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Week In Review

By Travis Marmara Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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

Entertainment Activision Facing Jury Trial In 'Call of Duty' Copyright Case In Huffman v. Activision Publishing, Inc., former wrestler, Booker T, sued the video game studio over similarities between the video game character, David "Prophet" Wilkes, which was used in the popular video game, "Call of Duty: Black Ops 4", and a character that Booker T developed named "G.I. Bro." Activision requested to strike a demand for a jury trial in the case. Magistrate Judge Roy S. Payne rejected the request, paving the way for a jury trial later this month. Judge Payne rejected Activision's argument that Booker T was not afforded a statutory right to a trial by jury because he was seeking profits rather than actual or statutory damages.

Roblox Responds to Music Publishers $200 Million Copyright-Infringement Lawsuit The National Music Publishers Association sued popular online-game company Roblox for $200 million, alleging that the site lacks protective measures to police the unlicensed use of songs on its platform and fails to pay songwriters and copyright holders. Roblox released a statement denying any wrongdoing and stated that it values intellectual property rights and requires users to abide by internal policies.

New York City Plans a Central Park Mega-Concert to Celebrate Reopening In an attempt to show that New York City is back from the pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio has called on legendary music producer Clive Davis to put together an epic concert on the Great Lawn in Central Park. Taking place on August 21st, the show will have "eight 'iconic' stars to perform a three-hour show for 60,000 attendees and a worldwide television audience." Live Nation will also be involved in the production of the concert and the majority of tickets will be free.

Headliners and Headdresses Return to Las Vegas. Will Tourists Follow? In a city powered by tourism, Las Vegas is finally returning to the days of yonder, when shows were packed and the strip was bustling. On June 1st, governor Steve Sisolak lifted Covid-19 restrictions, allowing shows to reopen at full capacity. Shows generate much of the revenue for casinos, as patrons must weave through the menagerie of gaming machines, bars, and restaurants to reach the theater and are seen as a vital component to the overall operation.

China's Censorship Widens to Hong Kong's Vaunted Film Industry, With Global Implications In a further push for mainland Chinese to exercise control over Hong Kong, the city government of Hong Kong announced that it will begin screening and stopping the distribution of films that are determined to be a threat to national security. Hong Kong is known as a locale where "government-protected freedoms of expression and an irreverent local culture had imbued the city with a cultural vibrancy that set it apart from mainland megacities." Movies now will be censored not only for their content alone, but also will be looked through the lens of the viewer to assess whether there is a threat to national security.

Drake and Other Canadian Artists Sign Letter Requesting Changes to Copyright Law The Songwriters Association of Canada is petitioning Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to alter Canada's copyright law. Joining the effort are popular Canadian artists Drake and Celine Dion. The artists are calling on a change to Section 14(1) of the Copyright Act to allow for artists to regain copyright ownership 25 years after the initial transfer instead of 25 years after their death, as it is currently codified in the act. The change would provide copyrights to artists who assigned their rights earlier in their careers.

Kim Jong-un Calls K-Pop a 'Vicious Cancer' in the New Culture War With an economy that is flailing and a decrease in diplomacy with the United States after the departure of former President Donald Trump, North Korea is now addressing what it sees as an existential threat to its country: South Korean pop culture. Its presence was considered so alarming that in December 2020, the country enacted a new law that punished individuals for "five to 15 years in labor camps for people who watch or possess South Korean entertainment." Subsequently, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un issued edicts ordering all towns, provinces, and cities to root out Western ideologies found in anything possessed by citizens in their localities.

Arts Parties Settle in Legal Fight Over Robert Indiana's Legacy Famed artist Robert Indiana was known for famous sculptures, such as "LOVE", which can be found across various cities in the United States. After his death, the Morgan Art Foundation, a for-profit entity that holds the rights to product some of Indiana's most famous works, sued Indiana's former caretaker, Jamie L. Thomas, alleging that Thomas and a New York art publisher created unauthorized works of Indiana's. The estate, in turn, countersued the Morgan Art Foundation, stating that the entity did not pay out the appropriate amount of royalties to it. In the settlement a partnership will be created between the Morgan Art Foundation and the Star of Hope foundation, the latter a nonprofit the artist created to execute his wishes in the will, which include converting his house off the coast of Maine into a museum to honor his legacy.

