1. Bill Cosby Walks Free After Sexual Assault Conviction Overturned
The actor was released from prison today after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his conviction for sexual assault on a technicality. The panel of judges said the actor’s due process rights had been violated during trial. The 83-year-old had served nearly three years of a three-to 10-year sentence after being convicted in 2018 of allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting a woman, Andrea Constand. The case against Cosby, once dubbed “America’s Dad,” was one of the first of the #MeToo era. Several other women who’ve accused the star of misconduct expressed anger at his release, while Cosby’s lawyer said the actor was heading home to “celebrate.” The court’s decision bars a retrial.
2. Donald Rumsfeld, Who Oversaw Invasion of Iraq, Dies Aged 88
The former U.S. defense secretary died today of multiple myeloma, in the company of his family in New Mexico. He served in the administrations of President Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, under whom he directed the military attack on Afghanistan after September 11, 2001. In 2003 he oversaw the invasion of Iraq, which he maintained in his 2011 memoir was the right thing to do. He was among the top Bush officials who claimed former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, though they were never found. Rumsfeld had also permitted harsh interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay detention center, where terrorism suspects were tortured.
They’ve still got a roof over their heads, for now. The Supreme Court yesterday rejected a request by landlords to lift a pandemic-related moratorium on housing evictions, leaving it in place through July. Justices voted 5-4 to retain the measures introduced by Congress and the CDC to safeguard tenants — which means people can defer their rent, although it does not stop the obligation to pay. The government had urged the court to leave the measures in place, saying continued vigilance against the spread of the virus is needed, while detractors argue that landlords are bearing huge financial burdens.
If Pyongyang’s claims that it’s been unaffected by the virus devastating the rest of the world can be believed, there might be some benefit in being a hermit state. But now it looks as if that’s over, with leader Kim Jong Un today reprimanding officials for failures in their COVID-19 response. Without specifying what happened, Kim said, “Officials in charge have caused a grave incident that poses a huge crisis to the safety of the nation and its people.” North Korea imposed strict border closures in January 2020, but that has contributed to an ongoing food crisis.
5. After Mass Graves Discovery, Calls to Cancel Canada Day
Remember the South Park song “Blame Canada”? It seems some Canadians have taken it to heart, with many calling for tomorrow’s Canada Day holiday to be canceled in light of the macabre findings at former residential schools for First Nations children. Indigenous leaders say there should be no celebrations after hundreds of graves were discovered in recent weeks. Several cities have already scrapped plans, including Victoria, British Columbia, while in Pickering, Ontario, the mayor has ordered city flags to be flown at half-staff. Meanwhile, dozens of people have died in the heat wave affecting the Vancouver area.
6. Leaving on a Jet Plane: United Makes Massive Order
With many Western countries now largely vaccinated, people are looking to travel again and United Airlines is getting prepared. The Chicago-based company has announced plans to buy 270 Boeing and Airbus planes, its largest ever order. The $30 billion deal shows U.S. airlines are increasingly confident travel will rebound after being hard hit by the pandemic. United, which lost more than $7 billion last year and needed government bailouts, is also looking to hire 25,000 more staff. But analysts warn that business travelers have yet to return and travel could remain in flux for years.
Miami officials say they will ask a grand jury to examine safety issues surrounding the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condo in Surfside, Florida. Rebels in Ethiopia’s Tigray region have vowed to intensify their struggle, casting doubt on whether the government’s unilateral cease-firewill hold. And Mozambique police are investigating whether a popular razor blade brand named Alshabab has any link to Islamist militants.
Coronavirus Update: Aboriginal organizations in Australia’s Northern Territory say the government needs to do more to help homeless communities at risk of COVID-19. Singapore wants to stop counting its coronavirus cases, as more of the city-state’s residents get vaccinated.
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show:’ LA Week continues with a very special in-person conversation with former 11-year-old Oscar-winner Anna Paquin. After 30 years in Hollywood before her 40th birthday, the actress reveals the secret to still being in love with the creative process behind her acting. The star of True Blood and Flack also reveals her best parenting tips … and stay tuned for a special spotlight on Banksy’s favorite Angelino street artist. Watch now.
Black stories are often portrayed in extremes — as struggles or triumphs — but these stories do not represent the full richness of the Black experience. What about the inside jokes, hard conversations, honest gestures, family struggles and celebrations? To understand the Black experience, we need to see the whole truth. By enabling Black creators, P&G aims to widen the screen to widen our view to combat systemic bias in advertising and media. Our “Widen the Screen” initiative is an expansive content creation, talent development and partnership platform that enables and advocates for increased inclusion of Black creators across the advertising, film and television industries.
It’s a bust for white supremacy. The U.S. House voted 285-120 yesterday to remove statues of Confederate leaders from the Capitol, with 67 Republicans joining Democrats. The bill would also replace a bust of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney — who in 1857 ruled people of African descent were not U.S. citizens — with a statue of Thurgood Marshall, the first Black Supreme Court justice. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was against the measure, pointing out all of the statues being removed were of Democrats and also attacking critical race theory. The bill faces challenges in the Senate.
What do you think? Should such statues be removed? And if so, what should be done with them? Take our poll.
2. Restroom Rescue: A Chat at the Sinks Saves Two Lives
Talk about serendipity. Two co-workers who didn’t know each other very well happened to chat in the office bathroom one day, only to make a remarkable discovery: Both of their husbands needed kidney transplants, but faced long waits on donor lists because their wives weren’t matches to be organ donors — but the colleagues were perfect matches for each others’ spouses. So Tia Wimbush donated a kidney to Susan Ellis’ husband, and Eliis donated hers to Wimbush’s husband. The men are now almost fully recovered. Wimbush said, “I guess you could say we’ve skipped the friendship. We’re family now.”
3. No Chewing the Fat: Weight Loss Device Slammed as Cruel
Ever wished you could seal your jaw shut to stop you from finishing all the chocolate? Well, now you can — if you don’t mind having what some are calling a “torture device” fitted to your mouth. Researchers in New Zealand have created magnets that clamp patients’ jaws together so they can only open their mouths one-sixteenth of an inch in order to stop overeating and prevent obesity. However, during the trial, one participant admitted to melting chocolate so she could add it to her liquid diet. Critics have called the invention medieval and dehumanizing.
4. On the Cover of a Magazine: Dr. Jill Biden Strikes a Pose
Melania Trump may have been a model, but as first lady she never made the cover of Vogue. Her successor, however, is front and center on fashion’s bible this week. Trump reportedly refused a 2017 Vogue photo shoot if she wouldn’t be on the cover, and expressed anger when the magazine featured Beyoncé. Meanwhile, Biden said she finds it “kind of surprising” that her sartorial choices spark discussion. At the G-7 in England recently, she donned a jacket emblazoned with the word “love,” which some saw as a dig at Trump's infamous “I really don’t care, do u?” coat.
5. England’s Ecstasy After Soccer Win Against Germany
What do British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Prince William and David Beckham have in common? They’re all celebrating England's 2-0 win over Germany at Euro 2020 yesterday. Congratulations have been pouring in, with Johnson tweeting that England must now “bring it home” and rapper Stormzy seen dancing and cheering outside the stadium after the win. The goals, scored by Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane, only came in the second half. Germany, France and Portugal, once seen as leading contenders in the tournament, have all been eliminated, while England now faces Ukraine in Rome on Saturday.