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Week In Review

By Ariana Sarfarazi Edited by Elissa D. Hecker


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


Entertainment

Atkinson v. Netflix

A federal District Court in Texas has dismissed a copyright infringement case brought by Kevin Atkinson, creator of the Rogue Satellite Comic series, against Netflix, Netflix Studios, Dark Horse Comics, Dark Horse Entertainment, Universal Content Productions, and Gerard Way for infringement relating to Netflix's popular series "The Umbrella Academy" and its underlying comic book series by Way. The suit claimed that The Umbrella Academy's storyline/character of A.J. Carmichael, a fish that resides in a bell jar above a humanoid frame that he controls, infringes on Atkinson's storyline/character of Kingfish, a fish with long, flowering fins who sits in a glass, bell-jar shaped container atop a humanoid body with a speaker near the base of the jar, that appears in Atkinson's Rogue Satellite Comics series. As to Atkinson's claims of infringement in the storyline, the Court found that Atkinson's conclusory allegations as to infringing use of scenes and features is not sufficient to plead a copyright infringement claim. Additionally, as to infringement of Atkinson's Kingfish character, the Court found the 2 characters to be probatively and substantially similar, but found that Atkinson failed to plead facts sufficient to prove that Gerard Way, creator of the Umbrella Academy comic series, had access to Atkinson's work. As a finding of access to infer copying cannot be based simply on conjecture and speculation, the Court found that Atkinson's conclusory statements that Way must have had access because the commercial comic book world is small, and not sufficient to plead access. Thus, the Court ruled that Atkinson insufficiently pled the access element of his copyright claim, and dismissed the case without prejudice, thereby allowing Atkinson to replead his copyright infringement claim concerning the storyline and access allegations.

Atkinson v Netflix.pdf


Script Supervisor for 'Rust' Sues for Infliction of Harm

A script supervisor for the moving "Rust", Mamie Mitchell, has sued its producer and star, Alec Baldwin, among others, for the production's failure to follow safety protocols after the accidental death of the film's cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins. Mitchell was on set and personally witnessed the shooting of Hutchins and the film's director, Joel Souza, who were shot and Hutchkins killed when the gun that Baldwin had been practicing with and was told did not contain any live ammunition, discharged and fired a real bullet that struck them both.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/17/movies/rust-lawsuit-mamie-mitchell.html


Film Studio Sues Tarantino, Citing Copyright Infringement Over NFTs for 'Pulp Fiction'

After Quentin Tarantino announced his plan to sell nonfungible tokens (NFTs) based on the first handwritten script of his 1994 hit movie Pulp Fiction, the film's production company, Miramax, has sued the director in California for copyright infringement. Miramax, which has sent Tarantino a cease and desist letter to stop the sale, is asserting that Tarantino failed to consult with it regarding the sale, even though it still maintains "broad rights" in the film after Tarantino "granted and assigned nearly all of his rights" to the film to Miramax in 1993. Tarantino, however, is asserting that he has the right to sell NFTs of its handwritten script because he retained the rights to publish his screenplay under his contract with Miramax. Miramax, however, is arguing that the planned sale of NFTs is a one-time sale, and is not equivalent to publication of a screenplay, and therefore that Miramax owns NFT rights.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/17/business/miramax-tarantino-nft-pulp-fiction.html

https://variety.com/2021/film/news/miramax-tarantino-pulp-fiction-nft-1235113383/

Miramax v. Tarantino Complaint Exhibits.pdf

Miramax v. Tarantino Complaint.pdf


Astroworld Disaster Rekindles Fears About Music Festival Safety

While overall serious problems at concerts are rare, the Astroworld disaster in Houston has rekindled fears for safety at music festivals. A number of deadly stampedes over the years have shown the inherent dangers of big, excited crowds and to critics, the tragedy at Astroworld, which led to 9 deaths and over 300 hospitalizations, is a sign that concert promoters prioritize profits over safety.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/12/arts/music/astroworld-travis-scott-concert-safety.html