Biden Justice Department Seeks to Defend Trump in Suit Over Rape Denial In 2019, E. Jean Carroll, a columnist for Elle magazine sued then-President Trump for defamation. Carroll wrote an excerpt in New York Magazine detailing an alleged rape that occurred decades ago in a Bergdorf Goodman department store. Trump denied ever knowing Carroll and mentioned that he could not have raped her because she wasn't his '"type."' In a surprise filing, the Justice Department adopted Trump's position, "arguing that he could not be sued for defamation because he had made the supposedly offending statements as part of his official duties as president."

Museum's Role in Police Mural Outside Detroit Draws Criticism A mural titled "To Serve and Protect" was initially unveiled with much fanfare in Sterling Heights, Michigan, a predominately black neighborhood near Detroit, in 2018. The mural, which depicts police officers holding hands and bowing in front of the American flag, however, has caused outrage in the community, members of whom say that the art is untimely, as calls for police reform and attention to police brutality grow in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, amongst others. Others in the community argue, however, that the mural is a tribute to 3 deceased officers and shows unity, inclusion, and a sense of service and community.

Was This Picasso Lost Because of the Nazis? Heirs and Bavaria Disagree. A Picasso painting, "Portrait of Madame Soler", is the subject of debate. The painting is "one of five Picasso works the Mendelssohn-Bartholdy family sold to the Berlin art dealer Justin K. Thannhauser in 1934 and 1935." The Bavarian State Painting Collections then bought the painting from the art dealer in 1964. The purchasing entity argued that the selling of the portrait was not subject to Nazi persecution, which the family contests. Under tradition, on the occasion where there is dispute over ownership, the 2 parties usually agree to refer the case to a national commission to investigate proper ownership. The Bavarian State Painting Collections, however, has refused to send the case to the commission, creating a stalemate for who properly owns the painting.

Sports Judge Denies Request to Return Major League Baseball All-Star Game to Atlanta In April, Major League Baseball (MLB) decided to move the All-Star game from Atlanta to Denver after news of Georgia's ratification of voter restriction bills. Subsequently, a conservative small business advocacy group, Job Creators Network (JCN), sued MLB and requested an injunction to prevent the decision to move the game. U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni denied the advocacy group's request for the injunction, reasoning that "JCN '"lacks standing"' to seek an injunction and '"has failed to demonstrate that it is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction."'

Baseball's Sticky Situation Baseball, which has a long, storied past with cheating scandals, including steroids, sign-stealing, and illegal gambling, is facing a new scandal: doctored baseballs. Now widespread is the use of various ointments, gels, and other types of products that allow pitchers to get a better grip on the ball. This allows them to spin the ball faster and cause movement to the baseball that would not otherwise be seen, making the pitch more difficult to hit, with the statistics backing up this fact. Batters are currently striking out "8.98 times per team per game, the highest in history, and six no-hitters had already been thrown -- only one fewer than the modern record for a full season." In response, MLB is expected to issue new guidance for the purpose of enforcing rules in the existing collective bargaining agreement around the use of foreign substances.

Both Are Abuse Survivors, But One Can Sue and One Can't The New York State Senate passed the Adult Survivors Act, which would establish a one-year '"look-back window"' for adult victims of sexual assault to file civil claims, even if the statute of limitations ran out. The spurning of the act stems from 2 individuals who were abused by a graduate school gymnast at Syracuse University. Despite being born only 230 days apart, and the events occurring at the same loading dock behind the school and involving the same predator, the victim who was 17 at the time was allowed to sue but the victim who had just turned 18 at the time when the abuse happened could not.

Connecticut and Missouri Lawmakers Clear Way For College Athletes To Sign Endorsement Deals Connecticut and Missouri became the latest states to pass legislation allowing for student athletes to profit from their names, images, and likenesses. The legislation now allows athletes to make money off "endorsements, content on social media, sponsorship deals, signatures, and personal appearances." The 2 states joins 17 others that have passed similar laws. The NCAA is yet to issue its own rules on name, image, and likeness issues and how they impact amateur eligibility within collegiate sports.

Son of Bo Schembechler Says He Was Abused by Team Doctor at Michigan About a month ago, the University of Michigan commissioned a report into Robert E. Anderson, a former team physician, who was accused of dozens of sexual assaults spanning his decades at the University. Once of his alleged victims was Matt Schembechler, the adopted son of Bo Schembechler, a legendary coach at the university who coached the Wolverine football program to 194 wins and 13 Big Ten Conference championships. In a recent interview, however, Matt Schemberchler recalled how he told his father of the abuse by Anderson and how the latter became irate, siding with the doctor so as not to cause a distraction to the football team. Bo Schemberchler, Dr. Anderson, and others involved in the affair have since died.

