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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:


Britney Spears's Father Files to End her Conservatorship

After announcing that he would step down from his role in the conservatorship, James Spears filed a petition asking the court to consider ending the conservatorship.

Hollywood is a Black Box

The film industry is finding it difficult to determine the success of new releases given the pandemic's impact on the box office and unreliable streaming numbers.

Mattel Dusts Off He-Man, In a Nod to Diversity

The '80s character will be added to the Masters of the Universe roster and will feature in 2 animated series on Netflix.

China's Weibo Suspends K-Pop Fan Accounts

Blogging platform Weibo has banned 22 K-Pop fan accounts over "illegal fund-raising". The move is part of a "broader government crackdown on celebrity worship and online fan culture in China."


Top Orchestras Have No Female Conductors

With the recent departure of Marin Alsop as music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, there are now no women serving as music directors in the country's 25 largest ensembles.

Hurricane Ida Delivered New Blow to Jazz Scene

While most music venues sustained only minor damage, the hurricane was still another blow to the city's musicians, who have already been out of work for 18 months due to the pandemic.

Supermodels Speak Out Against Sexual Harassment

Several high-profile supermodels are speaking out in support of the women who are expected to testify against Gerald Marie, a modeling agency boss accused of rape and sexual misconduct.

Lee Statue Comes Down in Richmond

A statue of Robert E. Lee has come down after Virginia's Supreme Court affirmed the governor's power to remove the statue.

Anarchy, and Money, in the Vintage Punk Clothing Market

The article describes the demand for punk clothing and the lengths to which counterfeiters will go to fake punk pieces.

Diversity Disputes Continue in Literary Organizations

The article profiles different literary organizations and the disputes that are dividing their membership as a result of stalled diversity initiatives.

Art Fairs Come Blazing Back

A series of art fairs are profiled in the article.


U.S. Soccer Proposes New Plan Toward Equal Pay

The governing body's president invited both the men's and women's teams to sit down and negotiate collective agreements that allow for a more equal split of World Cup prize money.

Soccer Player Kaku Breached Contract by Signing with Saudi Arabian Club

A U.S. federal court upheld an arbitrator's finding that Kaku breached his agreement with Major League Soccer (MLS) when he disregarded the terms of his contract after MLS and the New York Red Bulls "validly exercised an option to extend Kaku's contract through 2021".

Former Football Players Plead Guilty to Defrauding Insurance Plan

Three former National Football League (NFL) players pleaded guilty over a scheme to steal from a health care fund that replays retired players for out-of-pocket medical care expenses.

What to Know About the Lawsuits Against Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson faces 22 civil lawsuits alleging a pattern of sexual misconduct and coercive behaviour toward women hired to provide personal services. The article discusses the timeline of events, the possibility of Watson facing criminal charges, and the status of the NFL's investigation.

Quarterbacks Trying to Change Football's Status Quo

As more quarterbacks are speaking out against certain team or league practices, it is becoming clear that star athletes in other leagues are bringing about more change in their respective leagues than has been observed in the NFL.

Athletes Meet Fiercest Rival

The article profiles Louisiana high school teams whose activities and ability to complete are increasingly being impacted by climate change and extreme weather events.

European Games Host Refusal to Withdraw Anti-LGBT Resolution Puts Funding at Risk

The European Union has threatened to withhold funding that could impact preparations for the 2023 European Games because of the Polish region's resolution declaring itself an "LGBT-free" area.

International Judo Federation Bans Athlete Who Withdrew from Olympics

The governing body's Disciplinary Commission suspended the Algerian national and his coach for a decade after they withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics to avoid facing an Israeli opponent.

Brazil-Argentina Soccer Match Stopped After Health Officials Storm Field

The game was suspended after Brazilian health authorities interrupted play "as part of an effort to deport four Argentine players accused of violating coronavirus quarantine regulations."

Soccer Players Under Threat Escape to Italy

Facing threats back home, Afghan female soccer players and team staff relocate to Italy.

Ukraine's Paralympians' Home is Their Biggest Hurdle

Ukraine continues to perform well at the Paralympic Games, a major feat given reports of how difficult it is for disabled individuals to navigate life in Ukraine, in terms of infrastructure, funding and public opinion.


Ruling Loosens Apple's Grip on App Store

As part of a lawsuit involving game developer Epic Games, Apple has been ordered to allow app developers to include links to other payment methods, ending Apple's ability to force companies to use the App Store to complete transactions (of which Apple gets a cut).

Texas Forbids Political 'Censorship' by Social Media Companies

The law prohibits social media platforms from banning users or removing posts because of the political views expressed in them.

A Smartphone for Conservatives

A Bitcoin millionaire is marketing a low-end ($500) phone to Republicans, promising a "freedom phone" that will liberate Americans from big tech. It is part of growing right-wing tech industry that includes free-speech video streaming sites and conservative social networks.

Facebook Testing Smart Glasses

Facebook "has teamed up with Ray-Ban to create glasses that can take photos, record video, answer phone calls and play podcasts."

Brazil's President Blocks Social Networks from Removing Posts

The policy restricts removal to posts that involve certain topics outlined in the measure (nudity, drugs, violence, among others); a court order is required to take down others.

Afghan Reporters Face an Intolerant Regime

Despite promising to respect press freedoms, the Taliban government has already begun a crackdown on demonstrations and the journalists covering them, detailing and assaulting several freelance journalists.

