The following stories are divided into the categories Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Media, and General News:
Hollywood Upended as Unions Tell Writers to Fire Agents
The Writer's Guild of America told its 13,000 members to fire their agents after talks between the Hollywood writers and their agents, through the Association of Talent Agents, the group representing the major talent agencies, broke down hours before a midnight deadline. The Writer's Guild accused the agents of enriching themselves at their clients' expense and demanded a new code of conduct.
Chicago Sues Jussie Smollett, Seeking Costs of Police Investigation Into Attack Claim
The city of Chicago has sued the actor Jussie Smollett, seeking more than $130,000 to cover the cost of a police investigation into his claim that he had been the victim of a hate crime attack. The lawsuit accused Smollett of orchestrating a fake assault and repeatedly lying to the Chicago Police Department as they investigated the case. City lawyers repeated many of the claims that had been made by prosecutors before criminal charges against the actor were abruptly dropped last month. The actor has insisted that he told the truth when he reported being attacked. Smollett's lawyer, Mark J. Geragos, previously had rejected the city's request to pay for the cost of the investigation and brushed aside the threat of a lawsuit.
Allison Mack of "Smallville" Pleads Guilty in Case of Nxivm 'Sex Cult' Where Women Were Branded
Actress Allison Mack, a star of the TV series "Smallville", pleading guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges, told a judge that she first joined the cultlike group known as Nxivm to "find purpose". As she was unsatisfied with her acting career, despite her role on the successful television series, she joined the Albany-based cult led by Keith Raniere because it offered self-help workshops and classes that promised participants greater self-fulfillment. Mack became so involved in Nxivm that she began recruiting other women into a secret sect in which women were branded with Raniere's initials and forced to have sex with him. When Mack was arrested last year, she was also charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and forced labor.
Felicity Huffman and 13 Others to Plead Guilty in College Admissions Scandal
Felicity Huffman announced that she will plead guilty to a federal crime in the investigation of college admissions fraud revealed last month in Boston. Huffman said that she wanted to apologize to her family, friends, and colleagues, and especially "to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly." Prosecutors said 13 parents and one coach would plead guilty in the case.
Lori Loughlin and 15 Others Face New Charges in College Admissions Scandal
Federal prosecutors brought new money laundering charges against 16 parents enmeshed in the college admissions scandal. The Hollywood actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, the designer Mossimo Giannulli, were among those indicted on a count of conspiracy to commit fraud and another of money laundering conspiracy, raising the legal stakes for parents who have not said whether they would plead guilty in the case.
In Venezuela, Comedy Is Protest. Until the Government Finds Out
American comics often complain about the chilling effect of political correctness and social media mobs. In Venezuela, where Nacho Redondo developed a following for his brash, dark humor, the price for a joke that offends can be much higher than online outrage or a boycott. After politicians harshly criticized him on state-run television, Redondo received death threats online, and the government sued him. He fled the country to Mexico City, and hasn't returned. He said that he didn't want to leave his aging mother and other family members, but felt he had no choice. In Venezuela, he said: "You get jailed  because of tweets."
Russia Frees Director After Nearly 20 Months of House Arrest
Renowned Russian film and stage director Kirill Serebrennikov was released by a court in Moscow after nearly 20 months of house arrest, where he has been imprisoned after Russian investigators accused him of conspiring with three of his colleagues to embezzle around $2 million of government funds allocated to a theater festival. Serebrennikov and his three co-defendants have pleaded not guilty. Speaking outside the court, which released him on bail, Serebrennikov said, "This is not over yet." If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison.
These High School Murals Depict an Ugly History. Should They Go?
In the debate over 13 depression-era frescoes that make up "The Life of Washington" at George Washington High School in Los Angeles, art historians and school alumni see an immersive history lesson; others, which include many African-Americans and Native Americans, see a hostile environment. For example, in one mural, George Washington points westward over the dead body of a Native American. Another depicts Washington's slaves, hunched over, working in the fields of Mount Vernon. The murals extend from the school's entryway through its lobby. This Spring, the School Board will decide the frescoes' future.
