Search

Week In Review - Week Ending 3/29/20

By Angela Peco Edited by Elissa D. Hecker


Below,for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Media, and General News, including coronavirus information:


Entertainment

Jury Hands Win to Publishers in Class Rock Archive Intellectual Property Suit

Several music publishers sued Wolfgang's Vault (Bill Graham Archives LLC) for copyright infringement. A jury has now found the Vault liable for damages for its streaming of archival concert footage without having obtained necessary licenses covering the reproduction and distribution of the musical works. It awarded ABKCO Music Inc. and other publishers &189,500.

https://www.law360.com/newyork/articles/1255317/jury-hands-win-to-publishers-in-classic-rock-archive-ip-suit?nl_pk=2abbf97c-3bf7-4127-b16a-0760c27c81e6&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newyork


Recent Decisions in Copyright Cases Alleviate Concerns for Songwriters and Producers

Recent cases involving Led Zeppelin and Katy Perry address important aspects of how copyright applies to music and suggest that the "'Blurred Lines' curse has been lifted." Lawyers are primarily focusing on the Ninth Circuit decision that heard the appeal in the Led Zeppelin case. The en banc decision explained that in works that involve generic or commonplace elements, only a minimal, or "thin," level of copyright applies. In those cases, the plaintiff must show that a work is "virtually identical" to the defendant's.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/24/arts/music/blurred-lines-led-zeppelin-copyright.html


Talent Agent Accused of Emotional Abuse and Breach of Contract

Brooklyn-based talent agent Brhonson Lexier St. Surin has been sued by several models who describe abusive behaviour, including offering them screen tests that involved sex on camera, in exchange for professional development and opportunities.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/26/nyregion/tape-movie-2020-real-story.html


Video-Sharing Subscription Service Helps Performers in Need

Launched this week, The Trickle Up is a subscription-based service that offers performance videos by participating artists. All proceeds benefit New York artists who are impacted by the coronavirus shutdown. More than 50 artists have signed on. Each performer can designate an artist in need as a beneficiary.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/theater/trickle-up-video-subscription.html


Partying During a Pandemic

Parties are moving to online streams, as popular D.J.s host sets on Instagram Live and other social media platforms to curb the spread of coronavirus.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/21/arts/d-nice-instagram.html


Arts

Supreme Court Issues 9-0 Decision in Copyright Infringement Case

In the third decision issued this week (Allen v Cooper), the court held that states are immune from claims of copyright infringement. In an opinion by Justice Kagan, the court held that Congress lacked authority to abrogate the states' sovereign immunity from copyright infringement suits in the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act of 1990. As such, North Carolina could not be sued by a videographer for copyright infringement of images/video related to a shipwreck off the North Carolina coast.

https://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/allen-v-cooper/


Children's Publishers See Spike in Sales Following School Closures

As schools across America closed, parents turned to homeschooling, and sales of reading and writing workbooks have skyrocketed, as have sales of juvenile nonfiction (by nearly 40%). Physical book sales across all categories predictably fell by 10% during the week ending March 14.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/24/books/home-schooling-workbooks-sales-increase-virus.html


New York Philharmonic Cancels Season Due to Coronavirus

The orchestra anticipates losing $10 million, with its endowment already at 14%. It says its musicians will have health benefits through September, but pay will be reduced in stages.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/arts/music/new-york-philharmonic-coronavirus.html


Theaters Across the Country Cancelling Performances, with Huge Impact on Workers

Theaters across the U.S. are cancelling their spring productions, with some moving their spring and summer shows to next season. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, for instance, will not offer performances until after Labor Day and will lay off 80% of its 500-person workforce.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/theater/oregon-shakespeare-festival-canceled-virus.html


Losing the Arts in a Pandemic

The article poses important questions about how to maintain connectivity (and sanity) during this time, when much of what we rely on for the purpose of social cohesion has been suspended.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/20/arts/arts-loss-coronavirus.html


University of Michigan Fires Voice Professor David Daniels

The school announced its decision a year after Daniels and his husband were charged with sexually assaulting another singer. It was the first time that the university's Board of Regents voted to dismiss a tenured professor. It did so without severance pay.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/26/us/david-daniels-michigan-opera-singer-fired.html