Brazil's Supreme Court Rejects Bids to Block Hosting of Copa America "Last week, the South American Football Confederation unexpectedly relocated the [Copa America] tournament after Colombia was dropped because of civil unrest and Argentina withdrew after a surge in coronavirus infections." Opposition parties and the national metalworking industry labor union then filed a suit in Brazilian court requesting injunctions to prevent the tournament from being held in Brazil, citing coronavirus concerns. Justice Carmen Lucia denied the requests, opining that holding the tournament in the country would not exempt authorities from enforcing public health measures.

Premier League Clubs Who Plotted Super League Hit With Fine In April, several English Premier League clubs, including Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur, announced that they, amongst others, were forming a 12-team Super League. After much public backlash, the 6 English clubs withdrew their involvement, effectively disbanding the league. As a result, as part of a settlement with the Premier League, the English clubs have agreed to pay a combined fee of £22 million. They also agreed that they would pay £25 million in individual club fines and would be deducted 30 points in the league if they decided to engage in a similar stunt in the future. In a companion move, UEFA's Appeals body has also suspended the probe it opened against Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Juventus that was initiated on May 25st, which looked into those clubs' participation in the Super League.

Technology/Media Biden Revokes and Replaces Trump Order That Banned TikTok In September 2020, the Trump administration issued an executive order that banned the operations of TikTok and WeChat, citing national security concerns. The order was immediately challenged in court. Last week, the Biden administration revoked the ban on the companies, instead replacing the order with one that will use a broader scope to assess the national security concerns of companies owned outside of the United States. The new blueprint will '"use a criteria-based decision framework and rigorous, evidence-based analysis"' to examine software applications designed, manufactured or developed by a "foreign adversary."'

Senate Overwhelmingly Passes Bill to Bolster Competitiveness With China In a move to bolster domestic production capacity, the Senate passed a bipartisan technology bill to reduce the country's dependence on China. The bill, which included support from 19 Republicans, was rooted in Coronavirus-related shutdowns that led to a shortage of a wide swath of critical products. The 2,400 page bill would provide hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency subsidies to semiconductor makers and would pump billions of dollars into scientific research, creating "grants and foster[ing] agreements between private companies and research universities to encourage breakthroughs in new technology."

New York Times Requests Disclosure of Court Filings Seeking Reporters' Email Data and Gag Order In January 2021, the Justice Department secretly seized the email records of 4 New York Times reporters in connection with concerns that news organizations, including the New York Times, CNN, and the Washington Post, were involved in prosecutor leaks in investigations. The seizure came as a result of a court order, which imposed a gag order on New York Times lawyers and executives, who were told of the matter in March, and prevented them from discussing the issue with others in the organization. Biden vowed to prevent the Justice Department from obtaining source information for reporters during his administration. The New York Times requested that the court unseal the legal filings by the Justice Department in connection with the case.

Similarly, a report indicates that prosecutors in the Justice Department during the Trump administration investigated the sources of leaks to the media that connected Trump associates with Russia. Around 2017 and 2018, prosecutors subpoenaed Apple for the accounts of Democratic leaders on the House Intelligence Committee, including Adam B. Schiff and Eric Swalwell of California. Similarly, the Justice Department secured a gag order on Apple that prevented internal or external discussions of the subpoena. In response, the Justice Department's independent inspector general has opened a formal investigation, and Senate Democrats are demanding that former attorneys general Jeff Sessions and William P. Barr testify before Congress.

Google Seeks to Break Vicious Cycle of Online Slander Those who are victims of revenge porn and slanderous content are also victims to a cottage industry where '"reputation managers"' charge the victims for the removal of content from search results. There is a way to do this for free, but search engines such as Google are inundated with such requests and are often untimely in addressing the issue. In response to a troubling report by the New York Times highlighting this issue, Google announced plans to change its algorithm to prevent certain sites from appearing on the list of results when users searches their names. Google also created a concept called "known victims", wherein it will suppress sites when victims report to the company that they have been attacked on sites that charge to take down the content.

