La-Vaughnda A. Taylor Edited by Elissa D. Hecker
Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Media/Technology, and General News:
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Takes Steps to Be More Diverse
After the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organizes the Oscars, introduced diversity criteria for nominated films, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) announced its own changes. Starting with the awards in 2021, all 6,700 voting members of BAFTA will have to undergo unconscious bias training before casting any ballots. It also announced rules aimed at increasing the diversity of films considered with more specific interventions for some categories of the awards. Another major change is that a studio will only be able to nominate an actor for a lead or supporting award, not both categories, as previously allowed. In addition, BAFTA plans to increase its membership by 1,000 with goals for underrepresented groups. The British film awards, like the Oscars, have been repeatedly denounced for its lack of diversity.
In Los Angeles, Weinstein Faces Six Charges of Sexual Assault
Harvey Weinstein, the once powerful movie mogul who was sentenced in March to 23 years in prison for sex crimes, has been charged with 6 additional counts of forcible sexual assault in Los Angeles. The new charges stem from incidents that happened more than a decade ago and add to the growing case against him. Weinstein, 68, now faces a total of 4 counts each of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation, 2 counts of sexual battery by restraint and one count of sexual penetration by use of force involving 5 victims for crimes dating from 2004 to 2013.
Alexander v. Take-Two
Catherine Alexander, a tattoo artist from Illinois, sued Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., 2K Games, Inc., 2K Sports, Inc., World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.(WWE) , Visual Concepts Entertainment, Yuke's Co., Ltd., and Yuke's LA Inc. for copyright infringement relating to the tattoos on 13-time world champion professional wrestler Randy Orton. Alexander alleges that various WWE-branded videogames feature "meticulous reproductions" of those tattoos. WWE offered her $450 for the rights to Orton's tattoos, which she declined. The outcome of the case hinges on whether tattooed individuals like Orton have an implied license to their tattoos and whether depiction of an individual's tattoos is fair use. Another potential issue is whether a tattoo is sufficiently "fixed" to warrant copyright protection in the first place. The issue of fair use and implied license are going to a jury. Issue of material fact exists as to whether Alexander suffered actual damages based on the value of the infringing use. The judge adopted a pretty absolutist view of copyrights.
Beyond the Statue Wars: Restoring Erased History
The national movement to bring down statues that symbolize historical oppression is gaining in Massachusetts. The North End's Christopher Columbus statue has remained out of sight since it was decapitated by protesters after George Floyd was killed. While some people, especially in the Italian-American community, want to bring the statue back, some question whether it is time to put another person on a pedestal.
Judge Rules that Lawsuit Over Bolton Book Can Proceed
A judge has ruled that the Trump administration can move forward with its suit against former national security adviser John Bolton over his tell-all book, which officials say contains classified information.
New Health Insurance Hurdle For Unemployed Stage Actors
Facing enormous financial strain because of the shutdown of the theatre industry, the health insurance fund that covers thousands of stage actors is making it more difficult for them to qualify for coverage. Currently, professional actors and stage managers have to work 11 weeks to qualify for 6 months of coverage.
Mellon Foundation to Provide $5 Million to Aid Black Theaters
The Billie Holiday Theatre in Brooklyn, a Black-led artistic institution, will spearhead The Black Seed, a strategic plan that will offer grants to up to 50 theaters across the country. The threaters will receive a significant financial boost, thanks to a multimillion-dollar program. It is described as the first national strategic plan to provide financial support for the Black theaters across the country. It is the largest-ever one-time investment in Black theater.
A New David Zwirner Gallery Plans to Have an All-Black Staff
The megadealer David Zwirner has hired Ebony L. Haynes, a gallerist who is Black, as the director of a new exhibition program and commercial gallery space in Manhattan, for which she plans to employ an all-Black staff. Zwirner has said that Haynes will "have full autonomy" in programming exhibitions. At a time when the Black Lives Matter movement has raised awareness about the scarcity and struggles of Black-run galleries, the new Zwirner enterprise represents a strong commitment from a mega dealer.
The Unbearable Whiteness of the Museum Fashion Collection
In the small group of high-culture institutions that venerate the art of fashion, Black designers have been largely overlooked. The Paris fashion museum, Palais Galliera is scheduled to reopen after a 2-year and almost $10 million renovation with the blockbuster exhibition "Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto." There will now be a rotating sample of its permanent collection, which includes approximately 200,000 objects dating from the 18th century to today. It is one of the largest and most extraordinary collections of fashion in the world. Yet of those 200,000 objects, only 77 pieces of clothing were created by Black designers and only 7 Black designers are represented. That's about .04%. It's a startling imbalance, but effectively the status quo in the small group of globally renowned high-culture institutions historically charged with preserving and protecting the art of fashion.
Opening the Doors of Design - the design industry has never been diverse. Can new initiatives fix that?
