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Week In Review

By Kajon Pompey

Edited by Elissa D. Hecker


Entertainment

Hollywood Directors Reach Deal

The deal includes improvements in wages and boundaries around the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The agreement prevents a complete Hollywood showdown where the three major unions are all on strike at the same time.


Writers’ Strike Summary

The union authorized a strike for actors in the film and television industry. The current agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers expires on June 30th. What are the 160,000+ writers and actors want higher wages, increased residual payments for their work—especially for streaming platforms, and more.


New Cosby Assault Charges Stemming from 1969

Bill Cosby is back in the news for sexually assaulting a woman more than 50 years ago. The new case is filed under a new California law that temporarily lifts the statute of limitations in sexual assault cases. Victoria Valentino, 80, accuses Cosby of assaulting her after she and a friend met him for a meal.


Roger Waters Under Scrutiny

The U.S. State Department has condemned musician Roger Waters, calling his most recent concert in Berlin antisemitic. The State Department has accused the artist of having a long track record of using antisemitic tropes. The Berlin concert is said to have contained offensive Nazi imagery.


Cuba Gooding Jr. Settles Rape Case

Gooding pleaded guilty last year to a single charge from an allegation of unwanted kissing. He has had a long history of forcibly violating women’s spaces and bodies. The current case stems back from 2013, when Gooding had drinks with a woman and then allegedly raped her. Gooding denies the allegations.


Arts

Jack Daniels

The U.S. Supreme Court held that an alleged trademark infringer that used a similar or identical trademark of Jack Daniels’s label, logo, and shape of bottle for a dog toy, will be unable to avoid a likelihood confusion analysis by arguing that its infringement is expressive, a parody, and thereby protected by the First Amendment.


AI and Classical Music

AI has taken the entertainment industry by storm with countless worries. Recently, classical music has entered the chat, where AI’s rapid development has composers both concerned and intrigued. Realtime Audio Variational autoencoder, or R.A.V.E., the neural audio synthesis algorithm, is a machine learning tool that musicians can use to synthesize voices and create music.


Arts Center at Ground Zero

Two decades after the 2003 master plan to include a cultural component at Ground Zero, Michael Bloomberg has given $130 million to the arts center that is set to open in September. The official name of the $500 million center is the Perelman Performing Arts Center.


New York City v. Queens Library Architects

New York City filed a lawsuit claiming that the Queens library violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. This library is “lauded as one of the most stunning public buildings in New York”, however, it contains many obstacles for disabled users. New York city officials are now suing the designers for $10 million, which they claim will be the price to fix it. Among other limitations, the library has a staircase that runs from the lobby to the second floor, and it is the only way to access three areas that have built-in desks and charging stations, the restrooms do not have enough space for wheelchairs, and the children’s reading area cannot accommodate wheelchairs. The Queens Library is countering with its claim that New York City signed off on all plans prior to and during construction.


Prisoners taking Dance Classes

Embodied Narrative Healing is one of the first prison art classes to focus on dance. The California Institution for Men rehearse and perform for invited guests. Arts programs have seen some level of expansion since 2013, with programs in all state facilities since 2017, and dance is proven to relieve tension, frustration, and aggression.


Hong Kong Grants Justice to Activism

In a rare victory for media, journalists, and documentarians, the city’s top court overturned a conviction of a prominent reporter who had produced a documentary that was critical of the police. This investigator is known for producing investigative documentaries examining police conduct, specifically in 2019.


“Glory to Homg Kong”

Hong Kong seeks to ban the song “Glory to Hong Kong”, which was popularized during pro-democracy protests in 2019. Hong Kong wants to the ban the song from schools and potentially in public settings. The government demanded an investigation into the song’s use when it was accidently played at a rugby match in South Korea. Hong Kong seeks to stop all political dissent.


Sports

LIV Golf and PGA Tour Merger

The merger of LIV Gold and the PGA Tour is a big win for Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The under-the-wraps agreement came as a surprise to most, with the exception of the few who were involved with the negotiations.


