News Briefs: LeBron James Apologizes for Social Media Post, RBG Back at Home and More


North Korea Ordered by Judge to Pay Warmbier Family $501M in Damages

A District Court judge on Dec. 24 ordered North Korea to pay $501 million to the family of a Jewish student who died in 2016 after being imprisoned there for more than a year, JTA reported.

The Warmbier family had requested $1.05 billion in a punitive damages lawsuit filed in April.

North Korea accused Otto Warmbier, 22, in January 2016 of attempting to steal a propaganda banner during a visit to the country. The North Korean government imprisoned him. At some point, he suffered severe brain damage, although there weren’t signs of physical trauma.

Warmbier was evacuated in a coma to the United States in June 2017, but died six days later.

Fox News reported earlier this year that a North Korean spokesman denied that Warmbier was tortured, a claim the family has disputed.

LeBron James Apologizes for Social Media Post About Jews and Money

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James apologized for a social media post in which he quoted rap lyrics that appear to support anti-Semitic references to Jews and money, JTA reported.

In the post, which has since been deleted, James quotes 21 Savage lyrics in which the rapper sings, “We been gettin’ that Jewish money, everything is kosher (On God)” and then boasts about buying Lamborghini and Tesla cars.

“Apologies, for sure, if I offended anyone,” James told ESPN. “That’s not why I chose to share that lyric. I always [post lyrics]. That’s what I do. I ride in my car, I listen to great music, and that was the byproduct of it. So I actually thought it was a compliment, and obviously it wasn’t through the lens of a lot of people. My apologies. It definitely was not the intent, obviously, to hurt anybody.”

Anti-Genocide Legislation Named for Elie Wiesel Passed by Congress

Congress passed bipartisan legislation named for the late Elie Wiesel that is designed to improve the U.S. response to potential genocides, JTA reported.

Both the Senate and House of Representatives passed the legislation in the third week of December. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill into law.

Under the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act, the U.S. would have an official policy saying that preventing genocide and other crimes constitutes a national security interest. In addition, the legislation establishes an interagency Mass Atrocities Task Force and trains U.S. Foreign Service officers how to detect early warning signs of atrocities.

RBG Back at Home After Cancer Surgery

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was released from a New York hospital on Dec. 25, four days after surgery to remove a cancerous lung tumor, JTA reported.

Ginsburg, 85, who had cancer twice before, was declared cancer-free; the growth was discovered after she fell in November and broke two ribs.

Ginsburg reportedly worked from her hospital bed during her stay; she hasn’t missed a day of oral arguments since she was appointed 25 years ago and appears on track to maintain that record when the Supreme Court next meets on Jan. 7. l


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