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Week In Review

By Angela Peco Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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


2021 Oscars Will Be Delayed Until April 25th

The Oscars will be held in April, as opposed to February of next year, and the eligibility period will be extended to make up for theatre closures and delayed premiers.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings Gives $120 Million to Historically Black Colleges

The Netflix co-founder's donation will go to the United Negro College Fund, Spelman College, and Morehouse College. Hastings noted that white capital often flows to predominantly white institutions and wanted his donation to lead others to give to histroically black colleges and universities.

Actor Danny Masterson Charged with Raping Three Women

Danny Masterson, known for his roles in "That '70s Show," was charged with three counts of rape by force or fear. The allegations date back to the early 2000s and occurred in the actor's home. In 2017, Masterson was fired from his Netflix show, "The Ranch," amid similar allegations, in which women said that they were pressured to keep quiet by the Church of Scientology.


Judge Denies Trump Administration's Request to Ban Publication of John Bolton's Book

A federal judge has ruled that former national security advisor John Bolton can go ahead with the publication and sale of his book about the Trump administration, but the judge criticized Bolton of possibly damaging national security and exposing himself to civil and potentially criminal liability. According to the ruling, it is possible that Bolton may need to forfeit any profits tied to the sale of the book, including his $2 million advance, for publishing the book without having it go through a prepublication review to screen out classified information.

New Coalition Will Fight Racism in Theater

High-profile founders Audra McDonald, Phylicia Rashad, Billy Porter, and Wendell Pierce have formed a new coalition to combat racism in the theater community. Their plans include setting up a mentorship program for young black artists and reviewing industry practices.

Children's Theaters Confront Issue of Diversity

A new study says programming and creative teams are not representative of their audiences - most of the shows are by white writers and have overwhelmingly white creative teams. Theaters are now starting to look at new source material, adapting children's books written by minority writers, and hiring more diverse creative teams to adapt and direct productions.

Upright Citizens Brigade Will Overhaul its Leadership

The founders of the comedy incubator have announced an effort to diversify the organization's leadership by passing control of their theaters to a new and more diverse board that can more appropriately address systemic racism in the theaters.

Robert Indiana's Caregiver Has Largely Disappeared from Artist's Affairs

Pop Art pioneer Robert Indiana had designated Jamie L. Thomas, the artist's caretaker in his final years, to lead his museum and help guide his artistic legacy. However, Thomas has been largely absent from gatherings and events honouring the artist and he will no longer be directing Indiana's museum. The New York Times reports that a lawsuit between the estate and Thomas was resolved last year after the executor of the estate argued that Thomas acted "to improperly line his own pockets," noting his generous salary, large withdrawals from Indiana's accounts, and the claim that valuable paintings had been given to him as gifts. Thomas's departure from the foundation that would operate the museum is said to be part of the settlement, although the terms remain confidential.

Relocating Monuments Tied to Slavery

Recent protests over police brutality and racial injustice have reignited demands to remove statues celebrating Confederate generals and figures associated with slavery and colonialism. Most end up in storage, too large for museums to accommodate and put in proper historical context.

Albuquerque Removes Statue of Conquistador Juan de Onate

A diverse crowd of protesters called on authorities to remove the statue as part of a broader effort to remove symbols of colonial atrocities. Onate's period as provincial governor was marked by a violent repression and the killing of Indigenous people in the area.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi Orders Removal of Four Confederate Portraits from the House

The decision comes amid widespread efforts to remove historic symbols of racism in America. The paintings portray four House speakers who served in the Confederacy.

San Francisco's Asian Art Museum Will Remove Patron's Bust

The museum will remove a bust of its founding patron, Avery Brundage. Brundage was an industrialist and former president of the International Olympic Committee. His critics say Brundage was a Nazi sympathizer and a racist. The museum will also schedule public programs to discuss Brundage's legacy and work on "decolonizing" the museum

Museums Embrace Art Therapy

American museums are now devoting resources toward creating trauma-aware programs and initiatives to help their guests benefit from art therapy, especially at a time of unrest, trauma, and isolation created by the pandemic.

A Look Back at the 2015 Pyer Moss Show, Which Brought Police Brutality to the Runway

The article provides an inside look into how the 2015 show was put together and recounts the efforts of the brand's founder, Kerby Jean-Raymond in putting the African American experience front and center.

