boost Racial Diversity

When the NFL owners meet via video conference, they will consider proposals that would give competitive advantages to teams that hire nonwhite candidates for their general manager and top coaching positions, according to several people familiar with the measures who were not authorized to speak publicly about them. The measures are a stark departure from the NFL's approach during the past decade and a half, when teams were pushed to interview minority candidates, under the Rooney Rule, but little more. Teams that exploited loopholes in the recruiting process were rarely penalized. Now, the NFL wants to take a more aggressive approach to reshaping its highest ranks by using tangible incentives, and not penalties, to encourage teams to hire more nonwhite coaches and general managers in a league in which about 70% of the players are African-American. In one proposal, a team that hires a nonwhite head coach would move up 6 spots from its position in the third round of the NFL draft that precedes that coach's second season, according to a person with knowledge of the proposal who was not authorized to speak publicly about it. Teams that hire a nonwhite candidate to fill the general manager's position would move up 10 spots in the third round of the draft before that executive's second season with the team. A team would lose either advantage if it fired the new hire after a single season, a provision designed to circumvent a tanking strategy and discourage firing coaches after a losing season.


Cuomo Says That Horse Racing Tracks Can Open in New York in June

New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo said that the state would allow horse racing tracks and the Watkins Glen International auto racing track to open without fans on June 1, opening the door for televised events at those venues. "We can have economic activity without having a crowd, that's great," Cuomo said. "We can do that in this state. But no crowds, no fans." "Remember, the problem here are crowds and gatherings," he said. Cuomo listed several horse racing tracks, including Belmont Park on Long Island, as being eligible for reopening in June. Watkins Glen International, which was set to host a NASCAR race in August before the pandemic arrived, is also eligible to open next month. The news of a renewed economic engine came as major indicators, such as new hospitalizations and virus-related deaths, continued a steady decline.


Charges Against Former Michigan State President Are Dismissed

Judge John D. Maurer of the Circuit Court in Eaton County, Mich., said that prosecutors had not successfully proved that Dr. Simon knew of a 2014 sex abuse complaint against Dr. Nassar, and that a lower court had "abused its discretion" in allowing the case against her to continue. Simon told investigators that she knew of a "sports medicine doc who was subject to review," but that she did not know it was Nassar or the nature of the complaint, according to court documents. She said she learned about the sex abuse allegations against Nassar from news reports in 2016. Simon was charged in November 2018 with 2 felony counts and 2 misdemeanor counts, and faced up to 4 years in prison on each of the felony charges. Court documents show that detectives believed she lied during their interview with her and that they believed she did know about the allegations against Nassar. The Michigan Attorney General's Office said in a statement that it planned to take the case to the state's Court of Appeals with a goal of having the charges reinstated.


Uncertainty That Players with Expiring Contracts Didn't Ask For

On June 30, most contracts in European soccer expire, and that will put hundreds, if not thousands, of players out of work. For the vast majority, the future is anything but certain. For those who have spent years among the elite, earning lucrative salaries and burnishing glittering reputations, that is hardly a troubling prospect. They can afford a month or so off. Their names alone guarantee suitors. For the vast majority, though, it leaves only questions.


Aussie Rules Football to Kick Off on June 11

Aussie rules football will kick off again on June 11, with the second round of the Australian Football League (AFL) to be played almost 3 months after the competition was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. Australian Football League chief executive Gillon McLachlan announced the matches for the next 4 rounds of the condensed season would be released within 10 days. The AFL, Australia's most-watched sports league in terms of attendance and TV audience, was suspended on March 22 after one round.



District of Columbia Is Investigating Trump Nominee to Lead Media Agency

The attorney general for the District of Columbia is investigating whether a conservative filmmaker nominated by Trump to lead the independent agency in charge of state-funded news outlets illegally enriched himself with funds from a nonprofit organization he runs, according to a top Democratic senator. Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee, said that the office of the attorney general had notified the panel that it was "actively investigating" allegations that Michael Pack illegally funneled funds from his nonprofit group, the Public Media Lab, to his for-profit film company. The announcement was a significant setback in the Republican effort to quickly confirm Pack to lead the United States Agency for Global Media, a drive in which Trump has personally intervened in a bid to install an ally who would dictate more favorable news coverage of his administration. The agency oversees news organizations that together make up one of the largest media networks in the world, including the Voice of America, whose coverage of the coronavirus pandemic has recently infuriated Trump.


U.S. Is Said to Plan to File Antitrust Charges Against Google

The Justice Department is planning to file antitrust charges against Google as early as this summer, said 2 people with knowledge of the situation, in what would be one of the biggest antitrust actions by the United States since the late 1990s. The Justice Department is still investigating the internet company and has been making progress on its case, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the details were confidential. The regulators are focused on Google's dominance in the online advertising industry, and the case will also involve allegations that the company abused its dominant position in online search to harm competitors.

State attorneys general are likely to file their own antitrust lawsuit against Google or join the Justice Department case sometime this year, said a person with knowledge of the state investigation. Taken together, such actions against Google, which controls around 90% of all web searches globally, would be one of the biggest antitrust cases in the United States since the 1990s, when the Justice Department joined 20 states to sue Microsoft. The 2 sides reached a settlement in 2001.


Big-Tech's Domination of Journalism is Set to Change

The battle between platforms and publishers is at once a matter of economic principle and an old-fashioned political brawl between powerful industries. For a decade, tech's transformative power, glamour, and enormous lobbying spending allowed it to dominate, resulting in a system in which the platforms could feature and profit off the content news publishers create without paying them directly for it. However, the power of the press, even nowadays, makes it a formidable political force.


TikTok Broke Privacy Promises, Children's Groups Say

TikTok, the popular app for making and sharing short videos, has flouted an agreement it made with the Federal Trade Commission to protect the privacy of children on the service, a coalition of 20 children's and consumer groups said. Last year, TikTok agreed to make major changes to settle charges that one of its predecessor companies, Musical.ly, had violated the federal children's online privacy law. The alleged violations included collecting names, email addresses, videos, and other personal information from users under the age of 13 without a parent's consent. As part of the settlement, the video-sharing app agreed to obtain a parent's permission before collecting the child's personal information. It also agreed to delete personal information, including videos, of any children identified as younger than 13 and to remove videos and other personal details of users whose ages were unknown. Yet the consumer groups, led by the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood and the Center for Digital Democracy, said in a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission that TikTok had failed to abide by its commitments. Among other things, the complaint identified a number of videos posted by children under 13 in 2016 that TikTok had not deleted and that remain on the app.


U.S. Accuses China of Trying to Steal Virus Data

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued a warning that China's most skilled hackers and spies are working to steal American research in the crash effort to develop vaccines and treatments for the coronavirus. The efforts are part of a surge in cybertheft and attacks by nations seeking advantage in the pandemic. The warning comes as Israeli officials accuse Iran of mounting an effort in late April to cripple water supplies as Israelis were confined to their houses, though the government has offered no evidence to back its claim. More than a dozen countries have redeployed military and intelligence hackers to glean whatever they can about other nations' virus responses. Even American allies like South Korea and nations that do not typically stand out for their cyberabilities, like Vietnam, have suddenly redirected their state-run hackers to focus on virus-related information, according to private security firms.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said a day after the warning "While the United States and our allies and partners are coordinating a collective, transparent response to save lives, the PRC continues to silence scientists, journalists, and citizens, and to spread disinformation, which has exacerbated the dangers of this health crisis."



Anti-Lockdown Protesters Get in Reporters' (Masked) Faces

For some reporters, the up-close wrath of anti-lockdown protesters has become a hazard of the job. In a polarized time, public safety measures like social-distancing and mask-wearing have become grist for the culture wars. Coupled with President Trump's frequent criticisms of individual news outlets and certain reporters, the recent confrontations between protesters and journalists seem almost inevitable. The Committee to Protect Journalists issued guidelines to reporters who cover anti-lockdown protests, including: "Remain alert to the risk of people spitting / coughing close to or on you, either accidentally or deliberately".


Duterte's Shutdown of TV Network Leaves Void Amid Coronavirus Crisis

On May 5, amid the coronavirus lockdown that has kept slum dwellers bound to their shacks, one television station went dark as President Rodrigo Duterte effectively shut down a broadcasting giant. Duterte's government has ascribed the closure of ABS-CBN to anomalies in licensing renewals, but his critics say the move was yet more evidence of an increasingly domineering government using a crisis to crack down on dissent. Human Rights Watch said that the closure "reeks of a political vendetta."


Outside Egypt, Critics Speak Freely. Inside, Families Pay the Price.

The Egyptian government, which has stifled nearly all criticism at home, is now trying to silence critics abroad by jailing their family members in Egypt, human rights groups say. Since early last year, it has arrested the relatives of at least 15 dissidents in exile.


General News

Supreme Court Takes on Employment Bias in Religious Schools

The Supreme Court heard arguments on how broadly federal employment discrimination laws apply to schools run by churches in 2 cases that will give the Court another opportunity to rule on the proper relationship between church and state, a topic that has deeply engaged the justices. The cases, which involve teachers in Catholic schools in California who sued their employers for job discrimination, will require the justices to find a balance between 2 competing interests: avoiding government interference in the internal affairs of religious groups and protecting the groups' employees from discrimination.


Justices to Decide If Trump Must Share Records

It seems that every 23 years, or about once in a generation, the Supreme Court considers whether presidents must abide by the rules that govern other citizens. In 1974, it unanimously required President Richard M. Nixon to turn over tapes of conversations in the Oval Office. Twenty-three years later, in 1997, it unanimously required President Bill Clinton to respond to a sexual harassment suit. Now, almost exactly 23 years after the ruling in the Clinton case, the Court will confront an equally significant showdown, this one over Trump's efforts to block demands from 2 House committees and New York prosecutors for his tax returns and other financial information.


Supreme Court Weighs Whether Eastern Oklahoma Is an Indian Reservation

The Supreme Court heard arguments about whether much of eastern Oklahoma is an Indian reservation, a question that could have enormous consequences for the area's 1.8 million residents in matters of criminal justice and commerce. The argument touched on the dark history of the U.S.'s treatment of Native Americans and the practical implications of a ruling that Congress had never clearly destroyed the sovereignty of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation over the area, covering about half the state.


Court Seems Ready to Curb Elections in Certain States

The Supreme Court seemed ready to allow states to require members of the Electoral College to cast their votes for the presidential candidates they had pledged to support. In 2 arguments concerning "faithless electors" from the states of Washington and Colorado, several of the justices focused on the practical consequences of their ruling or, as Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh put it, "the avoid-chaos principle of judging." "If it's a close call or a tiebreaker," he said, "we should not facilitate or create chaos." The arguments explored the original understanding of the framers of the Constitution, historical practice and contemporary expectations. Most of the justices seemed to conclude that there was no clear answer and that states should have leeway to vindicate voters' expectations that electors will vote for the presidential candidates who won at the polls.


Appeals Court Allows Emoluments Lawsuit to Proceed

A federal appeals court in Virginia revived a lawsuit accusing Trump of violating the Constitution by profiting from his Washington hotel, a decision that will most likely lead the Justice Department to appeal to the Supreme Court to keep the plaintiffs from gathering evidence in the case. "We recognize that the president is no ordinary petitioner, and we accord him great deference as the head of the executive branch," the majority opinion from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals said. "But Congress and the Supreme Court have severely limited our ability to grant the extraordinary relief the president seeks." The 15-member appeals court in Richmond met in December to consider whether a 3-judge appellate panel had wrongly dismissed the lawsuit over the Trump International Hotel brought by the District of Columbia and the State of Maryland. The local jurisdictions were about to begin evidence-gathering when the panel threw out the case. The Justice Department asked the full appeals court to either uphold the panel's ruling or allow the department to appeal the lower-court judge's procedural rulings against the president, an emergency form of relief that is rarely allowed when a case is in midstream.


