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Week In Review

By Darby Daly Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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


Will Smith Slaps Chris Rock at Oscars, Shocks Viewers

Leading up to the 2022 94th Academy Awards ceremony, there was a significant amount of buzz surrounding the possibility of Will Smith finally earning the renowned "Best Actor" award for his performance in King Richard. During what should have been the highlight of his career, Smith drastically changed the tone for the evening when he unexpectedly stormed the stage to hit comedian Chris Rock after Rock made a joke about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Not long after this distressing incident, Smith was awarded the "Best Actor" award. During his speech, Smith emphasized that he was the "protector" and "defender" of his family and loved ones. Smith apologized to the Academy, but noticeably left out any apologies to Rock. Smith also emotionally explained to the audience that he was a "vessel for love." Smith's speech seemed to leave viewers with more questions than answers, and the most distinguished moment in his career was completely overshadowed by his seemingly out of character behavior. Smith has spent decades radiating boundless liability. His family has become known for sharing therapy sessions online. His attack of Rock at the Oscars has complicated all of that. Smith also resigned from the Academy.

Ukraine's Most Famous Living Composer is Now a Refugee

As Russia's war against Ukraine intensified, Valentint Silvestrov, 84, fled to Germany and has become a musical spokesman for his country. Like millions of Ukrainians, he has been turned into a refugee by the conflict: Over three days in early March, he and his family made their way by bus from their home in Kyiv to Lviv, and from there across Poland to Berlin, where he is now sheltering.

The Lyrics and the Sentence

Tommy Munsdwell Canady has found solace in writing rap lyrics since he was in middle school - the art form helped him mentally recover after two of his cousins were killed. In the summer of 2014, Canady released a song on SoundCloud, known as "I'm Out Here", that consequently changed his life.

In Racine, Wis., where Canady lived, the police had been searching for suspects in three recent shootings. One of the victims, Sémar McClain, 19, had been found dead in an alley with a bullet in his temple, his pocket turned out, a cross in one hand and a gold necklace with a pendant of Jesus' face by his side. The crime scene investigation turned up no fingerprints, weapons or eyewitnesses. Then, in early August, McClain's stepfather contacted the police about a song he'd heard on SoundCloud that he believed mentioned Mr. McClain's name and referred to his murder. Nearly a week after the release of Canady's song, "I'm Out Here," a SWAT team entered his home with a no-knock search warrant, where they arrested him with first-degree intentional homicide and armed robbery. Canady knew he was innocent and ultimately rejected the plea deal in order to fight for his freedom.

At Canady's trial in 2016, prosecutors presented evidence that was largely circumstantial. But no witness or physical evidence placed Mr. Canady at the crime scene. Canady explained to his attorney that his lyrics had been misheard, which led his lyrics to play a key role in proving his fate.

Unfortunately for Canady, the jurors found him guilty, sentencing Canady to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 50 years. Canady has challenged the decision and his case is now awaiting an appeal. This case is but one example of many where rap lyrics have been used to convict defendants.


Supreme Court to Hear Copyright Fight Overy Andy Warhol's Images of Prince

The justices will decide whether the artist's reliance on a photograph of the musician was copyright infringement or protected as a new, transformative work. The case will test the scope of the fair use defense to copyright infringement and how to assess if a new work based on an older one meaningfully transformed it. The black-and-white image that Warhol used was taken in 1981 by Lynn Goldsmith, a prominent photographer whose work has appeared on more than 100 album covers, including Prince's infamous album "Purple Rain".

Cuomo Sues to Block Effort to Seize His Book Profits The lawsuit is the latest example of former governor Andrew Cuomo's aggressive stance as he returns to public life seven months after resigning as New York's governor. In his lawsuit, Cuomo contends that the New York's Ethics Commission's efforts to force him to turn over the proceeds of a $5.1 million book deal were a violation of his constitutional rights.

Yale Museum Surrenders Items as Part of Art Looting Investigation

The 13 artifacts, valued at more than $1 million and all from South Asia, were given to investigators who say that some of them are linked to an accused antiquities smuggler. Yale acknowledged the seizure with a posting on the museum's website that said it had delivered the items to the Manhattan district attorney's office, which is conducting the investigation in tandem with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations.

The World Trade Center as an Art Studio

Silver Art Projects, in its third year at 4 World Trade Center, is one of the programs that provides emerging New York artists with free studio space. Now it's adding an executive director.

British Museum to Remove Sackler Name From its Walls

The decision comes just months after the Metropolitan Museum of Art said that it would remove the family's name from seven exhibition spaces, making it the latest major cultural institution to cut ties with the family over its role in the opioid crisis. The decision comes almost four months after the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York reached a similar joint agreement with the Sackler family to remove its name from several exhibition spaces, including the wing that houses the Temple of Dendur.


Women's Basketball Undervalued by NCAA

The NCAA had to confront its inequitable handling of its Division I women's tournament. This year, the women are enjoying an endorsement windfall. As the March Madness tournament took over Spokane, Washington, it reflected a stark difference between last year's tournament, which had such little advertisement that many were unaware the event was taking place.

This year's tournament in Spokane showcased the greatness on display in what was the first NCAA women's tournament to feature 68 teams, like the men, and to use the March Madness branding. After one of the women's players exposed the poor conditions of the women's tournament in comparison to the men's tournament last year, it appears that the increased amount of attention for the issue sparked a significant response to the tournament's conditions.

