Week in Review
By Eric Lanter edited by Elissa D. Hecker
Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Media/Technology, General News, and Coronavirus:
11th Circuit Court of Appeals Grants Summary Judgment in Copyright Action Related to Narcos
The 11th Circuit affirmed a grant of summary judgment in the copyright case Vallejo v. Narcos Productions. The plaintiff claimed that the defendants' Netflix series "Narcos" infringed the copyrights to her memoir about her affair with Pablo Escobar. The court affirmed summary judgment for the defendants, finding that content was factual and that the works had different plots, themes, and moods.
See attached decision.Vallejo v Narcos.pdf
How New York's Small Cinemas Are Hanging On While Others Require More Funding
New York's indie theaters have survived as they are "less reliant on Hollywood and have a loyal audience," but smaller movie theaters throughout the country are struggling and fighting to stay afloat.
Yes, We Liked the Bershires Shows. Here's $2 Million
For one live theater, the Barrington Stage Company, help came after a woman and her brother visited two shows and are now contributing over $2 million for two theaters to "preserve their staffs and facilities through the winter."
Cardi B's "WAP" Proves Music's Dirty Secret: Censorship Is Good Business While consumers may not be aware of it, self-censorship has long been part of the music business. Cardi B's recent hit, "WAP", which is known for its vulgarity, is just one example as before the hit was released, there was already a censored version that was ready for airwaves and therefore keyed in to maximize the song's streaming income. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/27/arts/music/clean-versions-explicit-songs.html
New York City Ballet Continues Its Struggles
The New York City Ballet's controversy will continue as the former dancer "who sent intimate photos of his girlfriend to others presents himself as a victim in a new court filing." The woman's 2018 action contended that the Ballet played a role in condoning "fraternity-like" behavior, but that action now only has one defendant, the ex-boyfriend who had shared the photos. The City Ballet has also announced that it is cancelling its winter and spring seasons but will to "return at full strength in the fall."
"Shuffle Along" and Insurer Drop Pregnancy-Prompted Lawsuit
Scott Rudin and "Lloyd's of London settled a lawsuit that arose from the production's decision to shut down a Broadway musical when its star became pregnant." The action began in 2015 relating to Audra McDonald's pregnancy, "which was cited as the cause for closing the musical she was starring in", when Lloyd's of London deemed the pregnancy as an "accident" or "illness" for purposes of insurance.
After Backlash, Philip Guston Retrospective to Open in 2022
After the National Gallery of Art announced that it would open in 2024 and sparked a backlash, the National Gallery has announced that the Philip Guston retrospective will in fact open in 2022. The exhibition was originally slated to open in June 2020 but was postponed due to the risk of works featuring Ku Klux Klan members being "misinterpreted" and needing "to be better contextualized for the current political moment."
Major League Baseball Says That Justin Turner Refused to Stay Off Field After Dodgers' Win
Justin Turner, the third baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers, sparked controversy when his team won the World Series when he returned to celebrate on the field after having tested positive for coronavirus. Major League Baseball (MLB) announced that it would investigate the incident, but blamed Turner, "saying he had refused the orders of league security to remain in isolation."
Historically Black University Cancels Basketball Season
Bethune-Cookman University, "a historically Black university in Daytona Beach," Florida, has become the first Division I school "to cancel sports for the rest of the academic year because of the coronavirus pandemic." The women's basketball coach said: "We're the first, but we're not going to be the last," as the university announced that it was cancelling its basketball, baseball, softball, track and field, football, and volleyball seasons.
Steven Cohen Is Approved as Mets Owner After Clearing Two More Hurdles
New York City and MLB owners (in a 26-4 vote) have approved Steven Cohen's $2.4 billion purchase of the New York Mets. The billionaire hedge fund manager, with those two approvals has secured the deal, and he released a statement: "Owning a team is a great privilege and an awesome responsibility. I consider it an honor to be the new owner of this iconic franchise."
National Hockey League Team Drops Top Draft Pick Accused of Racist Bullying
The National Hockey League (NHL) team Arizona Coyotes announced that it is renouncing its right to the top pick of the NHL draft "after a published report described the player's 2016 conviction in a juvenile-court case related to bullying of a Black classmate who has a developmental disability." That player, Mitchell Miller, is now a free agent and has provided all 31 NHL teams with a letter stating that "he regretted what he had done" and provided character references.