How TV Executives Want Nielsen to Measure Up

After years of complaints from TV executives, NBCUniversal and its peers are looking for other ways to count viewers, with or without Nielsen, the 98-year-old research firm that has become practically synonymous with TV ratings but one that uses antiquated technology to measure viewers even though viewers have moved away from cable and network TV. NBCUniversal plans to host a forum to discuss alternative ways to measure audience viewership and is sorting through proposals from measurement companies, including Nielsen, to create new methods for quantifying viewers.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/12/business/media/nbcuniversal-nielsen-tv-alternatives.html


Staples Center in Los Angeles to be Renamed Crypto.com Arena

Crypto.com, a cryptocurrency company headquartered in Singapore, has secured the naming rights for 20 years to the Staples Center in Los Angeles, which will be renamed the Crypto.com Arena on December 25th. The company paid $700 Million for the rights in what is one of the largest sums ever paid for a sporting venue's naming rights.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/18/technology/crypto-staples-center-la.html


ARTS

Dealer in Art Pleads Guilty to Role in $86 Million Scam

Art dealer Inigo Philbrick has pled guilty to wire fraud charges after conducting an elaborate plan to take advantage of the opacity of the resale market, where it can be difficult to verify how much works are bought and sold for, by defrauding art collectors, investors, and lenders of more than $86 million to finance his lavish lifestyle. From about 2016 to 2019, Philbrick sometimes sold a total of more than 100% ownership in a single artwork to multiple investors and furnished fake and fraudulent sale and consignment contracts in order to artificially inflate the value of artworks and conceal his scheme. As part of his plea, Philbrick has agreed to forfeit $86 million and all interest in certain paintings and faces up to 20 years in prison.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/18/arts/inigo-philbrick-pleads-guilty-art-scam.html


Dubay v. King

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the dismissal of a copyright infringement suit brought by William Dubay against Stephen King, Media Rights Capital, Imagine Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Marvel Entertainment, and Simon & Schuster. In the suit, DuBay, who owns the copyright for a comic book series called The Rook, alleged that King's protagonist in his The Dark Tower novel series is a copy of The Rook's lead character. DuBay also sued the other defendants for contributory and vicarious copyright infringement for their roles in publishing King's novel series and adapting the book series into graphic novels and a motion picture.


In affirming the dismissal of the suit against King and co-defendants, the Court found that King's protagonist was not substantially similar to the protagonist in The Rook. Focusing its copyright analysis exclusively on substantial similarity, the Court found that the arguably similar character names ("Restin Dane" from The Rook and "Roland Deschain" from The Dark Tower) do not merit copyright protection. The Court further found that even though the characters share some similarities concerning knightly heritage, travel to different times and parallel worlds, Western attire, fictionalized Alamo histories, and knife-wielding, these similarities are too general to merit copyright protection. Finally, the Court further that the additional similarities between the characters (e.g. characters' relationships to towers and tower imagery, presence of bird companions, and fact that both characters save a young boy from a different time), are similar in the abstract, but are not substantially similar and therefore infringing because these elements are portrayed in different ways.

Dubay v King.pdf


'Fearless Girl' Stands in Limbo Over Permit Issue

'Fearless Girl', the bronze statue of a girl with fists on her hips that has become known as a symbol of women's economic empowerment, may be facing eviction from her current temporary home at the steps of the New York Stock Exchange. The statue was moved to her current spot in 2018 on a 3-year permit, which expires on November 29th of this year. The sculpture's owners are now seeking a 10-year permit, but the Public Design Commission that is a panel appointed by the mayor to oversee the city's art collection, has delayed a hearing on making the statute a more permanent part of the city's landscape until at least December, leaving its status in limbo.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/16/arts/design/fearless-girl-fate-uncertain.html


Jefferson Statue Will Be Moved to a Museum

A statue of Thomas Jefferson dating back to the 19th century and which has spent more than 100 years in the New York City Council chamber will be removed, following unanimous decision by city officials, who voted to remove the statute because of Jefferson's legacy as an enslaver of more than 600 people. The statute will be given to the New York Historical Society pursuant to a 10 year loan agreement and placed in locations accessible to the public.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/15/nyregion/thomas-jefferson-statue-nyc.html