The Dress Codes of the Uprising

March organizers are trying to reframe the narrative and bring positivity to their events by urging participants to adopt more formal dress and send a subversive fashion message.

Shakespeare in the Park Turns into Four-Part Radio Play

Andre Holland and Phylicia Rashad will star in a four-part broadcast airing July 13th-16th. The Public Theater will work with WNYC to record Shakespeare's "Richard II," featuring much of the same cast that would have performed the play in Central Park.

Authorities Catch Up to Art Dealer Inigo Philbrick Over Suspected Fraud

U.S. law enforcement agents arrested the 33-year-old art dealer on the Pacific island of Vanuatu. He is accused of defrauding clients of more than $20 million. Among other charges, federal prosecutors accused Philbrick of having sold multiple (more than 100%) ownership interests in a Stingel painting.

Images of Stolen Van Gogh Give Experts Hope That Painting Can Be Recovered

A Dutch art crimes investigator says that he has received photographs of the back of a stolen Van Gogh painting. He says the images are "proof of life" and hopes that sharing them will lead to information. The 1884 painting, "The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring," was stolen from the Groninger Museum in March after a man used a sledgehammer to smash through reinforced glass doors and ran away with the painting under his arm.


Governor Andrew Cuomo Supports U.S. Open Play in New York

Governor Cuomo announced that the tennis tournament would be played as scheduled, with matches beginning in late August, but without fans present. Two other Ohio-based tours will be relocating to New York to centralize operations and reduce player travel. The U.S. Open has issued guidelines limiting the size of a player's entourage, requiring face masks when not competing or training, and limiting access to shared spaces and locker rooms.

Anthony Fauci Says That the National Football League Season Might Not Happen Without a "Bubble"

America's leading infectious disease expert said that the best way to guarantee safety would be to play in an enclosed environment where the National Football League (NFL) can insulate players and team staff from the community. The NFL, however, faces different challenges than other leagues that have opted for single-site play - the NFL is larger; each of its 32 teams have up to 90 players during training camp, and dozens of coaches and trainers. More rest is needed between games, which means that players could be in the "bubble" for a longer time. The NFL said that it will adjust its protocols to align with public health recommendations, but players have yet to receive concrete guidance.

National Hockey League Nearing Plan for Resuming Play

The players' association voted in favour of a 24-team playoff, scrapping the rest of the regular season and resuming voluntary workouts as early as June.

Women's National Basketball Association and Players Union Agree to 22-Game Season

The 22-game season, with a full playoff schedule, will start in late July at the IMG Academy in Florida. Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) players have until June 25th to notify their teams if they are opting into the 2020 season; those who participate will receive their full salaries.

WNBA Player Will Skip Season to Focus on Justice Initiatives

Atlanta Dream guard Renee Montgomery will skip the upcoming WNBA season to focus on supporting social justice reform. Team officials said that they supported her decision, which they said was reflective of the league's desire to encourage athletes to be active in social causes.

Florida, A Popular Site for Pro Leagues, Remains a Coronavirus Hotspot

The National Basketball Association, the WNBA and Major League Soccer (MLS) will all resume their seasons in Florida, where health officials are reporting record numbers of infections. It remains to be seen if the so-called "bubbles" and health protocols requiring pre-arrival and on-site testing, among other measures, will be successful in preventing infections among players and team personnel.

Major League Baseball Spring Training Sites Close Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Every Major League Baseball (MLB) team will temporarily shut down its spring training camp in Arizona and Florida over concerns about the pandemic. Five Philadelphia Phillies players and three staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, with others awaiting results. The Yankees are returning to New York to resume their spring training. It is unclear how close of spring training camps will affect the start of the season - the plan remains for teams to hold games in their home parks, without fans.

National Collegiate Athletic Association Bans Mississippi From Hosting Championship Until State Removes Confederate Emblem on Flag

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced that states would not be permitted to host championship events if the Confederate flag is a prominent symbol, with the chair of its Board of Governors saying that "[t]here is no place in college athletics or the world for symbols or acts of discrimination and oppression." The NCAA had previously banned states whose flags displayed the emblem from hosting events with predetermined locations (though Mississippi did host events through a loophole allowing high performing teams to host competitions).