Environmental Protection Agency Opts Against Limits on Water Contaminant Tied to Fetal Damage

The Trump administration will not impose any limits on perchlorate, a toxic chemical compound that contaminates water and has been linked to fetal and infant brain damage, according to 2 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staff members familiar with the decision. The decision by Andrew Wheeler, the administrator of the EPA, appears to defy a court order that required the agency to establish a safe drinking water standard for the chemical by the end of June. The policy, which acknowledges that exposure to high levels of perchlorate can cause I.Q. damage but opts nevertheless not to limit it, could also set a precedent for the regulation of other chemicals.


Poor Americans Hit Hardest by Pandemic

Households that entered the coronavirus shutdown in precarious economic positions have only worsened as workers are furloughed by the millions, and the challenges are especially acute for the poorest Americans, according to a Federal Reserve survey. Many Americans went into the nationwide lockdown with limited savings, despite gains from a record-long economic expansion. At the end of 2019, 3 in 10 adults said that they could not cover 3 months' worth of expenses with savings or borrowing in the case of a job loss, "indicating that they were not prepared for the current financial challenges," the Fed report said. One in 5 people who were working in February reported losing a job or being furloughed in March or the beginning of April, the data showed, and that pain was highly concentrated among low earners.


Senators Say Conservatives Use Group to Sway Judges

Some top Democratic senators accused the Federalist Society of supporting a conservative "dark money" campaign to influence the federal judiciary, including who gets selected to become a judge and how he or she rules once on the bench. In a sharply worded letter, the senators said that they supported a proposal by a judicial ethics panel that would ban membership among judges in the conservative legal group. The prohibition, the letter said, would help curb the "rampant politicization of our federal courts." Nearly 30 Republican senators have already written to the panel to oppose the proposed ban, as have more than 200 federal judges, nearly all of them appointed by Republican presidents.


Banks Bungled Covid Aid

When the federal government agreed to funnel $2.2 trillion in emergency aid to Americans devastated by the economic shutdown, the nation's banks were given a central role. There were 3 main prongs of relief for taxpayers and American businesses, all routed through the banks in various ways: stimulus checks, a $660 billion package for small businesses, and unemployment benefits. Confronted with an unprecedented crush of need as millions of Americans lost their livelihoods, the banks stumbled in ways big and small. The small-business aid, the Paycheck Protection Program, had a chaotic introduction and ran dry within days. Some banks withheld stimulus cash from people with overdrawn accounts. Some banks' debit cards, used to distribute unemployment benefits, didn't work properly. Several lawmakers have begun exploring ways to sidestep banks to deliver aid. Among the proposals, mainly from Democrats: using Internal Revenue Service records and payroll processing companies, as well as the Federal Reserve, to help distribute money more swiftly.


Intelligence Chief Reduces Size of Counterterrorism Office

Richard Grenell, the acting intelligence chief announced a reorganization of the National Counterterrorism Center as part of an effort to reduce the size of the office overseeing the nation's spy agencies. The cuts to the counterterrorism center were far more moderate than some expected, according to current and former intelligence officials. Many of the reductions will be done by eliminating vacant positions; others will be done by attrition and by sending officers back to their home agencies. In all, the cuts will amount to about 15% of the center's work force, an official said. The precise size of the agency is classified.


Trump Ousted State Deptartment Watchdog at Pompeo's Urging

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Trump to fire the official responsible for fighting waste and fraud in his department, a White House official said, a recommendation certain to come under scrutiny after congressional Democrats opened an investigation into what they said "may be an act of illegal retaliation."


Officials Lash Out at Barr

Two former law enforcement officials involved in the cases of the onetime Trump advisers Michael T. Flynn and Roger J. Stone Jr. attacked Attorney General William P. Barr's extraordinary intervention in the inquiries, condemning his moves as detrimental to the rule of law and to public confidence in the Justice Department. In op-ed articles in The New York Times and The Washington Post, the former officials, Mary B. McCord and Jonathan Kravis, denounced Barr's move last week to drop a criminal case against Flynn and his earlier intervention to recommend a more lenient sentence for crimes that Stone committed in a bid to protect Trump.


Outsider is Set to Battle Barr

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, the federal judge overseeing the case against Trump's former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, appointed a hard-charging former prosecutor and judge to oppose the Justice Department's effort to drop the case and to explore a perjury charge against Mr. Flynn. Judge Sullivan's appointment of the former judge, John Gleeson, was an extraordinary move in a case with acute political overtones.


Ex-FBI Official Is Said to Undercut Justice Dept. Effort to Drop Flynn Case

A key former F.B.I. official cast doubt on the Justice Department's case for dropping a criminal charge against President Trump's former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn during an interview with investigators last week, according to people familiar with the investigation. Department officials reviewing the Flynn case interviewed Bill Priestap, the former head of F.B.I. counterintelligence, 2 days before making their extraordinary request to drop the case to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan. They did not tell Judge Sullivan about Priestap's interview. A Justice Department official said that they were in the process of writing up a report on the interview and that it would soon be filed with the court.


Spy Chief Trying to Reshape Russia Inquiry

The acting director of national intelligence, Richard Grenell, has declassified an Obama-era document related to Trump's former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, in a highly unusual move that prompted accusations that he was trying to discredit the Justice Department's Trump-Russia investigation.


Despite Quarantine of Fauci + Others, Hearings Proceeded

Although the chairman as in quarantine for coronavirus exposure and so were the star witnesses, fireworks -- albeit virtual ones -- flew when Dr. Anthony S. Fauci and 3 other top government doctors testified before the Senate Health Committee in one of the strangest high-stakes hearings in memory. The session, in which the chairman and witnesses appeared by video, was the first time that Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert -- and one of the few truth-tellers in the administration in the eyes of many Americans -- appeared before Congress since Trump declared the coronavirus crisis a national emergency on March 13. On March 11, when Fauci was still permitted to testify before the Democratic-controlled House, he made headlines by bluntly telling the nation, "Things will get worse", and they did.


All West Wing Employees Ordered to Wear Masks - But Not Trump or Pence

The White House ordered all West Wing employees to wear masks at work unless they are sitting at their desks after 2 aides tested positive for the coronavirus last week. However, officials said the new requirement was not expected to apply to Trump or to Pence.


Federal Watchdog to Examine Official's Role in Tribal Fund Distribution

A federal watchdog is investigating whether a top Interior Department official violated ethics rules when she helped decide how a critical tranche of funds for Native American tribes in the $2.2 trillion stimulus law should be distributed. The department's inspector general informed lawmakers that he would review the roles of Tara Sweeney, the assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, and other top officials "to determine whether there was adherence to ethics rules and regulations and compliance with the ethics pledge" related to the funding. Several tribal governments are suing the federal government over its decision to allow Alaska Native corporations, for-profit businesses that support tribal villages in Alaska, to receive a portion of the $8 billion set aside for tribes, arguing that the corporations should not be eligible for the aid. Lawmakers and some tribal leaders have raised concerns about Sweeney's involvement in that decision, given that she is a shareholder in the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, the wealthiest of the Alaska Native corporations, having previously served as its executive vice president for external affairs.


Outbreak Spells Disaster for Tribal Nations

Tribal nations around the United States are facing their most severe crisis in decades as they grapple simultaneously with some of the deadliest coronavirus outbreaks in rural America and the economic devastation caused by the protracted shutdown of nearly 500 tribally owned casinos. The Navajo Nation, the country's largest Indian reservation, now has a higher death rate than any U.S. state except New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Across Indian Country, more than 5,200 cases have been confirmed in communities from Arizona to Minnesota, which in many cases represents significant local clusters that are challenging the limited resources of tribal clinics and rural hospitals.


Paid Leave Law Tries to Help Millions in Crisis. Many Haven't Heard of It

The paid leave program passed by Congress in March was supposed to help workers cope with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. It has struggled to do so because many Americans are ineligible, and many more are unaware the benefit even exists.


White-Collar Companies Won't Rush to Offices

Much of corporate America is in no rush to return employees to their campuses and skyscrapers. In fact, the companies are racing not to be the first back, but the last. An increasing number of them, which mostly have white-collar employees, have recently extended work-from-home policies far beyond the shelter-in-place timelines mandated by state and local authorities. Google and Facebook employees were told that they could stay home until next year. Capital One informed 40,000 workers that they will be out through Labor Day and possibly longer. Amazon is saying October. Nationwide Insurance is moving more aggressively than other firms, shuttering 5 offices around the country and having its 4,000 employees telecommute permanently.


Big Companies Ignore Rebuke Over Aid Money

When big businesses like Shake Shack and the Los Angeles Lakers basketball franchise took millions of dollars' worth of emergency loans intended for small businesses, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called such borrowing "outrageous," narrowed eligibility and threatened to hold companies criminally liable if they did not give the money back. But in the last month, large companies have continued to take out big loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, including publicly traded firms with ready access to other forms of capital.


The Postal Service's Future Becomes a Political Battle

As Washington begins to battle over the next round of coronavirus relief funding, the United States Postal Service, for many the most familiar face of the federal government, has landed improbably at the center of one of the most bitter political disputes over who should be rescued, and at what cost. The future of the mail may hang in the balance. Postal leaders and their allies have made unusually blunt appeals for support in recent weeks, running advertisements on Trump's favorite Fox News programs and laying out an urgent account of how the pandemic has had a "devastating effect" on the U.S. mail service. Without a financial rescue from Congress, they have warned, an agency that normally runs without taxpayer funds could run out of cash as soon as late September, raising the specter of bankruptcy and an interruption in regular delivery for millions of Americans.


Experts Say Anti-Semitic Incidents Surged in 2019

In its annual audit, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) identified 2,107 anti-Semitic incidents in 2019, an increase of 12% from the 1,879 that were recorded in 2018. The surge in reports, grouped in the categories of assault, harassment and vandalism, came as Jewish communities in Monsey, N.Y., Jersey City, N.J., and Poway, Calif., were the targets of deadly attacks last year. "This was a year of unprecedented anti-Semitic activity, a time when many Jewish communities across the country had direct encounters with hate," the ADL's chief executive, Jonathan A. Greenblatt, said in a statement.


Matters of Democracy Go Digital

American democracy in the coronavirus era has gone digital or at least more distant, however fitfully and incompletely, as all 3 branches of government struggle to adapt to a new reality. The outbreak that has upended daily life across the nation has now forced the 3 branches of government to adapt to a new stay-at-home, livestream reality, transforming technology-resistant institutions that have changed only marginally and grudgingly since their 18th-century origins and forcing them to rewrite their rules as other workplaces have had to do.