A tiny portion of designers are Black, but a host of new initiatives, as well as evolving tastes, are working to right the imbalance. Expressions of solidarity with Black Lives Matter across the design industries have poured out on social media. Black-owned design companies and studios are being singled out for support, and larger design firms are pledging to improve diversity and equity. It's time for everyone to figure out how to create a new foundation so we can build a society that supports people and is truly inclusive. For many Black designers, it is a complicated moment. While eager to seize the momentum, some see little reason to trust that talk of greater inclusiveness will translate into results, or that even well-intentioned incremental steps toward diversity will produce substantive change. Herman Miller is founding a Diversity in Design program, for which it hopes to build a consortium of businesses - including competitors - to tackle the issue. Many believe the problem is in the pipeline, so some top design institutions are ramping up efforts to redress the imbalance.
Whitney Biennial Delayed a Year Until April 2022
The Whitney Biennial, which was scheduled for next spring, has been moved forward and will now occur April-August of 2022. It has been postponed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Pandemic Could be a Needed Reset for the Metropolitan Opera
On September 23, the Metropolitan Opera (the Met) announced that the its cancellation would extend to its entire 2020-21 season. Its leadership realized that if the Met is going to rise again after the virus subsides, the organization must do things differently to prove itself more essential than ever. The work it presents must matter - and how the company presents itself must matter, too. The Met must take time to think about its place within larger societal currents, especially the roiling issues of racial injustice and police brutality that have inspired nationwide demonstrations. Black classical artists and administrators have spoken out powerfully about systemic discrimination within the field. To that end, the ambitious 2021-22 season is also a statement of purpose that seeks to address multiple oversights in the Met's history.
French Colonialism Goes on Trial Along With Art Theft Defendants
Activists are being tried in Paris over the attempted theft of an African artwork from the Quai Branly Museum, which they say was a protest of colonial-era practices. Mwazulu Diyabanza, along with 4 associates, stood accused of attempting to steal a 19th-century African funeral pole from the museum as part of an action to protest colonial-era cultural theft and seek reparations. It was an emotionally charged trial that gave real resonance to Diyabanza's struggle, as a symbolic defendant was called to the stand: France, and its colonial track record. The presiding judge in charge acknowledge the 2 trials: one, judging the group, 4 men and a woman, on a charge of attempted theft for which they could face up to 10 years in prison and fines of about $173,000. THe "other" trial was that of the history of Europe, of France with Africa, the trial of colonials, the trial of misappropriation of the cultural heritage of nations. The political and historical ramifications were hard to avoid.
Italy is Giving "David" a Twin, Sculpted With a 3-D Printer Instead of Chisels
A copy of Michelangelo's David printed in 3-D will be the centerpiece of the Italy Pavilion at the next World Fair. For the past 5 centuries, Michelangelo's David has been celebrated for its sculptural perfection and its embodiment of youthful beauty and strength. Now, Italian officials want the sculpture to help showcase Italian craftsmanship and high-tech expertise in the digital age.
Making Ruins of Mosques and Shrines
According to new estimates of analyzed satellite imagery by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Chinese authorities have destroyed or significantly damaged thousands of religious sites in Xinjiang in recent years. The destruction attests to the Chinese government's drive to erode the cultural and religious heritage of the region and forcibly assimilate its Muslim minorities.
Fortnite Maker Argues Case vs. Apple
Apple and Fortnite maker, Epic Games, sparred in federal court over whether to reinstate the popular game in Apple's App Store, raising antitrust arguments that may reshape a key part of the internet economy and the way people use smartphones. Epic laid out allegations that Apple had abused its power after Apple booted Fortnite form the App store when Epic tried collecting its own payments through the App store. Epic responded by suing Apple, accusing it of violating antitrust laws. Epic argued that Apple's unwillingness to let it use its own payment system was anticompetitive and monopolistic. Apple said that Epic had plenty of alternative ways to distribute its games. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers concluded the hearing by recommending a jury trial in the case in July. She is expected to rule on whether Apple must allow Fortnite back into its App Store in the interim.
Empowering Olympic, Paralympic, Amateur Athletes Act, Watches U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee
The Empowering Olympic, Paralympic, and Amateur Athletes Act of 2020, a bill designed to protect Olympic athletes from abuse, passed unanimously in the U.S. House of Representatives last week. The bill would give Congress the power to dissolve the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee's (USOPC) board of directors, as well as any individual sport's governing body, such as USA Swimming or USA Gymnastics, and would more than double the foundation's funding for the U.S. Center for SafeSport. It is now headed to the president. The bill also sets up a bipartisan committee to do a complete review of the USOPC.
College Football Face Cover Rules: Only Partly Followed and Not Enforced
Perhaps more than any other major American sport, football is grappling with a scourge of overt, if not always deliberate, mask violations during competition at the collegiate and professional levels. The National Football League (NFL) has angrily watched some of its biggest names defy its rules. Most of the coaches in SEC, the sport's most prominent collegiate conference, repeatedly breached the league's policy during its opening weekend, and college conferences that are playing football this fall, or planning to, have begun weighing hot to police their stated protocols more forcefully. The question is not easily solved in a sport that has long been politicized, prizes its image as a haven for the macho, and that, at the top ranks of the college game, lacks centralized governance.
