In the News This Week

by Debra Brown

Each Wednesday, we recap the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news.


Asia Argento, a #MeToo Leader, Made a Deal With An Accuser.                                                                           

Asia Argento arranged to pay $380,000 to Jimmy Bennett, a young actor and rock musician who said she had sexually assaulted him in a California hotel room years earlier, at 17. She was 37. The age of consent in California is 18.

That claim and the subsequent arrangement for payments are laid out in documents sent to The New York Times between lawyers for Ms. Argento and Mr. Bennett, a former child actor who once played her son in a movie.

Tarana Burke, the woman who created the #MeToo movement is calling on her fellow activists to press forward.


Crazy Rich Asians‘ is No. 1 Movie in US and Canada. 

“Crazy Rich Asians,” the latest Hollywood film with an all-Asian cast, took in an estimated $25.2 million over the weekend, topping the box office in the U.S. and Canada theaters. The film is the first Hollywood English-language movie to feature an all-Asian cast in 25 years, after “The Joy Luck Club” in 1993. The film exceeded expectations.


California is Paying Inmates $1 an Hour To Fight Wildfires.

There are roughly 14,000 firefighters on duty battling the largest fire in the state’s history. Among them are more than 2,000 inmates. The inmates are part of a volunteer firefighting program run by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). They’re paid $2 a day, and $1 an hour when fighting an active fire. They also earn time off their sentences.

According to the CDCR, the program saves the state between $90 and $100 million a year. Some critics fear that the financial benefits of cheap prison labor incentivize mass incarceration. Gayle McLaughlin, who is currently running for California Lieutenant Governor, called the program “slave labor.”


Michigan Health Director To Stand Trial For Involuntary Manslaughter In Flint Deaths.

District Judge David Goggins Monday decided the state has enough evidence for Nick Lyon to face trial on involuntary manslaughter and other charges. The charges stem from the deaths of two men from Legionnaires Disease in 2015. Lyon and other state department officials were aware of a deadly Legionnaires Disease outbreak in Genesee County in January, 2015. But the department did not issue a public advisory about the outbreak until January 2016. Evidence connecting the Legionella bacteria outbreak to Flint’s ill-fated drinking water switch in 2014 is disputed.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver praised the decision to send the case to trial. Lyon’s defense attorneys plan to challenge the decision.


Pope Francis Released a 2,000-word Letter to Catholics about Sexual Abuse Within the Church. 

Pope Francis said in an unprecedented letter to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics on Monday that the church has not dealt properly with “crimes” against children and must prevent sexual abuses from being “covered up and perpetuated.” The 2,000-word letter, was the first by a pope addressed to the world’s Catholics on the topic of sexual abuse.

Lawsuits by abuse victims have so far forced dioceses and religious orders in the United States to pay settlements totaling more than $3 billion, and at least 19 have filed for bankruptcy protection.

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