Five things you might have missed this week
This week has been filled with breakthroughs like the Panama Papers and the arrest of homeless man who may have killed a UT student. Here a few things you might have missed in the world of news.
Sunday: The Panama Papers opened Pandora’s box
Over the weekend, a group of over 400 reporters unveiled the Panama Papers, a collection of documents revealing the inner workings of Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm. The documents, over 11 million of them, show how this firm helped its clients do things like launder money and evade taxes. A network of secret offshore deals and vast loans worth up to $2 billion leads to Russian President Vladimir Putin, although his name wasn’t listed in any of the documents, according to The Guardian. Many famous leaders and celebrities’ names have come up since the scandal broke. Prime Minister David Cameron and actor Jackie Chan have been linked to the documents.
Monday: Supreme Court rejected challenge to the ‘one person, one vote’ practice
Back in the 1960s, the U.S. started using the ‘one person, one vote’ practice. Fast forward to the present, and states have included people who aren’t eligible to vote, like immigrants, prisoners and children, in the population tally. Conservatives in Texas sued the state in Evenwel v. Abbott, a challenge to voting districts for the Texas Senate brought by two voters, Sue Evenwel and Edward Pfenninger. The challengers said their votes were being diluted compared to other districts that had the same number of people but fewer eligible voters.
The judges unanimously rejected the challenge, making the ‘one person, one vote’ stand tall.
Tuesday: Mississippi governor signed the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience From Government Discrimination Act”
The new law allows businesses to fire employees whose religious beliefs are inconsistent with their own and gives businesses permission to say “no thanks” to gay and transgender patrons. Gov. Phil Bryant said in a statement that he was signing the bill “to protect sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions,” arguing that the new legislation is meant to allow people to exercise their religious freedom, according to the Washington Post.
Many didn’t take this well.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that “Mississippi’s abhorrent new law is going against the tide of progress in our country.”
North Carolina also recently passed a law that prevents local governments from passing non-discrimination rules, so the battle isn’t over.
“We will send a clear message to legislators in Mississippi, North Carolina, or anywhere else who would follow their example in bigotry,” said Pelosi. “Hateful, discriminatory laws targeting LGBT Americans have no place anywhere in America.”
Wednesday: Judge dismissed Kesha’s sexual abuse claims against producer
New York State Supreme Court Justice Shirley Werner Kornreich threw out singer Kesha’s abuse claims against Dr. Luke.
“Her claims of insults about her value as an artist, her looks and her weight are insufficient to constitute extreme, outrageous conduct intolerable in a civilized society,” Kornreich wrote, adding that Kesha didn’t “say that Luke’s alleged attacks were spurred by animus toward women,” according to the Associated Press.
According to the judge, Luke’s alleged actions can’t be counted as hate crimes because “every rape is not a gender-motivated hate crime.”
Friday: Homeless teen arrested in connection to UT student’s murder
A 17-year-old homeless “runaway” was arrested Thursday in connection to the murder of University of Texas freshman Haruka Weiser. Weiser’s body was discovered near a creek on Tuesday and identified Thursday.
Police asked the public for help finding Weiser’s killer after releasing surveillance video of an unnamed suspect lurking near the school stadium with a woman’s bicycle.
“We’re going to bring justice to that family and restore the sense of safety that this campus and this community has enjoyed,” Austin Police Cheif Art Acevedo told reporters this morning, adding that a motive for the crime remains unclear.