President Donald Trump won preliminary approval to register 38 trademarks in China, raising additional concerns about potential conflicts of interest. The trademarks were approved for "use in golf clubs, insurance services, child-care centers and nursing homes, among other categories." Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, among other members of Congress, argued that the awarding of the trademarks may be a breach of the Constitution. It is unclear whether the trademarks would be a profit to the Trump Organization.
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A Robbery Based on a Movie? Yes, the Jury Can See Clips
In a federal trial for a $200,000 robbery, a judge approved the prosecutors showing short clips of the 2010 movie "The Town," which was allegedly an inspiration for the robbers. The three men were convicted. On appeal, Judge Debra Ann Livingston of the Second Circuit affirmed the district court's allowance of showing the clips, holding that the short clips did not unfairly prejudice the jury and were relevant to the robbery.
Russian Official Seeks to Ban "Beauty and the Beast" Over Gay Character
Russian lawmaker Vitaly Milonov is seeking to ban the new Disney version of "Beauty and the Beast" on the basis that it is "homosexual propaganda" as a result of a scene involving a gay character in the film. Director Bill Condon noted the presence of the gay character, LeFou, as a point of pride for the film, as it is the first Disney movie to contain a gay character. Controversy is not limited to Russia, however. A drive-in theater in rural Alabama refused to screen the movie, citing similar concerns about the movie.
After an Online Uproar, South by Southwest Festival Promises to Amend Contracts
The South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas responded to criticism to its contracts. Bands that perform there publicized a "deportation clause" in the performance contracts, which suggest that the contracts are designed to encourage the deportation of foreign artists visiting the United States to perform at SXSW. The festival organizers announced that they will amend the contracts starting in 2018 to exclude the deportation clauses.
Heirs Sue for Return of a Kandinsky, Saying It Was Looted by Nazis
A Jewish family filed a federal lawsuit seeking repossession of a Wassily Kandinsky painting, "Colorful Life", that is hanging in a Munich museum. According to the family's lawsuit, it owned the painting prior to the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands in 1940. The current owners of the painting sent a request to the family to take part in a binding review by the Limbach Commission, which helps to return Nazi-looted art to rightful owners. The family did not respond to the letter and instead filed the federal lawsuit in New York.
A Year After Raids, Asia Week New York Returns to the Spotlight
After a series of seizures of antiquities last year, sales of Asian artwork dropped from $360 million the year before to $130 million last year. However, Asia Week New York has kicked off, which is a 10-day festival where Asian art is on display and for sale throughout the city. Museums and special events host showcases and vendors at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Korean Cultural Center, the Asia Society Museum, as well as other locations.
New York Art Scene Anxiously Waits for Decision on National Endowment for the Arts Fate
Amidst reports that President Donald Trump is considering eliminating funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, which provides millions of dollars to arts groups throughout New York City, the art scene is tense. Last year, the Endowment gave $14.5 million to 419 organizations throughout the city. Supporters of the Endowment argue that the total annual budget of $148 million is a small fraction of the annual federal budget of approximately $4 trillion, however, the Endowment as well as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and AmeriCorps have been targets for trimming spending by conservatives in Congress.
Dozens of attendants at the Louvre in Paris went on strike to protest the museum's handling of a temporary exhibition dedicated to the Dutch painter Vermeer. The ticketing system, in combination with the surge in popularity in the exhibition, have created bottlenecking and crowding around the space, frustrating the attendants. However, the employees on strike comprise just 2% of the Louvre's employees, and the museum's operations have not been affected, as it is using temporary workers for the duration of the strike.
Jeanie Buss, Fearing Brothers' Takeover of Los Angeles Lakers, Briefly Takes to Court
A week after Jeanie Buss, one of the owners and president of the Los Angeles Lakers, removed her brother as executive vice president of basketball operations and replaced him with Magic Johnson, she went to court to stop what she has argued is her brothers Jim and Johnny's attempt to oust her as owner and president. After their father died in 2013, Jeanie Buss became the controlling owner, and the brothers each have ownership stakes in the team. The complaint comes after the brothers requested that a board meeting be held with four proposed directors to be elected. The brothers' lawyer stated that the brothers have no interest in "wresting control from their sister."
