Week In Review

By 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


Quibi Streaming Service Meets Quick End

Short-video app and $2 billion streaming experiment, Quibi, is shutting down just six months after its early April launch, having struggled to find customers. The company said that it would wind down its operations and plans to sell its assets, which include significant intellectual property.

The Leader of a Boston Theater Steps Down

Artistic Director Peter DuBois is stepping down at the Huntington Theatre Company following a number of complaints by staffers and a subsequent investigation regarding a lack of diversity and inclusiveness, salary discrepancies, and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been no official reason as to his departure.

#MeToo Awakens in Iran with Accusations Against Star Artists

Three years in, the #MeToo movement has hit a nerve among Iran's women. Now accusations against a politically connected celebrity artist is testing the movement in a sexually conservative society dominated by men. In late August, allegations aired on Iranian social media against more than 100 men, including a giant e-commerce company's former star manager, a prominent sociology professor, and the owner of a popular bookstore. Yet the highest-profile person to face such allegations so far is a nearly 80-year-old, internationally acclaimed artist with ties to the ruling elite. Thirteen women have now accused artist Aydin Aghdashloo of sexual misconduct over a 30-year span. Most are former students, and some are journalists who have reported on art and culture.


Fewer Visitors for Europe's Museums

As cultural institutions reopen across the U.S., with new coronavirus protocols in place, the world has been looking to Europe where many museums have been open since May, for a preview of how the public might respond to the invitation to return. So far, there's little reason to be optimistic. Almost all European museums are suffering from visitor losses, but their ability to cope depends almost entirely on how they are funded. Institutions supported by government funding are able to weather the storm with a little belt-tightening, while those that depend on ticket sales are facing tougher choices. Many are laying off employees and restructuring their business models.

Archeologists Find Ancient Cat Etching on Peru Heritage Site

Peruvian archeologists unveiled a giant cat carved into Nazca Lines UNESCO site. The archeologists uncovered a 120-foot-long cat etching in a little-explored area of the country's celebrated Nazca Lines heritage site, home to hundreds of gigantic geoglyphs dating back more than 2,000 years.

Spain's Far Right Uses Law It Hates Against Its Rivals

Vox, an ultranationalist party in Madrid, is working to remove memorials to Socialist figures of the 1930s, calling the effort a warning that a "law of historical memory" should be abolished. Leftist politicians in Spain have worked slowly but steadily over the years to remove symbols commemorating the former dictator General Francisco Franco from public spaces across the country. Last October, they used the law to exhume the remains of Franco from a mausoleum near Madrid. Now, despite denouncing those efforts, their political opponents are trying to use the same law to persuade the authorities in Madrid to erase memorials to Franco's rivals.


How the Women's National Basketball Association Became an Avatar of Social Activism

From the beginning of their more than two decades on the court, the players in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) have defied society's expectations. Today, challenging the status quo is a hallmark of the WNBA's players. They pushed the envelope long before it came into vogue among modern-day professional athletes, and led the way in protesting social injustice and racism. The breadth of action among the players is unparalleled among pro sports teams - from opposing bans on same-sex marriage to criminal justice reform and fighting against gun violence. Often they include unified undertakings - it's the natural outgrowth of who they are.

DeBlasio Could Scuttle Deal for Cohen to Buy Mets Over Lease

Steven Cohen's long, arduous pursuit of the Mets is headed toward a conclusion, but New York City may throw up a last-minute roadblock. Mayor DeBlasio's office has said it is looking into whether insider trading convictions at Steve Cohen's former hedge fund might prohibit the billionaire from buying the Mets. There is no indication that the mayor's office is bent on thwarting the deal, but it has a 30-day window to collect information and potentially take action as the leaseholder of Citi Field, the Mets' stadium in Queens.

A Fragile Effort to Sustain a Cherished Tradition

During the crisis, high school football's fragile effort to hold on to football season might seem inconsequential. Yet the game is perhaps more urgent and galvanizing in Texas than anywhere else. As towns along or near the Rio Grande - like La Joya, Palmview, Mission, Progreso, Weslaco, Rio Hondo - have shut off their Friday night lights, or left them flickering in uncertainty, there has been a sense of cultural casualty.

For the 28th Time, a Horse Trained by Baffert Fails a Drug Test

In September, the Baffert-trained filly Gamine tested positive for a banned substance for the second time this year, according to two people familiar with the results of the test. It was the 28th violation in Baffert's career.

