By Angela Peco Edited by Elissa D. Hecker
Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Media/Technology, and General News:
America's First Concert Since Pandemic Takes Place in Arkansas
Travis McCready's concert was the first since the pandemic caused cancellations across the entertainment industry. Fans had their temperatures taken and wore masks during the show. Tickets were sold in clusters and empty seats were roped off to make sure that there was space between the "fan pods."
TikTok is Placing Restrictions on How Brands Can Use Music in Their Videos
"Verified businesses or organizations" will only be able to access royalty-free music when posting videos on the platform. Some brands will no longer be able to use mainstream music unless they've obtained appropriate license granting them commercial use (similar to what is required on YouTube).
Lori Loughlin Pleads Guilty in College Admissions Case
The actress is expected to receive a two-month prison sentence under an agreement reached with prosecutors. Loughlin and her husband were accused of paying $500,000 to get their two daughters admitted to the University of Southern California as crew recruits, even though they did not participate in the sport. Dozens of other wealthy parents were charged for similar conduct, including conspiring to cheat on admissions exams or bribing college colleges to secure admissions.
The Impact of the Virus on the "Experience Economy"
Restrictions on large-scale gatherings are taking a toll on the live events industry and these businesses will be among the last to return. The economic output associated with these events has reached an all-time high, and beyond that, event organizers and people studying the "experience economy" say that restrictions on mass gatherings have also taken a psychological toll on people.
Lockdown Halts Hudson Valley's Film Industry
With productions postponing their start dates for safety reasons, much of upstate New York's film industry faces big unknowns. Buoyed by the state's film tax credits, Hudson Valley's film industry accounted for over $46 million in regional spending last year and provided substantial income for hotels and other supporting businesses.
New York's Upriver Studios Expected to Open for Film Production in Summer
The Saugerties, New York studio will offer about 104,000 square feet of sound stages and other production space. It is based in a former manufacturing facility and final construction will be completed by August, offering producers a new option in an area of the state where non-essential activities are expected to resume perhaps earlier than in New York City.
Second Circuit Says That Unnamed Authors May Sue Based on Group Copyrights
The Second Circuit clarified that a valid group copyright registration must only list the author of the compilation as a whole to register every individual's copyright in the group. In this particular case, a photographer's copyrights were properly registered in a group registration that did not list him as the author of the compilation. His copyright infringement case against Scholastic Inc. is now headed back to Manhattan federal court.
Can Fan Fiction Tropes Be Protected by Copyright?
The U.S. Copyright Office recently released a report detailing how the Digital Millennium Copyright Act has failed to keep pace with the "digital ecosystem" as online platforms get overwhelmed with takedown notices from authors alleging copyright infringement, some of whom have "anti-competitive purposes." The latest of these feuds is in the Omegaverse case, a fanfiction genre involving werewolves. Intellectual property experts are skeptical of the notion that Omegaverse or other fanfiction tropes or standard plot points generated by thousands of writers could be copyrighted.
Some U.S. Museums Are Reopening After Lockdown
Houston's Museum of Fine Arts is among the first to reopen, with safety protocols in place. Guests will have to submit to temperature checks and wear masks. Museums have struck regional working groups to strategize about and share reopening plans. Other safety precautions include keeping guests six feet apart, removing benches from the galleries, and keeping spaces under 50% capacity.
Coronavirus Shutdown Takes a Toll on Book Sales
Total U.S. sales were down 8.4% in March, showing that the publishing world was not immune to the economic fallout from the pandemic, despite the availability of online sales. The biggest drop in sales came in educational publishing, likely a result of mass school closures. Bookstore sales fell by about 33% in March and were down 11% in the first quarter, as compared to last year.
Bard College Music Student Sues School Over Instructor's Conduct
An earlier Title IX investigation determined that the instructor had sexually harassed a student. The student is now claiming in a lawsuit that the college should not have allowed the instructor to be on staff, given prior harassment complaints against him about which the school was aware.
