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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, Technology/Media, and General News (including the Coronavirus):


Entertainment

'Chappelle's Show' Returns to Netflix After Its Star Gets Paid

Just over two months after it was pulled at his request, Dave Chappell has agreed to license and return the show to Netflix after being paid millions of dollars, for which he fought.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/chappelles-show-returns-to-netflix-with-dave-chappelles-blessing


Nashville Urged to Address Racism Within Its Ranks

Following country star Morgan Wallen's use of a racial slur, other mainstream country artists have commented about the incident on social media, but many figured Nashville would do as it has almost always done when one of its stars is under fire: circle the wagons and shut up. However, following the incident, radio conglomerates iHeartMedia, Cumulus, Entercom, and others pulled Wallen's songs from rotation at hundreds of stations, and major streaming services removed him from playlists. CMT stopped running his videos. The Academy of Country Music declared him ineligible for its upcoming awards, while Wallen's second album topped the Billboard 200 chart for the third straight week. Female country artists like Mickey Guyton (the only Black woman signed to a major label), Maren Morris, Margo Price, and Amanda Shire,s amongst others, are pushing the country music business to begin confronting issues of racism and diversity that go beyond one artist's misdeeds.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/12/arts/music/country-music-racism-social-media.html


Springsteen Was Arrested for Driving While Intoxicated in November & Jeep Pulls Ad After News of Charges

Bruce Springsteen was arrested at Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, New Jersey on November 14th and charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), reckless driving, and consuming alcohol in a closed area. A source close to the musician is sharing more information and says that the actual details raise doubts about the seriousness of the situation. A spokesperson for Jeep told CNN that the company would pause running its ad including Springsteen, which first debuted during the Super Bowl, in light of the charges. Springsteen is expected to have his first hearing on DWI charges "towards the end of February."

https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/11/entertainment/springsteen-arrest-new-details/index.html


Arts

Metropolitan Museum Considers Selling Art to Pay Its Bills

Facing a potential shortfall of $150 million because of the pandemic, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) has begun conversations with auction houses and its curators about selling some artworks to help pay for care of the collection. In the past, museums were permitted to use such funds only for future art purchases. Like many institutions, the Met is looking to take advantage of a two-year window in which the Association of Art Museum Directors -- a professional organization that guides its members' best practices -- has relaxed the guidelines that govern how proceeds from sales of works in a collection (known as deaccessioning) can be directed.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/05/arts/design/met-museum-considers-selling-art.html


Publishers Steer Clear of MAGA

The Big Five publishing companies in New York, and even their dedicated conservative imprints, have become squeamish about the genre known as MAGA books, with its divisive politics and relaxed approach to facts. For example, Kate Harrison, the editorial director of the conservative Center Street imprint, was the one mainstream editor who would buy what no one else would -- and make a tidy profit for her employer. However, last month Hachette, who like other media companies had been torn in recent years between the politics of its staff and its historic commitment to publishing conservative speech, fired her. Hachette is hardly the only mainstream publisher steering away from MAGA books. Simon & Schuster invoked its "morals" clause to cancel the publication of a book by Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, after he objected to the results the November election and cheered the protests right before the violence broke out. Simon & Schuster will also stop publishing the right-wing activist Candace Owens. These tension are in part about free speech.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/07/business/media/hachette-book-group-trump.html


Fashion Adapts. Algorithms Lag.

The automated intelligence systems of Instagram and Facebook have repeatedly denied ads placed by small businesses that make stylish clothing for people with disabilities. Many times, these ads are rejected for violating policy -- specifically, the promotion of "medical and health care products and services including medical devices," even though they include no such products. This is a pattern that has been going on for at least two years: the algorithms that are the gatekeepers to the commercial side of Facebook and Instagram routinely misidentify adaptive fashion products and block them from their platforms. At least 7 brands have experience this problem -- one has been dealing with the issues on a weekly basis; another has had hundreds of products rejected. In each instance, the company has had to appeal on an item-by-item basis. The adaptive fashion struggle reflects a bigger issue: the implicit biases embedded in machine learning, and the way they impact marginalized communities.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/11/style/disabled-fashion-facebook-discrimination.html