Fashion Is Taken Seriously at the U.N. Climate Conference

At this year's official United Nations climate conference known COP26 and held in Glasgow, the role of the fashion industry's in creating and fighting climate change was considered central to the climate conversation for the first time. Over the past decade, the international community has taken increasing steps to assess and acknowledge the role of the fashion industry in the climate crisis. This year, major players in fashion, such as Stella McCartney took steps to acknowledge the industry's effect on the environment by participating in COP26, where there were multiple exhibits regarding the sustainability of the fashion industry throughout the summit.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/17/style/cop26-fashion-sustainability.html


SPORTS

U.S. Considering Boycott of Beijing 2022 Games Over Rights Violations

The United States is considering a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics to be held in Beijing, as pressure grows to hold China accountable for human rights abuses. Such a boycott would mean that U.S. government officials would not attend the Olympic Games, though it would not prevent U.S. athletes from competing. The announcement comes after the U.S. government has met with Chinese officials to raise concerns about abuses against the Uyghur community in the Xinjiang region, crackdown of free speech in Hong Kong, and ongoing abuses in Tibet. Such ongoing abuses have prompted about 180 human rights organizations and members of Congress to call for the United States to use the Olympics as an opportunity to hold China accountable.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/18/us/politics/beijing-olympics-boycott.html


The International Olympic Committee Introduces Framework for Transgender and Differences in Sex Development Athletes for 2022 Implementation

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced a framework for transgender and differences in sex development (DSD) athletes, which are to be used as a guideline and implemented internationally following the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The new approach features 10 basic principles that allow flexibility for International Federations (IFs) to design their own eligibility criterias for each sport in light of the guiding principles, instead of deferring to a one-size-fits-all "sex testing" approach that determines the participation of transgender athletes based on testosterone levels. Despite the IOC's encouragement, the framework is not legally binding and is therefore simply a recommendation to international sports bodies. Human Rights Watch has praised the new IOC framework as a significant step toward protecting the dignity of athletes and supporting inclusion in sports worldwide

https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1115561/ioc-olympics-transgender-sport

https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/11/16/new-olympic-framework-backs-inclusion


After Self-Inflicted Debacle, NCAA Expands Women's Tournaments

Beginning in March 2022, the NCAA is expanding the women's tournament bracket to now include 68 teams, up from 64 in previous years, as it continues to work towards rectifying gender disparities in basketball. The decision comes after the NCAA agreed to make other changes in women's basketball this year, such as using its March Madness branding for the women's tournament as well, after it faced public condemnation for disparities in amenities between men's and women's basketball tournaments. While the men's tournament expanded to 68 teams in 2011, the women's tournament had been using a 64-team bracket since 1994.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/17/sports/ncaabasketball/ncaa-womens-basketball-tournament-68-teams.html


Report Questions National Hockey League's Promotion of Refrigerant That Affects the Climate

A new report by the Environmental Investigation Agency U.S., a D.C.-based nongovernmental organization, accuses the National Hockey League (NHL) of using its NHL Green Program, which supposedly promotes the NHL's commitment to the environment, to instead endorse refrigerants that contribute irreversibly to global warming. The NHL's partnership with the chemical company Chemours, which began in 2018, promotes Opteon, a group of refrigerants used in chillers underneath the ice at rinks. An NHL spokesperson declined to comment on the report.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/17/sports/nhl-chemours-ammonia-ice.html


Ole Miss Breaks Ground on Post-Alston Ruling 'Extra Benefits'

Senior Ole Miss jumper Allen Gordon is making history as the first Ole Miss athlete to receive financial disbursement from the school to its players, in what is believed to be the first payment of its kind as part of the Supreme Court's landmark ruling in NCAA v. Alston, which grants schools the right to provide athletes additional financial support for academic achievements, up to a maximum of $5,980 per year for "academic awards". Dozens of schools around the country are finalizing plans to begin to distribute such checks to their athletes and the ACC, SEC, PAC-12 and Big 12 have all announced plans to allow individual schools the right to determine how to handle the Supreme Court ruling. The ruling also makes it possible for programs to offer athletes educational-related benefits, including unlimited graduate school, vocational and study abroad scholarships, paid internships, computers and equipment, and tutoring.

https://www.si.com/college/2021/11/20/ole-miss-begins-extra-benefits-alston-ruling