The Southeastern Conference also demanded that the state remove the Confederate emblem from its flag, warning that without a change, the conference might not hold future championship events in Mississippi. It is the last state flag in the country to bear the emblem; a 2001 referendum saw two-thirds of votes cast in support of keeping it.

Texas Football Players Call on University to Drop Song Steeped in Racist History

University of Texas athletes want the campus anthem "The Yes of Texas" gone. The song can be traced back to minstrel shows in the early 20th century and is associated with Confederal general Robert E. Lee. The students' list of requests for a more inclusive campus also included a call for renaming campus buildings and having the school donate a portion of the athletic department's earnings to black organizations.

Football Players Returning to Campus Are Being Asked to Sign Coronavirus Waivers

Schools are requiring student athletes to sign waivers acknowledging the risk of returning to campus during the pandemic and of not following self-quarantining and social distancing measures outlined in school guidelines. Failure to follow guidance can lead to dismissals and loss of scholarships.

Corporate America Pledging Millions to Social Justice Efforts

In addition to donating millions of dollars to organizations supporting racial justice initiatives, some businesses are committing to concrete changes in their practices to make their own corporate culture more inclusive and diverse. Among the changes: Adidas announced it would fill at least 30% of all open positions with black or Latinx candidates; Amazon has placed a one-year moratorium on police use of a facial recognition technology (criticized for racial bias); and Apple said it will create an entrepreneurship camp for black software developers.

Sports Leagues and Fans Face a Complicated Reality

Single-site plans for resuming play are a common element of several major leagues' comeback plans, but there is little certainty for sports fans as to when teams might be able to play in their home arenas again. "The collective strategy is largely to cross fingers."


Voice of America Directors Resign After Congress Confirms Conservative Activist as Head of U.S. Agency for Global Media

Michael Pack, a conservative activist and filmmaker, was confirmed earlier this month after President Trump reportedly intervened to expedite the nomination. Pack is a close ally of Stephen Bannon. Voice of America is the largest American international news media broadcast organization; it receives funding from the U.S. government but is supposed to remain editorially independent of any federal agency. It is not clear if the directors were asked to resign.

Social Media Platforms Denounce Racism That Thrives There

Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have recently denounced racial bias in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Twitter pledged $3 million to Colin Kaepernick's organization and Facebook will donate $10 million to racial justice organizations and $200 million to support black-owned businesses and organizations. However, their public statements have not addressed how these platforms have been weaponized to spread racist ideology and subvert social justice movements. The article also points to YouTube, which it argues has "struggled to square its corporate values with the way its products actually operate ... remov[ing] conspiracy theories and misinformation from its search results ... but it has yet to grapple fully with the way its ... policies contributed to racial division for years."

Facebook Says That Users Can Opt Out of Seeing Political Ads

The ability to opt out of seeing electoral or political ads from candidates or political action committees will be rolling out to more and more users in the coming weeks. The company seems to be taking a middle-ground approach by allowing political ads on its platform, but limiting their reach to appease critics of its speech policies.

Facebook Removes Trump Ads Over for Displaying Symbol Associated with Nazis

The Trump campaign's ads featured a red triangle used by Nazis to classify political prisoners, which Facebook said violated company policy. The text beneath the triangle referred to far-left groups and the Trump campaign said it was in reference to Antifa.

Justice Department Urges Rolling Back Legal Shield for Tech Companies

The agency called on lawmakers to repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which gives broad legal immunity to today's internet giants for words, images, and videos posted on their platforms. In its recommendation, the Justice Department said that changes to the law would put the onus on the companies to police harmful content and conduct.

Two Black Journalists Say The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Kept Them From Covering Protests

One of the journalists has since left the newspaper while the other has sued, accusing the publication of retaliation and racial discrimination. Both say they were unfairly kept from covering the protests against racism and police violence. One journalist was told that she had shown bias in a Tweet and would not be assigned to cover the protests; she claims that the newspaper allowed white reporters to publicly express opinions on events they covered while she was kept from reporting on them.

Associated Press Apologies for Featuring Jefferson Davis Quotation

The wire service has apologized for featuring a quotation from Jefferson Davis, the leader of the Confederacy, as part of its "Today in History" feature. Over two dozen newspapers ran the quote.

Former eBay Workers Sent Threatening Messages and Delivers to Critics

The employees sent live roaches and a mask of a bloody pig face to a couple who ran an online e-commerce newsletter. The employees were unhappy with its coverage of eBay and barraged the couple with threatening emails in what authorities call a cyberstalking campaign.