Tony-Winning Playwright Terrence McNally Dies at 81

With some three dozen plays to his credit, McNally is best known for theater work that "dramatized and domesticated gay life". He died of coronavirus complications in Florida.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/24/theater/terrence-mcnally-dead-coronavirus.html


Swiss Museum Settles Claim Over Art Acquired During Nazi Regime

Basel's Kunstmuseum agreed to pay the heirs of a Jewish museum director for 200 works that he sold before fleeing persecution. The museum maintains the position that it acquired the works in good faith at a 1933 Berlin auction, and so there is no basis for restitution.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/arts/design/swiss-nazi-era-art-claim-settled.html


Royal Ballet Parts Ways with British Choreographer Liam Scarlett

Scarlett left his position as the Royal Ballet's artist-in-residence after an investigation into accusations of sexual misconduct with dance students. He was suspended when the company first learned of the allegations. The inquiry did ultimately find there were "no matters to pursue" against him.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/arts/dance/royal-ballet-liam-scarlett.html


Sports

International Olympic Committee Postpones Tokyo Games Until July 2021

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Japan agreed to postpone the Summer Olympics in Tokyo to 2021. There was great resistance to the move in the weeks (and days) before the announcement, which became all but inevitable after Canada's Olympic committee withdrew from the Games, and other countries took public positions urging the IOC to postpone. As the IOC deliberated on the future of the 2020 Games, a survey by the Athletics Association found broad support for a delay among track and field athletes. Organizers are considering July 23, 2021 as the new opening date.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/24/sports/olympics/coronavirus-summer-olympics-postponed.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/28/sports/olympics/coronavirus-olympics-postponed-2021.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/sports/olympics/track-and-field-poll-Olympics-coronavirus.html


Advertisers and TV Outlets Scramble After Tokyo Olympics Postponed

The article discusses the logistical and financial challenges that result from postponing the Games, including losses to NBCUniversal, which has the rights to broadcast the Olympics in the U.S. It is clear that advertisers will not be able to take that money and spend it on anything else that affords them the same kind of reach, brand, and sales impact that the Olympics would deliver to them.

https://variety.com/2020/tv/news/olympics-postponement-tv-advertising-coronavirus-1203543460/


USA Gymnastics' Settlement Hearing Postponed Due to Coronavirus

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Southern District Indiana Judge Robyn Moberly issued an indefinite continuance for the hearing scheduled for next week. The hearing was on the disclosure statement that USA Gymnastics filed with the court last month. The disclosure statement outlined the organization's proposed $217 million settlement with survivors of sexual abuse. The judge gave the NGB until June 2, 2020 to file its Chapter 11 reorganization plan.

https://www.ocregister.com/2020/03/23/usa-gymnastics-bankruptcy-hearing-put-on-hold-because-of-covid-19/


Ravens Quarterback Lamar Jackson Files Lawsuit Against Amazon.com

Jackson claims that the online retail giant is unfairly profiting from apparel based on his public image and catch phrases. He claims that Amazon is damaging his own apparel company, which sells similar products online, and is seeking compensation and damages.

https://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/ravens/bs-sp-ravens-lamar-jackson-amazon-lawsuit-20200326-2b46tcj57zgjpmci7ol5izdqsi-story.html


National Football League Draft Will Proceed as Planned on April 23-25

Commissioner Goodell announced in a leaguewide memo that the National Football League (NFL) draft will go on as scheduled. He told teams to prepare to conduct the draft outside team facilities, which were ordered closed. Draft prospects will remain off-site. The event will be closed to the public.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/sports/football/nfl-draft-coronavirus.html


New Pension Deal for Former NFL Players

Former NFL players are questioning the logic of some trade-offs in the new 10-year collective bargaining agreement. Under the deal, former players will get bumps in their pensions. However, another provision stipulates that about 400 former players will see their disability payments decline by the value of their Social Security disability benefits. The Executive Director of the players' association said the union agreed to the cuts because the pension benefits would help more players.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/25/sports/football/nfl-retired-players-benefits.html