Chinese Tennis Star Vanishes and the World Demands Answers

The international tennis world is calling for answers after the disappearance of Chinese star tennis player and celebrity, Peng Shuai, who in November published a post on verified social media account accusing Zhang Gaoli's, China's former vice premier, of sexual assault. Soon after publishing the #MeToo accusation, Peng disappeared from public view, spurring questions about her health and personal safety by the international tennis community. While Chinese state media has tried to refute concerns that Shuai is missing, saying that Peng is safe and sound and even publishing an email purportedly written by Peng that both retracts the sexual assault accusations and asks for tennis officials to stop meddling, the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) is not buying it, and has even suggested that the email published by the Chinese government is very likely "crude fraud." While other tennis organizations and individual tennis players alike have joined in drawing public attention to Peng, the WTA's response has been the most forceful in challenging the Chinese government, which appears to be simply waiting for the scandal to simply go away. WTA officials are also calling for an end of official Chinese censorship on the subject, and have suggested that the tour would consider no longer doing business in China if it does not see "appropriate results". This stance could endanger the WTA's extensive business relationship with China, where the WTA holds 11 tournaments and has a long term deal to hold its final games in Shenzhen.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/17/world/asia/peng-shuai-zhang-gaoli-china-tennis.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/14/sports/peng-shuai-zhang-gaoli.html


Canada Closing Border to Unvaccinated Athletes on January 15th

Canada is closing its border to unvaccinated professional and amateur athletes beginning on January 15th, including players in the NBA, NHL, MLB, and MLS, who are currently permitted to cross the border under a national interest Covid-19 exemption. However, the mandatory vaccine rules would affect few, if any unvaccinated NBA and NHL players, as the percentage of unvaccinated players in those leagues is negligible. After January 15th, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated foreign nationals will only be allowed to enter Canada if they meet the criteria for very limited exemptions.

https://www.ctvnews.ca/sports/canada-closing-its-border-to-unvaccinated-athletes-on-jan-15-1.5674606


Pro Baseball Club Down Under Moves to Bitcoin Standard

Australian baseball team Perth Heat is making history by moving to a bitcoin standard, the first of its kind in Australia. The team is now offering to pay its players in bitcoin, the team's CEO will also receive his wages in bitcoin, fans can pay in bitcoin for tickets and products, and the team is taking sponsorship deals in bitcoin.

https://www.fxempire.com/forecasts/article/pro-baseball-club-down-under-moves-to-bitcoin-standard-814893


TECHNOLOGY/MEDIA

Myanmar Frees U.S. Journalist from Jail Time

U.S. journalist Danny Fenster has been freed from a Myanmar prison into the custody of Bill Richard, a former U.S. diplomat who helped secure his freedom. Fenster's release comes days after he was sentenced to 11 years in prison for violating the Unlawful Associations Act, disseminating information that could harm the military, and violating an immigration law and faced the possibility of an additional 40 years in prison on charges of terrorism and sedition following his work at a news outlet hated by the Myanmar military. The release is a rare positive development in Myanmar, which has been torn by violence since the military staged a coup in February and began a brutal crackdown against pro-democracy protesters. Prior to his release, Fenster was the only known American to be imprisoned in the country.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/15/world/asia/myanmar-danny-fenster-release.html


Judge Rules for Sandy Hook Families Over Far Right Broadcaster

In a lawsuit for defamation against far-right broadcaster and conspiracy Alex Jones and his Infowars media outlet, a state court in Connecticut has granted a sweeping victory to the families of people killed in the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown who sued Jones for spreading bogus theories that the shooting was part of a government-led plot to confiscate Americans' firearms and that the victims' families were "actors" in the scheme. In its ruling, the court held that because Jones refused to turn over documents ordered by the courts, including financial records, he was liable by default. The decision in this case, combined with previous rulings in Texas, means that Jones has now lost all defamation suits filed against him by the families of the 10 victims, who were accosted on the street and at events honoring their slain loved ones, abused online, and threatened at their homes by people who believed Jones's false claims.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/15/us/politics/alex-jones-sandy-hook.html