The Vienna State Opera's ballet academy acknowledged that students had been subjected to a variety of types of abuse, and that the school's practices had to change. Former students and staff said that dancers as young as 11 were kicked "like a football", scratched, and handled roughly in classes. Others said that they were regularly pressured to lose weight. Another said that he had been sexually abused. Students said that Bella Ratchinskaia, a teacher who had previously worked at La Scala in Milan, went beyond the limits of normal practice during ballet classes, roughly forcing their limbs into position or scratching them as she adjusted their bodies, sometimes drawing blood. Ratchinskaia was dismissed in February. Another teacher was accused of sexual assault and is suspended pending an investigation by Austrian prosecutors.
Hungarian Opera Asks White Cast of 'Porgy and Bess' to Say They Are African-American
Hungarian State Opera's cast of singers reviving a production of George Gershwin's opera "Porgy and Bess" received letters from the Opera's general director, Szilveszter Okovacs, asking them to sign a declaration stating that "African-American origins and spirit form an inseparable part" of their identity. At least half the all-white group signed, according to the website Index, which administrators claim to have seen a copy of the letter. The opera's creator, George Gershwin, famously turned down companies planning to perform the opera in blackface, and his estate stipulates that the work should be performed by an all-black cast. Okovacs defended the Opera company's decision to perform with white singers against the Gershwin estate's wishes.
Geoffrey Rush Wins Defamation Case Against Australian Newspaper Publisher
The Australian actor Geoffrey Rush won his defamation case against the parent company of The Daily Telegraph, the Sydney tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch's Nationwide News. In 2017, the newspaper had published articles accusing Rush of sexual harassment. Justice Michael Wigney of the Federal Court of Australia said that The Daily Telegraph had not proved that the articles were substantially true, as required by Australian defamation law, and awarded $850,000 Australian dollars in initial damages to Rush, with damages for the actor's economic losses to be determined later.
Michigan State Discouraged Reporting of Rape Allegation Against Athletes, Woman Says
After months of erratic behavior, Bailey Kowalski told her parents that she had been raped by three Michigan State basketball players six months earlier. The incident left her depressed and considering harming herself. She dropped out of college for a while and received counseling. She gave up sports journalism for good. Last year, Kowalski, who is speaking publicly about her case for the first time, sued Michigan State in federal court for violating her rights under Title IX, the federal law mandating gender equity in higher education. The lawsuit asserts that Michigan State mishandles sexual misconduct complaints against athletes. One woman claimed that two football players raped her in 2009, but she was not advised of her Title IX rights, and another woman said that three basketball players raped her in 2010, after which the accusations were not reported outside the athletic department.
Kyle Korver, a White Utah Jazz Player, Speaks Out on Race and White Privilege
Veteran National Basketball Association (NBA) player Kyle Korver is embarrassed by some of his past thoughts about race and uncomfortable about the contradictions of being a white player in a largely black sport. In an essay titled "Privileged", published in The Players' Tribune, Korver strongly urged action to address racism around the NBA and in the United States.
Olympic Cyclist Kelly Catlin Seemed Destined for Glory. Then She Killed Herself
Before Olympic cyclist Kelly Catlin killed herself, she told her brother that she thought she was going insane, and worried that she was a danger to others because she was filled with rage. She had previously experienced a serious concussion. Catlin confided in her family, a coach, and a friend that she could not focus on her schoolwork at Stanford, where she was a first-year graduate student in computational mathematics. She felt that her mind was "slipping", and described her thoughts as "never-ending spinning, spinning, spinning" as if they were "never at rest, never at peace." However, Catlin did not go for help, as she told her sister, Christine, because seeking therapy meant that she was weak and that she would rather suffer.
Abnormal Levels of a Protein Linked to C.T.E. Found in National Football League Players' Brains, Study Shows
Experimental PET brain scans of more than two dozen former National Football League (NFL) players found that the men had abnormal levels of the protein linked to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (C.T.E.), the degenerative brain disease associated with repeated hits to the head. The results of the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, although preliminary, are a first step toward developing a clinical test to determine the presence of C.T.E. in living players, as well as early signs and potential risk.
