Coronavirus Archives

April 4, 2020

Emergency Grants and Funds - From Cultured Magazine

Below is a list of emergency grants and donation-based funds that may be available to our clients in the arts, entertainment, and small business fields, from Cultured Magazine:

Artist & Activist Relief Fund

It's right in the name: this donation-based fund for small stipends by The Soze Agency is specifically for artists and activists--especially those with children, debt, and medical bills. Round one just passed; $37,500 was given to 143 artists and activists nationwide. Apply for--or donate to!--round two at the link above and also sign up here to receive The Soze Assist, a newsletter of helpful articles and resources.

Arts Leaders of Color Emergency Fund

Established by the Arts Administrators of Color Network, folks can donate here in direct support of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) artists and administrators, which the fund defines as "consultants, facilitators, box office staff, seasonal/temporary employees, etc," impacted by COVID-19. On this same page is an application form to apply for available funds generated by the open call for donations.

Behind The Scenes

Behind the Scenes offers grants to workers and artists in the entertainment tech industry--those working behind the scenes or cameras in performance venues or on the road--who are dealing with serious illnesses or injuries. They are currently accepting applications from anyone who's been hospitalized with COVID-19 and is in financial need.

CERF+ COVID-19 Response Fund

CERF+, the Craft Emergency Relief Fund--which provides relief loans through their own grants--just launched the COVID-19 Response Fund for artists working in craft disciplines. Emergency grant relief will focus on those infected with the virus and who require intensive medical care.

COVID-19 Mutual Aid Fund for LGBTQI+ BIPOC Folks

This donation-based fund, organized by Amita Swadhin with Treva Ellison, Natalie Havlin, Carrie Hawks, Ren-yo Hwang, and Alisa Zipursky, will disperse funds in a rolling jubilee--allocating money to applicants as donations are raised. For the second round of donations, priority goes to Black, Indigenous, disabled, chronically ill, transgender or non-binary folks, as well as sex workers or those who are not employed full-time, not eligible for paid sick leave, or on the cusp of losing housing. More details at the link above; apply to receive funding, donate if you can, and share with others.

Dance/NYC COVID-19 Dance Relief Fund

Dedicated to mitigating the impact of COVID-19, Dance/NYC invites freelance dance workers and organizations in the NYC area to apply for funding, with special priority given to communities most affected by the virus--including African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native American, disabled, immigrant, and women-identifying artists, and, they note, "those at high risk, including elderly and immunosuppressed artists."

Disabled Creator and Activist Pandemic Relief

Volunteers are currently collecting information to organize a relief fund in support of disabled creators and activists who've lost sales due to COVID-19. Fill out the form at the link above if you're interested in staying up-to-date or receiving funding (it seems initial funds will come from telecommuted events featuring the applicants and organized by the volunteers).

Emergency COVID Relief for Sex Workers in New York

Organized by the Brooklyn chapter of the Sex Workers Outreach Project, this is another donation-based fund, geared to support those whose needs are compounded by stigma. As of March 16, there was a slowdown in donations; we're sharing here to continue promoting the growth of funds.

The Equal Sound Corona Relief Fund

The donation-based Equal Sound Corona Relief Fund will assist musicians whose gigs and events were cancelled due to COVID-19. If you're a musician who can be paid legally in the US, you're eligible to apply (the fund will not cooperate with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

There will be delay in the distribution of funds, given the overwhelming requests for assistance.

The Foundation for Contemporary Arts COVID-19 Relief Fund

The Foundation will be distributing $1,000 grants to experimental artists who can demonstrate that their exhibitions or performances were cancelled due to the pandemic. Applicants must be individual artists (even if they are representing a larger collective); curators, producers, presenters and organizations are not eligible.

Additionally, if you have ever received a non-emergency grant from the Foundation in the past three years, their usual three-year waiting period has been suspended, and you may apply again for a grant.

Florida Artist COVID-19 Relief Fund

This new fundraiser is currently in need of donations to be distributed to applicants; artists who either live or were born in the state of Florida are eligible. Apply to receive funds upon donation at the link above.

Freelancer COVID-19 Emergency Fund

This fund is designed for freelancers affected by COVID-19 and its impact (school closures, client cancellations, medical expenses, inability to pay basic living expenses). They stress that applicants ask for what they need right now--not in the long-term--and to try and pay it forward by eventually contributing back to the fund or another charity supporting freelancers. Applications are on a rolling basis; donations needed.

NYC Low-Income Artist/Freelancer Relief Fund

Shawn Escarciga and Nadia Tykulsker, two New York City-based artists, administrators, and advocates, are raising money in support of low-income BIPOC, trans/GNC/NB/Queer freelancers and artists affected by COVID-19. While this donation-based fund is on pause as they continue to build momentum, they are, in the meantime, donating up to $150 to previous applicants. Until funds are replenished for new applicants, please donate if you're able, or share with someone who can!

Oolite Arts Relief Fund for COVID-19

Utilizing repurposed funds from cancelled programming, this fund for Miami-Dade artists will provide up to $500 in relief to applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications will be accepted through April 16, 2020; the fund launches with $25,000 in seed funding, and intends to cover lost income due to the cancellation of employment (of any sort) and artistic opportunities.

PEN America Writers' Emergency Fund

PEN America will distribute grants between $500-$1,000 to applicants based on acute financial need, especially due to the pandemic. Applicants must be a professional writer and "be able to demonstrate that a small, one-time grant will be meaningful in helping them to address an emergency situation." They stress that the fund is limited, though it applies to both fiction and non-fiction writers, journalists, poets, playwrights, screenwriters and translators.

Rauschenberg Emergency Grants

In partnership with the New York Foundation for the Arts, Rauschenberg Emergency Grants will provide one-time grants (of up to $5,000) to visual and media artists and choreographers for unexpected medical emergencies. Such emergencies include hospital or doctor bills, prescription medications for emergency medical conditions, emergency dental work, tests, and physical or occupational therapy. While this grant isn't COVID-19-specific, it's worth applying if your health has been directly affected by the virus.
If you need funding soon, please keep in mind applicants for this grant will be reviewed beginning in late May/early June.

COVID-19 Fund at Sweet Relief

The Sweet Relief Musicians Fund already supports musicians in need; in light of COVID-19, this specific and limited fund will be utilized for musicians and music industry workers affected by the virus. Funds are intended to go toward medical bills, food and other essential expenses; applicants must provide proof of cancellations and bookings.

Additional Resources: A Quick List

Artwork Archive - Financial Relief Resources for Artists During COVID-19

COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resources

The Fountainhead Residency - Resources for Artists

Freelance Advocacy Project

This growing platform--created by a group of independent workers--is currently focusing its efforts on aggregating resources, building action toward a rent freeze and advocating for vulnerable communities.

Handheld Handmade - Resources for Emergency Relief for Artists and Creators During the COVID-19 Pandemic

I Care If You Listen - COVID-19 Emergency Funding and Artist Resources

New York Foundation for the Arts - Emergency Grants

Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation

South Florida COVID-19 Local Resources

United States Bartenders' Guild

WomenArts - Emergency Funds

Additional Financial Coronovirus Resources

Contributed by Marc Jacobson

April 5, 2020

From the Copyright Office - Temporary Relief for Claims with Physical Deposits


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Library of Congress buildings are closed to the public, and the U.S. Copyright Office has implemented extended telework requirements to reduce the number of onsite staff. To mitigate the effect of this temporary closure on the examination of electronic applications accompanied by physical deposits, the Office is establishing the following interim rules:

For Applications Filed before April 2, 2020

The Office may contact applicants who have filed an electronic application for which a physical deposit copy has been submitted and received by the Office to offer the applicant the option of providing an additional electronic copy of the work so the Office can examine the claim remotely. This process is only available when the registration specialist assigned to the claim contacts the applicant, offers the option, and enables the upload function to allow for an upload to be associated with the application.

If the applicant agrees to use this option, the applicant must submit both an electronic deposit copy and a declaration form, under penalty of perjury, stating that the electronic copy is identical to the physical copy previously submitted. This document may be uploaded in the same manner as the electronic deposit copy. The registration specialist assigned to the claim will send a declaration form to the applicant and will provide the applicant with instructions for uploading the completed declaration and the deposit to the appropriate claim.

If the applicant cannot, or prefers not to, submit an electronic copy of the deposit, the Office will examine the claim once registration specialists resume in-Office examination. Although examination of the claim will be delayed, the effective date of registration will generally be the date that the Office received the application, fee, and physical deposit.

For Applications Filed on or after April 2, 2020

For newly submitted electronic applications for published works that require the submission of "best edition" physical copies of the deposit, the applicant will have the option of uploading an electronic copy of the work in addition to mailing the required physical copies. Applicants who use this option must submit both an electronic deposit copy and a declaration form, under penalty of perjury, stating that the electronic copy is identical to the required physical copies that the applicant will mail to the Office together with the shipping slip generated in eCO. Applicants may use the declaration form provided here. This document may be uploaded in the same manner as the electronic deposit copy. If an applicant decides to use this option, registration specialists will be able to examine the claim remotely once they receive the application, fee, electronic deposit copy, and declaration.

If the applicant cannot, or prefers not to, submit an electronic copy of the deposit, the Office will examine the claim once registration specialists resume in-Office examination. Although examination of the claim will be delayed, the effective date of registration will generally be the date that the Office received the application, fee, and physical deposits.


For applicants filing electronic applications for which physical copies are not required to be submitted, the Office strongly encourages the submission of electronic deposits.

USPTO Announces Extension of Certain Patent and Trademark-Related Timing Deadlines Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act

From the USPTO:

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced on March 31 extensions to the time allowed to file certain patent and trademark-related documents and to pay certain required fees. These actions are an exercise of temporary authority provided to the USPTO by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) signed by President Trump on March 27.

"Inventors and entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of our economy, and we recognize that many of them are having difficulty as a result of the effects of COVID-19," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office Andrei Iancu. "As a result, we are working to provide as much relief as possible to our stakeholders, consistent with our ability to maintain the USPTO's fee-funded operations. We are especially mindful of the outsized impact on small businesses and independent inventors, and have provided additional relief for these groups. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure not only that inventors and entrepreneurs can weather the storm, but that they can hit the ground running once it passes."

The USPTO has made operational adjustments to keep its employees and the public safe as it remains open for business. In-person meetings, such as hearings and examiner interviews, are being conducted virtually by phone and video until further notice.

Read more details in the official Patent and Trademark notices on our website. The USPTO will continue to evaluate the evolving situation around COVID-19 and the impact on the USPTO's operations and stakeholders.

Patent-related inquiries concerning this notice may be directed by email to and by telephone to the Office of Patent Legal Administration at (571) 272-7704 or (571) 272-7703 for reexamination.

PTAB-related inquiries concerning this notice may be directed to (571) 272-9797 or by email at (for AIA trials), (for PTAB appeals) or (for interferences).

Trademark-related inquiries concerning this notice may be directed to the Trademark Office of Petitions by telephone at (571) 272-8950 or by e-mail at

TTAB-related inquiries concerning this notice may be directed to Cheryl Butler at (571) 272-4259 or or to Denise DelGizzi at (571) 272-4265 or

Stay current with the USPTO by subscribing to receive email updates at our Subscription Center at

Week In Review

By Eric Lanter
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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


As Theaters Stare Down Uncertainty, Ars Nova Buys Itself Time

With many theaters uncertain about their future, the Ars Nova company has committed to paying its workers for three months, in a move that "gives itself breathing room to prepare for when it can open again." Ars Nova is taking the risk that it will be able to survive the shutdown, but it has long been a launchpad for careers including those of Lin-Manuel Miranda, Annie Baker, and Billy Eichner.


A Fight Over Money and Loyalty and Who is to Credit for an Artist's Rise

A little-known art student at Hunter College, Derek Fordjour, became famous about six years ago when his paintings began to be collected by the likes of Michael Ovitz and Beyonce. The gallery that worked with Fordjour before his rise to fame, the Robert Blumenthal Gallery, has sued him, saying that he owes the gallery seven additional works based on a contract that they entered into for him to produce 20 works in exchange for $20,000. Given Fordjour's meteoric rise in the industry, the gallery is now saying that, in lieu of the seven pieces he promised, it would accept no less than $1.45 million.

They Were Meant to Be the Season's Big Books. Then the Virus Struck

Last year, the publishing industry began to plan its schedule of releases, and because the presidential election is slated for November, many of the releases that were expected to be hits were moved up from the fall to the spring. However, with the coronavirus pandemic, publishers are now pushing back the releases of books to summer and fall, hoping that bookstores will reopen by then and that authors will be able to tour the country and promote their books.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Tells Staff It Is Extending Pay Until May 2

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which has struggled to deal with declining revenues, has announced that it will extend paying its staff through May 2 despite its closure due to the coronavirus. The museum has also announced that it may make up for its declining revenues by dipping into its $3.6 billion endowment.

National Gallery of Art Returns Picasso Work to Settle Claim

The National Gallery of Art has returned the Pablo Picasso work, "Head of a Woman," to the heirs of a "prominent German-Jewish banker who was persecuted by the Nazis." The work had been sold to a dealer in 1934, and the National Gallery subsequently acquired the work as a donation in 2001.

Early van Gogh Painting Stolen From Dutch Museum

A heist at the town of Laren, 20 miles from Amsterdam, has resulted in a Vincent van Gogh painting, "The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring," being stolen. The police received an alarm and arrived at the museum to find that a glass door had been shattered and that the painting was the only work missing. The painting had been a loan from the Groninger Museum, and the museum from which it was stolen had been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.


2020 Olympics Postponed to 2021

After weeks of avoiding an announcement, the International Olympic Committee announced that the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will be postponed to most likely July 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is an extraordinary move, as the only Olympics Games to have been cancelled were in 1916, 1940, and 1944, and they have not previously been postponed. As part of the postponement, $200 million in funding that would have gone to pay for the living and training expenses of American athletes is not set to arrive until next August.

Coronavirus Pandemic Hobbles World Antidoping Efforts

The coronavirus pandemic has "presented an extraordinary opportunity: Enforcers for the time being are not going to knock on their doors demanding a urine or blood sample" in relation to antidoping efforts. Ordinarily, antidoping officials would be collecting samples from athletes, "gathering intelligence, meeting with whistle blowers, or working in labs to try to find testing techniques that will put them one step ahead of the cheaters." It is expected that the testing hiatus will last for several weeks, which could "wreak havoc on efforts to control illicit performance enhancement."

FIFA Plans Huge Emergency Fund to Support Ailing Soccer Industry

FIFA is planning to tap into its $2.7 billion cash reserve to create "an emergency fund to support the ailing soccer industry" to deal with the mounting "concerns and daily updates about the crisis wrought by the coronavirus pandemic on the global soccer industry." The fund, if global soccer leaders approve it, "would amount to the biggest response from any major sports governing body to the financial impact of the pandemic."

Idaho Is First State to Bar Some Transgender Athletes

Governor of Idaho Brad Little signed a bill called the Fairness in Women's Sports Act, which "prohibits transgender people from changing their birth certificates to match their gender identities." By signing the bill, the governor makes Idaho the "first state in the United States to bar transgender girls from participating in girls' and women's sports and to legalize the practice of asking girls and women to undergo sex testing in order to compete." While other states have had their legislatures introduce bills to restrict the ability of transgender athletes to participate in sports, Idaho becomes the first to pass such legislation into law.

NCAA Allows Extra Year of Eligibility for Athletes in Curtailed Spring Sports

Last week, the NCAA Division I Council voted to open the door to another year of eligibility for all spring-sport athletes, whose seasons were cut short by the coronavirus outbreak. There are conditions, however: an athlete may be able to return depending on each university's decisions, which will be weighed by "how much scholarship aid to offer and whether to apply for an individual to receive an NCAA waiver allowing an additional season." This policy is set to apply to "baseball, softball, golf, tennis, lacrosse, track and field, beach volleyball, and rowing."

How Skiing Through a Pandemic Can Create a Community Crisis

In response to the coronavirus, North American ski resorts have closed, but mountain sports have continued to draw large crowds, to the alarm of public safety officials. Skiers and snowboarders have gathered in "backcountry trails or to slopes", which are not expressly forbidden, but have prompted public officials to implore "skiers and snowboarders to scale back" based on the risk of spreading the virus, the increased threat of avalanches, and the potential for medical resources to be diverted from the pandemic.

A Tennis Coach Was Abusing Minors. Should the Sport's Federation Have Known?

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) has long claimed that it was capable of policing itself, and thus, in 2014, when the United States Olympic Committee proposed a new initiative to "protect athletes from abusers," the USTA objected to having a "single mandatory national entity" overseeing cases. Months prior to that, a Bay Area USTA coach was arrested for "a second time on charges of abusing one of his teenage players," and he would continue to coach for the following three years until a player worked with police and recorded the coach admitting to having sex with a minor. While the coach is now serving a 255-year prison sentence, there is no record that the USTA took any action against the coach.

No Live Sports on TV? Consumers Want a Refund

Customers who have subscribed to services that have broken out fees for sports channels have begun asking their providers: Why are we footing the bill for services we are not receiving? While sports channels continue to be on air, they are simply replaying previous games or questioning what effect the coronavirus will have on restarting or canceling seasons for sports around the world.

Caesars in U.K. Is Fined for Allowing Problem Gamblers to Keep Betting

Britain's gambling authorities "have ordered Caesars Entertainment to pay a record fine of $16 million for failing to prevent money laundering and for allowing people with gambling problems to lose huge amounts over repeated visits to its casinos." The Gambling Commission had investigated 11 casinos in Britain and found that "systemic failings in the way the company dealt with high-spending, frequent customers" was causing the outcome.


How Much Should the Public Know About Who Has the Coronavirus?

The coronavirus pandemic has brought to light the "perennial tug-of-war between privacy and transparency in the United States", with privacy appearing "to be winning." There are significant questions surrounding the pandemic, such as which cities have patients, with whom those patients came into contact, and what clinics or locations that patient visited before he or she knew he or she was infected. In many countries, such as India and other countries that are typically referred to as autocracies, the flow of information has been tightened. In India, when a newscaster was prepared to deliver the latest news about the pandemic, the station was cut off by order of India's Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and blocked the channel for the following 48 hours.

New York Attorney General Looks Into Zoom's Privacy Practices

With the videoconferencing platform Zoom surging in popularity as millions of Americans are working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, its privacy practices have come under scrutiny. New York Attorney General Letitia James has announced that she is investigating "what, if any, new security measures the company has put in place to handle increased traffic on its network and to detect hackers." The company has faced criticism in being "slow to address security flaws such as vulnerabilities 'that could enable malicious third parties to, among other things, gain surreptitious access to consumer webcams,'" and it has also faced scrutiny for pulling data from people's LinkedIn accounts and using that data within its own platform. The platform has also "become a target for harassment and abuse coordinated in private off-platform chats."

Facebook Aims $100 Million at Media Hit by the Coronavirus

Facebook has announced that it will give $25 million in grants to "local news outlets and spend $75 million in a marketing drive aimed at news organizations internationally in response to the coronavirus-prompted economic downturn, which has caused advertising to plummet and has threatened media industry revenues." Many "alt-weeklies" have had significant layoffs, and there have been pay and hour cuts as "advertising has dropped sharply" since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic "despite huge interest in news that has led to traffic surges and a rise in digital subscription sign-ups."

Coronavirus Likely to Hasten End of Advertising-Driven Media: New York Times Columnist

It is expected that the coronavirus will hasten the end of "advertising-driven media," and it is the opinion of a New York Times columnist that the "government should not rescue" those media companies. The biggest newspaper chain in the country, Gannett, is worth a "mere $261 million" but is difficult to sell to others because it has high-interest loans owed to a "giant New York private equity firm and relying on an advertising business model that may be in its death throes because of the coronavirus."

Pakistani Court Overturns Conviction in 2002 Killing of Daniel Pearl

A court in Pakistan has ruled that there was "sufficient evidence to convict Ahmed Omar Sheikh of abducting" the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, "but not of killing him." Pearl was abducted in 2002 in Karachi while working on an article about Pakistani militant groups and was later killed, and with the court's latest move, the four men who were connected with his abduction and killing are either released or expected to be released in the near future.

Myanmar Journalists Who Quoted Rebel Spokesman Face Arrest

Authorities in Myanmar have begun a "new crackdown on free speech" by arresting "a prominent editor on terrorism charges for publishing an interview with a rebel army spokesman, and on Friday," authorities announced that they will be charging two more editors with similar crimes. Journalists and human rights activists have denounced the actions as "an attempt to reinstate authoritarian measures" at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has dominated headlines.

Prince Harry and Meghan Scale Down Royal P.R. Machine

Last week, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan "would down their popular social media sites and transferred the management of their image and philanthropy to a new team of advisers in Los Angeles." It is the latest move in their journey to "step back" from their duties as members of the British royal family. They have said that they prefer for attention to "remain fixed on the coronavirus pandemic" rather than the latest developments related to them which have "commanded breathless headlines."

General News

Coronavirus Continues to Ravage the United States and World

The United States and the New York City metropolitan area have become the epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic, as the country's total reported cases now exceed 310,000 and total deaths pass 9,100. Forty-one states throughout the country have had their governors issue stay-at-home orders, but nine states have refused to follow suit, despite warnings from top officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including Dr. Anthony Fauci, who, given his prominent position and his persistence in correcting statements made by the Trump administration, has had to have additional security assigned to him, given conspiracy theories that he is attempting to undermine the federal response to the pandemic. The federal response has come under fire for being insufficient; first as being too slow and later for not being forceful enough. While the federal government has deployed two ships to California and New York to serve as hospitals, governors and hospitals have called for additional protective equipment, such as masks, gowns, and ventilators, and while the Trump administration invoked the Defense Production Act, it hesitated in requiring companies to change their production to equipment. The Trump administration came under fire when the son-in-law of President Trump, Jared Kushner, appeared to take a leadership role in the response to the pandemic and then announced that the federal stockpile of protective equipment was meant to be for the federal government; not for states who may require equipment.

Abroad, shutdowns have become ubiquitous. From India to Russia, governments have taken a strong stance, and critics have observed that those governments that leaned toward autocracy have only become more emboldened by the pandemic as they seek to tamp down panic and control the media coverage within their countries. In Iran, some have found that the sanctions imposed on the country have led to additional deaths, and in Brazil, the government has continued to doubt the impact of the virus. Throughout the world, there remain populations that are extraordinarily in danger should the virus pervade, including the refugee camps that remain in Syria.

As domestic businesses suffer given the requirement coming from governors that they shutter, concern grows about the depth and length of the recession that follows. With the number of unemployment claims filing to unprecedented levels, 10 million in two weeks, economists have questioned how quickly the recovery will be once the pandemic ends. Even with the stimulus package signed into law, small businesses have found that obtaining loans has not yet been as easy as hoped, and for the restaurant industry, there remain questions as to whether it will ever look the same, as small restaurants, particularly in New York City, operate on the thinnest of margins during normal times. Some have looked to the stimulus model from Germany for inspiration as to how the stimulus should have been administered in the United States, as it appears to have delivered help more quickly and efficiently than that currently underway via the Department of Treasury. Regardless, Congress and an oversight panel will be serving roles similar to that taken in relation to the 2008 stimulus package with regular reports as to who is receiving funding from the stimulus and when. Businesses such as Amazon, Target, and Instacart have had workers strike or threaten to strike to obtain more protections in their working as the online retailing continues to explode.

With the number of cases certain to keep growing in the coming weeks, particularly on a state-by-state basis, as new hot spots for the virus become known, the response within the United States continues to be reliant on consistent testing, which has been another point of criticism about the Trump administration's response. Although the CIA continues to analyze the data that it can obtain from the actual numbers in China, which are certain to be higher than those reported in media sources, there remain significant questions not about how far below the actual number of cases the United States is but the magnitude of that underreporting. While the CDC has vowed that there will no longer be a testing shortage and that the number of tests within the country is analogous to South Korea at the outset of its dealing with the virus outbreak, the CDC has acknowledged that it will be several weeks before testing becomes ubiquitous.

Below are links to specific reporting from the past week relating to the coronavirus pandemic:

U.S. to Announce Rollback of Auto Pollution Rules

It is expected that the Trump administration will announce a final rule to roll back "Obama-era automobile fuel efficiency standards, relaxing efforts to limit climate-warming tailpipe pollution and virtually undoing the government's biggest effort to combat climate change." The new rule would allow vehicles "to emit nearly a billion tons more carbon dioxide over the lifetime of the vehicles than they would have under the Obama standards and hundreds of millions of tons more than will be emitted under standards being implemented in Europe and Asia."

Supreme Court Postpones April Oral Arguments Over Coronavirus

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the United States Supreme Court has postponed oral arguments scheduled for April and "is considering alternative options for handling the various outstanding cases." The Court's term is set to end in June, and the Court is set to issue rulings online today. The Court's spokeswoman said that the nine justices remain healthy.

Trump Picks McConnell Protege for Influential Appeals Court Seat

Justin Walker, a protege of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has been a favorite of conservatives, and Friday, President Trump nominated him to fill a vacancy on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, despite the American Bar Association rating Walker as unqualified. Walker has served "for less than six months as a United States District Court judge in Kentucky."

Problems in FBI Wiretap Applications Go Beyond Trump Aide Surveillance

An inspector general in the FBI has found that there were "pervasive problems in the FBI's preparation of wiretap applications." The audit "revealed a broader pattern of sloppiness by the FBI in seeking permission to use powerful tools to eavesdrop on American soil in national security cases," and the report has been released while Congress is debating whether to add new limits to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Trump Proceeds With Post-Impeachment Purge Amid Pandemic

President Trump fired the intelligence community's inspector general, Michael Atkinson, who had forwarded a whistle-blower complaint last year to Congress that prompted Congress to open its impeachment inquiry. President Trump spoke to reporters, saying that Atkinson "took a fake report and he brought it to Congress," making him a "total disgrace" to inspector generals.

Records in 1946 Lynching Case Must Remain Sealed, Court Rules

The Moore's Ford lynchings have long cast a pall in rural Georgia, as they occurred in 1946, and to date no one has ever been charged in killing the two black couples who were lynched. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a federal judge cannot unseal the grand jury records "except for a limited set of circumstances governing grand jury rules of secrecy"m which reverses the lower court's 2017 finding that the evidence should be unsealed.

The Growing Culture of Secrecy at Guantanamo Bay

The national security court at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba has been known for its opacity since its inception, but recent developments indicate that it is only becoming more opaque: during a recent hearing, the defense lawyers found that prosecutors were using a wireless silver tablet computer to communicate directly with representatives from the CIA to ensure that there was no accidental "disclosure of classified information." The judge had privately approved the use of the tablet via a secret order and regretted that he had not disclosed that order to the defense, but nonetheless stood by his decision to do so. This comes after government censors have redacted significant portions of public hearing transcripts, anonymous testimony has been permitted, and soldiers have been permitted to take their "name tapes off their Army uniforms when on the courtroom premises."

Rabbi Dies Three Months After Hanukkah Night Attack

Rabbi Josef Neumann, who was attacked in December in an anti-Semitic attack in Monsey, New York, has succumbed to his injuries. The incident had shocked the New York area as it came after a string of anti-Semitic attacks, and four others were hospitalized with serious injuries, all of whom "quickly recovered."

A Prominent Former Neo-Nazi for Decades Now Says He Wants to Help Destroy It

Jeff Schoep, a man who had called the infamous Charlottesville, Virginia white supremacist rally "a glorious day for white solidarity in America," has now renounced his views and is speaking publicly against the neo-Nazi organizations that he led for two and a half decades. While civil rights experts "have said reformed neo-Nazis should use their outsize influence to draw others away from white nationalism" and others not as well-known as Schoep have attempted to do so, it remains unclear the path that a former neo-Nazi should take in defeating "the resurgence of open bigotry tearing at the country's social fabric."

JPMorgan Announces New Diversity Push

JPMorgan Chase has announced that it will "make diversity training mandatory for all employees" in the wake of a New York Times report documenting instances of racism at its Arizona branches. The December article showed that a black employee and black customer struggled to "gain access to the same opportunities as their white peers" at Chase locations. The bank also announced that it would "expand the recruiting team" that is dedicated to diversifying hirees.

U.N. Security Council 'Missing in Action' During Coronavirus Fight

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has called the pandemic the most challenging crisis since the organization's founding in the wake of World War II, but the Security Council has remained "conspicuously silent." Although Guterres has called for action to be taken in halting armed conflicts around the world so that countries can focus their resources on the pandemic, the Security Council, the body that can vote to coerce through military or economic means, has disregarded Guterres' call thus far.