House Passes $3 Trillion Aid Bill Over Republican Opposition

A divided House narrowly passed a $3 trillion pandemic relief package to send aid to struggling state and local governments and another round of direct $1,200 payments to taxpayers, advancing a proposal with no chance of becoming law over near-unanimous Republican opposition. Democratic leaders characterized the measure, which Trump has promised to veto, as their opening offer in future negotiations over the next round of coronavirus aid, forging ahead in passing it even amid rifts within their own ranks. With nearly $1 trillion in aid to battered states, cities, and Native American tribes, and another round of bolstered jobless benefits and direct government payments to Americans, the measure was an expansive sequel to the $2.2 trillion stimulus enacted in March, reflecting Democrats' desire to push for a quick and aggressive new round of help. Trump and Republicans have vacillated about whether they would commit to another phase of federal assistance, and have made it clear they are in no rush to provide it.


Experts Warn Opening Too Soon Poses Deadly Risk

Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, and Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) -- predicted dire consequences if the nation reopened its economy too soon, noting that the United States still lacked critical testing capacity and the ability to trace the contacts of those infected. "If we do not respond in an adequate way when the fall comes, given that it is without a doubt that there will be infections that will be in the community, then we run the risk of having a resurgence," said Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who is at the forefront of efforts to find a coronavirus vaccine. If states reopen their economies too soon, he warned, "there is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control," which could result not only in "some suffering and death that could be avoided, but could even set you back on the road to trying to get economic recovery." Fauci's remarks, during a high-profile -- and partly virtual -- hearing before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, along with those of Redfield, made clear that the nation had not yet prevailed.


World Health Organization Issues Warning as More Restrictions Are Lifted

The novel coronavirus spreading around the globe "may never go away," becoming a long-term fact of life that must be managed, not an enemy that can be permanently eradicated, says a top World Health Organization (WHO) official. "This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away," Mike Ryan, head of the organization's health emergencies program, said at a news briefing. "H.I.V. has not gone away but we've come to terms with the virus and we have found the therapies and we have found the prevention methods, and people don't feel as scared as they did before." "There are no promises in this and there are no dates," he said, tamping down expectations that the invention of a vaccine for the coronavirus will provide a quick and complete end to what has become a global health and economic calamity. A good vaccine might be developed, but there is no telling when, he added, calling it "a moon shot." If infected people become immune or resistant, then when enough people have had the virus, there will be fewer left who can catch it or spread it, making outbreaks more manageable. However, no one knows how long that will take.


As Hunger Spreads with Pandemic, Government Takes Timid Steps

As hunger spreads across a locked-down nation, the Trump administration has balked at the simplest ways to feed the hardest hit, through expanding school meals programs and food-stamp benefits and waiving work requirements as unemployment reaches record levels. Instead, the Department of Agriculture is focusing on giving states more flexibility to feed their citizens through regulatory waivers, many of which expire at the end of the month. Since the beginning of the pandemic, rates of household food insecurity have doubled and the rates of childhood food insecurity have quadrupled, according to the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution. The Agriculture Department has issued waivers giving states more administrative power over the agency's 15 nutrition assistance programs, which cover children, women and infants, and adults. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also plans to send more than 5 million food boxes a week to children living in rural areas who would have difficulty getting meals still distributed at many schools.


Fed Chair Warns of Lasting Harm Without More Aid

The Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, delivered a stark warning that the United States was experiencing an economic hit "without modern precedent," one that could permanently damage the economy if Congress and the White House did not provide sufficient financial support to prevent a wave of bankruptcies and prolonged joblessness. Powell's blunt diagnosis was the latest indication that the trillions of dollars that policymakers have already funneled into the economy may not be enough to forestall lasting damage from a virus that has already shuttered businesses and thrown more than 20 million people out of work.


Outsider is Set to Battle Barr

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, the federal judge overseeing the case against Trump's former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, appointed a hard-charging former prosecutor and judge to oppose the Justice Department's effort to drop the case and to explore a perjury charge against Flynn. Judge Sullivan's appointment of the former judge, John Gleeson, was an extraordinary move in a case with acute political overtones.


Vaccine Hunt Prepares for "Warp Speed" as Trump Promises End of Year Vaccine

Trump has picked a former executive of a major pharmaceutical company to lead Operation Warp Speed, the government's effort to speed up development of a vaccine for the coronavirus. Moncef Slaoui, a former chairman of vaccines at GlaxoSmithKline, one of the nation's largest pharmaceutical conglomerates, will serve as the chief adviser on the vaccine effort, and General Gustave F. Perna, a 4-star general who is in charge of the Army's readiness as head of the Army Matériel Command, will be the chief operating officer. The 2 men will lead a crash development program ordered by Trump that is meant to ensure that a vaccine will be ready for wide distribution in the United States by as early as next year.



A Sitting President, Riling the Nation During a Crisis

Even by Trump's standards, it was a rampage: He attacked a government whistle-blower who was telling Congress that the coronavirus pandemic had been mismanaged. He criticized the governor of Pennsylvania, who has resisted reopening businesses. He railed against former President Barack Obama, linking him to a conspiracy theory and demanding he answer questions before the Senate about the federal investigation of Michael T. Flynn. Trump also lashed out at Joseph R. Biden Jr., his Democratic challenger. In an interview with a sympathetic columnist, Trump smeared Biden as a doddering candidate who "doesn't know he's alive." The caustic attack coincided with a barrage of digital ads from Trump's campaign mocking Biden for verbal miscues and implying that the latter is in mental decline. All of this happened in one day.


Feds Suspect Vast Fraud Network Is Targeting U.S. Unemployment Systems

A group of international fraudsters appears to have mounted an immense, sophisticated attack on U.S. unemployment systems, creating a network that has already siphoned millions of dollars in payments that were intended to avert an economic collapse, according to federal authorities. The attackers have used detailed information about U.S. citizens, such as social security numbers, that may have been obtained from cyber hacks of years past, to file claims on behalf of people who have not been laid off, officials said. The attack has exploited state unemployment systems at a time when they are straining to process a crush of claims from an employment crisis unmatched since the Great Depression.


Virus Border Restrictions May Be Indefinitely Extended

The Trump administration is moving to extend its coronavirus border restrictions indefinitely, advancing the crackdown through broad public health authorities that have effectively sealed the United States to migrants seeking protection from persecution, according to officials and a draft of a public health order. On March 21, the CDC imposed a 30-day restriction on all nonessential travel into the United States from Mexico and Canada, closing legal points of entry to tourism and immediately returning immigrants who crossed the border illegally to Mexico or their home countries. Since then, only 2 migrants have been permitted to remain in the United States to pursue asylum, according to a United States Citizenship and Immigration official. The order -- which was extended for another 30 days on April 20 -- was part of a broad effort, led by Stephen Miller, the architect of Trump's immigration agenda, to aggressively use public health laws to reduce immigration as the government battles the virus. A new order under review by several government agencies is intended to extend the restrictions indefinitely. Once issued by Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the CDC, the border restrictions would stay in effect until he decides that the virus no longer poses a threat.



DeVos Funnels Coronavirus Relief Funds to Favored Private and Religious Schools

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, using discretion written into the coronavirus stabilization law, is using millions of dollars to pursue long-sought policy goals that Congress has blocked. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, signed in late March, included $30 billion for education institutions turned upside down by the pandemic shutdowns, about $14 billion for higher education, $13.5 billion to elementary and secondary schools, and the rest for state governments. DeVos has used $180 million of those dollars to encourage states to create "microgrants" that parents of elementary and secondary school students can use to pay for educational services, including private school tuition. She has directed school districts to share millions of dollars designated for low-income students with wealthy private schools.


Renewable Energy Is Poised to Eclipse Coal in U.S.

The United States is on track to produce more electricity this year from renewable power than from coal for the first time on record, new government projections show, a transformation partly driven by the coronavirus pandemic, with profound implications in the fight against climate change. It is a milestone that seemed all but unthinkable a decade ago, when coal was so dominant that it provided nearly half the nation's electricity. It also comes despite the Trump administration's 3-year push to try to revive the ailing industry by weakening pollution rules on coal-burning power plants.


Coronavirus Lockdown May Spur Surge in Mental Illness, U.N. Warns

The United Nations is warning of new risks to children and a subsequent plague of mental illness. National governments are also noting the unintended consequences of lockdowns and other restrictions, including a rise in domestic violence. In Mexico, a decision to ban alcohol sales was followed by scores of deaths after people drank tainted homemade alcohol. the World Health Organization, the health body that has been working to coordinate global efforts to combat the disease, warned of a looming mental illness crisis, the result of "the isolation, the fear, the uncertainty, the economic turmoil," brought on by the pandemic. Devora Kestel, the head of the WHO's mental health department, who presented the report, said the world could expect to see a surge in the severity of mental illness, notably in children and health care workers.


Talking Can Generate Droplets That Linger

Coughs or sneezes may not be the only way people transmit infectious pathogens like the novel coronavirus to one another. Talking can also launch thousands of droplets so small they can remain suspended in the air for 8 to 14 minutes, according to a new study. The research, published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could help explain how people with mild or no symptoms may infect others in close quarters such as offices, nursing homes, cruise ships, and other confined spaces. The study's experimental conditions will need to be replicated in more real-world circumstances, and researchers still don't know how much virus has to be transmitted from one person to another to cause infection. Its findings strengthen the case for wearing masks and taking other precautions in such environments to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.


Burr Steps Back from Senate Panel

Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina temporarily stepped down as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, a day after FBI agents seized his cellphone as part of an investigation into whether he sold hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of stocks using nonpublic information about the coronavirus. The seizure and an accompanying search for his electronic storage accounts, confirmed by an investigator briefed on the case, represented a significant escalation of the inquiry by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. They suggest that Burr, a Republican and one of the most influential members of Congress, may be in serious legal jeopardy.


Professors Accused of Hiding Chinese Funding

The Justice Department has accused a professor in Arkansas of improperly accepting funds from the Chinese government and has accepted a guilty plea in a similar case, the latest examples of the department's effort to combat China's influence in American academia. One of the professors, Simon Ang of the University of Arkansas, was arrested and charged with wire fraud. He worked for and received funding from Chinese companies and from the Thousand Talents program, which awards grants to scientists to encourage relationships with the Chinese government, and he warned an associate to keep his affiliation with the program quiet, court papers said. He kept the financial arrangements secret, allowing him to secure other grants from American government agencies, including NASA, that the Chinese funding made him ineligible for, according to court documents.

The other professor, Dr. Xiao-Jiang Li, a former professor at Emory University in Atlanta, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of filing a false tax return that omitted about $500,000 that he received from the Thousand Talents program. He was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to pay $35,089 in restitution.


Collapse in Sales is The Worst Ever for U.S. Retailers

The coronavirus pandemic dealt another crushing blow to retailers in April. Now the question is what the sector will look like as the economy reopens -- and how much permanent damage has been inflicted. Retail sales fell 16.4 percent last month, by far the largest monthly drop on record. That followed an 8.3 percent drop in March, the previous record. Total sales for April, which include retail purchases in stores and online as well as money spent at bars and restaurants, were the lowest since 2012, even without accounting for inflation.


Job Losses Mount Even With Reopenings

Nearly three million new unemployment claims brought the two-month total to more than 36 million, even with some still frustrated in seeking benefits. The weekly count of new claims has been declining since late March, but that hopeful flicker barely stands out in an otherwise grim and chaotic economic landscape.


U.S. Lacks Leadership on Virus, Obama Tells Graduates

Without the springtime rituals of traditional graduation ceremonies, former President Barack Obama delivered two virtual commencement addresses on Saturday, urging millions of high school and college graduates to fearlessly carve a path and "to seize the initiative" at a time when he says the nation's leaders have fumbled the response to the coronavirus pandemic. The speeches, aired hours apart, combined the inspirational advice given to graduates -- build community, do what is right, be a leader -- with pointed criticism of the handling of a public health crisis that has killed more than 87,000 Americans and crippled much of the economy. "More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they're doing," President Obama said in the afternoon address streamed online. "A lot of them aren't even pretending to be in charge."