NFL Experiences First COVID Outbreak as 8 Members of the Titans Test Positive
The Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings are suspending all in-person club activities after the Titans announced that 3 players and 5 other personnel have tested positive for the coronavirus. This is seen as the first coronavirus outbreak for a NFL team during a season that is entering its fourth week. Before now, only a handful of players and slightly more staff members had tested positive during the season. The NFL has been conducting tens of thousands of tests, in a program that it was recently celebrating as a success.
Challenges to NFL Grow as Positive Tests Postpone Patriots-Chiefs Showdown
According to multiple reports, New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton has tested positive for the coronavirus and will be out for the team's upcoming game against the Kansas City Chiefs, a game which was being billed as a quarterback showdown. After the news broke, Sunday's game was postponed, making it the second Week 4 Sunday game to be postponed. Members of the Chiefs's organization have also reportedly tested positive for the virus.
National Basketball Association Weathers its Stormiest Season
Nothing about the 2019-20 National Basketball Association (NBA) season has been normal. There were tragedies and triumphs, setbacks and highlights. When play finally resumed in July after a 4-month hiatus brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, it began in a so-called bubble: a self-contained, spectator-free campus at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida, as the NBA - at no small cost - fought to the finish line. This turbulent season has challenged how the world sees basketball and, perhaps, how basketball players see themselves.
FIFA to Order Teams to Release Players for World Cup Qualifying
Coronavirus fears, rising infection rates and quarantine rules are raising serious practical concerns before the first round of World Cup qualifiers in South America. After weeks of indecision and discussion, FIFA is planning to order soccer clubs to release players who have been called up for World Cup qualification games next week, a move that is likely to lead to a furious backlash from teams, leagues, and player unions fearful of the risks of international travel during the coronavirus pandemic.
Verdasco Threatens French Open Legal Action After COVID-19 Omission
Spanish tennis player Fernando Verdasco has threatened legal action against the organizers of the French Open after he was forced to withdraw from the tournament following a positive COVID-19 test.
Russian Biathletes File Criminal Complaint Over Alleged Rodchenkov Forgery Claims
Criminal complaints have been lodged with the Swiss prosecutors office over alleged fake signatures by whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov.
Eight Australian Sports Commit to Inclusion Measures for Transgender Athletes
Eight peak Australian sporting bodies - AFL, Hockey Australia, Netball Australia, Rugby Australia, Tennis Australia, Touch Football Australia, UniSport Australia ,and Water Polo - have committed to implementing governance that supports a great level of inclusion for trans and gender diverse people in their sports.
Moderator of Debate Regrets 'Missed Opportunity'
The veteran anchor Chris Wallace conceded that he was initially "reluctant" to step in during the Trump-Biden matchup. In his first interview after the chaotic spectacle, Wallace conceded that he had been slow to recognize that the president was not going to cease flouting the debate's rules. He said that he had "never been through anything like this" and didn't realize "that this was going to be the president's strategy for the entire debate." The Commission on Presidential Debates has since said that it would examine changes to the format of this year's remaining encounters between Biden and Trump, a clear sign of its frustration with the results. The suggestion that moderators be given the power to mute the candidates' microphones - popular on social media in the hours after the event - did not sit well with Wallace.
New Mexico Lawsuit Against Google is Ended
A U.S. district judge has dismissed New Mexico's privacy claims against Google. The judge concluded that federal laws and regulations do not require direct consent from parents when schools participate in Google's education platforms. However, New Mexico's top prosecutor vowed to continue the legal fight to protect children's rights. Under the ruling, New Mexico can amend its complaint.
President Perpetuates Falsehoods, Study Finds
Cornell University researchers analyzing 38 million English-language articles about the pandemic found that Trump was the largest driver of the "indodemic" (falsehoods involving the pandemic). Mentions of Trump made up nearly 38% of the overall "misinformation conversation." The study identified 11 topics of misinformation, including various conspiracy theories, like one that emerged in January suggesting that the pandemic was manufactured by Democrats to coincide with Trump's impeachment trial, and another that purported to trace the initial outbreak in Wuhan, to people who ate bat soup. By far, the more prevalent topic of misinformation was "miracle cures", including Trump's promotion of anti-malarial drugs and disinfectants as potential treatments for COVID-19. That accounted for more misinformation that the other 10 topics combined.
Federal Judge Grants Injunction Against Trump's Ban on China's TikTok
A federal judge halted a Trump administration order to ban TikTok in the U.S. on Sunday. The judge granted a preliminary injunction against the ban, which was set to take effect this past Sunday at midnight and would have force TikTok to be removed from app stores. The ruling did not address other restrictions within the Executive Order that will take effect on November 12th and will make the app harder to use for those already on it. TikTok's lawyers argued that taking away the app was essentially a violation of the rights of users to share their views, both weeks before an election and during a pandemic that is limiting real-life interactions.
Google to Pay $1 Billion to License News Content
Google has committed more than $1 billion to license content from international news organizations, after years of criticism that it was not providing fair compensation for articles and other content linked to by its internet search products. The program is part of a new Google product called News Showcase that will present news from around the world in short snippets that readers can quickly browse on a phone or other device. The company will pay publishers to curate the material that will be presented. The program is starting in Germany and Brazil and will be rolled out to additional countries in the months ahead. Nearly 200 publications have signed on.