Trump Ends Deal Between Major League Baseball and Cuban Baseball Federation
President Trump reversed an agreement negotiated by the Obama administration between Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Cuban Baseball Federation that had eased the path for players to compete in the United States without defecting from their country. A letter to MLB's outside counsel, Nikole Thomas, the acting assistant director for licensing at the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), outlined the U.S. government's opposition to the agreement, which stipulated that the Cuban Baseball Federation would receive 25% of a player's signing bonus for a minor league player and between 15% and 25% for a major league player. The letter said that the OFAC had "determined that MLB's payments to the Cuban Baseball Federation are not authorized" because "a payment to the Cuban Baseball Federation is a payment to the Cuban government."
Julian Assange Arrested in London as U.S. Unseals Hacking Conspiracy Indictment
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in London to face a charge in the United States of conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer network in 2010, bringing to an abrupt end a seven-year saga in which he had holed up in Ecuador's embassy in Britain to avoid capture. The Ecuadorean government suspended the citizenship it had granted Assange and evicted him, clearing the way for his arrest. Assange's Ecuadorian hosts listed grievances against Assange, including recent WikiLeaks releases they said interfered with other states' internal affairs and personal discourtesies, and Assange's failure to clean the bathroom and look after his cat.
Representative Devin Nunes, a Republican from California, said he was suing the McClatchy Company, a newspaper chain, over what he called "character assassination". The defamation lawsuit seeks $150 million and the deletion of an article in The Fresno Bee, a McClatchy newspaper, about Alpha Omega Winery, a company that Nunes partly owns. The article, published last May, described a lawsuit by a server who was aboard a San Francisco Bay cruise in 2015 that was attended by some of the winery's top investors and that she said had included drugs and prostitution. The lawsuit filed by Nunes, a loyal ally of President Trump and a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, says that he was not involved in the incident on the yacht and that he considers the article part of a politically motivated scheme to "destroy his reputation" and derail the committee's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Nunes also filed a lawsuit against Twitter for defamation a month earlier.
Trump Announces 5G Plan as White House Weighs Banning Huawei
President Trump announced a new wireless spectrum auction intended to speed the rollout of the next generation of wireless networks, which is technology the administration views as critical to winning an economic war with China. However, the president has been silent on whether the United States would issue an order banning Chinese firms like Huawei from building those networks. Rolling out such networks in cities and rural areas requires essentially rebuilding the nation's cell networks and switching systems. Over time, the evolution to the new architecture promises to transform how billions of "internet of things" devices -- such as autonomous cars and industrial sensors -- operate, allowing faster, seamless connectivity.
British Tabloid's 'Page 3 Girl' Is Topless No Longer
British tabloid newspaper, The Daily Star, is the final holdout in the Page 3 Girl market. Now its editor has decided to try a nipple-free Page 3, although women still figure prominently in that location. The trial cover-up began this month. The newspaper's editor, Jonathan Clark, said that "The Daily Star is always looking to try new things and improve." Topless women have appeared on Page 3 of British tabloids since the 1970s, and are especially associated with Rupert Murdoch's tabloid newspaper The Sun.
Darkness Visible, Finally: Astronomers Capture First Ever Image of a Black Hole
Astronomers announced that at last they had captured an image of the unobservable: a black hole, a cosmic abyss so deep and dense that not even light can escape it. For years, and for all the mounting scientific evidence, black holes have remained marooned in the imaginations of artists and the algorithms of splashy computer models of the kind used in Christopher Nolan's outer-space epic "Interstellar". Now they are more real than ever. "We have seen what we thought was unseeable," said Shep Doeleman, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and director of the effort to capture the image, during a Wednesday news conference in Washington, D.C.
Senate Confirms Bernhardt as Interior Secretary Amid Calls for Investigations Into His Conduct
The Senate voted to confirm David Bernhardt, a former lobbyist for the oil and agribusiness industries, as secretary of the interior. The confirmation of Bernhardt to his new post coincided with calls from more than a dozen Democrats and government watchdogs for formal investigations into his past conduct.