PTSD + Burnout Threaten Medical Workers

Medical workers have been celebrated as heroes for their commitment to treating desperately ill coronavirus patients. But the heroes are hurting, badly. Even as applause to honor them swells nightly from city windows, and cookies and thank-you notes arrive at hospitals, the doctors, nurses and emergency responders on the front lines of a pandemic they cannot control are battling a crushing sense of inadequacy and anxiety. Every day they become more susceptible to post-traumatic stress, mental health experts say. And their psychological struggles could impede their ability to keep working with the intensity and focus their jobs require. Even when new Covid-19 cases and deaths begin to ebb, as they have in some places, mental health experts say the psychological pain of medical workers is likely to continue and even worsen.


Law Giant to Pay $11 Million to Avoid Suit

New York-based law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom has paid $11 million or more to avoid a lawsuit by a former Ukrainian prime minister, Yulia V. Tymoshenko, who blamed the firm for aiding in her political persecution.The settlement, which has not been previously reported, is related to the firm's representation starting in 2012 of the Russia-aligned government of Viktor F. Yanukovych, then the president of Ukraine.


Ahmaud Arbery Killing Sparks Renewed Debate Over Citizen's Arrest Laws

After Ahmaud Arbery was shot dead by 2 white men on a quiet residential road in coastal Georgia, a prosecutor cited a Civil War era state law to justify the killing. The same law was invoked last year in suburban Atlanta after a white woman chased down a black man who left the scene of a car accident and killed him after starting a confrontation. Since 1863, Georgia has allowed its residents to arrest one another -- if they have witnessed a crime and the police are not around. Similar laws exist in nearly every state, and have been raised in courtrooms over the decades to account for actions in a range of criminal cases, including assaults and murders. After Arbery's death, a growing chorus of critics are calling for the laws to be repealed. They say the laws are outdated, relics of the Wild West, and are ripe for abuse by untrained civilians in an age in which 911 is widely available and police response times are generally within minutes.


As Virus Ravages Budgets, States Cut and Borrow for Balance

Every state is grappling with a version of the same problem, and all but one -- Vermont -- have balanced-budget laws in place. For most, the new fiscal year starts on July 1, leaving them just a few weeks to come up with a plan and desperate for help. A coalition of 5 Democratic governors said that state and local governments needed $1 trillion in federal relief or they will be forced to decide between funding public health care programs or laying off teachers, police, and other workers.


Appeals Judges Seem Apt to Let Presidential Primary Proceed

Federal appeals court judges seemed inclined during oral arguments to let New York's Democratic presidential primary proceed next month despite state claims that it could threaten the safety of voters during a pandemic. The 3-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard 90 minutes of arguments after a judge ordered the primary to take place despite an April decision by Democratic members of the state's Board of Elections to cancel it. Even without the presidential primary, elections were scheduled in all but 2 of the state's 62 races for other elections, including congressional and state races. The judges did not immediately rule, but they leaned forcefully against the state.


Cuomo Says That New York Can Take "Baby Steps" to Reopen

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that large chunks of New York State's central interior will be allowed to partially reopen construction, manufacturing, and curbside retail last weekend. The move toward a limited, regional reopening came 10 weeks after the state's first confirmed case of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 26,000 people in New York and sickened hundreds of thousands more. That toll has been largely borne by New York City and its populous suburbs, with far fewer cases and fatalities thus far in the state's more rural communities and smaller cities. Mayor Bill de Blasio, however, offered a more sobering assessment for the city, the nation's financial capital, saying that no reopening of any kind would be likely there until June, at the earliest.


New York Gives Nursing Homes Liability Shield

In New York, 5,300 nursing home residents have died of Covid-19. The nursing home lobby pressed for a provision that makes it hard for families to sue. As it became clear that New York was facing a catastrophic outbreak of the coronavirus, aides to Cuomo quietly inserted a provision on Page 347 of New York's final, voluminous budget bill. Many lawmakers were unaware of the language when they approved the budget a few days later, but it provided unusual legal protections for an influential industry that has been devastated by the crisis: nursing home operators. The measure shields nursing homes from many lawsuits over their failure to protect residents from death or sickness caused by the coronavirus. Several state lawmakers, besieged by complaints that poor staffing and shoddy conditions allowed the virus to spread out of control in the homes, said that they were blindsided by the provision. At least one called for it to be repealed.


Inflammation Detected in More Children

New York State health officials are investigating about 100 cases of a rare and dangerous inflammatory syndrome that afflicts children and appears to be connected to the coronavirus. So far, 3 deaths in the state have been linked to the illness, which is known as pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome and causes life-threatening inflammation in critical organs. More than half of the state's pediatric inflammatory syndrome cases -- 57% -- involved children ages 5 to 14. Mayor de Blasio said that 52 cases of the syndrome, which has symptoms that overlap with those of toxic shock or Kawasaki disease, had been reported in New York City, and that 10 potential cases were being evaluated. The pediatric illness began to appear in the region in recent weeks, and doctors and researchers are still investigating how and why it affects children.




As the Virus Hit New York, The Rich Hit The Road

Hundreds of thousands of New York City residents, in particular those from the city's wealthiest neighborhoods, left as the coronavirus pandemic hit, an analysis of multiple sources of aggregated smartphone location data has found. Roughly 5% of residents -- or about 420,000 people -- left the city between March 1 and May 1. In the city's very wealthiest blocks, in neighborhoods like the Upper East Side, the West Village, SoHo, and Brooklyn Heights, residential population decreased by 40% or more, while the rest of the city saw comparably modest changes. Some of these areas are typically home to students, many of whom left as colleges and universities closed; other residents might have left to care for friends or family members across the country. On average, income is a strong simple predictor of a neighborhood's change: The higher-earning a neighborhood is, the more likely it is to have a reduced population.


"Everybody Was Sick": Inside an ICE Detention Center

ICE detention facilities are hotbeds for the virus, with 85 cases already discovered in New York and New Jersey. As of May 11, 36 people tested positive in New Jersey. Four staff members at the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearny, one of the state's 4 detention centers, have died from Covid-19. The American Civil Liberties Union has referred to the country's detainee population as "sitting ducks." The nonprofit Government Accountability Project recently estimated that almost all of those held in ICE facilities could be infected by the 90th day of a Covid outbreak. Like jails, detention centers administrators are faced with tough decisions as to how to keep their dense populations safe. Since the coronavirus outbreak in March, ICE has suspended social visits and staggered meals and recreation times, and is monitoring detainees for Covid-19 regularly at all of its facilities. One of the agency's "highest priorities is the health and safety of those in our custody," said a spokesman. To that end, ICE has also released about 900 people since March. Detention bookings are down by 60% compared to last year's data. About 30,000 people are currently being held nationwide, the lowest number since the beginning of the Trump administration.


New Jersey Governor Says Retail Stores Can Start Curbside Pickup

Governor Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey suggested that the state's popular beaches, a major tourist draw, would open in a limited way by Memorial Day, the traditional start of summer. Murphy said that he planned to make an official announcement about the rules governing beach openings, but that they would resemble those put in place when officials reopened parks and golf courses 2 weeks ago after steady declines in new virus cases and hospitalizations.


Springsteen Sideman Takes on Nursing Homes

When the coronavirus outbreak was only manifesting itself in horrifying headlines from Italy and China, Nils Lofgren, the guitarist for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, and his wife, Amy, moved her mother into Brookdale Senior Living, a well-regarded long term care facility in Florham Park, New Jersey. Almost immediately, Patricia J. Landers, Mrs. Lofgren's mother, began complaining about missing medications and lapses in supervision. The family began to notice a pattern of neglect, particularly in treating her dementia. Then, in early April, Landers, 83, was discovered by local police officers walking aimlessly on a frigid night, 3 miles away from Brookdale, shivering, bruised, and confused. It was her fourth escape from the facility since she arrived in January. A week later, Landers was admitted to a hospital in Montclair, where she tested positive for Covid-19. Incensed and feeling betrayed, the Lofgrens began to explore legal options when they ran into a troubling trend: Lobbyists from nursing homes across the country were pushing for immunity protection from lawsuits during the coronavirus crisis. Now, the family has accelerated their efforts and filed a lawsuit against Brookdale.


Wisconsin Supreme Court Strikes Down Stay-at-Home Order

The Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected the extension of the state's stay-at-home order, siding with Republican legislators in a high profile challenge of the emergency authority of a statewide official during the coronavirus pandemic. Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, had extended the prohibition on most travel and operations of nonessential businesses until May 26. In a 4-to-3 ruling, the court said that Wisconsin's top health official had not followed the proper process in setting the strict limits for residents.



Court Says That Divorcing Parents Have Right to Post Discord Online

A ruling in Massachusetts finds that involuntary nondisparagement orders, commonly used to keep spouses from discussing their cases on social media, are unconstitutional. A ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, stemming from a couple's acrimonious divorce, found such bans to be unconstitutional, a decision that could have broad implications in the state. "As important as it is to protect a child from the emotional and psychological harm that might follow from one parent's use of vulgar or disparaging words about the other, merely reciting that interest is not enough to satisfy the heavy burden" of restricting speech, Justice Kimberly S. Budd wrote in a 13-page ruling.


Indiana Attorney General Suspended for Groping

Curtis T. Hill Jr., the Indiana Attorney General, had his law license suspended for 30 days by the state Supreme Court, which found that he broke the law by groping 4 women during a party at the close of the legislative session in 2018. One of the victims was a state lawmaker and the other 3 worked as legislative employees at the time of the episode. Chief Deputy Attorney General, Aaron Negangard, will lead the office until Hill's reinstatement on June 17.


Californians Ready to Vote on Three Strikes Law Again

An estimated 6,000 people sentenced underThree Strikes have been freed or had their sentences reduced since 2012, when Californians first voted to soften the law. In November, the state's residents will be asked to vote on whether to go in the other direction and toughen some of the measures that have made many inmates eligible to be considered for an early parole.


Shops Open, Aided by Firearms

In at least a half dozen cases around the state in recent days, frustrated small business owners have turned to heavily armed, militia-style protesters to serve as reopening security squads. The showy displays of local firepower are creating a dilemma for the authorities, who face public demands for enforcement of social distancing guidelines, but also strong pushback from conservatives in some parts of the state who are convinced that the restrictions go too far.


Why Are Women-Led Nations Doing Better with Covid-19?

Countries led by women seem to be particularly successful in fighting the coronavirus. Germany, led by Angela Merkel, has had a far lower death rate than Britain, France, Italy or Spain. Finland, where Prime minister Sanna Marin, 34, governs with a coalition of 4 female-led parties, has had fewer than 10% as many deaths as nearby Sweden. Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan, has presided over one of the most successful efforts in the world at containing the virus, using testing, contact tracing, and isolation measures to control infections without a full national lockdown. Although we should resist drawing conclusions about women leaders from a few exceptional individuals acting in exceptional circumstances, but experts say that the women's success may still offer valuable lessons about what can help countries weather this and future crises.