Pro-democracy Media Company in Hong Kong Forced to Close

Media company Next Digital, which has taken a critical stance toward the Chinese government, announced that it will shut down, saying the latest crackdown has left it with no financial means to operate.

Murdoch's Australian News Outlets to Ease Climate Change Denial

Australian outlets are "planning an editorial campaign ... advocating a carbon-neutral future," which could put pressure on Fox News to take a similar stance.

Russia Influences Hackers but Stops Short of Directing Them

A recent report of a cybersecurity company found that Russia's intelligence services "have influence over Russian criminal ransomware groups" but do not control their targets, an "arrangement [that] allows the Russian government some plausible deniability for attacks."

Journals Pull DNA Articles from China

Two scientific journals retract articles involving Chinese DNA research after concerns were raised about China's DNA collection practices and whether Chinese researchers obtained consent from Uyghur subjects.

General News

Supreme Court Stays Execution in Dispute Over Pastor's Role in Death Chamber

The Supreme Court stayed the execution of a Texas man convicted of murder in a case that engaged religious rights and the role that spiritual advisers can play in a death row inmates' final moments. In this specific case, prison authorities denied the man's request to have his pastor hold his hand and pray out loud with him in the execution chamber. The Court has confronted 2 similar cases in the past, in the first allowing the execution of a Muslim man when Alabama allowed only a Christian chaplain employed by the prison system to offer spiritual guidance; in the second, it stayed the execution of a Buddhist inmate in Texas over a similar denial. In his concurring opinion in the latter case, Justice Kavanaugh wrote that excluding advisers of certain faiths from attending executions, while allowing others, amounted to unconstitutional religious discrimination. The case will be argued in October or November 2021.

Justice Department Sues Texas Over Abortion Law

The Justice Department is arguing that the law is unconstitutional because it allows "Texas to essentially prohibit abortion while technically complying with Supreme Court rulings that forbid such a ban by deputizing private parties to enforce the new restrictions." The attorney general describes the enforcement mechanism as a scheme to nullify the constitution.

Democrats Move to Expand Social Safety Net

The Democrats take a "from cradle to grave" approach in proposing a $3.5 trillion bill, seeking to expand Medicare coverage, paid family and medical leave, and childcare, among other things.

Pandemic Aid Prevented Rise in Hunger Rate

Government figures show no overall rise in hunger, as observed in past recessions. The results are attributable to expansions in government aid.

Top 1% Evade $163 Billion a Year in Taxes

The findings of the Treasury Department report are expected to be used by the Biden administration to propose additional investments for the Internal Revenue Services (more enforcement staff, new technolog,y and new information-reporting requirements).

White House to Withdraw Bureau Pick

President Biden will withdraw his nomination of David Chipman as head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), conceding that he does not have the Senate votes.

Biden Administration Moves to Protect Alaska's Bristol Bay

The administration filed a motion "to quash a Trump-era decision that had stripped environmental protections for Bristol Bay," an area with gold and copper deposit. It signals the government's intention to craft permanent protections for the area.

NASA's Perseverance Rover Stashes First Mars Rock Sample

The robotic explorer has collected the sample but has no way to deliver them back to Earth for now.

New York and New Jersey Residents to Receive Federal Aid With an estimated $50 million in damages in New York alone, a disaster declaration will help federal funding flow to both states to support recovery efforts.

Texas Governor Signs Election Law

The bill that passed last week has now been signed into law, putting in place new voting restrictions.

The Conservative Lawyer Behind the Texas Abortion Law

The article profiles Jonathan Mitchell, who developed the legal approach used in the Texas bill and whose efforts have been to devise laws that survive legal challenges.

Mexican Supreme Court Votes to Decriminalize Abortion

The ruling paves the way for legalizing abortion nationwide.

Quandary at the United Nations: Who Speaks for Myanmar and Afghanistan?

As the United Nations convenes its annual General Assembly, both the Taliban and the Myanmar junta that seized power earlier this year are expected to seek diplomatic representation.

El Salvador Adopts Bitcoin as Currency

It is the first country to allow cryptocurrency to be used in any transaction; the rollout was, expectedly, marked by glitches.

Coronavirus Update

President Biden Issues Vaccination Mandate

The mandate applies to federal employees and contractors, and to businesses with 100 or more employees; those who are unvaccinated will face weekly testing. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is drafting the emergency temporary standard, but enforcement mechanisms are not clear. The authority to mandate vaccines comes from the application of a 51-year-old law "that grants the federal government the power to protect employees from 'grave dangers' at the workplace." The mandate has deepened political divisions and Republican leaders quickly spoke out against the requirements.

U.S. Records 40 Million Known Virus Cases

25% of new cases in the country are among children.

More Jobs Requiring Vaccination as a Qualification

Companies Offering Time Off and Other Perks to Combat Burnout

After a year plus of remote work, employees are starting to re-evaluate what is important to them while employers try to offer perks like extended breaks to stave off resignations.

Los Angeles Mandates Vaccines for Students Attending In-Person Classes

Data Shows Less Alarming Picture of Delta

The chances of a breakthrough infection for vaccinated individuals are one in 5,000.

Macy's Announces Thanksgiving Day Parade Rules

Participants will need to be masked and vaccinated.

U.S. Visitors Face New Travel Restrictions in Europe

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