E.U. Court Rules That Three Countries Violated Deal on Refugee Quotas

The European Court of Justice has found that Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic have "violated their obligations by refusing to take in their fair share of asylum seekers at the height of the refugee crisis in 2015." The ruling came as the European Union had agreed to distribute 160,000 asylum seekers and the trio of countries refused to participate in the relocation of refugees and therefore placed more pressure on Italy and Greece to manage the high volume of new arrivals at that time and continuing to 2017 when the relocation program lapsed.

April 6, 2020

New York Foundation for the Arts List of Emergency Grants


New York Foundation for the Arts often receives calls from artists requesting information on emergency grants to serve financial need or an emergency such as bereavement or illness. Please check the organizations' websites or call to get the latest programmatic information and eligibility requirements. Scroll down for discipline-specific resources.


4 Culture Cultural Relief Fund (King County, WA) - Grants up to $2,000 are available for emergencies related to the COVID-19 virus and to support the creative responses cultural workers offer in times of crisis.

American Documentary Artist Emergency Fund - This COVID-19 Artist Emergency Fund will provide rapid response grants up to $500 to assist artists with basic needs including food, immediate health needs and insurance premiums. Artist must demonstrate need and a professional relationship to documentary filmmaking.

Artist + Activist Relief Fund - This fund, created by The Soze Foundation, TaskForce and Invisible Hand, will support artists and activists whose work has been impacted by COVID-19. Currently not accepting new applications; artists may join a waiting list should more funds become available.

Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund - The Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund is intended to help those pursuing careers as artists or arts administrators whose income has been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This fund is for those who self-identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color).

Arts for Illinois Relief Fund (Illinois) - A statewide effort that provides financial relief to artists and arts organizations with urgent need due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through AIRF, 3Arts will issue $1,500 unrestricted, one-time grants to as many eligible artists as possible, given the total funding available.

Arts Greensboro Emergency Relief Fund (Greensboro, NC) - For any artist in need of support due to cancellations from the outbreak of COVID-19. This fund is a money-in, money-out fund. ArtsGreensboro will disperse funds weekly, based on the amount donated. This fund is directed to working artists, not organizations or nonprofits.

Artist Relief Project - Anyone pursuing the arts as a career (any discipline, any level of experience) can request financial support from the Artist Relief Project, which will provide applicants on a first-come, first-serve basis with a one-time emergency stipend of $200 and free resources and support to pursue alternative economic opportunities.

Artist Relief Tree - A relief fund for artists affected by cancellations due to COVID-19. Disbursements are currently on hold while the organization seeks more funds, but you may join a waitlist.

The Atlanta Artist Lost Gig Fund (Atlanta, GA) - This fund is open to arts workers of ANY discipline including arts administrators, visual artists, craft artisans, performing artists of all kinds, musicians, writers, and all others. You must have documentation of your agreement for work (contract, email agreement, etc.) and documentation of the cancellation during the time of the COVID-19 crisis in order to apply (email stating such from contractor, etc.).

Behind the Scenes Grant - Behind the Scenes will accept applications from anyone who has been hospitalized with Covid-19 and is in financial need. You may be eligible for a grant if you currently reside in the United States or Canada and have earned your living for at least five years in the entertainment technology industry. This means that your major source of income is from your work in this industry, which includes being directly involved with production: behind the scenes in any type of performance venue, or behind the camera, or on the road. It also includes working companies who are directly involved in supplying entertainment technology products and services such as dealers, manufacturers, production companies, consultants, and design firms. Performing artists are not eligible.

Boston Music Maker Relief Fund (Boston, MA) - The Record Co. has established a fund to provide financial relief to Boston area music makers experiencing lost income as the result of performance cancellations related to COVID-19. Small grants of up to $200 will be paid rapidly on a first come, first served basis to affected artists and groups.

Boston Singers' Relief Fund COVID-19 Emergency Relief (Boston, MA) - The Boston Singers' Relief Fund is offering a streamlined application process for grants up to $500. New England-based singers whose classical performances were cancelled due to concerns over COVID-19 are eligible to apply.

Bridgesong Fund (Western Massachusetts) - Emergency relief for western MA women, nonbinary, and genderqueer artists of color.

Cambridge Artist Relief Fund (Cambridge, MA) - Focused on lost income, current and into the foreseeable future, the Fund will provide one-time relief to arts organizations and artists who live, work, create, and/or perform in Cambridge. Only one grant per applicant is allowed.

CCI San Francisco Arts & Artists Relief Fund (San Francisco, CA) - An emergency relief fund to mitigate COVID-19 related financial losses that artists and small to mid-size arts and culture organizations have suffered.

Chicago Theatre Workers Relief Fund (Chicago, IL) - This Fund is intended to help replace lost income due to theatre closures. The Fund is available to all those who have had to stop work and are not getting paid, including those who were on contract, part-time employees and those working on a stipend that was not paid. Chicago area theatre professionals may apply for a grant of $500 on a first-come first-served basis.

City of Boston Artist Relief Fund (Boston, MA) - The Boston Artist Relief Fund will award grants of $500 and $1,000 to individual artists who live in Boston whose creative practices and incomes are being adversely impacted by Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) - Arts Emergency Relief Fund (Los Angeles, CA) -This program provides emergency relief grants to City of Los Angeles-based dance, music, and theatre artists, as well as small ensembles who have had their public performances, shows, or concerts cancelled. Solo artists are eligible for up to $400 and ensembles up to $1,200 to cover losses in time and/or materials that were committed toward events, which were to have taken place at a venue within the City of Los Angeles and were to be open to the general public.

The Colorado Artist Relief Fund (Colorado) -The fund will continue to provide grants of up to $1,000 to individual artists who live in Colorado who are experiencing immediate unforeseen emergency needs due to COVID-19, and whose incomes are being adversely affected due to cancellation of events, classes, performances, and other creative work. Grants will be made on a rolling basis.

Corona Arts Relief for Bexar County Artists, Texas (Bexar County, TX) - Luminaria and the City of San Antonio's Department of Arts & Culture announce the Corona Arts Relief fund, which provides technical and professional development support for individual artists during the national CORONA / COVID-19 pandemic. This funding stream offers support for lost revenue or for the opportunity to engage in professional development. The program will be paused after April 3, 2020 in order to match applicants with sufficient resources.

COVID-19 Artist Trust Relief Fund (Washington State) - The COVID-19 Artist Trust Relief Fund provides rapid response grants supporting critical needs of artists whose livelihoods have been impacted by COVID-19. The grant is open to individual artists of all disciplines residing in Washington State.

COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resources - An aggregated list of FREE resources, opportunities, and financial relief options available to artists of all disciplines.

Creative Catalyst Fund (Newark, NJ) - Grants to support the creative practice of artists who have shown exceptional creative ability and commitment to social impact through their work. Awarded funds may be used to cover any expenses related to the artist's practice, including but not limited to rent for studio/rehearsal space, supplies or equipment, or costs incurred as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. There is no matching requirement.

Creative Industry Relief Fund (Fort Worth, TX) - Hear Fort Worth and Film Fort Worth with assistance from United Way of Tarrant County have established a creative industry relief fund to help support musicians, artists, performers and filmmakers who have lost work due to COVID-19.

The Creator Fund - Providing financial assistance to active creators who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. If you have medical, childcare, housing, or grocery needs, please apply for assistance.

Crosshatch Artist Emergency Fund (Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau Counties, MI) - Funding for individual artists (not non-profits or institutions) who earn 33% or more of their income from their art, and who have lost income because of COVID-19 related cancellations.

Culture Connects Coalition (Santa Fe, NM) - Culture Connects Coalition is a fund to support arts and culture in all their expressions. In response to COVID-19 pandemic and to reduce its greater impact on the community, they have partnered with Lannan Foundation to form the Artist Relief Fund to help those artists most dramatically affected.

Dallas Artist Relief Fund (Dallas, TX) - Provides support for low-income, BIPOC, trans/GNC/NB/Queer artists and freelancers whose livelihoods are being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Dallas.

Dance/NYC Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund (New York City)- The purpose of the funding initiative is to mitigate the growing impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak on individual freelance dance workers and dance making organizations based in the metropolitan New York City area, particularly financial losses incurred due to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and the social restriction measures implemented to contain the disease. Applications currently closed and will reopen on April 10.

The Dance Union Podcast NYC Dancers Relief Fund (COVID-19) (New York City) - This Fund will offer urgent relief to freelance dance artist that have suffered financial losses due to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and the government enforced social restrictions.

Dietl Art Handlers Assistance - Due to COVID-19 many art technicians are unemployed and in need of financial support. These technicians are often artists. Dietl has created a platform to show these artists' work to be purchased directly from their studios.

Durham Artist Relief Fund (Durham, NC) - Providing assistance to artists and arts presenters in Durham who have been financially impacted by cancellations due to COVID-19, with priority given to BIPOC artists, transgender & nonbinary artists, and disabled artists.

Emergency Funds for Undocumented Youth and Families During COVID-19 (New York, NY) - This emergency fund is to support New York City undocumented youth and families whose livelihoods are being affected by COVID-19. Whether it's from a decline in business for street vendors or being laid-off in domestic and restaurant jobs. Funds are currently exhausted and subjected to more donations.

Emergency Relief Fund for Arizona Artists and Arts Professionals (Arizona) - A collaborative fund for emergency support for working artists, teaching artists, production personnel, and arts-based contract workers who have experienced canceled events and residencies or terminated contracts as a result of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic crisis.

Facebook Small Business Grants Program - Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where they operate.

Federal Disaster Loans for Businesses, Private Nonprofits, Homeowners, and Renters - List of regions with current declared disasters who are eligible for federal assistance.

Freelancer COVID-19 Emergency Fund - If you're a creative freelancer who has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 virus and resulting public response, you can apply for temporary assistance through the fund. Currently closed, but policies will be reviewed and updated regularly.

Freelancers Union Freelancers Relief Fund - Freelancers Relief Fund will offer financial assistance of up to $1,000 per freelance household to cover lost income and essential expenses not covered by government relief programs, including food/food supplies; utility payments; cash assistance to cover income loss.

Fulcrum Fund (Artists based within an 80-mile radius of Albuquerque, NM) - $60,000 in emergency relief grants, providing $1,000 to 60 local artists who have lost income as a result of cancellations due to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

Futures Fund: Emergency Relief for Artists (St. Louis, MO) - The Luminary, in partnership with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, is offering immediate artist emergency grants totaling $60,000 for artists and arts organizers in the St. Louis region.

Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund (Atlanta, GA) - United Way of Greater Atlanta's 2-1-1 Contact Center is helping address the negative impacts of the coronavirus in the communities. Call if you need assistance and check the website if you are able to donate to the fund.

Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council (Greater Pittsburgh, PA) - The Emergency Fund for Artists will now provide up to $500 in assistance to artists experiencing loss of income due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Emergency Fund also remains available for other unforeseen emergencies that may impact your ability to work, such as flood, theft, or fire.

Greater Columbus Arts Council COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grants for Artists (Franklin County, OH) - The program is designed to assist artists of all disciplines living in Franklin County with the financial impacts of COVID-19.

Idea Awards COVID-19 Response Grant Lottery - You are eligible to enter the lottery for a grant of $2500 from the Bret Adams & Paul Reisch Foundation if you are: a playwright, composer, lyricist, or librettist; have had a full professional production (defined for these purposes as a LORT, Off-Broadway, or Broadway full production, not a reading or workshop) of which you are a writer that was cancelled, closed, or indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 closures.

Indie Theater Fund Rapid Relief GRANTS due to Covid19 (New York City) - Rapid relief grants of up to $500 will be awarded to support the theater community, prioritizing the consortium of companies, venues, and individuals working in NYC independent theater (Off-Off-Broadway in theater houses of 99 seats or less), operating with budgets under $250,000.

Indy Arts COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund (Indiana)- The Indy Arts & Culture COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund was created for individuals working in the arts sector and impacted by the current public health crisis. Primary concern is for the health and well being of individuals: specifically independent artists and staff working for small-to-midsize nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. This fund will provide rapid response $500 grants to help bridge the severe lost wages that make many in our creative community vulnerable.

Kincade Family Foundation Emergency Grant for Curators- The program will provide one (1) one-time grant of up to $5,000 for unexpected emergencies related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

LA Dance Emergency Fund (Los Angeles, CA) - LA Dance Emergency Fund provides emergency relief to LA dancers and dance companies facing financial hardship caused by Greater Los Angeles dance performances/events cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applicants can receive up to $500 with submission of appropriate application materials until MARCH 31st, 2020.

Live From Our Living Rooms - An online music festival and fundraiser where all proceeds will provide performance grants to New York City musicians whose freelance careers have been impacted by COVID-19.

Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) Emergency Grants (Maryland) - To be eligible for MSAC Emergency Grants, the artist must submit proof of ineligibility for Unemployment Insurance (UI) or proof that they have either exhausted UI benefits, (including Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) or that UI benefits do not fully cover losses sustained as a result of the Governor's declared State of Emergency in relationship to COVID-19.

Mass Cultural Council COVID-19 Relief Fund for Individuals (Massachusetts) - The purpose of the COVID-19 Relief Fund is to support individuals whose creative practices and incomes are adversely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Grants of $1,000 will be available to Massachusetts individual artists and independent teaching artists/humanists/scientists who have lost income derived from their work as a direct result of COVID-19 related cancellations and closures.

NC Artist Relief Fund (North Carolina) - This fund has been created to support creative individuals who have been financially impacted by gig cancellations due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Scroll down the page for the Apply button.

New Music Solidarity Fund - The New Music Solidarity Fund is designed to help new/creative/improvised music freelancers whose livelihood has been threatened as a result of performances that have been canceled during the COVID-19 crisis.

New Orleans Business Alliance Relief Fund for Gig Workers (New Orleans, LA) - As a result of the anticipated local economic impact of COVID-19, the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) is standing up a relief fund to meet the needs of gig economy workers who have been directly impacted via loss of income.

NYC Low-Income Artist/Freelancer Relief Fund (New York City) - Provides support for low-income, BIPOC, trans/GNC/NB/Queer artists and freelancers whose livelihoods are being effected by this pandemic in NYC. Click here also if you'd like to donate to the fund.

NYC Small Business Services: Assistance & Guidance for Businesses Impacted Due to Novel Coronavirus (New York City) - The City will provide relief for small businesses across the City seeing a reduction in revenue because of COVID-19. Businesses with fewer than 100 employees who have seen sales decreases of 25% or more will be eligible for zero interest loans of up to $75,000 to help mitigate losses in profit. The City is also offering small businesses with fewer than 5 employees a grant to cover 40% of payroll costs for two months to help retain employees.

Oolite Arts Relief Fund for artists for COVID-19 (Miami-Dade County, FL) - Visual artists who live in Miami-Dade County can now request funds to compensate for the cancellation of specific, scheduled employment (whether in the cultural sector or not) or a professional artistic opportunity, including commissions and exhibitions.

Philadelphia COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund (Philadelphia, PA) - Providing some small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with immediate relief through a mix of grants and loans. Applications currently closed and waiting for new funds to become available.

The Photographer Fund - A $25,000 fund to help photographers impacted by COVID-19. Assistance of up to $500 per person will be offered at the organization's discretion to determine who gets the funds.

Pillars Rapid Response Fund - A fund to support the personal expenses of Muslim artists and activists whose livelihoods are being negatively impacted by this current moment. $500 grants will be given to individuals through a short application process.

Portland Area Artist Relief (Portland Area, OR) - This fund is currently for freelance/independent artists residing in the Portland tri-county area only. The counties are Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington. This fund is not for arts organizations or nonprofits. Applications paused temporarily.

Queer Writers of Color Relief Fund - This fund is to help queer writers of color who have been financially impacted by the current COVID-19. Priority will be given to queer trans women of color and queer disabled writers of color.

Recording Academy and MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund - The Recording Academy® and its affiliated charitable foundation MusiCares® have established the COVID-19 Relief Fund to help their peers in the music community affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Red Dirt Relief Fund COVID-19 Emergency Grant Program (Oklahoma) - To be eligible for this aid, an individual must currently reside in Oklahoma and provide evidence he/she has been working the music industry for at least 5 years.

The Safety Net Fund (Bay Area, CA) - The Safety Net Fund is a non-profit designed to help support artists in the Bay Area during the COVID-19 crisis.

Season of Concern Chicago (Chicago, IL) - Season of Concern Chicago offers emergency assistance for any member of the Chicago theater community who is dealing with serious medical issues, including those that may result from COVID-19 infection. Proof of testing positive for the virus is required.

Seattle Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund (Puget Region in Washington State) - Hosted by Seattle Foundation, the COVID-19 Response Fund will provide flexible resources to organizations working with communities who are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and the economic consequences of the outbreak. The Fund is designed to complement the work of public health officials and expand local capacity to address all aspects of the outbreak as efficiently as possible.

Singapore Unbound Relief Fund (SURF) - Creative writers, whether they are Singapore citizens living anywhere in the world or Permanent Residents of Singapore, may apply for a USD200/SGD280 grant from SURF with no strings attached. This fund is specifically intended to help those in dire need of immediate help.

Seattle Recovery Package (Seattle, WA) - The initial support package is broken down into five components: Deferral of B&O Taxes; Assistance to Access SBA Loans; Expansion of Small Business Stabilization Fund; Relief for Utility Payments; and New Small Business Recovery Task Force.

Theater Community Benevolent Fund (Boston, MA) - Acknowledging the high potential of unexpected need within Boston's theatre community during these unprecedented times, TCBF will begin to review all COVID-19-related applications to the Fund on a weekly basis.

TrickleUp - An artists helping artists network. With 10,000 subscribers at $10 a month, they can give $10,000 to 10 different artists affected by the Covid-19 cancelations. And every month 10 new artists in need will get $10,000. If the goal is surpassed, more people will get help.

Twenty Summers Emergency Arts Fund - An Emergency Arts Fund for artists (up to $500) and arts organizations (up to $1k) suffering from unexpected and unmanageable financial loss as a result of the Coronavirus.

UNTITLED, ART Emergency Fund (Bay Area, CA) - UNTITLED, ART have expanded the qualifications for the UNTITLED, ART Emergency Fund to include financial assistance for freelance, hourly, and wage working artists vulnerable to the economic standstill.

VoxCorona (Washington, DC) - Supporting Washington, DC area vocalists whose primary source of income comes from contract work, much of which has been canceled as arts organizations shutter operations in the wake of COVID-19.

Wherewithal Grants (Washington, DC) - In March 2020, The Warhol Foundation authorized its re-granting partners to re-allocate their $100,000 grants to create and administer COVID-19 emergency relief funds in their communities. WPA has responded to this by providing two separate opportunities: Recovery Grants and Research Grants.

WomenArts Directory of Emergency Grants

Women's Center for Creative Work COVID-19 Emergency Health Grant For Artists (Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties, CA) - Low-income artists who work in any genre or medium, who identify as a woman, as trans or nonbinary, and/or as a person of color, who live in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside or San Bernardino Counties are eligible to apply.

Multidisciplinary & Project-Based


Foundation for Contemporary Arts

Emergency Grants ($500-$2,500) are available by application to U.S.-based artists in all disciplines who have sudden opportunities or unexpected expenses to present work to the public. Artists should apply 6-8 weeks before funding is needed for last-minute support. For guidelines and more information please visit their website. Applications are accepted through an online form

Artists seeking relief for a canceled performance or exhibition due to COVID-19 may apply for $1,000 grants here.



Erie Arts & Culture, Emergency Financial Assistance Fund

Through Erie Arts & Culture's newly formed Emergency Financial Assistance Fund, creative and cultural professionals, which includes artists of all disciplines, who have experienced a disruption to their income stream can request up to $500 in assistance from Erie Arts & Culture. Awarded funds can be used to assist with basic living expenses, such as housing, utilities, or groceries. The objective is to provide financial support in moments of crisis to those in the sector who are experiencing financial hardship.


Distress Services are intended for activists and culture workers in situations of distress as a result of their professional work. Distress situations may include verbal threats, imprisonment or legal persecution, violent attack, professional or social exclusion, or harassment. Services include a safe haven program, emergency grants, and referrals to other resources.


The Haven Foundation

The Haven Foundation gives financial assistance to provide temporary support needed to safeguard and sustain the careers of established freelance artists, writers, and other members of the arts and art production communities who have suffered disabilities or experienced a career-threatening illness, accident, natural disaster or personal catastrophe.
Contact: email form on website

J. Happy Delpech Foundation - Midwest
Grants of up to $250 to artists in the Midwest with AIDS or serious illness.

Mailing Address:
J. Happy Delpech Foundation
1579 North Milwaukee, Suite 211
Chicago, IL 60622
Telephone: (312) 342-1359

Martha Kate Thomas Fund for Artists

The Martha Kate Thomas Fund for Artists was established in 2013 through a legacy gift to the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County. Grants from this fund will be awarded to artists who live or work in Boulder County and meet any one or more of these priority groups: artists with unforeseen needs due to special circumstances, Artists of Color, artists with disabilities, Indigenous artists, New generation artists (18-30 years old). Grant awards will not exceed $3000. Art forms can include but are not limited to: Music, Theater, Dance, Film/Video, Literature, and Visual Art.

Max's Kansas City Project - New York State

The Max's Kansas City Project provides Emergency Relief and Resources to financially distressed individuals in the arts for housing, medical, and legal aid through one-time grants between $500-$1000. These grants are limited to New York State residents and to those who were associated with Max's Kansas City, the New York City restaurant/bar/club formerly located on Park Avenue South.

PO Box 4431
Kingston, NY 12401
Telephone: (845) 481-3416

Mayer Foundation

The Mayer Foundation offers economic relief grants to needy individuals who are distressed or suffering as a result of poverty, low income or lack of financial resources.


The Pollock-Krasner Foundation

The Pollock-Krasner Foundation's dual criteria for grants are recognizable artistic merit and financial need. The Foundation's mission is to aid individuals who have worked as professional artists over a significant period of time.

Springboard Emergency Relief Fund - Minnesota

Springboard's Emergency Relief Fund exists to help meet the emergency needs of artists living in Minnesota who are in need of immediate monies to cover an expense due to loss from fire, theft, health emergency, or other catastrophic, career-threatening event. Artists may apply for up to $500. Payment is made directly to the creditor, not the artist.

As part of their response to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, they have expanded the guidelines to include lost income due to the cancellation of a specific, scheduled gig or opportunity (i.e. commissions, performances, contracts) due to Coronavirus/COVID-19 precautionary measures. Artists can request up to $500 to compensate for canceled work that was scheduled and lost. At this time the fund is not available to compensate for future gigs or potential loss of business. Springboard for the Arts has committed an additional $10,000 from their budget to support this effort and is committed to working with partners to increase the fund based on demand.

Telephone: (651) 292-4381

Tamarack Foundation Emergency Relief Program

If you are an artist that has been directly affected by a significant disaster such as flood, fire, or emergency medical needs, you may be eligible for the Tamarack Emergency Relief Program. The foundation offers grants and bridge loans of up to $5,000 for artist businesses on a rolling basis to help with these events. These funds are available to artists juried into the Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia retail facility in Beckley, WV.


American Poets Fund

The fund assists poets of demonstrated ability who are in a state of urgent financial need. Grants cannot be used to promote or otherwise enhance literary talent or reputation, and applications are not accepted. Academy Chancellors, Fellows, and prize winners must bring the circumstances of qualifying poets to the attention of the American Poets Fund committee by sending a letter of nomination, including specifics about the nominee's current financial situation, to the Executive Director of the Academy.

American Society of Journalists & Authors

The mission of the Writers Emergency Assistance Fund is to help established freelance writers who, because of advanced age, illness, disability, a natural disaster, or an extraordinary professional crisis are unable to work. A writer need not be a member of ASJA to qualify for a grant. However, applicants must establish a record of past professional freelance nonfiction writing over a sustained period of years, which means qualifications generally similar to those of ASJA members. WEAF does not award grants to beginning freelancers seeking funding for writing projects, nor does it fund works-in-progress of any kind.

Telephone: (212) 997-0947
Fax: (212) 937-2315

Authors League Fund

The Authors League Fund helps professional writers and dramatists who find themselves in financial need because of medical or health-related problems, temporary loss of income or other misfortune. The Fund gives open-ended, interest-free, no-strings-attached loans. These loans are not grants or scholarships meant to subsidize personal writing projects.

Telephone: (212) 268-1208

The Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation

The Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation financial assistance program helps booksellers with specific unforeseen emergency financial needs. The Foundation assesses each request to determine a course of action to provide relief to the bookseller. All grants are paid to third-party vendors and not directly to the bookseller. Binc is also offering an Expedited Application for COVID-19 Emergency. This application is for individual assistance only. If you are an owner requesting assistance for your bookstore please email

Telephone: 866-733-9064

Carnegie Fund for Authors

The Carnegie Fund offers grants-in-aid to qualified commercially published book authors who have suffered financial emergency as a result of illness or injury (their own or that of spouses or dependent children) or who have suffered some equivalent misfortune. Grant amounts vary according to need.

Contact via form on website.

Clayton Memorial Medical Fund - Pacific Northwest

The fund helps professional science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery writers living in the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska deal with the financial burden of medical expenses. The fund generally follows the standards of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) for Active or Associate membership in determining professional status.

Human Rights/Hellman-Hammett Grants

Human Rights Watch administers the Hellman/Hammett grant program for writers who have been victims of political persecution and are in financial need. Hellman/Hammett grants typically range from $1,000 to a maximum of $10,000. The grants are awarded annually after the nominations have been reviewed by a selection committee composed of authors, editors, and journalists who have a longstanding interest in free expression issues. Nomination forms (available online) should be sent to the New York office of Human Rights Watch by February 15 annually.

Telephone: (212) 290-4700

The PEN Writers Fund

Emergency fund for professional--published or produced--writers with serious financial difficulties. Grants up to $2,000. Writers do not have to be a Member of PEN American Center to receive a grant.

The PEN Fund for Writers and Editors with HIV/AIDS

The PEN Fund for Writers and Editors with HIV/AIDS, administered under the PEN Writers' Emergency Fund, gives grants of up to $2,000 to professional writers and editors who face serious financial difficulties because of HIV or AIDS-related illness.


Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America Emergency Medical and Legal Fund

The SFWA Emergency Medical Fund offers interest-free loans to members facing unexpected medical expenses. Active SFWA members are eligible to request assistance from the Fund.

Media Arts

Ad Relief of Greater Los Angeles

Ad Relief of Greater Los Angeles (formerly the Advertising Industry Emergency Fund) has been established to provide aid and to promote the raising of monies for aid in times of need to members of the Southern California advertising and promotions industry and their families. Persons eligible for aid must have been employed for a continuous period of one year by an advertising or promotions entity within the Greater Los Angeles area.

Telephone: (310) 397-7830
Email via form on website.

Broadcasters' Foundation

The Broadcasters Foundation of America provides Emergency & Disaster Grants to radio and television broadcasters find themselves in acute financial need and do not have insurance to cover their losses after a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, tornado or wildfire, extreme flooding, house fire, or other serious misfortune.

Telephone: (212) 373-8250

Directors Guild Foundation

The DGF provides no interest, confidential loans to Guild members in good standing who are in need of emergency financial assistance. This program allows members to maintain their privacy by ensuring their anonymity during a difficult time.

Telephone: (310) 289-2037

Motion Picture and Television Fund

MPTF offers a number of services for members of the entertainment industry and their families including: crisis support with social workers, financial assistance, low-cost basic medical services, health insurance premium support, senior housing and support, daycare, and referrals to other service providers.

Telephone Toll-Free: 855-760-MPTF (6783)

Screen Actors Guild Foundation

The SAG Foundation provides assistance to eligible SAG-AFTRA members during times of crisis and personal need, offering emergency financial aid, as well as grants for health coverage in cases of catastrophic injury or illness or need for COBRA coverage.

Telephone: Davidson Lloyd, Director of Assistance Programs: (323) 549-6773

Email via form on website

Screen Actors Guild Motion Picture Players Welfare Fund (MPPWF)

The Motion Picture Players Welfare Fund serves SAG-AFTRA members in the New York region and all Locals East of Omaha, Nebraska. The MPPWF is designed to assist eligible members who are struggling with a financial, personal or medical crisis. Financial assistance is available for rent, utilities, mental health and medical care as well as other basic living expenses. Administered by the Actors Fund, offering access to their services as well.

Telephone: New York : (212) 221-7300, Ext. 119; Chicago: (312) 372-0989; All others: (800) 221-7303; For emergencies only on evenings and weekends: (212) 621-7780

Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Assistance Fund (MPPAF)

The Pioneers Assistance Fund (MPPAF) serves members of the motion picture entertainment industry (exhibition, distribution and trade services) who are encountering an illness, injury or life changing event. Services include temporary financial aid for emergency needs, monthly stipends for frail or disabled low income senior veterans, and social service counseling.