Apple's App Store Draws Antitrust Scrutiny in Europe

European authorities will investigate whether the terms that Apple imposes on app developers looking to offer their products through Apple's digital store violate competition rules. Apple requires companies to agree to its terms and conditions, including sharing certain data with the company and giving it a percentage of future sales made through Apple products.

France's Highest Court Upholds Google Fine

The court upheld a fine of 50 million euros against Alphabet's Google after a French regulator found that the company had not been sufficiently clear and transparent with Android users about their data protection options, the handling of personal data, and the way it obtained consent for personalized ads, in violation of European Union online privacy rules.

French Constitutional Court Strikes Down Most of Online Hate Speech Law

As part of an effort to regulate content on tech platforms, the French government passed a law that obligated online platforms to take down hateful content flagged by users within 24 hours; failure to do so would result in fines of up to $1.4 million. The French court struck down parts of the law, which it said "created an incentive for risk-averse platforms to indiscriminately remove flagged content, whether or not it was clearly hate speech," therefore infringing on the exercise of freedom of expression in a disproportionate way.

Two Philippine Journalists Convicted of Cyber Libel

The Philippines' most prominent journalist, Maria Ressa, as well as a former colleague, were convicted of cyber libel. Each was fined $8,000 and given an indeterminate sentence (the offense carries up to six years in prison). The libel charges stem from an article in which Ressa claimed that a local businessman had ties to the drug world. The businessman filed several complaints against Rappler, the news site that she founded.

General News

Supreme Court Rules That LGBTQ Americans Have Workplace Protections Under the Civil Rights Act

In a 6-3 decision, with Justice Gorsuch writing for the majority, the Court ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination. Before the decision, it was legal to fire workers for being gay, bisexual or transgender in more than half of U.S. states.

Supreme Court Expansion of Transgender Rights Undercuts Trump Restrictions

Scholars say that although the Supreme Court's decision on the scope of the Civil Rights Act focused on employment discrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans, they also believe that the ruling could expand to protections in education, health care, and housing.

Supreme Court Will Not Hear Case on California Sanctuary Law

The case involved California's "sanctuary law," which, in part, prohibits state officials from cooperating with federal agents seeking to detain undocumented migrants released from state custody.

Justice Sotomayor Sees "Troubling Tableau" in 11th Circuit's Prisoner Cases

In her statement regarding the denial of certiorari in Michael St. Hubert v. United States, Justice Sotomayor expressed concerns with the practices of the 11th Circuit, which hears appeals from Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. She specifically takes issue with the added obstacles to habeas petitions by inmates in those states, including the use of a form, which, according to a judge, "few prisoners manage to squeeze more than 100 words." Based on those submissions and usually without oral argument, the appeals court departs significantly from the practices of the other circuits, and issues rulings in those cases.

Supreme Court Blocks Trump Administration From Ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Trump Promises to End Program Regardless

In a 5-4 decision, the Court said that the administration did not take the proper steps to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Roberts said that the Court was not deciding whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies; only that the Department of Homeland Security did not comply with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action (to end the program). For now, participants can continue to renew their memberships in the program to receive work authorizations and protection from deportation.

In response to the Supreme Court's decision on DACA, the president said he will attempt to end the program and terminate protections for young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. The program enabled about 800,000 immigrants to live and work legally in the U.S. without the threat of deportation.

Wait Times for Citizenship Applications Have Doubled in Last Two Years

Processing times have increased and visa offices have large backlogs, due in large part to a sharp rise in applications and the lowest processing rates in a decade, as staff are diverted from reviewing applications. The Trump administration has also prioritized immigration enforcement and citizenship applications are receiving more scrutiny; a series of new proposals slated for implementation will make the process even more onerous, requiring applicants to provide their travel history for the last 10 years and more documentation.

President Trump Fires Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York

The federal prosecutor refused to step down after Attorney General Barr announced that Berman would be replaced by Jay Clayton, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. On Saturday, President Trump fired Berman and named Berman's chief deputy, Audrey Strauss, as his temporary replacement. The move heightened criticism that the president is removing independent officials who pose a threat to his re-election campaign. Berman's office is investigating several individuals and institutions with links to Trump, including Rudy Giuliani (for foreign lobbying) and Deutsche Bank.