Baseball Closed on Opening Day

The baseball season has been postponed indefinitely and along with it have gone all opening day traditions across America's ballparks. Meanwhile, the National Baseball League (NBL) and the players' union laid out a framework to navigate labor issues in a suspended season. Ratified by players on Friday, the agreement preserves service time if the season is cancelled. In addition, management will advance $170 million in salary payments over what would have been the first 60 days of the regular season.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/26/sports/baseball/opening-day-mlb-virus.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/sports/baseball/baseball-union-deal.html


U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee Unsuccessful in Obtaining Relief from Congress

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) unsuccessfully lobbied Congress for $200 million in funding (as part of the federal relief package) to be paid to athletes and national governing bodies (NGBs). Its estimated losses during the pandemic could be between $600-$800 million; the anticipated cancellation of at least 8,029 events by June would cost Olympic sport NGBs $150 million in lost revenue, and Team USA athletes $25 million.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-olympic-amateur-sports-bodies-could-lose-800-million-over-coronavirus-and-olympics-delay-11585226701


USA Cycling First National Governing Body to Announce Layoffs, Furloughs Due to Coronavirus

USA Cycling has laid off or furloughed more than 30% of its workforce. The CEO said that the furloughs were set to last between two and six months, depending on the duration of the pandemic. Workers will maintain health insurance coverage for 90 days.

https://gazette.com/news/colorado-springs-based-usa-cycling-sheds-workforce-after-major-revenue/article_d3a4b0dc-6fc1-11ea-8aa9-4fe8bfc1f8a3.html


FIFA Considering New Regulations for Player Contracts and Transactions Between Clubs

Soccer's governing body wants to issue central guidance to clubs to mitigate the effects of the stoppage that resulted from the coronavirus pandemic. Its main focus is on player contracts and transfer windows. Its most direct initiative at this time is "a suggestion that it could dip into its own cash reserves to help pay salaries for players."

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/26/sports/soccer/fifa-coronavirus-transfer-windows.html


IOC Held Boxing Qualifier in the EU Despite Virus Warning

Seven people have now tested positive following the European qualifying tournament, including three Turkish boxers and a coach. Competitors questioned the IOC's decision to go ahead with the tournament, despite other major sporting even cancellations and evidence that the virus was already spreading in Britain, the host country. The Olympic Games had not yet been postponed when the event took place.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/sports/olympics/coronavirus-ioc-boxing.html


Media

U.S. Officials Consider Expelling Chinese Media Outlets

Trump administration officials are considering taking action against suspected spies at Chinese media organizations, after China said that it would expel almost all American journalists from three major American newspapers operating in mainland China. American counterintelligence officials are scrutinizing the work of Chinese journalists and suspect that state-run outlets are providing cover for intelligence operatives. Meanwhile, the three newspapers released a statement asking China to reverse its decision and criticizing the government for its crackdown on independent news organizations.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/26/us/politics/coronavirus-china-spies.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/24/business/media/china-journalists-newspapers.html


Epidemic Revives Facebook as a News Powerhouse

According to an internal report obtained by The New York Times, more than half of news articles that Americans were reading on Facebook were related to the coronavirus. More significantly, last week, U.S. traffic from Facebook to other websites increased by more than 50%. This skyrocketing traffic and a surge in new users is now stressing Facebook's systems, while it is trying to keep users' data secure, moderating content, and having 45,000 employees working from home.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/technology/coronavirus-facebook-news.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/24/technology/virus-facebook-usage-traffic.html


Local News Outlets Hit Hard by Coronavirus

Layoffs and cancelled print editions of weekly or daily newspapers has shaken the already weakened publications that relied on ad revenue to support their staffs. Larger publications have also made adjustments by way of furloughing a percentage of their work forces, primarily journalists covering sports and social events.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/business/media/coronavirus-local-news.html


Robert Murdoch's Prudent Private Conduct at Odds with Fox News' Coronavirus Reports