Facebook Bans Ads Aiming to Disrupt Vote
Facebook announced that it will prohibit advertising that seeks to "delegitimize" the U.S. election - including ads making allegations of widespread voting fraud or denouncing legitimate voting methods as inherently fraudulent or corrupt - marking yet another concession to critics who decry the platform's rampant misinformation problem and lax fact-checking policies for political ads.
Project Veritas Releases Misleading Video, Part of What Experts Call a Coordinated Effort
A deceptive video was released by the conservative activist James O'Keefe, which claimed through unidentified sources and with no verifiable evidence that Representative Ilhan Omar's campaign had collected ballots illegally, was probably part of a coordinated disinformation effort. O'Keefe's group, Project Veritas, appears to have made an abrupt decision to release the video sooner than planned after the New York Times published a sweeping investigation of Trump's taxes. Project Vertias had hyped the video on social media for several days before publishing it. In posts amplified by other prominent conservative accounts, O'Keefe teased what he said was evidence of voter fraud and urged people to sign up at "ballot-harvesting.com" to receive the supposed evidence when it came out. None of the material in the video actually proved voter fraud.
Fox Anchor Gives Viewers Advice: Wear a 'Damn Mask'
"Fox News Sunday" host and moderator of the first presidential debate, Chris Wallace, urged viewers to "wear the damn mask" after Trump tested positive for COVID-19. He went on to note that the first family took off their masks, going against strict guidelines in place at the debate. Wallace pled for people to "forget the politics [because] this is a public safety health issue."
Justice Department Appeals Injunction Blocking Ban of WeChat
The federal government has appealed a judge's ruling that prevented the Trump administration from imposing a ban on WeChat, the popular Chinese-owned messaging app. The appeal was made at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, escalating the battle over the future of WeChat, owned by the Chinese company Tencent Holdings. Washington has worked to banish Chinese telecommunications products from American networks. Last month, the Department of Commerce moved to block American companies, like Google and Apple, from hosting WeChat in their app stores, as well as bar companies from hosting WeChat's data or helping to deliver content to its users. However, Judge Beeler blocked the ban last month, days before it was supposed to take effect, in response to a request from a group that says it represents WeChat users.
Saudi Journalist's Dream Comes to Life Two Years After His Killing
Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) is a Washington-based human rights watchdog that plans to focus on violations by the U.S.'s closest Arab allies and publish articles by political exiles from across the Middle East to carry on Saudi dissent writer Jamal Khashoggi's legacy. Since Khashoggi's death and dismemberment by Saudi agents inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, critics have embraced his case as the grimmest manifestation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's no-holds-barred approach to silencing dissidents within Saudi Arabia and abroad. It was Khashoggi's dream to found an organization in Washington to promote democracy in the Arab world - 2 years after his death, friends and colleges have launched that organization.
American Could Face Prison Time in Thailand After Posting Negative Reviews of a Resort
An American living in Thailand says that he could face up to 2 years in prison for posting negative reviews of a resort. The man was arrested under Thailand's criminal defamation law, which has been used to silence critics and stifle dissent. The hotel that brought charges acknowledges that using the law might be "excessive."
Policing Content, Facebook Incurs a Strongman's Wrath
President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines is one of a number of populists around the world who rose to power in part by harnessing Facebook to get his unfiltered messages to millions. During his 2016 campaign, his allies flooded the social media platform with misinformation about his opponents and laudatory stories about him. Four years later, after allegations that Facebook aided disruptive misinformation campaigns in many countries, the Silicon Valley giant has put up increasing checks on what politicians and their allies can say online. Duterte is not a fan and has lashed out at Facebook for taking down fake accounts that supported his policies, making vague threats to shut the platform down in the Philippines.
Chuck Schumer Forces Healthcare Vote
In an extremely rare move, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer took control of the floor and is forcing a procedural vote on a bill, a step that is typically done only by the Senate majority leader. The action now sets up a vote related to a bill that would protect people with pre-existing conditions if the Supreme Court sides with the Trump administration's Department of Justice and strikes down the Affordable Care Act after arguments are heard in November.
Senators Approves Stopgap Spending Bill to Avoid a Shutdown
The measure provides funding for the government until December 11th, delaying the threat of a shutdown until after the general election.
House Passes $2.2 Trillion Aid Bill by Thin Margin
The House of Representatives passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill in a 214-207 vote, even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continued to push for a last-minute, bipartisan compromise on the next round of aid - the vote is a symbolic step from Democrats, as the legislation is widely opposed by Senate Republicans and is not expected to become law.
Justices Rush Census Case on Excluding Immigrants
A lower court had ruled that the Trump administration's plan to alter the census count for congressional reapportionment violated federal law. The Supreme Court has since agreed to move quickly to consider an appeal from the administration that seeks to revive its efforts to exclude undocumented immigrants from the calculations used to apportion congressional seats. The move will allow the Court to hear the case as soon as December, setting the stage for a ruling on a policy that seeks to upend a constitutional consensus and would generally shift both political power and federal money from Democratic states to Republican ones.