Mitch McConnell Nears His Goals of Filling All Vacancies at the Appellate Level by End of 2020

Fifty-two circuit court judges nominated by President Trump have now been confirmed, with the 53rd judge expected to be confirmed this week. That will mark the end of all vacancies on the U.S. appeals courts, an outcome Senate Majority Leader McConnell has aggressively pursued over the last four years.

Trump Administration Lawyer Looking to Reshape the Electorate

The article profiles William Consovoy, whose work for the Trump administration involves voting rights cases, affirmative action, and the issue of the president's tax returns. More recently, Consovoy's firm argued against extending the deadline for mail-in voting in Wisconsin and sued to block California's plan to send absentee ballots to all registered voters.

Justice Department Files New Brief Asking Judge to Dismiss Michael Flynn Case

The Justice Department argued that the judge overseeing the prosecution of Michael Flynn has no authority to reject the Attorney General's decision to drop the case. Strikingly, it said that would still be the case, "even if a court believes that a refusal to prosecute rests on an improper motive or amounts to a gross abuse." The brief called the motion to dismiss the charge "an unreviewable exercise of prosecutorial discretion." The judge appointed a former prosecutor (John Gleeson) to critique the government's arguments. In his brief, Gleeson said the prosecutors' rationale made no sense and must be cover for a corrupt and politically motivated decision, and recommended sentencing Flynn instead.

Justice Department in Alignment with the President in Its Stance on John Bolton

The article argues that the department's request for an order blocking the publication of John Bolton's book is yet another effort to shield the president and part of a larger trend of the department wielding its law enforcement power to align with the president's interests and views. Critics of the move say that the request for an injunction was pointless, because the book has already been printed and distributed.

John Bolton's Memoir Describes President Trump's Willingness to Interfere with Criminal Investigations

The book reportedly describes several episodes where the president tried to use trade negotiations and criminal investigations to further his own political interests, a pattern that Bolton calls "obstruction of justice as a way of life." For instance, Bolton describes Trump asking Chinese president Xi Jinping to buy American agricultural products to help win him farm states in the 2020 election.

Head of Justice Department's Civil Division Leaves Post; Third Departure in Recent Days

Joseph Hunt, previously chief of staff to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, announced that he was leaving his post after a 20-year career at the Justice Department. His departure was announced shortly after the department filed a lawsuit signed by Hunt seeking to delay publication of Bolton's memoir.

Air Force Inspector General Investigating Whether Military Plane Improperly Monitored Protesters

The Air Force is examining the use of a military surveillance plane during protests in Washington and Minneapolis. Reports say that the Department of Homeland Security deployed surveillance aircraft over 15 cities where demonstrators gathered to protest racial injustice. The under secretary of defense for intelligence and security said he received no orders from the Trump administration to conduct surveillance. One of the planes that was circling overhead was a RC-26 aircraft fitted with an onboard camera that can make out the general image of an individual but is not capable of using facial recognition or reading license plates. The Air Force's inquiry is also expected to shed light on the National Guard's response after ground units were deployed across the U.S.

Architects of Post-9/11 Security Order Critical of Trump Administration's Tactics Against Protesters

Bush administration officials criticized the administration's militarized response to the protests and its deployment of law enforcement resources designed to combat terrorist threats abroad, adding that the job of responding to demonstrators was better suited for local law enforcement.

State Department Aide Resigns Over Trump's Response to Protests

Mary Elizabeth Taylor, one of the highest-ranking African American officials in the Trump administration, resigned over the president's stance on racial unrest, saying that his dismissive response was at odds with her core values.

Businesses Brace for Possible Limits on Foreign Worker Visas

President Trump is expected to issue an executive order temporarily suspending various work visas, including H-1B, L-1, and a program that permits foreign graduates of U.S. universities to work in the U.S. With the earlier suspension of green cards for applicants outside the U.S. for a period of 60 days, companies spanning various sectors and industries are now worried about a depleted workforce. The administration has previously said that recipients of foreign worker visas compete with Americans for jobs and that businesses should look to the U.S. labor market first to fill their needs.

Oversight Board Warns That Lack of Transparency Could Hinder Virus Bailout

A report of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, the federal oversight board tracking how $2.4 trillion in bailout money is being spent, says weak reporting requirements and a lack of transparency will likely interfere with its ability to ensure that funds are being deployed properly.