The Argentina Footballers Union announced that the country's soccer season will not start until the clubs pay millions of dollars owed to the players. Thus far, two first-division games have been postponed and weekend matches may be postponed as well.
U.S. Soccer Will Require National Team Players to Stand for Anthems
The U.S. Soccer Federation adopted a bylaw that requires players to "stand respectfully" during the national anthems leading up to kickoffs. The penalties for failing to follow the bylaw were not immediately clear. The board of directors adopted it after Megan Rapinoe, a member of the national team, knelt during the national anthem on at least two occasions last year.
French Are Investigating Possible Bribes for Rio Olympics
The French newspaper Le Monde reported that French investigators suspect that bribes were paid for Rio de Janeiro to be awarded the 2016 Olympic Games, prompting attention from the International Olympic Committee. The Games were awarded in 2009, three days after transfers of $1.5 million and $500,000 were made to the son of Lamine Diack, the former head of the International Association of Athletics Federations. French prosecutors have expanded their investigation to the 2020 Tokyo Games as well.
Allowing Substitutes After Head Injuries in Cricket Meets Resistance
The death of a batsman from Australia's professional cricket team prompted a wave of reform in the sport, including the wearing of helmets to prevent head injuries. It has even prompted rule changes, like substitutions for players who have been suspected of having concussions. So far, only Australia and New Zealand implemented such rules changes, and despite their lobbying to the international cricket body, no changes are being adopted elsewhere thus far.
In a matter of a few years, Baylor University experienced a rise and fall in its reputation; first characterized through athletic success, then sullied by revelations of a widespread toxic culture where football players had freedom to act without consequences. This is best exemplified through Jasmin Hernandez's experience five years ago. Tevin Elliott, then a football player at Baylor, raped her during a party. When Hernandez sought to have Baylor investigate, the university, with Kenneth Starr leading it and Art Briles as the football coach, favored its athletes over allegations like Hernandez's, even encouraging an environment where football recruits would be given alcohol, drugs, and introductions to female students upon their visits to campus. While Elliott was convicted of sexually assaulting several other women and many in the Baylor hierarchy submitted resignations, the university's reputation has suffered.
United States Olympic Committee Delivers Recommendations to USA Gymnastics
The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) announced that it reached a consensus for recommendations to USA Gymnastics in light of revelations that Larry Nassar was allegedly in possession of child pornography and committed sexual abuse on potentially 50 children. While USOC cannot remove USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny, it can force USA Gymnastics to take action itself by cutting funding or decertifying the federation.
International Olympic Committee May Suspend Defiant Kenya
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) cut funding to Kenya after the country's executives defied the IOC's orders to make changes to its constitution to prevent wrongdoing. Kenya's track federation and Olympic committee have been plagued by charges of theft and mismanagement since the 2012 Olympics.
Selfie with Merkel by Refugee Became a Legal Cases, but Facebook Won
A German state court announced its ruling in a case involving a Syrian refugee seeking to require Facebook to prevent users from reposting a selfie that he took with Chancellor Angela Merkel. The image has been doctored for fake news reports linking the refugee to terrorism.
Judge Volkmar Seipel ruled that there were no grounds for an injunction, as Facebook did not manipulate the content, and could not be held legally responsible for its distribution. Facebook had argued that it was not possible to search all content on its site, in congruence with the European Union's laws, which only hold a company responsible for eliminating content from its site when technically possible.
Facebook Reports BBC to Police Over Investigation Into Child Sex Images
When a journalist at the BBC reported to Facebook that pedophiles had private pages where they were sharing child pornography, Facebook reported him and the BBC to police. Facebook, as well as other social media companies like Twitter and Google, are grappling with finding the level of oversight necessary to ensure that the platform's content is appropriate. Facebook has argued that it reported the matter directly to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center, and police have not confirmed or denied whether an investigation has begun.
Fox Said to Settle With Former Contributor Over Sexual Assault Claims
Last summer, when Fox's chief Roger Ailes had a scandal explode over allegations of sexual harassment, Fox ordered an internal investigation as to similar allegations. Fox is continuing to deal with the allegations, as in recent weeks it settled a case for $2.5 million brought by contributor Tamara Holder. She alleged that an executive at the company sexually assaulted her two years ago.