MoviePass Deceived Users So They Would Use It Less, According to the Federal Trade Commission MoviePass began in 2011 and allowed its 3 million users unlimited movies in theaters for $9.95 a month. The company, however, was under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for nefarious activities that deceived its users and deliberately made using the service more difficult. The FTC report noted that "top MoviePass executives were not only aware of efforts to keep users from going to the movies, but led the execution of schemes they knew to be deceptive." The app also experienced a data breach in 2019, which divulged credit card numbers and personal and financial information of more than 28,000 users.

U.S. Seizes Share of Ransom From Hackers in Colonial Pipeline Attack In response to a ransomware hack that had disabled computer systems of Colonial Pipeline--an event that caused major fuel shortages from the Midwest to the East coast--the company paid $4 million in Bitcoin last month to get back online. The Justice Department recently announced that it had seized 63.7 Bitcoins back from the hackers (valued at roughly $2.3 million). "Federal investigators tracked the ransom as it moved through a maze of at least 23 different electronic accounts belonging to DarkSide, the hacking group, before landing in one that a federal judge allowed them to break into."

In similar news, the FBI is investigating a cyberattack on the New York City Law Department. It marks the most recent attack, which includes a meat processing plant, a police department in Washington D.C., and the above-mentioned pipeline, among others. Mayor Bill de Blasio said that none of the New York City Law Department's information has been comprised, but noted that the situation is still developing.

The Criminals Thought the Devices Were Secure. But the Seller Was the FBI Last week, "global law enforcement officials revealed the unprecedented scope of the three-year operation, saying they had intercepted over 20 million messages in 45 languages, and arrested at least 800 people, most of them in the past two days, in more than a dozen countries." The operation, also known as "Trojan Shield", has allowed authorities to open investigations into drug trafficking rings, the trafficking of arms, and planned executions. Law enforcement controlled the entire encrypted network, which operated using a calculator app on black market cellphones that allowed criminals to send messages and photos.

Google to Pay $270 Million to Settle Antitrust Charges in France French antitrust regulators argued that Google "used its position as the world's largest internet advertising company to hurt news publishers and other sellers of internet ads. Authorities said a service owned by the Silicon Valley giant and used by others to sell ads across the internet gave Google's business an advantage, undercutting competition." Google agreed to a settlement for $270 million. As part of the settlement, the company also agreed to stop giving preferential treatment for the use of its services and would provide for more transparency of its advertising system to coordinate better with other services.

General News Supreme Court Cases Under the Military Selective Service Act, women are not required to register with the Selective Service System. Recently, however, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter noted that the Pentagon would open all Pentagon combat jobs to women. In response, there was a challenge to the Act that previously only allowed men to register. The Supreme Court declined to hear the challenge, citing deference to Congress with respect to issues of national defense and the military. In a petition for 2 men who were required to register with the Selective Service System, The American Civil Liberties Union argued that the unequal treatment "imposes selective burdens on men, reinforces the notion that women are not full and equal citizens, and perpetuates stereotypes about men's and women's capabilities."

In a separate case, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Sanchez v. Mayorkas, No. 20-315 that immigrants in the United States as a result of temporary, humanitarian reasons, such as natural disasters, are not allowed to apply for green cards if they entered the country illegally. In such cases, their temporary protected status prevents removal and allows them to work for as long as the temporary protected status lasts.

In Borden v. United States, the Court addressed the scope of the Armed Career Criminal Act, which imposes a 15-year sentence for individuals if they are convicted of possessing a firearm and they previously had been found guilty of 3 violent felonies. In a 5-4 ruling, the Court ruled that violent felonies committed recklessly do not count as a violent felony, and in the case of Borden, the 15-year sentence was inappropriate.

Manchin Vows to Block Democratic Voting Rights Bill and Preserve Filibuster The For the People Act is a far-reaching federal bill that would combat voter suppression laws that have been passed in state legislatures that, amongst others, limited early voting and mail-in voting and provided poll watchers with more power. While this Act has been supported by every other Senate Democrat, Joe Manchin III, a Democrat from West Virginia, wrote in The Charleston Gazette-Mail that he would not vote for the For the People Act and would not end the filibuster, claiming that '"partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy."' Instead, Senator Manchin said that he would support the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would implement federal oversight over changes to state voting laws that was stripped away by the Supreme Court in 2013. Meanwhile, Arizona, one of the states that recently passed voter restriction laws, is undergoing a review of 2.1 million votes cast in Maricopa county regarding the 2020 presidential election. Despite the results being certified in the Arizona, the inquiry has encouraged other states, like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, to promote their own plans for an investigation.