Telephone: (888) 994-3863


American Federation of Musicians (AFM): Lester Petrillo Memorial Fund

The Lester Petrillo Memorial Fund for Disabled Musicians provides a modest grant to temporarily or permanently disabled musicians who are members of the AFM.

Telephone: (212) 869-1330 ext. 224

American Guild of Musical Artists Relief Fund

The American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) Relief Fund provides support and temporary financial assistance to members who are in need. AGMA contracts with The Actors Fund to administer this program nationally as well as to provide comprehensive social services. Financial assistance is available for rent, utilities, mental health and medical care, as well as other basic living expenses. Grants are made case-by-case, based on need. Through March 31, due to the devastating toll COVID-19 has taken on their members, the AGMA Relief Fund will temporarily double the cap of financial assistance available to AGMA members in need.

Telephone: East Coast: (212) 221-7300, Ext. 119; Midwest: (312) 372-0989; West Coast: (323) 933-9244, Ext. 55. For emergencies on evenings and weekends only: 212-621-7780

Email: East Coast:; Midwest:; West Coast:

Bagby Foundation for Musical Arts

The Foundation offers small grants to support opera and classical music professionals, with a focus on pensioners.

Telephone: (212) 986-6094

Bluegrass Trust Fund

If you are or have been a professional in the business of bluegrass and are in a time of emergency need, you may apply here for assistance from the Bluegrass Trust Fund. Each request for assistance is judged on its own merits and should demonstrate a financial emergency or circumstance involving dire need. There is no limit to the amount an applicant may request, but grants have generally ranged from $500.00 to $5000.00.

Blues Foundation HART Fund

The Blues Foundation has established the HART Fund (Handy Artists Relief Trust) for Blues musicians and their families in financial need due to a broad range of health concerns. The Fund provides for acute, chronic and preventive medical and dental care as well as funeral and burial expenses.

Telephone: 901-527-2583, Ext. 10

California Jazz Foundation

To request a Financial Assistance Application or an Emergency Medical Referral, applicant must show at least 5 years of primary employment as a jazz artist and California residency.

Grand Ole Opry Trust Fund

The Opry Trust Fund provides financial assistance in time of extraordinary need, emergency or catastrophe to individuals who are or have been employed full time in a facet of the country music industry (i.e. performer, songwriter, publisher, radio, session musician, etc.). Examples of distribution needs include: medical bills, living expenses, rent or mortgage, and utilities. The Opry Trust Fund accepts referrals from individuals within the country music community, including Opry members, as well as from other charitable organizations, such as MusiCares and the Performers Benefit Fund.

Telephone: 1-800-SEE-OPRY

Jazz Foundation of America

The Housing and Emergency Assistance program provides jazz and blues artists with an experienced social worker to assess his/her situation and provide rapid assistance including financial support, legal services, housing counseling, and more.

Telephone: (212) 245-3999


Music Maker Relief Foundation

The Musical Sustenance Program offers emergency funds, monthly living stipends, and assistance in obtaining social services to artists working in the Southern musical tradition, focusing on those 55 years or older with an annual income of $18,000 or less.

Telephone: (919) 643-2456

MusiCares Foundation

MusiCares provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need. MusiCares' services and resources cover a wide range of financial, medical and personal emergencies, including addiction resources.

Telephone: West Coast: (800) 687-4227; Central: (877) 626-2748; Northeast: (877) 303-6962

Musicians' Emergency Relief Fund

The Local 802 Musicians' Emergency Relief Fund is a non-profit 501(c)(3) administered by the Musicians' Assistance Program (MAP). A New York State licensed social worker provides confidential social services to members and their families. It is funded by the Musicians' ERF and administered by the Actors Fund.

Musicians Emergency Resource Foundation - Kentucky & Southern Indiana MERF grants financial and resource assistance to Kentuckiana (select counties in Kentucky and Southern Indiana) music industry professionals in times of need and emergency crisis.

Email Form Online

Musicians Foundation

The Musicians Foundation assists professional musicians (who have worked at least 5 years) with grants for medical and allied living expenses in the case of emergency situations.

Telephone: (212) 239-9137

Pinetop Perkins Foundation - Pinetop Assistance League (PAL) for Elder Musicians

Provides financial assistance to elderly musicians for medical and living expenses. The Pinetop Assistance League does not disburse funds direct to individuals. Payments are made by check to the creditor on your behalf.

Rhythm and Blues Foundation

The fund provides financial and medical assistance to Rhythm & Blues artists of the 1940s through the 1970s.

Telephone and Fax: (800) 980-5208

Sweet Relief Musicians Fund

Sweet Relief Musicians Fund provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems. Sweet Relief offers assistance to all who reach out. While financial grants may not be available to every applicant, other resources information, counseling and financial services are additional options each artist may take advantage of.

Telephone: (888) 955-7880

Performing Arts

Actors Fund of America

The Actors Fund assists those working in theater, film, television, radio, music, dance, opera and circus. The Fund offers a broad spectrum of programs including comprehensive social services, health care services, employment and training, and housing. Programs are administered through offices in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, and eligibility varies by program.

Telephone: (212) 221-7300

American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA)

AGVA offers its current and previous members emergency aid through the AGVA Sick & Relief Fund.

Telephone: (212) 675-1003, Ext. 102

The Dancers' Fund

The Dancers' Fund provides short-term financial assistance to Chicago dance professionals in times of critical health need.

Telephone: (312) 922-5812

Dancers' Resource

The Dancers' Resource was created in response to the unique situation dancers face due to the physically demanding nature of their work, coupled with the significant financial challenges of earning a living in dance. Support includes counseling, healthcare referrals, educational seminars, emergency financial assistance, and more.

Telephone: Eastern Region : (212) 221-7300, Ext. 119; Central Region: (312) 372-0989, Western Region: (323) 933-9244, Ext. 455
Email: Eastern Region:; Central Region:; Western Region:

Dramatists Guild Fund

The Dramatists Guild Fund awards one-time emergency grants to individual playwrights, lyricists and composers in need of temporary financial assistance due to unexpected illness or extreme hardship. To be considered for personal grant, you must have had a play or musical either presented for a paying audience anywhere in the United States or Canada, and/or published by a legitimate publishing/licensing company; or be an active member of The Dramatists Guild.

Telephone: (212) 391-8384

Episcopal Actors Guild of America

To apply to the EAG Emergency Aid & Relief Program, which offers grants for financial need, the primary determining criterion for eligibility is that the applicant be a professional performing artist who is pursuing an established and ongoing career in the performing arts. Theatre performers who perform live onstage before a live audience are the primary focus of the program.

Telephone: (212) 685-2927

HOWL Emergency Life Project (HELP)

The Howl Emergency Life Project was created to provide emergency financial assistance and social service support to artists who have participated in the annual Howl Festival or who make their careers in New York City's East Village and Lower East Side arts community and whose work challenges the traditional boundaries of dance, theatre, music, multimedia and the spoken word. Eligibility for the financial assistance program requires an application, documentation of professional earnings and an interview.

New York City Contact: 212.221.7300, ext. 119 or
Chicago Contact: 312.372.0989 or
Los Angeles Contact: 323.933.9244, ext. 455 or

Renaissance Entertainers, Services, and Crafters United Foundation (RESCU)

The RESCU Foundation was established to promote and maintain the health and medical well-being of the participants of Renaissance Fairs, historical performances and other artistic events through several programs including financial assistance and counseling for emergency medical needs.

Telephone: (800) 374-9215

Theatre Bay Area

The Mary Mason Lemonade Fund is a confidential resource for San Francisco Bay Area theatre practitioners with terminal or life-threatening illnesses who are in need of supplemental financial assistance to improve the quality of their lives as they deal with medical conditions.

Mailing Address:

Telephone: (415) 430-1140, Ext. 14

TheatreWashington Taking Care of Our Own - Washington, DC

Taking Care of Our Own is an initiative of theatreWashington to assist currently active Washington, DC area theatre professionals and artists in personal emergency situations.

Telephone: Michael Kyrioglou at (202) 337-4572

Visual Arts

Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, Inc.

The Emergency Assistance Program provides interim financial assistance to qualified artists whose needs are the result of an unforeseen, catastrophic incident, and who lack the resources to meet that situation. An applicant must be able to demonstrate a minimum involvement of ten years in a mature phase of his or her work in the disciplines of painting, sculpture or printmaking. The maximum amount of this grant is $15,000; an award of $5,000 is typical.

Telephone: (212) 226-0581

Artists' Benevolence Fund - Laguna Beach, CA

The Artists' Benevolence Fund by the Sawdust Art & Craft Festival provides financial assistance to working artists who live in Laguna Beach and have suffered a catastrophic event that has resulted in financial hardship.

Telephone: For additional information, please contact the Benevolence Fund Trustees: Linda Grossman 949-770-2244, Monica Prado 949-338-4073, Larry Gill 949-235-1121, or Gavin Heath 949-395-4976

The Artists' Charitable Fund

The Artists' Charitable Fund assists United States visual artists facing financial crisis due to medical, dental, flood, fire, or other catastrophes by paying a portion of medical/eye/dental bills directly to the provider.

Telephone: Judy Archibald, Fund Coordinator, (970) 577-0509

Artists' Fellowship, Inc.

The Artists' Fellowship, Inc. is a private, charitable foundation that assists professional fine artists (painters, graphic artists, sculptors) and their families in times of emergency, disability, or bereavement.

Telephone: (212) 255-7740 Ext. 216

CERF+ (Craft Emergency Relief Fund)

CERF+ emergency relief for artists working in craft disciplines includes grants, no-interest loans, access to resources, waivers and discounts on booth fees, and donations of craft supplies and equipment. One of the eligibility requirements is having had a recent career-threatening emergency such as serious illness, injury, or significant loss from theft, fire, flood or other disaster.

Telephone: (802) 229-2306

Joan Mitchell Foundation Emergency Grant

The Joan Mitchell Foundation provides emergency support to artists working in the mediums of painting, sculpture, and/or drawing after natural or manmade disasters that have affected a community. Artists who have suffered losses due to catastrophic situations of this nature can apply to the Foundation for funding.

Telephone: (212) 524-0100

Rauschenberg Emergency Grants

The program will provide one-time grants of up to $5,000 for unexpected medical emergencies. The grants are available to visual and media artists and choreographers who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents in the United States, District of Columbia, or U.S. Territories. If you aren't sure if your artistic discipline fits within these guidelines, please contact the grants administrator.


Tamarack Artisan Foundation - West Virginia

The Tamarack Artisan Relief Program (TARP) offers grants and low interest bridge loans to West Virginian artisans who have been directly affected by significant disasters such as destructive floods, fires, emergency medical needs, etc.

Telephone: (304) 926-3770

April 8, 2020

The Cultural World Is Ailing. That's Why 23 Arts Groups Have United to Give $5,000 to 100 Artists Every Week Until September

From ArtNet news:

To support artists during the COVID-19 crisis, a coalition of national arts grantmakers have come together to create an emergency initiative to offer financial and informational resources to artists across the United States.

Artist Relief will distribute $5,000 grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to COVID-19; serve as an ongoing informational resource; and co-launch the COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers, designed by Americans for the Arts, to better identify and address the needs of artists.

To be eligible for a relief grant, applicants must be:

Practicing artists able to demonstrate a sustained commitment to their work, careers, and a public audience;

Experiencing dire financial emergencies due to the COVID-19 pandemic;

21 years of age or older;

Able to receive taxable income in the U.S. (e.g. citizen, green card holder, and/or permanent resident who can provide a W9 and SSN or ITIN);

Residing and working in the U.S. for the last two years;

Not a full-time employee, board member, director, officer, or immediate family member of any of the coalition partners;

Not previously awarded a relief grant from this fund.

Please note that the Artist Relief coalition partners will make final eligibility determinations as needed. Learn more by reviewing this FAQ at To apply, click

April 13, 2020

Week In Review

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

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


Weinstein Faces New Charge of Sex assault in California

Harvey Weinstein faces additional sexual battery charge in a California case. The charge stems from an incident that occurred at a hotel in Beverly Hills in May 2010. Weinstein faces up to 29 years in state prison if convicted in the amended complaint.

The Obies Go Online, The Money Saved Goes to Artists

The Obie Awards, an annual ceremony honoring the best New York theater work performed Off and Off Off Broadway, will be virtual this year, forced online because of the coronavirus pandemic that has caused the cancellation of in-person gatherings. The American Theatre Wing, which presents the Obies, will give the money that would have been spent on an in-person event to artists whose plays could not be staged because of the outbreak. The virtual will celebrate what was, and offer relief grants to celebrate what might have been. This year will honor an abridged season with shows that opened between May 1, 2019 and March 12, 2020. The date of the virtual ceremony has not yet been determined. The American Theater Wing estimates that more than 90 Off and Off Off Broadway shows were shuttered by the pandemic.

Ticket Sellers Resist Pleas for Refunds

Ticket vendors are being criticizecd for treating the thousands of live events that were called off as postponements, where many are not offering refunds. Some concerts were postponed anywhere from 7 months to indefinitely. The pandemic is triggering widespread anger at ticketing companies, like Ticketmaster and StubHub. As concertgoers see it, ticketing outlets are being greedy in a time of crisis, holding billions of dollars in consumers' cash that people now need for essentials. Their anger is being stoked by the sense that some vendors switched their refund policies mid-crisis to avoid repaying consumers. Fans have drawn attention to the fact that Ticketmaster recently adjusted the language on its website, saying now that only "cancellation" is a basis for obtaining refunds. Last week, a Wisconsin man sued StubHub after the company recently dropped its refund policy, offering instead coupons worth 120% of what customers had paid for canceled events.

Broadway Delays Opening

Forty-one Broadway theaters have been closed since March 12 and will remain closed at least until June, probably longer. Industry leaders last Wednesday formally acknowledged what has been widely known: that their initial target of reopening in mid-April has become impossible because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Broadway League, a trade association representing producers and theatre owners, said that the 41 Broadway houses would remain shuttered at least through June 7. Many say the best-case scenario is reopening following the July 4 weekend and it is possible that the industry will not reopen until after Labor Day. The entire industry, like so many others, is on pause, at the cost of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars.


The Philharmonic Must Reinstate 2 Fired Players

The New York Philharmonic has been forced by an arbitrator to reinstate 2 players it fired over allegations of unspecified sexual misconduct. The dismissed players were principal oboist Liang Wang and associate principal trumpet Matthew Muckey. The men were dismissed in September 2018. Both denied any wrongdoing and the players' union filed a grievance challenging their dismissals. The independent arbitrator found that the players had been terminated without just cause and should be reinstated.

Kennedy Center Drops Furloughs for Musicians

The National Symphony Orchestra's musicians will be receiving a pay cut, but will not be furloughed, under a new deal worked out between their union and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where they perform. The Kennedy Center had planned to furlough the musicians for an undetermined time so as to address the financial shortfalls from the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement caused a political uproar, largely because the Kennedy Center had received $25 million in emergency funding as part of the recently enacted stimulus package. However, an agreement was announced last week with the D.C. Federation of Musicians, in which the orchestra (96 musicians and 2 orchestra librarians) would see pay cuts amounting to 35% of the total payroll until early September. The union said that the furlough violated itscollective bargaining agreement.

Lincoln Center Cancels Summer Program Over Safety Concerns

New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts announced that it was canceling all of its summer performances and activities. In a statement, Lincoln Center said it was its "intention, when it is safe again to gather in-person, to stage a free pop-up festival in celebration of our great city, and the selfless first responders and healthcare workers who are giving so much during this crisis." It also emphasized its online offerings during the crisis. Much of the Lincoln Center's summer programming is free and its decision to cancel may be a harbinger for culturally quiet months ahead in New York City and elsewhere.

One Theatre Tries for an All-Audio Season

Bobby Cannavale, Carla Gugino, and Audra McDonald will still perform for the Williamstown Theatre Festival this summer, but their shows will be on Audible, not onstage. The Williamstown Theater Festival has been grappling with the same dilemma facing every performing arts organization during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The prestigious nonprofit, known for its annual summer season that draws a stream of A-list artists to Western Massachusetts, was determined not to join the parade of cancellations this year. In a bold attempt to salvage its season, the Festival has decided to develop, rehearse, and record all 7 of its planned productions and release them in audio form on Audible. The productions will feature the same performers who would have appeared onstage. This will be the first complete theatre season released entirely by Audible, which established a theatre division 3 years ago and has since released 36 productions. Audible will pay the artists, who will include not only the actors and directors, but a battery of sound designers and audio producers as well.

A Major Comic Book Distributor Has Halted Deliveries, and Shops are Shuttered, Putting the Industry in Jeopardy

Like every other business that has been upended by the coronavirus pandemic, comic book publishing--a wellspring of material for countless hit films and TV shows--is in considerable jeopardy. In recent weeks, the industry has been throttled at every juncture. Comic book store owners have shuttered their shops and the distribution of new titles has been frozen. Writers and artists continue to produce work, not knowing how or when readers will be able to see it. No one sees a quick solution; it cannot be predicted whether the current calamity will eradicate only some stores and publishers or an entire, decade-old model of doing business. The proprietors of comic book shops across the country say that what once looked like a promising year of business has evaporated amid state-by-state policies that have required the closure of their stores. A devastating blow came when Diamond Comic Distributors, the company that supplies them with the comic books and graphic novels of most major publishers, announced that it would stop shipping new comics to stores beginning April 1. Though most comic books are available in digital formats, many fans value the experience of visiting stores in person, browsing the racks, and soliciting the opinions of other readers. Comics still rely on actual stores and the communities they provide.


U.S. Prosecutors Charge That Bribery Helped Secure World Cup Bids

According to U.S. prosecutors, bribes were allegedly paid to secure votes for Russia and Qatar bids for 2018 and 2022. A pair of former 21st Century Fox executives and several others have been charged with making illegal payments to win broadcast rights for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. The indictments include charges of wire fraud, money laundering, and racketeering conspiracy. The profiteering and bribery in international soccer have been deep-seated and commonly known practices for decades. Since the first indictments were announced in May 2015, there have been 26 publicly announced guilty pleas, many from former soccer officials.

Ultimate Fighting Championship Will Cancel Fight After California Expresses Concerns to Disney

Dana White, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (U.F.C.) president, insisted that his plans for a 12-fight mixed martial arts showcase this month would have been safer for participants than staying at home or going to the grocery store during the coronavirus pandemic. Yet with the showcase, U.F.C. 249, just 10 days away, it was unclear how White and the U.F.C. could ensure the safety of pressing forward--despite additional objections from combat sports doctors and public health officials. Some legal experts believed that county and state officials could step in, even though the April 18 event was to be staged on sovereign tribal land.

U.F.C. 249 was finally canceled after ESPN and parent company Disney stopped White's plan to keep fighting amid the coronavirus pandemic. White defiantly vowed for weeks to maintain a regular schedule of fights while the rest of the sports world halted. While the U.F.C. won't have fights in the upcoming weeks, White said that he is still pursuing his plan to build an octagon and everything else necessary to telecast small fight shows on an unidentified private island. White had planned to use the so-called "Fight Island" in upcoming months for non-American fighters who couldn't get into the U.S.

Casinos Endure a Very Bad Beat

Sports betting was poised for a big moment, then the coronavirus pandemic led to closed casinos and the cancellation of the NCAA basketball tournaments. The pandemic has shuttered nearly every casino in the U.S. and gambling companies missed out on the surge in visitors and wagers they were counting on from the tournaments. Casinos have been decimated in the economic reckoning brought on by the outbreak. The stock prices for many gaming companies are down 60% or more, reflecting investor pessimism about their futures. The shutdown of sports and so much of leisure spending has been a striking turnabout for an industry less than 2 years removed from the Supreme Court decision that cleared a path for sports wagers across the country and a new generation of bettors.

Tour de France Seeks Postponement, Not Cancellation

With the spread of coronavirus forcing the postponement or cancellation of major sporting events in the world, one cycling race stands strong in its resolve to run in the summer of 2020: the Tour de France. The Amaury Sport Organization still hasn't made any announcements or statements about how the world's biggest cycling race, scheduled to run from June 27 to July 19, could be impacted by the global pandemic. Right now, the Union Cycliste Internationale has halted racing until June 1. Organizers of the Tour de France say that an official decision will be rendered by mid-May. Reportedly, a month-long postponement is being considered,shifting the start into late July from the current state date of June 27.

Hacker Leaves Prison for a New Lockdown

Rui Pinto, the hacker whose revelations shook soccer by shining light on its darkest secrets, has been released from prison and put under house arrest. In recent years, the Portuguese computer hacker has garnered as much attention as the country's most famous soccer stars. He revealed some of their secrets in a startling series of leaks that shook the global soccer industry and beyond for almost 4 years until he was apprehended to answer 147 charges. He had been in preventative custody in a Lisbon jail for more than a year awaiting trial. An international coalition believed he should be granted whistle-blower status for the crimes and wrongdoing his leaks had exposed. He has been released and placed under house arrest on the condition that he not use the internet.


A Surge It Didn't Expect Has Zoom Rushing Fixes

Over the last month, the Zoom videoconferencing service has emerged as the communication lifeline of the coronavirus pandemic. Originally, the service was meant for businesses, but then consumers flocked to the video platform for school and socializing, which made it easy to hijack videoconferences and harass participants in online attacks known as Zoombombing. Now the company is scrambling to deal with privacy and security issues. The company has formed a council of chief information security offices from other companies to share ideas on best practices and announced that it had hired Alex Stamos, the former chief security officer of Facebook, as an outside adviser.

In a Crackdown on Scams, Facebook Also Hampers Volunteer Efforts

As health workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic plead for personal protective equipment, volunteer efforts to create hand-sewn masks and deliver them to medical professionals have quickly sprung up across the internet. However, those efforts were hampered by Facebook's automated content moderation system over the past week, according to sewing organizers who have used the social network to coordinate donation campaigns. Facebook's systems threatened to ban the organizers from posting and commenting, landing them in "Facebook Jail" and even threatened to delete the groups. Facebook has long struggled to distinguish between innocuous and malicious content on its site because of the reliance on automated systems to flag and remove posts that violate its terms of service.

Tech Giants to Team Up in Tracing the Infected

Tech giants have teamed up to use Bluetooth-based framework to keep track of the spread of infections without compromising location privacy. Since the pandemic began its spread, technologists have proposed used so-called contact-tracing apps to track infections via smartphones. Now, Google and Apple are teaming up to give contact-tracers the ingredients to make that system possible--while in theory still preserving the privacy of those who use it. The two companies have announced a rare joint project to create the groundwork for Bluetooth-based contact-tracing apps that can work across both iOS and Android phones. In mid-May, they plan to release an application programming interface IAPI) into which apps from public health organizations can tap. The API will let those apps use a phone's Bluetooth radio to keep track of whether a smartphone's owner has come in contact with someone who later turns out to have been infected with COVID-19. Once alerted, that user can then self-isolate or get tested. Google and Apple say the system won't involve tracking user locations or even collecting any identifying data that would be stored on a server.

Twitter's Dorsey Plans Donation of $1 Billion for Virus Relief

Twitter co-founder and Chief Executive Jack Dorsey has pledged to set aside $1 billion to fund charitable causes, starting with relief efforts toward the novel coronavirus pandemic. Dorsey says that the money will come from his stake in Square Inc., which he also co-founded and runs. The amount represents about 28% of his wealth.

COVID-19 Updates

As Deaths Surge, Governors Plead with Washington

As the surgeon general told the nation to brace for "our Pearl Harbor moment" of cascading coronavirus deaths this week, several governors said that their states were in urgent need ot federal help and complained that they had been left to compete for critical equipment in the absence of a consistent strategy and coordination from the Trump administration, leading many to walk a delicate path. President Trump has dismissed criticism from some governors as mere politics. Three major metropolitan areas - New York, Detroit, and New Orleans - have seen death rates rise rapidly and other states are anticipating a peak in cases later this month.

Despite Timely Alerts, Trump Was Slow to Act

A week after the first coronavirus case had been identified in the U.S., and 6 long weeks before President Trump finally took aggressive action to confront the danger the nation was facing--a pandemic that is now forecast to take tens of thousands of American lives--Dr. Mecher was urging the upper ranks of the nation's public health bureaucracy to wake up and prepare for the possibility of far more drastic action. He was hardly a lone voice. Throughout January, as Trump repeatedly played down the seriousness of the virus and focused on other issues, an array of figures inside his government identified the threat, sounded alarms, and made clear the need for aggressive action. The president was slow to absorb the scale of the risk and to act accordingly, focusing instead on controlling the message, protecting gains in the economy, and batting away warnings from senior officials.

App Data Strongly Links Loss of Smell to Infection

Some have touted the symptom as a sign of COVID-19 but scientists have limited, inconclusive data in hand. Growing reports suggest that the loss of sense of smell, a condition known as anosmia, is a symptom of the virus. There has been a surge of anecdotal evidence from around the world. According to some, reports are mounting of people who tested positive for the disease but had no noticeable symptoms other than a mysterious loss or reduction of their sense of smell. Other experts in the medical community have pushed back, saying the coronavirus connection isn't solid. So far, neither the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nor the World Health Organization (WHO), has added anosmia to its lists of COVID-19 symptoms. Up to 40% of people with other viral infections, such as influence or the common cold, experience a temporary loss of smell that usually reverses itself in a couple weeks.

Preying on the Panicked, Scammers and Con Artists See a Bonanza in Covid-19

Federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities are reporting an explosion of scams as fraudsters move to capitalize on public panic over the fast-moving pandemic and the flood of federal money making its way to most Americans to help address the economic fallout. There's everything from low-tech to very sophisticated schemes. Seeking to stay ahead of the curve, the Justice Department has set up a task force to investigate price-gouging and prosecutors have been instructed to prioritize fraud cases. Other agencies, like the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, have followed suit. The Federal Trade Commission has reported that the number of coronavirus-related complaints it had received from consumers this year had doubled during the previous week, reaching more than 7,800.

Trump Again Pushes Drug, Never Mind Expert Opinion

President Trump's aggressive support for the unproven idea of using the lupus and malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus has puzzled public health experts, journalists, and others for weeks. The New York Times has reported one possible explanation: financial interest--his own, and that of those close to him. However, Trump's Sanofi stake is indirect and rather small, with him owning shares through a fund that includes a diverse array of stocks. The immediate intrest in Trump's financial connections is another indicator of how the president's decision not to sell off his assets or put them into a trust opens him up to allegations of impropriety. Trump's top medical experts have taken a more measured tone.

Gaps in Amazon's Response Leave Workers Feeling Exposed

As millions of Americans heed government orders to hunker down, ordering food, medicines, books, and puzzle boards for home delivery, many of Amazon's 400,000 warehouse workers have stayed on the job, fulfilling the crushing demands of a country suddenly working and learning from home. Orders for Amazon groceries have been as much as 50 times higher than normal. The challenge is keeping enough people on the job to fill those orders. For all of its high-tech sophistication, Amazon's vast e-commerce business is dependent on an army of workers operating in warehouses they now fear are contaminated with the coronavirus. The surge of orders is testing the limits of Amazon's vaunted distribution system and forcing changes to the company's relationship with its employees. While Amazon's workers are not unionized, the crisis has given workplace organizers unexpected leverage to demand better pay, better sick leave, and more of a voice in how the company is run. Small groups of employees have been protesting working conditions in Michigan and New York.

Locked Down, and More Vulnerable to Abuse

The National Domestic Abuse helpline has seen a 25% increase in call and online requests for help since the lockdown. Campaigners have warned the restrictions could heighten domestic tension and cut off escape routes. Police are emphasizing that those facing abuse at home during the lockdown should still report their experiences to police and seek support from domestic abuse services.

Does the Virus Hit Women Differently? The U.S. Isn't Keeping Track

Data from other countries shows that more men are dying from the virus than women--a discrepancy that should inform the response and vaccine research in the U.S. Yet it isn't. Based on data, we know that older adults--aged 60 and above--are at greater risk of dying from it. Data from China, Italy, and South Korea shows we are now seeing that men seem to have higher fatality rates. However, even with ramped-up testing with reams of data, the U.S. is not monitoring the sex breakdown of the virus. This kind of information--or lack thereof--matters, because men and women are likely to have fundamentally different reactions to the virus, vaccines, and treatment, health experts say. Research has shown that the SARS, influenza, Ebola, and HIV viruses all affect men and women differently. Despite this, the coronavirus vaccine trials underway in the U.S. aren't really considering sex. Sex data blind spots can be traced back to the fact that, historically, science didn't study the female body.

Black Americans Bear the Brunt as Deaths Climb

As a virus, COVID-19 does not discriminate, but a patchwork of data appears to show that the pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on communities of color, several of which are reporting infection rates that outpace their populations. What it really comes down to is economic conditions and people living in highly dense areas. The lack of information has hamstrung efforts to combat the virus, particularly in communities that have had complicated relationships with health care providers or have significant language barriers. The virus has hit many Black, Latino, and immigrant-rich neighborhoods especially hard because residents there often work in essential jobs in grocery stores, delivering food, and operating public transit, leaving them more exposed to the virus, according to public health experts. They also typically live in closer quarters, making it harder to practice social distancing.

