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:
Testimony from Week 3 of the R. Kelly's Sex-Trafficking Trial
The trial centers around 6 women, 3 of whom were underage when Kelly pursued relationships with them. Among the witnesses testifying this week was a minister who married Kelly to singer Aaliyah, who was 15 at the time and may have been pregnant with his child. One accuser that said Kelly forced her to have sex with another man as punishment for breaking one of his rules, and another accuser became the third woman to testify that Kelly had exposed her to herpes.
Singer Nicole Scherzinger Sued by Pussycat Dolls Founder Over Reunion Tour
Founder Robin Antin claims that Scherzinger is "refusing to participate in the tour unless given creative control and a larger share in the group's business venture." Based on a 2019 agreement, Scherzinger would have been given 49% of shares and profits from the tour if she performed. According to Antin's complaint, Scherzinger is allegedly demanding 75% and final decision-making authority.
'Dancing with the Stars' to Feature First Same-Sex Partners
JoJo Siwa will be the first contestant to compete in a same-sex pairing. Siwa came out as part of the LGBTQ community earlier this year.
Mike Richards Is Out as 'Jeopardy!' Executive Producer
Sony announced that Richards will leave the program entirely, citing "disruption and internal difficulties." The news comes 3 weeks after Richards was named as the show's host, a role from which he subsequently stepped away.
Four Galleries Join Forces, Upending Traditional Model
Four powerful art dealers have joined to create LGDR, "a consortium that will represent artists, organize exhibitions, advise collectors and broker auction sales," aiming to offer a "new model of one-stop shopping" for artists and collectors.
Black Representation Remains Work in Progress at Fashion Magazines
The article discusses fashion magazines' perennial diversity problem and asks whether these publications will "fall back into old patterns of treating racial progress as a trend" rather than "truly embrace systemic reinvention."
Fake Art Joins the Long List of Recyclables
The article describes the diverse afterlives of fake works of art. Some are inevitably recycled to unsuspecting buyers, others are retained by universities for study purposes, and others are used in undercover stings.
Bank of England Removes Portraits of Leaders Linked to Slave Trade
Several portraits and oil paintings depicting bank governors and directors have been removed because of these individuals' connections to the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
New Accord to Protect Garment Workers in Bangladesh
Over 200 international brands have signed an agreement to bring better working conditions for the country's garment workers, including "legally binding safety commitments, independent inspections at the factories, and contributions for safety training and factory improvements."
USA Gymnastics Proposes $425 Million Settlement to Abuse Victims
The proposed settlement was submitted jointly with the court-appointed committee of sexual abuse survivors in bankruptcy court.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Files Amicus Brief in Support of U.S. Women's National Soccer Team
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed an amicus brief supporting the team's fight for equal pay. The team is appealing last year's ruling, which held that it had not demonstrated that the players received unequal pay.
Details on the Investigation into Tyler Skaggs' Overdose Death
At the center of the investigation is former Los Angeles Angels employee Eric Kay, who was indicted by a grand jury for distributing a controlled substance that resulted in Skaggs's death, and for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute fentanyl. With the trial scheduled to begin in October, prosecutors are expected to provide details on how Kay obtained and distributed drugs.
Alexander Zverev Soars on the Tennis Court as Abuse Allegations Linger
The German tennis player managed to obtain a preliminary injunction against Slate and the author of an article detailing allegations of abuse against him by former girlfriend and tennis player Olga Sharypova. The way Sharypova's disclosure has played out has exposed a gap in the ATP Tour's policies. The ATP typically waits for legal proceedings to conclude before issuing its own penalties for players, but it recently announced that it will "review its strategy for handling players who are accused of domestic abuse or sexual misconduct" in an effort to put in a place a policy of more proactive involvement.
Putting the "Open" Back into the U.S. Open
Arthur Ashe Stadium operated with full spectator capacity as the Grand Slam Tournament welcomed vaccinated fans. This was an added requirement after the tournament's initial "lax coronavirus protocols."
'Inspiration Porn': Paralympians Know It When They See It
The phrase has gained prominence in recent years, prompting news organizations to rethink their coverage of people with disabilities, including Paralympians, who "reject the idea that they should be admired just for coping with disabilities, and not also for what they've accomplished."