Senate Report Details Security Failures in Jan. 6th Capitol Riot A 127-page report by 2 Senate committees found that intelligence officials failed to adequately warn local law enforcement of plans made by Trump supporters prior to the January 6th insurrection. Similarly, law enforcement officials failed to take seriously threats of violence to them in the lead-up to the riot. The report also lays out fundamental failures of the Capitol Police unit to handle civil disturbances, including not being allowed to wear protective equipment at the beginning of their shifts and not being authorized to use their most powerful non-lethal weapons to quell the violence.

Senate Confirms First Biden Judges, Beginning Push to Rebalance Courts In an effort to fill more than 100 vacancies on the federal bench, the Senate confirmed the nominations of Julien Xavier Neals as a district judge in New Jersey and Regina Rodriquez to serve on the Federal District Court bench in Colorado. By contrast, "Republicans led by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky used their majority to help President Donald J. Trump confirm more than 220 federal judges over four years, including more than 50 to influential appeals court posts and three Supreme Court justices."

Biden Ends Infrastructure Talks With Republicans, Falling Short of a Deal In a policy divide too large to overcome, the White House has scrapped its plans for an infrastructure bill. In an effort to compromise, the Biden administration lowered the total value of the bill from $2.3 trillion to $1 trillion in infrastructure spending, but Republicans were only willing to offer a quarter of the lower amount. The Biden administration has since asked Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, to start working on a new budget path, which would allow Democrats to use a process known as reconciliation to avoid a filibuster and pass the bill without Republican support.

Garland Pledges Renewed Efforts to Protect Voting Rights Attorney General Merrick B. Garland "laid out an expansive plan on Friday for protecting voting rights, announcing that the Justice Department would double enforcement staff on the issue, scrutinize new state laws that seek to curb voter access and take action if it sees a violation of federal law." The news marks a stark change in policy from the previous administration, which did not file any case under the Voting Rights Act until May 2020 and shied away from voting rights enforcement.

Democrats' Improbable New Federal Election Commission Strategy: More Deadlock Than Ever Democrats are using the Federal Election Commission (FEC), whose bipartisan nature often results in 3-3 votes, to further stymie enforcement efforts. "First, the Democrats are declining to formally close some cases after the Republicans vote against enforcement. That leaves investigations officially sealed in secrecy and legal limbo. Then the Democrats are blocking the FEC from defending itself in court when advocates sue the commission for failing to do its job." Effectively, this allows other parties, like advocacy groups, to directly sue campaigns in federal court, where the judges' ruling is the final.

Eighty Years Later, Biden and Johnson Revise the Atlantic Charter for a New Era As the G7 summit convenes, President Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed a new version of the 80-year old "Atlantic Charter," which highlights "a grand vision for global relationships in the 21st century, just as the original, first drafted by Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, was a declaration of a Western commitment to democracy and territorial integrity just months before the United States entered World War II." The newest version focuses on climate change, '"emerging technologies,"' '"cyberspace"' and '"sustainable global development."'

Biden Administration to Restore Clean-Water Protections Ended by Trump In a reversal of Trump-era policy, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it was reinstating protections that would increase the number of bodies of water that would be subject to the 1972 Clean Water Act. The Obama-era expansion of the 1972 act was previously eroded by the Trump administration, but Biden's EPA will be establishing a long-standing definition of "waters of the United States" within the act. Republicans criticized the move, saying that onerous cleanup demands would ultimately harm the much-needed farming community.

The Keystone XL Pipeline Project Has Been Terminated. TC Energy, the company behind the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, announced that it was terminating the project to build a 1,179-mile pipeline that would have carried 800,000 barrels a day of petroleum from Canada to Nebraska. Prior to the news, the Biden administration had previously rescinded the construction permit necessary for the implementation of the pipeline. Republicans opposed the move, arguing that losing the pipeline would cost thousands of potential good-paying jobs, while environmental groups applauded the action.

Biden Plans to Restore Alaskan Forest Protections Stripped Under Trump The White House announced that it is repealing or replacing a Trump-era rule that opened 9 million acres of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska to logging and road construction projects. The Tongass has over "400 species of wildlife, fish and shellfish, including nesting bald eagles, moose and the world's highest concentration of black bears." The forest also stores millions of tons of carbon dioxide through its trees and soil absorption.