President Ousts Official Policing Relief Spending

President Trump has moved to oust the leader of a new panel of watchdogs charged with overseeing how his administration spends trillions of taxpayer dollars in coronavirus pandemic relief, in the latest step in an abruptly unfolding White House power play over semi-independent inspectors general across the government. Trump has recently been making a series of changes affecting inspectors general, who are supposed to serve as a check on the government within agencies by hunting for waste, fraud, and abuse. Opponents say this appears to be part of an alarming trend by the Trump administration to remove independent inspector generals and replace them with the president's loyalists.

Parents Withholding Custody Over Fears of Infection in Front-Line Workers

Doctors, firefighters, and others who risk exposure to COVID-19 are being taken to court by ex-spouses who want to keep them away from their children. This issue is arising across the country, as a growing number of parents have begun to withhold access to their children from former spouses or partners over fears of infection. For health care or other essential workers, the battles are infused with heightened controversy. Some say they shouldn't be punished for doing crucial services; their counterparts argue that the jobs pose too great a risk to other family members. Amid the pandemic, the landscape of family law, which varies across the country, has become more uneven, with few guidelines to address the current safety concerns.

WHO Faces Ire of Trump, and Warning of Defunding

President Trump lashed out on Tuesday at the WHO, choosing a new political enemy to attack and threatening to withhold funding from a premier health institution even as a deadly virus ravages nations around the globe. In effect, Trump sought to denounce the WHO for the very missteps and failures that have been leveled at him and his administration. Public health experts have said the president's public denials of the virus's dangers slowed the American response, which included delayed testing and a failure to stockpile protective gear. In fact, the W.H.O. sounded the alarm in the earliest days of the crisis, declaring a "public health emergency of international concern" a day before the U.S. secretary of health and human services announced the country's own public health emergency and weeks before Trump declared a national emergency.

With the Supreme Court Sequestered, A Docket of Major Cases Sits Idle

Since the pandemic started, the Justices have stopped doing the most public part of their job, hearing arguments, and the courthouse is closed to the public. The last 20 arguments of the term, which had been scheduled for March and April, have been postponed indefinitely. This has left major cases in limbo, notably ones on subpoenas from prosecutors and Congress for President Trump's financial records, which was scheduled to be heard on March 31. Those cases were going to be a test of independence of the Court even before the coronavirus complicated matters. Very little is known about how the Justices are conducting their work in the midst of the pandemic or how they plan to proceed. Chief Justice Roberts's next challenge will be how to handle the postponed arguments. Rescheduling most of them to the fall would seem harmless. However, deciding whether Trump's accountants and bankers must turn over his tax returns and other financial records is more urgent. Deferring decisions on those cases until after the presidential election would strike many as a partisan act meant to aid Trump. What to do about the postponed cases will almost certainly be resolved by the full Court, either by consensus or by majority vote, unlike ordinarily, when the Chief Justice takes the leading role in scheduling arguments.

At Least 16,780,000 Americans Have Lost Their Jobs. It Took 21 Days

The harsh economic toll of the social distancing measures put in place to curb the spread of the pandemic was underscored last week when the Labor Department reported that another 6.6 million people had filed for unemployment benefits last week. That brought the number of Americans who had lost their jobs over the past 3 weeks to more than 16 million, which is more job losses than the most recent recession produced over 2 years. The dire figures suggested that Washington's recent $2 trillion relief package was not working quickly enough to halt the economic devastation and the hemorrhaging of jobs in nearly every type of industry.

As Multitudes Lose Jobs, Rent Comes to Forefront

As the economic shutdown pares tenants' incomes, April payments have been reduced, deferred or withheld. Some landlords now see their properties at risk. Many landlords are working out payment plans and using security deposits as a stopgap while directing tenants to the emerging patchwork of local, state, and federal assistance programs, and it's only going to get worse. Nearly 10 million people have filed unemployment claims over the past 2 weeks. It's too early to gauge how broadly these numbers will translate to the loss of rent. Many tenants are within the grace period before their rent is declared late. Some can stitch things together for a while by getting deferrals, applying their security deposits or paying with credit cards. Some tenants are simply moving out. College students are breaking leases to move home. Laid-off workers are showing up at rental offices to exchange their keys for their deposits, saying they are moving in with family members.

Small-Business Borrowers Frustrated by Loan Delays

There is a growing backlog of application for the U.S. program designed to funnel at least $350 billion in relief to small businesses struggling during the coronavirus pandemic. The massive demand within the first week led to several time-consuming bottlenecks at lenders and with the Small Business Administration portal the companies use to get loans approved. The two biggest U.S. banks, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, had a combined 625,000 requests for $80 billion in loans as of last Tuesday. Only a small fraction has actually been paid out so far.

Minorities May Struggle to Obtain Relief Loans

Minority business owners have always struggled to secure bank loans. Now, many banks want to deal only with existing customers when making loans through the government's $349 billion aid package. There are thousands of small-business owners at risk of being shut out of the government effort, known as the Paycheck Protection Program, because of limits set by lenders grappling with overwhelming demand. These loans, which do not have to be repaid if the money is used for payroll, rent or mortgage expenses, could be a lifeline for struggling businesses--if they can get them. Minority-owned businesses often have weaker banking relationships than their white-owned counterparts--one legacy of the practice of redlining, or refusing to lend to people in communities of color. Research shows that black and Latino business owners are denied loans at higher rates. Anticipating that minority business owners could struggle to tap federal aid; some lawmakers are proposing ways to earmark additional funds specifically for minority-owned businesses.

Pandemic Pushes White House to Delay Tougher Work Rules for Food Stamps

Under heavy criticism for pressing for food stamp cuts during an economic meltdown, the Trump administration now says that it will hold off on stricter work requirements for adults without children during the national emergency. Initially, the Trump administration planned to appeal a court decision from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, which issued a temporary court injunction on its work requirements rule, which were to go into effect on April 1, but it has since changed its tune. Congress then stepped in, and in one of its economic stabilization packages, waived the work requirement for the duration of the national emergency, in addition to another month. Federal and state levels need to have the flexibility to address the nutritional needs residents and ensure their well-being through programs like SNAP.

A Wave of Hunger Hits America, and Food Banks Are Swamped

Millions are flooding a charitable system that was never intended to handle a nationwide crisis. Demand for food assistance is rising at an extraordinary rate, just as the nation's food banks are being struck by shortages of both donated food and volunteer workers. The National Guard is helping out and providing safety during distributions. Feeding America, the nation's largest network of food banks, with more than 200 affiliates, has projected a $1.4 billion shortfall in the next 6 months alone. At exactly the moment when more Americans find themselves turning to food charities, the charities are facing shortages of their own.

Empty Shelves, but Farms Put Food to Waste

After weeks of concern about shortages in grocery stores and mad scrambles to find the last box of pasta or toilet paper roll, many of the nation's largest farms are struggling with another ghastly effect of the pandemic. They are being forced to destroy tens of millions of pounds of fresh food that they can no longer sell. The closing of restaurants, hotels, and schools has left some farmers with no buyers for more than half their crops. Even as retailers see spikes in food sales to Americans who are now eating nearly every meal at home, the increases are not enough to absorb all of the perishable food that was planted weeks ago and intended for schools and businesses. The amount of waste is staggering. Many farmers say they have donated part of the surplus to food banks and Meals on Wheels programs, which have been overwhelmed with demand, but there is only such much perishable food that charities with limited numbers of refrigerators and volunteers can absorb.

Those Who Feed the U.S. Fear Their Lives Are Being Put at Risk

The coronavirus pandemic has reached the processing plants where workers typically stand elbow to elbow to do the low-wage work of cutting, deboning, and packing the chicken and beef that Americans eat. Some plants have offered financial incentives to keep them on the job, but the virus's swift spread is causing illness and forcing plants to close. Smithfield foods' pork plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, announced last Thursday that it would close temporarily after more than 80 employees tested positive for the virus. Workers have come down with COVID-19 in several poultry plants in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. Industry analysts said that the plant closures were unlikely to result in serious disruptions to the food supply. At some plants, workers have staged walkouts over concerns that they are not being properly protected.

Navy Captain Fired After Dissent Is Now Sick

The military has long adhered to a rigid chain of command and tolerated no dissent expressed outside official channels. Capt. Brett E. Crozier, the skipper of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, knew he was up against those imperatives when he asked for help for nearly 5,000 crew members trapped in a petri dish of a warship in the middle of a pandemic. Colleagues say that the mistake could cost him his career. The Navy's top brass clashed about what to do with then acting Navy Secretary Thomas B. Modly overruling and saying Capt. Crozier had cracked under pressure and needed to be relieved of duty. Those who have known and served with Crozier disagreed. Now Crozier is in quarantine in Guam. The removal of Crozier could have a chilling effect. The evacuation Captain Crozier sought for his crew is now in motion.

Acting Navy Secretary Resigned Post Day After Criticizing a Stricken Crew

Acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly said that Capt. Brett Crozier was either "too naïve or too stupid to be a commanding officer" in a speech to soldiers on the USS Theodore Roosevelt. He has since apologized for the remarks. Crozier was relieved of his command last Thursday and in a news conference, Modly defended the decision as his own and insisted it was made because Crozier went outside the chain of command. When the transcript of his talk to the soldiers was made public, Modly first stood by his comments, but several hours later reversed course and apologized for his remarks. Modly's new statement came after Trump addressed the controversy at a news conference, saying he planned to intervene.

Lawmakers had called for Modly to leave after the profanity-laced speech was leaked to the media. The Navy has weathered its share of crises, and in the past few months saw a previous Navy secretary forced out over his handling of a war crimes case, and the man selected to be its top admiral instead retired due to an improper professional relationship with a former staffer who was accused of making unwanted sexual advances to several women. The resignation of acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, just a day after giving his scathing comments about the former Capt. of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, leaves the service lurching in the middle of a devastating pandemic that has roiled global markets, upended everyday life, and left tens of thousands dead around the world. It also projects the wrong image to America's enemies and allies, a cascading series of leadership changes calls into question the stability of America's sea service.

Gratitude, and Immunity, as the First U.S. Survivors Tiptoe into a New World

The first large wave of COVID-19 survivors, likely to be endowed with a power known to infectious disease specialists as adaptive immunity, is emerging. Most Americans are still desperate to avoid contracting the virus as the number of known cases nears half a million. Many who have overcome the infection, including some of America's newly unemployed, donate blood to biotech companies and researchers seeking to manufacture treatments from their antibodies.

Some States Awaiting Medical Gear Instead Sees It 'Swept Up by FEMA'

Officials in at least 6 states are accusing the federal government of quietly diverting their orders for coronavirus medical equipment. States have been making their own orders for ventilators, masks, and other personal protective equipment since Trump told them in March not to rely on the national stockpile for medical supplies. Trump has also instructed FEMA to lead efforts to distribute equipment according to priority. However state and health leaders in Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Kentucky, Texas, and Florida are now accusing the federal government of intercepting and diverting their equipment orders without explaining why.

Staggering Outbreak is Showing Signs of Slowing

Even as medical teams struggle to save an onslaught of gravely ill coronavirus patients and deaths hit new high, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations seemed to be leveling off in New York state. Yet early statistical signs the crisis might be peaking provided little comfort to weary doctors and nurses on the front lines of the outbreak, as hospital emergency rooms and intensive care units overflowing with COVID-19 patients. New York accounted for more than one third of U.S. confirmed coronavirus cases to date, and nearly half the cumulative death toll. Governor Cuomo has pointed to slowing rates of coronavirus hospitalizations, intensive care admissions, and ventilator intubations as signs social distancing measures imposed last month were working.

As Not Everyone is Being Counted, the Numbers Don't Tell the Whole Story

The official statistics paint a partial picture and may understate the death toll. Epidemiologists, city officials, and medical personnel say that the numbers reported in the media are likely to be far below New York City's actual death toll. The data on deaths of people in their homes or on the street show that the State's statistics also don't tell the whole story. The official death count numbers presented each day by the State are based on hospital data. The City has a different measure: any patient who has had a positive coronavirus test and then later dies (whether at home or in the hospital) is being counted as coronavirus death. A staggering number of people are dying at home with presumed cases of coronavirus, and it does not appear that the State has a clear mechanism for factoring those victims into official death tallies. Paramedics are not performing tests on those they pronounce dead. There aren't really any mechanisms in place for having an immediate, efficient method to calculate the death toll during a pandemic. Normal procedures are usually abandoned quickly in such a crisis.

In Region's Nursing Homes, 'Residents Are Sitting Ducks'

In New York, the U.S. epicenter of the outbreak, the virus has snatched lives in every part of society. The virus has perhaps been cruelest at nursing homes and other facilities for older people, where a combination of factors--an aging or frail population, chronic understaffing, shortages of protective gear, and constant physical contact between workers and residents--has hastened its spread. In all, nearly 2,000 residents of nursing homes have died in the outbreak in the region, and thousands of other residents are sick. As of last Friday, more than half of New York's 613 licensed nursing homes had reported coronavirus infections, with 4,630 total positive cases and 1,439 deaths. The actual infection rate in nursing homes is almost certainly higher than the data indicate because few homes have the capacity to test residents. The assumption among many in the industry is that every nursing home in the region contains people with COVID-19. The crisis in nursing homes is occurring in virus hot spots across the country, with infections growing in places like Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.

Risking Lives to Vote

On Tuesday, Wisconsin became the only state to insist on holding its primary as planned, forcing many residents to risk spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus while exercising their right to vote, as lines at polling places stretched several city blocks and wait times were upwards of 2 hours. The election was held despite warnings from public health officials that this could be the worse week of the ongoing pandemic. It also came over the objections of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who unsuccessfully sought to delay the in-person voting, only to see his executive order overturned by the state Supreme Court after Republican leaders in the legislature accused him of exceeding his authority. In addition to the primary for president, the election included a Supreme Court contest and thousands of local races and referendums. Unlike any other election, however, the outcome of the polling won't be revealed for nearly a week to allow time for processing the massive numbers of absentee ballots that voters were encouraged to cast in the weeks leading up to the vote.

Virus Raging, GOP Fights Mail-In Votes

Today, even in the face of a global pandemic, the GOP seems determined to maintain its voting leverage. The rapid spread of the virus has led to numerous statewide stay-at-home orders, with more than 13,000 dead and 400,000 infected in the U.S. This will have a major impact on the 2020 election. The Democrats have sought a range of prophylactic measures, such as vote-by-mail, to ensure that the right to vote does not have to compete with the right to live. However, Republicans are trying to use the virus to suppress the vote of many and constrain the rights of American voters.

Jail in Chicago is Top U.S. Hot Spot with More Than 350 Confirmed Cases

At least 1,324 confirmed coronavirus cases are tied to prisons and jails across the U.S., including at least 32 deaths. In a little over 2 weeks, the virus has infected more than 350 people at the Cook County jail, one of the nation's largest. The jail in Chicago is now the nation's largest-known source of coronavirus infections, with more confirmed cases than the USS Theodore Roosevelt, a nursing home in Kirkland, WA or the cluster centered on New Rochelle, NY. 238 inmates and 115 staff members have tested positive for the virus, but those figures most likely downplay the actual problem, because the vast majority of the jail's 4,500 inmates have not been tested.

Washington State to Send 400 Ventilators Back

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has said that he will return 400 ventilators so that other states, like New York, can use them for coronavirus cases. Washington received 500 ventilators from the federal government's Strategic National Stockpile. The state recently purchased more than 750 additional ventilators that will be arriving in the coming weeks. Inslee's announcement came a day after Oregon Governor Kate Brown said that her state would sent 140 ventilators to New York. Washington was the first state to report a confirmed coronavirus case in late January and at one point had the highest number of confirmed cases in the country. Inslee was also among the first governors to issue social distancing measures.

Abortion Groups Appeal Texas Restriction Ruling

A federal judge has once again cleared the way for some abortions to resume in Texas despite the governor's order restricting them during the coronavirus outbreak. Judge Lee Yeakel blocked the state from enforcing the order specifically "as a categorical ban on all abortions provided by Plaintiffs" and specifically against those providing medication abortions or providing surgical abortions to abortion-seekers who would reach 22 weeks since their last menstrual periods--the cutoff to receive an abortion in Texas--by the order's expiration on April 21. The ruling would also apply to surgical abortions performed on those who, by April 21, would reach 18 weeks since their last menstrual periods, rendering them eligible for abortions only at ambulatory surgery centers, and would be "likely unable to reach an ambulatory surgical center in Texas or to obtain abortion care," Yeakel wrote. "As a minimum, this is an undue burden on a woman's right to a pre-viability abortion," he wrote Thursday.

Smokers and Vapers May Be at Greater Risk of Getting Coronavirus

Early pathological studies from the pandemic have revealed some risk factors for the most severe forms of COVID-19. Among the most important: being older and having a chronic underlying illness. Smoking and vaping are also being actively investigated as risk factors A wealth of research already suggests that smoking suppresses immune function in the lungs. It is also known to increase the risk of influenza.

General News

Supreme Court Blocks Extended Voting

In a pair of extraordinary ruling, the highest courts in Wisconsin and the nation split along ideological lines to reject Democratic efforts to defer voting in last Tuesday's elections in the state, given the coronavirus pandemic. Election law experts said the stark divisions in the rulings did not bode well for faith in the rule of law and American democracy. Election cases need courts to be seen by the public as nonpartisan referees of the competing candidates and political parties, but these split votes make them seem just as politically divided as the litigants. This could threaten the legitimacy of both the election and the courts. When the Supreme Court rules on emergency applications, it almost never gives reasons, but the ourt's conservative majority spent four pages explaining why it refused to extend absentee voting in Tuesday's elections. It is not really known why the Court broke with usual practices. The majority called it "a narrow, technical question about the absentee ballot process."

Justices Weigh in on Traffic Stops and Age Bias

The U.S. Supreme Court has sided with older federal workers, making it easier for those over 40 to sue for age discrimination. The 8-to-1 ruling rejected a Trump administration position that sought to dramatically limit the legal recourse available to federal workers. The Justices said that federal law clearly gives federal workers protection from any discrimination based on age. The Court said that Congress had deliberately given federal workers more protection than workers in the private sector or workers in state and local governments.

In a separate opinion, the Court, by an 8-to-1 vote, upheld a warrantless traffic stop by a sheriff's deputy in Kansas who based the stop on the assumption that the driver, defendant Charlie Glover, owned the car; Glover's license had been revoked. The Kansas Supreme Court had previously ruled that when a driver has committed no infractions, police need something more than an assumption in order to have a reasonable suspicion that the driver is the owner and is driving without a license.

Sanders Ends Bid as Biden Gets Set To Battle Trump

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has suspended his presidential campaign, clearing the way for rival Joe Biden to secure the Democratic nomination and challenge Donald Trump in November. The 78-year-old democratic socialist shook up the 2020 race with his relentless pursuit of "economic justice" for all Americans and a demand for universal health care. Sanders, who challenged Hillary Clinton for the party's nomination in 2016, mounted a formidable 2020 bid. He raised huge amounts of money from record numbers of donors, becoming the frontrunner early this year and earing the most votes in the first 3 state-wide contests, but he was eclipsed by a surging Biden who won the vast majority of remaining primaries.

Fired for Alerting Congress of Whistle-Blower, He Urges Others 'to Bravely Speak Up'

Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community inspector general, was dismissed by President Trump last week. In his resignation letter, Atkinson urged whistleblowers to "bravely speak up" and reminded them "there is no disgrace in doing so." Atkinson infuriated Trump when he alerted Congress to a whistleblower's complaint accusing the president of soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 election, which was the catalyst for Trump's impeachment.

Inspector General Pick Casts Doubt on Powers Allowed of Congress

Senators are responding to President Trump's firing of the intelligence community's top watchdog with a muddled message, with some calling for hearings and others saying that lawmakers have far more important issues to tackle. The scattershot response suggests that Congress is unlikely to urgently address Trump's decision to sack Michael Atkinson, the former inspector general, and it underscores how difficult it will be for the Senate and House to conduct oversight of the surprising firing, especially in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. The Senate is scheduled to return to regular session on April 20, but several senators have cast doubt on that timeline given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Barr Distorts Facts of Inspector General's Firing

The attorney general misstated key facts in explaining the dismissed official's handling of the whistle-blower complaint that prompted impeachment. Attorney General Barr endorsed and defended Trump's firing of Michael K. Atkinson, the intelleigence community inspector general, in an interview with Fox News. While making his case, Barr made several claims that are subject to scrutiny, such as a dubious account of what happened. He also claimed that the FBI had opened its investigation into whether Trump campaign officials were coordinating with Russia's election interference "without any basis." However, they did so on the basis of certain facts. Barr has repeatedly come under fire for misleading the public about the findings and analysis of the special counsel who eventually took over the case, Robert S. Mueller III.

Change in Press Secretaries, but Handling Briefings Still Isn't a Key Role

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham is leaving the job without ever having briefed the press. She is returning to the East Wing as first lady Melania Trump's chief of staff as Trump's new Chief of Staff Mark Meadows shakes up the communications team in the West Wing. Kayleigh McEnany, who served as Trump's 2020 campaign spokeswoman, will replace Grisham as White House press secretary. It became clear to aides that a shakeup in the communications team could be coming after Deputy Communications Director Jessica Ditto abruptly announced that she was leaving her job last week. With Trump and senior administration officials directly briefing the press on coronavirus each day, the question of how and when McEnany restarts briefings is much less urgent in the press shop shake-up.

Falsehoods and Facts on Voting By Mail

As the coronavirus pandemic accelerates a national trend towards voting by mail, experts say it can be conducted safely, despite Republican claims of corruption. With concerns mounting over how the country can conduct elections during a pandemic and Democrats pressing for alternatives to in-person voting, President Trump has begun pushing a false argument that has circulated among conservatives for years--that voting by mail is a recipe for fraud. Studies have shown that all forms of voting fraud are extremely rare in the U.S. States that vote entirely by mail see little fraud; 5 states, including the Republican bastion of Utah, now conduct all elections almost entirely by mail. Republicans claim that voting by mail gives Democrats an advantage, asserting that easing restrictions invites voter fraud. There are also some Democrats who have also raised security concerns.

G.O.P. Senator, Under Fire for Trades, Says She'll Divest from Stocks

Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler again defended her investments, denying accusations that she has tried to profit from the coronavirus crisis using inside information, but she has said she will divest from individual stocks and move her money into mutual and exchange-traded funds. As a freshman senator, she was already in a competitive race to keep her seat and has since faced weeks of attacks from her rivals in both parties and scrutiny from the news media over millions of dollars' worth of stock trades her portfolio made just before the coronavirus pandemic roiled the financial markets.

FEMA Demands Homes That Don't Flood, Towns Aren't Listening

If one wants publicly subsidized flood insurance, one can't build a home that's likely to flood. Yet local governments around the country, which are responsible for enforcing the rule, have flouted the requirements, accounting for as many as a quarter of a million insurance policies in violation. Those structures accounted for more than $1 billion in flood claims during the past decade. That toll is likely to increase as climate change makes flooding more frequent and intense.

New Tactic: In Arbitration, Raise Volume

There are many customers and employees who are unhappy with major corporations, but they are forced to hash out those differences in arbitration. Arbitration clauses bar employees at many companies from joining together to mount class-action lawsuits. Lawyers are now finding a possible solution by filing tens of thousands of arbitration claims all at once, because many companies can't handle the caseload. Driven partly by a legal reformist spirit and entrepreneurial zeal, lawyers are testing a new weapon in arbitration: sheer volume. As companies face a flood of claims, they are employing new strategies to thwart the very process that they have upheld as the optimal way to resolve disputes. Even as Supreme Court rulings over the last 2 decades have enshrined arbitration as the primary way that companies can hash out disputes, giving them enormous sway, consumer advocates and labor rights groups have criticized arbitration's inequities.

As Limits Ease, Wuhan Limps into New Life

Last Wednesday, China ended its lockdown of Wuhan, the city where the coronavirus first emerged and a potent symbol in a pandemic that has killed tens of thousands of people, shaken the global economy, and thrown daily life into upheaval across the planet. The city has reopened after more than 10 weeks, but its recovery will be watched worldwide for lessons on how populations move past pain and calamity of such staggering magnitude. The trauma of the virus can linger for decades.

China Citing Fewer Cases, Tries to Rewrite Its Role in Crisis

For months, the Chinese government's propaganda machine had been fending off criticism of Beijing's handling of the coronavirus outbreak, and finally, it seemed to be finding an audience. In recent days, foreign leaders, even in friendly nations like Iran, have questioned China's reported infections and deaths. As the pandemic unleashes the worst global crisis in decades, China has been locked in a public relations tug-of-war on the international stage. China's critics, including the Trump administration, have blamed the Communist Party's authoritarian leadership for exacerbating the outbreak by initially trying to conceal it. Now, China is trying to rewrite its role by leveraging its increasingly sophisticated global propaganda machine to cast itself as the munificent, responsible leader that triumphed where others have stumbled. What narrative prevails has implications far beyond an international blame game.

E.U.'s Top Court Orders Poland to Suspend Panel on Discipline of Judges

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) on last Wednesday ordered Poland to suspend a disciplinary chamber, which critics say would allow the government to investigate and punish judges for their court rulings. The chamber allows for too much political influence, the ECJ has argued. The ECJ cites a lack of independency and breach of EU law.

Rising Temperatures Hasten Bleaching of Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef has suffered the most widespread bleaching ever recorded due to rising temperatures caused by climate change. It is the third severe coral bleaching event for Australia's iconic reef in just 5 years. Corals along the entire 1,400-mile stretch have been severely affected. The bleaching has been caused solely by a summer of extreme heat, unlike in past years, when El Ninos contributed to the conditions. When sea temperatures spike, corals expel the marine algae, called zooxanthellae, which live inside their tissues, giving them vibrant colors and food supply via photosynthesis. Expelling the algae is what turns the coral white, and without food supply they can starve. The first recorded mass bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef was in 1998, then the hottest year on record. Since then, 4 more bleaching events have occurred, in 2002, 2016, 2017, and 2020 as the temperature records continue to be broken.

Nepalis Forced to Flee Villages as Himalayan Climate Changes

Nepal is ground zero for the impacts of climate change as rising temperatures in the Himalayas threaten the survival climate migrants. The rising temperatures are causing crops to dwindle and bodies of water to dry up. As a result, migrants in northern Nepal who were forced to flee their homes because of climate change are struggling to survive. Once home to fertile farmland and crop fields, the Himalayas are now mostly barren because extreme heat has since destroyed the land and soil and threatened food security in the region.

British Leader Exists Intensive Care as Nation Faces Long Lockdown

The prime minister's move from the Intensive Care Unit to a ward in a London hospital offered a ray of hope for a country still reeling from the trauma of the coronavirus pandemic. Yet the country still faces weeks of lockdown ahead as the death toll from the virus approached 8,000. Despite the good news, Raab, acting leader, appeared to be adjusting to the reality that Johnson will still be convalescing as the government faces one of the most sensitive decisions of the pandemic: When, and how, to reopen the British economy. The cabinet plans to make that assessment at the end of this week.

Chinese Human Rights Lawyer Released from Prison After Term of Nearly 5 Years

Wang Quanzhang, a leading Chinese human rights lawyer, was arrested in 2015 in a sweeping crackdown on more than 200 lawyers and government critics. He has now been released from prison after almost 5 years behind bars, but has yet to return home to his family in the Chinese capital as he is being quarantined as a precaution against the coronavirus. His wife fears that Wang would be placed under house arrest despite his release and would be subject to surveillance. Wang's initial detention came as part of the so-called "709" crackdown. Wang worked for a now-closed law firm that defended political activists and victims of land seizures.

As Tourism Vanishes in African Countries, Emboldened Poachers are Moving In

Official lockdowns and the loss of tourism revenue create new challenges for protecting Africa's wildlife. Conservancies depend heavily on money from wildlife safari tourism, which is a cornerstone of Kenya's economy. In normal times, travel and tourism provide more than a million jobs nationwide, but now that industry is at a standstill. Many conservationists worry that one consequence will be increased wildlife poaching--either to provide food for hungry families or for illegal sales--putting rangers in even greater danger. Conservancies are having to decrease the number of anti-poaching patrols and ask workers to agree to a 5% pay cut. They expect increased poaching by villagers for bushmeat because it is cheaper to kill animals for meat than buy it.

April 16, 2020

New York Extends The Life Of Its Film Tax Credit Program, But Makes It More Restrictive

By Marc Jacobson, Esq.