Doping Tests are Returning, But It Might Be Too Late

The coronavirus pandemic made collecting blood and urine samples extremely difficult. It also made 2020 and ideal opportunity for those who wanted to cheat. During the first nine months of 2019, antidoping organizations collected more than 231,000 blood and urine samples from athletes for testing for performance-enhancing drugs. During the same period in 2020, with the coronavirus making collection a high-risk event, antidoping organizations collected about 111,000 samples. In April alone, when cities and countries around the world were locked down, only 576 samples were collected, compared with 25,219 for the same month the previous year.

Improbably, Sports Made It Back in 2020. Now, the Hard Part.

Aggressive coronavirus testing made the restart of professional sports possible, but the financial pain of empty arenas lingers as plans for next year are up in the air. Professional sports figured out how to sputter back to life over the past three months. Now the leagues have to figure out how to do it again as infection numbers have reached a record daily high in the U.S., making it unclear how to protect players and other personnel without spending exorbitantly again.

The Slippery Slope of Competing Across Europe During a Pandemic

With coronavirus infection rates rising dramatically, this may not be the best time to begin a series of competitions that require moving hundreds of people across Europe during the next few months. Yet, that is exactly what is happening as winter draws closer, temperatures drop, and the international winter sports schedule gets underway. Alpine skiing kicked off in Soelden, Austria, last weekend. Nordic skiing, biathlon, and sliding sports are scheduled to begin next month. There are testing protocols, reservations for lengthy stays in European chalets, and contingencies for a coronavirus outbreak.

Russia is Accused of Hacking Games It Could Not Join

After suffering embarrassment over its doping scheme, Russia tried cyberattacks against the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea and was targeting the postponed Tokyo Olympics too, according to American and British officials.


U.S. Fights Google in Antitrust Suit that May Jolt Web

The Justice Department accused Google of illegally protecting its monopoly over search and search advertising, the government's most significant challenge to a tech company's market power in a generation and one that could re-shape the way consumers use the internet.

'Not a Rush' to Sue Says Google Investigator

Jeffrey A. Rosen, the deputy attorney general, wouldn't normally oversee an antitrust investigation into Google. It would usually fall to the head of the Justice Department's antitrust division. However, that official, Makan Delrahim, recused himself because the company is a former legal client. So Rosen took the lead on the investigation and announced the Department of Justice's lawsuit against Google, which accuses the company of illegally protecting its monopoly over search and search advertising.

Federal Trade Commission Said to Be Near Decision on Facebook Action

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is moving closer to a decision about filing an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook for its market power in social networking. The five members of the FTC met to discuss its investigation into Facebook and whether the company had bought smaller rivals to maintain a monopoly. No decision on a case has been made and the commissioners must vote before any is pursued.

After Years of Living in Exile, Snowden Granted Permanent Residency in Russia

Edward J. Snowden, the former American intelligence contractor whose 2013 leaks of top-secret documents set off a worldwide debate about government surveillance, is now a permanent resident of Russia. Last week, Russia's immigration authorities granted Snowden permanent residency. Snowden's end goal is being able to return to the U.S., but only if he is guaranteed a fair trial. Trump has said previously that he would "take a very good look at" a pardon for the former intelligence contractor. Changes last year to Russia's immigration law that have made it easier for foreigners to get permanent residency cleared the path for Snowden to stay in the country for as long as he wanted.

New York Post Staff Questioned Report on Biden

Bruce Golding, a reporter at the New York Post since 2007, did not want his byline to be used on a front-page article about Hunter Biden because he had concerns over the article's credibility, according to two New York Post employees speaking on condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation. The article suggested that Joe Biden used his position to enrich his son Hunter when he was vice president. The newspaper based the story on photos and documents that it said had been taken from the hard drive of a laptop purportedly belonging to Hunter Biden. Many New York Post staff members questioned whether the paper had done enough to verify the authenticity of the hard drive's content and they also had concerns about the reliability of its source's timing.

Facing a Deluge of Misinformation, Colorado Takes the Offensive Against It

The state will combat false information on social media and even buy Google ads against it. Few states are following suit. To prevent deceptive tweets, doctored videos, and other forms of misinformation form undermining Colorado's election, Jean Griswold, the newly installed secretary of state, is starting a new initiative that will run ads on social media and expand digital outreach to help voters identify foreign misinformation.