With Suit, Poland Seeks to Push Its Version of Holocaust History

A Polish court has ordered two Holocaust historians to apologize to the niece of a dead village mayor, for having accused the deceased mayor of collaborating with the Nazis in WWII. Despite finding them guilty of defamation in a book, the Warsaw court did not order them to pay damages. The World Holocaust Remember Centre has called the case "a serious attack on free and open research." The two professors can appeal the civil case brought against them by 80-year old Filomena Leszcynska. Some 90% of Poland's pre-war Jewish community were killed. The book, Night Without End, quoted testimony from a Holocaust survivor who said the mayor, Edward Malinowski, had betrayed the whereabouts of a group of 22 Jews to German soldiers. The group was subsequently executed. Leszczynska said that the authors had omitted to say that a post-war trial had acquitted her uncle of the charge of collaboration with the Nazis. A controversial 2018 law in Poland makes it an offense to link the Polish nation to Nazi crimes. It was not invoked in this case, however.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-55996291

Sports

Stonehenge May Have Moved to England from a Welsh Site

A team of archaeologists, led by Mike Parker Pearson of University College London, has unearthed Britain's third-largest stone circle in the Preseli Hills of western Wales that they believe was dismantled, moved 175 miles to England's Salisbury Plain and rebuilt as Stonehenge. Scholars have known for decades that most of Stonehenge's bluestones were carried, dragged or rolled to Salisbury Plain from the Preseli Hills.

https://abcnews.go.com/International/stonehenge-rebuilt-welsh-stone-circle-research-shows/story?id=75802690


Sports

10 Ways the NCAA Violates Core Values of Higher Education

In an amicus brief filed last week, eight states, including Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the NCAA's restraints of trade that prevent college athletes from earning compensation, arguing that the current system of college sports will "prepare student-athletes for success in all areas of life." While these eight states argue that college sports should be left to reform itself, the NCAA system, in earnest, is not about to reform without Court intervention. The NCAA and its college sports system represent the very antithesis of the reform-minded values that otherwise underlie higher education. Throughout the years, the college sports system, operating under the auspices of the NCAA, conflicts with the longstanding, progressive values that are preached throughout most other aspects of the higher education industry.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/marcedelman/2021/02/09/10-ways-the-ncaa-violates-core-values-of-higher-education/?sh=121170395d11


In the National Basketball Association, Money Speaks Louder Than Stars

With tens of millions of dollars at stake, the All-Star Game is unlikely to be derailed by pushback from the National Basketball Association's (NBA) biggest stars about the health risks or the need for a break. Lebron James, the NBA's biggest star, has blamed its plan to stuff three days' worth of All-Star events into a one-shot Turner Sports extravaganza on March 7th. League and players' union officials are nonetheless expected to soon announce that those plans have been scheduled. It is reminiscent of how the season started -- and another illustration of the louder-than-ever say held by the NBA's broadcast partners at such challenging financial times for the sport's various stakeholders.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/10/sports/basketball/nba-all-star-game.html


NBA Says Its Teams Must Play the Anthem

The Dallas Mavericks have not been playing "The Star-Spangled Banner" before home games all season, but said that it would, going forward after the NBA declared that all teams were required to play the national anthem. The NBA's rules have required players to stand during the anthem, however NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has not enforced that rule in recent years, as players chose to kneel during the anthem in protests of police brutality and social injustice. The pregame national anthem is a staple of American sports at both the professional and collegiate level, but is far less commonplace at professional sporting events in other countries.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/sports/dallas-mavericks-stop-playing-national-anthem-home-games-direction-owner-n1257259


New York Will Permit Fans, But Not Many

In a bit of a surprise, New York State will permit a limited number of fans in stands at arenas and stadiums with 10,000 or more seats starting on February 23rd. This includes sports franchises like the Nets, Knicks, Rangers, Sabres, and Islanders, provided that seating is limited to 10% of each venue's capacity. In addition to limits on attendance, the state announced other restrictions, including negative tests for COVID-19 within 72 hours of a game and the state's Department of Health will have to approve each venue. Fans will also be required to remain socially distanced and wear face coverings at games.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/10/sports/ny-stadiums-arenas-open-for-fans.html