Justices Will Weigh Cases About Ballots and Climate
The justices will consider challenges to Arizona's ban on "ballot harvesting" and a suit against energy companies accused of contributing to climate change. The Arizona case will probably be heard in January, too late to affect the presidential election. But it will give the Supreme Court, in transition after the death of Justice Ginsburg, an opportunity to weigh in on the roiling debate over how elections should be conducted. The case will also test the force of what is left of the Voting Rights Act.
President's Taxes Chart Chronic Losses, Audit Battle, and Income Tax Avoidance
The New York Times obtained Donald Trump's tax information extending over more than 2 decades, revealing struggling properties, vast write-offs, an audit battle, and hundreds of millions of dollars in debt coming due. Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency. In his first year in the White House, he paid another $750. He had paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years - largely because he reported losing much more money than he made. Further, hanging over him is a decade-long audit battle with the IRS over the legitimacy of a $72.9 million tax refund that he claimed, and received, after declaring huge losses. An adverse ruling could cost him more than $100 million. The tax returns that Trump has long fought to keep private tell a story fundamentally different from the one he has sold to the American public.
Trump's TV Façade Rescued Finances and Aided His Rise
The image that was portrayed of Trump on his reality television show "The Apprentice" was all a hoax. Twelve years later, that image of the self-made, self-saved mogul, beamed into the national consciousness, would help fuel Trump's improbable election to the White House. Yet while the story of "The Apprentice" is by now well known, the president's tax returns reveal another grand twist that has never been truly told - how the popularity of that fictional alter ego rescued him, providing a financial lifeline to reinvent himself yet again; then how, in an echo of the boom-and-bust cycle that has defined his business career, he led himself toward the financial shoals he must navigate today.
Senators Speed Review and Prepare to Meet Nominee, Although Hearings to Confirm Face an Imperiled Timeline
The confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court quietly but hastily got underway in the Senate as more than a dozen senators prepared to quiz her in private meetings and their staffs began a deep scrub of her record on and off the bench. The flurry of activity began barely 36 hours after President Trump announced Judge Barrett's nomination. However, with the president ill and a coronavirus outbreak engulfing Washington and spreading to the Senate, a fresh element of uncertainty was introduced into the politically fraught fight over installing Judge Amy Cooney Barrett on the Supreme Court before Election Day, as Republicans vowed to press ahead and Democrats insisted on a pause.
Trump Ally Releases Unverified Intelligence Over Agencies' Doubts
Recent developments on national intelligence have exacerbated concerns that the Trump administration is co-opting government capabilities for its own gain. In one example, mere hours before the first Trump-Biden debate, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe declassified unverified Russian intelligence suggesting Hillary Clinton tried to link Trump to Russia in 2016.
Schiff Sees Disinformation Rise With Trump's Attacks
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff says that foreign adversaries want to undermine confidence in the American election and are amplifying Trump's false assertions. American intelligence officials have seen an uptick in Russian disinformation about mail-in ballots as Trump has escalated his attacks on voting by mail. American intelligence agencies have not explicitly linked the increase in Russian disinformation operations to the president's comments. They would not make such a link without specific intelligence about the Kremlin's marching orders, but officials have acknowledged that Russia always focuses its disinformation efforts on existing controversies to amplify ongoing arguments.
Grand Juror Raises Doubts in How Prosecution Handled Taylor Case
Outrage over grand jury findings in the Breonna Taylor case resurfaced old doubts about the uniquely American legal institution. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed a motion to delay the release of audio recordings related to the Taylor case, which added to the mounting list of questions that followed the grand jury's decision to charge only one of the 3 officers involved in the young woman's death. There have been growing calls for transparency in the case. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear is among those asking for more transparency in the wake of the grand jury decision. Prosecutors are generally able to set the agenda and control what evidence jurors are presented in court, according to legal experts, but civil rights advocates and attorneys for Taylor's family have raised questions about the volume of evidence presented against the officers.
Taylor Grand Jury Tapes Present Dueling Narratives
Police said that they knocked repeatedly and identified themselves for a minute or more before using a battering ram to enter Breonna Taylor's apartment. Taylor's boyfriend said in police interview that he did not hear them announce themselves. The dueling accounts were contained in hours of recordings made public in a rare release for proceedings that are typically kept secret. The grand jury did not charge the officers with her killing. A court ruled that the content of the proceedings should be a made public after the grand jury's decision angered many in Louisville and around the county and set off renewed protests. The material released does not include juror deliberations or prosecutor recommendations and statements, none of which were recorded, according to the state attorney general's office.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement Detainees Recall Pressure to Get Surgery
Immigrants detained at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)-contracted center in Georgia say they had invasive gynecology procedures that they later learned might have been unnecessary. The Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia drew national attention last month after a nurse filed a whistle-blower complaint claiming that detainees had told her they had their uteruses removed without their full understanding or consent. First-hand accounts are now emerging from detainees who underwent other invasive gynecological procedures that they did not fully understand and which may not have been medically necessary.