Authorities Seek Forfeiture of Gilgamesh Tablet from Hobby Lobby
U.S. authorities seized the cuneiform tablet containing parts of the Epic of Gilgamesh from the Museum of the Bible in Washington in 2019. The museum was founded in part by the president of Hobby Lobby. The international auction house that sold the tablet to Hobby Lobby in 2014 withheld information about its provenance. Once authorities determine the origins of the tablet, it will be returned to its country. Court documents suggest that it was a bought from the family of a Jordanian antiquities dealer in London and then shipped to the U.S.
Globe Theater Asks U.K. Parliament for Aid
In a letter to Parliament, the Globe Theater warned that it was in danger of closing if it did not receive at least 5 million pounds in emergency government funding. Its income had declined by 25% before it closed in March as people were already avoiding public activities. Given the expected need for social distancing even once it opens, the theater said it might experience a "long-term erosion of income-generation channels."
German Audience Comes Out of Lockdown for Schubert
A German theater in Wiesbaden restarted live concerts with a socially distanced audience of 200 in a space capable of holding 1,000. The move could serve as a model (three empty seats separated every occupied one), or as a warning, if any attendees end up getting infected.
Venice Biennale Postpones Events
The Venice Biennale announced that it was postponing two international exhibitions - the architecture biennale will not open until May 2021 and the next biennale of contemporary art has been pushed to April 22, each delayed by a year.
New York Teams Permitted to Open Training Facilities
Effective Sunday, May 24, the state's professional sports team are allowed to open their training camps, following appropriate health protocols. Voluntary, individual training had already been in place.
New York, California, and Texas Governors Express Support for Return of Pro Sports
The governors say that the return of major professional sports can be made possible if leagues tailor their plans to television audiences and games are played without spectators. In California, the governor said that sports could resume in early June under "very prescriptive conditions" and Texas included sporting events in broader plans for reopening, alongside bars, restaurants, and summer school.
National Basketball Association in Talks with Disney About Resuming Season
The National Basketball Association (NBA) is exploring a single-site solution if it resumes play in late July. The conversations are "exploratory." Under this return-to-play scenario, games would be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on the Disney property near Orlando.
Athletes Weigh Health Risks of Participating in Their Sports
Many athletes, coaches, and employees working in the industry have underlying conditions of their own that make them susceptible to the coronavirus. As sports gradually reopen, that personal risk figures dominantly in their plans to return to training and games. Some leagues, like Major League Baseball (MLB), are putting out policies encouraging teams to identify high-risk players, coaches, and essential staff before play resumes. To protect them, MLB can offer separate space or modify their travel options and work hours. It is possible that some players may choose to sit out the season.
National Football League Team Owners Approve Enhanced Rooney Rule, But No Incentives for Teams Committed to Diversity Hiring
The owners approved a change to the National Football League's (NFL) anti-tampering policy, in that teams will no longer be allowed to block assistant coaches from interviewing for head coaching or coordinator jobs with other teams. Teams must interview at least one minority or woman for club president and senior executive positions. Teams must also interview two external minority candidates to fill head coach vacancies. They are also expected to submit diversity and inclusion plans to the NFL. The owners tabled a more controversial expansion of the Rooney Rule that would have rewarded teams with better draft picks in the third round for hiring minority head coaches that kept their position for more than one season.
Akim Aliu's Account of Racism Pushes Hockey to Reckon With its Culture
The former National Hockey League (NHL) player wrote an article for The Players' Tribune about his experience with racism in hockey. It included an account of how he was subjected to a hazing ritual early in his career and to racist slurs from one of his coaches. The article has ignited strong response from the hockey community on how to deal with a problem as pervasive as racism beyond just the professional level.
Gymnastics Coach Maggie Haney Barred from Sport for Eight Years
Haney was suspended for eight years after findings of emotional and verbal abuse. Now, sensing a movement to hold USA Gymnastics accountable for disciplining coaches for abusive behaviour, another group of athletes is preparing to go public with accusations against Haney and others.
Belmont Stakes Will Open the Triple Crown This Year
The horse race will run close to its usual date but at a shorter distance and without spectators. The Derby and the Preakness Stakes have been moved to the fall. Developing horses have not been racing for months and the shorter distance of a mile and an eighth is meant to account for that.