White House Moves to Gain More Control Over Federal Regulations
The White House moved to exert greater control over the federal regulatory process by imposing additional scrutiny over independent government agencies when they establish new policies, guidelines or rules that affect large swaths of the economy. Additional oversight would apply to agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Federal Reserve (Fed). The White House review would not apply to the Fed's authority to set monetary policy but would affect its regulatory arm, including rules on the banking system. Heightened scrutiny of federal rule making has been a longtime cause of Republicans, who view it as a way to limit government. The Trump administration has also been wary in some cases of independent agencies, which are often managed by both Republicans and Democrats.
The U.S. Immigration System May Have Reached a Breaking Point
These days, the lone border crosser wading the river between Mexico and the United States has been joined by thousands of people a day who simply walk up to the border and surrender. Most of them are from Central America, seeking to escape from gang violence, sexual abuse, death threats, and persistent poverty. The smugglers have told them they will be quickly released, as long as they bring a child, and that they will be allowed to remain in the United States for years while they pursue their asylum cases. The immigration system has been overwhelmed since 2014, when families first began showing up in large numbers. Since then, the system has been unable to detain, care for, and quickly decide the fate of tens of thousands of people who claim to be fleeing for their lives.
U.S. Wants to Allow More Foreign Workers While Also Restricting Immigration
The federal government wants to issue more visas for foreign workers to take temporary jobs in housekeeping, landscaping, and other fields, even as President Trump seeks to seal off the border with Mexico, from where most of those workers come. The Departments of Homeland Security and Labor say that they plan to issue up to 30,000 additional H-2B visas through September 30th, the end of the federal fiscal year. Congress has generally capped the number of visas at 66,000, divided evenly between summer and winter seasons. Only workers who had previously secured the visas would be eligible for the proposed additional ones. The visas provide legal status for immigrants in temporary nonfarm jobs with landscaping companies, restaurants, hotels, and amusement parks, among other industries.
Trump Says the U.S. Is 'Full.' Much of the Nation Has the Opposite Problem
President Trump's statement that the U.S. is "full" suggests that the nation can't accommodate higher immigration levels because it is already bursting at the seams. Yet that runs counter to the consensus among demographers and economists. They see ample evidence of a country that is not remotely "full" and where an aging population and declining birthrates among the native-born population are creating underpopulated cities and towns, vacant housing, and troubled public finances.
Hague Court Abandons Afghanistan War Crimes Inquiry
The International Criminal Court abandoned a possible Afghanistan war-crimes investigation, because the United States and others in the conflict would not cooperate. The decision came weeks after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington would deny visas to the court's staff and judges involved in prosecuting or ruling on war crimes involving Americans. The court's chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, had long sought permission to open a formal inquiry into civilian killings, torture and other abuses in the Afghanistan war, including possible crimes by American forces. The U.S. visa of the chief prosecutor has been revoked.
At Trump's Florida Resort Empire, a Quiet Effort to Eliminate an Undocumented Work Force
Many of President Trump's resort workers have one thing in common; they are foreign born. Most are young people hired as guest workers on special visas, living over the winter high season in a gated community with a sand volleyball pit and a movie theater. In the mornings, they dress in trim uniforms and are chauffeured by van over a bridge to the luxury compound six miles away in Palm Beach. Alongside the foreign guest workers and the sizable American staff is another category of employees, mostly those who work on the pair of lush golf courses near Mar-a-Lago. Not offered apartments, they have been picked up by Trump contractors from groups of undocumented laborers at the side of the road; hired through staffing companies that assume responsibility for checking their immigration status; or brought onto the payroll with little apparent scrutiny of their Social Security cards and green cards, some of which are fake. That second pool of immigrant labor is an embarrassing reality for a president who has railed against undocumented immigrants, one his company is scrambling to erase.
Trump Purge Set to Force Out More Top Homeland Security Officials
A wave of departures of top officials originally appointed by President Trump underscores his growing frustration with his administration's handling of immigration and other security issues. The White House announced the departure of Randolph D. Alles, director of the Secret Service, who had fallen out of favor with the president even before a security breach at his Mar-a-Lago club that the agency effectively blamed on Trump's employees. President Trump moved to clear out the senior ranks of the Department of Homeland Security after forcing the resignation of its secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, as he accelerated a purge of the nation's immigration and security leadership. Government officials said at least two to four more high-ranking figures affiliated with Nielsen were expected to leave soon, too, hollowing out the top echelon of the department managing border security, presidential safety, counter-terrorism, natural disasters, customs, and other matters.