Besides the signage, the women this year are supposed to be receiving everything the men do in regard to food and swag bags. While these changes provide the women with more equality, it's concerning to think about how these changes are only coming about 50 years after the passage of Title IX. The increased awareness of the lack of equality has at least helped the women's March Madness tournament this year become much more renowned.

Next Battleground in College Sports: How to Divide Millions

The NCAA has made improvements to its women's basketball tournament. Now coaches want to see the industry overhaul a system that pays conferences nothing when women's teams win games. The disparity within the NCAA's financial arrangements has existed for decades, with the association awarding "units" that, over time, turn into millions of dollars as teams reach and then advance in the men's event. Now the system's future is the subject of an intensifying debate inside the college sports industry, which attracted a public furor and congressional scrutiny after players at last year's men's tournament received better amenities and facilities than the athletes who competed in the women's event.

Hochul Negotiates Terms for a New Stadium for Buffalo Bills

Governor Kathy Hochul announced terms of negotiation for new Buffalo Bills stadium, but some New Yorkers see such spending of taxpayer dollars as wasteful. The total cost of the stadium comes down to $1.4 billion - Hochul's negotiations ended with the agreement that New York State is to pay $850 million in taxpayers dollars, with $250 million of that specifically coming from the taxpayers residing in Erie County. The remainder of the construction costs will reportedly be provided by a loan from the National Football League and money from the teams' owners.

The negotiations reflect the governor's desire to keep the team in Western New York during an election year, as well as the state's unusually rosy fiscal picture: Instead of facing billions of dollars in projected deficits, New York is currently awash in federal funds. The stadium will be beneficial to New York state for a variety of reasons, as it will host soccer games, concerts, and other events, in addition to Bills games.


The Far Right's Go-to Video Site, Rumble, has High Ambitions

The company, supported by former President Donald Trump, Peter Thiel, and other prominent conservatives, wants to help build a "new internet" independent from Silicon Valley's titans. The far-right online shows were taken down in the fall of 2020 after the major social media and tech companies started purging accounts that spread the QAnon conspiracy theory.

For Meta Workers, Rules of Way Keep Shifting

The rules over what war content is permitted on Facebook and Instagram keep changing, causing internal confusion within the company. Last week, Meta, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram, took an unusual step: it suspended some of the quality controls that ensure that posts from users in Russia, Ukraine and other Eastern European countries meet its rules.

Under the change, Meta temporarily stopped tracking whether its workers who monitor Facebook and Instagram posts from those areas were accurately enforcing its content guidelines because the workers could not keep up with shifting rules about what kinds of posts were allowed about the war in Ukraine.

When Nokia Pulled Out of Russia, a Vast Surveillance System Remained

The Finnish company played a key role in enabling Russia's cyberspying, documents show, raising questions of corporate responsibility. Nokia said this month that it would stop its sales in Russia and denounced the invasion of Ukraine. However, the Finnish company didn't mention what it was leaving behind: equipment and software connecting the government's most powerful tool for digital surveillance to that nation's largest telecommunications network.

Linkedin Pulled an Ad Favoring Black Hires. Then Brazil Protested.

After Brazilian activists fought Linkedin for removing job ads that sought Black and Indigenous candidates, the company changed its global policy. The company, which is owned by Microsoft, said it had learned from the experience in Brazil and changed its global policy to allow job listings that explicitly pursue candidates who are "members of groups historically disadvantaged in hiring."

General News

Lynching Bill Finally Gets a Signature, Biden Happy to Sign

President Biden's signature ended more than 100 years of failed efforts by the federal government to specifically outlaw lynching. Last Tuesday, Biden signed a bill that made lynching a federal crime - for the first time explicitly criminalizing this act. Upon signing the bill, President Biden stated, "Lynching was pure terror to enforce the lie that...not everyone belongs in America, not everyone is created equal." State Department Will Allow Americans to Mark their Gender as "X" on Passports

The change is aimed at privding transgender, nonbinary or gender-nonconformig Americans a way to accurately identify themselves. The Biden administration announced several measures intended to make federal forms of identification, applications for federal programs, and travel documents more inclusive for Americans who identify as transgender or nonbinary, or who otherwise do not conform to traditional gender roles. One long-awaited change will give Americans the option of indicating their gender with an "X" on passports starting April 11th.

Federal Judge Signals That Trump Committed Crimes

"The illegality of the plan was obvious," the judge wrote in a civil case. Separately, the January 6th panel voted to recommend contempt of Congress charges for two former Trump aides. Trump has not been charged with any crime, and although the judge's ruling had no immediate, practical legal effect on him, it essentially ratified the committee's argument that Trump's efforts to block Congress from certifying Biden's Electoral College victory could well rise to the level of a criminal conspiracy.

Arizona Passes Proof-of-Citizenship Law for Voting in Presidential Elections

Voting rights groups said that the legislation signed into law by Gov. Dough Ducey, a Republican, could prevent tens of thousands of people from voting for president. The law would require voters to prove their citizenship in order to vote in a presidential election, and it swiftly drew a legal challenge from voting rights activists. It also requires newly registered voters to provide a proof of address, which could have a disproportionate impact on students, older voters who no longer drive, low-income voters, and Native Americans.

DeSantis Signs Florida Bill That Opponents Call "Don't Say Gay"

The law has drawn criticism from the White House, Disney employees, and Hollywood. The governor dismissed opponents as "woke". Republican governor Ron DeSantis of Florida signed legislation that prohibits classroom instruction and discussion about sexual orientation and gender identity in some elementary school grades, a law that opponents have referred to as "Don't Say Gay". DeSantis said of the bill, "We will make sure that parents can send their kids to school to get an education, not an indoctrination."

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