House Democrats Open Inquiry into Coronavirus Aid Recipients

House Democrats have opened an investigation into the distribution of $500 billion in small-business loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and are calling on the Trump administration to release the names of all PPP borrowers. The administration has resisted oversight of how the $2.2 trillion economic stabilization package was administered and demoted the head of a committee of inspectors general responsible for pandemic oversight. Congress has also run into issues implementing an oversight mechanism - its five-person Congressional Oversight Commission does not yet have a leader.

Small Businesses Get Easier Path to Relief Loan Forgiveness

Congress passed a new law loosening some of the terms of the PPP. Under the new rules, small business owners do not have to pay back their federal pandemic relief loans, even if they do not rehire all of the workers they laid off.

Senate Passes Bill That Guarantees Land Conservation Funds

The bill allocates $9.5 billion over five years for maintenance of national parks.

Charter Schools, Some with Billionaire Benefactors, Secure Coronavirus Relief Funds

Even though charter schools are publicly funded and enjoy tax-free status, many are classifying themselves as businesses and securing emergency relief funds meant to help small businesses and non-profits stay afloat. Around $50 million in forgivable loans has flown to 27 charter schools across the U.S.

Police Killings Prompt Reassessment of Laws Allowing Deadly Force

The rising number of killings by the police is prompting police departments and legislatures across the U.S. to reassess policies and laws that have long given police officers wide latitude on the use of deadly force if they deem their lives to be in danger.

New York Times Interactive Shows How Black Lives Matter Reached Every Corner of America

Friday, June 19, 2020 - Juneteenth as a Day of Reflection and Celebration

Many Americans are learning about the historical significance of Juneteenth for the first time this year. The day is meant to commemorate June 19, 1865, the day when slaves in Galveston, Texas learned that they were free and the Civil War was over. Some states and U.S. corporations have newly designated it a paid holiday and several U.S. banks closed their branches and offices early in recognition of Juneteenth.

Trump Issues Warning to Protesters in Advance of Tulsa Rally

The president drew no distinction between peaceful protesters and what he called "looters or lowlifes" in issuing a warning that disruptions outside his campaign rally in Tulsa would not be tolerated.

Morgan Stanley's Diversity Chief Sues the Bank Over Racial Discrimination

Marilyn Booker believes that she was terminated for pushing senior management to hear a proposal on increasing diversity and restructuring a training program for black financial advisers. She says the bank cut her budget for promoting diversity and financial education by 71%. She also recounts incidents of racism during her 17-year employment.

Quaker Oats Will Retire Aunt Jemima Brand Based on Racial Stereotype

The company said it would retire the name and packaging of the 131-year-old brand, acknowledging that Aunt Jemima's origins were based on a racial stereotype, specifically a 19th-centurty minstrel song called "Old Aunt Jemima." Quaker Oats bought the brand in the 1930s and had a white actress who had performed in blackface on Broadway play the character in a radio series.

Black Customers Recount Experiences of Racial Profiling in Banks

Black customers recount how even routine transactions can subject them to racial discrimination and to the police being called. The article also identifies a gap in the law - the Civil Rights Act of 1964 lists specific businesses that may not treat black customers differently. Federal courts have taken the position that the law does not apply to banks, since those are not listed specifically. An 1866 law establishing contractual rights from black Americans has been interpreted by courts to mean that the law requires only that service be granted eventually, making it difficult to prevail in court if the banks ultimately complete the transactions.

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates Calls to Rename Military Base Names

Former Secretary Gates supports renaming Army bases named for Confederate generals, saying it is time to rid the American military of symbols that represent "the dark side of our history." Current Pentagon leadership also expressed openness to such a change that would impact 10 Army installations in the south, including Fort Bragg, Fort Benning and Fort Hood. Preseident Trump vehemently disagrees.

British Researchers Say That Steroid Dexamethasone Reduces Coronavirus Deaths

University of Oxford scientists said that dexamethasone is the first treatment shown to reduce mortality in severely ill patients by reducing inflammation. In the study, the drug reduced death of patients in ventilators by one-third, and those of patients on oxygen by one-fifth.

Sickest Workers May Be Among the First to Return to Work

America's employment-based health insurance system has become a liability in the country's fight against the coronavirus. As workplaces open, those with underlying conditions may be among the first to return to work because they need coverage to treat the conditions that make them vulnerable to the virus in the first place and more susceptible to negative health outcomes.