While Fox News coverage of the pandemic was downplaying its risks, Murdoch, the chairman of Fox News, cancelled a planned birthday celebration out of concern for his health. People with knowledge of the company say Murdoch's successor, his son, played little role in the recent coverage of the public health crisis.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/business/media/fox-news-coronavirus-rupert-murdoch.html


Fox Business Host Who Called the Pandemic an Attempt to Impeach the President, Leaves News Network

Trish Regan's departure comes after her prime-time program was abruptly pulled from the schedule this month. Two weeks ago, Regan dismissed concerns about the coronavirus and called it a scam fueled by the president's enemies.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/business/trish-regan-fox-business-coronavirus.html


Turkey Ends Inquiry into Jamal Khashoggi's Killing

Turkey announced indictments against 20 suspects in the killing of dissident journalist. However, human rights advocates doubt anyone will ever be held accountable, given that none of the suspects are in Turkey and the country does not normally try defendants in absentia.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/world/middleeast/khashoggi-turkey-saudi-justice.html


General News

Congress Passes $2.2 Trillion Aid Package

The U.S. Congress passed a record $2.2 trillion stimulus package, which the president signed into law on March 27, 2020. It is the most significant piece of federal disaster and economic relief ever passed in the U.S. Under the plan, individual Americans will receive rebate checks ($1,200, with an additional $500 per child; those making up to $75,000 are eligible) and expanded unemployment insurance benefits (an additional 13 weeks and a four-month enhancement of benefits). These benefits are also extended to freelancers and "gig workers."


Key Provisions of the CARES Act: • Hospitals and health care: $100 billion set aside for hospitals managing the pandemic. Another $40 billion to support the rest of the health system, including providing PPE for health care workers; testing supplies; increased workforce and training; support to the CDC. Coronavirus testing and potential vaccines will be covered.

• States and local governments: $30 billion set aside for states and educational institutions. $45 billion for disaster relief, and $25 billion for transit programs.

• Small business relief: $350 billion dedicated to preventing layoffs and business closures. Companies with 500 employees or fewer that maintain their payroll during the pandemic can receive up to 8 weeks of cash-flow assistance.

• Large corporations: $500 billion is earmarked for a lending program for distressed businesses. The funding will provide loans, loan guarantees, and be overseen by a Treasury Department inspector general. Loans will not exceed 5 years and cannot be forgiven.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/25/us/politics/coronavirus-senate-deal.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/leonlabrecque/2020/03/29/the-cares-act-has-passed-here-are-the-highlights/#3f01dcab68cd


Who is Eligible for Federally Mandated Paid Leave?

The emergency relief package "gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose childcare provider is unavailable because of coronavirus." To qualify, workers must have been with their employers for at least 30 days. Government employees and most workers at small and midsize companies and non-profits can benefit.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/19/upshot/coronavirus-paid-leave-guide.html


Pandemic Ravages New York State Budget

The statewide economic shutdown and consequent economic slowdown is estimated to cost New York State between $9 to $15 billion in lost tax revenue. Governor Andrew Cuomo called the federal stimulus package "terrible" for New York, saying that only $3.1 billion was earmarked to help the state with its budget gap. His office says that amount is "disproportionately low compared to the funds allotted to states with fewer coronavirus cases and smaller budgets." New York City's mayor shared similar concerns since the city would receive $1 billion in direct aid despite having a third of the country's cases. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/26/nyregion/coronavirus-recession-economy-ny.html


Supreme Court Issues Three Major Opinions

The Court released a series of decisions this week, but in a sharp break with their practice, Justices did not take the bench to announce the decisions. Some of them also participated by phone in a private conference where they discuss which appeals to hear next. Those who attended in person did away with the custom of shaking hands with each other every time they convene. Oral arguments before the Court have been postponed.


In Comcast Corp v National Association of African American-Owned Media, the Court held that an entrepreneur suing Comcast for race discrimination must meet a demanding standard.

In Kahler v Kansas, the Court said that states may abolish a common form of the insanity defense.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/us/supreme-court-insanity-defense-race-copyright.html


President Trump Issues Order to Force General Motors to Produce Ventilators Under Defense Production Act

According to the president, Friday's order will help ensure the quick production of ventilators. He added that the issue is much too urgent to "allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course." GM was already working with a Seattle-area ventilator maker and trying to repurpose its factories for the job.

