By Donyale Reavis Edited by Elissa D. Hecker
Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Technology/Media, and General News:
2021 in Jazz: Intimacy and Conversation
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, jazz's flexibility has become an asset. On this week's Popcast, a conversation about how the pandemic is continuing to shape the world of jazz recordings, how the genre revives its heroes and also some promising new artists.
After a Star's Killing, Sweden Struggles With 'Gangster Rap'
Hip-hop, the country's most popular music, has quickly become a lightning rod for Sweden's long-roiling problems with gun violence and gang warfare.
Freelance Writer Accuses The Atlantic of Defamation
A lawsuit by Ruth Shalit Barrett centers on the magazine's retraction of her article in 2020 about wealthy parents seeking Ivy League admissions for their children through sports. Barrett was the author of "The Mad, Mad World of Niche Sports," an investigative article about wealthy Connecticut parents pursuing Ivy League admissions for their children through various athletic endeavors. The Atlantic published the article online in October 2020 and in its November 2020 print issue. After questions were raised by The Washington Post's media critic, Erik Wemple, The Atlantic took the highly unusual step of retracting the entire article. In a lengthy editor's note, the outlet said that "new information" had emerged that cast doubt on the accuracy of the article and the "trustworthiness" of Barrett. The Atlantic also said that Barrett had encouraged a source to lie to its fact checkers and noted details about Barrett's background, including plagiarism accusations against her in the 1990s when she was a reporter at The New Republic.
Freelance Reporter for The New York Times Is Put on Trial in Zimbabwe
The reporter, Jeffrey Moyo, has been accused of helping two Times journalists enter Zimbabwe from South Africa using bogus credentials, a charge that even the government admits is on 'shaky ground.'
Maya Angelou Becomes First Black Woman on a Quarter
The coins featuring the writer and poet, which began shipping this week, are the first in a series that will commemorate female pioneers in a variety of fields.
Selling Melania Trump, One NFT at a Time
A year after leaving the White House, the former first lady tests the water for her brand. On Jan. 11, not quite a year after Donald and Melania Trump left the White House and less than a week after the anniversary of the attack on the Capitol that took place in his name, four years or so after putting her trademarks on ice and shuttering her QVC jewelry line and her skin-care line, Melania Trump returned to the public eye with a new kind of personal brand and accompanying merch.
Rubin Museum Agrees to Return Stolen Religious Artifacts to Nepal
An investigation launched by the New York cultural institution concluded that the 14th- and 17th-century carvings were "unlawfully obtained."
$1.2M Antiquity Seized From Michael Steinhardt Returned to the People of Libya
The return of "Veiled Head of a Female," a marble antiquity dating back to 350 B.C.E valued at approximately $1,200,000, to the people of Libya occurred this week. In December 2021, the Manhattan D.A.'s Office concluded a multi-year, multi-national criminal investigation into Michael Steinhardt, one of the world's largest ancient art collectors, seizing 180 stolen antiquities valued at $70 million and imposing a first-of-its-kind lifetime ban on acquiring antiquities. The Veiled Head of a Female is the first object of that collection to be repatriated to its country of origin.
The Founder of Netscape Has Returned $35 Million Worth of Looted Cambodian Antiquities
Netscape founder James H. Clark has surrendered 35 Southeast Asian antiquities from his personal collection after federal investigators determined they had been looted. Twenty-eight were from Cambodia and the rest from India, Myanmar, and Thailand. Clark purchased the pieces for roughly $35 million between 2003 and 2008 from the disgraced dealer Douglas Latchford. Long considered a leading Cambodian art scholar, Latchford was later alleged to have operated a smuggling enterprise for decades, trafficking systemically looted antiquities through Thailand, where he lived. By the time he died, in 2020, he was facing charges of trafficking Southeast Asian antiquities.
Supreme Court to Hear Case of Coach Who Lost His Job Over Postgame Prayers
A federal appeals court ruled that a school board in Washington State could require the coach to stop praying at the 50-yard line after high school football games. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case about the high school football coach who lost his job after defying school administrators by kneeling and praying at the 50-yard line after his team's games. The coach, Joseph A. Kennedy, said the actions of school board officials in Bremerton, Wash., violated his rights to free speech and free exercise of religion. The officials responded that the school was entitled to require that its employees refrain from public prayer.