Amazon Reaches Deal with French Unions in Coronavirus Safety Dispute

Amazon has reached an agreement with French unions to reopen its warehouses in France after a lengthy battle over safety measures to protect workers against the coronavirus, capping the most prominent labor showdown the retailer has faced during the pandemic. The company said that it was finalizing an accord with French unions and employee representatives that would pave the way for a progressive reopening of its 6 fulfillment centers in the country as of May 19. Amazon closed the warehouses in mid-April and put 10,000 employees on paid furlough after unions successfully sued, accusing the online giant of not taking adequate steps to protect workers from the risk of the coronavirus and of trying to sidestep the unions as they sought improved conditions. Two French courts sided with the labor organizations, ordering Amazon to stop delivering "nonessential" items as part of measures to protect worker health and threatening millions of euros in fines if it did not comply. Amazon shuttered the warehouses to avoid risking those penalties.


A Ramadan Unlike Any Since Middle Ages

The last time Muslim worshipers were kept out of the Aqsa Mosque compound throughout the entire month of Ramadan was when crusaders controlled Jerusalem in the Middle Ages. Now, the coronavirus pandemic has done what the intervening centuries had not: largely emptying the often crowded and chaotic spaces of Islam's third holiest site, where Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. The restricted entry to the compound is only one example of how the pandemic has radically transformed the way Muslims have experienced the sacred fasting month of Ramadan as they cope with government social distancing measures.


Garment Workers Fear for Jobs

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, factories have seen a decrease in orders from international retailers. That's why Myan Mode, a garment factory on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, said it let go almost half of its 1,274 workers. Three fired sewing operators, however, said the factory was taking an opportunity to punish workers engaged in union activity. In an interview, the operators -- Maung Moe, Ye Yint and Ohnmar Myint -- said that of the 571 who had been dismissed, 520 had belonged to the factory's union, one of 20 that make up the Federation of Garment Workers Myanmar. About 700 workers who did not belong to the union kept their jobs, they said.


May 25, 2020

Immigrant Artists and Their Employers: The Impact of "New York on PAUSE" on Visas

By Michael Cataliotti

The impact of COVID-19 on everyone has been significant, but it has potentially unexpected consequences for immigrant artists.

For example, in the case of nearly all visa categories --- but most notably for our purposes, O, P, and H -- when a visa holder no longer has work available to him/her/them, the artist will have 60 days to find a new employer and file for an extension of stay. Without doing so, that now-out-of-work individual will have to depart from the U.S. on or before the expiration of that 60-day period.

The impact on employers, too, is quite significant, but more so if the international-artist employee holds an H-1B visa. In that instance, and assuming an employer wants to retain the artist, the employer must be mindful not to decrease the artist's hours or pay below the prevailing wage and/or rate indicated on the labor condition application (LCA) and petition for a nonimmigrant worker (Form I-129). This is true, even if the employer reduces the number of hours and pay across-the-board, for all employees. Doing so could trigger the need for the employer to file a new LCA with the Department of Labor and an amended petition -- due to a "material change" -- with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Should the employer not do these things, it could face fines, sanctions, and the suspension of its authorization to petition for non-U.S. citizen workers across all classifications for one to three years. It is important to note here that for an H-1B, there is clear guidance about what constitutes a "material change", and so it is a bit easier to see when a new LCA and/or amended filing may be necessary.

In the event that the employee holds an O or P visa, the situation becomes a bit more complicated: Many O or P visas are issued to agents who are individuals or entities who/that simply hold the visa status, while the international artist works for multiple employers. There is little-to-no guidance regarding the potential ramifications in these instances, however, because most international artists do not hold an O or P visa tied to one employer, for which they receive a steady paycheck and a W-2, an amended filing may not be necessary. After all, "petitioner may add additional performances or engagements for an O-1 artist or entertainer during the validity period of the petition without filing an amended petition", so rescheduling those performances should also be appropriate. Nonetheless, it is important to keep these points in mind: (1) Safe practice would be for an agent to file an amended petition if an international-artist employee has a reduction in hours from employment for which he/she/they receive(s) a steady paycheck and W-2; and (2) The O and P visas do not involve LCAs, nor are they typically bound to one employer or a particular performance or production. As a result, evaluate on a case-by-case basis whether there is a need to file an amended petition, asking, "Has there been a material change in the terms and conditions of the employment or the beneficiary's eligibility?"

In the case where an international artist's work is terminated, another set of obligations hinge on whether the petitioner, i.e. the individual or entity who/that signed the paperwork for the international artist to receive a visa, is also the employer. If yes, then the petitioner-employer will need to: (1) withdraw the terminated employee's LCA from the DOL; (2) notify USCIS of the termination, thereby withdrawing the petition; and (3) pay for the terminated employee's transportation back to his/her/their home country. If no, then the petitioner-agent will need to evaluate, at a minimum, whether the artist has other employers indicated within or ancillary to the approved petition, and/or if there is a continuation of events that were described in the approved petition.

While the guidelines are clear for employers and international artists holding H-1B visas, they are more amorphous for agents, employers, and international artists under O and P visas. The result: This is new territory and without much guidance, we can only make reasoned decisions.

Do your best and stay safe.

Week In Review

By Angela Peco
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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


America's First Concert Since Pandemic Takes Place in Arkansas

Travis McCready's concert was the first since the pandemic caused cancellations across the entertainment industry. Fans had their temperatures taken and wore masks during the show. Tickets were sold in clusters and empty seats were roped off to make sure that there was space between the "fan pods."


TikTok is Placing Restrictions on How Brands Can Use Music in Their Videos

"Verified businesses or organizations" will only be able to access royalty-free music when posting videos on the platform. Some brands will no longer be able to use mainstream music unless they've obtained appropriate license granting them commercial use (similar to what is required on YouTube).


Lori Loughlin Pleads Guilty in College Admissions Case

The actress is expected to receive a two-month prison sentence under an agreement reached with prosecutors. Loughlin and her husband were accused of paying $500,000 to get their two daughters admitted to the University of Southern California as crew recruits, even though they did not participate in the sport. Dozens of other wealthy parents were charged for similar conduct, including conspiring to cheat on admissions exams or bribing college colleges to secure admissions.


The Impact of the Virus on the "Experience Economy"

Restrictions on large-scale gatherings are taking a toll on the live events industry and these businesses will be among the last to return. The economic output associated with these events has reached an all-time high, and beyond that, event organizers and people studying the "experience economy" say that restrictions on mass gatherings have also taken a psychological toll on people.


Lockdown Halts Hudson Valley's Film Industry

With productions postponing their start dates for safety reasons, much of upstate New York's film industry faces big unknowns. Buoyed by the
state's film tax credits, Hudson Valley's film industry accounted for over $46 million in regional spending last year and provided substantial income for hotels and other supporting businesses.


New York's Upriver Studios Expected to Open for Film Production in Summer

The Saugerties, New York studio will offer about 104,000 square feet of sound stages and other production space. It is based in a former manufacturing facility and final construction will be completed by August, offering producers a new option in an area of the state where non-essential activities are expected to resume perhaps earlier than in New York City.



Second Circuit Says That Unnamed Authors May Sue Based on Group Copyrights

The Second Circuit clarified that a valid group copyright registration must only list the author of the compilation as a whole to register every individual's copyright in the group. In this particular case, a photographer's copyrights were properly registered in a group registration that did not list him as the author of the compilation. His copyright infringement case against Scholastic Inc. is now headed back to Manhattan federal court.


Can Fan Fiction Tropes Be Protected by Copyright?

The U.S. Copyright Office recently released a report detailing how the Digital Millennium Copyright Act has failed to keep pace with the "digital ecosystem" as online platforms get overwhelmed with takedown notices from authors alleging copyright infringement, some of whom have "anti-competitive purposes." The latest of these feuds is in the Omegaverse case, a fanfiction genre involving werewolves. Intellectual property experts are skeptical of the notion that Omegaverse or other fanfiction tropes or standard plot points generated by thousands of writers could be copyrighted.


Some U.S. Museums Are Reopening After Lockdown

Houston's Museum of Fine Arts is among the first to reopen, with safety protocols in place. Guests will have to submit to temperature checks and wear masks. Museums have struck regional working groups to strategize about and share reopening plans. Other safety precautions include keeping guests six feet apart, removing benches from the galleries, and keeping spaces under 50% capacity.



Coronavirus Shutdown Takes a Toll on Book Sales

Total U.S. sales were down 8.4% in March, showing that the publishing world was not immune to the economic fallout from the pandemic, despite the availability of online sales. The biggest drop in sales came in educational publishing, likely a result of mass school closures. Bookstore sales fell by about 33% in March and were down 11% in the first quarter, as compared to last year.


Bard College Music Student Sues School Over Instructor's Conduct

An earlier Title IX investigation determined that the instructor had sexually harassed a student. The student is now claiming in a lawsuit that the college should not have allowed the instructor to be on staff, given prior harassment complaints against him about which the school was aware.


Authorities Seek Forfeiture of Gilgamesh Tablet from Hobby Lobby

U.S. authorities seized the cuneiform tablet containing parts of the Epic of Gilgamesh from the Museum of the Bible in Washington in 2019. The museum was founded in part by the president of Hobby Lobby. The international auction house that sold the tablet to Hobby Lobby in 2014 withheld information about its provenance. Once authorities determine the origins of the tablet, it will be returned to its country. Court documents suggest that it was a bought from the family of a Jordanian antiquities dealer in London and then shipped to the U.S.


Globe Theater Asks U.K. Parliament for Aid

In a letter to Parliament, the Globe Theater warned that it was in danger of closing if it did not receive at least 5 million pounds in emergency government funding. Its income had declined by 25% before it closed in March as people were already avoiding public activities. Given the expected need for social distancing even once it opens, the theater said it might experience a "long-term erosion of income-generation channels."


German Audience Comes Out of Lockdown for Schubert

A German theater in Wiesbaden restarted live concerts with a socially distanced audience of 200 in a space capable of holding 1,000. The move could serve as a model (three empty seats separated every occupied one), or as a warning, if any attendees end up getting infected.


Venice Biennale Postpones Events

The Venice Biennale announced that it was postponing two international exhibitions - the architecture biennale will not open until May 2021 and the next biennale of contemporary art has been pushed to April 22, each delayed by a year.



New York Teams Permitted to Open Training Facilities

Effective Sunday, May 24, the state's professional sports team are allowed to open their training camps, following appropriate health protocols. Voluntary, individual training had already been in place.


New York, California, and Texas Governors Express Support for Return of Pro Sports

The governors say that the return of major professional sports can be made possible if leagues tailor their plans to television audiences and games are played without spectators. In California, the governor said that sports could resume in early June under "very prescriptive conditions" and Texas included sporting events in broader plans for reopening, alongside bars, restaurants, and summer school.


National Basketball Association in Talks with Disney About Resuming Season

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is exploring a single-site solution if it resumes play in late July. The conversations are "exploratory." Under this return-to-play scenario, games would be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on the Disney property near Orlando.


Athletes Weigh Health Risks of Participating in Their Sports

Many athletes, coaches, and employees working in the industry have underlying conditions of their own that make them susceptible to the coronavirus. As sports gradually reopen, that personal risk figures dominantly in their plans to return to training and games. Some leagues, like Major League Baseball (MLB), are putting out policies encouraging teams to identify high-risk players, coaches, and essential staff before play resumes. To protect them, MLB can offer separate space or modify their travel options and work hours. It is possible that some players may choose to sit out the season.