When Governor Cuomo signed into law the budget for New York State on April 3, 2020, not only did New York become the first state to address federal legislation regarding the CARES Act, which provides financial relief to businesses and others as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the State amended the film tax credit program in several important ways.

These changes became effective on April 1, 2020. Applications filed prior to that date will be governed under the old law.

First, the amount of the benefit to be received by the production company, for production costs, is reduced from 30% of qualifying below the line expenses to 25% of qualifying below the line expenses. Only those films which shoot within New York at a proper facility or otherwise shoot in the State in a manner to qualify for the credit are eligible. This reduces the amount of the benefit by about 17% as compared to what was available prior to these changes. As a practical matter, the rule of thumb that some producers use that the New York State credit is worth about 18% of the total budget of the picture, now makes the credit worth about 15% of the total budget of the picture, in round numbers.

Second, the post-production credit is also reduced from 30% to 25% of qualifying expenses. If the film will qualify for both production and postproduction credits, the eligible expenses for the tax benefit are different from those eligible based on an application for only postproduction credits. For example, when applying for tax benefits for a production credit, including postproduction work to be done in New York State, the postproduction expenses against which the credit may be applied do not include the cost of music. However, if the film shoots outside New York State, and comes to the State for postproduction work, and applies for the tax credit, music costs may be included in the costs against which the tax credit may apply. Careful attention must still be paid in calculating the benefit with regard to what is eligible and what is not eligible, and how that might benefit the film.

Third, for films shot in the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Rockland, Nassau, and Suffolk counties (the "New York City Metropolitan Area"), in order to qualify for the production credit, the film must have a budget of at least $1 million. This means the films shot in the New York City Metropolitan Area with a budget under the SAG-AFTRA ultra-low budget agreement (under $300,000) and the Modified Low Budget Agreement (generally up to $700,000 and with diversity qualification, up to $965,000) will not be eligible for the tax benefit. However, if those productions occur outside the New York City Metropolitan Area, they may be eligible for the tax credit as discussed below.

Fourth, for films shot outside the New York City Metropolitan Area, the minimum budget must be $250,000. These minimums were not part of the law before this month.

Fifth, the life of the program was extended from 2024 to 2025, at the lower rate but with the same $420 million annual fund. Payouts of the larger amounts will still be made over 3 years.

While New York still welcomes the production of films, in important ways it has reduced what was a significant benefit and big draw for productions. Those smaller independent films may well be driven out of the New York City Metropolitan Area and upstate to more favorable areas, or even to other states.

Shooting within the State but outside the New York City Metropolitan Area still carries with it an additional 10% credit for certain labor costs. This alone attracts productions to areas like Buffalo and Rochester, where skilled crews already live.

This new law may also push more productions to neighboring states, such as New Jersey, where there is a 30-35% credit for qualifying expenses, both above and below the line, through a transferable tax credit but subject to certain minimums. Pennsylvania's credit is between 25-30%, also with certain restrictions and requirements. In Connecticut, a qualified spend of over $1 million may also allow the production to secure 30% benefit on qualifying expenses.

Monetizing New York's credits for use in defraying production costs are still fraught with challenges if any of the members of the partnership or LLC are liable to New York State for taxes or other liabilities. For more on that visit:

The website for the New York State Film tax credit may be found here:

New York

April 29, 2020

USPTO Extends Certain Patent and Trademark Deadlines to June 1

April 28, 2020

In accordance with the temporary authority provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) signed by President Trump on March 27, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today further extended the time to file certain patent and trademark-related documents and to pay certain required fees, which otherwise would have been due between March 27 and May 31, to June 1, 2020. This is in addition to the prior extension the USPTO had announced on March 31, 2020.

"Innovation and entrepreneurship will play a key role in our fight against this pandemic, and in the upcoming recovery of our country," said Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. "Accordingly, the USPTO continues to assess measures to support the work of inventors and entrepreneurs during this crisis and beyond."

For details of the latest extension, read the official Patent and Trademark notices on our website. The USPTO will continue to evaluate the evolving situation around COVID-19 and the impact on the USPTO's operations and stakeholders.

The new notices supersede the previously posted:

"Notice of Waiver of Patent-Related Timing Deadlines under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act," dated March 31, 2020;
"Notice of Waiver of Trademark-Related Timing Deadlines under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act," dated March 31, 2020; and
"Relief Available to Patent and Trademark Applicants, Patentees and Trademark Owners Affected by the Coronavirus Outbreak," dated March 16, 2020.
The USPTO will also update its answers to the CARES Act Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in accordance with these notices.

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 or by phone at (202) 707-3000 or 1-877-476-0778 (toll-free).

For more information on COVID-19 generally, please visit,, and

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. (

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 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. (

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.

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.

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 by Friday, June 5, with the name and city of the colleague to be memorialized.

June 2, 2020

Court System Moves to Phase Two of In-Person Operations


The state court system announced today that courts spanning five upstate judicial districts will enter their second phase of a gradual return to in-person operations this week, coinciding with the second phase of New York's reopening.

Courts in the Fifth Judicial District (Syracuse and surrounding counties), Sixth Judicial District (Binghamton and surrounding counties) and Seventh Judicial District (Rochester and surrounding counties) will enter phase two on Wednesday, June 3.

On Friday, June 5, courts throughout the Eighth Judicial District (Buffalo and surrounding counties) and courts in most counties encompassing the Fourth Judicial District (northern New York) will also move to the second phase of gradual in-person operations.

As part of the second phase:

-Essential family matters will be conducted in-person and heard by the assigned judge.
-Criminal, juvenile delinquency and mental hygiene law proceedings pertaining to a hospitalized adult will be held virtually and heard by the assigned judge.
-Non-essential matters will continue to be held virtually and heard by the assigned judge.
-Mediation/alternate dispute resolution will be conducted virtually.
-Over the past two weeks, judges, chambers staff and support staff in courts in these judicial districts have all met the governor's safety benchmarks and have been returning to their courthouses.

Officials said the goal of the court system's second phase is to safely increase courthouse foot traffic in a gradual manner, so that the court can select matters that require an in-person appearance while continuing to maximize virtual appearances.

"As we progress toward fuller in-person court operations across the state, our foremost priority remains protecting the health and safety of all those who work in and visit our court facilities," said Chief Judge DiFiore.

Steps implemented during phase two to encourage physical distancing and reduce the number of people in any given room in courthouses include staggering case types, court calendars and courtroom use. Non-judicial staffing levels will increase minimally to support necessary administrative court functions as well as to provide support for the increase in foot traffic into the courthouse. Non-reporting court staff will continue to work virtually.

Measures from the first phase that will remain in place to protect the health and safety of judges and staff, attorneys, litigants and members of the public include:

-Non-employee court visitors will be required to undergo COVID-19 screening before entering the courthouse.
-Anyone entering the courthouse will be required to wear a mask.
-All staff who interact with court visitors must wear a mask.
-Courtroom and other areas will be carefully marked to ensure proper physical distancing.
-Court facilities will be regularly sanitized.
-Installation of acrylic barriers, hand sanitizer dispensers and other safety features.

The June session of the New York State Court of Appeals commenced today in Albany with six of the seven judges in attendance. Associate Judge Paul Feinman attended virtually. Attorneys argued two of the three cases virtually, with appearances on the third.

October 12, 2020

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:


Supreme Court Will Not Hear 'Stairway to Heaven' Copyright Case

The Supreme Court's decision not to hear the case leaves in place the appeals court ruling that Led Zeppelin did not copy part of a 1968 song by Spirit.

Broadway Will Remain Closed Through May 2021

Many Broadway theaters will stay shut at least through May of next year, with some not planning to reopen until next fall. The Broadway League, the trade organization representing producers and theater owners, said that it was suspending ticket sales through May 30th.

Rapper Tory Lanez Charged with Assault in Shooting

The rapper is accused of wounding Megan Thee Stallion by firing at her feet after an argument last summer.


Supreme Court Decides Not to Hear Case Involving Destroyed Mural

The decision cements a ruling that awarded 21 graffiti artists $6.75 million after a New York City developer painted over the murals at a Queens warehouse known as 5Pointz complex in 2013. The earlier ruling found that street art/graffiti was of sufficient stature to be protected by the law.

There's Not Much Work for Actors. Now Their Unions Are Fighting.

At issue is which union should represent theater performers and stage managers working on streamed performances. Actors' Equity Association, the labor union that represents theater actors and stage managers, is accusing SAG-AFTRA, the union representing those who work in film, TV, and radio, of encroaching on theaters "and undercutting its contracts by negotiating lower-paying deals with theaters for streaming productions." SAG-AFTRA contracts are also leaving out stage managers. SAG-AFTRA maintains that "work made for broadcast has always been its domain."

Mellon Foundation Launches $250 Million Initiative to Reimagine Monuments

The project will support the creation of new monuments and facilitate the relocation or "rethinking" of existing memorials and statues. The grant will include "a definitive audit of the existing commemorative landscape across the country" to see what percentage, for example, are dedicated to women.

Black Trustees Join Forces to Make Art Museums More Diverse

Black board members have formed an alliance to diversify art museums by recruiting more Black directors, artists, and curators whose perspective will better reflect the communities they serve.

Baltimore Museum of Art to Sell 3 Blue-Chip Paintings to Advance Equity

The museum is taking advantage of a temporary "loosening of deaccessing guidelines" that allow museums to sell art "from museum collections to fund the direct care of collections - not just the acquisition of other artworks." The museum expects to receive $65 million from the sale and use those funds for salary increases, diversity and inclusion programs, and to eliminate admission fees for special exhibitions.

New Museum Exacts Toll on Workers

Although critics acknowledge the success of its exhibitions, they say that the museum's ascent has come at the expense of those who work there. Former and current staff members complain of low pay, low morale, unhealthy work conditions, and of being asked to act unethically.

Finding a New Home for a Painful Past - The Jefferson Davis Statue in Kentucky

The relocation of a Jefferson Davis statue continues the debate of where to house monuments that honour the Confederacy. This specific statue was removed from the Kentucky State Capitol and is being stored in an undisclosed location. The plan to take the statue to Fairview, Kentucky raises question about how appropriate it is for towns to invest more taxpayer dollars in new museums to recontextualize these statues.

Report Asks Dutch To Return Nazi-Looted Artwork

The country's restitution efforts have come under scrutiny because its policies for returning looted art have become stricter. At issue for international critics is a policy that requires the panel that hear restitution cases "to balance the interests of national museums against the claims by Jewish survivors or their heirs;" in other words, the panel is asked to weigh "the significant of the work to public art collections against the emotional attachment of the claimant," which has already led to some requests being rejected because the artwork was important to the Dutch museum that housed it.


National Football League Adds New COVID-19 Protocols to Monitor Mask Wearing

The National Football League (NFL) introduced measures like video surveillance to monitor compliance with mask wearing policies in team facilities and while traveling. It is trying to prevent another outbreak by also limiting the number of free agent tryouts per week and placing bans on gatherings outside team facilities. In a memo sent to teams, the NFL said that protocol violations that result in virus spread "will result in additional financial and competitive discipline including the adjustment or loss of draft choice or even the forfeit of a game." Meanwhile, virus cases from the Patriots and Titans forced the NFL to once again reschedule games.

One Name the Women's National Basketball Association Won't Say

The article describes the social justice activities of Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) players, including their support for Senator Kelly Loeffler's political opponents. Loeffler is the co-owner of the Atlanta Dream. The players have denounced Loeffler's views but refuse to bring up the senator's name in their public pronouncements and social media, instead marshalling their resources in support of another candidate.

Chinese State TV to Air National Basketball Association Game for First Time Since Hong Kong Rift

China Central Television began by airing Friday's finals game and suggests a softening of tension between the National Basketball Association (NBA) and China, tensions that are said to have cost the NBA hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.


Supreme Court Hears Copyright Battle Between Google and Oracle

At issue is what elements of computer code can be copyrighted, and if that code is covered by copyright, when is it still legal to use pieces of it under fair use. Given the complexity of the issue, the Court relied on familiar analogies to understand the nature of the coding language Oracle acquired in 2010. Oracle sued Google after it reverse engineered Java and copied the "structure, sequence and organization" of software code when it was building its Android platform.

Judge Rules Apple Can Keep Fortnite Out of App Store

A federal judge ruled this week that Apple did not have to reinstate videogame Fortnite in its App Store, finding that Epic Games had violated its contract with Apple. Apple removed the app from its store after Epic started encouraging users to pay for it directly, rather than through Apple, as contractually required. The case will go to trial next May.

U.S. Appeals Injunction Against TikTok Ban

The federal government says that the preliminary injunction on its TikTok ban should be lifted because the Chinese-owned video app presents a security risk to American users. The earlier decision delayed TikTok from being banned in U.S. app stores.

House Lawmakers Condemn Big Tech's Monopoly Power, Urge Their Breakups

The report said companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook "needed to be checked and recommended they be restructured and that antitrust laws that reformed." The recommendations included giving antitrust agencies power to police market concentration and enacting rules that make it harder for companies to acquire start-ups.

Twitter Set to Change Basic Features Before Election

The changes are meant to fight election misinformation and will start on October 20th. They include the following: If users try to share content that Twitter flags as false, a notice will warn them that they are attempting to share inaccurate information; and it will not label posts about election results until the election has been officially called.

Harry and Meghan Settle with Paparazzi

As part of a settlement in an invasion-of-privacy case, Los Angeles-based celebrity news agency X17 has agreed to turn over photos of the couple's son and destroy any copies in its databases. X17 apologized and agreed to pay a portion of the family's legal fees and to never traffic in photos taken on private grounds.

Opinion: Google and Facebook Must Pay for Local Journalism

The president and chief executive of the News Media Alliance, a trade association representing about 2,000 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada, takes a position on whether Google should pay publishers for the news content shown in search results. Chavern says that if Congress follows France's lead and "passes the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, publishers would be allowed to negotiate rate with Google as a group." Alternatively, he says "publishers might finally be forced to undertake their own lengthy copyright litigation."

Facebook Increases Precautions Before Election

Facebook has widened its ban on political ads by announcing that it will prohibit political and issue-based advertising after November 3rd for an indefinite amount of time. Facebook will also remove groups or accounts that openly identity with QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy movement.

False G.O.P. Ad Prompts QAnon Death Threats Against Democratic Congressman

New Jersey Representative Tom Malinowski is facing death threats from QAnon supporters "after the House Republicans' campaign arm falsely accused him of lobbying to protect sexual predators." Malinowski led a bipartisan resolution condemning the movement, which spreads conspiracy theories.

American Apologizes for Bad Reviews of Thailand Hotel

The American was jailed for disparaging a Thailand hotel in an online review and has since had to apologize as part of a deal to avoid prosecution. The case laid bare the harsh impact of the country's defamation laws; a conviction can result in up to two years in prison.

General News

Supreme Court Starts Term with Case on Judges' Political Ties

The case involves provisions of Delaware's Constitution aimed at ensuring partisan balance on state courts. At issue is whether states can consider political affiliation when appointing judges in order to strike some ideological balance on their courts. Delaware is defending the provisions that were challenged by a registered independent, who said they violated the First Amendment. The state's lawyer argued that "political scientists ... use political party affiliations as proxies for philosophy and ideology" and that requiring judges to be affiliated with one of the two major parties in order to sit on state courts supports a bipartisan judiciary.

Supreme Court Revives Witness Requirement for South Carolina Absentee Ballots

Absentee ballots in South Carolina will now have to be accompanied by a witness's signature. The Court made an exception for ballots already cast, but reversed the lower courts and their finding that the requirement interfered with people's right to vote during a pandemic. In a concurring opinion, Justice Kavanaugh said that the Court was reluctant to accept changes to election procedures made close to Election Day, and that federal judges should not second guess state election laws.

Supreme Court Declines to Revive Restriction on Abortion Pill

The Supreme Court did not reinstate a federal requirement that women seeking medical abortions pick up the pills in person. Citing the pandemic, a federal judge had previously suspended the requirement, saying that a "needless trip to a medical facility during a health crisis very likely imposed an undue burden on the constitutional right to abortion." The Supreme Court instructed the trial judge to take a fresh look at the case and rule within 40 days.

Justices Thomas and Alito Question 2015 Same-Sex Marriage Precedent

In their opinion in a case about the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Justices Thomas and Alito raised concerns about the harm they perceived in the 2015 Obergefell v Hodges decision to religious freedom. In their view, the decision chose "to privilege a novel constitutional right over the religious liberty interests explicitly protected in the First Amendments, and by doing so undemocratically, the court has created a problem that only it can fix."

New Supreme Court Term Could End Roberts's Dominant Role

The possible addition of Judge Amy Coney Barrett would push the Supreme Court further right and eliminate Chief Justice Roberts' "ability to steer the Court toward moderation."

Harris Puts Pence on the Defensive as Virus Response Takes Center Stage at Debate

The vice president and Senator Kamala Harris exchanged sharp remarks over the administration's coronavirus response, which featured prominently as an issue at the debate. Harris denounced Trump's policies on the economy, health care, and the environment while Pence "hailed the 'V-shaped recovery' of the economy in defiance of the latest government data.

Kamala Harris and the 'Double Bind' of Racism and Sexism

Reactions to Harris' debate performance showed "not only the bias that women and people of color face, but the fact that for women of color, that bias is more than the sum of its parts."

President Trump Refuses Virtual Debate; Second Presidential Debate Cancelled

This is the first cancellation of a televised debate in seven decades. The president argued for an in-person debate after refusing a virtual format and saying that he would soon be cleared by his doctor to appear in public. Meanwhile, Biden plans to hold a televised town-hall gathering with voters on the night that was reserved for the debate.

Trump Administration Seeks to Limit Regulatory Powers Against Coal

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia heard arguments this week on whether the federal government has "the authority to set national restrictions on carbon emissions or force states to move away from coal-fired power." The outcome hinges on the interpretation of the Clean Air Act, with the administration arguing for a narrow interpretation to, in turn, "narrow the foundation of the federal government in doing any kind of regulation."

Trump Leans on Barr and Pompeo for a Campaign Jolt

Comments by Secretary of State Pompeo suggest that he intends to hand the president "a weapon to attack his political foes" by making Hillary Clinton's emails public. Attorney General Barr, on the other hand, has resisted pressure from the president to indict Democrats connected to the original investigation into Russian election interference and said he plans no major moves before the election.

Lifting Ban, Barr Pushes Inquiries Into Voter Fraud Before Election

In a memo to top prosecutors, "the department loosened a decades-long policy intended to keep law enforcement from affecting election results. The policy had prohibited prosecutors from making headline-grabbing charges of election fraud in the run-up to an election" so as not to "depress voter turnout or erode confidence in the results." The recent shift to deploy prosecutors to investigate voter fraud began in late August and will focus on noncitizens voting illegally and on mail carriers who discard ballots.

Absentee Voting from Democrats Far Outpaces 2016

Absentee voting in states like Wisconsin, Florida, and North Carolina is so far favoring Democrats, with 647,000 votes already cast. The number of returned ballots in five states is more than 20% of the entire 2016 turnout.

Director of National Intelligence Serving Trump's Political Agenda Despite Pledge to Stay Apolitical

Director John Ratcliffe has reportedly approved more declassifications of intelligence that undermines the Russia investigation. The director of the CIA opposed the move, saying the release of unverified material "could jeopardize spies' ability to gather intelligence and endanger their sources."

Trump Administration Ignores Ruling that His Acting Officials Are Serving Illegally

The acting head of the Bureau of Land Management continues to serve even after a federal judge ruled that he has been serving unlawfully for over 424 days. He is the third official the courts have found to be working in violation of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, which governs appointments of temporary officials. The case is an example of "the president's penchant for filling high-level jobs without Senate confirmation." In this case, there are concerns that William Perry Pendley's background has not properly been vetted, including his legal advocacy for extractive resource industries on public lands.

Administration Halted Release of Five Prisoners Cleared to Leave Guantanamo

In a reversal of Obama-era policies, the Trump administration has halted prisoner transfers to other countries. The State Department also dismantled the office that dealt with resettlement deals, where receiving countries would undertake to guard against the prisoners becoming security risks.

Manhattan District Attorney Can Obtain Trump's Tax Returns

A federal appeals panel ruled that the Manhattan District Attorney can enforce a subpoena seeking Trump's personal and corporate tax returns. In doing so, it rejected arguments by the president's lawyers that the subpoena was too broad and amounted to political harassment.

Trump's Taxes Trace Payments to Properties by Those Who Got Ahead

The article describes President Trump "earned millions as a gatekeeper to his own administration" and "transplanted favor-seeking in Washington to his family's hotels and resorts." The piece outlines how special interest groups and foreign governments patronized Trump's properties, providing a revenue stream for his real estate holdings, while reaping benefits from the administration.

Trump's Taxes Show He Generated a Windfall in 2016

Trump's tax records show $21 million in payments from a Las Vegas hotel that Trump owns with Phil Ruffin. The payments were routed through other Trump companies and paid out in cash to "self-fund" his presidential campaign, which was then short on funds. By that time, Deutsche Bank had turned down Trump's request for a loan to support his golf resort in Scotland, fearing "the money would instead be diverted to his campaign."

Justice Department Sues Yale, Citing Race Discrimination

Following a multiyear investigation, the Department of Justice takes issue with the school's admissions practices and has sued Yale for discriminating against white and Asian-American applicants after it found that they were one-eighth to one-fourth as likely to be admitted as African-American applicants with comparable academic credentials.

Health Coverage Among Children Fell for Third Straight Year

According to census data, "the share of children with health coverage in the U.S. fell for the third consecutive year in 2019," even "during a period of economic growth" that preceded the coronavirus job losses that cost more Americans their health insurance.

Nobel Prize in Chemistry Goes to Scientists for Work on Genome Editing

Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna developed the Crispr tool, which edits genes in animals, plants, and microorganisms. The technology has far-reaching applications in research seeking cures for genetic disorders.

Nobel Prize in Medicine Goes to Scientists Who Found Hepatitis C Virus

The three scientists were jointly honored for their discovery of the hepatitis C virus, which made possible blood tests and new medicines that can now cure a disease that impacts 71 million people worldwide.

United Nations World Food Program Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

The Nobel committee said the agency's work to address hunger during the pandemic "had laid the foundations for peace in nations ravaged by war." The program provided assistance to nearly 100 million people in 88 countries in the last year.

FBI Says Michigan Group Plotted to Kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Authorities announced terrorism, conspiracy, and weapons charges against 13 men, at least half of whom had hatched a plan to storm the state capitol and abduct Governor Witmer, who has become a target of anti-government groups angry over coronavirus control measures.

Heavy Traffic Crashes Florida's Voter Registration Site

The state extended its voter registration deadline given the delays many encountered with the online system. The site was experiencing more than one million requests per hour on Monday in anticipation of the midnight Monday deadline.

Texas Attorney General Accused by Top Aides of Abuse of Office

Members of Ken Paxton's staff say that "he should be investigated in connection with offenses including improper influence, abuse of office, bribery and other potential criminal acts" but did not elaborate on the substance of their allegations. Paxton was previously indicted on felony charges related to securities fraud.

New York City Council Expels Members

Andy King, a Democratic councilman from the Bronx, was voted out after an ethics probe. The Council's ethics committee found that the allegations against King, including harassment and discrimination, conflicts of interest and disorderly conduct, were substantiated.

Eric Trump Interviewed in New York Fraud Inquiry

The president's son was questioned under oath this week as part of the New York Attorney General's civil investigation into where Trump's real estate company committed fraud by inflating its assets to secure bank loans and tax benefits.

Top Trump Fund-Raiser Elliott Broidy Charged in Lobbying Case

Broidy is accused of conspiring to violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Prosecutors say he attempted to use his political ties to help Malaysian and Chinese interests in the federal investigation of Malaysian fund 1MDB.

Agencies Concede Poor Planning in California Blackouts

The state's three central energy organizations said the rolling blackouts ordered during a heat wave this summer - the first in two decades - were partly attributable to poor planning that, combined with increased demand, led to a reduced power supply. Officials also failed to properly forecast demand immediately before the blackouts and did not buy enough power.

Rochester Case Puts Focus on Police Failures with Mental Health

The methods used by the officers in Daniel Prude's case did little to defuse the situation and have brought renewed focus on police training - and whether resources should be diverted from the police to mental health professionals who can better help in these encounters.

Armenia and Azerbaijan Agree to Ceasefire on Humanitarian Grounds in Nagorno-Karabakh

The deal was brokered by Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, and allows for the exchange of war prisoners and the collection of bodies from the battlefield. The conflict between the two sides escalated in recent weeks in Nagorno-Karabakh, which is an ethnic Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan.

World's Top Experts Affirm That Putin's Rival Was Poisoned

The organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons supported the position of European countries that a form of Novichok was used to poison Navalny.

E.U. Court Rules Against Hungary's Law Targeting Soros-Funded Schools

The ruling requires Hungary to change or repeal the law that effectively expelled an American university founded by George Soros from the country. The European Court of Justice said the law does not meet the requirements of academic freedom. Hungary can face fines for non-compliance.

Germany Documents Extremism in Forces

A report by the country's intelligence agency identified more than 1,400 instances in which members of the armed forces, "police offices and intelligence officials were suspected of extremist actions," which included joining far-right chat groups and sharing neo-Nazi propaganda. QAnon is also gaining momentum in Germany, where U.S. conspiracy theories are animating the country's far-right fringe.

Greek Neo-Fascist Party Guilty Found to Be a Criminal Organization

The country's far-right party, Golden Dawn, has been found guilty of running a criminal organization after it was tied to a string of deadly attacks.


2020 Had the Warmest September on Record

European scientists say that worldwide, last month was the warmest September on record, second only to 2019. Arctic sea ice reached its second-lowest levels ever recorded due to record high temperatures.

Hotter Days Widen Racial Gap in U.S. Schools

Lack of air conditioning in schools has led to worse test scores for Black and Hispanic children during heat waves. In finding this link between heat exposure and reduced learning, researchers say the detrimental impact of climate change will disproportionately affect people of color.

Hurricane Delta Makes Landfall in Louisiana

It was the 10th hurricane to hit the U.S. this year and came so soon after Hurricane Laura hit the Louisiana coast. Storm surge warnings remain in effect.

Wolverines Denied Federal Protection

The federal government said it had decided against protecting wolverines because populations were stable, adding that "its own earlier concerns about the effects of global warming on the species had been overstated."

New England's Ailing Forests

Arborists say they are spending more time taking down dead or unhealthy trees and are incorporating climate change into their decisions
because the phenomenon is taking a toll on woodlands in the Northeast. Many species are being threatened by disease and felled by storms, at a time when there is a shortage of arborists to address the growing issue.

The Benefits of Being Outdoors

The article discusses the mental health benefits of going on "awe walks," where people take a fresh look at the objects and vistas that surround them.

Prince William Launches Environmental Prize

The Earthshot Prize is worth $65 million. The goal is to select 50 projects over the next 10 years to reward innovative solutions that address
climate change and other environmental issues.

Coronavirus Update

White House Blocks, Then Approves, New Coronavirus Vaccine Guidelines

The Food and Drug Administration "proposed stricter guidelines for emergency approval of a coronavirus virus." The requirements "call for gathering comprehensive safety data in the final stage of clinical trials before an emergency authorization can be granted." The White House first objected to the provisions, since they would effectively guarantee that no vaccine could be authorized before Election Day, but reversed course and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released them on Tuesday.

Vaccine Trials Struggle to Find Black Volunteers

Reports from Pittsburgh show the deep mistrust that African American communities have of vaccines. So far, only about 3% of the people who have signed up nationally are Black.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Says That Coronavirus Can Linger Indoors

In new advice posted to its website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledges airborne transmission and says the virus can spread beyond six feet indoors by both large and small droplets released when people cough, sneeze, sing, talk or breathe.

Hundreds of Thousands of Women Drop Out of the Workforce

The article examines the ways pandemic has caused hundreds of thousands of women to leave the job market. Families "buckling under the caregiving burden" have had the lower wage earner, who is usually the woman, leave the workforce to care for children in the face of school and child care center closures.

Trump Suggests Gold Star Families May Be to Blame for His Infection

After testing positive for the coronavirus, the president suggested that family members of fallen military veterans may have been responsible for the transmission because they "come within an inch of my face sometimes."

Under Pence, Politics Regularly Seeped into Coronavirus Response

The article recounts exchanges between Vice President Pence and staffers showing that political considerations seeped into the administration's decisions about how to respond to the coronavirus. "Science-based projections were sometimes de-emphasized for rosier predictions" and the taskforce was "bent on carrying out the president's agenda."

CDC's Order for Masks on Transit Was Blocked

The White House blocked the CDC from mandating masks on public transit. The order was drafted last month and would have required "all passengers and employees to wear masks on all forms of public and commercial transit in the United States." The White House Coronavirus Task Force declined to discuss the draft order, saying that the decision to require masks should be left up to states and local authorities.