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2020/03/27/business/bc-us-trump-breathing-machines.html


Weekly Unemployment Claims Soar to Record 3.28 Million

More than 3 million Americans filed claims for unemployment benefits last week. Strict measures to lessen the spread of the virus led to a sudden stop in economic activity and to a wave of layoffs - nearly half of the country's population is under some form of lockdown. Layoffs were concentrated in food service, health care, social assistance, arts, entertainment, and manufacturing.

https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/03/26/business/26reuters-health-coronavirus-usa-unemployment.html

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/03/26/upshot/coronavirus-millions-unemployment-claims.html


Federal Reserve Unveils Unlimited Bond-Buying Plan

In a series of emergency lending programs, the Federal Reserve will buy as much government-backed debt as needed to bolster the markets for housing and Treasury bonds. For the first time in history, it will also buy corporate bonds.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/business/economy/coronavirus-fed-bond-buying.html


New York City Region is Now an Epicentre of the Coronavirus Pandemic

New York and its suburbs have over 50,000 confirmed cases, which accounts for about 6% of global cases and half of those in the U.S. Governor Cuomo called on federal officials to nationalize the manufacturing of medical supplies, including ventilators.

Epidemiologists say density is the city's biggest enemy in its fight to slow the spread of the virus. It is also the reason why the city became an epicentre of the outbreak. New York has 28,000 residents per square mile. (San Francisco, the next most densely populated city, has 17,000.)

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/22/nyregion/Coronavirus-new-York-epicenter.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/nyregion/coronavirus-nyc-crowds-density.html

https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/amid-ongoing-covid-19-pandemic-governor-cuomo-issues-executive-order-moving-new-york


New York State Primary Delayed

Governor Cuomo announced on March 28 that New York will postpone its April 28 presidential primary until June 23. More than a dozen states have rescheduled their primary elections so far, citing guidance from health officials who continue to urge people to avoid large gatherings. Some states have extended deadlines and switched to voting entirely by mail.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/28/us/politics/ny-primary-voting-coronavirus.html


Designated COVID-19 Hospitals in New York

Governor Cuomo announced that the state will dedicate specific hospital facilities as COVID-19 patient only. The state has already identified three sites with more than 600 dedicated beds - South Beach Psychiatric Facility in Staten Island, Westchester Square in the Bronx, and SUNY Downstate in Buffalo.


The federal government approved four new temporary facilities to be built by the Army Corps of Engineers. They will add 4,000 beds to the state's capacity. The 1,000-bed temporary hospital at the Javits Center is expected to open on March 30.

https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/amid-ongoing-covid-19-pandemic-governor-cuomo-issues-executive-order-moving-new-york


All Non-Essential Construction in New York State Must Be Suspended

Essential construction on roads, bridges, transit facilities, and health care facilities may continue. The link below offers guidance on which businesses are subject to workforce reduction.

https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026


Executive Order Will Allow One Companion for Women Giving Birth

Governor Cuomo announced that hospitals will not be able to prevent a woman from having a companion present during childbirth.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/28/parenting/nyc-coronavirus-hospitals-visitors-labor.html


President Trump to Issue Travel Advisory for New York Region, Abandons Quarantine Proposal

Trump is no longer considering a quarantine of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, but will issue a travel advisory for that region. Governors were quick to oppose the idea and public health experts said that a travel ban in one of the most populated parts of the country would likely backfire by causing people to flee out of fear of being stuck.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/28/us/politics/trump-virginia-comfort-coronavirus.html


Health Experts Say Fast-Moving Pathogen Can Only Be Stopped with Harsh Measures

Public health experts continue to state that countries can contain clusters by identifying and stopping discrete outbreaks, and then doing rigorous contact tracing. Efforts at containment, they say, are only as successful as the ability of people to stay home and the ability of government to shut down non-essential businesses and expand travel restrictions. New York officials are considering whether to impose $500 fines on residents violating social distancing rules.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/22/health/coronavirus-restrictions-us.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/business/trump-coronavirus-economy.html