National Football League Team Owners Approve Enhanced Rooney Rule, But No Incentives for Teams Committed to Diversity Hiring

The owners approved a change to the National Football League's (NFL) anti-tampering policy, in that teams will no longer be allowed to block assistant coaches from interviewing for head coaching or coordinator jobs with other teams. Teams must interview at least one minority or woman for club president and senior executive positions. Teams must also interview two external minority candidates to fill head coach vacancies. They are also expected to submit diversity and inclusion plans to the NFL. The owners tabled a more controversial expansion of the Rooney Rule that would have rewarded teams with better draft picks in the third round for hiring minority head coaches that kept their position for more than one season.


Akim Aliu's Account of Racism Pushes Hockey to Reckon With its Culture

The former National Hockey League (NHL) player wrote an article for The Players' Tribune about his experience with racism in hockey. It included an account of how he was subjected to a hazing ritual early in his career and to racist slurs from one of his coaches. The article has ignited strong response from the hockey community on how to deal with a problem as pervasive as racism beyond just the professional level.


Gymnastics Coach Maggie Haney Barred from Sport for Eight Years

Haney was suspended for eight years after findings of emotional and verbal abuse. Now, sensing a movement to hold USA Gymnastics accountable for disciplining coaches for abusive behaviour, another group of athletes is preparing to go public with accusations against Haney and others.


Belmont Stakes Will Open the Triple Crown This Year

The horse race will run close to its usual date but at a shorter distance and without spectators. The Derby and the Preakness Stakes have been moved to the fall. Developing horses have not been racing for months and the shorter distance of a mile and an eighth is meant to account for that.


Kentucky Cheer Team Coaches Fired Following Investigation

The three-month investigation into the University of Kentucky's cheer team led to the firing of the entire coaching staff. The review was prompted by a complaint made by a student's parent and found that students had engaged in hazing rituals, alcohol use, and public nudity on the coaches' watch.


Another Case of Sexual Abuse Allegations in Global Soccer - This Time in Haiti

The president of the Haitian Football Federation is being accused of abusing female athletes at the country's national training center. The alleged misconduct included coercing players into having sex or risk being thrown out of the national soccer program. Some say they have been threatened and told to withdraw their allegations. The case has put FIFA, the sport's governing body, under scrutiny yet again for its commitment to protect athletes. Its ethics committee is now investigating the claims.



CBS Courts Advertisers Virtually

CBS has often put its stars and executives before advertisers using the Carnegie Hall stage. This year, instead of in-person dinners and power breakfasts, the network prepared a series videos with appearances by TV personalities like Stephen Colbert to persuade advertisers to buy commercial time.


Facebook Plans for Permanent Remote Work

As part of the announcement, the company also said that a worker's change of resident from the Bay Area or Seattle to a lower cost of living city would justify a salary reduction. In the long term, similar moves by tech giants might mean that tech employment starts to shift away from expensive hubs like Silicon Valley.


The Atlantic Lays Off 68 Employees, Citing a Decline in Advertising

The publication announced it would lay off 17% of its staff. Similar announcement came from Vice (155 jobs lost), Conde Nast (100), and The Economist (90). The Atlantic is also cutting executive pay and freezing salaries.


Dutch Court Rules That Grandmother Violated Privacy Law for Refusing to Remove Grandchildren's Photos from Social Media

In the Netherlands, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Europe's internet privacy law, requires anyone posting photos of minors to have permission from their legal guardians. In this case, the family dispute turned into a privacy case as the judge decided that the grandmother was prohibited from posting her grandchildren's photos without their mother's permission. The GDPR was intended to govern the data collection practices of large companies, but it also "gives individuals new ways to limit how their personal data is collected, shared and stored online."


German Court Rules That Right to Privacy Extends to Foreign Internet Users

The decision means that intelligence services cannot randomly search the digital data of non-German citizens living abroad. Privacy rights under Germany's Constitution, it said, extend to foreigners living abroad and cover their online data.


Volkswagen Apologizes for Racist Online Ad

The company pulled the 10-second ad depicting a dark-skinned man being pushed off a street by a giant white hand, and then "flicking" the man past a doorway. In a public statement, a member of its board said that the company was "horrified" and "ashamed." German television said the hand could be interpreted as a "white power" gesture.


General News

An Incalculable Loss: America's Coronavirus Death Toll Approaches 100,000

The New York Times compiled information from dozens of publications and obituaries across the U.S. and presents a chilling picture of the virus' toll on the U.S. - 100,000 lives lost.


Were the Supreme Court's Phone Arguments a Success?

The Court has now heard 10 arguments by conference call, with the justices asking questions one at a time in order of seniority. However, one of the foremost legal reporters, Lyle Denniston, has been critical of the Chief Justice's role in trying to keep the proceedings to the allotted time, which diminished cross-bench exchanges, something he says are the start of judicial deliberations.


Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks Release of Full Mueller Report

The Court's order gave no reasons for blocking an appeals court ruling ordering the release of the full report. The Court ordered the Justice Department to file a petition seeking review by June 1. This occurred after the House Judiciary Committee had requested grand jury materials that were blacked out from the report provided to Congress. The House said that it needs to see what was redacted, as it may bear on whether the president committed impeachable offenses by obstructing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.


Supreme Court Allows Surgery for Transgender Inmate

The inmate, a transgender woman in an Idaho prison, had sued after a prison psychiatrist denied her request for surgery. She argued that failure to provide the surgery violated the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Prison officials challenged an earlier court order (for sex reassignment surgery), which considered the views of an advocacy group and found that the "ongoing psychological distress and the high risk of self-castration and suicide [the inmate] faces absent surgery constitute irreparable harm." The Supreme Court let that ruling stand, with no reasons.


Supreme Court Rules That Sudan Must Pay Billions to Terrorism Victims

In a unanimous ruling, the Court reinstated an earlier award of $10.2 in damages against Sudan. It was awarded to victims and family members of bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. A 1996 law allows plaintiffs to seek compensation by nations designated as state sponsors of terrorism; a 2008 amendment to the law allows them to seek punitive damages (which accounted for $4.3 billion of the total damages awarded in this case).


Epidemiologists Baffled by How the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Counts Tests

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been lumping together tests for active coronavirus (diagnostic tests) with tests for recovered patients (serology tests). The CDC said that it would work to separate them going forward. Epidemiologists were critical of the practice, saying the two tests should never be mixed because the diagnostic test seeks to quantify the amount of active cases in the population.


Doctors Focused on Identifying Virus Syndrome Affecting Children

The multi-system inflammatory syndrome is believed to be caused by a reaction to the coronavirus. There are at least 160 cases in New York and hundreds of others globally. It involves severe inflammation of the heart, blood vessels, and the gastrointestinal tract. The condition resembles Kawasaki disease and doctors have been administering similar treatments for it.


President Trump Says That Virus Death Count is Inflated

White House officials suspect the data compiled by state health departments and the CDC includes people who have died not with the coronavirus but of other conditions. They also say there were presumed cases of COVID-19 but individuals were never tested. Most statisticians and public health experts say it is unlikely the death toll is inflated, since many people were died in their homes or in nursing homes without being tested or with what doctors thought were influenza or pneumonia, and that those numbers have not been included in the death toll, which has now surpassed 100,000 people.


Delays in Locking Down Parts of the U.S. Cost At Least 36,000 Lives

Researchers found that even small differences in timing would have prevented exponential growth as the disease was spreading. If the U.S. had imposed social distancing measures a week earlier than it did, Columbia University disease modelers say that 36,000 fewer people would have died.


Coronavirus Outcomes in the U.S. Split Along Racial Lines

Public health officials say that "race and place are major predictors of underlying health conditions and health outcomes." Black and Hispanic Americans face the worst health outcomes in this pandemic. In parts of Washington, black Americans have been infected at twice the rate of white people. In Louisiana, where one-third of residents are black, 55% of patients who died from COVID-19 were black.


President Trump Announces That He Is Taking Hydroxychloroquine as Preventative Measure

The announcement drew immediate criticism from medical experts, who say the antimalarial drug could cause serious heart problems for coronavirus patients. On Sunday, the President said he finished his course of treatment.


Trump's Vaccine Chief Has Vast Ties to Drug Industry and Possible Conflicts

The New York Times reports that the man overseeing the U.S. initiative to develop coronavirus treatments and vaccines is a former pharmaceutical executive whose corporate roles and business interests have recently come under scrutiny. Moncef Slaoui was not hired as a government employee. He is being paid a nominal amount for his services and is exempt from federal disclosure rules that would require him to list his stock holdings and other potential conflicts. He recently divested of his interests in Moderna, a bio tech firm currently pursuing a vaccine, and holds just under $10 million in GSK stock.


U.S. Will Give a $1.2 Billion Grant to AstraZeneca For a Potential Coronavirus Vaccine

The company has licensed a potential vaccine that is in trials by Oxford University. The money will cover the cost of a Phase 3 clinical trial of the vaccine in the U.S. this summer, which will involve 30,000 volunteers


Trump Pushes for Churches to Reopen

The president said places of worship were "essential" operations that should hold in-person services despite state quarantine orders. He said he would override governors if they did not reopen houses of worship immediately, though the authority the president was relying on to do so was unclear.


Federal Bureau of Investigations Announces Review of Michael Flynn Case

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) announced that it would conduct an internal review of the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. As it did so, a federal appeals court panel also ordered the trial judge to explain why he is hesitating to grant the Justice Department's request that he dismiss the criminal case against Flynn. The order came after Flynn's lawyers filed a petition with the appeals court. Judge Sullivan appointed a former prosecutor to argue against the Justice Department's position and to evaluate whether Flynn committed perjury.


Attorney General Barr Dismisses Claim That Russia Inquiry Was an Obama Plot

Barr confirmed that a federal prosecutor was examining how law enforcement and intelligence officials handled Russian election interference, but said the investigation was not focused on President Obama or Vice President Biden.


Senate Panel Subpoenas Biden-Related Material

Many Senate Republicans have adopted the president's lines of attack and are seeking evidence of wrongdoing in the 2016 investigations that could be relevant to the upcoming election. The exact scope of inquiry is unclear but it is focused on whether Vice President Biden tried to force Ukraine to fire a prosecutor investigating a company with links to his son.


Federal Election Commission Can Begin Its Work After Fourth Commissioner is Confirmed

The Federal Election Commission's (FEC) bylaws require at least four of the six board seats to be occupied for the agency to function and the Senate just confirmed James Trainor as its fourth member. Trainor is a Republican lawyer from Texas and worked for the 2016 Trump campaign.


States Are Preparing for Voting by Mail

Eleven of 16 states that limit who can cast an absentee ballot have eased their rules to let anyone vote by mail. Four of these 11 states are mailing ballot applications to registered voters in recognition that practices will have to change this fall. Thirty-four other states allow anyone to cast an absentee ballot. President Trump has threatened to withhold federal grants to states if they send ballots to voters.


Justice Department Unit That Prosecuted Roger Stone Underwent a Reorganization

A criminal division of the U.S. attorney's office in Washington was restructured, with the biggest changes coming to the fraud and public corruption unit, which handled the case against Roger Stone. The section was split into two parts - a standalone fraud section to focus on major government fraud and a combined public corruption and hate crimes prosecution team. The changes were implemented shortly before the departure of Interim U.S. Attorney Timothy Shea.