Trump's Heckles Send First Debate into Utter Chaos
President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden fiercely clashed in one of the most chaotic and bitter presidential debates in years. Trump frequently interrupted, prompting Biden to tell him to "shut up" as the two fought over the pandemic, healthcare, and the economy. The president was challenged over white supremacist support and refused to condemn a specific far-right group.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Threatens to Close Embassy in Iraq Unless Attacks Stop
Secretary of State Pompeo has threatened to close the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad if Iraqi leaders do not prevent Iranian-backed militias from firing rockets at the compound, and a decision is expected before the election.
Pentagon is Clinging to Old Tools, Panel Warns
A bipartisan House panel said that artificial intelligence, quantum computing, space, and biotechnology were "making traditional battlefields and boundaries increasingly irrelevant" - but that the Pentagon was clinging to aging weapons systems meant for a previous era. The panel's report, called the "Future of Defense Task Force", is one of many underway in Congress in an attempt to grapple with the speed at which the Pentagon is adapting new technologies, often using the rising competition with China in an effort to spur the pace of change. Most reach the same conclusion: for all the talk of embracing new technology, the politics of killing off old weapons systems is so forbidding - often because it involves closing factories or bases, and endangers military jobs in congressional districts - that the efforts falter.
After 340 Years, Pueblo Revolt is Echoing in New Mexico
Indigenous groups in the Southwest are imbuing their activism this year with commemorations of the 340-year-old Pueblo Revolt, one of Spain's bloodiest defeats in its colonial empire. From the protests in the late spring against New Mexico's conquistador monuments to the writing last month emblazoning the walls of Santa Fe and Taos celebrating the Pueblo Revolt, the meticulously orchestrated rebellion that exploded 340 years ago is resonating once again. The increasingly energetic activism in New Mexico points to how the protests across the country over racial injustice and police treatment of African-Americans have fueled an even broader questioning about the racism and inequality that endure in this part of the West.
Pantone's New Color Joins a Movement to Destigmatize Menstruation
Pantone has launched a bold new color to combat menstruation taboos. The release of this new red hue by the Pantone Color Institute builds on the momentum in recent years of the period positivity movement. The bold new shade of red is called "Period" to help destigmatize menstruation.
Racism in the Principal's Office: Seeking Justice for Black Girls
Discipline disparities between Black and white boys have driven reform efforts for years, but Black girls are arguably the most at-risk student group in the U.S. There is a case now that is the subject of what might be a groundbreaking federal lawsuit by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which has drawn on the disparate treatment and discipline rates of Black girls to pursue it. The disproportionate discipline rates of Black boys have long dominated discussions about the harmful effects of punitive discipline policies, but recent high-profile cases have begun to reframe the debate around the plight of Black girls. The disproportionate discipline rates among girls indicate what researchers have long said about all Black children: it is not that they misbehave more than their peers, but their behaviors may be judged more harshly. Black girls in particular are more likely to be punished for subjective infractions like dress code violations and insubordination.
Bitcoin Exchange Owners Face U.S. Criminal Charges
American authorities brought criminal charges last week against the owners of one of the world's biggest cryptocurrency trading exchanges, BitMEX, accusing it of allowing the Hong Kong-based company to launder money and engage in other illegal transactions.
Newly Appointed Judge Steps Down From 9/11 Trial, Citing Personal Conflicts
The recusal of Colonel Stephen Keane from hearing the case at Guantanamo Bay adds another roadblock to restarting pretrial hearings in the long-running case. Keane said he had ties to the New York area and that his Marine career included investigating Al Qaeda, just weeks after getting the job. Since beginning the trial, he became aware of a significant personal connection to persons who were directly affected by the events of 9/11.
Science Finds Way to Speed Breakdown of Plastics
A new cocktail of enzymes that degrades plastic faster is a step to fully recycling soda bottles and other waste. This is a step forward in finding a new form of recycling that is faster, more affordable and works on a larger scale than current methods. The "super-enzyme" could be employed to break down plastic bottles much more quickly than current recycling methods and create the raw material to make new ones, according to the American and British scientists. And it may make it easier to repurpose the material. An estimated 359 million tons of plastic is produced annually worldwide, with at least 150 million tons of it sitting in landfills or in the environment.
'Fifth Girl' in Church Bombing Gets Apology from Alabama's Governor
Governor Kay Ivey offered to have state officials meet with lawyers for a maimed survivor of an infamous racist attack in Birmingham to discuss restitution for an "egregious injustice." Sarah Collins Rudolph had appealed to local and state leaders in Alabama for years, asking for some form of restitution, after the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. The explosion blinded her right eye, killed her sister and 3 other girls, and started a struggle with injuries and trauma that weighs on Rudolph to this day. After 57 years, a formal apology from the governor of Alabama brought her one step closer to resolution.