CDC Director Faces Pressure to Speak Out

Former director of the CDC and renowned epidemiologist William Foege is calling on CDC director Robert Redfield to expose the failed U.S. response to the coronavirus. He called for this action in a private letter, saying that speaking up at this point would ensure there would be a record of the administration's failures that could not be dismissed.

How the White House Flouted Basic Coronavirus Rules

The article reports on White House practices that precipitated an outbreak and led to more than 20 people becoming infected. The article touches on the reliance on rapid tests alone, non-compliance with mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines, violation of local restrictions on gatherings, lack of contact tracing and failure to quarantine or isolate on the part of those working in the White House.

White House Plans Week Full of Events with Potential Risks

A week after his hospitalization, President Trump is planning to hold rallies again. Following a gathering of conservative activists on the South Lawn, whom Trump addressed from the White House balcony, he is next expected to fly to Florida, Pennsylvania, and Iowa for rallies. Attendees will still be asked to sign a waiver but will be required to wear a mask and submit to temperature checks.

President Trump Projects Strength While Physicians Disclose Alarming Episodes

Despite the president's account that his condition was never serious and has since improved, troubling facts have emerged after his doctors acknowledged two alarming episodes not previously disclosed. His doctors said the president's blood oxygen level dropped twice in the two days post-diagnosis, and that he had been put on steroids.

Meanwhile, most of the joint chiefs are under quarantine due to exposure, but military officials said "all of the service chiefs had full operational capability from where they were working ... [and] their quarantine would not mean any degradation to the country's national defense."

Trump is Undermining Public Health Messages with His Comments

Experts were outraged by the president's comments urging Americans not to be afraid of COVID and not to let it dominate their lives, saying the message was irresponsible and encouraged his followers to ignore basic recommendations. Despite the president's illness, many of his supporters still scoff at masks and other safety measures as the president continues to downplay the risk and called contracting the virus "a blessing from God."

Safety Concerns for the Secret Service

As a willingness to say "yes" to the president is central to the job, questions are being asked about the extent to which that guiding principle will subject secret service agents' health "to the whims of a contagious president." Medical experts were particularly critical of Trump's actions last week when he took a ride on a hermetically sealed vehicle with two Secret Service agents present in personal protective equipment.

Attorney General Barr Plans to Return to Work After Negative Tests

Barr is considered an essential worker exempt from guidelines requiring 14-day quarantine following exposure. Barr was present at the White House event linked to the outbreak but has tested negative several times.

Experts Say Plexiglass Barriers Won't Stop Virus at the Debate

Public health experts said plexiglass barriers installed for the vice-presidential debate will not prevent airborne transmission. The barriers might have made a difference if they were not seated more than 12 feet apart, but they don't protect against aerosols that can carry the virus indoors. Vice-president Pence's team initially objected to the measure but later accepted its use.

Judge Upholds New York's Restrictions on Gatherings in Houses of Worship

After an emergency hearing, a federal judge declined to temporarily block an executive order restricting gatherings at synagogues and other houses of worship, "finding that the rules did not violate the free exercise of religion for Orthodox Jews," even though she sympathized with the order's impact on the Orthodox Jewish community.

Man Charged in Death of Bar Patron Following Mask Wearing

An 80-year old man was killed after asking a bar patron to wear mask near Buffalo, New York. Following a physical altercation with the patron, the man was pushed to the ground and later died. A 65-year-old man of West Seneca, New York, was arrested and charged with criminally negligent homicide.

Signs Suggest Second Wave for Northeast

Several states in the Northeast are seeing new clusters of the coronavirus, prompting authorities to tighten or put in place restrictions to avoid the upward trend in cases from turning into a second wave.

Trump Raises Stimulus Offer to $1.8 Trillion; Senate Republicans Denounce Offer

After negotiations failed earlier in the week, the president proposed a plan that was nearly double the original offer last put forward by the administration. Trump had called off talks earlier in the week, hours after the Federal Reserve chair "warned that the pace of the economic recovery would" be slower that initially expected and called for economic support. Many thought the move signalled growing concerns among vulnerable Senate Republicans facing re-election that voters will blame the party for failing to deliver aid, but Senate Republicans balked "at what they called an exorbitantly costly plan" that "would amount to a death knell for the party's ambitions to retain its majority in the Senate."

Lenders Wait for Guidance on Loan Forgiveness

Business owners who received loans through the Paycheck Protection Program are waiting for information on how to apply for loan forgiveness as many lenders have yet to start accepting applications. There is also the possibility that "Congress will pass a proposal to automatically forgive debt of less than $150,000, the bulk of the loans made under the program."

As Coronavirus Invades West Wing, White House Reporters Face Higher Risks

At least three White House correspondents have tested positive for the coronavirus, as has the press secretary and two of her deputies. The reporters have taken it upon themselves to create makeshift signs about mask-wearing in the absence of White House protocols for the press corps. BuzzFeed recently pulled its reporter, citing "concerns about working indoors during an outbreak."

Families of Workers Who Died of COVID-19 Following Meat Plant Outbreak Fight for Compensation

The families of employees at a Colorado meat-processing plant are seeking compensation after the workers fell ill or died of COVID-19. So far, JBS has denied "compensation claims on the grounds that the illnesses were not necessarily work related," while also relying on the fact that it is difficult to trace exactly where the individuals became infected.

Clinical Trials Hit by Ransomware Attack on Health Tech Firm

Philadelphia company eResearch Technology, whose software is used in clinical trials, was hit by a ransomware attack that slowed some of these trials because employees were locked out of the data. An earlier ransomware attack also impacted a major hospital chain (Universal Health Services) in the U.S.

Nearly One-Third of COVID Patients in Study Had Altered Mental State

A Chicago-area study of 509 hospitalized patients showed they had "signs of deteriorating neurological function, ranging from confusion to coma-like unresponsiveness." These patients stayed in hospital three times as long, and of those discharged, only 32% could handle routine daily activities.

Pandemic Has Hindered Best Practices for Reducing Violence

While reported crime has declined this year, shootings and homicides are up around the country. The reason for these counterintuitive results might be the pandemic and the fact that it has upended many of the programs devised to reduce gun violence, like group behavioral therapy, social services, and job training, that have either moved online or were cancelled.

New Zealand Emerges from Lockdown with Zero Cases

After a second round of strict lockdown, New Zealand has stamped out the virus once again, but experts caution that the country's small population and isolation means that it has more favorable conditions to manage the disease.

November 9, 2020

Week In Review

By Angela Peco
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Joe Biden Elected As the 46th President of the United States

After four tense days of vote-counting, Biden crossed 270 Electoral College votes with his win in Pennsylvania on Saturday. He also carried Arizona, Wisconsin, and Michigan on his path to the presidency. It was Biden's "third bid for the White House, becoming the oldest person elected president." While election day and early voting turnout rose sharply (early votes neared 100 million), the demographic breakdown of those who voted is not yet clear.

In his first address as president-elect, Biden referenced the geographical and demographic diversity of the coalition that helped elect him and pledged to govern for all Americans.

Kamala Harris Makes History as First Woman and Woman of Color as Vice President-Elect

Kamala Harris is the first women, first Black person, and first person of Asian descent elected to America's second-highest office. The article traces Harris' rise, discussing her upbringing, high school years in Montreal, legal career, and political rise over the last 10 years.

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


Right to Create TV Series Based on "Breakfast at Tiffany's" Subject of Tense Legal Battle

According to a complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, author Truman Capote's estate entered into an agreement with Paramount Pictures in 1991 to let the studio option a new project based on his book. If the studio did not act within a certain time, the right would revert to the estate's trustee. The trustee takes the position that the rights reverted based on old copyright law, because the author died during the initial 28-year terms and the right to renew copyright passed to statutory heirs. Paramount contests.

Johnny Depp Loses Defamation Suit Over "Wife Beater" Story

In dismissing the case against a British newspaper, the judge said News Group Newspapers had shown what they published about incidents between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard was "substantially true."

The Afterlife of Discarded CDs

The article explains the CD recycling process, as CDs are ground into a powdery material that takes a million years to decompose in a landfill. The raw material is often used to mold building materials and items for cars, but sales of the material to China plummeted after the country restricted imports of most plastic.


New Jersey Voters Approve New Tax to Finance the Arts

Sixty-four percent of voters in New Jersey approved a new arts tax in a nonbinding referendum. The new dedicated revenue stream will benefit the arts and is similar to taxes created in St. Louis and in three Michigan counties. The new tax would likely charge residents half a cent per $100 of assessed property value; renters are exempt.

Publishers Move to Make Books, and the Publishing Industry, More Diverse

Publishers across the industry have stepped up diversity efforts by making senior-level hires, acquiring books from diverse writers depicting more diverse stories, or "launching diversity-minded imprints".

Dispute Over Pissarro's "Shepherdess" Back in Court

The painting was looted by Nazis and belongs to a Paris-based woman who shares it with an Oklahoma museum. Leone Meyer wants to now revisit the 2016 settlement that has the painting returning to America every three years and is seeking permanent ownership of the painting without any rotation. Meyer ran into issues finding a French institution who would assume the cost and risk of transporting the painting to and from the U.S., meaning the painting would remain in the U.S. indefinitely.

Art World Steps Back from Iranian Painter Aydin Aghdashloo Amid Allegations

Aghdashloo "has been accused by at least 13 women of sexual misconduct" and the art world is responding. A petition in Canada calls for an art festival to cut ties with him. Iran recently cancelled an exhibit and Tehran Auction is considering withdrawing two of his paintings. He has denied any wrongdoing.


Supreme Court Denies National Football League, DirecTV Appeal to Dismiss Antitrust Lawsuits

The Court declined to review an appellate court decision allowing an antitrust case against the National Football League (NFL) to go forward. The lawsuit was launched by bars, restaurants, and similar establishments and "challenges how teams currently pool telecast rights and collectively negotiate a licensing package for out-of-market games." The plaintiffs take issue with DirecTV's "Sunday Ticket" prices, which they say are exorbitant and the result of alleged collusion among the NFL's 32 teams.

National Basketball Association to Start New Season on December 22nd

The players' union took a formal vote of the team player representatives, agreeing to a reduced 72-game schedule, with a potential salary escrow for players in the range of 18% for the next two years.

National Basketball Association Store Landlord Asking Judge to Rule on the Case Without Jury Trial

Landlord Joe Moinian claims that the NBA continues to use the store for storage and other purposes and chooses not to open it, even though it is permitted to do so at 50% capacity.

Warriors Take Oracle Arena Debt Battle to State Supreme Court

At issue is the team's outstanding debt on the 1996 renovation of the Oakland Arena. The Warriors are appealing a state appeals court decision that reaffirmed that it owes about $47 million in principal and interest to the Coliseum Authority.

NFL Fines, Strips Raiders of Draft Pick; Penalizes Steelers for Coronavirus Violations

The NFL has fined the Las Vegas Raiders $500,000 and stripped the Raiders of a sixth-round draft choice for violations of the NFL's coronavirus protocols. The team reportedly included a failure on the part of a player to wear a tracking device within team facilities, as well as impermissible gatherings without masks in a team facility. Both the team's head coach and players had been previously fined for other violations. Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was also fined $100,000 and the team $250,000 for violating mask-wearing protocols while on the sidelines during a game against Baltimore.

Changing a Toxic Culture in Gymnastics, One Complaint at a Time

Gymnasts are coming forward with allegations of misconduct against coaches, seeking to expose what they say is a toxic culture in the sport. The article discusses gymnast Hailee Hoffman's complaint against coach Mary Wright.

World Anti-Doping Agency Agrees to Pay Footballer Mamadou Sakho' Substantial Damages

The settlement ends a long-running dispute between the French soccer player and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), with WADA apologizing for defamatory allegations and saying it accepted that he "did not breach the UEFA anti-doping regulations, did not cheat, had no intention of gaining any advantage, and acted in good faith." Sakho was provisionally suspended in 2016 after testing positive for higenamine, which was in a dietary supplement he was taking.


Why Networks Held Back on Early Calls in Battleground States

Major news networks exercised restraint and waited days to make a projection, finally making the call for Biden on Saturday. Fox News and The Associated Press both made early projects that Biden had won Arizona and were both criticized for it. They were the last two to project a Biden win on Saturday. CNN was the first to call it after additional vote tallies came in from Philadelphia. The Associated Press relied on the work of 4,000 local reporters who collected vote counts from county clerks across the country to determine the outcome.

It's the End of an Era for the Media

Ben Smith of The New York Times takes the position that Trump's "riveting show allowed much of the television news business to put reckoning with the technological shifts" of our time. Among other factors, a wave of retirements will also bring about a leadership shift that could see new executives assert final editorial control or pull newsrooms in new directions.

New York Post Turns Tougher on Trump

Top editors at the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid are taking a more critical stance toward Trump. There is also expected to be a leadership turnover, with adviser (and former editor in chief) Col Allan a retiring next year.

Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube Try to Thwart Election Interference and Misinformation

The companies spent billions of dollars improving their sites' security, policies, and processes to fight misinformation and other harmful content before and after the election.

"Stop the Steal" Facebook Group is Taken Down

It was one of the fastest growing groups on Facebook, calling into question the legitimacy of the election by claiming the ballot count was being manipulated to favor Biden. Facebook shut down the group for trying to incite violence.

General News

President Trump Says That He Will Contest the Outcome of the Election in Court

In a statement released on Saturday, the president refused to acknowledge President-Elect Biden as the winner and continued to advance allegations of voter fraud. He referenced the prospect of mandatory recounts in the highly contested states and has already filed several lawsuits alleging wrongdoing in various battleground states.

Two Georgia Senate Races Go to Runoff Elections

To sets of candidates are headed to runoff elections in January after they fell short of a majority, which is the criteria for winning in the state of Georgia. If no candidates gets over 50% of the vote, the top two vote-getters face off in a runoff election. The outcome of
these races will likely determine which party has control of the Senate.

Democrats' Post-Election "Family Meeting" Descends into Chaos

According to reports of a caucus-wide conference call following the election, "moderate House Democrats lashed out at their liberal colleagues ... for advancing an agenda that, the centrists said, cost the party a number of seats" in the election. Members of the Progressive Caucus pushed back on that narrative, attributing their positions to a reenergized base. As of Thursday, Democrats had "failed to flip a single seat held by a Republican incumbent," an outcome that defied most polls and forecasts.

Man Who Led G.O.P. Through 2020 Recount Says Finish 2020 Count

James Baker, the former secretary of state who led the Republican team in the 2020 Florida recount said publicly that he was opposed to the White House's efforts to halt the tabulation of ballots.

Court Mulls if Life Term is Justified for Juveniles

At issue is whether the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment requires judges to find that a juvenile offender is "permanently incorrigible" before sentencing them to life without the possibility of parole. The case concerns a 15-year-old who stabbed his grandfather to death in 2004. The court has previously ruled that automatic life sentences for juvenile offenders violated the Eighth Amendment.

Justice Barrett Hears Her First Supreme Court Argument

Justice Barrett's first case "concerned efforts by the Sierra Club ... to obtain documents about harm to endangered species," with the federal government resisting those efforts and saying that the records were protected by an exemption to the Freedom of Information Act, which shields "documents that would disclose deliberations before final decisions." The Justice questioned government lawyers about the government avoiding Freedom Of Information Act obligations by characterizing documents as "draft". Justice Barrett is being assisted by four new law clerks, three of whom had earlier Supreme Court clerkships. Justice Ginsburg's clerks have been assigned to work for three other justices.

Court Weighs the Legacy of Same-Sex Marriage with a Philadelphia Case

At issue is whether a city may exclude a Catholic social services agency from its foster care system because the agency refuses to screen same-sex couples as potential foster parents. In telephonic hearings, the lawyer for the agency said that it wants to continue its work and that no gay couple had ever applied to the agency, and that if one does, it would be referred to a different agency.

When asked whether the situation could be analogized to an agency refusing to certify interracial couples as foster families, the agency replied that the government had a particularly compelling interest in eradicating racial discrimination, seeming to suggest that discrimination based on sexual orientation did not attract the same interest.

U.S. Expels Children from Other Countries to Mexico

The U.S. has begun sending children from Central America to Mexico, despite the children having no family connections there. The expulsions violate a diplomatic agreement with Mexico and are part of an aggressive border closure policy that the Trump administration says is necessary to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. Mexico had agreed to an arrangement where either Mexican children or children under adult supervision could be expelled into Mexico.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Remain Independent Contractors in California

California voters passed Proposition 22 in the most expensive ballot-measure campaign in state history. Under Prop. 22, gig workers are exempted from state labor laws, including obligations around minimum wages, unemployment benefits, and health insurance. Prior to the vote, a court ruling required companies like Uber and Lyft to change how they classified employees and required them to comply with Assembly Bill 5.

QAnon Supporter Headed to Congress

Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia won a House seat in the election. She previously voiced support for QAnon and its pro-Trump conspiracy theories, signaling that conspiracy theories have gained a new foothold in the party.

U.S. Is Officially Out of Paris Climate Accord; Other Countries Pressing Ahead

The U.S. announced its intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement in 2017 but the earliest it could file paperwork to begin the withdrawal process was November 2019. A year later, the U.S. formally withdrew from the non-binding agreement that Trump called a job-killer that would "punish the American people while enriching foreign polluters." Signatories to the agreement have announced climate action targets, including commitments from Britain, the E.U., Japan and South Korea to "aim to neutralize their own emissions of planet-warming gases by 2050."

Study Urges Reduction of Greenhouse Gases in Food Production

Research published in the journal Science says that rising greenhouse gas emissions from food production will make it difficult to limit global warming to the targets set in the Paris accord. Global emissions from food production make up about 30% of our carbon output.

Police Chat Board Yields Clues of Racism by Ranking Official

A New York Police Department's anti-harassment official was relieved of his command in the Equal Employment Opportunity Division after investigators found that he was posting racist messages on an online chat board called the Rant. Deputy Inspector James Kobel denied being the one posting under the name "Clouseau". He has been placed on modified assignment pending completion of the inquiry.

Officers in George Floyd Case to Be Tried Together

A judge in Minneapolis denied the former officers' change of venue request, ruling that the trial would remain in the Minneapolis and all four defendants will stand trial together. Judge Cahill of Hennepin County also ruled that due to social gathering restrictions and the interest in the case, the trial will be broadcast next spring. He left open the possibility of a change of venue if the court is unable to seat a jury untainted by the publicity in the case.

Steve Bannon Loses Lawyer After Suggesting Beheading of Fauci

William Burck has dropped Steve Bannon as his client. Bannon faces fraud charges in federal court in Manhattan. In a recent video posted to Twitter, Bannon called for the beheading Dr. Fauci and FBI Director Wray.

Moratorium Bars Insurers from Ending Fire Policies

California has barred insurers from dropping policies in wildfire areas. This is a one-year freeze that applies to about one-fifth of the state's residential insurance market (approximately 2.1 million households).

$26 Billion Settlement Offer in Opioid Lawsuits Gains Support from State Governments

The offer would settle thousands of lawsuits against three major drug distributors and one drug manufacturer over their roles in the opioid epidemic. The money is intended to help states pay for treatment and prevention programs.

The Unhealthy Kidfluence on Children

A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics analyzed the impact of YouTube videos featuring kid influencers who review toys and games, finding that 90% of foods featured were unhealthy items, causing concerns among public health experts monitoring youth obesity rates.

Gamblers Outside the U.S. Took Presidential Odds

While betting on the election is illegal in the U.S., internationally, gamblers wagered on Biden.

Stunning No-Confidence Vote for Alzheimer's Drug

A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel declined to endorse the new Alzheimer's treatment made by Biogen (the drug's name is aducanumab). The panel said that it lacked sufficient "evidence of its effectiveness in slowing cognitive decline". While its nonbinding vote does not mean the FDA won't approve the drug, it does signal there is still skepticism and concerns about the consistency of evidence.

Crispr Gene Editing Can Mar Embryo Codes

A study has found that the gene editing tool can cause unwanted changes in human embryos, including prompting cells to lose entire chromosomes, instead of repairing genetic mutations. The paper says that it is too soon to apply Crispr to reproductive genetics because of these unintended consequences.

Foreign Leaders Congratulate Biden and Harris

Leaders across the world congratulated Joe Biden on his electoral win, with many expressing a sense of relief at the return of more "traditional habits and methods of American power abroad."

Poland Delays Implementation of Widened Ban on Abortion

Following two weeks of protests, Poland's government announced it will delay implementation of an October court ruling that abortions due to fetal abnormalities violated the constitution.

Ivory Coast President Wins Unconstitutional Third Term

Defying constitutional term limits, Alassane Ouattara is one of a few African nation incumbents to bend the rules to stay in power. The opposition boycotted the election.

Coronavirus Update

U.S. Surpasses 100,000 Cases in One Day

Five states set single-day case records last week, while 23 others recorded more cases than any other seven-day stretch.

Trump's Chief of Staff and Six Aides Test Positive for Coronavirus

A slew of positive tests, including Mark Meadows, aides and a Trump campaign adviser, is raising fears of another outbreak at the White House.

Coronavirus Rapid Testing Falters in the Asymptomatic

A new study at the University of Arizona found that a particular rapid test detected a lower percentage of positive cases than those identified by the slower, lab-based PCR test.

Pregnant Women Face Increased Risks from COVID-19

U.S. health officials "added pregnancy to the list of conditions that put people with COVID-19 at increased risk of developing severe illness" after findings that symptomatic pregnant women "were more likely to develop complications and die than nonpregnant women with symptoms."

New Jersey Inmates Released to Reduce Spread of COVID

Over 2,000 inmates were released in New Jersey, accounting for the largest single-day reduction of any state's prison population. The individuals released were within a year of completing their sentences for crimes other than murder and sexual assault.

Student Reporters Expose Clusters at Colleges

Student newspapers are reporting on university outbreaks, which have become a significant contributor to rising infection numbers. The reports are often at odds with official statements from university officials.

In Pandemic, Rich Nations Have Failed the Poorest

A report from the Group of 30, a gathering of international economists, says that "the wealthiest nations have been cushioned by extraordinary surges of credit unleashed by central banks and government spending collectively estimated at more than $8 trillions" when "developing countries have yet to receive help on such a scale" from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

European Allies Worry About Exposure to Coronavirus from U.S. Diplomat

European diplomats worry that they may have been exposed to the coronavirus after a State Department official tested positive after his trip to Europe, when he held in-person meetings with British officials.

November 15, 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, General News, and Coronavirus:


Second Circuit Dismisses Action Related to NBC's 'Rosemary's Baby'

The Second Circuit has affirmed the district court's grant of defendant's 12(b)(6) motion, finding that NBC's "Rosemary's Baby" miniseries was not substantially similar to the plaintiff's short stories.

The decision:Montgomery v Holland.pdf

Britney Spears' Father Remains in Control of Conservatorship, for Now

A lawyer for Britney Spears said at a hearing on Tuesday that the star is "afraid of her father and would not perform while he was in charge of her career." The hearing took place in the context of her father's conservatorship, and the judge has refused "to immediately remove the singer's father as the head of her estate, despite her lawyer's claim that she could not work with him in charge."

King Von, Chicago Rapper, Shot and Killed in Atlanta

The "emerging Chicago rapper King Von" was killed in Atlanta on Friday morning "during an altercation that involved both on- and off-duty police officers who were attempting to break up a fight." In all, six people at the scene were injured in the shootings.

Johnny Depp Leaves 'Fantastic Beasts' Franchise at Studio's Request

Days after Johnny Depp "lost a libel case against the publisher of a British newspaper that called him a 'wife beater,'" Warner Bros. and Depp have parted ways related to the Fantastic Beasts franchise. He had filled the role in the series of Gellert Grindelwald, and a spokesman for the studio confirmed that Depp was leaving the franchise and that the role would be recast for the third film in the series, which is set for release in 2022.

'Survivor' and Other Reality Shows Will Feature More Diverse Casts, CBS Says

More diverse casts will greet viewers of the CBS reality shows pursuant to CBS's "initiative that will also target development budgets and writing rooms, the network announced on Monday." Starting with the 2021-22 season, "at least half of the cast members of its unscripted programs will be people of color, the network said in a statement."


Nick Cave's Truth May Be Writ Large, but Is It a Sign?

In the village of Kinderhook, New York, many are not pleased with the work by Nick Cave, which consists of black vinyl writing across "a branch of Manhattan's Jack Shainman Gallery," and that writing states, "Truth be told." The village of Kinderhook has called for removal of the writing alleging that it violates local code, but the gallery has argued that it is allowed under "the special use permit" that it received in 2014 when it opened.

Irvin Mayfield Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy in New Orleans Fraud Case

Irvin Mayfield, "the trumpeter and a partner had been accused of diverting library funds to a jazz orchestra they ran, and to themselves," and now, he has pleaded guilty to conspiracy in relation to the scene. The "yearslong scheme" had "redirected over $1.3 million from the New Orleans Public Library Foundation into the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra" and into Mayfield and his partner's pockets.

Thieves Grab Nazi Memorabilia in Museum Heists

At war museums in Denmark and the Netherlands, heists have taken place with "rare uniforms and other items" being stolen. In the Netherlands, at the Eyewitness War Museum, potentially a total of a dozen people "battered down the museum's front door, broke display cabinets and took what they'd come for: nine mannequins wearing rare Nazi uniforms", including one "worn by Hitler's personal chef, and another by a high-ranking member of the S.S."

Rome Tracks Down the Man Behind All That Graffiti. No, It's Not Banksy

Rome has been long searching for the identity of a graffiti artist known as Geco, as his "blocky letters" have marked "subway stations and bridges, abandoned buildings and schools, parks, and galleries." The city has announced that it has tracked down the real identity of the tagger but has not released any information about his identity.


Louisiana State University Players' Accusations of Police Assault Prompt Investigation

On Twitter, a football player at Louisiana State University (LSU), Koy Moore, posted that police officers had "violated" him "numerous times", which has led the Baton Rouge Police Department "to place three officers on paid leave amid an investigation." Moore has alleged that officers "accused him of having a weapon and drugs, leading them to take out their guns and go 'as far as trying to unzip my pants in search of a weapon that I repeatedly told them I did not have.'"

Saying He Was a 'Scapegoat,' Jeff Luhnow Sues the Astros

The Houston Astros' former general manager, Jeff Luhnow, has filed a $22 million action against the team claiming that was the amount he was owed under the remainder of his contract and that the basis for his firing, a "flawed report that had been negotiated with Crane," was not valid. His lawyers have alleged that the Astros made Luhnow "the scapegoat for the organization while the players and video-room staff who devised and executed the schemes went unpunished."

Partial Owners of Washington's National Football League Team Seek Path in Court to Sell Their Stake

In a federal action, "three limited partners" of the Washington National Football League team have tried "to block the sale of their combined 40 percent stake for $900 million." Generally, these types of ownership disputes are left to an arbitration forum, but the minority shareholders, by filing this action "are signaling the depth of the discord with the majority owner, Daniel Snyder."

Miami Marlins Hire Kim Ng, Breaking a Baseball Gender Barrier

After 30 years in baseball, Kim Ng brok a gender barrier: the Miami Marlins hired her to be the team's manager. She has twice been an assistant general manager, and worked her way up from an intern with the Chicago White Sox to senior positions with the Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, and then served as Major League Baseball's senior vice president of baseball operations.

How Trump Lost Sports as a Political Strategy

President Trump had long been vocal about how athletes should behave with relation to the national anthem, but as the summer faded and fall came, it was clear that Trump's tone had not matched those in the Midwest. Many analysts have said that "football was the ultimate purple sport", in that it had viewers that were both Democrats and Republicans and that Trump's initial success in dividing people on the issue ended up becoming a failure as the election results came in.


Netflix Files Copyright Claims Against Tweets Criticizing Movie Trailer

Netflix sent "dozens of takedown requests to Twitter targeting specific posts that criticize" its new movie, "Cuties", a French film released on Netflix in September. The tweets are still live, but the videos attached to the posts "now display messages reading, 'This media has been disabled in response to a report by the copyright owner.'"

Fact-Checked on Facebook and Twitter, Conservatives Switch Their Apps

Many conservatives since the election have migrated to a lesser known social media platform, Parler, which has shown itself to be less interested in rooting out misinformation. Twitter has said that it labeled 0.2% of all election-related tweets as "disputed," and the release of that information is unusual: Twitter is the first major platform to "publicly evaluate its performance during the 2020 election," and Facebook and Google continue to receive criticism for their efforts at battling misinformation during the campaign.

Amazon Charged With Antitrust Violations by European Regulators

A European Commission vice president, Margrethe Vestager, said that Amazon "was unfairly using data to box out smaller competitors" in Europe in violation of antitrust laws. Regulators alleged that Amazon harvested "nonpublic data from sellers who use its marketplace to spot popular products, then copy and sell them, often at a lower price," which distorted competition. This is the latest regulatory push against big technology companies, and Europe again showed that its governments were willing to take action against big tech companies to date.