As Warming Fuels Disasters, Relief Often Favors White People According to federal data, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is responsible for providing aid to Americans during natural disasters, shows that the agency often "helps white disaster victims more than people of color, even when the amount of damage is the same. Not only do individual white Americans often receive more aid from FEMA; so do the communities in which they live." FEMA is searching for reasons, which may stem from systemic issues such as the value of homes in differing neighborhoods or the lack of resources in communities to navigate the bureaucratic process needed to file claims.

Medical Journals Blind to Racism as Health Crisis, Critics Say On a recent podcast, Dr. Edward Livingston, an editor of medical journal JAMA suggested '"taking racism out of the conversation"' about societal inequities and said that '"structural racism is an unfortunate term to describe a very real problem."' Communities of color were held back not by racism, he said, but by socioeconomic factors and a lack of opportunity." Outcry from the comments prompted Dr. Livingston to resign and prompted an investigation by the American Medical Association, which oversees JAMA. A petition, which has been signed by more than 9,000 people, requested that the journal hire more people of color and to hold town hall conversations with patients of color.

Wealthiest Executives Paid Little to Nothing in Federal Income Taxes, Report Says In an report by ProPublica using Internal Revenue Service tax data, the news organization stated that the country's richest executives paid $13.6 billion in federal income taxes from 2014 to 2018, when their total net worth increased by $401 billion. The executives, whose wealth lie in homes, investments, shares of stock, and yachts, are not considered taxable income, and the tax code uses taxable income as a basis for taxes rather than total net worth. The Biden administration has proposed increasing the marginal tax rate for top earners from 37% to 39.6% and would reverse the Trump-era tax cuts from 2017. Economists note that this would be a modest change and some advocate for more aggressive measures, including a wealth tax. Additional beneficiaries of tax loopholes include leading private equity firms, whose army of lobbyists and complex structures provide avenues for lower tax burdens for the ultra-rich and could cost the United States $130 billion in unrecouped taxes over the next decade.

Once a Bastion of Free Speech, the American Civil Liberties Union Faces an Identity Crisis The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was founded as a '"content-neutral defender of free speech"', irrespective of how offensive the speech and the identity of those speaking. The organization, however, now finds itself rife with internal divisions, who see the absolute defense of the right as a roadblock to progressive agendas in voting, reparations, transgender rights, and defunding the police, amongst others. Staffing within the organization also support this fundamental shift: "Since Mr. Trump's election, the A.C.L.U. budget has nearly tripled to more than $300 million as its corps of lawyers doubled. The same number of lawyers -- four -- specialize in free speech as a decade ago."

Three Federal Drug Administration Advisers Resign Over Agency's Approval of Alzheimer's Drug Three members of a committee advising the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in its review of an Alzheimer's medication have resigned in protest. Their decisions stem from the FDA's approval of Aduhelm, a monthly intravenous drug that costs $56,000, stating that '"there's no good evidence that the drug works"' and was in contravention of the committee's overwhelming recommendation not to approve the drug due to clinical trial data. Beyond the underlying price tag, recipients will also need to receive recurring brain scans, as known side effects include brain swelling and bleeding, adding to the overall costs.

It's Hard to Sue Gun Makers. New York Is Set to Change That. The Democratic-controlled New York State Legislature passed a bill that would allow for civil lawsuits against gun manufacturers and dealers, an opportunity not afforded under federal law. The bill is the "first of its kind in the nation to specifically classify the illegal or improper marketing or sale of guns as a nuisance -- a technical classification that state lawmakers say would open the gun industry to civil liability suits in New York."

State Senate Confirms Court of Appeals Nominees The New York State Senate has confirmed the governor's nominations of Madeline Singas and Judge Anthony Cannataro. Cannataro is the second LGBTQ+ judge on the Court of Appeals. He has served as an administrative judge in the Civil Court of the City of New York since 2018. Singas previously served as chief assistant district attorney of Nassau County and assistant district attorney in the Queens County District Attorney's office.

Women's Prison Plagued by Sexual Violence Will Close, Governor Says Governor Philip Murphy announced that Edna Mahan Correctional Facility, New Jersey's sole prison for women, will permanently close. Some are hailing the closure as an opportunity to lower the prison population of women, while others are reticent of the move, asking where the prisoners will go. The move was sparked by incidents where women were routinely sexually assaulted and a recent midnight raid in January that resulted in one woman being punched in the face 28 times.