Women Say World Health Organization Staff Abused Them in Congo
The World Health Organization (WHO) has pledged to investigate allegations that aid workers tackling the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo sexually abused and exploited women. WHO and other aid agency staff were accused by 50 women in a joint investigation by 2 news agencies. Local women were allegedly plied with drinks, "ambushed" in hospitals, forced to have sex, and 2 became pregnant. The allegations cover the period between 2018 and March this year.
New York Boss of Union Faces Broad Charges of Corruption
Federal prosecutors say James W. Cahill and 10 others accepted more than $100,000 in bribes in return for using their influence to help employers who had hired nonunion labor. Cahill was one of the most powerful and politically connected union leaders in New York and has been indicted on racketeering and fraud charges. Ten other current and former members of the steamfitters Local 638 where the union leader started his career were also charged.
Coronavirus Deaths Pass One Million
More than one million people have died from the coronavirus worldwide, marking another milestone in the pandemic's brief but devasting history. The death toll now stands at 1,000,555. The grim tally has been reached in fewer than 9 months since the first death caused by the virus was confirmed by Chinese authorities in the city of Wuhan. Since then, the virus has disrupted the everyday lives of billions of people around the globe and caused widespread economic damage. More than 33 million cases have been confirmed worldwide and outbreaks continue to plague many countries.
President in Hospital As He Battles COVID
Trump went through a "very concerning" period last Friday and faces a "critical" next few days in his fight against COVID-19 at a military hospital. Trump's doctors took pains not to reveal the president had received supplemental oxygen at the White House before his hospital admission. The changing and often contradictory accounts created a credibility crisis for the White House at a crucial moment, with the president's health and the nation's leadership on the lines.
Trump is Given Antibody Treatment Not Yet Approved for Emergency Use
Trump received a single dose of an antibody cocktail made by the biotech company Regeneron. Trump received a dose of the experiemental antibody cocktail in addition to several other drugs, including zinc, vitamin D, and the generic version of the heartburn treatment Pepcid. There are no approved treatments for COVID-19, but the Regneron treatment is one of the most promising candidates, along with another antibody treatment developed by Eli Lilly. Both are being tested in patients around the country.
Primed for Mistrust, Many Wonder if White House is Being Forthright
A president who rose to fame - in business, on TV, and in politics - on an archipelago of exaggerations finds himself facing a public skeptical of his account of his own health, but there is no evidence to support the view that Trump and the First Lady are anything but ill. As updates on the president's condition came in, followed by the news that he would be hospitalized, the chatter turned from skepticism that the president was sick to doubts that the White House was being forthright about his condition.
McConnell Postpones Senate Return as Precaution
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that he will seek to obtain a consent agreement to delay the return of Senate from Monday to October 19th in the wake of 3 GOP senators testing positive for the coronavirus. McConnell said that the Senate Judiciary Committee's work can continue on October 12th with the confirmation process for Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
White House Reveals a Plan to Distribute Millions of Kits
Last week, Trump announced that his administration plans to distribute 150 million rapid COVID-19 tests to Americans that were first promoted back in August. Formally unveiling the plan at the White House Rose Garden, Trump claimed that the tests were there to be made available to teachers who will need it, as many schools across the country have reopened physically while others have chosen to reopen virtually this year. The tests are made by Abbott Laboratories and were touted as a possible game-changer to the pandemic. This sudden plan to release millions of COVID-19 tests is a shift in Trump's previous assertions that more case of COVID-19 were noted because there was more testing happening. In another sudden shift from his previous stances, Trump said that more efforts made in testing and noting asymptomatic cases in low-risk populations should not be cause for alarm or panic. 100 million of the tests would go to states and territories in support of efforts to reopen while 50 million would be allotted for those who are at the most risk of contracting the disease.
White House Pushed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on School Risk
Documents and interviews show how senior officials sought to play down the risks of sending children back to the classroom, alarming public health experts. Top White House officials pressured the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this summer to play down the risks, a strikingly political intervention in one of the most sensitive public health debates of the pandemic. As part of their behind-the-scenes effort, White House officials also tried to circumvent the CDC in a search for alternate data showing that the pandemic was weakening and posed little danger to children.
Claims of Herd Immunity Called 'Nonsense,' as Well as Dangerous
The CDC and leading experts have concluded, using different scientific methods, that as many as 90% of Americans are still vulnerable to infection. This number is important because it means that "herd immunity" - the point at which a disease stops spreading because nearly everyone in a population has contracted it - is still very far off. What epidemiologists found runs strongly counter to a theory being promoted in influential circles that the U.S. has either already achieved herd immunity or is close to doing so, and that the pandemic is all but over.
A Growing Tenue Crisis for Women in Academia
The pandemic has been brutal on many working mothers, especially those with little leverage on the job. Experts say it may be uniquely unforgiving for mothers in so-called up-or-out fields, where workers face a single high-stakes promotion decision. The loss of months or more of productivity to additional child care responsibilities, which fall more heavily on women, can reverberate throughout their careers. An economic historian at Harvard who studies women in the labor market says that this will disproportionately affect female lawyers, accountants, and people in various positions in finance, management, and academics - all of whom have up-or-out or winner-take-all positions.