Media/ Technology

ChatGPT Lawyer Caught

The lawyer who erroneously relied on AI to draft a motion is deeply embarrassed. In his response to a threat of sanctions, he stated that he created a legal brief that was filled with fake judicial opinions and legal citations, all generated by ChatGPT, which he mistakenly thought could be used like a legal search engine. The underlying suit involves a man who sued the Avianca airline claiming that he was injured when a metal serving cart struck his knee during a 2019 flight from El Salvador to New York. Avianca sought to have the case dismissed and in defense, the lawyer responded with a 10-page legal brief citing many court decisions that neither the plaintiff nor the court could locate. When ordered to submit the cases to the court, the cases could not be found, because they did not exist.


Trump Seeks to Stop Carroll’s Second Suit

Former President Trump seeks to stop E. Jean Carroll’s second defamation lawsuit on the belief that he could not have defamed her by denying her rape accusation because the jury had found him liable for only sexually abusing her. The jury found Trump liable for the lesser charge of rape. Not only did Trump deny the accusation and claim that it is a lie he also told the media that she was not his type.


Reporters Attacked for Sexual Assault Investigation

Attacks on journalists internationally have become common. Libel lawsuits are also on the rise and often used to punish smaller news organizations for aggressive coverage and to deter others from uncovering the truth. For example, a journalist in New Hampshire published an investigation into the alleged sexual misconduct by the founder of that state’s largest network of addiction rehabilitation centers. Her house was attacked two days after refusing to take down the article. Her parents’ home was also attacked.


Crypto Crackdown

The S.E.C. is seeking to require crypto exchanges to abide by the same rules as traditional stock and bond exchanges. The agency has filed charges against Binance and Coinbase for violating securities laws. They are accused of selling digital assets that the S.E.C. believes should have been registered. Coinbase has been accused of operating as an unregistered broker, while Binance has been accused of funneling billions of dollars of customer money to a company separately owned by the Binance owner.


Gannett Journalists Walkout

Hundreds of journalists for Gannett, the country’s largest newspaper chain, walked off the job last Monday, accusing its CEO of “decimating” its local newsrooms. The company oversees many news outlets. Since the recent CEO’s appointment, journalists believe that he made many questionable decisions, such as acquiring another news company and saddling the organization with more debt, receiving a drastic increase in compensation, from 2021 to 2022, which they claim is far too high, given the company shedding jobs and its depressed wages.


The TikTok Data Protection Saga Ensues

Senators Marsha Blackburn and Richard Blumenthal have accused TikTok executives of making misleading statements to Congress about how it stores and handles data—who has access to it in China. TikTok has by the end of next week to reply to the list of questions.


Khan Academy and A.I. Meet

AI has entered the learning portal. Students at Khan Academy, an independent school located in Palo Alto, Cali., are using an experimental AI tutor with the hopes of providing access to personal tutoring and additional free time for teacher and student connections.


Prince Harry’s Day in Court

Prince Harry receives his retribution where he takes on the tabloids that hounded him for years and even hacked his phone. He is the first senior royal to testify in court since 1891.


Thailand Activists and Critics Sued for Defamation

Thailand companies and people in position of power often use libel suits to punish and intimidate activists and critics. When a Thai activist knew that a poultry company violated labor laws and shared an employee’s labor conditions on Twitter back in 2017, the poultry company retaliated against the activist by suing her for defamation and libel. While that case ended with the activist being found not guilty in 2020, another case began when her colleague at a human rights organization spoke up for her on Twitter and then faced the defamation and libel charges by the same poultry company. These actions show just how threatened companies are by any form of backlash they face on social media platforms, and how they can use their power to try and silence activists.


Iran Puts Journalists on Trial

Another country has taken a stand against its activists for doing their jobs and reporting the news. Two female journalists who covered some of the first reports of the death of a young woman in police custody for violated the country’s strict Islamic dress code remain in prison.


General News

SCOTUS Rejects Alabama Voting Map

Voting rights have been one the most talked about issues of this decade and the highest court has just provided voting rights advocates a win—a surprise decision ruled that Alabama diluted the power of Black votes in a Congressional voting map.