Texas Attorney General Is Being Investigated by State Bar Association After Biden won the 2020 presidential election, Attorney General Ken Paxton of Texas filed a lawsuit asking the Supreme Court to "extend a deadline for the certification of presidential electors, arguing that election irregularities in four other states -- Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin -- warranted further investigation." The case was rejected. Subsequently, a former Houston Chronicle reporter filed a grievance with the Texas State Bar, stating that Paxton knew the lawsuit was frivolous. The Board of Disciplinary Appeals announced that the grievance illustrated several violations of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Misconduct and will now undergo a formal investigation into Paxton.

Dartmouth Medical School Drops Online Cheating Cases Against Students Earlier this year, "Dartmouth charged 17 students with cheating based on a review of certain online activity data on Canvas -- a popular learning management system where professors post assignments and students submit their work -- during remote exams." After quickly dropping 7 of the cases, the school has now done the same with the remaining matters. The decision by the medical school resulted in part to a news story that found that "students' devices could automatically generate Canvas activity data even when no one was using them."

U.N. Security Council Recommends António Guterres for a Second Term The United Nations Security Council "recommended the re-election of António Guterres as secretary general, assuring a second term for the Portuguese statesman that will keep him in office until 2027." No other candidate received a formal endorsement needed to be recognized for consideration. Guterres came to the office in 2016 and previously led the United Nations refugee agency for 10 years.

With a Ban on Navalny's Group, Putin Sends Clear Message to Biden In a recent order, a Russian court deemed the political movement of Aleksei A. Navalny, a noted political opponent to Vladimir Putin, as an extremist network. The ruling opens the door for those involved with the movement to face prosecution. Last year, Navalny was poisoned by Russian agents, and upon his return to Russia, was arrested. In the meantime, thousands of Russian protesters have been detained and political leaders have been jailed. The Kremlin has denied any involvement and points to the independence of the judiciary, which made its ruling, a fact that many contend is disingenuous, especially in politically-motivated cases.

Ratko Mladic Loses Final Appeal in Genocide Conviction In 2017, former Bosnian Serb general, Ratko Mladic, was convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. That verdict was affirmed this week by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. Based on events from 1995, Mladic was convicted of "attacking and murdering civilians during the 43-month siege on the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo. He was also found guilty of genocide for directing the notorious mass executions of 8,000 Muslim men and boys, after Mr. Mladic's forces overran the United Nations-protected enclave of Srebrenica."

Coronavirus For Asian Americans Wary of Attacks, Reopening Is Not an Option Even after many states have opened up and returned to relative normalcy, many Asian Americans remain in fear, not of getting sick but of getting attacked due to racial animus. What was previously a directive to stand 6 feet apart to slow the spread of the virus is now being repurposed in the Asian community to prevent unwanted attacks from strangers. Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition of organizations, reported that from March 2020 to March 2021, there were more than 6,600 attacks against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. and "while nearly three-fifths of white fourth graders are now back in class, just 18 percent of their Asian American peers have returned to in-person learning, according to federal surveys."

FDA Tells Johnson & Johnson That 60 Million Vaccine Doses Cannot Be Used The Food and Drug Administration announced that, due to a possible contamination at a Baltimore factory used to produce the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, 60 million doses will go unused. The news comes after governments in Europe refused to administer the vaccine due to possible links to a rare clotting disorder. The federal government agreed to pay the manufacturer $200 million to produce the vaccine, but regulators have not cleared a single dose of the vaccine that had been produced by the factory. Biden to Send 500 Million Doses of Pfizer Vaccine to 100 Countries Over a Year According to sources familiar with the plan, the Biden administration will purchase "500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and donate them among about 100 countries over the next year." The first 200 million doses are planned to be distributed by the end of 2021 with the remaining doses set to be distributed by this time next year and will be purchased at a '"not for profit"' price. The pledge adds to the plan to distribute "25 million doses this month to countries in the Caribbean and Latin America; South and Southeast Asia; Africa; and the Palestinian territories, Gaza and the West Bank."

Goldman Sachs Requires its U.S. Employees to Report Their Vaccination Status. Last week, Goldman Sachs distributed an internal memo requiring employees in the United States to inform the company whether or not they have been vaccinated. The news comes after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provided guidance that said that employers are allowed to ask for this information if they keep the medical records confidential.

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