Citing Coronavirus, Environmental Protection Agency Relaxes Environmental Rules

In what is being called a "nationwide waiver of environmental rules," the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will now allow power plants, factories, and other facilities to monitor themselves on whether they are meeting legal requirements on reporting air and water pollution. The new guidelines are in place for an undetermined period of time as businesses face personnel challenges during the pandemic. The EPA will not issue fines for certain reporting violations.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/26/climate/epa-coronavirus-pollution-rules.html


Trump Administration Presses Forward with Regulatory Rollbacks

The administration is moving ahead with major reversals of environmental regulation, including a measure to weaken automobile fuel efficiency standards. Others relate to mercury emissions, controls on toxic ash from coal plants, and restrictions on scientific research.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/25/climate/coronavirus-environmental-regulations-trump.html


Effect of Air Pollution on Lungs and How to Protect Yourself

The article outlines how air pollution can cause or aggravate respiratory illnesses that make someone more susceptible to complications following a lung infection. It also states that exposure to air pollution is known to raise the chance of contracting viruses in the first place. Unfortunately, some areas of high exposure remain open, like power plants and refineries. Indoor air quality is something we can control - that includes, avoiding second-hand smoke indoors, reducing respiratory irritants from gas stoves, or having an air purifier.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/climate/climate-pollution-coronavirus-lungs.html


Thousands of New York City Workers Laid Off with No Severance

About 1,200 airport workers have been laid off and are expected to run out of health insurance at the end of the month. Most of the workers were employed at restaurants and stores operated at New York's airports. OTG, one of the biggest operators of airport concessions in New York, said that travel restrictions have grounded airlines, and informed its workers that they would receive no severance.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/21/nyregion/coronavirus-airport-workers-ny-nj.html


April Bills Loom. The Economy Depends on How Many Are Left Unpaid

As the first of the month approaches, companies and households will have to decide which bills they can afford to pay. The article explains that the trajectory of the U.S. economy will largely rest on how many payments go unmade.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/28/business/economy/coronavirus-bills-rent-payments.html


Package Delivery Employees Are Going to Work Sick

Many truckers and warehouse workers are still showing up to work in the crowded shipping facilities of some of the largest shipping companies in the U.S. Some cite their financial circumstances that don't afford them the option of staying home; others say supervisors had rebuffed them when they asked for sanitation supplies. Given the extent to which households under stay-at-home orders are now relying on delivery systems, the pressure to report to work has only intensified.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/21/business/coronavirus-ups-fedex-xpo-workers.html


Operations at Non-profits Across the U.S. Upended by the Coronavirus Outbreak

Non-profits are suffering on various fronts: donors are stretched thin; social distancing rules make their services impossible to deliver; and crucial spring fundraisers are being cancelled. It comes at a time when some of these service agencies are or should be on the front lines of the pandemic. Some are soliciting corporate and individual donations to create emergency funds to allow them to operate for the time being.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/business/nonprofits-survival-coronavirus.html


Wall Street Starts Living a New Reality

Wall Street is trying to balance client expectations with the need to protect employees from the virus. Starting March 30, the New York Stock Exchange will transition entirely to electronic trading to protect the health of its workers. Some firms have already adopted emergency work policies, including remote work.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/19/business/coronavirus-wall-street.html


The Risks of Self-Isolation to Domestic Violence Victims

The article addresses the risks of someone being quarantined with an abusive partner and cites reports of an uptick in domestic violence cases in China during the lockdown. While shelters in New York City, for instance, remain open because they are deemed essential services, service providers are not as available or only assisting clients by phone. In New York State, the chief administrative judge of the courts issued an order extending all temporary orders of protection. New applications can be filed by email and necessary hearings will take place virtually. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached by calling: 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/opinion/covid-domestic-violence.html