States Open Inquiry into Instagram Risks

A bipartisan group of state attorneys general from 11 states have opened an investigation into Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, for promoting its social media app Instagram while knowing of mental and emotional harms caused by the app. The group is investigating whether Meta's actions violated state consumer protection laws and put the public at risk. The move comes after documents from a whistleblower and former employee detailed extensive research inside the company that suggested that teenagers suffered multiple mental and emotional harms, such as body image issues, when using Instagram, while Instagram continued to target young users anyway, therefore resulting in increased harm.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/18/technology/meta-instagram-investigation-teens.html


Senate Confirms Kanter to Top Antitrust Position

The U.S. Senate has approved Jonathan Kanter, a corporate lawyer critic of the Big Tech industry, to the top antitrust role in the nation. Kanter will led the Justice Department's antitrust division, which will work to rein in the consolidation of American businesses, particularly among powerful tech companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon. Kanter, who as a lawyer has fought Google and other tech giants for years while representing rivals, along with Lina Khan, the Chief of the Federal Trade Commission, will lead landmark cases against Google and Facebook. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/16/technology/senate-approves-jonathan-kanter.html


New York Times Told to Limit Project Veritas Reporting

A New York state court judge has ordered the New York Times to temporarily refrain from publishing or seeking out documents related to the conservative group Project Veritas, which often conducts sting operations often using fake identities and hidden cameras aimed at Democrats and other liberal outlets. The order has raised immediate concerns among First Amendment advocates, who have called it a violation of basic constitutional protections for journalists. The order is part of a pending libel lawsuit brought by Project Veritas against The New York Times, which accuses the newspaper of defaming the group in its reporting on a video produced by the group that made unverified claims of voter fraud in Minnesota. Project Veritas is also the subject of a Justice Department investigation into its possible involvement in the theft of a diary that belonged to President Biden's daughter, Ashley.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/18/business/media/new-york-times-project-veritas.html


Washington and Beijing Ease Policies for Reporters

The United States and China have agreed to ease restrictions on foreign journalists operating in the countries, tempering a diplomatic confrontation that led to the expulsion of American reporters from China during the last year of the Trump administration. Under the agreement, 3 news organizations (The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The New York Times) will be allowed to send journalists back to China and the United States will extend the time period of visas for Chinese journalists to 1 year long (which it had previously limited to 90 days).

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/16/us/politics/us-china-journalists.html


Two Iranian Hackers Are Indicted Over Effort to Interfere with 2020 U.S. Election

The U.S. federal government has indicted 2 Iranian nationals accused of hacking into voter registration systems and a media company as well as sending threatening messages to several thousand individuals in an effort to intimidate voters. Officials say that messages sent by the hackers, which were designed to look like they were from the right-wing extremist group the Proud Boys, falsely claimed that the Democrats were planning to exploit security vulnerabilities in state voter databases to register nonexistent voters and demanded that recipients change their party affiliation to vote for former President Trump.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/18/us/politics/iranian-hackers-voter-intimidation-indicted.html


WNYC Deletes 4 Articles From Its News Site, Gothamist

Gothamist, the news site of the New York public radio station WYNC, recently deleted 4 articles published on its site between March and September of this year after finding that they contained unattributed words or phrase. The retracted articles used language from Wikipedia entries and articles in other media outlets without credit, and WYNC is currently investigating the editing process that led to the mistake.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/19/business/media/wnyc-gothamist-jami-floyd.html


Indian Reporters Arrested as Hindu Party Denies Mosques Were Vandalized

Two journalists in India have been arrested for covering religiously motivated violence after the Indian government responded to growing sectarian violence in the state by disputing the journalists' reports on the clashes as fake news. The journalists, who work together at a digital news network, were on assignment to report on right-wing protests and mosque vandalism that took place after previous attacks on Hindu gatherings and posted footage on social media of the anti-Muslim attacks. The journalists, both women in their early 20s, were then arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy, spreading communal disharmony, and breaching the peace.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/15/world/asia/india-journalists-arrested-crackdown-tripura.html


GENERAL NEWS

President Biden Signs Bill for Bolstering Infrastructure

President Biden has signed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law that will pour billions of dollars into the nation's roads, ports, and power lines. Although the bill is a bipartisan victory that takes steps towards upgrading the country's critical infrastructure, it is not as ambitious as Biden's initial $2.3 trillion proposal and stops short of overhauling America's transportation and energy systems as originally envisioned. Still, the bill is expected to power economic growth over time, including facilitating leaner supply chains and faster and more equitably distributed internet access, rebuilding roads and bridges, upgrading freight and passenger rail systems, and cleaning up environmental pollution.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/15/us/politics/biden-signs-infrastructure-bill.html