The Trump Administration Gave TikTok More Time to Reach a Deal

The Trump administration has extended TikTok's owner's time to reach a deal to sell the app "after demanding that it divest its interests in the social media service over national security concerns." The extension leaves the possibility of a deal to be unknown, but ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, has offered to sell shares to Oracle and Walmart.

No Unlawful Pay Discrimination at the BBC? A Finding Is Quickly Disputed

An equal rights commission in England "found no evidence of illegal pay practices" at the BBC, but did find that the BBC needed to "rebuild trust with women." A former journalist, Carrie Gracie, called the report "whitewash." The report reviewed evidence from over 100 BBC employees and reviewed "40 pay complaints and narrows its focus to ten."

General News

The Affordable Care Act Faces Another Supreme Court Test

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments in a matter challenging the Affordable Care Act. Two justices, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, expressed opinions that tended to indicate that they would vote in favor of maintaining the vast majority of the law. However, it remains unclear what will happen when the matter is conference between the justices, and a decision is not expected until June 2021.

Affirmative Action Cases May Reach Supreme Court Even Without Trump

A federal appeals court has ruled that Harvard's admissions process was not violating civil rights laws, but the case may be appealed to the Supreme Court, "whose conservative members have indicated a willingness to reconsider more than four decades of affirmative action." Additionally, a case that an anti-affirmative-action group brought against the University of North Carolina also may make its way to the Supreme Court, "even without the support of the federal government."

In Unusually Political Speech, Alito Says Liberals Pose Threats to Liberties

Justice Samuel Alito "told a conservative legal group that liberals posed a growing threat to religious liberty and free speech" in remarks delivered Thursday night. The remarks were made to the Federalist Society during its annual convention, and analysts viewed the remarks as "unusually caustic and politically tinged" for a sitting Supreme Court justice.

A Chaotic Election Cycle Continues Into the Transition Period

Last week brought news that Joe Biden won the state of Georgia and that President Trump won the state of North Carolina, without any concession from the latter. With his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, overseeing post-election legal challenges, Trump has publicly maintained that there is widespread fraud, but while the specific number of legal challenges are not known, there have not yet been any significant pieces of evidence of widespread fraud or success in changing the election results through these legal challenges. With those legal challenges pending, the Trump administration has not given the green light to a smooth transition to a Biden administration: the General Services Administration's head has yet to find that the election result is "ascertained" for Biden and has not allowed liaising between Trump and Biden officials. Nonetheless, Biden has started to lay out his plans for his administration with particular focus on fighting the pandemic in a more robust fashion than his predecessor. While there remains jockeying for positions in the cabinet, no announcements have been made yet other than his chief of staff, Ron Klain, a longtime confidante. It is expected that many of the Trump administration's executive orders will be reversed soon after Biden is sworn in, which include the many executive orders passed relating to environmental regulations. Regardless, in the remaining days of the Trump administration, it is expected that more firings will take place: already, the Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, has been fired for his speaking out against the administration's use of troops during June to quell protests.

Trump Bars Investment in Chinese Firms With Military Ties

The Trump administration has barred investment in Chinese firms with military ties, including "Huawei, China Mobile, and China Telecom," which is the administration's "first major move toward decoupling American financial markets from China." The rationale for the order is that China has been "increasingly exploiting United States capital to resource and to enable the development and modernization of its military, intelligence, and other security apparatuses."

McCabe Rejects Republican Accusations of FBI Corruption in Russia Inquiry

During a hearing of the Senate's Judiciary Committee, the former acting director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, rejected Republican senators' accusations that there was corruption in the FBI relating to the FBI's inquiry into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential campaign. McCabe did admit that there had been mistakes in the wiretap applications of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, but did not otherwise fault the FBI's conduct.

Justice Department Finds 'Poor Judgment' but No Misconduct in 2006 Jeffrey Epstein Inquiry

An internal investigation of the Justice Department concluded that its Miami prosecutors properly handled allegations of child trafficking relating to Jeffrey Epstein. A former top prosecutor said that there was "poor judgment" exercised in the conducting of the investigation, but that there was "no other wrongdoing", which prompted criticism given the allegations that he had "sexually abused dozens of teenage girls."

How One Firm Drove Influence Campaigns Nationwide for Big Oil

The global consulting firm, FTI, has "helped design, staff, and run organizations and websites funded by energy companies that can appear to represent grass-roots support for fossil-fuel initiatives." For example, when some visited the website for Texans for Natural Gas in early 2017, they thought they were visiting the website for a grass-roots organization that was amplifying "local voices," but in fact, FTI has created the website and ran it after being hired by "some of the largest oil and gas companies in the world to help them promote fossil fuels."

A Watchdog Accused Officers of Serious Misconduct, but Few Were Punished

The New York Times has "found that the NYPD has reduced or rejected recommendations for stiff discipline of officers in about 71 percent of 6,900 serious misconduct charges." While the oversight agency investigating misconduct had found sufficient evidence to conclude that officers "should face the most severe discipline available, including suspension or dismissal," senior members of the police force "downgraded or outright rejected those charges, and the officers were given lesser punishments or none at all."

Europe to Impose Tariffs in 16-Year Trade Fight With U.S.

The European Union announced that it will begin "imposing sweeping tariffs on around $4 billion worth of American aircraft, food, drinks, and other products beginning Tuesday, an action cleared by the World Trade Organization last month after it said Europe could retaliate against the United States for years of illegal subsidies given to Boeing." The decision comes after 16 years of disputes and after last year, when the Trump administration imposed tariffs on $7.5 billion of European exports.

Vatican Report Places Blame for McCarrick's Ascent on John Paul II

A Vatican report found that Pope John Paul II "rejected explicit warnings about sexual abuse by Theodore E. McCarrick, now a disgraced former cardinal," and instead chose to believe McCarrick's "denials and misleading accounts by bishops as he elevated him to the highest ranks of the church hierarchy." The Pope removed him from the priesthood in 2019, and McCarrick has been the "highest-ranking American official to be removed for sexual abuse."

China Targets Hong Kong's Lawmakers as It Squelches Dissent

China moved to "quash one of the last vestiges of democracy and dissent in Hong Kong, forcing the ouster of four pro-democracy lawmakers from their elected offices in a purge that prompted the rest of the opposition to vow to resign en masse." The move came after China began enforcing "sweeping national security law on Hong Kong this summer that gave the authorities broad powers to crack down on resistance."

Myanmar Election Delivers Another Decisive Win for Aung San Suu Kyi

The National League for Democracy, the party of civilian leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, had a big victory in Myanmar. Her reputation overseas has suffered "by her defense of a military accused of genocide," but the victory in the elections "easily secured a parliamentary majority" for her political party. The national election commission deemed the voting "free and fair" in "what is only the second truly contested election."


The Coronavirus Rates Continue to Hit Highest Rates in United States and the World

The average daily new cases in the United States has far surpassed 100,000 in the previous week, and there are few signs of it abating. The worldwide rate continues its ascent, with Europe and North America having a significant portion of all new cases. In those places, it is expected that new lockdowns and quarantine procedures will be implemented in short order, with cities like Chicago preparing their residents for a winter of staying at home more and less traveling. Experts expect that the rates will continue to rise through December as many Americans are expected to travel for Thanksgiving.

November 23, 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, General News, and Coronavirus:


Charles v. Seinfeld

The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's application of the limitations period in 17 U.S.C. 507(b) to dismiss plaintiff Christian Charles's claims of copyright infringement and joint ownership of the pilot episode of the television series "Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee." Within days of the Second Circuit's affirmation, the Sixth Circuit decided Everly v. Everly, 958 F.3d 442 (6th Cir. 2020), which held, in direct conflict with the Second Circuit, that only a repudiation of copyright authorship could cause accrual of an authorship claim, and that "[a] person's authorship of a work can be legally called into question only if it is challenged by another person who herself claims authorship of the work in question."

SAG-AFTRA and Actors' Equity Association Resolve Jurisdictional Dispute Over Taping of Live Theatre

A unanimous agreement has been reached in respect to the broadcast and streaming of live performances during the pandemic. The agreement preserves SAG-AFTRA's historic jurisdiction while creating an important accommodation that serves performers. Actors' Equity Association (AEA) has jurisdiction over live theatre actors and stage managers, but SAG-AFTRA has long held that the taping of live shows falls within its jurisdiction. SAG offered AEA a waiver to help out its fellow actors during the coronavirus shutdown of live theaters across the country, but AEA rejected it. SAG has agreed that AEA will cover recording and/or streaming productions to a remote audience during the pandemic period with a term concluding December 31, 2021, subject to certain limitations including distribution platforms like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, etc.

Never Ever Letting Go Quietly

For the second time in a year and a half, the recording rights to Taylor Swift's first six albums - LPs that include megahits like "Love Story," "Shake It Off", and "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" - have traded hands, and in response Swift has dragged private equity investors into the rough-and-tumble public conflict of celebrity social media. Last summer, the music manager Scooter Braun made a deal, estimated at $300 million to $350 million, to buy the Big Machine Label Group, the Nashville label that signed Swift when she was a teenager. That led to a dramatic public clash, when Swift called the deal her "worst-case scenario."

Lil Wayne Charged in a Gun Possession Case

Rapper Lil Wayne was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The charge, handed to him on Tuesday in Florida, relates to an incident in December 2019. The 38-year old was found to be carrying a gun and bullets when police searched a private plane in Miami. He is facing 10 years in prison for the offense, if convicted.

Universal and Cinemark to Speed Films to Homes

The third largest cinema chain in the U.S., Cinemark Theatres, and Universal Pictures have reached an agreement to allow early home video releases for the studio's movies, marking the latest crack in the traditional theatrical window during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Texas-based exhibitor and the Comcast-owned studio announced a multi-year deal that would give Universal significantly more flexibility in how it releases its films. The deal follows a similar agreement that Universal previously made with AMC Theatres, the world's biggest movie house circuit, in a move that drew criticism from other exhibitors. Under the deal, all of Universal's theatrical films will stay in theatres exclusively for at least 17 days after their premieres before they become available on video-on-demand services.

Jazz Ripples Through Hard Seasons

Musicians are playing al fresco all over New York City to earn money and boost morale. For many New Yorkers in late spring, hearing musicians performing outside again was a welcome sign of hope and resilience. Throughout the summer and into the fall, jazz in particular, has become a near-constant presence across parks, stoops and sidewalks. Virtually all of the city's 2,400 indoor performance venues have closed since the coronavirus outbreak, at the same time that concert tours have been canceled, putting countless musicians out of work.


Dance Studios Fear a Loss of Possibilities

Across New York City, dance studio owners are struggling to keep their businesses afloat as the coronavirus pandemic stretches on. Studios have found themselves in precarious positions, frustrated by a lack of clear reopening guidance from the city and state. It's an uphill battle, but they are pressing forward: raising money, joining forces to strategize and, in some cases, forging ahead with reopening as safely as they can. Dance studios are integral to the city's performing arts ecosystem: their survival has implications beyond the walls of any one business.

A Jacob's Pillow Theater Is Destroyed by Fire

A theater at Jacob's Pillow, a destination for dance performance in Becket, Massachusetts, was destroyed by fire. The theatre was lost, but the fire was contained to the one building at the performing arts campus. The cause is not yet known.

Museums on Financial Edge from Pandemic Fallout

An industry group says that the financial state of the country's museums "is moving from bad to worse." At institutions across the country, exhibition halls remain dark, atriums are empty, and frontline employees are furloughed. A survey by the American Alliance of Museums makes clear that nearly one in three museums in the U.S. remains closed because of the pandemic, and most of those have never reopened since the initial shutdown in March. Of the 850 museum directors who responded to the survey, just over half said that their institutions had six months or less of their financial operating reserve remaining. 82% said that they had 12 months or less.

Virus Surge Shutters Smithsonian Again

As coronavirus cases increase across the country, the Smithsonian will once again temporarily close eight of its Washington area institutions. "[T]he Institution's top priority is to protect the health and safety of its visitors and staff," the Smithsonian said in a statement.

A Second Epstein Inquiry at Victoria's Secret

It has been more than a year since L Brands, the owner of Victoria's Secret, said it was hiring a law firm to investigate its billionaire founder Leslie H. Wexner's close ties to the convicted sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein. There is now a new law firm on the case. A second inquiry has begun at the company after a shareholder lawsuit filed in May suggested that previous firm, David Polk, was too close to L Brands to be truly independent.

Egypt Unearths Over 100 New Coffins and Mummies Dating Back 2,500 Years

In the largest discovery there this year, more than 100 painted wooden coffins, many with bodies, were found in the necropolis of Saqqara. There have been several recent finds at the site. The sealed, wooden coffins, some containing mummies, dates as far back as 2,500 years and are "in perfect condition of preservation." The fine quality of the coffins meant that they were probably the final resting places for the wealthiest citizens.


Ex-Harvard Fencing Coach Accused of Taking $1.5 Million in Bribes

A former Harvard fencing coach was arrested and charged with bribery last week for allegedly accepting $1.5 million from a businessman in exchange for recruiting the latter's two sons to the fencing team. The U.S. Attorney's Office said that Peter Brand and the father, Jie "Jack" Zhao, were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, which is punishable for up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

FIFA Proposes Mandatory Maternity Leave For Women Players

FIFA is introducing new regulations to protect the rights of women players, including mandatory maternity leave. The proposed rules include a mandatory maternity leave of 14 weeks, at a minimum of two thirds of the player's contracted salary, and a guarantee that "no female player should suffer a disadvantage as a result of becoming a pregnant." The reforms have been put forward by FIFA's Football Stakeholders Committee and will go to FIFA's Council next month for approval.

As Major League Soccer Playoffs Open, Black Players Press for Progress

What began as solemn group gestures have in some locations transitioned into simply one other field to tick on the listing of pregame rituals. For a more and more activist cohort of Black athletes, what comes subsequent is paramount. Behind the scenes, players have been pushing to transform their protest into tangible, lasting change. The playoffs now provide an even bigger stage and a brand new alternative.

A Walk-On Opted Out. Then Came a $24,000 Bill.

According to a New York Times story, Cal offensive lineman Henry Bazakas, who arrived at Cal as a walk-on but was granted a one-year scholarship for last season, opted out of the 2020 season this past June, starting a contentious episode regarding scholarship payments. Cal claims the confusion about scholarship payments resulted from its reliance on a campus class calendar that stated summer classes started in July, which would have been after the decision was made not to give Bazakas a scholarship for 2020-21. However, Bazakas had begun classes in May, which means that he should still have been on scholarship through the summer. When Cal realized the error, the scholarship money was provided.

Lawyers Step Back and Athletes Step Up to Fight Russia's Ban

Russia's attempt to overturn its four-year ban from international sports this month turned to a familiar courtroom weapon: Emotion. At a private hearing held over four days, Russian sports officals set aside their denials and their phalanx of laywers pushed back from their papers, allowing six Russian athletes to take a starring role. The athletes spoke not of what Russia had done in pursuit of victory, but about what they stood to lose, and they all had the same message: Please do not punish us for something in which we had no part. The emotional pleas to the panel of three arbitrators at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, appeared to be an effort to humanize the consequences of a worldwide ban on Russian sports that the World Anti-Doping Agency imposed last year.

FIFA Lifts Suspension of Trinidad and Tobago football Association After Legal Action Halted

FIFA has lifted its suspension of Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), giving the national governing body full membership rights and allowing its teams to return to international competition. It comes after the TTFA last month voted to stop court action being taken against FIFA and recognize a normalization committee appointed by football's world governing body in March to run the TTFA's affairs.

Emboldened Head of African Soccer Faces a New Ethics Inquiry

FIFA ethics investigators have asked the top soccer official in Africa to explain why he agreed to revise a television contract in a way that appeared to benefit a commercial partner over his own organization -- the latest ethical concern for a governing body that was subject to direct FIFA oversight as recently as February. The new investigation is just the latest problem for Ahmad Ahmad, who was briefly detained last year by French authorities investigating allegations of embezzlement and who faces a separate FIFA ethics probe involving complaints of sexual harassment by several female employees and consultants. It also comes at a pivotal time for African soccer, which has lurched from crisis to crisis under his leadership: Ahmad is seeking a new four-year term early next year, and sanctions related to any of the open cases could disqualify him from running.

Bill Expands U.S. Power to Charge Cheats. International Groups Hate It.

The Rodchenkov Act, awaiting President Trump's signature, would allow American law enforcement authorties to go after the people who facilitate doping. The World Anti-Doping Agency says that it will cause confusion.


On YouTube, Fox News Loses Conservative Viewers Flocking to the Fringe

Disinformation about election fraud is thriving on YouTube, and right-wing outlets that most aggressively push false information are gaining new, conservative viewers on the video service, according to new research. Data from an independent research project called Transparency Tube found that fringe, right-wing news channels aggressively pushing unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud are gaining a larger share of views among conservative YouTube channels than before the election. Fox News, which has been more reserved in promoting unsubstantiated claims of a stolen election, has seen its share among a conservative audience decline on YouTube even though it is one of YouTube's promoted, authoritative sources.

A Popular Political Site Made a Sharp Right Turn. What Steered It?

Real Clear Politics pitches itself as a "trusted, go-to source" for unbiased polling. It is well known as a clearinghouse of elections data and analysis with a large following among the political and media establishment, regularly cited by national publications and cable news networks. Less well known, however, is how Real Clear Politics and its affiliated websites have taken a rightward, aggressively pro-Trump turn over the last four years, as donations to its affiliated nonprofit have soared. Large quantities of those funds came through two entities that wealthy conservatives use to give money without revealing their identities. Its evolution traces a similar path as other right-leaning political news outlets that have adapted to the upheaval of the Trump era by aligning themselves with the president and his large following, its writers taking on his battles and raging against the left.

Why Did Facebook Mute Philanthropic Businesses?

Small enterprises that support homeless people, orphans, and refugees are seeing their ads pulled as part of the social media platform's ban on political advertising. Their ads fell into a category of "social issues, elections or politics" that were being blocked by the site. The social media giant announced last week that it was extending a ban imposed on certain ads during the election to prevent the dissemination of false information. The prohibition has ensnared a number of socially driven businesses with no direct connection to partisan politics. Companies connected to issues like hunger, the environment, and immigration, many of which rely heavily on social media to draw customers to their websites, have seen their access abruptly cut off.

Ringer Writer Says They Were Second String

The head coach of the Golden State Warriors. C.C. Sabathia and Rachel Lindsay, were among the roughly 25 outside contributors to host or co-host new podcasts this year at The Ringer, the digital media company founded and run by the former ESPN personality Bill Simmons. The influx of star podcasters being brought on as contractors looms over a dispute between the union and managers at the Spotify-owned digital media company. It has raised concerns among many full-time employees, who say it may close off their opportunities for advancement and weaken the company union.

Apple Halves Some App Store Fees

Apples has announced that it will cut the amount of commission it charges app developers as part of a new Small Business Program. Developers earning less than $1 million a year will now pay 15% on all transactions, half the current rate of 30%.

General News

Plea to Americans: Stay Home on Thanksgiving

With coronavirus surging out of control, the nation's top public health agency pleaded with Americans last week not to travel for Thanksgiving and not to spend the holiday with people outside their households. It was some of the firmest guidance yet from the government on curtailing traditional gatherings to fight the outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has cited more than 1 million new cases in the U.S. over the past week as the reason for the new guidance.

Tension Rise As Trump Denies Election Result

The president's refusal to concede has entered a more dangerous phase as he blocks his successor's transition, withholding intelligence briefings, pandemic information, and access to the government. This continues as he stokes resistance and unrest among his supporters and spreads falsehoods aimed at undermining the integrity of the American voting system. Some former top advisers to Trump have said that his refusal to cooperate is reckless and unwise.

Election Security Experts Push Back Against Trump's Voter Fraud Claims

Trump fired Chris Krebs, a top U.S. election official who pushed back against the President's claims of voter fraud. Krebs, the head of the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), said last week he expected to be fired. A committee within CISA, which worked on protecting U.S. voting systems in 2020 election, released a statement calling the November 3rd elections "the most secure in American history" and contradicting any claims of widespread voter fraud.

Parties Hunting for a Message After a Split-Decision Election

Voters delivered a convincing victory for Joe Biden, but a split decision for the two parties. Now Democrats and Republicans face perhaps the most up-for-grabs electoral landscape in a generation. America's two major parties had hoped the presidential election would render a decisive judgment on the country's political trajectory. Yet after a race that broke record voter turnout and campaign spending, neither Democrats nor Republicans have achieved a dominant upper hand. The election has narrowed the Democratic majority in the House and perhaps preserved the Republican majority in the Senate.

The Trump Campaign Has Filed 16 Lawsuits Contesting the Election

The Trump campaign has sued to contest vote counts in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia in the days after the presidential election. Trump and Republicans have filed lawsuits in five battleground states to contest the race Trump lost to Democratic challenger and former VP Joe Biden. Judges have dismissed some of the suits but others remain, and more are possible in the coming days, including challenges to the legality of ballots or requests for recounts. Voters in a few states independently filed their own lawsuits in support of Trump. Some of those suits have been dropped.

Graham Goes All In on Reversing Election

With unsubstantiated claims of vote-counting errors and calls to officials in several states, the South Carolina senator seems bent on reversing Joe Biden's clear victory over President Trump. In 2016, Senator Graham praised the integrity of the nation's elections system, criticizing claims by Trump that the vote was "rigged". Graham has transformed during that time to become of Trump's most loyal allies, he now seems determined to reverse the election's outcome on the president's behalf.

Biden Takes a "Whole-Government Approach" to Fight Climate Change

President-elect Joe Biden, eager to elevate climate changes issues throughout his administration, is already drafting orders to reduce planet-warming pollution and seeking nominees who will embed climate policy not only in environmental agencies, but also in departments from Defense to Treasury to Transportation. Top candidates for senior cabinet posts, such as Michéle Flournoy for defense secretary and Lael Brainard for Treasury, have long supported aggressive policies to curb climate change. Biden's inner circle routinely asks, "is the person climate-ambitious?" of candidates even for lower profile positions, like the White House budget and regulatory offices, according to a person advising the transition.

Climate Change is Making Winter Ice More Dangerous, Study Says

A new study has found that cold-weather drownings are increasing sharply in warmer parts of the Northern Hemisphere.

Trump Administration Plans to Sell Artic Oil Leases Despite Legal Hurdles

If lease sales happen in the final days of the Trump administration, they may face disputes in court or could be reversed by the Biden administration. Under new leadership, several federal agencies could reject the leases, which even if purchased at an auction a few days before Inauguration Day would be subject to review, a process that usually takes several months. Biden vowed during the campaign to oppose oil and gas development in the refuge, a vast expanse of virtually untouched land in northeast Alaska that is home to polar bears, caribou, and other wildlife.

Hand Recount Reaffirms Biden Won Georgia, Defeating Trump by 12,284 Votes

A hand tally of the presidential race in Georgia is complete, and the results affirm Biden's lead. Biden went into the recount with a margin of 13,558 votes. Previously uncounted ballots discovered during the hand count reduced the margin to 12,284 votes. The hand recount of nearly five million votes stemmed from an audit required by a new state law, not from any suspected problems with the state's results or an official recount request.

Census Bureau Can't Meet Trump's Deadline for Count

In a blow to the Trump administration's efforts to strip unauthorized immigrants from the census totals used for reapportionment, Census Bureau officials concluded that they could not produce the state population totals required to reallocate seats in the House of Representatives until after Trump leaves office in January.

'Public Health' Expulsions of Children Halted

A federal judge ruled last week that a public health emergency decree did not give the Trump administration authority to expel unaccompanied children before they could request asylum. Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, said that while the emergency rule allows the authorities to prevent the "introduction" of foreigners into the U.S., it did not give border authorities the ability to turn away children who would normally be placed in shelters and provided an opportunity to have a claim for refuge heard. The order applies across the country.

Overhauling Homeland Security Will Be One of Biden's Early Priorities

Biden has said that one of his priorities will be rolling back his predecessor's restrictive immigration policies. To do it, he may have to overhaul the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which has been bent to President Trump's will over the past four years. The DHS has helped enforce some of Trump's most divisive polices, like separating families at the border, banning travel from Muslim-majority countries and building his border wall. Interviews with 16 current and former homeland security officials and advisers involved with Biden's transition, and a review of his platform, suggest an agenda that aims to incorporate climate change in department policy, fill vacant posts, and bolster responsibilities that Trump neglected, including disaster response and cybersecurity.

Trump's Push to Overturn Defeat Strains Cogs of Electoral Process

Confrontations have escalated in swing states, with elections officials in both parties facing threats of violence, as the president and other Republicans try to subvert the country's voting system. In courtrooms, statehouses, and elections board meetings across the country, the president is increasingly seeking to force the voting system to bend to his false vision of the elect ion, while also using the weight of the executive office to deliver his message to lower-level election workers, hoping they buckle.

Hate Crimes At Highest Since 2008, FBI Reports

Hate crimes in the U.S. rose to the highest level in more than a decade as federal officials also recorded the highest number of hate-motivated killings since the FBI began collecting that data in the early 1990s, according to an FBI report released last week. There were 51 hate crime murders in 2019, which includes 22 people who were killed in a shooting that targeted Mexicans at a Walmart in the border city of El Paso, Texas, the report said. There were 7,314 hate crimes last year, up from 7,120 the year before - and approaching the 7,783 of 2008. The FBI's annual report defines hate crimes as those motivated by bias based on a person's race, religion or sexual orientation, among other categories. The data also shows there was a nearly 7% increase in religion-based hate crimes. The FBI said that the number of hate crimes against African Americans dropped slightly to 1,930 from 1,943.

Rocket Lifts Four Astronauts Into New Era of Spaceflight

A SpaceX spacecraft carrying four astronauts soared into outer space from Cape Canaveral on last Sunday evening, in the first fully operational mission for the Crew Dragon spacecraft. The crew spent some 27 hours in a capsule built by the private company before it docked with the space station. This was a momentous step toward making space travel commonplace and mundane. In the future, instead of relying on government-operated spacecraft, NASA astronauts and anyone else with enough money can buy a ticket on a commercial rocket.

More Than 82,000 File Sexual-Abuse Claims Against Boy Scouts

The New York Times has reported that more than 82,000 people have filed sex abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America. Victims' lawyers say the claims far outnumber the accusations against the U.S. Catholic Church. This far exceeds the initial projections of lawyers across the U.S. who have been signing up clients since the Boy Scouts filed for bankruptcy protection in February. Many of the lawsuits allege decades-old sex abuse. The proceedings in federal bankruptcy court will lead to the creation of a compensation fund for survivors whose claims are upheld. The potential size of the fund is not yet known and will be the subject of complex negotiations.

Boeing 737 Max Is Deemed Safe to Fly by Federal Aviation Administration

The Boeing 737 Max is cleared by the Federal Aviation Administration to fly again. The U.S. agency said that changes in software, design, and training had made the plane safe to operate after two fatal crashes and 20 months out of service.

Mexico Threatened U.S. Over Ex-Official's Arrest

Mexico threatened to toss out U.S. agents after weeks of anger at the surprise arrest of a former defense minister. The gambit appeared to have worked - the changes were dropped. Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda was arrested after a multiyear inquiry that investigators called Operation Padrino or Godfather - a reference to what they claim was his nickname in the underworld. The Mexican government saw his arrest as an egregious breach of trust between allies because it was kept in the dark about the case.

Trump's Legal Team Sets a Precedent for Lowering the Bar

The president's overriding goal seems to be simply throw out as many claims as possible, no matter how outlandish or baseless, in an effort to sow public doubt about Biden's victory; but this approach has limits in court.

Mnuchin Cites Principles As Democrats See Politics

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin broke sharply with the Federal Reserve, choosing to end a variety of programs aimed at helping markets, businesses, and municipalities weather the pandemic and asking the Central Bank to return the funds earmarked to support those efforts. Mnuchin said that his decision was driven by a reference to what he believed was Congress's intent when it allocated the funding, a desire to repurpose the money toward better uses, and a belief that markets no longer needed them. However, this is a view he only expressed after the vote count in the presidential election.

President Moves to Hem Biden in on U.S. Policies

At a wide range of departments and agencies, Trump's political appointees are going to extraordinary lengths to try to prevent Biden from rolling back the president's legacy. On issues of war, the environment, criminal justice, trade, the economy, and more, Trump and top administration officials are doing what they can to make changing direction more difficult.

