The US should brace itself for a “national wave of fertility fraud”

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A new field of litigation has evolved in the United State: denouncing fertility fraud. In the latest episode, a nation-wide firm, Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane & Conway, announced that it was pursuing two fertility doctors who allegedly used their own sperm a generation ago to get women pregnant and without informing them.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, according to Adam Wolf, the lawyer handling the cases. He claims that hundreds of fertility fraud cases will emerge across the US as people begin to investigate their geneology using home DNA testing kits.

In the first case, a San Francisco woman discovered that both of her children were the offspring of her fertility doctor, Dr Michael S. Kiken. Furthermore, through Kiken, the children are carriers of Tay Sachs disease.

In the second case a San Diego woman sought the help of Dr Philip Milgram in 1988 for artificial insemination, which resulted in the birth of their son. Milgram told her that he had used the sperm of a healthy and anonymous sperm donor — but he allegedly used his own instead.

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Spotify lands exclusive rights to new Kim Kardashian West podcast

 

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Spotify has inked an exclusive deal to distribute Kim Kardashian West’s new podcast, a spokesperson confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: The deal, unlike Spotify’s purchase of “The Ringer” in February and its exclusive arrangement to distribute “The Joe Rogan Experience” beginning this fall, includes female producers and hosts, which could lure a more diverse, female-centric audience to the platform.

Details: The podcast will be co-produced and co-hosted by West and television producer Lori Rothschild Ansaldi, according to the Wall Street Journal, which was first to break the news.

A Spotify spokesperson confirmed details of the Journal’s report, which notes that the podcast will be adjacent to West’s work with the Innocence Project, a nonprofit that focuses on exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals and criminal justice reform.

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Will the Coronavirus make us rethink mass incarceration?

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Arrested during the crisis, Roslyn Crouch feared she wouldn’t leave jail alive.

 

Community groups have pointed out the social costs of the prison system for decades. Now the pandemic has exposed its public-health risks.

On March 14th, Roslyn Crouch, a mother of twelve, left her house in New Orleans to stock up on toilet paper and canned goods, and didn’t return. Crouch, who is forty-two, with slender braids down to her knees, had been feeling anxious about the spread of the coronavirus. At home, she cared for her elderly mother, and for a half-dozen children, including a son with sickle-cell anemia, a blood disorder. She herself had chronic bronchitis, and worried that it put her at risk. Many people in her neighborhood lacked access to high-quality medical care. (Black residents of Louisiana have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic; they make up about thirty per cent of the state’s population, but account for almost sixty per cent of documented deaths from the virus.) She thought, This is some serious stuff. After scrolling through a few too many coronavirus stories on her phone that Saturday morning, she got dressed, spritzed herself with her favorite perfume, A Thousand Wishes, and drove to a dollar store with her two-year-old son, Kyi, to buy shelter-in-place supplies.

On the way, Crouch failed to stop at a stop sign in Jefferson Parish and was pulled over by the police. She was then arrested for a string of petty crimes, including driving without proper registration and with a stolen license plate that police valued at twenty-five dollars. The most serious charge resulted from a nine-year-old warrant for possession of marijuana. As Crouch was put in the back of a police car, with Kyi, she pleaded with the arresting officers to call her daughter Tae, who worked as a security guard. Tae sped across the Mississippi River, arriving just in time to pry her sobbing little brother from the police car and prevent him from being turned over to child-protective services. “I call him Hip Baby, because he’s attached to my mom’s hip,” Tae told me. She took Kyi home, but it was “hell on earth trying to tame him without her.” The cops drove Crouch to the Jefferson Parish jail.

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Man sentenced to death in Singapore via Zoom

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Singapore has some of the world’s toughest anti-drug policies

A man has been sentenced to death via a Zoom video call in Singapore, as the country remains on lockdown following a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Punithan Genasan, 37, received the sentence on Friday for his role in a drug deal that took place in 2011.

It marks the city’s first case where such a ruling has been done remotely.

Human rights groups argued that pursuing the death penalty at a time when the world is being gripped by a pandemic was “abhorrent”.

The vast majority of court hearings in Singapore have been adjourned until at least 1 June, when the city’s current lockdown period is due to end.

Cases which have been deemed to be essential are being held remotely.

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INSIGHT: How Covid-19 Changed the Future of Litigation

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Covid-19 is proving to be the impetus the legal industry needed to embrace remote technologies, Merchant & Gould attorneys write. They look at how law firms are adjusting to new technologies now and how courts may adopt new technologies going forward.

In law firms, one might guess the graduation year of attorneys based only on the technologies employed in their practices.

Lawyers graduating in the last decade may have never even seen a dictaphone in person or have experienced paper cuts from thumbing through thousands of paper documents to prepare them for production in litigation. Only recently did a small number of litigators begin using tablets instead of paper documents in depositions. Nearly all litigators firmly believed it was not possible to effectively conduct a deposition or hearing remotely.

But the Covid-19 pandemic forced change in an age-old profession, nearly overnight. As courthouses around the country continue trials and hearings, and even close completely, courts and attorneys alike have been forced to adopt new technologies at every stage of proceedings.

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Tokyo researchers create a digital court for the digital age

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THE “DIGITAL COURT” WOULD USE SMART CONTRACTS TO RESOLVE DISPUTES

Researchers from the University of Tokyo have developed a blockchain-powered mechanism for settling legal disputes.

Researchers have developed a “digital court” mechanism using blockchain-powered smart contracts.