Bob Baffer and Churchill Downs Appeared Headed to Courtroom
Bob Baffert and the owner of Churchill Downs racetrack are squaring off for what is shaping up to be a pivotal courtroom battle over the company's 2-year ban of the Hall of Fame trainer following a positive drug test by his charge, Medina Spirit, the winner of last year's Kentucky Derby. It's not clear when the battle will be joined, but New York Times racing writer Joe Drape reported this week that he had obtained a copy of "a wide-ranging draft complaint" that Baffert's legal team is threatening to file against Churchill Downs Inc., the owner of its namesake racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky, and many other gambling enterprises.
On Her Way Up: Yankees Tap Woman as Minor League Manager
Having served as a hitting coach in the team's system, Rachel Balkovec, 34, will be the first woman to manage a team in affiliated baseball. Balkovec will become the manager of a team in the Yankees' minor league system, the Tampa Tarpons. The Yankees hired her in November 2019 as a hitting coach in their minor leagues. She was believed to be the first woman hired as a full-time hitting instructor by a Major Leage team.
Florida Name, Image, and Likeness Rules Draw Lawsuit From High School, College Players
With college athletes now enjoying opportunities to profit from their names, images and likenesses (NIL), it was only a matter of time before high school athletes sought the same chance. In a lawsuit filed in Miami, Sal Stewart, a third baseman at Westminster Christian School in Florida, and Gilbert Frierson, a safety/linebacker at the University of Miami, are challenging a Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) bylaw that prohibits high school athletes from "capitalizing on athletic fame." They also contest a restriction in Florida's NIL statute that disallows NIL deals that last beyond a player's competing in college.
Alabama Lawmakers Move to Repeal State's 2021 NIL Law
The lawmaker who last year pushed a state law to allow college athletes to be compensated whenever their NIL is used in promotional material is now trying to undo it. Sponsor Rep. Kyle South, R-Fayette, told Alabama Daily News, "We were thinking that the NCAA last year was going to go in one direction and they ended up adopting basically a different rule that was kind of a blanket for everybody. And it left us in a place where our state law was more restrictive than what the NCAA adopted."
As WNBA Players Call for Expansion, League Says Not Now
Many players and fans want bigger rosters and more teams, but the WNBA said it can't "expand for expansion's sake" without the money to support it.
How the 'Djokovic Affair' Finally Came to an End, Losing Visa Appeal
Novak Djokovic lost to a government with powerful laws that was determined to make an example out of him. He continues to be at the center of some of the most divisive debates of the pandemic: Individual versus community, science versus quackery. Djokovic has left Australia on an Emirates flight to Dubai, hours after he lost a legal challenge against a decision to revoke his visa. The world No. 1 ranked player had been scheduled to play Monday night in the Australian Open, where he had hoped to ultimately win a record-breaking 21st men's grand slam title. Djokovic, as well as Switzerland's Roger Federer and Spain's Rafael Nadal, are all currently tied with 20 grand slam titles. Nadal, seeded sixth, will be participating in the Australian Open, though Federer will not.
Take-Two will buy Zynga In a Union of Two Top Game Makers
The video game publisher Take-Two Interactive agreed on Monday to buy Zynga, a mobile game maker, for more than $11 billion, in a deal that unites the makers of Grand Theft Auto and FarmVille. With the deal, Take-Two -- known for producing games like Grand Theft Auto and NBA 2K for traditional platforms like the Sony PlayStation console and personal computers -- is acquiring a specialist in mobile and social gaming, with Zynga's best-known titles including Words With Friends and other apps.
Judge Allows Federal Trade Commission's Latest Suit Against Facebook to Move Forward
The Federal Trade Commission's antitrust lawsuit against Facebook can proceed, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday, delivering a major win for the agency after its first attempt at targeting the company's alleged monopoly power was dismissed for lack of evidence.
This time, however, the judge found that federal regulators have offered enough proof to argue that Facebook's acquisition strategy -- particularly its takeover of Instagram and WhatsApp -- is driven by a "buy or bury" ethos. In other words, that Facebook allegedly gobbles up competitors in order to maintain an illegal monopoly.
Google Must Turn Over More Documents in a Labor Case
The ruling is the latest legal blow to Google's defense against a complaint that said the company illegally fired and surveilled employees who were involved in labor organizing.
Google's Chief Executive Signed off on Deal at Center of Antitrust Case, States Say
Google's chief executive approved an agreement with Facebook at the heart of an antitrust lawsuit that 16 states and Puerto Rico have lodged against the search giant, according to a portion of the complaint. The lawsuit, led by the Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, argues that Google has obtained and abused a monopoly over the network of technology used to deliver ads online.
