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Week In Review

By Angela Peco Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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


James Brown's Heirs Agree on Plan for Estate

The settlement, which comes 15 years after the musician's death, would allow administrators to fund a trust that will finance education of underprivileged children.

Push to "Free Britney" Gains Steam on Capitol Hill

Activists hope the increased attention on Spears' conservatorship will prompt lawmakers, many of whom have publicly supported her, to enact legislative change and better oversight of potentially exploitative arrangements.

Judge Rules That Britney Spears Can Hire New Lawyer of Her Choice

The ruling paves the way for Spears to hire Mathew Rosengart as she continues to challenge the conservatorship that has been in place since 2008.

Drake Bell Sentenced to Two Years of Probation in Child Endangerment Case

The former Nickelodeon star had pleaded guilty to two charges related to online communications with an underage girl. He will have to register as a sex offender and perform 200 hours of community service in California.

After Backlash Over its Reform Plan, Golden Globes Group Considers New Option

The expanded reform plan includes adding 50 members to its voting ranks to increase diversity; creating a spinoff, for-profit company; and creating more transparent and tougher requirements for accreditation as a Hollywood Foreign Press Association member.


More Wheelchair Access for Broadway Theaters

A major theater operator has agreed to provide more wheelchair access at its theaters after federal prosecutors announced a lawsuit alleging that Jujamcyn Theaters was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Metropolitan Opera and Union Seek Deal Over Pay

While the company has reached deals with the unions representing its chorus and stagehands, a deal has yet to be reached with its musicians as the Metropolitan Opera prepares for the fall season.

California Theaters to Get $50 Million in Aid

Small, non-profit theaters will receive a one-time subsidy to support their reopening.

Man Faces Accusation of Trying to Sell Fake Art

Angel Pereda of Mexico was arrested in New York on charges of wire fraud after he allegedly attempted to sell fake Basquiats and Harings.

Textbooks Featuring Malala Yousafzai Removed from Pakistan Bookstores

Authorities confiscated social studies books that featured a photo of the education activist after she questioned marriage norms.

Iranian Operatives Planned to Kidnap Brooklyn Author

An Iranian intelligence official was one of four people indicted in New York over a plot to kidnap author Masih Alinejad, who has spoken critically of her native country's government.

Major Foundations Join Forces to Support U.S. Latino Artists with Cash Grants

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation will "make unrestricted cash grants to artists of Latin American and Caribbean descent born or living in the United States." The first 15 fellows will receive $50,000 each.

New York Relying on the Arts to Support its Reopening

The economic and cultural contributions of the arts and entertainment industry will play a key role in the city's reopening.

COVID Surge Shuts Down London Shows

Many London theaters are cancelling performances, with many fearing that cancellations will continue as COVID cases are anticipated to surge when pandemic measures end next week.


Inspector General Says FBI Botched Nassar Abuse Investigation

The Justice Department's inspector general was critical of the FBI's handling of the Nassar sexual abuse cases, finding that the agency's delay in investigating complaints against the team doctor exposed additional athletes to abuse. The report mentions that the Indianapolis Field Office failed to respond to the accusations "with ... the seriousness and urgency that they deserved," with one of the officials providing false statements to minimize the errors made by their office.

Judge Stays Horse Trainer Bob Baffert's Suspension

A New York federal judge nullified the suspension after finding that the New York Racing Association "acted unconstitutionally by failing to let him adequately respond to claims made against him" after Baffert's Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit failed a postrace drug test. The ruling will allow Baffert to start horses at the Saratoga Race Course.

City of Pasadena Beats Trademark Lawsuit Over Rose Bowl

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against the City of Pasadena stemming from a dispute over whether the Rose Bowl Game could be played outside Pasadena during the pandemic and over the use of the game's trademark. The Tournament of Roses Association argued that it could hold the Rose Bowl anywhere in the case of a force majeure event without the city signing off on it. It had also sought a declaration that "the city lacked any intellectual property ownership over the association's trademarks".

All-Women Crew Will Call Major League Baseball Game

Five women will serve as the on-air crew for the Orioles - Rays game in the first all-woman team to broadcast a Major League game.

Women Make Strong Case That Ultramarathons Are Level Playing Field

The article argues that 100-mile races might be the ultimate endurance leveling ground; half of the top 30 finishers at the 2021 Western States race were women.

Madrid Open Owner Sues ATP Tour for Allegedly Breaching Schedule Agreement

The owner alleges that the tennis tour has "repeatedly breached the sanction agreement with the Masters 1000-level event by allowing other tournaments to overlap its exclusive schedule window, forcing it to pay more prize money."

Two Wimbledon Matches Probed for Possible Irregular Betting Patterns

The matches are a men's doubles match and an early round singles match. Both were reported to the International Tennis Integrity Agency. One of the bets predicted the exact result and the other accurately had the game favourite losing the match.

Court of Arbitration for Sport Hearings at Tokyo 2020 to Be Held by Videoconference

The court will operate an ad hoc division and an anti-doping division at the Tokyo Games, with all legal proceedings to be held virtually because of COVID-19 measures.