Lost Jobs Often Mean Missed Medical Care

The article discusses how both the pandemic (and the fear of contracting the virus) as well as the unaffordability of health care as more and more people lost their jobs, caused Americans to delay medical care.

COVID-19 Could Impact Voter Registration Numbers

The pandemic has already impacted how people vote, marking a huge shift to mailed-in ballots in primary elections across the U.S. It has also impacted voter registration, with new voter registration in 12 states and D.C. falling by 70% in April compared to January. Fewer in-person voter registration drives and the closure of voter-registration offices have led to a surge in the use of online platforms. Civic groups say that graduating high school students and newly naturalized citizens are among the missed registrants, and it is unclear if the typical late-summer surge in registration will be blunted due to the virus.

National Institutes of Health Halts Clinical Trial of Hydroxychloroquine

National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that it will stop the clinical trial to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the drug in treating adults hospitalized with COVID-19 because the drug was unlikely to benefit patients and not enough people had enrolled. The Food and Drug Administration also withdrew its emergency use authorization for the malaria drug, leaving 66 million doses in the federal stockpile, after it concluded that the potential benefits of the drug outweighed the risks.

Vice President Pence Blames Spike in Coronavirus Infections on High Testing Rates

In a call with governors, Vice President Pence said that a rise in testing was a reason behind new outbreaks, even though health experts say testing data does not bear that out. In at least 14 states, positive cases have overtaken the average number of tests, and the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 is rising.

World Health Organization Warns That Pandemic Danger is At a New High

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that the virus is accelerating in the developing world and there have been recent surges in China and South Korea. The United States is seeing a resurgence in the South and the Southeast, with significant outbreaks in Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Arizona, and the Carolinas, where daily counts of new infections have hit record numbers. Texas has seen its cases double in the past month and in Arizona more people are hospitalized with the virus than at any earlier point in the pandemic.

Coronavirus Is Speeding the Spread of Other Preventable Diseases

Mass immunization efforts were halted this spring due to the coronavirus. The programs that did continue were impacted by shortages of vaccine supplies after cargo flights were halted by the pandemic. Health systems are reporting the return of preventable diseases like diphtheria, cholera and measles, with the WHO calling on countries to carefully resume vaccination.

Wildlife Trade Fuels Spread of Coronaviruses

DNA tests show a significant increase in the number of animals testing positive for coronaviruses from the time they are trapped until they are consumed. The results show that transporting animals in crowded conditions creates a breeding ground for disease.

Fossil Fuel Emissions Increasing as Countries Ease Coronavirus Restrictions

Coronavirus lockdowns brought a reprieve from carbon pollution, but global greenhouse gas emissions are rebounding quickly, especially now that China's emissions have returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Scientists Predict Scorching Temperatures; Expected to Last Through Summer

According to the Climate Prediction Center, above average temperatures are expected nationwide into September. This is in line with a general warming trend - each decade since the 1960s has been warmer than the previous one and the last decade recorded the five hottest years.

Sharp Drop in Ice Around Antarctica

The Weddell Sea, east of the Antarctic Peninsula and a critical area of species of penguins and seals, lost more sea ice in 2020 than in recent years. Researchers say that declining sea ice in the region may be a sign of an emerging long-term trend, but are unable to say definitely if the conditions that caused the early melting will persist.

PG&E Ordered to Pay $3.5 Million Fine for California Fire

The utility company has been ordered to pay $3.5 million for its role in the 2018 Camp Fire. State regulators said the utility repeatedly failed to maintain the transmission line that cut through a forested area and ignited the fire. PG&E pleaded guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of illegally causing a fire.

New York City Council Compels Police to Disclose Use of Spying Technology

The New York City Council passed a bill that will require the New York Police Department (NYPD) to reveal information about what surveillance tools it uses and the type of data it collected on New Yorkers. The bill, known as the Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology, was part of a package of reforms that included a ban on the police use of chokeholds and a measure requiring on-duty officers to display their badges at all times.

NYPD Pulls Out of Prosecutors' Offices

The move reflects a growing divide between police and prosecutors, after prosecutors decided to drop charges against protesters arrested on minor charges, like unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct. Police Commissioner Dermot Shea claims that the two events were unrelated, saying resources were pulled to cover the protests instead.