U.S. Plans to Execute Three, Including Rare Woman, Before Biden is Sworn In

The Trump administration is continuing to carry out capital punishment for federal crimes even though President-elect Joe Biden has signaled he will reverse the policy. Since July, when it resumed carrying out the death penalty after a 17-year hiatus, the Trump administration has executed seven federal inmates. Weeks before Biden is sworn in, the three inmates face the prospect of being the last federal prisoners to die by capital punishment for at least as long as Biden is in office. Orlando Cordia Hall, 49, convicted in the brutal death of a teenage girl, is scheduled to be executed on Thursday. Two other prisoners are to be executed in December, including Lisa M. Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row. Biden has pledged to eliminate the death penalty.

Citing Risks, Michigan Shuts Down Oil Pipeline

Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan said the state would shut down a line between her state and Ontario that has been operating since the 1950s. It's an unusual move, in which she cited environmental concerns for shutting down the underwater pipeline that carries oil to refineries in her state and Canada. Pipeline operations normally fall under federal jurisdiction. Whitmer, a Democrat, is acting under the state's public trust doctrine, which requires state authorities to protect the Great Lakes. The decisions requires the pipeline operator Enbridge to cease operations on a specific section of Line 5 by May 2021, but it will have the effect of curtailing the entire pipeline, which runs between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario.

Trump Targeting Michigan in Ploy to Subvert Vote

Trump accelerated his efforts to interfere in the nation's electoral process, taking the extraordinary step of reaching out directly to Republican state Legislators from Michigan and inviting them to the White House for discussions as the state prepares to certify President-elect Joe Biden the winner there. For Trump and his Republican allies, Michigan has become the prime target in their campaign to subvert the will of voters backing Biden in the recent election. Trumps allies appear to be pursuing a highly dubious legal they that if the results are not certified, Republican legislatures could intervene and appoint pro-Trump electors in states Biden won who would support the president when the Electoral College meets on December 14. The Republican effort to undo the popular vote is all but certain to fail.

Most Charges From Protests Are Dropped

More than five months after the Louisville protests as thousands finally land in courts across the U.S., a vast majority of cases against protesters are being dismissed. Only cases involving more substantial charges like property destruction or other violence remains. Prosecutors called the scale of both the mass arrests and mass dismissals within a few short months unrivaled, at least since the civil rights protests of the early 1960s. With the police detaining hundreds of people in major cities, the arrests this year ended up colliding with the limitations of the court system. Prosecutors declined to pursue many of the cases, because they concluded that the protesters were exercising their basic civil rights. There was also the recognition that law enforcement officers often use mass arrests as a technique to help clear the streets, not to confront illegal behavior.

New York Fraud investigations Expand to Trump Tax Write-Offs

Those investigating the Trump organization have expanded their inquiries to include tax write-offs involving millions of dollars in consulting fees. Investigators with the Manhattan district attorney's office and the New York attorney general's office have subpoenaed the Trump Organization seeking records relating to the consulting fees. The subpoenas were in response to a New York Times investigation into Trump's tax returns that first disclosed that he took $26 million in write-offs that came from fees he paid to consultants, including an apparent $747,000 fee that matched a payment disclosed by Ivanka Trump.

Asylum Seeker Faces Charges in Son's Death at Sea

The man, Ayoubi Nadir, a 25-year-old Afghan asylum seeker, has been charged with endangering the life of a child, and is accused of abandoning his son after the boat bringing them and 22 other people to Greece capsized this month. Human rights advocates say that this may set a dangerous precedent.

Hungary and Poland Block European Union Stimulus Plan

The European Union's (EU) landmark stimulus plan to assist member states whose economies have been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic is now in crisis, after Hungary and Poland blocked passage of the 2021-2027 EU budget. The two Eastern European countries say that they're vetoing the budget and coronavirus recovery plan over language in the measure that would dole out EU funds to member states on the condition that they uphold the bloc's rule-of-law standards. The 1.8 trillion euro ($2.1 trillion) EU budget must be approved by all 27 member states to be adopted.

Uganda Releases Opposition Leader After Deadly Clashes

At least 37 people have been killed in two days of violent clashes between Ugandan security forces and supporters of detained opposition leader Bobi Wine, police said last week, as tensions flared two months before a presidential election. The popstar-turned presidential candidate was released on bail on Friday after being charged with holding rallies likely to spread the coronavirus.

In Ardern's Second Term, New Zealand Seats Most Diverse Parliament Ever

When Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was reelected in a landslide last month, she brought with her a diverse cast of politicians that make up what is - by some measures - the most inclusive parliament in the world. Almost half of New Zealand's newly sworn-in Parliament are women and 11% are openly LGTBQ. Both New Zealand's indigenous Maori and people with Pacific Island heritage are represented at a slightly higher rate than in the general population. Politicians from diverse backgrounds are also in key positions of power.


U.S. Hits Grim Milestone With 250,000 Deaths

Coronavirus case numbers are exploding across the country. The U.S. death toll from the virus reached 250,000, with a caseload of over 11.3 million.

At-Home Test That Delivers Rapid Results is Approved

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the first COVID-19 diagnostic test for self-testing at home and that provides rapid results. The Lucira COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit is a molecular (real-time mediated amplification reaction) single use test that is intended to detect the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19.

Pfizer Says New Results Show Vaccine is Safe and 95% Effective

Last week, Pfizer said that its coronavirus vaccine was 95% effective and had no serious side effects - the first set of complete results from a late-stage vaccine trial as Covid-19 cases skyrocket around the globe. The data showed that the vaccine prevented mild and severe forms of Covid-19. It was 94% effective in older adults, who are more vulnerable to developing severe Covid-19 and who do not respond strongly to some types of vaccines. The trial results - less than a year after researchers began working on the vaccine - shattered all speed records for vaccine development, a process that usually takes years.

Another Vaccine Appears to Work Against the Virus

A second experimental COVID-19 vaccine, from Moderna Inc., yielded extraordinarily strong early results last week. Moderna says its vaccine appears to be 94.5% effective according to preliminary data. A week ago, competitor Pfizer Inc. announced its own vaccine looked 90% effective - news that put both companies on track to seek permission within weeks for emergency use in the U.S. A vaccine can't come fast enough, as virus cases topped 11 million in the U.S. over the weekend - one million of them recorded in just the past week - and governors and mayors are ratcheting up restrictions ahead of Thanksgiving. The outbreak has killed more than 1.3 million people worldwide, over 246,000 of them in the U.S.

FDA Authorizes Use of Antibody Treatment President Took When Ill

Regeneron submitted an emergency use application in October after preclinical studies showed that the therapy, called REGN-COV2, reduced the amount of virus and associated damage in the lungs of nonhuman primates. The experimental therapy was given to President Trump when he contracted the coronavirus last month. Regeneron's therapy is part of a class of treatments known as monoclonal antibodies, which are made to act as immune cells that scientists hope can fight infections.

Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities May Heighten Risk of Death from Virus

People with intellectual disabilities and developmental disorders are three times more likely to die of Covid-19, compared with patients without the conditions, a new analysis found. The finding raises complex questions about how to allocate new vaccines as they become available in limited supplies. So far, guidelines for distributing vaccines have recommended prioritizing emergency workers, health care providers, and other essential workers, as well as people at heightened risk for severe disease, including some older adults and those with certain chronic illnesses.

Tourists May Love New York, But May Not be Back for Years

The pandemic triggered a free-fall in tourism to New York City, one of the world's most popular destinations. A new forecast predicts that the influx of tourists will not fully rebound for at least four years, a somber assessment that reflects one of the biggest challenges to the city's recovery. The surge in tourism in recent years has been a vital pillar of the city's economy, supporting hundreds of thousands of workers across a range of industries, from hotels to restaurants to Broadway.

Transition Delay Could Cost Lives, Biden Warns

Last week, Biden sharpened his criticism of Trump's refusal to cooperate in an orderly transition, warning that "more people may die" from the coronavirus if the president does not agree to coordinate planning for the mass distribution of a vaccine when it becomes available. It was a marked shift in tone for the president-elect, intended to pressure Trump after Biden and his team had played down the difficulty of setting up a new government without the departing administration's help. The new criticism came as the White House national security adviser all but conceded that Biden would be inaugurated and acknowledged the importance of a smooth federal handoff.

Recession's Toll on Women Points to a Lasting Setback

For millions of working women, the coronavirus pandemic has delivered a rare and ruinous one-two-the punch. First, the parts of the economy that were smacked hardest and earliest by job losses were ones where women dominate - restaurants, retail businesses, and health care. Then a second wave began taking out local and state government jobs, another area where women outnumber men. The third blow has, for many, been the knockout: the closing of child care centers and the shift to remote schooling. That has saddled working mothers, much more than fathers, with overwhelming household responsibilities. The impact on the economic and social landscape is both immediate and enduring.

Doctors Are Already Devising a Covid Attack Plan

When Biden takes office in January he will inherit a pandemic that has convulsed the country. His transition team last week announced a 13-member team of scientists and doctors who will advise on control of the coronavirus. In a wide-ranging conversation with New York Times, Dr. Céline Gounder, and infectious disease specialist at Bellevue Hospital Center, discussed plans to prioritize racial inequities, to keep schools open as long as possible, and to restore the CDC as the premier public health agency in the world. The incoming administration is contemplating state mask mandates, free testing for everyone, and invocation of the Defense Production Act to ramp up supplies of protective gear for health workers.

Grassley, 87, Tests Positive as the Virus Disrupts the Business of Governing

GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa has tested positive for coronavirus. The lawmaker, who at 87 years old is considered at high risk for severe illness, tweeted Tuesday that he tested positive hours after he said he would isolate following exposure to the virus. Grassley, who is president pro tempore of the Senate, presided over the chamber during votes last Monday. He is high up in the presidential line of succession, behind Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. While isolating, Grassley missed the Tuesday vote on Judy Shelton's nomination to the Federal Reserve. Shelton's nomination failed after three other Republicans announced their opposition.

Officials Order New Restrictions as Covid-19 Surges Across the Country

At least 45 states have reported more new infections this past week compared to the previous week. It's not one or two hotspots, the entire country is a hotspot of coronavirus infection. Nationwide, more than 246,000 people have died. While some officials toughen their restrictions, some say changing behavior is more important than shutting down.

Dolly: Country Music Legend, Songwriter, Pandemic Hero

Dolly Parton donated $1 million to fund research for a coronavirus vaccine. After a promising announcement from a major drug maker, fans are crediting her with helping to save the world from the virus, amongst her many other accomplishments.

Hospitals Full, Iowa Governor Begins to See Value of Masks

Iowa's governor ordered that people wear masks while indoors, a reversal after months of saying that she did not support a mask mandate. For months, Governor Kim Reynolds saw little need to intervene in the choices of Iowans, who she insisted could make their own decisions about whether to wear a mask to protect against a dangerous pandemic. She previously dismissed the order as an unenforceable "feel-good" measure. However, as the virus ravaged her state and hospitals filled to the brim, she abruptly reversed herself this week. She joined a wave of Republican governors who are newly and at times reluctantly wielding the power of their offices as the coronavirus erupts to crisis levels across the U.S., with no end in sight.

December 28, 2020

Week In Review

By Angela Peco
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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

Spending Bill Includes Several Intellectual Property Measures, Creates Copyright Small Claims Court

The $2.3 trillion spending and coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress includes several intellectual property provisions, such as creating a copyright small claims court, making unauthorized commercial streaming of copyrighted material a felony, and altering some trademark and patent procedures.

Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Establishing Post Mortem "Right of Publicity" in New York State

The legislation is meant to protect deceased individuals against the commercial exploitation, or unauthorized use, of their name or likeness, and takes effect on May 31, 2021. These rights can also be exercised by their descendants, "giving performers' estates the ability to control and protect their likeness or image after they have died." The law also "creates new penalties for publishing sexually explicit depictions of individuals, protecting people from revenge porn and 'deep fakes'.",or%20signature%20after%20their%20death


A 'Great Cultural Depression' Looms for Legions of Unemployed Performers

The article discusses the impact of COVID-19 in the arts and the resulting unemployment that left 52 percent for actors, 55 percent of dancers and 27 percent of musicians out of work in the third quarter of 2020.

R. Kelly is Set to Face Trial in Chicago in September

The singer's federal trial for child pornography and obstruction charges has been moved to September 13, 2021. Originally scheduled to begin in April 2020, it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sesame Street Creates New Muppets for Rohingya Refugees

The two muppets are named Noor and Aziz and will be featured in programming run by the Sesame Workshop and shown in refugee camps. The characters will speak Rohingya, the language of the Rohingya Muslims who escaped ethnic cleansing in their native Myanmar.

Epstein Associate Charged with Rape of Minors in France

Former modeling agent Jean-Luc Brunel has been charged with rape of minors of the age of 15 and sexual harassment. The Epstein associate is also "under investigation on suspicion of human trafficking of minors for sexual exploitation." The indictment is the result of an inquiry opened by French prosecutors in 2019 to uncover potential offenses committed in France or against French victims in connection with the Epstein scandal.


Stimulus Bill Offers $15 Billion in Aid for Struggling Arts Venues

The coronavirus relief package that Congress passed on Monday includes $15 billion for music venue owners, theater producers, and cultural institutions impacted by the coronavirus. Entertainment businesses can apply for grants from the Small Business Administration "to support six months of payments to employees and for costs including rent, utilities and maintenance. Applicants must have lost at least 25 percent of their revenue to qualify and those that have lost more than 90 percent will be able to apply first."

Congress Approves New Museums Honoring Women and Latinos

Funding for two long-sought Smithsonian museums dedicated to the contributions of women and Latinos has been secured as part of the $2.3 trillion year-end spending bill. It is unclear where the museums will be located, given that the crowded National Mall may not be able to accommodate additional construction.

Trump Makes Classical Style the Default for Federal Buildings

President Trump signed an executive order that "establishes classical architecture as the preferred style for new federal buildings but stops short of banning newer designs from consideration." In addition to praising Greco-Roman architecture and describing Modernist designs as "ugly and inconsistent," the order also establishes a new selection process that will apply to the construction of federal courthouses and agency headquarters, and projects costing more than $50 million.

Star Trek and Dr. Seuss Mash-Up Not Protected Under the Fair Use Doctrine

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a book titled "Oh, the Places You'll Boldly Go!", which consisted of Start Trek characters inserted into the 1990 children's classic, was not protected from a copyright infringement claim and failed to meet the required standards for fair use, "partly because it was not a parody or otherwise transformative." The Court found that all of the fair use factors favored the plaintiff (the author's estate), and that the district court had erred in putting the burden on the plaintiff as to the fourth factor, the market harm element, given that fair use is an affirmative defense for defendants.


Actors and Writers Lobby for Congressional Support

Advocacy Group Be an #ArtsHero is lobbying Congress and pushing "to help shape legislative language so [pandemic relief] bills include relief to artists and workers, not just institutions." One of its founding members has also circulated an open letter to the U.S. Senate arguing that "cultural work is labor" and underlining the importance of the culture sector as a job creator.

Phishing Scam Targets Book Manuscripts

An international phishing scam is targeting authors, agents and editors by tricking them into sending unpublished book manuscripts, with no clear sign of what the motive is or who is profiting, and how. There have been no ransom demands and the manuscripts are not showing up on the black market. One of the leading theories in the publishing world is that this is being done by someone in the literary scouting community, who is familiar with insider lingo and the path a manuscript takes.

Sheldon Solow's Collection Faces Uncertain Future

The art world is waiting to see whether real estate tycoon Sheldon Solow's collection of paintings and sculptures, valued at $500 million, will be heading to a private museum or to auction. Solow amassed the collection over 50 years but was criticized in 2018 "for having benefited from the tax-exempt status his art foundation has held since 1991 while keeping the works in the collection largely inaccessible to the public."

A Legal Tug-of-War Over an Idyllic Work

After discovering the whereabouts of a looted Pissarro painting that belonged to her family, Leone Meyer brokered a compromise with a museum at the University of Oklahoma to rotate the painting between the university and a French museum. After finding it difficult to secure museums that would take on the liability of transporting the painting, Meyer is now seeking to change the agreement and permanently keep the painting in France. A judicial tribunal is Paris has ordered Meyer and the university to meet with mediators; a trial is scheduled in January "to hear Meyer's arguments for keeping the work in France, and a second hearing is set for March on whether to prohibit transport abroad."

Dutch Court Rules Against Jewish Heirs on a Claim for a Kandinsky Work

In a case seen as a litmus test for Dutch restitutions policy, the court ruled that the Stedelijk Museum can retain "Painting with Houses", a 1909 Kandinsky painting that it acquired during World War II. In making the order, the court upheld a decision of the Restitutions Commission, which has recently been criticized for its approach to claims for restitution involving art looted by the Nazis.


Michigan Appeals Court Upholds Larry Nassar Sentence

In a 2-1 decision, the state's Court of Appeals upheld Larry Nassar's 175-year prison sentence for sexual assault. Nassar is the former team doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State's athletic department. Nassar appealed the sentence on the basis that Judge Aquilina, who had handed down the sentence in January 2018, was biased against him during his sentencing hearing and in public comments she had made. Nassar's previous appeals of two other sentences were also unsuccessful. He is currently serving a 60-year prison sentence for child pornography

Former U.S. Attorney General Assisting National Football League Probe into Washington Football Team Owners' Dispute

Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch has joined the National Football League (NFL's) investigation into allegations of misconduct among owners of the Washington Football Team. The NFL is "in the midst of an arbitration involving a feud" between majority owner Dan Snyder and the team's minority owners, who have been attempting to sell their stakes in the team and alleged that Snyder violated their shareholder agreement in various ways.

U.S. Olympic Officials Considering Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccinations

CEO Sarah Hirshland said the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee was "focused on building a vaccine plan" but would not comment on a firm policy yet. The L.A. Times reports that the availability of the vaccine could influence the board's decision on whether to make coronavirus vaccinations mandatory for American athletes headed to the Tokyo Games. The International Olympic Committee, for its part, said that it would not require the vaccination of athletes, but did encourage it where possible.

Baseball Hall of Fame Tries to Contextualize Baseball's Racist Past

In an effort to contextualize its past, the museum will be adding new signs and displays to explain the legacy of some of its problematic inductees, while enhancing and renaming its exhibit on Black players in baseball.

Swiss Federal Court Sets Aside Chinese Swimmer's Eight-Year Doping Ban

The Swiss federal court upheld a challenge questioning the neutrality of one of the Court of Arbitration for Sport panelists. Lawyers for Sun Yang argued that former Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini, the chairman of the panel who had issued Sun's ban in February, had made comments on social media that included anti-Chinese sentiments. News media reports showed Twitter posts by Frattini that expressed disdain over examples of animal cruelty in China. The World Anti-Doping Agency said that it would retry the case.


Google Denies Claims of Antitrust Behavior in Early Response to U.S. Lawsuit

In its filing, the company takes the position that users turn to its online search engine because they choose to, not because they lack alternatives and are therefore forced to. Google is responding to antitrust claims, specifically that it "used agreements with device makers like Apple, Samsung and LG to make sure it was the default search engine on their phones ... [thus] preventing rival search products ... from growing."

Defamation Lawsuits Could Sink Right-Wing Media

Voting machine companies are threatening legal action against conservative media as they find themselves at the center of conspiracy theories about electoral fraud. One of these companies is demanding that the Fox News Channel, Newsmax, and OAN immediately clear its name and
"that they retain documents for a planned defamation lawsuit." The lawsuits pose a serious threat to OAN and Newsmax, which are vying to build "a giant new media company in the president's image."

Pulitzer Board Rescinds New York Times's 'Caliphate' Citation

The board announced it has stripped The New York Times of its finalist status after the newspaper reported that its podcast "Caliphate" and the related report, "The ISIS Files", did not meet its editorial standards for accuracy. A review found that the audio documentary "gave too much credence to the false or exaggerated account of one of its main subjects, Shehroze Chaudhry, a Canadian who claimed to have taken part in atrocities."

The Village Voice Rises from the Dead

The Village Voice, a "mainstay of independent journalism," ended its 63-year run in 2018. Brian Calle, the owner of LA Weekly, will revive the publication next month. It will include a website, a "comeback" print edition, and quarterly print issues.

Kansas City Star Apologizes for Racism in Decades of Reporting

The Kansas City newspaper issued a front-page apology for having "disenfranchised, ignored and scorned" generations of Black residents. Across 10 pages, it reflected on the ways in which it "had disregarded the city's civil rights struggle and had helped support racial segregation in housing." An advisory group has also been struck to help inform the newspaper's future coverage of communities of color.

President Trump Appointee Seeks to Cut Off Funding for Global Internet Access Group

The head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media is moving to defund the Open Technology Fund (OTF) partly "because of a dispute over whether the fund should support work done by the Falun Gong," a pro-Trump, anti-China movement. OTF develops tools that support internet access in places that tightly control access. Michael Pack cited various reasons for seeking to defund OTF and will make his final decision by January 19th, one day before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in.

With Alibaba Investigation, China Gets Tougher on Tech

The dynamic between the government and major tech companies is shifting in China as online giants have grown in power in recent years. The country's regulators have now opened an antitrust investigation into Alibaba; under China's antimonopoly law, a company can be fined a maximum of 10% of its sales from the previous years, which in Alibaba's case could amount to billions of dollars.

Number of Journalists Killed for Their Reporting Doubled in 2020

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 30 journalists were killed this year, 21 of whom were killed as a direct result of their work (compared to 10 in 2019). Deaths related to conflict fell, however, given waning violence in the Middle East and also as a result of fewer journalists travelling because of the pandemic.

Wuhan Citizen Journalist Faces Trial for Pandemic-Related Posts

In the first known case against a citizen journalist, Zhang Zhan will face trial for her coverage of the pandemic during lockdown. The government accuses her of spreading lies and "provoking trouble", and are seeking a sentence of four to five years in prison. Zhang's reporting undermined government efforts to censor information and her prosecution is seen to be part of a "continuing campaign to recast China's handling of the outbreak."

Pakistani Court Orders Release of Men Convicted in 2002 Killing of American Journalist Daniel Pearl

Even though earlier convictions had been overturned in April 2020, the men were rearrested and were still being held under a detention order that allows the government to hold terrorism suspects for up to three months. The court said that the continued detention was now illegal.

General News

Answering Trump, Democrats Try and Fail to Jam $2,000 Stimulus Payments Through House

The House majority leader asked for "unanimous consent to accede to President Trump's request for larger checks" but failed to pass it. Lawmakers had previously agreed to $600 direct payment checks, but President Trump suggested he would reject that compromise unless lawmakers raised the amount, leaving many Republican lawmakers divided over the proposal. As President Trump continues to criticize the $900 billion aid package and resists signing it, millions of Americans lost unemployment coverage as two federal programs run out of money.

Climate Change Legislation Included in Coronavirus Relief Deal

Two climate change-related measured were attached to the government spending and coronavirus relief package that was recently passed by Congress: one was to curtail the use of planet-warming chemicals found in air-conditioners and refrigerators, and the other to authorize millions in spending on wind, solar, and other clear power sources.

Biden Introduces Climate Team

In choosing Gina McCarthy as the head of a new White House Office of Climate Policy, Biden said that his climate change team is one that "prioritizes making clean energy jobs and environmental protection a cornerstone of his economic plans." The group includes Rep. Deb Haaland, who will lead the Department of the Interior, and Jennifer Granhold as the Energy secretary.

Biden Cabinet Leans Centrist, Leaving Some Liberals Frustrated

The article discusses president-elect Biden's personnel choices and describes them as being "pragmatic and largely centrist."

Reversal of Trump Border Policies Will Not Be Immediate

The incoming Biden administration announced that it would not immediately reverse border restrictions imposed by Trump, cautioning that it will take time to build capacity to process claims by asylum-seekers. The president-elect said a new border policy will not be in place for at least six months.

Trump's Failed Crusade Debunks GOP's Case for Voting Restrictions

Despite courts finding no evidence of widespread election fraud, efforts to roll back voting rights persist and are fueled by the myth of stolen elections. For example, allegations that people "double voted" have been used to justify stricter voter identification laws and the claim that non-citizens cast illegal votes is being used to argue for new "proof of citizenship" requirements for voter registration. The defeats in the courts will likely not change "the trajectory of the ongoing efforts to restrict voting that have been core to conservative politics since the disputed 2020 election."

Trump Grants Mining and Energy Firms Access to Public Lands

The Trump administration is quickly approving a number of corporate projects on federal lands in what is an intense push by the Interior Department to increase domestic energy and mining production.

Trump Contradicts Pompeo Over Russia's Role in Hack

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo characterized the latest hack of the federal government as a cybersecurity attack by Russia, while the president downplayed the severity of the attack and suggested it might have been China.

Trump Pardons Two Russia Inquiry Figures and Four Blackwater Guards

Among those pardoned by the president are two people who pleaded guilty in the special counsel's Russia Inquiry (George Papadopoulos and Alex van der Zwaan), as well as "four former U.S. service members who were convicted on charges related to the killing of Iraqi civilians while working as contractors for Blackwater in 2007." Trump has already pardoned Michael Flynn, his first national security adviser, Jared Kushner's father, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and commuted Roger Stone's sentence.

Court Extends Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Term

In a rarely used power, the Federal District Court in Manhattan formally appointed Audrey Strauss as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Strauss was the acting head of the Southern District after Trump removed Geoffrey Berman from the post. Her term was set to expire a few days before the Trump administration ends, and her appointment is seen to be a "stabilizing force when the chief judge and the unanimous court" endorsed her appointment.

New York Judges File Age Discrimination Lawsuits in Response to Forced Retirements

New York City judges are being forced to retire to close a pandemic budget gap. The State's retirement age for judges is 70, but judges can apply to continue serving in two-year increments until they are 76, although many are being denied. These developments have prompted 10 New York judges to launch lawsuits against the state's chief judge and an administrative board that voted unanimously to let older judges go. They cite age discrimination and argue that the state violated a requirement to consider applications individually.

Critics say that the decision will mean New York City will lose a high number of experienced judges "at a time when the system is already struggling with backlogs created by the pandemic," with certain boroughs being affected more than others.

Alex Padilla Will Replace Kamala Harris in the Senate

California Governor Gavin Newsom selected Padilla to serve the final two years of Kamala Harris's term. Padilla will be the first Latino senator to represent the state.

Misinformation Amplifiers Target Georgie Senate Races

Conservative media personalities spreading baseless rumors of election fraud are focusing their efforts on Georgia's two special elections next month. The messaging is aimed at discrediting the outcome of the November election and convincing Georgia voters that voting fraud is being perpetrated in the state.

Push Underway to Rename Jefferson Davis Avenue in Alabama

An effort is underway to rename Jeff Davis Avenue after Fred Gray, long-time civil rights lawyer who defended Rosa Parks and who grew up on the street that continues to "serve as a reminder that the quest for racial equality is far from over."

William Barr Sees No Reason for Special Counsels for Hunter Biden and Election

Attorney General Barr broke with the president in saying that he saw no reason to appoint special counsels to oversee the Justice Department's criminal investigation into Biden's son, or to investigate claims of widespread voter fraud. It remains to be seen whether Barr's replacement, who will lead the department on an acting basis for a few weeks, will take a different approach.

MacKenzie Scott Upends Philanthropy, Giving Away $6 Billion This Year

Following her divorce from Jeff Bezos, Mackenzie Scott has donated approximately $10 billion from her fortune of Amazon shares. Her practices are non-traditional - she disburses money quickly, without much fanfare and without reporting requirements, the latter of which many underfunded non-profits find burdensome.

Britain and the European Union Reach Landmark Deal on Brexit

After months of negotiations, Britain and the European Union (EU) have reached a trade deal that still needs to be ratified by the British and European Parliaments. Britain had previously agreed to continue abiding by EU rules and regulations until the end of the year, to avoid disruption to business and cross-Channel trade.

Coronavirus Update

U.S. Employers Can Require Workers to Get COVID-19 Vaccine

Guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces workplace laws, says that "employers can require workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine and bar them from the workplace if they refuse." The EEOC said that the administration of a vaccine does not fit the definition of medical examinations that an employer can be prohibited from administering under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Disadvantaged Students More Likely to Be Learning Online

Research from Columbia University found that "closed classrooms were disproportionately composed of nonwhite students" and students with lower testing scores, and suggested that remote learning will widen the achievement gap as disadvantaged students lack the support that remote learning requires.

Mexico is First Latin American Country with Vaccination Program

The country started administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to health care workers this week and will continue to do so over the next two months, before moving on to other at-risk populations.

Concerns About Coronavirus Mutation Push Europe to Isolate U.K.

Poorer Nations at Back of the Line for the Vaccine

How China Censored Bad News About COVID-19

Internal directives and reports show how government officials controlled digital media content in the early days of the pandemic, including censoring information about Dr. Li, the ophthalmologist who first warned of the viral outbreak. Directives also required news sites to avoid sharing negative news about the virus and to downplay reports of donations or purchases of medical supplies from abroad, which would risk disrupting China's procurement efforts in bringing in vast amounts of PPE.

About Coronavirus

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