International Swimming Federation Weighs Sanctions Against Uzbekistan Over Manipulated Results

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) said that it would not recognize the results of the Uzbekistan Open Swimming Cup in 2020 after it found that the country's national governing body attempted to cheat to qualify swimmers for the Tokyo Olympics. One of the competitors had reported tampering with times and alleged he was offered bribes by Uzbekistan swimming officials not to report.

Athletes and Staffers in Quarantine After Positive Coronavirus Tests in Olympic Village

Two South African soccer players and a video analyst tested positive on arrival while the rest of the team remains quarantined, awaiting further test results. A member of the International Olympic Committee also tested positive on arrival. American tennis player Coco Gauff also announced that she will miss the Olympics after testing positive.

What Banning a Swim Cap for Black Hair Means for the Olympics

FINA may be reconsidering a ban placed on a swim cap designed for Black hair after previously rejecting its use in the Olympics.

Science Does Not Support Idea that Marijuana is Performance-Enhancing

The article describes how contradictory data and speculative research are behind the Olympic ban on cannabinoids and their classification as performance-enhancing drugs.

After Defeat, England's Black Soccer Players Face Racist Comments

A mural of English star Marcus Rashford was defaced by racist graffiti after England lost to Italy in the Euro Cup final. The mural, which was soon covered in messages of support from fans, was only one example of a surge of racist abuse against select English players.

Should a Mental Health Emergency Derail Dangerous Climb?

The article probes the issue of mental illness in adventure sports after a team of mountain climbers abandoned their Everest ascent after one of their team members had a bipolar disorder episode.


Trump Lawsuits Against Tech Giants Face Steep First Amendment Hurdles

The article expands on last week's news that former President Trump filed a lawsuit in Florida accusing Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube of "violating his First Amendment rights by denying him access to their platforms." The state of Florida has made several unsuccessful attempts in past years "to force private companies to publish political messages to which they object" - a recent state law imposing fines on tech companies that deplatform politicians is currently blocked; the Supreme Court decision striking down a Florida law that would have given politicians a "right to reply" to critical newspaper coverage is still good law.

Justice Department Sought Email Logs of Reporters Before Leaving Office

Unsealed court documents show that the Justice Department attempted to obtain the email records of three Washington Post reporters the day before former Attorney General William Barr left office. The move was part of a "yearslong campaign to crack down on leaks of classified information to the news media."

New York Times Sports Reporter Suspended for Failing to Disclose Book Deal with Michael Phelps

The suspension comes after the reporter, Karen Crouse, wrote a story about the Olympic swimmer in June without having disclosed the agreement to co-write a book with him. The editor's note on her article notes that the reporter would not have been given the assignment had editors been aware of the conflict.

Documentary "Roadrunner" Uses Artificial Intelligence to Mimic Bourdain Voice

Morgan Neville's documentary on Anthony Bourdain uses 45 seconds of a machine-generated voice that mimics Bourdain's. Reaction to the recording shows a deep divide among audiences, with some finding it distasteful to use manipulated material that appears to be authentic, calling it a violation of trust and a "slippery slope when it comes to the use of so-called deepfake videos."

Fox News Hosts Smear COVID Vaccine

The article tracks how certain media outlets, including Fox News, are spreading views on vaccines that are odds with the recommendations of health experts.

Jarrod Ramos will be sentenced to life in prison for the 2018 murder of five employees at The Capital Gazette newspaper offices in Maryland

Hacking Group Behind Major Ransomware Attack Has Gone Offline

The online presence of REvil, the ransomware group responsible for a recent attack on U.S. companies, has disappeared, with its site on the dark web going dark.

France Fines Google Over News Content Deal

French officials fined Google $593 million for not negotiating in good faith with news publishers in order to use short blurbs from their articles in search results (in contravention of a 2020 order from French regulators). The move is part of a broader European push to force internet platforms to compensate news organizations for their content.

China Plans Security Checks for Tech Companies Listing Overseas

China will require "domestic tech companies to submit to a cybersecurity checkup before they can go public on overseas stock exchanges." The intent is to ensure that tech companies are not compromising their information about Chinese users "when they go public overseas and submit to the scrutiny of foreign securities regulators."

Dutch Crime Reporter Dies After Being Shot Outside TV Studio

Peter de Vries hosted a television crime show for almost two decades. Two men have been arrested.

Reuters Photojournalist Killed in Afghanistan

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Danish Siddiqui was killed in a clash between the Taliban and Afghan forces.

General News

DACA Rules Are Unlawful According to a Federal Judge, Who Suspends Applications

A federal judge in Texas ruled that the program shielding undocumented young adults from deportation is unlawful, finding that President Obama exceeded his authority when he created the program by executive order in 2021. The ruling means that the Department of Homeland Security is temporarily prohibited from approving new applications; there is no impact on current program recipients.

U.S. Confronts Critical Choices on Power Lines

President Biden and energy companies "want new transmission lines to carry electricity from solar and wind farms", while environmentalists call for "smaller, more local systems."