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Requests Aid from Congress

Green card and citizenship applications have plummeted during the pandemic, threatening the solvency of the federal agency, which is now seeking $1.2 billion from Congress as well as fee hikes that it plans to implement in the coming months.


Trump Administration Has Deported Hundreds of Migrant Children Alone During the Pandemic

Hundreds of migrant children and teenagers have been deported within hours of arriving in the U.S., some as young as 10 years old, sent back without any notification to their families. The administration is relying on a 1944 law that grants the president power to block foreigners from entering the U.S. in order to prevent the threat of a dangerous disease. Some of the deported children were already in the U.S. before the pandemic orders came down.


Senate Approves John Ratcliffe as National Intelligence Chief

The vote was split along party lines, making Ratcliffe the first national intelligence chief with no support from the opposing party.


State Department Inspector General's Firing Puts Secretary Pompeo's Spending Under Scrutiny

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's use of government resources is coming under scrutiny again after the president fired the State Department's inspector general, who had begun an inquiry into Pompeo's possible misuse of a political appointee to perform personal tasks for him. This is the fourth inspector general fired during the Trump administration for reportedly being "insufficiently loyal."


Inspectors General System, Key Post-Watergate Reform, Coming Under Pressure by the President

The inspector general role was created in 1978 as an independent oversight mechanism in federal agencies and departments, charged with rooting out fraud, corruption, and mismanagement. President Trump has forged new ground by firing, demoting or replacing inspectors general with political appointees, often seeking to bypass the requirement that he give reasons to Congress 30 days before removing an inspector general.


Pompeo Visits Conservative Donors on State Department Trips

The New York Times reports that Secretary Pompeo held meetings with Republican donors during diplomatic, taxpayer-funded trips. The meetings were kept off his public schedule. The newspaper calls the meetings "potentially politically motivated", as Pompeo is said to be considering a presidential run in 2024.


President Trump Donates Salary to Department of Health and Human Services; Press Secretary Displays Check with Private Bank Account Information

During the press secretary's announcement that the president was forgoing his salary once again, Kayleigh McEnany also held up a check that contained the president's private bank account and routing numbers. While for an average person, that information could be used to withdraw or deposit money, the bank likely has additional protections in place for the president.


President Trump May Withdraw the U.S. From Open Skies Arms Control Treaty

The treaty was negotiated 30 years ago to allow nations to fly over each other's territory with sensor equipment to show they are not preparing for military action. Some see it as evidence that the U.S. will also exit the treaty that limits the U.S. and Russia to 1,550 deployed nuclear missiles each, a treaty that the president insists China should join.


2.4 Million Jobs Lost Last Week

The Labor Departments report on new unemployment claims brought the total to 38.6 million since mid-March. Economists studying the pandemic's impact on the workforce say that some of these jobs may be gone for good and the economy that does come back will look different given the ongoing need for social distancing, which will impact business in various industries.


Officials Warn of Unprecedented Downturn and Long-Term Economic Scarring

The Treasury Secretary and the Federal Reserve chair said that the U.S. economy faces irreparable damage from the coronavirus. Secretary Mnuchin said there was risk of permanent damage if states did not reopen soon, while Fed chair Powell said policy action is required to help states and local governments through the crisis.



Minority-Owned Businesses Got Less Aid from the Paycheck Protection Program and Other Federal Aid Efforts

A survey commissioned by two equal rights groups interviewed 500 Black and Latino business owners and 1,200 workers and found that just 12% of the owners who applied for aid received what they asked requested; another 26% said they only received a fraction of such. Almost half said that they anticipated permanently closing their business in the next six months.


Debt Forgiveness Rollback Puts Pressure on the President

The president is being asked to overturn an Education Department rule that would make it extremely difficult for students to have their federal loans forgiven, even if they could show they were victims of unscrupulous institutions. It would be the first reversal of a major regulation during this administration, and one that would appease many veterans groups who came out strongly against the loan-forgiveness policy.


University of California Will End Use of SAT and ACT in College Admissions

The University of California will phase out use of these standardized tests at its system of 10 schools. The decision could tip the balance for other schools in deciding whether to keep relying on those tests' results for admission decisions.


American Civil Liberties Union Warns Against Fever-Screening Tools

The report says that reliance on thermal cameras and temperature-sensing guns at workplaces is intrusive and the devices are often inaccurate. It also cautioned that widespread use of these tools could usher in permanent new forms of surveillance and false control. Further, they could give people a false sense of security and encouraged other measures instead, like wearing masks and abiding by social distancing rules.


One in Four New Yorkers Need Food Aid During Pandemic

About two million residents in New York City are food-insecure, a number that has risen since the start of the pandemic. To address the problem, the city is expanding its food-distribution efforts and will give out 1.5 million meals each day by next week.


Commercial Rent Revenues Sliding in New York City

Landlords say that companies with offices or retail space have been very aggressive in skipping rent. The resulting drop in commercial rent payments poses problems for property tax collection and the public services for which those taxes pay. The city has not postponed property tax deadlines.


Missouri Carries Out First Execution Since Pandemic Began

The 64-year-old man was convicted of killing an 81-year-old woman nearly 30 years ago. Several states had postponed or cancelled executions due to concerns related to the pandemic. The prison said that it had no confirmed cases of the virus and had followed strict protocols to protects workers from exposure.


Investigators Charge Man Who Filmed Video of Ahmaud Arbery Charged with Murder

William Bryan had joined the pursuit of Arbery and filmed the deadly confrontation. The release of Bryan's video brought the case to national attention and officials now say that Bryan contributed to Arbery's death by attempting to "confine and detain" him with his vehicle.


China's Proposed Security Law Would Quash Dissent in Hong Kong

Protesters have returned to Hong Kong's streets following China's proposed national security law. The legislation would allow mainland China's security agencies to set up operations publicly for the first time in Hong Kong. It will likely empower the authorities to close newspapers or conduct warrantless searches in an effort to quash dissent.



Britain Orders 14-Day Quarantine for All Travelers

The order on arriving travelers will be enforced with fines, but some say that it came too late. The home secretary defended the move, saying that it made little sense to have the order in place when the virus was spreading freely at home, and that the situation has now changed, given the falling rates of infection and that travel could pose threat to that progress.


May 26, 2020

June 2020 - New York State Court Of Appeals Hearing In-Person Oral Arguments


The New York State Court of Appeals has announced that during its June 2020 session, the court will be available to hear in-person oral arguments from counsel, following appropriate safety protocols.

The courtroom will be closed to the general public and the oral arguments will be webcast live.

By Thursday, May 28 the Albany-based staff will return to Court of Appeals Hall, though it will not be open to public visitors until further notice. Also, filings, including applications for stays, will not be accepted in person at the clerk's office until further notice.

Persons who wish to file papers in person should call the clerk's office at 518-455-7700 for instructions on alternative ways to file. The court will continue to accept submissions by mail and electronically, as permitted by its rules.

Chief Judge Provides Update

In her latest weekly address, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore said 48 of the state's 62 counties so far have begun the first phase of a gradual return to in-person courthouse operations. Also, as of today, new lawsuits may be filed in all the state's 62 counties.

In regions that have reopened, new matters must be filed electronically in those courts that use the New York State Electronic Filing System (NYSCEF), and by mail in those courts where NYSCEF is unavailable.

"So, while judges and their personal staffs, and certain essential court personnel, are back and physically working in our courthouses, we are limiting public density in our buildings by relying on virtual technology to conduct as much court business as possible," said DiFiore. "Many safety measures have been put in place, including: COVID-19 screening; the wearing of masks by all who enter our courthouses; social distancing protocols; availability of PPE; strict cleaning and sanitizing standards; and the installation of plexiglass partitions in strategic courthouse locations."

DiFiore also noted that the court system's backlog of undecided motions has been cleared out in the courts outside of New York City and reduced by more than half in New York City.

Mid-Hudson, Long Island Regions to Reopen

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that the Mid-Hudson Region has met all seven metrics to begin phase one of reopening, joining the Capital Region, Western New York, Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley regions. He also said Long Island is on track to reopen tomorrow, May 27, when their contact tracing operation comes online and if deaths continue to decline.

In light of the news, the state court system announced that courts will gradually resume in-person operations tomorrow in Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties, followed by Ulster and Sullivan counties on Thursday, May 28 and Nassau and Suffolk counties on Friday, May 29.

COVID-19 Memorial

NYSBA is inviting you to join us in a special tribute to the spirit of our colleagues who lost their lives to COVID-19.

A COVID-19 memorial video will be played during the virtual meeting of the NYSBA House of Delegates on Saturday, June 13, and will also be shared on the NYSBA website and social media.

If you would like to honor an attorney, judge or legal professional who passed away as a result of the pandemic, please email memorial@nysba.org by Friday, June 5, with the name and city of the colleague to be memorialized.

May 31, 2020

Week In Review

By Eric Lanter
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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


For Kenny Chesney and Others, Promotion in a Pandemic Is a Quandary

Many performers have struggled since the pandemic began to make up to their fans for the shows that have been rescheduled or cancelled. Facebook Live and other social media platforms have been the sites for performers to connect with their fanbases, because even with the pandemic continuing, there is the potential to promote their shows or latest books and to generate revenue.


A No. 1 Hit Vanished From Poland's Charts. It's Not Going Quietly

A rock legend in Poland, Kazik Staszewski, had a hit at the top of the charts in his native country, "Your Pain Is Better Than Mine," but after having been named number one on a show, the state-run broadcaster censored his song. This came after Staszewski "chastised one of Poland's most powerful politicians, Jaroslaw Kaczynski," who leads the Law and Justice Party. The Law and Justice Party has grabbed control in Poland's politics and is viewed by analysts to turn media outlets "into mouthpieces of the government and promoting a conservative agenda, often steeped in xenophobia, homophobia, and nationalism."



Gallery Sues Landlord, Claiming Coronavirus Shutdown Voids Lease

The Venus Over Manhattan gallery in the Upper East Side has been a prominent gallery in the neighborhood, but following the pandemic, it had to close its doors as a nonessential business. The gallery has sued its landlord, arguing that New York State's ordering the gallery to close its doors provides "a basis to end its lease, which it says started in 2011 at $54,000 per month," and the gallery is now pursuing recovery of its deposit of $365,000.


Less Is More as an Art Museum Reopens

Houston's Museum of Fine Arts has reopened, and it may provide a model for how other museums in the country may deal with the pandemic. The museum has used "timed tickets and limited entry," and as visitors wait to enter the museum, museum employees take their temperatures. Although Texas has allowed museums to reopen starting on May 1st at 25% capacity, many have opted to wait, but by the end of May, the Holocaust Museum, the San Antonio Museum of Art, and the Witte Museum had reopened. Other museums around the country, such as science and children's museums--which are known for having visitors engage in hands-on learning--are grappling with how they will reopen and attract visitors as their respective states continue their reopening processes.



Sotheby's to Hold "Live" Auctions in June, Remotely

Sotheby's has announced that in June it will begin holding live auctions by digitally streaming them. Viewers will be permitted to watch from anywhere in the world, but the auctioneer will be located in London, and bids will be placed by telephone. It will serve as a stark contrast to the "buzzing salesroom in Manhattan, where hundreds of collectors, dealers, art advisers, and spectators typically hobnob over champagne before sitting side by side to raise their paddles in nail-biting battles for great works of art."