TikTok Adds to Restrictions on Hate Speech

Last week, the company announced a series of policy changes restricting the types of content it would allow, including a crackdown on QAnon supporters and a prohibition of "coded" language that could serve to normalize hate speech across TikTok.

Trump Posts Unedited Clip of Interview He Cut Short

Trump posted full, unedited interviews that he and VP Pence did with "60 Minutes" on Facebook last week before the show's scheduled broadcast. The footage showed Trump growing increasingly agitated as interviewer Lesley Stahl pressed him on his response to the coronavirus epidemic, his demeanor on social media, the lack of masks at his campaign rallies, and the "Obamacare" replacement plan he has long promised but failed to deliver.

Ex-Daily News Reporter Sues Over Termination

A former City Hall reporter for the Daily News says that she was fired for questioning why a male colleague was earning more for performing the same job. Anna Sanders, 29, filed a lawsuit against the tabloid and its parent company, Tribune Publishing, alleging wrongful termination and gender discrimination.

PBS Showed TV the Future. What Does Its Own Look Like?

PBS created the blueprint for what TV has become. While the networks and streaming services reap the benefits of PBS's successes, it is still struggling to survive. PBS celebrates its 50th anniversary this month and its influence is everywhere - from MTV's "The Real World" to YouTube cooking stars and "Keeping Up with the Kardashians". PBS may still execute many of its programs better than its rivals, and its content remains free and over-the-air, which are crucial for reaching those with lesser means and those without broadband. Unfortunately, however, in a country where the vast majority gets its TV through a paid service, the distinction rarely registers. Now PBS grapples with an existential conundrum - what it should be and how it should distinguish itself.

The White Issue. Has Anna Wintour's Diversity Push at Vogue and Condé Nast Come Too Late?

Although Vogue's September issue celebrated Black culture and contributors, some employees say the magazine's powerful editor fostered a workplace that sidelined women of color. Wintour, in internal emails, apologized for Vogue and Condé Nast's lack of elevating of and giving space to Black editors, writers, photographers, designers, and other creators back in June. Yet the Black editors who have been working with Wintour say they saw her apology as hypocritical, part of a calculated play by an executive known for her ability to gauge the public mood. Other Black journalists, current or former employees of Condé Nast said the email and the September issue that followed it represented an awkward, though heartfelt, attempt at genuine change.

How Agendas Fill Local News Void

A nationwide operation of 1,300 local sites publishes coverage that is ordered up by Republican groups and corporate P.R. firms. These websites fill a void left by vanishing local newspapers across the country. Yet the network, now in all 50 states, is built not on traditional journalism, but rather on propaganda ordered up by dozens of conservative think tanks, political operatives, corporate executives, and public-relations professionals. The sites appear as ordinary local news outlets. They employ simple layouts and articles about local politics, community happenings, and sometimes national issues, much like any local newspaper. Yet behind the scenes, many of the stories are directed by political groups and corporate P.R. firms to promote a Republican candidate or a company, or to smear their rivals.

Biden Eclipses Trump in the War for the Airwaves

Joe Biden is vastly outspending President Trump in TV advertising, maintaining a nearly 2-to-1 advantage on the airwaves in the general election battleground states and elsewhere. He is focusing overwhelmingly on the coronavirus as millions of Americans across the country begin casting early votes.

Suit Reveals Role Ex-Spy Played at Project Veritas

A British former spy recruited by Erik Prince, the security contractor close to the Trump administration, played a central role in a secretive effort to hire dozens of operatives for the conservative group Project Veritas. The new details about Project Veritas show the extent of the group's ambitions to build an intelligence-gathering apparatus to infiltrate Democratic congressional campaigns, labor organizations, news media, and other groups. Project Veritas is known for its sting operations aimed at such groups, which have prompted allegations that it has published deceptively edited videos.

Writer is Suspended After Zoom Exposure

Jeffrey Toobin, a longtime reporter for The New Yorker and CNN's leading legal analyst, was suspended from the magazine after an incident in which he allegedly unwittingly exposed himself believing the camera was off during a Zoom call with colleagues and employees of a New York radio station. He has been suspended by the magazine while the matter is investigated and will take some requested time off from his gig at CNN as he "deals with a personal issue."

