Australia's senior Roman Catholic prelate and one of Pope Francis's top advisers has been charged with sexual assault, police in the Australian state of Victoria said Thursday. Cardinal George Pell became the highest-ranking Vatican official in recent years to face criminal charges involving accusations of sexual offenses. Pope Francis has instituted several initiatives to foster greater accountability after abuse scandals involving Catholic leaders had shaken the church around the world. This case will test those initiatives. Pell is the finance chief of the Vatican and has repeatedly denied accusations of sexual assault against him.
Gene Simmons trying trademark rock hand gesture
1. Gene Simmons, KISS frontman, is trying to copyright the “sign of the horns,” a popular hand gesture. He claims he used this hand gesture first November 14, 1974. Hand gestures have been trademarked before. Dimond Dallas Page has his "Diamond Cutter hand gesture” trademarked and 3OH3 had to settle in after being sued by Page in 2010.
2. Hand gesture is popular with rock fans, but it’s also a common sign used in American Sign Language. Some Mediterranean cultures use it to ward off the “evil eye” or bad luck. It’s also an offensive gesture in Latin and Mediterranean countries, where it implies your wife is cheating on you. But wait, there’s more. UT Austin, Northwestern State University, University of South Florida and at least eight other universities use the same or similar sign in athletic and spirit events.
3. So does Simmons have a case?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
In a unanimous decision by a panel of three judges, a federal appeals court denied the reinstatement of President Donald Trump's immigration order. The executive order temporarily blocked people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. It also blocked any refugee relocation to the country. The ruling means that the ban is on hold and cannot be enforced. The court ruled that the Justice Department had not shown that keeping the ban on hold would cause "irreparable injury." On Twitter, Trump said, "SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!" It is likely the case will be appealed by the federal government to the Supreme Court.
President Donald Trump's executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries has come under more criticism. After the courts temporarily blocked the implementation of the order, two former secretaries of state and nearly 100 Silicon Valley tech companies have come out against the ban. John Kerry and Madeleine Albright joined a six-page statement that said Trump's order "undermines" national security and will "endanger U.S. troops." Hours earlier, 97 tech companies — including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix and Uber — filed a "friend of the court" legal brief against the ban. Additionally, several national polls have found that the majority of Americans disapprove of the immigration ban.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has testified in court as a part of the proceedings in an intellectual property case regarding the Oculus Rift VR headset. Games publisher ZeniMax is suing Oculus, claiming that ZeniMax property was misappropriated and company secrets are being used to further Oculus' technology. Zuckerberg definitively denied this claim at trial. “We are highly confident that Oculus products are built on Oculus technology,” he said. “The idea that Oculus products are based on someone else’s technology is just wrong.”
A federal judge will hear arguments Friday to delay the civil fraud suit against Trump University. The trial is currently set to begin on November 28. President-elect Donald Trump is expected to testify. U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel had made it clear that Trump will testify at trial, even if it's over a video connection. Trump's attorneys have argued that the president-elect's schedule is too hectic to appear before the inauguration. Lawyers representing the plaintiff argued that Trump's schedule will become more unpredictable once he is sworn in to office.
Fox News will pay former network anchor Gretchen Carlson $20 million to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. Carlson sued the network two months ago, accusing then-Chairman Roger Ailes of sexual harassment. Carlson said her refusal of sexual advances led to a pay-cut and a move to an afternoon show. Two weeks after the lawsuit was filed, Ailes stepped down from his position. Fox News has also agreed to issue a "highly unusual public apology" as part of the settlement.
Texas is taking the Obama administration to court. The issue is the administration's letter to public schools, which ordered schools to accommodate transgender students' bathroom needs. The administration said not following these rules is a violation of Title IX and could result in diminished federal funding. Texas is arguing in court that the letter oversteps the president's power.
The Supreme Court has handed down a landmark case on abortion rights. Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt ruled the 2013 Texas abortion law unconstitutional. The law required abortion clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers and required doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. These requirements forced many clinics to close across the state. The Court ruled that these new regulations placed an "undue burden" on women seeking an abortion.
While the rest of us may see the summer season as cause to wane our professional responsibilities, the Supreme Court is hard at work. Just yesterday, the court handed down two closely-watched decisions. First, the court reached a 4-4 split in a case involving President Obama's executive action on immigration. With the deadlock, Obama's plan to shield 11 million immigrants from deportation is all but dead. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled against plaintiff Abigail Fisher's in her case against race-conscious admissions at the University of Texas. The decision is seen as a major victory for affirmative action supporters.
Where does America's gun control debate go from here?
1. In the wake of the deadliest mass-shooting in America's history, the country is — yet again — at odds over gun control. In just minutes, the Orlando attacker used an AR-15 assault rifle to kill 49 people and injure 53 others. According to law enforcement, the shooter obtained his weapons legally.
2. Congressional Democrats see the Orlando attack as proof to pass Dianne Feinstein's (D-Calif.) Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act, a bill that bans the sale of firearms to any individual on the FBI's "no-fly" list. The bill notably failed in 2015, the last time it was up for a vote in the Senate.
3. Where do you think America's gun control debate should go from here?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
#ThanksObama. For those of us with an annual income between $23,660 and $47,476, the Obama Administration has some good news. In a sweeping directive, the White House has extended overtime pay regulations to the aforementioned earnings group. This means that millions of millennials who fall between that range are now legally owed time-and-a-half wages for hours worked beyond the standard 40-hour work week. The new regulation is President Obama's latest effort to raise wages for the working class, a portion of the population who hasn't seen their earnings budge in more than 15 years.
Is the split Supreme Court hurting legal progress?
1. Technically, the Supreme Court can perform its judicial duty with just eight justices. Sure, there's a chance for legal toss-ups, but the death of Justice Antonin Scalia — and the up-in-the-air fate of his appointed replacement — shouldn't bring the court to a screeching halt. With paramount cases on their docket, the Supreme Court can't afford any friction.
2. Yesterday, the first sign of such friction became apparent when the Supreme Court sent a series of cases regarding Obamacare's contraception mandate back to lower courts as it seemed that the ideologically split Supreme Court was headed for a deadlock. The "no decision" decision signals that the Supreme Court is struggling without its ninth member.
3. So, should the Senate vote to confirm Scalia's replacement this year?
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In a sweeping, and surprising, move, the Obama Administration will tell every U.S. public school to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice. The news comes just as some public schools across the country enact their own contrary bathroom regulations. While there's no legal requirements in conjunction with the announcement, schools that do not comply risk losing federal services and funding. The White House will also distribute information aimed at helping schools create a more accepting environment for its transgender students. As predicted, Republican lawmakers had much to say about the announcement, with one calling it "the end of the public school system as we know it."
Are religious freedom laws necessary?
1. North Carolina and Mississippi have enacted new LGBT discrimination laws. These laws allow businesses to refuse service to those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. Mississippi’s law allows anyone (including individuals, businesses and various religious organizations) with “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions” to discriminate against anyone who appears to violate those beliefs. This opens the door to discrimination even for straight couples who have sex outside of marriage — a common occurrence these days.
2. The governors argued that these laws are meant to protect religious freedom. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant stated that the law “merely reinforces the rights which currently exist to the exercise of religious freedom” and does not limit any constitutionally-protected rights for citizens. For some, Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage cross the country, violates their personal, religious beliefs.
3. Do we need laws to reinforce religious freedom rights that are protected under the First Amendment?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.