Investigators Fault Pilot in Crash that Killed Bryant

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that pilot Ara Zobayan's poor decision-making is the likely cause of the helicopter crash that killed NBA star Kobe Bryant and eight others last year. The NTSB found that Zobayan was flying under visual flight rules, which means he had to be able to see where he was going, but decided to fly into thick clouds, where he became spatially disoriented. Investigators also attributed fault to the company that operated the flight, Island Express Helicopters, citing its "inadequate review and oversight of its safety management process." It noted, however, that the company's safety protocols -- while flawed -- were legal under current Federal Aviation Administration rules. The NTSB also said the air traffic controllers on duty that day did not contribute in any way to the crash. Those issues had become significant in federal and state courts, where the victims' families have filed a series of lawsuits against the helicopter company and, in some cases, Zobayan's estate. The helicopter company later countersued the air traffic controllers in what experts believe is an effort to spread liability.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2021/02/09/kobe-bryant-crash-pilot-violated-standards-disoriented-ntsb-says/4443520001/


In Japan, a Sexist Remark (Initially) Did Not Unseat Olympics Chief

Tokyo Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori apologized for making sexist remarks about women, saying he retracted the comments and would not resign, despite calls for him to step down on social media. The hashtag "Mori, please resign" was trending on Twitter in Japan and some users on the platform were calling on sponsors to pressure the Tokyo organizing committee into dropping Mori from the top post. Japan persistently trails its peers on promoting gender equality, ranking 121 out of 153 nations surveyed in the 2020 global gender gap report of the World Economic Forum. Since his outburst, more than half of the Japanese public agreed in a poll that he was "not qualified" to lead. Editorials in two of the country's largest newspapers called for him to resign. His imperviousness to the firestorm over his sexist remarks appeared to reflect the support of a Japanese power structure that is largely unaccountable to the public, works to preserve the old guard, and freezes out the critical voices of younger people. Mori finally resigned on Friday, following the backlash over his comments.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/09/world/asia/japan-olympics-yoshiro-mori.html

https://abcnews.go.com/International/tokyo-olympics-president-yoshiro-mori-resigns-sexist-comments/story?id=75845979


A Culture of Abuse Has Deep Roots

Soccer leagues and teams have urged Twitter and Facebook to address the unfiltered hatred spewed on their platforms. Yet the game indulges, and sometimes even directs, that same outrage. The incidents keep coming and it is abundant proof that following the same playbook is no longer enough. All of the club statements and official condemnations and well-meaning hashtags do nothing whatsoever to stanch the flow of abuse. A sense of soccer's powerlessness is slowly dawning on the sport. The game's authorities in England -- and across Europe -- have launched and relaunched various campaigns in recent months, in an attempt to demonstrate that this is an issue they are taking seriously. However, racism is not a social media problem, it is a societal one.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/12/sports/soccer/racial-abuse-britain.html


Coach Resigns From Jaguars After Outcry Over His Past

Chis Doyle's tenure as the Director of Sports Performance of the Jacksonville Jaguars lasted about 35 hours. The former Iowa strength and conditioning coach resigned from his post in Jacksonville a day after his hiring, which triggered an outcry due to his past behaviors at Iowa. Once the nation's highest-paid strength coach, Doyle came under fire after numerous Hawkeyes players singled him out for allegedly racist comments and other negative experiences while they were with the program. Doyle eventually parted ways with Iowa, receiving more than $1 million as part of a separation agreement. While accusations of racism and player hospitalizations would theoretically be a significant obstacle for landing an National Football League job, Doyle only had to wait months before Meyer and the Jaguars came calling. After announcing his hiring, Meyer vociferously defended the move, claiming that the Jaguars thoroughly vetted the coach before bringing him aboard.

https://news.yahoo.com/chris-doyle-resigns-jaguars-iowa-strength-coach-outcry-over-hiring-044540502.html