Justice Dept. Declines to Defend Law Against Female Circumcision, Citing Flaws
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has stopped defending a federal prohibition on female genital mutilation because of flaws in the law, two weeks after it also began fighting the Affordable Care Act in court rather than defend it. The DOJ "reluctantly determined" that it could not appeal a federal judge's decision to throw out a female circumcision case because the solicitor general, Noel J. Francisco, wrote in a letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, that the statute outlawing the practice needed to be rewritten. Both decisions to cease advocating for laws on the books is highly unusual - a principal function of the DOJ, and only about once a decade since World War II has it declined to support a law enacted by Congress, according to Walter E. Dellinger III, who served as the solicitor general during the Clinton administration.
Rule Keeping Asylum Seekers in Mexico Can Temporarily Proceed, Court Says
A three-judge panel Of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said that the Trump administration could temporarily continue to force migrants seeking asylum in the United States to wait in Mexico while their cases are decided, by issuing a stay of Judge Richard Seeborg's injunction against President Trump's "migration protection protocols", which were announced last December. Judge Seeborg's ruling states that the president does not have the power to enforce the protocols, which violate immigration laws.
To Get Trump's Tax Returns, N.Y. Democrats Try a New Strategy
Democratic lawmakers in Albany are trying obtain President Trump's state tax returns, not the federal returns now being sought by congressional efforts. As President Trump's home state is New York, his state returns should contain much of the same information as a federal tax return. The lawmakers are introducing a bill that would allow the commissioner of the New York Department of Taxation and Finance to release any state tax return requested by leaders of three Congressional committees for any "specific and legitimate legislative purpose".
How Sandy Hook Families Hope to Pierce the Gun Industry's Legal Shield
Families of the victims of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School hope to replicate the results that the tobacco lawsuits achieved: They want to use litigation as a means to pry open the confidential records of the gun industry, employing the discovery process to unearth internal communications and examine the practices behind marketing and selling powerful firearms like the one used in the attack.
A 'Glitch' Left Young People Off the Jury Rolls. Does That Violate the Constitution?
In East Baton Rouge Parish, home to one of the South's largest public Universities, Louisiana State, young Louisianans are rarely if ever summoned for jury duty, due to a computer glitch that prevented the parish's jury data base from updating properly. Since 2011, more than 150,000 people - including thousands born after June 2, 1993 - may have been inadvertently left off the jury rolls, potentially starving young defendants of jurors who were roughly their age. Computer-reliant jury coordinators across the country have for years confronted database problems that kept otherwise-eligible potential jurors from being called to the nation's courthouses. Although they are typically unintentional, such systematic exclusions raise constitutional concerns and threaten the integrity of the jury system.
Ohio's Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Ban Is Latest Front in Fight Over Roe v. Wade
Ohio Governor Mike De Wine has signed into law a ban on abortion at the first signs of a fetal heartbeat - as early as six weeks from conception, and before many women realize they are pregnant - in the latest attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalizes abortion before a fetus is viable outside the womb, usually about 24 weeks into a pregnancy. The measure is to take effect in July, but may be held up by opponents of the law. The American Civil Liberties Union has already said that it plans to sue.
Judge Who Asked Woman in Sexual Assault Case if She Closed Her Legs Faces Suspension
A New Jersey state committee has recommended that a state court judge who asked a woman if she had closed her legs to try to prevent an alleged sexual assault should be suspended without pay for three months. The recommendation was based on the committee's finding that John F. Russo Jr., a superior court judge in Ocean County, violated the code of judicial conduct on four occasions, including during the exchange with the woman, who was not identified. New Jersey Supreme Court has ordered that a hearing be held in July about the recommendation from the state's Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct.