House Passes Biden's Social Safety Net Bill

The House has narrowly approved $2.2 trillion in spending over the next decade to battle climate change, expand healthcare, and rebuild the nation's social safety net. The bill, which is a key piece of Biden's domestic policy agenda, was passed in the House over the unanimous opposition of Republicans. However, with Republicans rallying against the bill as one that would steer the nation towards socialism, the bill faces a long and difficult road in the Senate, from where it will likely be sent back to the House to be reshaped, if it passes at all.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/19/us/politics/house-passes-reconciliation-bill.html


Harris Is First Woman to Become Acting President

Vice President Kamala Harris became the first woman to assume acting presidential duties while President Biden recently underwent a colonoscopy. Harris spent that 85-minute span of time in her West Wing office watching live television coverage of the House passing a large social spending package.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/19/us/politics/biden-physical-healthy.html


Supreme Court Panel Shows Interest in Calls for Judges' Term Limits

Documents from President Biden's Supreme Court commission, a bipartisan panel of legal experts examining whether to seek fundamental changes to the Supreme Court, shows the panel's interest in imposing term limits on justices, but notes profound disagreement among members of the panel over whether efforts to expand the number of justices on the court would be wise. In response to calls from liberals for Democrats to push Congress to expand the number of justices on the court so a Democratic president could appointed additional justices to rebalance the court ideologically, Biden took no position on the issue upon taking office but instead assembled the panel and charged it to offer analysis on the issues, but not recommendations. Although the panel is taking no position on the various ideas it is analyzing, it is in the process of drafting a final report to President Biden, which it is expected to release before the end of 2021.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/18/us/politics/supreme-court-term-limits-biden.html


Biden to Bar Drilling Around a Major Native American Cultural Site

After 10 years of tribal requests, President Biden now plans to block new oil and gas leases within 10 miles of Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, one of the nation's oldest and most culturally significant Native American sites. The move was announced at a tribal nations summit meeting at the White House, where Biden also signed an executive order directing 4 federal agencies to create a strategy to improve public safety and justice for Native Americans and to address the epidemic of missing or murdered Indigenous people.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/15/climate/biden-bans-drilling-chaco-canyon.html


Two Will Be Cleared in Malcolm X Case After 5 ½ Decades

Two men convicted of killing Malcolm X in 1965 have been exonerated in Manhattan after a 22-month joint investigation by the Manhattan district attorney's office, the FBI and the NYPD, thereby validating long-held doubts about who killed the civil rights leader. The case against the two men, Muhammad A. Aziz and Khalil Islam, who each spent more than 20 years in prison for the murder, was questionable from the outset as the men were hastily arrested and tried on shady evidence. The exoneration is being hailed by civil rights lawyers for addressing the systematic failures against the two Black Muslim men who themselves were victims of discrimination and injustice. A motion to toss out the convictions filed by the Manhattan DA details the investigation conducted, where a number of issues with the original investigation and trial were found, including the withholding of evidence by prosecutors, the FBI, and the NYPD, which included potentially exculpatory evidence.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/17/nyregion/malcolm-x-killing-exonerated.html

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/11/18/nyregion/malcolm-x-convictions


Bannon Surrenders on Contempt of Congress Charges but Vows to Fight Back

Steve Bannon, former senior aide to former President Trump, has turned himself in to authorities and appeared in federal court days after he was indicted by a grand jury on 2 counts of contempt of Congress for refusing to provide information to the House committee investigating the January 6th attack on the Capitol. The charges against Bannon, who has vowed to fight back aggressively against what he characterized as political prosecution, mark an escalation between Trump allies and the House committee. The House committee has served numerous subpoenas seeking testimony and documents related to the Capitol attack, and the charges against Bannon serve as a warning to those who choose to defy the committee's requests for information.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/15/us/politics/bannon-congress-trump-jan-6.html