Kentucky Cheer Team Coaches Fired Following Investigation
The three-month investigation into the University of Kentucky's cheer team led to the firing of the entire coaching staff. The review was prompted by a complaint made by a student's parent and found that students had engaged in hazing rituals, alcohol use, and public nudity on the coaches' watch.
Another Case of Sexual Abuse Allegations in Global Soccer - This Time in Haiti
The president of the Haitian Football Federation is being accused of abusing female athletes at the country's national training center. The alleged misconduct included coercing players into having sex or risk being thrown out of the national soccer program. Some say they have been threatened and told to withdraw their allegations. The case has put FIFA, the sport's governing body, under scrutiny yet again for its commitment to protect athletes. Its ethics committee is now investigating the claims.
CBS Courts Advertisers Virtually
CBS has often put its stars and executives before advertisers using the Carnegie Hall stage. This year, instead of in-person dinners and power breakfasts, the network prepared a series videos with appearances by TV personalities like Stephen Colbert to persuade advertisers to buy commercial time.
Facebook Plans for Permanent Remote Work
As part of the announcement, the company also said that a worker's change of resident from the Bay Area or Seattle to a lower cost of living city would justify a salary reduction. In the long term, similar moves by tech giants might mean that tech employment starts to shift away from expensive hubs like Silicon Valley.
The Atlantic Lays Off 68 Employees, Citing a Decline in Advertising
The publication announced it would lay off 17% of its staff. Similar announcement came from Vice (155 jobs lost), Conde Nast (100), and The Economist (90). The Atlantic is also cutting executive pay and freezing salaries.
Dutch Court Rules That Grandmother Violated Privacy Law for Refusing to Remove Grandchildren's Photos from Social Media
In the Netherlands, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Europe's internet privacy law, requires anyone posting photos of minors to have permission from their legal guardians. In this case, the family dispute turned into a privacy case as the judge decided that the grandmother was prohibited from posting her grandchildren's photos without their mother's permission. The GDPR was intended to govern the data collection practices of large companies, but it also "gives individuals new ways to limit how their personal data is collected, shared and stored online."
German Court Rules That Right to Privacy Extends to Foreign Internet Users
The decision means that intelligence services cannot randomly search the digital data of non-German citizens living abroad. Privacy rights under Germany's Constitution, it said, extend to foreigners living abroad and cover their online data.
Volkswagen Apologizes for Racist Online Ad
The company pulled the 10-second ad depicting a dark-skinned man being pushed off a street by a giant white hand, and then "flicking" the man past a doorway. In a public statement, a member of its board said that the company was "horrified" and "ashamed." German television said the hand could be interpreted as a "white power" gesture.
An Incalculable Loss: America's Coronavirus Death Toll Approaches 100,000
The New York Times compiled information from dozens of publications and obituaries across the U.S. and presents a chilling picture of the virus' toll on the U.S. - 100,000 lives lost.
Were the Supreme Court's Phone Arguments a Success?
The Court has now heard 10 arguments by conference call, with the justices asking questions one at a time in order of seniority. However, one of the foremost legal reporters, Lyle Denniston, has been critical of the Chief Justice's role in trying to keep the proceedings to the allotted time, which diminished cross-bench exchanges, something he says are the start of judicial deliberations.
Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks Release of Full Mueller Report
The Court's order gave no reasons for blocking an appeals court ruling ordering the release of the full report. The Court ordered the Justice Department to file a petition seeking review by June 1. This occurred after the House Judiciary Committee had requested grand jury materials that were blacked out from the report provided to Congress. The House said that it needs to see what was redacted, as it may bear on whether the president committed impeachable offenses by obstructing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Supreme Court Allows Surgery for Transgender Inmate
The inmate, a transgender woman in an Idaho prison, had sued after a prison psychiatrist denied her request for surgery. She argued that failure to provide the surgery violated the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Prison officials challenged an earlier court order (for sex reassignment surgery), which considered the views of an advocacy group and found that the "ongoing psychological distress and the high risk of self-castration and suicide [the inmate] faces absent surgery constitute irreparable harm." The Supreme Court let that ruling stand, with no reasons.