TRUMP V. AMERICAN JUSTICE

Former President Donald J. Trump has a new case of criminal charges lodged against him. This is the first time in U.S. history when a former president has been federally indicted. Many of Trump’s allies and even some of his Republican rivals claim that this is politically motivated, while the Justice Department has a tight case and President Biden is staying mum.


A Trump-Appointed Judge to Hear Criminal Case

Judge Aileen Cannon could present a potential setback for prosecutor as a Trump appointee who previously ruled for him in a preceding case involving the documents in question.


Trump’s Justice System

Trump seeks to defend the multiple felony counts by discrediting law enforcement, which can pose a serious issue for democracy.


House Republicans for Trump

This is the latest instance of top Republicans in Congress deciding to defend the former president and helping him in spreading “unfounded accusations against the government”.


Two Trump Lawyers Quit

Lawyers James Trust, and John Rowley left the Trump defense team as he faces the most serious legal threat of his career. A 37-count indictment filed in Miami accuses Trump of illegally retaining documents after he left office, including sensitive national security documents, and of engaging in a conspiracy with an aide to obstruct the government’s repeated efforts to retrieve them. Their departures came a month after the resignation of a third lawyer on Trump’s team, Timothy Parlatore.


Trump Supporters Rhetoric Disturbs Experts

Trump’s allies are telling the American people that the latest indictment is an “act of war” and are calling for retribution. Political violence experts predict this could lead to a dangerous atmosphere. Call to actions and threats have been amplified on right-wing media sites and have been met with supportive responses from social media users and cheering crowds. Experts are predicting that attacks against people or institutions will become more likely.


Biden Prepares to Protect L.G.B.T.Q. Rights

Biden told a group of listeners during Pride Month that the administration has their back. He said that any attack on this community is considered a civil rights violation and that the administration has taken active steps to protect these civil rights: appointment of an official within the Department of Education set to monitor the ban on books referencing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, the designation of officials to work with members of the community on issues of concern, and more.


Trans Legislation in America

Since the start of 2021, many Republican-led states have enacted laws regulating the lives of transgender children and young adults.


Gender Care for Minors

Florida is again in the news for its law that blocks transgender care for children. A federal judge in Tallahassee issued a ruling and noted that claimants will likely prevail on a claim that the prohibition is unconstitutional.


SCOTUS to Decide on “Trump too Small” Phrase

The Supreme Court agreed to decide whether a California lawyer may trademark the phrase “Trump too small”, a phrase used by Senator Marco Rubio during the 2016 presidential campaign. The trademark dispute is over the use of the message to convey that Trump and his policies are “diminutive.”


N.Y. Democrats Failed to Make Housing Deal

State lawmakers left Albany without passing any housing policies, which were to address issues concerning tenant protection from eviction, a cap on rental increases, incentives to remodel empty commercial spaces into apartments, and an extension of a tax break for developers to build affordable housing.


New York Lawmakers Pass Clean Slate Act

2023 session has come to an end for New York lawmakers, and some deals have been made, including the sealing of old criminal records to help convicted New Yorkers to easily re-enter society.


Redistricting New York

Democratic leaders in Washington and Albany are reviving a legal battle to reopen the mapmaking process and potentially pull the lines back in their direction. Under the current maps, New York is one of the nation’s most competitive House battlegrounds. However, if the Legislature is once again given a say, Democratic lawmakers could take as many as 6 of the 11 Republican seats.


Columbia University Drops Out of U.S. News Rankings

Columbia University will no longer share data with the college guide. The University’s decision is based on the belief that the college guide is extremely influential in the undergraduate admissions process. U.S. News defends its ranking system as an important guide to the college admission process.


Justice Thomas and Alito Delay Annual Financial Disclosures

The justices have asked for a 90-day extension in to file their annual forms disclosing detailed gifts, travel, and real estate holdings.


Poland Rejects E.U. Ruling

Poland’s justice minister alleged that the E.U. Court of Justice is “corrupt” after it ruled against Poland judicial reform.

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