January 17, 2022

OZY: Guilty Verdict for Ghislaine Maxwell

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Dec 30, 2021

Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty on Wednesday of five counts of sex trafficking after helping procure underage girls for former companion Jeffrey Epstein. The Russian Supreme Court dissolved the Memorial Human Rights Center, an internationally respected human rights group founded by Soviet dissidents in the 80s. Embroiled in multiple controversies, Facebook is flexing its political might by exploiting a bitterly divided Washington. And worldwide reports of violence against women and children have exploded during COVID-19 due to measures to contain the virus and a lack of solutions. All this and more in today’s Presidential Daily Brief.


1 – Ghislaine Guilty

Jury finds Maxwell guilty of five of six counts of sex trafficking 

Ghislaine Maxwell, 60, was found guilty on Wednesday of helping procure underage girls for her former companion, financier and alleged sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The daughter of British media mogul Robert Maxwell now faces up to 65 years in prison for the offenses. The case rested on the testimony of four women identified only by first names or pseudonyms. Prosecutors accused Maxwell of creating an elaborate system of luring and grooming young girls for sexual relationships with Epstein using cash and other enticements. Maxwell, who declined to testify, had pleaded not guilty to all charges. (Sources: NYT,CNN)
2 – Another Blow for Human Rights

Russia defies European court order in closure of human rights center 

Russia’s Supreme Court yesterday ordered the dissolution of the Memorial Human Rights Center, a highly respected human rights group founded by dissidents in the late 80s to study Soviet-era human rights abuses. The ruling tops a long list of assaults on Russian civil liberties in the last year, including the harassment of journalists and media outlets and the liquidation of NGOs. Dunja Mijatović, the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, called the decision a “deplorable move” with serious consequences for Russian human rights groups. MHRC had listed jailed dissident Alexei Navalny as a political prisoner, angering President Vladimir Putin. (Sources: GuardianAxios)
3 – Feckless Facebook

The social media giant doubles down as tactics turn divisive

No more apologies at Facebook. Not only has the company doubled down over its role in misinformation, radicalization and negative effects on teen mental health, it now seems to be using a polarized political climate to further divide lawmakers and evade culpability — and tougher legislation. The tide turned after documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal from ex-Facebook executive Frances Haugen led to a three-part investigation called “The Facebook Files” that analyzed internal Facebook documents to reveal how the company is well aware of its negative social impact. Now, said the Journal, Facebook is using lobbyists and journalists to politicize the narrative. (Source: WSJ)
4 – Suffer the Women and Children

Domestic violence against women and children surges to an all-time high

The World Health Organization says roughly 1 in 3 women worldwide are victims of physical or sexual violence. But during the pandemic, that number has exploded, as measures to stem the virus — lockdowns, school closures, quarantines —make abuse even more likely … and inescapable. Women, children, and LGBTQ and nonbinary people, are finding even less help in countries already ill-prepared to deal with domestic violence. Well aware of the crisis, governments have instituted hotlines, shelters, and other measures to stem the alarming rise in cases, which the WHO says are likely underreported. (Source: WaPo)
5 – Briefly

Here are some things you should know about today: 

Lawyers for Prince Andrew attempt to stop U.S. civil case. Prince Andrew’s lawyers claimed accuser Virginia Giuffre is not domiciled in the U.S. and therefore the court has no jurisdiction in alleged sexual assault case. (Source: GuardianWashington, D.C., to enforce vaccines in all students and staff returning to schools. D.C. public schools hope to stem the COVID-19 tide with mandates and free rapid antigen tests. (Source: The HillDr. Dre. to pay $100 million in contentious divorce settlement. The rapper’s ex-wife Nicole Young’s settlement represents a fifth of Dr. Dre’s fortune and half of his assets. (Source: Rolling Stone)
1 – Take Us to the River

Paris announces athletes will take a dip in the Seine for the 2024 Olympics

As the host of the 2024 Summer Olympics, Paris has great ambitions for the city, and making the Seine River swimmable tops the list. In a plan released Wednesday, French officials announced that Olympic opening ceremonies won’t happen in a stadium. Instead, athletes will float down a nearly 4-mile stretch of river in more than 160 boats before 600,000 spectators. What’s more, the once environmentally dead river — now harboring fish the length of dinghies — will accommodate water marathons and triathlons. And when the Olympics end you can grab your maillot and head to Paris, as the river will be open to everyone. (Sources: WaPoFrance24)
2 – Drug de Jour

Popular 90’s rave drug shows promise in hard-to-treat depression

From counterculture drug to promising treatment for depression, ketamine has reemerged as some patients’ greatest hope. First synthesized in 1962 and approved as an anesthetic in the early 70s, Ketamine has succeeded in treating certain drug-resistant mood disorders where conventional antidepressants have failed. In more than 300 trials, researchers found the drug — administered as an IV, nasal spray or tablet — to relieve bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, depressive disorder and social anxiety disorder. Despite significant possible side effects, such as feelings of dissociation, paranoia or suicidal thoughts, the drug is experiencing a countrywide boom, though scientists caution more testing is needed. (Sources: NYTNew Yorker)
3 – Hot Off the Plate

Get ready for fungi, test-tube meat and “ecospirits” say US food forecasters 

The 2022 trend forecasters have spoken: Expect to see more mushrooms on your plate and, possibly, at your parties, as fungi gains in popularity for your health and for your well-being in the form of the psychedelic psilocybin. Or served up with chicken, another trendy food for the New Year, but not the kind with feathers. This fowl is grown in a lab from animal cells and could be approved for consumption by the end of 2022. And what will you wash it all down with? Why a 1980’s-era no-alcohol cocktail or an “ecospirit,” of course, made with local ingredients or food waste. Bottoms up! (Source: NYT)
4 – What’s in a Name?

First Harry Potter film celebrates 20 years and its namesakes still proliferate

What do Draco, Ollivander, Albus and Ariana have in common? Don’t know? Here’s a hint: Hermione, Harry and Bellatrix. Kids and adults around the world are the living legacies of the Harry Potter craze, graced — or burdened — with the names of its star characters. In the year 2000, before the release of the first Harry Potter film, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, 144 Lunas were born, last year there were 7,700. Kids from Oxford to Ohio answer to the name Hermione, though not everyone is pleased. Why name a kid “after a word that rhymes with ‘groin’?” asked Herminone Hoby. Only a true fan knows for sure. (Source: WSJ)
5 – Djokovic Says No

The tennis star will withdraw from the Australian Open over vaccine status

Number one men’s tennis player Novak Djokovic has been a lightning rod for controversy. Besides losing his cool on notable occasions — he smashed his racket at the Tokyo Olympics and vented intense frustration at Wimbledon crowds in 2021 — he’s also professed he’d rather be in the mountains than in Manhattan and has declined the COVID-19 vaccine. But the Serbian athlete is undeniably fascinating to watch. A privilege fans may have to forego in January, as Djokovic announced yesterday he would withdraw from Serbia’s ATP Cup team and is uncertain about competing in the Australian Open, beginning on Jan. 17. (Sources: Sports IllustratedBBC)


OZY is a diverse, global and forward-looking media and entertainment company focused on “the New and the Next.” OZY creates space for fresh perspectives and offers new takes on everything from news and culture to technology, business, learning and entertainment.

www.ozy.com / #OZY

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