Supreme Court Rules That Sudan Must Pay Billions to Terrorism Victims
In a unanimous ruling, the Court reinstated an earlier award of $10.2 in damages against Sudan. It was awarded to victims and family members of bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. A 1996 law allows plaintiffs to seek compensation by nations designated as state sponsors of terrorism; a 2008 amendment to the law allows them to seek punitive damages (which accounted for $4.3 billion of the total damages awarded in this case).
Epidemiologists Baffled by How the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Counts Tests
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been lumping together tests for active coronavirus (diagnostic tests) with tests for recovered patients (serology tests). The CDC said that it would work to separate them going forward. Epidemiologists were critical of the practice, saying the two tests should never be mixed because the diagnostic test seeks to quantify the amount of active cases in the population.
Doctors Focused on Identifying Virus Syndrome Affecting Children
The multi-system inflammatory syndrome is believed to be caused by a reaction to the coronavirus. There are at least 160 cases in New York and hundreds of others globally. It involves severe inflammation of the heart, blood vessels, and the gastrointestinal tract. The condition resembles Kawasaki disease and doctors have been administering similar treatments for it.
President Trump Says That Virus Death Count is Inflated
White House officials suspect the data compiled by state health departments and the CDC includes people who have died not with the coronavirus but of other conditions. They also say there were presumed cases of COVID-19 but individuals were never tested. Most statisticians and public health experts say it is unlikely the death toll is inflated, since many people were died in their homes or in nursing homes without being tested or with what doctors thought were influenza or pneumonia, and that those numbers have not been included in the death toll, which has now surpassed 100,000 people.
Delays in Locking Down Parts of the U.S. Cost At Least 36,000 Lives
Researchers found that even small differences in timing would have prevented exponential growth as the disease was spreading. If the U.S. had imposed social distancing measures a week earlier than it did, Columbia University disease modelers say that 36,000 fewer people would have died.
Coronavirus Outcomes in the U.S. Split Along Racial Lines
Public health officials say that "race and place are major predictors of underlying health conditions and health outcomes." Black and Hispanic Americans face the worst health outcomes in this pandemic. In parts of Washington, black Americans have been infected at twice the rate of white people. In Louisiana, where one-third of residents are black, 55% of patients who died from COVID-19 were black.
President Trump Announces That He Is Taking Hydroxychloroquine as Preventative Measure
The announcement drew immediate criticism from medical experts, who say the antimalarial drug could cause serious heart problems for coronavirus patients. On Sunday, the President said he finished his course of treatment.
Trump's Vaccine Chief Has Vast Ties to Drug Industry and Possible Conflicts
The New York Times reports that the man overseeing the U.S. initiative to develop coronavirus treatments and vaccines is a former pharmaceutical executive whose corporate roles and business interests have recently come under scrutiny. Moncef Slaoui was not hired as a government employee. He is being paid a nominal amount for his services and is exempt from federal disclosure rules that would require him to list his stock holdings and other potential conflicts. He recently divested of his interests in Moderna, a bio tech firm currently pursuing a vaccine, and holds just under $10 million in GSK stock.
U.S. Will Give a $1.2 Billion Grant to AstraZeneca For a Potential Coronavirus Vaccine
The company has licensed a potential vaccine that is in trials by Oxford University. The money will cover the cost of a Phase 3 clinical trial of the vaccine in the U.S. this summer, which will involve 30,000 volunteers
Trump Pushes for Churches to Reopen
The president said places of worship were "essential" operations that should hold in-person services despite state quarantine orders. He said he would override governors if they did not reopen houses of worship immediately, though the authority the president was relying on to do so was unclear.
Federal Bureau of Investigations Announces Review of Michael Flynn Case
The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) announced that it would conduct an internal review of the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. As it did so, a federal appeals court panel also ordered the trial judge to explain why he is hesitating to grant the Justice Department's request that he dismiss the criminal case against Flynn. The order came after Flynn's lawyers filed a petition with the appeals court. Judge Sullivan appointed a former prosecutor to argue against the Justice Department's position and to evaluate whether Flynn committed perjury.