State Attorneys General Appeal Court's Dismissal of Their Facebook Antitrust Suit
The appeal will be a test of state attorneys' general ability to play a larger role in tech regulation. A coalition of 48 attorneys general, led by NYS's AG Letitia James filed an appeal on Friday arguing that a federal judge erred in dismissing their high-profile antitrust case against Facebook.
Jan. 6 Panel Subpoenas Reddit, Twitter, and Parent Companies of Google and Facebook
The Committee says that the social-media companies' responses to prior requests for information were inadequate. The Committee issued subpoenas after receiving what it called inadequate responses to its prior requests for information. The Committee is demanding records related to the spread of misinformation, efforts to overturn the 2020 election, domestic extremism, and foreign influence in the 2020 election.
Jack Dorsey Creates a Fund to Address Bitcoin Developers' 'legal headaches'
Jack Dorsey has announced the creation of a nonprofit group, the Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund, to help developers of the original cryptocurrency facing "legal headaches." In an email sent to the developers' mailing list, Dorsey, a Bitcoin evangelist, wrote that "litigation and continued threats are having their intended effect; individual defendants have chosen to capitulate in the absence of legal support."
Avenatti Files Claim Seeking $94 Million for Alleged Mistreatment in Federal Custody
Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who became known for his representation of adult film actress Stormy Daniels and battle with former President Donald Trump, alleges in a new filing with the Federal Bureau of Prisons that he was mistreated while in federal custody in retaliation for his criticisms of Trump and former Attorney General William Barr. Avenatti is seeking $94 million from the United States, or $1 million for each day he says he was held in solitary confinement or lockdown. He alleges under the Federal Tort Claims Act that the federal government is liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment and false arrest, among other acts, while he was held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan in 2020.
Why Did Facebook Reject These Ads?
A new report found that the social network has rejected ads from 60 companies focused on women's sexual health, citing policies on "adult products and services."
Russia Says It Shut Down Notorious Hacker Group at U.S. Request
Moscow said that the ransomware group REvil "ceased to exist" after raids and arrests. It is not clear if the operation will ease tensions with Washington. Russia's main security agency said that at the request of the United States government it had dismantled REvil, one of the most aggressive ransomware crime groups attacking Western targets, and arrested some of its members.
Buying Influence: How China Manipulates Facebook and Twitter
China's government has launched a global online campaign to burnish its image and undercut accusations of human rights abuses. Flooding social media with fake accounts and seeking out online critics of the state, the Chinese government is aggressively tapping private businesses to generate conduct on demand.
Cambodia's Internet May Soon Be Like China's: State-Controlled
Under a new decree, all web traffic will be routed through a government portal. The ramped-up scrutiny reflects an increasingly restrictive digital environment in Cambodia, where a new law will allow the authorities to monitor all web traffic in the country. Critics say that the decree puts Cambodia on a growing list of countries that have embraced China's authoritarian model of internet surveillance, from Vietnam to Turkey, and that it will deepen the clash over the future of the web.
Nigeria Lifts Twitter Ban 7 Months After Site Deleted President's Post
The Nigerian Government says that Twitter has agreed to conditions on management of unlawful content and to register in Nigeria. Nigeria has lifted a ban on Twitter, restoring access to millions of users, 7 months after it clamped down on the social media site in a dispute over Twitter's decision to delete a post by the president.The government said that the company had agreed to its conditions on the management of unlawful content, to registering its operations in Nigeria, and to a new tax arrangement.
Justices Reverse Vaccine Mandates On Big Employers
The Supreme Court upheld the stay of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration's (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard requiring employers of 100 or more employees (Large Employers) to implement a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, or in the alternative, a weekly COVID-19 testing requirement (Vax or Test ETS). By upholding the stay, the Supreme Court effectively blocked OSHA from further enforcing the Vax or Test ETS, pending further litigation and a determination on the merits as to whether OSHA has the authority to promulgate the standard. As a result, Large Employers are temporarily relieved from implementing the requirements of the federal Vax or Test ETS. However, employers may continue to be subject to COVID-19 vaccination or testing requirements under state and/or local law and may implement their own vaccination or testing policies subject to restrictions of applicable state or local law. In a separate opinion, the Court issued a decision upholding the vaccine mandate issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, meaning that employers who are providers of healthcare services under Medicare and Medicaid must ensure that covered workers are vaccinated against COVID-19.