Texas and Ohio Include Abortions as Medical Procedures That Must Be Delayed

Most hospitals have now postponed elective surgeries or non-essential medical procedures in an effort to preserve protective equipment for health care workers, free up hospitals beds for COVID patients, and generally reduce the number of people relying on hospital resources. Two states have now included abortions in their list of medical procedures that must be delayed. Texas is postponing "any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother." Abortion rights activists accused state leaders of using the pandemic to further their political agendas.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/us/coronavirus-texas-ohio-abortion.html


States Differ on What Services Are Considered Essential

Most states have now generated lists of essential services/businesses that can operate during the shutdown. There is some variation among these lists, and some businesses have already been successful at appealing the restrictions, causing the states to tweak their lists. They include bike shop owners and shops that sell and repair mobile phones. Other workers are questioning why their jobs are considered essential - for instances, chocolate makers have continued to operate by virtue of being a business making or selling food.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/nyregion/coronavirus-essential-workers.html


Justice Department Releases Proposals to Address Pandemic-Related Issues

The Justice Department is calling for legislative action to prevent disruptions related to the coronavirus. Among the proposals are letting more federal inmates serve their time at home; steering masks and testing kits to federal prisons; and authorizing the use of video/teleconferencing for preliminary proceedings, including arraignments.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/us/politics/justice-department-coronavirus.html

https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper/6835-combed-doj-coronavirus-legisla/06734bbf99a9e0b65249/optimized/full.pdf#page=1


Vacancies in Trump Administration Hinder Action

Vacancies in leadership positions below the secretary level are extremely high. Ten of the 15 cabinet agencies are operating without a deputy secretary. Some criticize the president for being slow in nominating senior officials, while the White House attributes the vacancies to the obstruction tactics used by Senate Democrats to delay the confirmation of some nominees.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/07/17/us/politics/trump-appointments.html


Closed Border with Mexico Signals Looming Disaster for Asylum Seekers

Citing concerns over the pandemic, the U.S. announced that in addition to closing the Mexican border to non-essential traffic, it would also shut off access for anyone trying to claim asylum from the border. The U.S. will deport anyone caught crossing between official ports of entry. Mexico agreed to accept both Mexican citizens and Central Americans returned to Mexico under this policy, causing many to worry over the growing of an already sizeable migrant population along the border. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/21/world/americas/coronavirus-mexico-border-migrants.html


Military Judge Presiding in 9/11 Trial Set to Retire

The long-running death penalty trial at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, faces uncertainty after the presiding judge announced he will end his 21 years of Air Force service and retire on July 1. Colonel Cohen has most recently heard evidence in a set of hearings on the defences' request to exclude evidence gathered from F.B.I. interrogations from the trial. It is unclear if jury selection, set for January 2021, will still go ahead.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/25/us/politics/guantanamo-judge-sept-11-trial.html


U.S. National Parks Closed to Ensure Social Distancing

The National Park Service announced that Yellowstone, Grand Teton and the Great Smoky Mountains would be closed immediately to prevent the spread of the virus. After officials reported a surge in visitors last week, they are now citing concerns about crowding and requests from public health authorities for the closure.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/24/us/coronavirus-national-parks-closed.html


Racial Divide in Speech Recognition Systems

A study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says that technology from Amazon, Apple, Google, IBM, and Microsoft misidentified 35% of words from people who were black, versus 19% of the time when the speaker was white. The study offers a cautionary sign for AI technologies and bias in speech recognition systems.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/technology/speech-recognition-bias-apple-amazon-google.html


Recommendation to Congress Says All Americans, Including Women, Would Have to Register in Case of Military Draft

The recommendation is part of a national commissions report on whether the U.S. should have a military draft, and if so, should it include women. Women now make up 17% of active-duty troops. Commissioners said that expanding the registration process to women in the event of a draft is a "necessary and fair step."