Mark Morris Gives Video Dances a Whirl

Mark Morris, the "larger-than-life choreographer" at the center of the Mark Morris Dance Group, has presided over "a livestream presentation of four new video dances created" with Zoom and Final Cut Pro. He has been providing "background for each work and taking questions, written in by viewers," and while the presentations have not risen to the level of a performance, it is "close enough to the real thing to make you put up with freezing screens."



These Athletes Had Coronavirus. Will They Ever Be the Same?

While athletes are perhaps thought to be better equipped to handle illness, the symptoms of the coronavirus showed otherwise for several prominent athletes, including the linebacker for the Denver Broncos, Von Miller. He said in an interview, "My biggest takeaway from this experience is that no matter how great of shape you are in physically, no matter what your age is, that you're not immune from things like this." He also reported that he has felt himself "fatiguing faster." With sports leagues beginning to plan their returns around the world, there are questions as to whether those athletes who were diagnosed will have difficulty returning to their prior forms.


Belmont Stakes Contender Tests Positive for Banned Substance">Belmont Stakes Contender Tests Positive for Banned Substance

Charlatan, a contender for the Belmont Stakes, has tested positive for a banned substance at a recent meet in Arkansas. The banned substance is a numbing agent and is one of two horses that trainer Bob Baffert has trained that has tested positive for the numbing agent lidocaine. Charlatan had been undefeated, and the positive test for lidocaine entails a penalty of a 15- to 60-day suspension and a fine of $500 to $1,000.


Sports Leagues Plan Their Returns Around the World

With the pandemic generally abating, sports leagues in Europe and North America are planning their returns. England's Premier League and Italy's Serie A are planning to return in mid-June following Germany's Bundesliga returning to play in late May. The National Football League is planning to announce its plans shortly, and the National Hockey League has announced that when it returns to play, teams will advance directly to the playoffs. This decision averts an issue that the European soccer teams face, which is finishing the current season continuing into the weeks when the next season was planned to begin.





Boston Marathon Canceled for the First Time

For the first time in the Boston Marathon's 124-year history, its organizers have decided to cancel the race. The race had originally been postponed from April 20th to September 14th, but organizers announced this week that the race would be cancelled. Its organizers intend to have "a virtual marathon instead, with people running the 26.6 miles remotely."


She Accused a Coach of Abuse. Then More Than 30 Gymnasts Backed Her Up

A New York City gymnastics coach, Chris McClaim, faced allegations in 2018 from Sara Allan that she had been abusive to her, including numerous instances of "emotional abuse, including insulting and berating gymnasts about their weight, eating habits, and mental abilities." Ultimately, Allan compiled a 13-page document "filled with specific complaints against McClain that spanned 15 years" and "33 gymnasts, nine of their family members, and five coaches." Chelsea Piers quickly suspended her last Saturday, one "day after Allan sent the complaint."



Trump's Usual Allies Recoil at His Smear of MSNBC Host

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough was the subject of a President Trump's ire this week, as Trump tweeted that Scarborough should be investigated for a staff member's death two decades ago. Several of Trump's prominent allies were left "aghast at his baseless smears", which have "a total lack of evidence." Those allies include the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Examiner, and top House Republican Liz Cheney.


Trump Takes on Social Media, and Twitter Fights Back

Twitter, Trump's favorite social media platform, has started a feud with the President. The platform labeled his tweet regarding mail-in ballots as false and encouraged that people "get the facts" about the subject. Twitter vowed to continue to fact-check posts even as Trump threatened to limit liability protections for social media companies, and by the end of the week he signed an executive order that effectively rewrite the Communications Decency Act, which "provides the liability shield to the tech companies." Some analysts have said that the executive order is virtually certain to be challenged in court and likely invalidated.






American Civil Liberties Union Accuses Clearview AI of Privacy "Nightmare Scenario"

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued a facial recognition start-up, Clearview AI, claiming that it has "helped hundreds of law enforcement agencies use online photos to solve crimes" and accused the company of "unlawful, privacy-destroying surveillance activities." The ACLU filed the action in Illinois and alleged that Clearview violated a state law "that forbids companies from using a resident's fingerprints or face scans without consent."


The TV Commercial, Once Advertising's Main Event, Suffers in the Pandemic

Despite the fact that more people are watching television, "companies are spending less time, effort, and money on TV ads." With the presidential election and Olympic Games scheduled for this year, TV networks had expected strong advertising revenue, but with campaign rallies on hold and the Olympics postponed, it is expected that the revenue will drop 12% this year, with networks losing out on "$25.5 billion in spending."


General News

The United States Begins to Reopen as Coronavirus Numbers Improve

With the number of new cases and deaths falling in the United States, many states have started reopening. Although there has not been a comprehensive testing plan or a plan for contact tracing, states have put into place a number of measures to control the reopening, such as limiting the number of entrants and starting with outdoor seating at bars and restaurants. Other places, such as the courts, remain virtual as investigations have found that New York courts were rife with the virus just prior to their closing in March. Courts in Europe are set to reopen for operations sooner and may prove to be models for how American courts may operate.

The numbers for unemployment claims continue to rise but have considerably slowed from the first weeks of the outbreak. It remains unclear what actions Congress may take, as many have called for additional stimulus measures. Regardless, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that when there is a widespread return to work, offices may not operate as they had previously, given the necessity for distancing workers and staggering work schedules.












Discontent Spreads Throughout Country Following Killing of George Floyd

Following four Minneapolis police officers' killing George Floyd, who was under arrest for allegedly attempting to pass a counterfeit note, unrest spread from Minneapolis to cities throughout the country with calls for eradicating racial injustice. Several of the protests turned violent and led to destruction and looting, and President Trump tweeted, calling back to an earlier era of threats of violence, that when the looting begins, the shooting follows. There has been extensive news coverage of the protests, and one CNN reporter was arrested while reporting live from one of the protests, which some analysts have said is as clear an instance of censorship as one may see.










Tensions Between China and the U.S. Ratchet Up as China Moves to Secure Hong Kong

The week dawned with China announcing that it will be asserting more power over Hong Kong, despite the fact that Hong Kong is not set to be joined with mainland China until 2047. The week ended with President Trump saying in a speech that the world has suffered "as a result of the malfeasance of the Chinese government"--referring to the coronavirus pandemic--and saying that the United States was set to withdraw from the World Health Organization (WHO) for its supposed favoritism toward China. Some analysts have said that the move to attempt to withdraw the United States is not possible, and it remains unclear "whether the president can simply withdraw the United States from the World Health Organization without Congressional approval."





Supreme Court Refuses to Stop Order to Move Inmates From Virus-Ravaged Prison

The Supreme Court has refused to stop an order to move inmates from a prison where the coronavirus had taken hold, and thus, the Court's action "left in place a court order requiring prison officials to move more than 800 older or medically vulnerable prisoners." The prison at issue, the Elkton Federal Correctional Institution in Ohio, had seen nine prisoners die from the coronavirus, and four prisoners "filed a class-action lawsuit last month saying that conditions" had "violated the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment."


Longtime Pentagon Watchdog Stepping Down From Post

Glenn Fine, whom President Trump ousted as the "head of a watchdog panel assigned to oversee how his administration spends trillions of taxpayer dollars in coronavirus pandemic relief," has announced that he is resigning from his job at the Pentagon. Fine had been a "longtime leader among government watchdogs" and had been an inspector general who had uncovered "problems with FBI surveillance and other issues after the Sept. 11 attacks."


African-Americans Are Highly Visible in the Military but Almost Invisible at the Top

When President Trump had his photograph taken in the Oval Office with top four-star generals and admirals, it "was meant as a thank-you to the commander in chief," but it angered many because it showed the president "surrounded by a sea of white faces in full military dress." The photograph is illustrative: There are few diverse top commanders in the military despite the fact that approximately 43% of the 1.3 million people on active duty "are people of color." Only two of the 41 most senior commanders are Black.


Republicans Sue Nancy Pelosi to Block House Proxy Voting During Pandemic

House Republicans have filed an action to block the House from "using a proxy voting system set up by Democrats to allow for remote legislating during the coronavirus pandemic." The action is venued in Washington, and it asks a federal judge "to strike down the practice immediately--leaving uncertain the fate of legislation the House plants to take up this week using the new procedures--and to invalidate it permanently." Historically, judges have shown reluctance in getting involved in how Congress sets its own rules, but the move "fits into a broader push by Republicans" to "put a cloud of suspicion over Democratic efforts to find alternative ways to vote during the pandemic."


Justice Department Ends Inquiries Into Three Senators' Stock Trades

The Department of Justice has notified three senators, Kelly Loeffler, James Inhofe, and Dianne Feinstein, that it will "not pursue insider trading charges against them." However, by implication, it appears that the Department of Justice will be pursuing its investigation of Senator Richard Burr, "whose own mid-February stock sales have drawn scrutiny." Last month, FBI agents seized his phone, and the senators who received notification this week had been asked to produce records and information related to their respective sales of stock.


House to Vote on Limiting FBI's Power to Collect Americans' Internet Data

The House of Representatives reached an agreement to permit a vote on a measure to limit the FBI's power to collect "Americans' internet browsing and search records during national security investigations." It is expected that the vote will come this week, and if it passes the House, the bill will go to the Senate, where it has lingered. The bill has become more complicated because of broader surveillance concerns, as those "who have long championed civil liberties" have sought to use the opportunity to expand protections.


Border Wall Land Grabs Accelerate as Owners Shelter From Pandemic

The Trump administration has accelerated its "efforts to seize private property for President Trump's border wall, taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to survey land while its owners are confined indoors, residents along the Rio Grande say." President Trump had set the goal of building 450 miles of wall by year's end, but he recently lowered that goal to 400. So far, less than 200 miles have been built, and the administration "has brought 78 lawsuits against landowners on the border, 30 of them this year."


Florida Law Restricting Felon Voting Is Unconstitutional, Judge Rules

A federal judge has ruled that a Florida law restricting felon voting based on the inability to pay court fines and fees is unconstitutional. The judge, Robert Hinkle, wrote that requiring payment of those court fines and fees as a condition for registering to vote amounts to a "poll tax" and discriminates "against felons who cannot afford to pay." Judge Hinkle granted the civil rights groups that challenge the law a permanent injunction, and the State is expected to appeal.


Fund for Jeffrey Epstein's Accusers Gets Attorney General's Approval

The attorney general for the Virgin Islands has approved the plan for the "estate of Jeffrey Epstein to establish a compensation fund for dozens of women who say they were sexually abused by the financier as teenagers." The estate is valued at over $600 million, and one of the sticking points between the attorney general and the estate was a "broad liability release", which the attorney general announced was controlled, as the estate "had agreed not to use any information provided by victims to defend itself against any other claims or lawsuits that may be filed against it." The agreement must be approved by a probate judge, and a pending action brought by the Virgin Islands remains against the estate for misleading government officials and using his island "to engage in sex trafficking."


North Koreans Accused of Laundering $2.5 Billion for Nuclear Program

The Department of Justice has unsealed "an indictment accusing nearly three dozen people of using shell companies to launder billions" of dollars through the "global financial system" to aid funding North Korea's "nuclear weapons program." Those charged include 28 North Koreans and five Chinese citizens who used a web of shell companies, and the indictment signals the United States' "commitment to hampering North Korea's ability to use proceeds from illicit actions to enhance its illegal WMD and ballistic missile programs."


About May 2020

This page contains all entries posted to The Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Blog in May 2020. They are listed from oldest to newest.

April 2020 is the previous archive.

June 2020 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.