Some New Advances in the Fight Against Rape—and Other Notes from the Week

Catch up on all the news you might have missed with our handy summary of the week’s top stories.
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We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.

22 Killed in Terrorist Attack at Ariana Grande Concert in Manchester

England suffered the loss of twenty-two lives in Manchester on Monday night in a terrorist bombing that targeted the crowds at an Ariana Grande concert; many of the victims who died were teenagers. The suicide bomber was a 22-year-old British citizen who lived locally, and the attack was claimed by ISIS on Tuesday, who said that the bomber was one of their "soldiers." As tributes pour in for the victims of what is being called the worst terrorist attack on British soil in more than a decade, the authorities have placed the country on high alert for possible continued threats. Our hearts and prayers are with the victims and their families. —Sophie Caldecott

Serena Williams Announces New Job

Serena Williams has a new job—and it’s not what you’d expect. The tennis all-time great has stepped away from the court since news of her pregnancy broke earlier this year, but that doesn’t mean she’s not staying busy! This week it was reported that the 35-year-old has joined the board of SurveyMonkey. She hopes her new role will help change the conversation around diversity in Silicon Valley. “What is important to me is to be at the forefront of the change and to make it easier for the next person that comes behind me,” she said. Williams’ new role is a great reminder that there’s more to female athletes than their bodies, and it’s never too late in your career to make a difference. We can’t wait to see what she does next! —Emily Mae Schmid

Bill Cosby Trial Soon to Begin

After a year and a half of court hearings, Bill Cosby’s trial for a first-degree felony charge of sexual assault is beginning in Pennsylvania. The trial is based on a 2004 incident in which the now 79-year-old comedian invited Andrea Constand to his home, gave her three pills to relax her, and then engaged in sexual activities with her, which he described like this: “I don’t hear her say anything, And I don’t feel her say anything. And so I continue and I go into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped.” His comments come from previously sealed court documents, which were revealed in 2015 and resulted in an outpouring of women saying Cosby had assaulted them, too. Constand says she was under great work stress at the time and thought the pills were herbal. She is expected to be called to the stand to recall the night before the jury, as will other accusers to discuss their claims against Cosby. Last week, Cosby spoke on a radio show and said he has no plans to testify and has maintained his innocence throughout this whole process. The immediate task at hand is selecting a jury—a hard thing to do with such a high-profile celebrity. —Megan Madden

Billboard Music Awards Brought Some Surprises

The Billboard Music Awards took place Sunday in Las Vegas, the highlights of which included Drake taking home thirteen awards, cohost Vanessa Hudgens’ wide-ranging musical impressions, Cher being awarded the icon award, and Celine Dion reprising “My Heart Will Go On” for the song’s twentieth anniversary. But among my favorite moments was Miley Cyrus’ performance! (Two years ago, I never would have imagined saying this.) Featuring a country sound like her godmother Dolly Parton, the 24-year-old singer and songwriter sounded like she never left Tennessee. It reminded me of Lady Gaga’s transformation over the past couple years, culminating with her album Joanne—not only shedding the gimmicks for a more authentic vibe but also the introduction of a more folksy, country sound to the pop genre. Overall it was quite a night of talent, which I prefer over gimmicks any day. —Mary Rose Somarriba

Teens Invent Straws to Detect Date-Rape Drugs

“Don’t leave your glass unattended.” “Don’t accept any free drinks you didn’t see being made.” These are just a couple of the precautions that women have to take when drinking at a bar or party. But what if we could be more certain that no drugs have been mixed into our drinks before even taking a sip? This is exactly what three Floridan high school students had in mind when creating their groundbreaking date-rape-drug-detecting straws. That’s right, it’s a straw that changes from clear to blue to alert you that your drink has been tampered with. Victoria Roca, Susana Cappello, and Carolina Baigorri hope their invention will help women to feel more safe in their surroundings by knowing exactly what’s in their drinks. The three teens admit that their straws won’t end the existence of rape, but they hope it will help inform women who need to escape dangerous situations.

The patent is pending for their design, but their hope is that bars, clubs, and restaurants will start supplying them to patrons. —Lilly Bozzone

Vanity Fair Offers Star Wars Last Jedi Sneak Peek

Last week Vanity Fair released four special edition covers for its summer issue, celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the franchise. The photographs were shot by the masterful Annie Leibovitz on the set of Episode VIIIThe Last Jedi, the latest Star Wars movie set for release in December this year, and give a sneak peek of the characters and stories that will be explored in the upcoming movie. The legendary Carrie Fisher, who sadly passed away in December 2016, graces her own solo cover in a moving tribute to her and her iconic portrayal of the irreplaceable Princess Leia. —SC