The Erasure of Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil was once one of the fixtures of England's premier league as Arsenal Football Club's midfielder. In December 2019, he sparked controversy by publicly denouncing "both of China's treatment of the Uighurs" and "the complicit silence of the international community." Those in his inner circle had warned him not to make such a pronouncement, but he proceeded with great consequences: China's broadcasters refused to show Arsenal matches or say his name, and his name was removed from video games and Chinese search engines. With the new season underway, he has continued to show up for practice with Arsenal, but cannot play, as the club did not register him as a player for the Premier League season.
World Rugby Bars Transgender Women, Baffling Players
World Rugby has long been known as an organization preaching inclusivity, but it is now "the first international sports federation to block transgender women from global competitions." Now, each country "can determine whether to continue to permit transgender women to participate in domestic rugby competitions, and the World Rugby's decision came after "nine months of review and deliberation." World Rugby stated that "safety and fairness cannot presently be assured for women competing against trans women in contact rugby."
Double Amputee's Fight for Olympics Is Dealt a Major Setback
Blake Leeper has long sought to become the most successful athlete with prosthetic legs. The track and field global body, World Athletics, ordered him to prove that "his carbon-fiber blades did not give him an unfair advantage over able-bodied athletes." This week, the top sports court ruled that the prostheses "made him artificially taller than he most likely would be if he had legs, a decision that might prohibit him from competing against able-bodied athletes in Tokyo in 2021."
Russian Biathlete Loses Medals, His Country's Latest Defeat
The Court of Arbitration for Sport has stripped Evgeny Ustyogov, a biathlete, "of his medals from two Olympics" which also had the effect of knocking "Russia out of the top spot for golds in Sochi." The court also stripped him of the medals he won at Vancouver, finding that a whistle-blower revealed direct knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the doping.
Trump Appointee Rescinds Rule Shielding Government News Outlet From Federal Tampering
Amid concerns that the Trump administration is turning media outlets into "a pro-Trump public relations arm," Michael Pack, the chief of the United States Agency for Global Media, has rescinded a rule "that protects news outlets funded by the government, including Voice of America, from federal tampering." He has defended the "move as a way to improve management."
Salt Lake City to Lose Its Two Daily Print Newspapers
Both of Salt Lake City's daily print newspapers are changing: the Deseret News will print a weekly edition and a monthly magazine, and the Salt Lake Tribune will switch to a weekly paper. The Deseret News has been published for almost 170 years, and the Tribune had been a daily for nearly 150 years.
Former Homeland Security Officials Reveals He Was 'Anonymous'
Miles Taylor, a former Homeland Security official, has revealed that he was the anonymous author of a New York Times op-ed in 2018 and author of the book, A Warning, in which he "described the president as an 'undisciplined' and 'amoral' leader whose abuse of power threatened the foundations of American democracy." He resigned in June 2019 and has since endorsed Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/28/us/politics/miles-taylor-anonymous-trump.html General News
Presidential Election Grows More Heated, If Not Closer, in Final Days
With the presidential election just days away, the election has grown more heated. There are numerous lawsuit throughout the country, some of which have made their way to the Supreme Court for rulings, and the wider effect of those lawsuits remains unclear. There are questions about as to when there will be a clear result in the presidential election, with some predicting an election night projection from news desks and others cautioning that days or weeks may be necessary to tabulate the votes. Regardless of the result, there will be high turnout if early voting is any indication: as of Sunday, more than 90 million Americans had already cast their ballots. Experts have cautioned Americans in the coming hours and days to take with a grain of salt what they read on social media and not to share or believe the most sensational and outrageous claims that they may come across.
Senate Confirms Barrett as Supreme Court Justice, Sworn In Last Week
Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice, "capping a lightning-fast Senate approval that handed President Trump a victory ahead of the election and promised to tip the court to the right for years to come." She became "the 115th justice of the Supreme Court and the fifth woman."
Justice Department Blocked in Bid to Shield Trump From Defamation
The Department of Justice has attempted to intervene in an action, the subject of which is a woman suing President Trump for defamation "in connection with his denial while in office of a decades-old rape allegation." The judge ruled that the Department of Justice will not be permitted to step into the action in defense of the President and that the writer E. Jean Carroll's action may continue against Trump "in his capacity as a private citizen."
Justice Department Is Said to Quietly Quash Inquiry Into Tamir Rice Killing
The Department of Justice "decided more than a year ago to effectively shut down its civil-rights investigation into the high-profile killing of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old Balck boy carrying a pellet gun who was shot by a Cleveland police officer in 2014, according to people familiar with the matter." Department supervisors let a request for a grand jury sit for approximately two years before "denying permission," effectively "ending thee inquiry without fully conducting it."