Attorney General Barr Dismisses Claim That Russia Inquiry Was an Obama Plot
Barr confirmed that a federal prosecutor was examining how law enforcement and intelligence officials handled Russian election interference, but said the investigation was not focused on President Obama or Vice President Biden.
Senate Panel Subpoenas Biden-Related Material
Many Senate Republicans have adopted the president's lines of attack and are seeking evidence of wrongdoing in the 2016 investigations that could be relevant to the upcoming election. The exact scope of inquiry is unclear but it is focused on whether Vice President Biden tried to force Ukraine to fire a prosecutor investigating a company with links to his son.
Federal Election Commission Can Begin Its Work After Fourth Commissioner is Confirmed
The Federal Election Commission's (FEC) bylaws require at least four of the six board seats to be occupied for the agency to function and the Senate just confirmed James Trainor as its fourth member. Trainor is a Republican lawyer from Texas and worked for the 2016 Trump campaign.
States Are Preparing for Voting by Mail
Eleven of 16 states that limit who can cast an absentee ballot have eased their rules to let anyone vote by mail. Four of these 11 states are mailing ballot applications to registered voters in recognition that practices will have to change this fall. Thirty-four other states allow anyone to cast an absentee ballot. President Trump has threatened to withhold federal grants to states if they send ballots to voters.
Justice Department Unit That Prosecuted Roger Stone Underwent a Reorganization
A criminal division of the U.S. attorney's office in Washington was restructured, with the biggest changes coming to the fraud and public corruption unit, which handled the case against Roger Stone. The section was split into two parts - a standalone fraud section to focus on major government fraud and a combined public corruption and hate crimes prosecution team. The changes were implemented shortly before the departure of Interim U.S. Attorney Timothy Shea.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Requests Aid from Congress
Green card and citizenship applications have plummeted during the pandemic, threatening the solvency of the federal agency, which is now seeking $1.2 billion from Congress as well as fee hikes that it plans to implement in the coming months.
Trump Administration Has Deported Hundreds of Migrant Children Alone During the Pandemic
Hundreds of migrant children and teenagers have been deported within hours of arriving in the U.S., some as young as 10 years old, sent back without any notification to their families. The administration is relying on a 1944 law that grants the president power to block foreigners from entering the U.S. in order to prevent the threat of a dangerous disease. Some of the deported children were already in the U.S. before the pandemic orders came down.
Senate Approves John Ratcliffe as National Intelligence Chief
The vote was split along party lines, making Ratcliffe the first national intelligence chief with no support from the opposing party.
State Department Inspector General's Firing Puts Secretary Pompeo's Spending Under Scrutiny
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's use of government resources is coming under scrutiny again after the president fired the State Department's inspector general, who had begun an inquiry into Pompeo's possible misuse of a political appointee to perform personal tasks for him. This is the fourth inspector general fired during the Trump administration for reportedly being "insufficiently loyal."
Inspectors General System, Key Post-Watergate Reform, Coming Under Pressure by the President
The inspector general role was created in 1978 as an independent oversight mechanism in federal agencies and departments, charged with rooting out fraud, corruption, and mismanagement. President Trump has forged new ground by firing, demoting or replacing inspectors general with political appointees, often seeking to bypass the requirement that he give reasons to Congress 30 days before removing an inspector general.
Pompeo Visits Conservative Donors on State Department Trips
The New York Times reports that Secretary Pompeo held meetings with Republican donors during diplomatic, taxpayer-funded trips. The meetings were kept off his public schedule. The newspaper calls the meetings "potentially politically motivated", as Pompeo is said to be considering a presidential run in 2024.
President Trump Donates Salary to Department of Health and Human Services; Press Secretary Displays Check with Private Bank Account Information
During the press secretary's announcement that the president was forgoing his salary once again, Kayleigh McEnany also held up a check that contained the president's private bank account and routing numbers. While for an average person, that information could be used to withdraw or deposit money, the bank likely has additional protections in place for the president.