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Shenzhen becomes first Chinese city to ban consumption of cats and dogs

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(CNN)Shenzhen, in southeastern China, has become the first city in the country to ban the consumption of cats and dogs, the government announced Thursday.

 Under new rules which will come into effect May 1, the government said it will be illegal to eat animals raised as pets.

In February, following the coronavirus outbreak, China passed a law to ban the consumption of wild animals.

China has made eating wild animals illegal after the coronavirus outbreak. But ending the trade won’t be easy

Now Shenzhen will prohibit the consumption of state-protected wild animals and other terrestrial wild animals taken from the wild, as well as captive-bred and farmed terrestrial wild species.

In addition, the consumption of animals raised as pets, such as cats and dogs will also be banned.

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French court recognises Bitcoin as “money”

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The ruling, the result of a dispute between Bitcoin marketplace Paymium and crypto investment firm BitSpread, could benefit the French crypto market.

A French court has ruled that Bitcoin is money, for the first time.

The result of the ruling could lead to more action in the French Bitcoin market.

It’s the first time a French court has issued such a ruling, according to French publication Les Echos.

The ruling came from a dispute between French Bitcoin marketplace Paymium and crypto investment company BitSpread. Paymium had loaned BitSpread 1,000 Bitcoin in 2014. But in 2017, Bitcoin forked into Bitcoin Cash.

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3D Printing and the murky ethics of replicating bones

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Bone scan databases offer scientists new ways to study human remains. But some worry they could be misused.

Ten years ago, it wasn’t possible for most people to use 3D technology to print authentic copies of human bones. Today, using a 3D printer and digital scans of actual bones, it is possible to create unlimited numbers of replica bones — each curve and break and tiny imperfection intact — relatively inexpensively. The technology is increasingly allowing researchers to build repositories of bone data, which they can use to improve medical procedures, map how humans have evolved, and even help show a courtroom how someone died.

But the proliferation of faux bones also poses an ethical dilemma — and one that, prior to the advent of accessible 3D printing, was mostly limited to museum collections containing skeletons of dubious provenance. Laws governing how real human remains of any kind may be obtained and used for research, after all — as well as whether individuals can buy and sell such remains — are already uneven worldwide. Add to that the new ability to traffic in digital data representing these remains, and the ethical minefield becomes infinitely more fraught. “When someone downloads these skulls and reconstructs them,” says Ericka L’Abbé, a forensic anthropologist at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, “it becomes their data, their property.”

Digital bone repositories already exist around the world, and while viewing those bones in a computer environment is often an option, most such repositories keep the underlying data — which could be used to print new, physical bone replicas — private. The repositories that do make the data open access typically only include human remains that are older than 100 years because of the legal issues surrounding the potential to identify a person from their remains, as well as the value of the data their remains might yield.

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AI judges and verdicts via chat app: the brave new world of China’s digital courts

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Inside the Hangzhou Internet Court, litigants appear by video chat as an AI judge – complete with on-screen avatar – prompts them to present their cases

A ‘mobile court’ offered on popular Chinese social media platform WeChat has handled more than three million legal cases or other judicial procedures since its launch in March

Artificial-intelligence judges, cyber-courts, and verdicts delivered on chat apps — welcome to China’s brave new world of justice spotlighted by authorities this week.

China is encouraging digitisation to streamline case-handling within its sprawling court system using cyberspace and technologies like blockchain and cloud computing, China’s Supreme People’s Court said in a policy paper.

The efforts include a “mobile court” offered on popular social media platform WeChat that has already handled more than three million legal cases or other judicial procedures since its launch in March, according to the Supreme People’s Court.

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The great American tax haven: why the super-rich love South Dakota

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Late last year, as the Chinese government prepared to enact tough new tax rules, the billionaire Sun Hongbin quietly transferred $4.5bn worth of shares in his Chinese real estate firm to a company on a street corner in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, one of the least populated and least known states in the US. Sioux Falls is a pleasant city of 180,000 people, situated where the Big Sioux River tumbles off a red granite cliff. It has some decent bars downtown, and a charming array of sculptures dotting the streets, but there doesn’t seem to be much to attract a Chinese multi-billionaire. It’s a town that even few Americans have been to.

The money of the world’s mega-wealthy, though, is heading there in ever-larger volumes. In the past decade, hundreds of billions of dollars have poured out of traditional offshore jurisdictions such as Switzerland and Jersey, and into a small number of American states: Delaware, Nevada, Wyoming – and, above all, South Dakota. “To some, South Dakota is a ‘fly-over’ state,” the chief justice of the state’s supreme court said in a speech to the legislature in January. “While many people may find a way to ‘fly over’ South Dakota, somehow their dollars find a way to land here.”

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Can you make AI fairer than a judge? Play our courtroom algorithm game

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Can you make AI fairer than a judge? Play our courtroom algorithm game

The US criminal legal system uses predictive algorithms to try to make the judicial process less biased. But there’s a deeper problem    .

As a child, you develop a sense of what “fairness” means. It’s a concept that you learn early on as you come to terms with the world around you. Something either feels fair or it doesn’t.

But increasingly, algorithms have begun to arbitrate fairness for us. They decide who sees housing ads, who gets hired or fired, and even who gets sent to jail. Consequently, the people who create them—software engineers—are being asked to articulate what it means to be fair in their code. This is why regulators around the world are now grappling with a question: How can you mathematically quantify fairness?

This story attempts to offer an answer. And to do so, we need your help. We’re going to walk through a real algorithm, one used to decide who gets sent to jail, and ask you to tweak its various parameters to make its outcomes more fair. (Don’t worry—this won’t involve looking at code!)

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