After TikTok Assures Pakistan It Will Monitor for Indecency, Ban is Lifted

Pakistan has lifted its ban on TikTok, just 10 days after blocking the app on the grounds that it hosted "immoral" and "indecent" videos. Pakistan's Telecommunication Authority now says that TikTok has "assured" the agency that videos will be moderated "in accordance with societal norms and the laws of Pakistan."

Fake Political News Aimed at Latinos to Suppress Vote

Misinformation and conspiracy theories swirling around the 2020 presidential race are reaching an "alarming" number of Latino voters in Florida through Spanish language social media sites, advocacy groups and elected officials have said. Advocates pointed to Republicans and Trump as some of the sources of disinformation flooding Latinos' social media feeds, but the full picture regarding the origins of the information was not immediately clear. Latino voters are particularly vulnerable to many challenges related to misinformation and disinformation, such as a language barrier coupled with a mistrust in government.

General News

U.S. Still Can't Locate Parents of 545 Children Separated at Border

Lawyers appointed by a federal judge to identify migrant who were separated by the Trump administration say that they have yet to track down the parents of 545 children and that about two-thirds of those parents were deported to Central America without their children, according to a filing from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The Trump administration instituted a "zero tolerance" policy in 2018 that separated migrant children and parents at the southern U.S. border. The administration later confirmed that it had actually begun separating families in 2017 along some parts of the border under a pilot program. The ACLU and other pro-bono law firms were tasked with finding the members of families separated during the pilot program. Unlike the 2,800 families separated under zero tolerance in 2018, most of whom remained in custody when the policy was ended by executive order, many of the more than 1,000 parents separated from their children under the pilot program had already been deported before a federal judge in California ordered that they be found.

Republicans Advance Barrett's Nomination Over a Democratic Boycott

Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans powered past a Democratic boycott to advance Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination to the full Senate, keeping Trump's pick on track for confirmation before the November 3 election. Democratic senators refused to show up in protest of the GOP's rush to install Trump's nominee to replace the late Justice Ginsburg. Never has the Senate confirmed a Supreme Court nominee so close to a presidential election.

Murkowski, in a Turnabout, Says She Will Join Fellow Senators to Confirm Barrett

The iconoclastic Alaska Republican said she remained opposed to filling the Supreme Court seat so close to an election but could not hold that against a qualified nominee. She will nonetheless vote to confirm Judge Barrett. Her unexpected turnabout gave a boost to Senate Republicans looking to quiet intraparty dissent in the face of unified Democratic opposition. They already had the votes they needed to confirm Trumps third Supreme Court nominee, but Murkowski's support means that only one Republican - Senator Susan Collins of Maine - is likely to defect when the roll is called this week.

Biden Says He'd Set Up Panel to Study Judiciary

Biden has said that if elected, he would put together a bipartisan commission of scholars to examine reforming a federal judiciary he called "out of whack," noting that there are alternatives to consider besides expanding the Supreme Court.

Appointees Tilt Toward Trump in Voting Cases

A study commissioned by a group that favors expanding the U.S. Supreme Court found that Republican-appointed judges and justices in 2020 have repeatedly ruled in favor of making it harder for Americans to vote. The study found that in election-related cases, Republican appointees interpreted law in a way that hindered voting access 80% of the time, as compared to 37% of the time with Democrat appointees. Among judges and justices appointed by President Donald Trump, that figure jumped to 85%.

Trump's Policies Fill the Docket of U.S. Justices

The Supreme Court agreed to review two major Trump administration immigration initiatives, adding them to a docket now crowded with cases that will test President Trump's agenda and policies. The Court, which might have been expected to tread cautiously while it is short-handed in the aftermath of Justice Ginsburg's death, has instead seemed determined to weigh in on many aspects of the Trump presidency, even if it could end soon. The cases the Court took on last week are challenges to a program that has forced at least 60,000 asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their requests are heard and the diversion of $2.5 billion in Pentagon money to build a barrier on the southwestern border.

Justices Bar Curbside Vote in Alabama

The Supreme Court blocked a trial judge's ruling that would have allowed, but not required, counties in Alabama to offer curbside voting. The vote was 5 to 3 with the Court's more conservative members in the majority. The brief gave no reasons, which is typical when it rules on emergency applications. The order will remain in effect while appeals moved forward. Justices Sotomayor, Breyer, and Kagan dissented, saying that the state's policy discriminated against older and disabled voters.