Trump Asks for Block on Records to Remain

Former President Trump has asked a federal appeals court in D.C. to block the National Archives from giving Congress access to records from his White House archives related to the January 6th Capitol riot, arguing that the litigation as to whether his residual secrecy powers could block a House subpoena for information should play out in court first. Trump continues to argue that the Constitution gives him the power to keep his former presidential files confidential even though he is no longer in office, regardless that President Biden has since refused to assert executive privilege over them, and to hold otherwise would shift the balance of power between the legislative and executive branches.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/16/us/politics/trump-files-jan-6-committee.html


Republican Censured by a Divided House for a Violent Video

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to censure Representative Paul Gosar, Republican of Arizona, for posting an animated video that depicted him killing Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and assaulting President Biden. Gosar, a far-right congressman allied with white nationalists, is the first member of the House to be formally censured in more than a decade and is only the 24th to be censured in the entire history of the nation. In the 223-207 vote divided along party lines and with the majority of Republicans opposing the censure, the House also removed Gosar from 2 committee assignments.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/17/us/politics/paul-gosar-video.html


Not Guilty Ruling on All 5 Charges for Rittenhouse

Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17 year old from rural Illinois who fatally shot 2 men and wounded another during protests and rioting over police conduct in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was found not guilty of homicide and other charges, in a deeply divisive case that has ignited a national debate over vigilantism, gun rights, and the definition of self-defense. After 26 hours of deliberation, the jury accepted Rittenhouse's explanation that he acted reasonably to defend himself during the demonstrations even though Rittenhouse fatally shot 2 victims, both of whom were unarmed, with an AR-15-style rifle, which he was too young to legally possess. The case stems from events in August 2020, when Rittenhouse arrived in downtown Kenosha with a rifle and medical kit on the third day of civil unrest over the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black resident, by a police officer during the summer of unrest following the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. During the demonstrations, law enforcement became overwhelmed and civilians, including Rittenhouse, took up their own firearms.

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/11/19/us/kyle-rittenhouse-trial


With Hatred 'On the March', Manhattan U.S. Attorney Forms New Civil Rights Unit

Damian Williams, the new and first Black U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, has announced the creation of a civil rights unit in the office's criminal division, which will investigate the recent increase in anti-Asian and antisemitic crimes, among others. Whereas enforcement of civil rights violations have largely been handled by the office through civil lawsuits rather than criminal charges, Williams says that creating a civil rights unit within the office's criminal division will make the work more effective.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/19/nyregion/damian-williams-civil-rights.html


COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Falsehoods About Covid Find Home on Podcasts

On podcasts and radio, the "Wild West" of media, misleading statements about Covid-19 vaccines largely go unchecked as audio industry executives are less likely than their counterparts in social media to try to curb what has been deemed as "dangerous speech". The reach of radio shows and podcasts is wide, and recent studies have found that 60% of listeners under 40 get their news primarily through audio, a type of media they say they trust more than print or video. However, unlike other sources, there is little to no curb on podcasts and radio, and no real mechanism to push back on false information other than advertisers boycotting and corporate executives saying a culture change is needed.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/12/business/media/coronavirus-misinformation-radio-podcasts.html


Lawsuits Against Mandate Are Moved to Appeals Court in Cincinnati

A federal judicial panel has assigned the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati to handle the consolidated cases of at least 34 lawsuits that have been filed across the country which challenge the Biden administration's attempt to mandate that large employers require their workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus or submit to weekly testing. The move removes the matter from consideration before the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, which recently blocked the government from moving forward with the rule, declaring that it "grossly exceeds" the authority of the agency that issued it. It is not immediately clear whether the judges on the Sixth Circuit will carry the injunction against the mandate forward or will rather let the government proceed with implementing the rule amid ongoing briefings and arguments.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/16/us/politics/biden-vaccine-mandate-osha-ohio.html


As Cases Again Rise, CDC Backs Booster Shot for All Adults

The CDC has endorsed Covid vaccine booster shoots for adults and Americans over 18 will now be permitted to get extra doses. It is not immediately clear, however, whether boosters are really needed by so many people, or whether the shots will have any effect on the ongoing pandemic. Many experts worry that extra doses are not needed by most adults to prevent serious illness and death, and that a push for boosters could constrain global vaccine supplies as people in poor countries have not yet received even their first doses.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/19/health/covid-boosters-cdc.html

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