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/24/us/women-military-draft-selective-service.html


Bloomberg Campaign Aides Sue for Pay and Benefits

Former organizers have sued the campaign, saying that they were laid off during a pandemic, after the campaign promised them pay and benefits through the November election. There are two proposed class action lawsuits, potentially representing thousands of workers.

https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/03/23/us/politics/23reuters-usa-election-bloomberg.html


U.S. Charges Venezuelan Leader Maduro with Drug Trafficking

Federal prosecutors accuse Maduro of participating in a narco-terrorism and international cocaine trafficking conspiracy. The State Department is offering a $15 million reward for information leading to his arrest. Attorney General Barr declined to say whether the U.S. would seek to extradite Maduro. More than a dozen other government and intelligence officials were also charged.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/26/nyregion/venezuela-president-drug-trafficking-nicolas-maduro.html


U.S. Cuts Health Care Aid to Yemen

The Trump administration cited interference by Houthi rebels as the reason for withdrawing the aid. Humanitarian groups called on the U.S. to delay the decision given concerns about the pandemic spreading in Yemen, which is currently in the midst of a civil war.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/world/middleeast/yemen-health-care-aid-coronavirus.html


U.S. Cuts $1 Billion in Aid to Afghanistan

American officials announced $1 billion in immediate aid reductions. In a public address, President Ghani said that the cuts would not affect central functions, but other senior officials expressed concern that cutting crucial funding would start an unraveling of government and security forces. The country depends on foreign aid not only to pay its basic expenses, but also to fund its war against the Taliban.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/24/world/asia/afghanistan-us-aid-cut.html


China and Russia Sow Disinformation, Blame U.S. For Coronavirus

There has been no shortage of conspiracy theories of where the virus originated. China is casting the pandemic in a dramatically new light, assisted by Kremlin-backed websites spreading propaganda. These actions come after China was heavily criticized for first refusing to acknowledge the emergence of a novel pathogen and downplaying the spread. The Citizen Lab, a University of Toronto lab that investigates digital censorship, among other things, reported that China "broadly censored coronavirus-related content and expanded the scope of censorship in February 2020. Censored content included criticism of government ... references to Dr. Li Wenliang, and neutral references to Chinese government efforts on handling the outbreak." The Citizen Lab found that censorship rules blocked "messages that include names for the virus or sources of information about it," "potentially limiting the public's ability to access information that may be essential to their health and safety."

https://citizenlab.ca/2020/03/censored-contagion-how-information-on-the-coronavirus-is-managed-on-chinese-social-media/

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/28/us/politics/china-russia-coronavirus-disinformation.html


U.K. Leader Boris Johnson Has Contracted Coronavirus

The British Prime Minister said that he will continue to lead the country's response to the pandemic from isolation and called on people to work from home and comply with other social distancing measures. Earlier in the week, Germany's Angela Merkel tested negative.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/world/europe/boris-johnson-coronavirus.html


Sacrificing Privacy for Coronavirus Surveillance

To contain the pandemic and enforce social distancing rules, some countries have turned to mobile phone location data to see how well people are complying with government lockdown orders. They are also deploying other digital surveillance tools, like location tracking and facial recognition, technologies that civil liberties experts say can be repurposed to further political agendas. Health data disclosures also pose risks to patients' personal health information, as was the case of the Westchester County man referred to as patient zero.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/technology/coronavirus-surveillance-tracking-privacy.html


India Places 1.3 Billion People Under Three-Week Lockdown

India's residents were given four hours' notice by the Prime Minister and are now on a 21-day lockdown to help control the spread of the coronavirus. Given its population density and weak public health care system, its government is worried than a widely spread infection would be disastrous.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/24/world/asia/india-coronavirus-lockdown.html


Climate Change Has Ravaged Large Sections of the Great Barrier Reef

Scientists have found that large sections of Australia's Great Reef, stretching across hundreds of miles, are now dead. The northern sections were killed last year by overheated seawater. The southern sections are bleaching, which is a potential precursor to losing them as well. The resulting loss of food supply from reef fish could become a humanitarian crisis.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/15/science/great-barrier-reef-coral-climate-change-dieoff.html

1 view

Recent Posts

See All

Week In Review

By Eric Lanter Edited by Elissa D. Hecker Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Media/Technology, and General News Entertainment Broadway

Contact Elissa

64 Butterwood Lane East

Irvington, NY 10533

(914) 478-0457

©2020 Elissa D. Hecker. All rights reserved.

Terms of Use • Disclaimer