President Trump May Withdraw the U.S. From Open Skies Arms Control Treaty
The treaty was negotiated 30 years ago to allow nations to fly over each other's territory with sensor equipment to show they are not preparing for military action. Some see it as evidence that the U.S. will also exit the treaty that limits the U.S. and Russia to 1,550 deployed nuclear missiles each, a treaty that the president insists China should join.
2.4 Million Jobs Lost Last Week
The Labor Departments report on new unemployment claims brought the total to 38.6 million since mid-March. Economists studying the pandemic's impact on the workforce say that some of these jobs may be gone for good and the economy that does come back will look different given the ongoing need for social distancing, which will impact business in various industries.
Officials Warn of Unprecedented Downturn and Long-Term Economic Scarring
The Treasury Secretary and the Federal Reserve chair said that the U.S. economy faces irreparable damage from the coronavirus. Secretary Mnuchin said there was risk of permanent damage if states did not reopen soon, while Fed chair Powell said policy action is required to help states and local governments through the crisis.
Minority-Owned Businesses Got Less Aid from the Paycheck Protection Program and Other Federal Aid Efforts
A survey commissioned by two equal rights groups interviewed 500 Black and Latino business owners and 1,200 workers and found that just 12% of the owners who applied for aid received what they asked requested; another 26% said they only received a fraction of such. Almost half said that they anticipated permanently closing their business in the next six months.
Debt Forgiveness Rollback Puts Pressure on the President
The president is being asked to overturn an Education Department rule that would make it extremely difficult for students to have their federal loans forgiven, even if they could show they were victims of unscrupulous institutions. It would be the first reversal of a major regulation during this administration, and one that would appease many veterans groups who came out strongly against the loan-forgiveness policy.
University of California Will End Use of SAT and ACT in College Admissions
The University of California will phase out use of these standardized tests at its system of 10 schools. The decision could tip the balance for other schools in deciding whether to keep relying on those tests' results for admission decisions.
American Civil Liberties Union Warns Against Fever-Screening Tools
The report says that reliance on thermal cameras and temperature-sensing guns at workplaces is intrusive and the devices are often inaccurate. It also cautioned that widespread use of these tools could usher in permanent new forms of surveillance and false control. Further, they could give people a false sense of security and encouraged other measures instead, like wearing masks and abiding by social distancing rules.
One in Four New Yorkers Need Food Aid During Pandemic
About two million residents in New York City are food-insecure, a number that has risen since the start of the pandemic. To address the problem, the city is expanding its food-distribution efforts and will give out 1.5 million meals each day by next week.
Commercial Rent Revenues Sliding in New York City
Landlords say that companies with offices or retail space have been very aggressive in skipping rent. The resulting drop in commercial rent payments poses problems for property tax collection and the public services for which those taxes pay. The city has not postponed property tax deadlines.
Missouri Carries Out First Execution Since Pandemic Began
The 64-year-old man was convicted of killing an 81-year-old woman nearly 30 years ago. Several states had postponed or cancelled executions due to concerns related to the pandemic. The prison said that it had no confirmed cases of the virus and had followed strict protocols to protects workers from exposure.
Investigators Charge Man Who Filmed Video of Ahmaud Arbery Charged with Murder
William Bryan had joined the pursuit of Arbery and filmed the deadly confrontation. The release of Bryan's video brought the case to national attention and officials now say that Bryan contributed to Arbery's death by attempting to "confine and detain" him with his vehicle.
China's Proposed Security Law Would Quash Dissent in Hong Kong
Protesters have returned to Hong Kong's streets following China's proposed national security law. The legislation would allow mainland China's security agencies to set up operations publicly for the first time in Hong Kong. It will likely empower the authorities to close newspapers or conduct warrantless searches in an effort to quash dissent.
Britain Orders 14-Day Quarantine for All Travelers
The order on arriving travelers will be enforced with fines, but some say that it came too late. The home secretary defended the move, saying that it made little sense to have the order in place when the virus was spreading freely at home, and that the situation has now changed, given the falling rates of infection and that travel could pose threat to that progress.