Trump Is Said to Set Aside Career Intelligence Briefer to Hear From Advisers Instead
According to interviews, in the weeks leading up to an election that intelligence officials have warned is being increasingly targeted by foreign operations, "President Trump has dispensed with intelligence briefings from a career analyst in favor of updates from political appointees including John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence and a longtime partisan defender" of President Trump. Administration officials have maintained that Ratcliff has not slanted the intelligence or withheld information.
U.S. Expels Migrant Children From Other Countries to Mexico
The Trump administration, through the federal border authorities, "have been expelling migrant children from other countries into Mexico, violating a diplomatic agreement with Mexico and testing the limits of immigration and child welfare laws." The Trump administration has claimed that the policy "is necessary to prevent the coronavirus from spreading into the United States," but the agreement with the Mexican government called for "only Mexican children and others who had adult supervision" to be pushed into Mexico "after attempting to cross the border."
Head of Virginia Military Institute Resigns Amid Review of Racism on Campus
After Virginia's governor "ordered an independent investigation into allegations of systemic racism at the state-supported military college," the Virginia Military Institute, the head of the institute, General J.H. Binford Peay III, resigned as the staff of Governor Ralph Northam and the state legislature had "lost confidence" in his leadership and asked him to resign. Some students and alumni said that there is a "culture of bigotry" at the institute with racist acts having been "swept under the rug."
Sex Cult Leader Receives Sentence, Regrets Nothing
Keith Raniere, the leader of the Nxivm sex cult, received a 120-year prison sentence after more than a dozen victims testified about "how he manipulated and sexually abused them." He "offered self-improvement workshops that became popular in Hollywood and business circles," but operated a "cult like criminal enterprise" that led to him sexually abusing victims after having brainwashed them.
There is More Water and Ice on Moon Than NASA Thought
In Nature Astronomy, a team of scientists announced that there was "unambiguous evidence of water on parts of the moon where the sun shines." The water is not only in "big, frigid, deep, and potentially treacherous craters", but also in "smaller and shallower depressions" that "may also be cold enough to hold onto water ice for millions, if not billions, of years."
Americans May Add Five Times More Plastic to the Oceans Than Thought
A new study has shown that the United States "is using more plastic than ever, and waste exported for recycling is often mishandled." The study concludes that the United States' contribution "to coastal plastic pollution worldwide" may be as much as five times what was previously assumed. The study attributes the increase to Americans "using more plastic than ever" and polluting when exporting plastic waste (the latter of which was not included in a major previous study).
Colon Cancer Screening Should Start at Age 45, U.S. Panel Says
The United States Preventive Services Task Force has announced that it recommends adults screening "for colorectal cancer routinely at the age of 45", rather than beginning at age 50, which reflects "the sharp rise in the number of colon and rectal cancers in young adults." The recommendation is yet to be finalized, but the task force's guidance "is followed by doctors, insurance companies, and policymakers."
U.S. to Remove Wolves From Protected Species List
The Interior Secretary, David Bernhardt, has announced that gray wolves, "one of the first animals shielded by the Endangered Species Act, will no longer benefit from federal protection. Environmentalists quickly "condemned the decision as dangerously premature and vowed to take the Fish and Wildlife Service back to court, where they have successfully blocked previous attempts to strip wolves of federal protections."
Kentucky Police Training Quoted Hitler and Urged 'Ruthless' Violence
In a report published in a high school newspaper, a slide show that Kentucky State Police showed to cadets included quotations "attributed to Adolf Hitler and Robert E. Lee" and stated that police trooper "should be trooper who 'always fight to the death' and encourages each trooper in training to be a 'ruthless killer.'" The Kentucky State Police department has "said only that the training materials were old." A spokeswoman did not answer queries including "how long the material was used and how many cadets had seen the training."
Officer Who Pressed a Knee Into Bystander's Neck Leaves New York Police Department
The New York police officer, Francisco Garcia, who was "facing misconduct charges for kneeling on a bystander's neck during a social-distancing arrest has retired, according to the victim's lawyer and the officer's labor union." In doing so, he has avoided "proceedings that could be used against him in a criminal investigation of the incident underway in the Manhattan district attorney's office."