McCarthy Threatens Technology Firms that Comply with Riot Inquiry
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy discouraged tech companies from complying with an order to preserve phone and social media records of Republican lawmakers, as part of a Congressional committee investigation into the January 6th riots. He said that complying with the order is a violation of federal law that would make them "subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States."
Justice Department Accelerating Google Advertising Inquiry
The investigation into Google's digital advertising practices may result in a second antitrust lawsuit against the company. The first lawsuit alleged that Google "abused its monopoly in internet search to harm rivals and consumers" and this second inquiry is focused on whether Google abused its dominance in digital advertising, specifically, on how it operated digital advertising auctions.
The Silent Partner Cleaning up Facebook for $500 Million a Year
The article describes how consulting firm Accenture and its "content moderators" work to keep toxic material off the platform. The firm is now contending with claims of psychological trauma from employees and contractors who review content and are repeatedly exposed to graphic imagery.
Most Streaming Services Failed Privacy Test
A report published by a non-profit advocacy group this week found that most streaming services had similar "data habits" to Facebook and Google. For example, they use or make available to other companies information about what users do on their services for targeted ads.
New Mexico Attorney General Files COPPA Suit Against Angry Birds Game Developer
Attorney General Balderas sued Rovio Entertainment, alleging that it violated the federal Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) "by knowingly collecting data from players under age 13 and sharing it with advertisers," without providing notice to parents or obtaining parental consent, as required by the law.
Ireland Fines WhatsApp Over Data Transparency
Irish regulators fined Facebook's messaging service $270 million for breaking EU's data privacy law. The ruling says Facebook was not "transparent about how it uses data collected from people on the service."
Apple Making Concessions on App Store Rules
Apple will allow some companies to direct their users to payment methods outside its App Store.
South Korea Force Apple and Google to Change In-App Payments
South Korean legislators passed a law requiring companies to allow third-party payments for in-app purchases. This prevents app marketers like Google and Apple "from forcing certain payment methods, unfairly delaying the review of mobile content and unfairly deleting mobile content from the app market."
China Tightens Limits for Young Online Gamers
Children and teenagers are barred from online gaming on school days and limited to one hour a day on weekend and holiday evenings.
Can Afghanistan's Leading Broadcaster Survive the Taliban?
Broadcaster Tolo's usual lineup has already been replaced by educational programming about Islamic morality; how much of its programming survives in the new climate "will be a barometer" of the Taliban's "tolerance for dissenting views and values."
Alibaba Faces Reckoning Over Harassment
Alibaba employees are speaking out on the toxic work culture at the Chinese e-commerce giant after rape accusations first shed light on both the sexism and the retaliation that complainants faced.
Supreme Court Refuses to Block Texas Abortion Law
The Supreme Court denied an emergency request by abortion providers to block Texas Senate Bill 8, a law that bars abortion in the state at around 6 weeks of pregnancy. In its 5-4 decision, the Court did not rule on the constitutionality of the law, but cited "complex and novel procedural issues" in denying the request. The law outsources enforcement to private individuals, who are allowed to sue abortion providers or anyone else who "aids or abets" an abortion, and possibly earn $10,000 if the suit is successful.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi Announces Vote on Bill to Codify Roe v Wade
Pelosi said that the House would vote on a bill codifying the right to an abortion, but the bill is expected to stall in the Senate.
Texas Abortion Case Highlights Concerns Over Supreme Court's 'Shadow Docket'
The Supreme Court is increasingly taking up matters with significant policy implications and addressing them in late-night decisions with minimal or no written opinions. This practice is creating a "shadow docket," using a process that was intended to deal with emergency petitions and routine case management requests that did not engage important rights (with the exception of last-minute stays of execution, which traditionally attracted the most attention).
Does the First Amendment Protect the Censuring of Politicians?
The Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether the censure (typically, a formal reprimand) of an elected official in Houston violates the First Amendment. The latest word on the issue is last year's decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which ruled that a "reprimand against an elected official for speech addressing a matter of public concern is an actionable First Amendment claim."
U.S. War in Afghanistan Ends
U.S. forces have left Kabul, with the last evacuation flight departing on August 30th. The U.S. leaves behind a complicated legacy, with the country falling back into Taliban control after a 20-year war that took 170,000 lives and cost the U.S. over $2 trillion.