Media/Technology

Right-Wing Outlets Flinch as Lawsuits Roll Out

In just a few weeks, lawsuits and legal threats from a pair of election technology companies achieved what years of advertising boycotts, public pressure campaigns, and liberal outrage could not: Curbing the flow of misinformation in right-wing media. Fox Business canceled "Lou Dobbs Tonight", the networks' highest rated show, after its host was sued as part of a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit. Fox News, which seldom bows to critics, also ran fact-checking segments to debunk its own anchors' false claims about electoral fraud. Conservatives outlets have rarely faced this level of direct assault on their economic lifeblood. Litigation represents a new front in the war against misinformation, a scourge that has reshaped American politics, deprived citizens of common facts, and paved the way for the deadly January 6th attack on the Capitol. The use of defamation suits also raised uneasy questions about how to police a news media that counts on First Amendment protections -- even as some conservative outlets advanced Trump's lies and eroded public faith in the democratic process.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/06/business/media/conservative-media-defamation-lawsuits.html


Fox Seeks to Dismiss Election Lawsuit

Fox News is seeking a dismissal of Smartmatic's $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit, arguing that it was providing First Amendment protected newsworthy information in featuring Trump's surrogates and their false claims that the voting systems company was involved in election fraud. The network argued in a motion to dismiss that Smartmatic may have a defamation case against Trump's surrogates if they "fabricated evidence or told lies with actual malice," but not against "the media that covered their allegations and allowed them to try to substantiate them." The motion to dismiss was filed on behalf of Fox Corp. and Fox News, but not the other defendants named in the lawsuit. They include three Fox News Media personalities, Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and Jeanine Pirro, and two Trump surrogates who were guests on their shows, Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell.

https://deadline.com/2021/02/fox-news-seeks-dismissal-of-smartmatic-lawsuit-claiming-first-amendment-protection-1234690065/


Fox Anchors File Motions to Dismiss Lawsuit

Attorneys for Fox News filed individual motions last week to dismiss Smartmatic's defamation lawsuit on behalf of Lou Dobbs, Mario Bartiromo, and Jeanine Pirro, three anchors who were named in the matter in which the voting technology company is seeking a whopping $2.7 billion.

https://www.chicagotribune.com/featured/sns-fox-news-dobbs-bartiromo-pirro-smartmatic-defamation-lawsuit-20210212-zpnqoffhxfbilfuvtcqkjx2i24-story.html


Before the Riot, Anger Crackled On Talk Radio

Talk radio is perhaps the most influential and under-chronicled part of right-wing media, where the voices of Glen Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and other star hosts waft through the homes, workplaces, and commutes of tens of millions of listeners. Before the riot, they offered unrestrained forums for claims of rigged voting machines and a liberal conspiracy to steal the presidency for Biden. There is an often unguarded nature of talk radio, where hosts indulge in edgier fare than on TV networks, like Fox News, and listeners call in to say what they really think, insulated from the scrutiny of people with whom they disagree. The result is something of an id of American conservative thought. Hosts' intemperate remarks on race, immigration, and other subjects lend the shows a renegade feel and keep listeners loyal and emotionally invested. As Trump echoed the blunt language of talk radio, its hosts defended the president's acidic language and frequent falsehoods -- even when he claimed, without evidence, that the election had been stolen.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/10/business/media/conservative-talk-radio-capitol-riots.html


Facebook Dials Down the Politics for Users

After inflaming political discourse around the globe, Facebook is trying to turn down the temperature. The social network announced that it had started changing its algorithm to reduce the political feed. This will first be tested on a fraction of Facebook's users in Canada, Brazil, and Indonesia and will be expanded to the U.S. in the coming weeks. Political stories won't disappear form users' feeds altogether; content from official government agencies and services will be exempt form the algorithm change, as will information about COVID-19 from organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. Users would also still be able to discuss politics inside private groups. Facebook has been under fire from lawmakers from both parties.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/technology/facebook-dials-down-the-politics-for-users/articleshow/80794176.cms


Twitter Blocks Accounts in India as Modi Pressures Social Media

Twitter said that it has permanently blocked over 500 accounts and moved an unspecified number of others from view within India after the government accused the users of making inflammatory remarks about Narendra Modi, the country's prime minister. Twitter said it had acted after the government issued a notice of noncompliance, a move that experts said could put the company's local employees in danger of spending up to seven years in custody. Twitter said that it was not taking any action on accounts that belonged to media organizations, journalists, activists or politicians, saying it did not believe the orders to block them "are consistent with Indian law."