Turkish Bank Case Showed Erdogan's Influence With Trump
Within the context of a criminal investigation into Halkbank, "a state-owned Turkish bank suspected of violating U.S. sanctions law by funneling billions of dollars of gold and cash to Iran," evidence has come to light showing that Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, pressured President Trump "to quash the investigation, which threatened not only the bank but potentially members of Mr. Erodgan's family and political party."
Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons Passes Important Threshold
Fifty countries have ratified a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, but the United States and "eight other nuclear-armed powers reject it." With the treaty passing the threshold of 50, the treaty now has sufficient support to become international law. The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has called the treaty "the culmination of a worldwide movement to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons."
Kazakhstan, Reversing Itself, Embraces "Borat" as Very Nice
When Sacha Baron Cohen initially took on his character Borat, which was meant to be a Kazakh journalist with extraordinarily regressive views, the Kazakh government banned the film and threatened to sue Cohen. Now, the government has embraced Borat's catchphrase and made it the country's tourism slogan: "Kazakhstan. Very nice!"
Japan's New Leader Sets Ambitious Goal of Carbon Neutrality by 2050
Japan's new leader, prime minister Yoshihide Suga, in his "first major policy speech since taking office in September," has announced that Japan "will be carbon neutral by 2050." He has pledged "to sharply accelerate the country's global warming targets, even as it plans to build more than a dozen new coal-burning power plants in the coming years." The new pledge is in contrast to its previous commitment "to reduce greenhouse gases" and is a pledge that falls in line with the 2015 Paris climate accord's goal of keeping the "global temperature rise well below two degrees."
Hong Kong Police Arrest Activist Said to Seek U.S. Asylum
On Tuesday, Hong Kong police arrested a 19-year-old activist "outside the United States consulate just as he was about to seek asylum, according to an advocacy group." Tony Chung had been arrested for "posting a message on social media about a new political party that called for Hong Kong's independence from China," and he had planned to enter the United States consulate and "ask for protection when he was arrested at a coffee shop across the street."
Muslim Countries Denounce French Response to Killing of Teacher, Urge Boycott
Tensions rose in France after the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo "republished caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in early September," which led to "two stabbings, protests in Muslim nations, the boycott of French goods, and criticism from allies." French officials "not only defended the right to republish the cartoons", but even allowed local leaders to publish and distribute to high school students the images "as a commitment 'to defend the values of the Republic.'"
Qatar Apologies for Airport Strip Searches and Pursues Charges
The Qatari government "called the invasive examinations of women on ten flights at Doha's airport this month 'wholly inconsistent with Qatar's culture and values.'" On October 2nd, women on flights "were strip-searched and some were subjected to examinations to determine whether they had recently given birth after an abandoned newborn was found in an airport bathroom." The situation immediately led to international outrage, as rights groups called the "airport officials' actions a breach of basic rights that could amount to sexual assault."
Women Converge on Warsaw, Heightening Poland's Largest Protests in Decades
After a court decision in Poland that banned "nearly all abortions, tens of thousands of women took to the streets of Poland's capital on Friday, culminating a week of big protests across the country." The demonstrations are the largest since the fall of communism in 1989, and police have estimated that approximately 430,000 people attended demonstrations around Poland. Although most of the protests have been peaceful, there was a significant "police presence" in Warsaw "amid concerns that violence could break out with right-wing activists."
Labour Party Suspends Jeremy Corbyn Over Anti-Semitism Response
Britain's Labour Party has "suspended its former leader, Jeremy Corbyn, on Thursday after he deflected blame for the party's handling of anti-Semitism allegations, setting the stage for an extraordinary rupture with Labour's recent past and another period of tortured infighting over its future." It remains unclear how the suspension will affect the Labour Party, but it is desperate for a comeback after its worst election since 1935 being less than a year ago.
The Coronavirus Reaches a New Peak Within the United States and Around the World
This week saw the highest daily coronavirus count in the United States with just under 100,000 new cases. Some countries, such as England and France, have begun to implement additional lockdown measures, and governors of those states with spikes are being left with little choice but to implement their own measures. There have been increasing calls for a national mask mandate, but no sign that the Trump administration is inclined to become a proponent of that. The stock market, long an indicator that seemed out of step with the coronavirus cases and economic consequences stemming from the pandemic, appears to have corrected itself, as it had a significant drop, given the news that additional lockdown measures have become unavoidable. Additionally, with cases hitting a new high in the United States, there is virtually no opportunity for the country to adopt widespread contact tracing, which experts have touted as crucial for controlling the number of cases.