New York City Overhauls Affordable Housing Lottery

New York City rolled out an overhauled and more modern method of applying for affordable housing, eliminating the previous online system that was plagued by technical problems and delays. The redesigned site launched on June 16th; applicants can apply on a smartphone, upload documents online, and view waiting lists. About 2,500 apartments will be offered on the site over the coming months, available to individuals with household incomes below or slightly above the median income.

Minnesota Lawmakers Fail to Pass Police Reform

The Democratic-led House and Republican-led Senate failed to compromise on a package of law-enforcement measures in a special session last week. Democrats said that they would not vote for any package that did not include structural changes to policing, and said changes to arbitration proceedings in misconduct cases were not enough. The impasse was particularly striking in the face of recent activism following the death of George Floyd.

Organizers Reflect on Brooklyn's Huge Black Trans Lives March

Organizers reflect on the thousands of protesters who gathered outside the Brooklyn Museum to raise awareness of the disproportionate rates of violence experienced by Black transgender people.

Vote-by-Mail Ballot Requests Overwhelm New York City Elections Agency

Tens of thousands of New York City residents have yet to receive their mail-in ballots or return envelopes for the primary elections on June 23rd. The rapid expansion of mail-in voting will also mean the results will be delayed, since state law mandates that absentee ballots cannot be counted until eight days have passed from the election day, and not until in-person votes are counted so that officials can double-check mail-in ballots against in-person records.

New York City Will Enter Phase 2 of Reopening on June 22nd

Office work, outdoor dining, and in-store shopping will resume in New York City, with around 300,000 workers expected to return to their jobs. The state recently reported the lowest rate of infections since the beginning of the outbreak. Social distancing and restrictions on capacity will remain.

New York City Hired 3,000 Contact Tracers but Program Faces Challenges Due to Low Response Rate

The first statistics from the program suggest that tracers are often unable to locate infected people or gather information about them because residents who test positive are reluctant to give information about their close contacts.

European Businesses and Borders Reopen Amid Fear of New Waves of Infection

France, Germany, and Switzerland lifted restrictions for travelers arriving from the E.U. or the Schengen zone. The European Commission has also issued guidelines for travelers, including information on quarantine requirements. However, the virus remains active in Europe, where populations are tired of months of isolation and economic uncertainty.

Beijing Imposes new Restrictions Due to Respond to New Outbreak

The partial lockdown cancelled flights and closed down schools in the city as Beijing tries to control a fresh outbreak of coronavirus infections.

Russian Court Sentences American Paul Whelan to 16 Years for Espionage

U.S. officials say the case is politically motivated and Whelan says he was framed by Russian agents so that Russia could imprison an American that it could then trade for a Russian citizen detained in the U.S.

Prominent British Firms Acknowledge Their Ties to the Slave Trade, Pledge Investments

Lloyd's of London and Greene King acknowledged that leading figures in both companies had enslaved hundreds of people and were compensated after slavery was abolished in 1833. While neither made a concrete monetary pledge, each committed to investing in recruiting minority employees and providing financial assistance to charities that promote diversity.

African States Seek United Nations Report on Racism

The United Nations's (UN) Human Rights Council will commission a UN report on systemic racism and discrimination against Black people, stopping short of singling out the U.S. or calling for a commission of inquiry. The resolution asks the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to examine governments' responses to peaceful anti-racism protests and report back by June 2021.

China is Collecting DNA From Millions of Men

China is expanding its surveillance capabilities by building a genetic database from blood samples taken from men and boys across the country. Chinese police are buying testing kits from Massachusetts-based company Thermo Fisher. The campaign involves police going to schools to collect; many feel they have no choice but to submit to the testing since refusal to do so blacklists a family and deprives them of the right to travel or seek health care.

Disturbing Jaguar Trade on the Rise; Tied to Private Investment from China

A rise in jaguar poaching is prompting Latin American authorities to examine wildlife crime involving cats already threatened with extinction. Authorities have so far intercepted packages bound for China containing hundreds of jaguar canines, which are made into jewelry; many of the cases are linked to Chinese citizens or destinations in China. Recent findings "suggest a parallel with poaching patterns seen in Southeastern Asia and Africa, in which an increasing presence of businesses from China working on large development projects coincides with increasing legal and illegal wildlife trade, including of big cats."

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