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/10/technology/india-twitter.html


Ruling Favors Prince Harry and Meghan Over Tabloid

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has won a victory in her lawsuit against Associated Newspapers, the parent company of the Mail, with High Court Judge Mark Warby ruling that the newspaper did in fact breach her privacy and copyright when it published the letter she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle, before her wedding to Prince Harry in 2018. She has been granted summary judgement for breach of privacy and breach of copyright, which means the case has been struck out and will not go to a full trial in October.

https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2021/02/meghan-markle-tabloid-lawsuit-privacy-summary-judgment


Civil-Liberties Groups Ask U.S. to Drop Assange Case

A coalition of civil liberties and human rights groups urged the Biden administration to drop efforts to extradite the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from Britain and prosecute him, calling the Trump-era case against him "a grave threat to press freedom." The coalition sent a letter urging a change in course before a Friday deadline for the Justice Department to file a brief in a London court. American prosecutors are due to explain in detail their decision -- formally lodged on January 19th, the last full day of the Trump administration -- to appeal a ruling blocking their request to extradite Assange. The litigation deadline may force the new administration to confront a decision: whether to press on with the Trump-era approach or to instead drop the matter.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/08/us/politics/julian-assange-indictment.html


China Arrests Australian Journalist on Spy Charge

China has formally arrested a Chinese-born Australian journalist for CGTN, the English-language channel of China Central Television, on suspicion of illegally supplying state secrets overseas. The arrest of Cheng Lei starts an official criminal investigation and comes six months after she was detained. The Australian government has raised serious concerns about her detention, while China's Foreign Ministry confirmed Cheng's arrest and said her legal rights were being "fully guaranteed". The charges could result in a penalty of life in prison or even death, but are highly unusual for an employee of a media outlet tightly controlled by China's ruling Communist Party. The British media watchdog Ofcom last week stripped CGTN of its U.K. broadcasting license because of a lack of editorial control and is investigating complaints that it ran forced confessions by a suspect involved in political cases.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2021/02/08/cheng-lei-cgtn-china-arrests-australian-journalist-spying-charge/4432766001/


Myanmar Proposes Crackdown on Free Speech in Effort to Stifle Protests

The military government in Myanmar has increasingly used nighttime arrests, legal threats, a curfew and a ban on large gatherings to tame weeklong anti-coup protests that have spread from the cities to the countryside. Now, civil society groups fear that the military is preparing a new law that would further restrict online expression and limit the privacy rights of citizens. A coalition of 158 civil society organizations signed a statement raising concerns that the potential law would lead to the widespread arrest of government critics. Myanmar already has harsh laws restricting online speech, but opponents of the military say that the proposed law is so broad, it would allow the authorities to arrest anyone who criticized the government online and imprison the person for up to three years. Critics also said the proposed law would require telecommunications companies to cooperate with the government and provide information about their customers.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/12/world/asia/myanmar-military-protest.html


General News

Senate Acquits Trump in Capitol Riot: 7 Republicans Join in Vote to Convict

The Senate voted to acquit former President Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection despite significant Republican support for conviction, bringing an end to the fourth impeachment trial in U.S. history and the second for Trump. Seven Republicans voted to convict Trump for allegedly inciting the deadly January 6th riot at the Capitol, when a mob of pro-Trump supporters tried to disrupt the electoral vote count formalizing Biden's election win before a joint session of Congress. That is by far the most bipartisan support for conviction in impeachment history. The final vote was 57 to 43, 10 short of the 67 votes needed to secure a conviction. The vote means that the Senate cannot bar Trump from holding future federal offices.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-acquitted-impeachment-trial-7-gop-senators-vote-democrats-convict-n1257876