U.S. Education Department Investigates Several States Over Mask Mandate Ban
President Biden ordered the education secretary to explore legal action against states that blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures. Civil rights investigations will determine if these prohibitions restrict access for disabled students who are protected from discrimination under federal law.
Social Security Projected to Be Insolvent a Year Earlier than Forecast
Annual government reports released indicate that the Social Security fund will run out of reserves in 2033 and would only be able to pay out 76% of scheduled benefits. The pandemic has put additional strain on the programs due to a decline in government revenues.
Federal Jobless Aid, a Lifeline to Millions, Reaches an End
Almost 7.5 million people are expected to lose their unemployment benefits when federally funded emergency unemployment programs end. States can use existing federal funds to extend the benefits. States that already ended some federal benefits that they said were discouraging people from returning to work experienced job growth that was similar from states that retained the programs.
Loopholes Leave Gaps in Mandated Coverage for Mental Health Care
Health plans for state and local workers, including teachers and police, can opt out of the federal law that requires them to treat mental health like other medical conditions. Exemptions and lax oversight of these plans have deepened gaps in coverage under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, resulting in unequal access for millions.
Dozens Dead as Record Deluge Devastates the Northeast
Hundreds of thousands of people, most in New Orleans, remain without electricity after catastrophic damage from Hurricane Ida. In the Northeast, large volumes of rain caused deaths in the region and overwhelmed infrastructure, flooding homes, and crippling mass transit. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged that a more aggressive response will be required in the future, including travel bans and evacuation of basement apartments.
Overlapping Disasters Expose Harsh Climate Reality
Fires and floods across the U.S. are showing the limits of adapting to climate change (and its role in causing extreme weather events). The billions of dollars invested in storm protection in New York City post-Hurricane Sandy, for example, did little to protect against the recent downpour, which dumped more water than factors into the city's plans.
Purdue Pharma is Dissolved; Sacklers Pay $4.5 Billion to Settle Opioid Claims
The company was dissolved as part of a bankruptcy settlement that will require the owners to pay $4.5 billion for the company's role in fueling the opioid epidemic. The ruling shields the owners from all civil opioid claims and several states have already indicated that they plan on appealing the ruling.
Texas Legislature Passes Election Bill, Raising Voting Barriers Even Higher
In a major overhaul to the State's elections, the legislation bans drive-through polling places, 24-hour voting and temporary voting locations, methods introduced last year to facilitate voting during the pandemic. Election officials are also barred from sending unsolicited absentee ballot applications and from promoting the use of mail voting. In terms of enforcement, the law creates new criminal and civil penalties for poll workers and requires large counties to livestream video at ballot-counting locations.
Mysterious Absence of Defense Lawyer Capitol Riot Cases to a Standstill
John Pierce, who is representing 17 clients, has missed several court appearances in the last week, with his associate providing different reasons for his absences to presiding judges.
Tensions with China Imperil Climate Talks
The article describes John Kerry's latest activities as climate envoy. Kerry "ended talks in China with a pledge to continue negotiations," while Chinese officials warned that "political ill will could undermine cooperation."
Fear Spreads in Kabul as Taliban Take Charge; 98 Countries Pledge to Accept Afghans
The Taliban's chief negotiator said the group would not stop people from departing, regardless of nationality or prior involvement with U.S. efforts during the war. Frustrated with how evacuations unfolded, members of Congress are connecting with other countries and NGOs to help arrange additional evacuations.
Afghan Women Stage Rights Protest
Afghan women said they were willing to accept the burqa if girls could still obtain an education and hold employment under Taliban rule.
Data Confirm COVID Vaccines Still Provide Strong Protection Against Hospitalization
COVID Medical Bills About to Get Bigger
As temporary waivers by major health insurers expire, patients will have to start paying their normal co-payments or deductibles for COVID-related medical care, including testing, emergency room visits and hospital stays.
Hospitalizations for Children Rise Sharply as Delta Surges
It is not clear from the CDC study if the rise is attributed to Delta's high infectiousness or to its causing more severe disease in children.
Study Finds Lingering Kidney Problems in COVID Survivors
In a study involving veterans, COVID survivors were "35 percent more likely than other patients to have long-term kidney damager or declines in kidney function."
Supply Chain Still Tangled, with No Sign of Clearing
Product shortages are still being felt, showing the effects of the pandemic on the global supply chain.
How the Delta Variant Spread from a Teacher to Half of Her Students