Biden to Restore Protections for Tongass National Forest in Alaska

The Agriculture Department is reversing an attempt by the Trump administration to introduce logging and mining in the Tongass National Forest by repealing or replacing a rule that opened up more than half of the forest to development.

Guantanamo Prosecutors Ask to Strike Information Obtained from Torture

In doing so, military prosecutors reversed their earlier position that information obtained from the torture of a detainee now held at Guantanamo Bay could be used in pretrial proceedings against him (conceding all along that the law forbids them from submitting such evidence in a military commission trial).

Democrats Unveil $3.5 Trillion Budget Blueprint

The proposal includes expanded Medicare benefits, lower prescription drug prices, universal prekindergarten for 3- and 4-year-olds, and two years of free community college, among other initiatives.

Child Tax Credit Monthly Payments to Begin Soon

Families will receive up to $300 per child a month due to a temporary increase in the child tax credit.

Six Months After Riot, Depleted Capitol Police Face Multiple Crises

Funding, staffing, and operational problems plague the police department that protects Congress.

U.S. Agency Used Racial Profiling to Investigate Commerce Department Employees

A report by Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi concluded that the Investigations and Threat Management Service, a security unit within the Commerce Department, functioned as "a rogue, unaccountable police force" by opening unauthorized investigations into department employees of Chinese and Middle Eastern descent.

Republican Lawmakers Question Amazon's Connections on Pentagon Contract

Emails show that high-ranking Defense Department officials held a favorable view of Amazon as the company competed for a $10 billion contract.

Governor Cuomo to Be Questioned in Sexual Harassment Inquiry

Cuomo is expected to be questioned by investigators from the New York State attorney general's office. The inquiry into accusations of sexual misconduct or harassment against Cuomo is in its fourth month and likely entering its final stages.

Texas Democrats Attempt to Halt Republican Voting Restrictions

Fifty-one of the 67 State House Democrats left Texas to prevent the Republican-controlled legislature from attaining quorum and from passing a restrictive new voting law. This could halt the work of the special session until it ends in August. The bill had just cleared two committees in the legislature and includes provisions that "would ban 24-hour voting and drive-through voting, increase the criminal penalties for election workers who run afoul of regulations, limit what assistance could be provided to voters and expand the authority" of partisan poll watchers.

Citizens Permitted to Enforce New Abortion Law in Texas

Under a new state law banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected (at about six weeks), ordinary citizens can sue clinics and others who violate the law and be awarded $10,000 per illegal abortion if they are successful.

California Sets Aside $7.5 Million to Pay Victims of Its Forced Sterilization Program

Over 20,000 California citizens were forced to undergo the procedure under the state's 70-year-long eugenics program, a movement whose supporters believed that those with physical disabilities, psychiatric disorders, and other conditions were "genetically defective." Of those, 600 surviving victims will receive approximately $25,000 each.

Norwegian Cruise Line Sues Florida Over Ban on Vaccine Requirements

The company sued Florida's surgeon general, accusing the state of preventing it from safely resuming trips "by barring it from requiring customers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus." The state takes the position that vaccine requirements are discriminatory and that any businesses requiring proof of vaccination from their customers could face fines of up to $5,000 per violation.

United Nations to Create Panel to Investigate Systemic Racism in Policing

The three-member panel of experts in law enforcement and human rights "will have a three-year mandate to investigate the root causes and effects of systemic racism in policing."

Third Man with U.S. Ties Arrested in Haiti Assassination

Haitian authorities say a Florida-based doctor "had aspirations of seizing power in his native country". The national police chief said the man recruited people who committed the assassination of President Moise.

Poland Escalates Fight with Europe Over Judicial Oversight

The issue stems from a European court order that Poland's system of overseeing and disciplining judges is "not compatible with European Union law and that its impartiality and independence from political interference cannot be guaranteed." Poland takes the position that the European Court of Justice does not have the power to order the country to suspend the disciplinary chamber.

Italy to Ban Cruise Ships from Waters of Venice

The country declared the city's lagoon a national monument and banned large cruise ships from entering the waters so as to protect the ecosystem.

How Climate Change is Linked to Extreme Weather Patterns

The articles summarizes what scientists know so far about the connection between extreme weather events, like the recent flooding in Europe, and climate change.

Europe Lays Out Stringent Plan in Climate Fight

The proposal signals a shift from fossil fuels, with the end of sales of new gas- and diesel-powered cars by 2035, and tariffs on some imports from countries with lax environmental rules.

Richard Branson Reaches Edge of Space

Branson aims to open up space tourism after his rocket plane operated by Virgin Galactic "carried him and five other people to the edge of space and back."

Coronavirus Update

COVID Surges in Under-vaccinated Communities

Pfizer Requests Approval for Booster Shot

U.S. officials have asked the company for more evidence of need for a third dose, indicating that the decision will depend partly on data on infections in vaccinated people.

Increase in Virus Cases Slows Down Korean Gyms

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