Democrats Painted Trump as Danger in Years to Come

House impeachment managers wrapped up their emotionally charged incitement case against former President Trump by warning that he remains a clear and present danger to American democracy and could foment still more violence if not barred from running for office again.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/11/us/politics/trump-impeachment-trial.html


Oath Keepers Plotting Before Rampage Awaited 'Direction' From Trump

The Justice Department is now making clear that a leader among the Oath Keepers paramilitary group -- who planned and led others in the U.S. Capitol siege -- believed that she was responding to the call from then-President Trump himself. This is the most direct language yet form federal prosecutors linking Trump's requests for support in Washington, D.C., to the most militant aspects of the insurrection. Previously, the Justice Department has somewhat held back on linking Trump's words so closely to the extremist group's actions during the riot. At least four defendants argued in court that they followed Trump's direction to go to the Capitol building on January 6th.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/11/politics/oath-keeper-justice-trump-capitol/index.html


For Capitol Rioters Facing Charges, Will a 'Trump Made Me Do It' Defense Work?

The acquittal of Trump at his second impeachment trial will hardly be the last or decisive word on his level of culpability in the assault on the Capitol last month. Case files in the investigation have offered signs that many of the rioters believed, as impeachment managers have said, that they were answering Trump's call on January 6th. The inquiry has also offered evidence that some pro-Trump extremist groups, concerned about fraud in the election, may have conspired together to plan the insurrection. As the sprawling investigation goes on -- quite likely for months or even years -- and newly unearthed evidence brings continual reminders of the riot, Trump may suffer further harm to his battered reputation, complicating any post-presidential ventures. Already, about a dozen suspects have explicitly blamed him for their part in the rampage -- a number that will most likely rise as more arrests are made and legal strategies develop. Legal scholars have questioned the viability of faulting Trump in cases connected to the Capitol attack, nothing that defendants would have to prove not only that they believed he authorized their actions, but also that such a belief was reasonable. Yet even if trying to offload responsibility onto Trump may prove ineffective at a trial, legal experts have acknowledged it might ultimately help mitigate the punishment for some people convicted of a crime at the Capitol.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/13/us/politics/donald-trump-capitol-riot.html


New Inquiry Over Trump Emerges in Georgia

The office of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has started investigating former President Trump's attempts to overturn the state's election results, including a phone call that Trump made to Raffensperger. During the call, Trump pushed Raffensperger to "find" votes to overturn the election results after his loss to then-President-elect Biden. Raffensperger was adamant in defending the results of the presidential election as well as the integrity of the state's voting system.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/08/politics/georgia-secretary-of-state-trump-investigation/index.html


Justice Dept. Directs Trump Appointed U.S. Attorneys to Step Down This Month

The Justice Department asked U.S. attorneys appointed by former President Trump to submit their resignations, a turnover that spares two top prosecutors in Delaware and Connecticut from overseeing two sensitive Trump-era investigations. The resignations will be in effect on February 28th. A number of acting U.S. attorneys who aren't Senate confirmed or who were appointed by the courts are expected to remain in their posts until Biden appointees are approved by the Senate.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/08/politics/leftover-trump-us-attorneys/index.html


Justice Dept. Stalled on Giuliani Search Warrant in 2020

New York federal prosecutors investigating Rudy Giuliani's activities in Ukraine raised the prospect of seeking a search warrant late last year for the lawyer's communications, but were met with resistance from Justice Department officials in Washington over the strength of their evidence. Justice Dept. officials in Washington said that a search warrant would be an extraordinary step to take against a lawyer (and also a Trump adviser) -- in an investigation into the possible violation of foreign lobbying laws. The matter remains open, and any decision rests with the Biden administration.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/10/politics/search-warrant-rudy-giuliani/index.html