Texas Tech Medical School, Under Pressure From Education Department, Will Stop Using Race in Admissions
Texas Tech University Health Science Center signed an agreement to stop considering race or ethnicity in deciding whether to admit applicants to medical school, as part of an agreement with the Education Department's civil rights office. The president of Texas Tech signed the agreement in February, 14 years after the Education Department began investigating a complaint filed by an anti-affirmative action group. The agreement is the first of its kind for the Education Department under Secretary Betsy DeVos, and comes as the Trump administration continues its hard turn against the use of race in admissions. Roger Clegg, general counsel for the Center for Equal Opportunity, which filed the original complaint, said that the agreement could pave the way for similar actions at other schools.
Is the U.S. a Democracy? A Social Studies Battle Turns on the Nation's Values
For decades, the values of equality, liberty, and diversity have been the heart of Michigan's learning standards in social studies, a doorstop of a document that guides what teachers of history, civics, economics, and geography cover in their lesson plans. Now a proposed revision of state standards drops the word "democratic" from "core democratic values" and reduces the use of the word "democracy" in describing the United States.
Changes to Flight Software on 737 Max Escaped Federal Aviation Administration Scrutiny
Boeing decided to make two significant changes to an automated system now suspected of playing a role in two deadly crashes of the plane. Despite the added risks, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) did not conduct another safety review of the anti-stall system, since the changes didn't affect what it considered a critical phase of flight, namely high-speed maneuvers. The omission involving Boeing's 737 Max exposes a glaring regulatory gap, with the FAA's bureaucratic process proving insufficient for the increasing complexity of airplane design.
Michael Avenatti Faces New Criminal Charges in Escalated Federal Case
The criminal case against Michael Avenatti, the lawyer known for representing Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against President Trump, has escalated as federal prosecutors in California announced that Avenatti had been indicted on three dozen counts, including tax fraud and bankruptcy fraud, in addition to last month's charges of wire fraud, bank fraud, and extortion. He is accused of stealing millions of dollars from five clients and of lying repeatedly about his business and income to clients and an I.R.S. collection agent, creditors, a bankruptcy court, and a bankruptcy trustee. If convicted of all the crimes of which he has been accused in California alone, prosecutors said, he would face a maximum of 333 years in prison, and an additional two-year mandatory sentence on an identity theft charge.
Alaska Relies on Ice. What Happens When It Can't Be Trusted?
Alaskans who depend on hard-frozen winters for essential transportation, subsistence hunting, industry, and recreation call the Spring season "break-up", signifying the annual end of safe travel on ice. However in this era of climate change, break-up has been coming too soon. The ice has become unpredictable, creating new, sometimes deadly hazards and a host of practical problems that disrupt the rhythms of everyday life. The ice roads that carry freight in winter and spring have been going soft prematurely. Hunters cannot ride safely to their spring camps. Sled-dog races have been canceled. People traveling on frozen rivers by A.T.V. or snowmobile are falling through; some have died. Rescuers trying to reach them have been stymied by thin ice.
New Zealand Passes Law Banning Most Semiautomatic Weapons, Weeks After Massacre
Less than a month after 50 Muslim worshipers in the city of Christchurch were fatally shot in terrorist attacks on two mosques, New Zealand passed a law banning most semiautomatic weapons. The measure was supported by all but one of the New Zealand Parliament's 120 lawmakers. Passage of the bill means temporary restrictions imposed by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern six days after the massacre will now be permanent. The swift action by lawmakers stands in stark contrast to similar efforts in the United States, where nationwide gun control proposals have stalled despite a series of mass shootings in recent years.
The Fall of Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the 'Spider' at the Heart of Sudan's Web
Last week, the military of Sudan ousted the country's iron-fisted ruler, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, ending his 30-year tenure. al-Bashir has been seen as a heartless warmonger, a coddler of terrorists like Osama bin Laden and as the accused architect of a genocidal purge in Darfur that killed hundreds of thousands of people. Since 2009, the International Criminal Court has sought to arrest him on war crimes charges that include murder, rape, and extermination. Sudanese military spokesmen announced that al-Bashir was in custody, and that they had dissolved the government and suspended the Constitution. Representatives of the principal protest group, the Sudanese Professionals Association, which had been expecting a statement from the military and were preparing to negotiate a transition to civilian rule, greeted the announcement with disappointment.