Women Reconsider Jobs Amid Pandemic Disarray
One in 4 women are considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce due to the coronavirus. New data shows that women are being disproportionately affected by today's pandemic. From the beginning of 2015 to the beginning of 2020, the share of women in senior VP roles grew from 23% to 28% with the overall share of women in the C-suite growing from 17% to 21% over that same time period. The pandemic is proving to be a real threat to this progress. Researchers are seeing evidence of women leaving the workforce at higher rates than men. The increase in the number leaving or thinking about leaving the workforce is largely due to the ongoing caregiving crisis facing women which has only been exacerbated by the pandemic, with many schools and day care centers remaining closed.
White House Kills CDC Plan to Extend Ban on Cruise Ships
The CDC director wanted a "no sail" order extended until February, a policy that would have upset the tourism industry in the crucial swing state of Florida. The White House has since blocked that order. The current "no sail" policy was originally put in place in April and later extended and was set to expire. The CDC is worried that cruise ships could become viral hot spots as they did at the beginning of the pandemic. The administration will instead allow the ships to sail after October 31st, the date the industry had already agreed to on its own, voluntary plan.
Judge Blocks President's Visa Ban for Foreign Workers
A U.S. federal judge ruled that Trump overstepped his authority when he suspended the issuance of certain types of work visas amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Several associations filed a complaint in which they challenged the validity of Trump's Proclamation 10052, which suspended the issuance of nonimmigrant work visas (particularly J, L, and H category visas) for a period lasting until December 13, 2020 or longer "if necessary."
A Cut to Refugee Limits and a Xenophobic Rant
The Trump administration said it would lower the annual cap on refugees further into rock-bottom record territory as Trump pursues pre-election xenophobic attacks. The change in the number of refugees Trump plans to admit is not drastic: no more than 15,000 in the fiscal year that began last week, down from 18,000 in the 2020 fiscal year, which was a record low. The number was set in a notice sent to Congress last week, shortly before the statutory deadline to set the new limit.
For Many Jobless, 'Short-Term' No Longer Fits
The U.S. economy is facing a tidal wave of long-term unemployment, as millions of people who lost jobs early in the pandemic remain out of work months later and job losses increasingly turn permanent. The Labor Department said that 2.4 million people had been out of work for 27 weeks or more, the threshold it uses to define long-term joblessness. Nearly 5 million people are approaching long-term joblessness over the next 2 months. The same report showed that even as temporary layoffs were on the decline, permanent job losses were rising sharply.
The Pandemic Recession Has Just Begun
There is a straightforward narrative of the economy in 2020: the world shut down in the spring because of the pandemic, causing an economic collapse without modern precedent. A sharp recovery began in May as businesses reopened, but that snapback effect over the summer masked something more worrying: we have entered a longer, slower grind that puts the economy at risk for the indefinite future. In the details of government employment data can be seen a jobs crisis that penetrates deeply into the economy.
Visitors Will Once Again Be Allowed for Inmates
Relatives and friends will be permitted once again to being visiting inmates in federal prisons as of last Saturday, 6 months after such visits were ended over concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
Crisis Highlights Deep-Rooted Problems in Indian Health Service
Few hospital beds, lack of equipment, a shipment of body bags in response to a request for coronavirus tests: the agency providing health care to tribal communities struggled to meet the challenge. Long before the coronavirus, the Indian Health Service, the government program that provides health care to the 2.2 million members of the nation's tribal communities, was plagued by shortages of funding and supplies, a lack of doctors and nurses, too few hospital beds and aging facilities. Now the pandemic has exposed those weaknesses as never before, contributing to the disproportionally high infection and death rates among Native American and fueling new anger about what critics say has been decades of neglect from Congress and successive administrations in Washington.
Virus Pushing New York Into a Financial Abyss
The pandemic has crippled tourism, retail, and the culture sector. It could last for years, and layoffs, service cuts, and added debt are all on the table. The unemployment rate in New York City is 16%, twice as high as in the rest of the country. Personal income tax revenue is expected to drop by $2 billion this fiscal year. Only a third of hotel rooms are occupied, and apartment vacancies in Manhattan have hit a peak. Even as the city has contained the spread of the virus, it has been unable to exert control over its threat to the economy.
New York Becomes the First Big City in the U.S. to Reopen All its Schools
It's a significant moment for the recovery in a city hit hard by the pandemic in the spring. The system, the nation's largest, is welcoming back 500,000 students. It's a major step in its recovery from having been the global epicenter of the pandemic and a hopeful sign for the country's unsteady effort to return children to classrooms.
Ambitious Study in India of Nearly 85,000 Cases Delivers Many Surprises
Researchers found that the rate of death went down in patients over 65 while children of all ages became infected and spread the virus to others. With 1.3 billion people jostling for space, India has always been a hospitable environment for infectious diseases of every kind and the coronavirus has proved to be no exception: the country now has more than 6 million cases, second only to the U.S. The ambitious study of nearly 85,000 of those case and nearly 600,000 of their contacts offers important insights not just for India, but for other low- and middle-income countries.