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The Supreme Court will decide whether racial discrimination played a role in Comcast’s decision-making process; Hong Kong sees mass protests against an extradition bill.


Supreme Court will hear racial discrimination case against Comcast

Mike Kline (notkalvin)
  • The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a discrimination case against Comcast — and the outcome could have broader implications for the limitations of racial bias cases. [Reuters / Andrew Chung]
  • African American media mogul Byron Allen said Comcast refused to distribute his Entertainment Studios Network stations. Entertainment Studios bills itself as a 100 percent African American-owned media company, and Allen said these rejections were based on racial discrimination. [USA Today / Richard Wolf]
  • As evidence, the lawsuit says that lesser-known white-owned networks were granted contracts while Comcast rejected Allen’s proposals. [Variety / Gene Maddaus]
  • Comcast denies the allegations and said the decisions were made based on legitimate business reasons. It called the lawsuit “an outlandish racist conspiracy.” [The Hill / Jacqueline Thomsen]
  • The key legal question in this suit: If a company wants to benefit from the Reconstruction-era law that bans racial discrimination in contracting, does it have to prove that race was the key factor or just one in many? [NYT / Adam Liptak]
  • Before the case reached the Supreme Court, a California federal appeals court ruled in favor of the latter. Comcast argues that Entertainment Studios must prove that it would have received a contract if not for racial bias –– which is a standard that the Supreme Court has applied in the past. [Bloomberg / Greg Stohr]
  • The Court’s ruling could dictate how easy or hard it will be to bring future racial discrimination cases to court. [CNN / Ariane de Vogue]

Hongkongers protest allowing extradition to China

  • Hong Kong saw one of its largest protests on Sunday as citizens demonstrated in the streets against a new extradition bill. [Hong Kong Free Press / Jennifer Creery]
  • The extradition bill would allow Hong Kong to detain and transfer people to mainland China, which is seen to have a more opaque legal system. [CNN / James Griffiths, Eric Cheung, and Chermaine Lee]
  • The bill has led to widespread opposition: Police estimate that about 240,000 people gathered at the peak of the protests, while organizers said that more than a million were present — including young families, students, professionals, and the elderly. [WSJ / Natasha Khan]
  • A brief background: Hong Kong was ruled by Britain for 150 years until it was handed over to China in 1997. Although Hong Kong is technically a part of China, it reached a deal with the mainland government to have its own legal and political systems until 2047. [Vox / Eric Kleefeld]
  • Critics are concerned that political activists who speak unfavorably of China could be targeted by this bill. It would also undermine Hong Kong’s independent legal system, which has long been seen as a distinguishing factor from mainland China. [AP / Christopher Bodeen and Yanan Wang]
  • Despite protests, the bill is most likely to pass because 43 of 70 seats are held by pro-Beijing lawmakers in the Hong Kong legislature. Since the protests, Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam has also reiterated her support for the bill, saying it is needed to protect human rights. [NYT / Mike Ives]
  • Lam, however, has a long way to go to convince the people that this isn’t just another attempt by China to increase political, economic, and cultural influence in Hong Kong. [Guardian / Lily Kuo and Verna Yu]

Miscellaneous

  • Drag used to be a glamorous subculture, mostly confined to dance clubs and pride events. Then RuPaul’s Drag Race came along and pushed it firmly into the mainstream. [Vulture / Matthew Schneier]
  • Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop is selling a $135 coffee kit that encourages users to take their coffee in … unorthodox methods. [Forbes / Bruce Y. Lee]
  • Homework is hard, even with the help of the internet. It’s even harder for the 3 million students who don’t have internet access at home. [AP / Michael Melia, Jeff Amy, and Larry Fenn]
  • A nationwide wave of restrictive measures against abortion could push women to travel to other states for the procedure. A Michigan hotel is offering a free stay to travelers who are seeking an abortion in the state. [Washington Post / Antonia Noori Farzan]
  • NASA is open for business: For just $35,000 a night per person, you too could stay at the International Space Station (rewards program not included). [The Verge / Loren Grush]

Verbatim

“Hong Kong is now becoming a battlefield between an authoritarian state and the free world. Remember, when one is enslaved, all are not free, so we urge the international society, the US government and the EU, to keep pressuring the Hong Kong government and the Chinese government.” [Secondary school teacher Gary Chiu on why he attended the anti-extradition bill protest in Hong Kong]


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