New York Prosecution of Manafort Derailed

Paul Manafort, Trump's 2016 campaign chairman, will not face mortgage fraud charges in New York, after the state's highest court declined to revisit lower court decisions that barred prosecuting Manafort on double jeopardy grounds. The New York Court of Appeals decision closed the door on charges against Manafort in the matter and came less than two months after Trump pardoned him in a similar federal case. The decision of the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. to charge Manafort was widely seen as a hedge against the possibility Trump would pardon him for federal crimes. Trump's pardon does not cover state offenses.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/feb/08/paul-manafort-mortgage-fraud-charges-new-york-double-jeopardy


Cuomo Faces New Scrutiny of Death Data

Governor Andrew Cuomo's top aide says that Cuomo's administration delayed the release of data on Covid-19 deaths of long-term care facility residents because of concerns about a potential federal investigation. The now public data revealed thousands more confirmed and presumed Covid-19 deaths of long-term care facility residents than previously disclosed. A report released in late January from state Attorney General Letitia James found that the NYS Department of Health undercounted Covid-19 deaths among residents of nursing homes by approximately 50%.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/12/us/new-york-aide-apology-covid-deaths-facilities/index.html


Aunt Jemima's Makeover

PepsiCo, which owns the Quaker Oats brand, has announced the debut of Pearl Milling Company, the new name of the pancake mix and syrup varieties previously found under the Aunt Jemima brand. The new Pearl Milling Company-branded pancake mixes, syrups, cornmeal, flour, and grits will start landing on shelves in June 2021 and will have the same familiar red packaging previously found under the Aunt Jemima brand.

https://www.chewboom.com/2021/02/09/aunt-jemima-becomes-pearl-milling-company-after-brand-makeover/


Glaciers' Rapid Shrinking Imperils Mountainous Areas

Shrinking and thinning of glaciers is one of the most documented signs of the effects of global warming caused by emissions of greenhouse gases, scientists say. Glacial retreat in mountains around the world has been measured, sometimes at a rate of 100 feet or more each year. In the Himalayas, the most glaciated mountain range and home to about 600 billion tons of ice, the rate of retreat has accelerated over the past four decades. Over the long term, there are concerns about what the loss of glaciers will mean for billions of people around the world who rely on them at least in part for water for drinking, industry and agriculture. The more acute fear is for the safety of the people who live near them.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/08/climate/climate-change-flash-flood-india.html


COVID

Tighten Masks or Double Up, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Warns

Federal health officials have urged American to keep their masks on and take steps to make them fit more snugly -- or even to layer a cloth covering over a surgical mask -- saying that new research had shown that masks greatly reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Recent laboratory experiments found that viral transmission could be reduced by 96.5% if Americans wore snug surgical masks or cloth-and-surgical mask combination. Masking is now mandatory on federal property and on domestic and international transportation.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/10/health/coronavirus-masks-cdc.html


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Offers Path to Reopening Nation's Schools

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged that K-12 schools be reopened as soon as possible, and it offered a step-by-step plan to get students back in classrooms and to resolve a debate dividing communities across the nation. The guidelines highlight growing evidence that schools can open safely if they use measures designed to slow the coronavirus's spread. The agency said that even in communities with high transmission rates, elementary-school students may receive at least some in-person instruction safely. Middle and high school students may attend in-person classes safely when the virus is less prevalent, but may need to switch to hybrid or remote learning in communities experiencing intense outbreaks.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/12/health/school-reopenings-cdc.html


The Food and Drug Administration Lets Moderna Put More Vaccine in Its Vials

The Food and Drug Administration has informed the drugmaker Moderna that it can put up to 40% more coronavirus vaccine into each of its vials, a simple and potentially rapid way to bolster strained supplies.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/12/us/politics/moderna-coronavirus-vaccine-supply.html


Amazon Files Suit to Block Charges Over Virus Safety

The company said that New York Attorney General Letitia James had overstepped her authority in investigating workplace safety. Amazon sued New York's attorney general in an attempt to stop her from bringing charges against the company over safety concerns at two of its warehouses in NYC. The company also asked the court to force James to declare that she does not have authority to regulate workplace safety during the Covid-19 pandemic or to investigate allegations of retaliation against employees who protest their working conditions.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/12/technology/amazon-letitia-james-coronavirus.html

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