We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.
Charlie Gard’s Legal Battle, and Life Support, Come to an End
On Monday, the parents of Charlie Gard dropped their legal battle to keep him alive. Charlie was born in August 2016 in the U.K. with mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a rare genetic disease. His parents have been fighting to keep him alive despite governmental and medical officials in Britain arguing that keeping him alive would only prolong his suffering. The hospital that has been treating him asked permission to take Charlie off life support, and three British courts agreed with this decision. There has been an outpouring of support for the grieving parents, including from Pope Francis. The Vatican released a statement Monday saying that “Francis was praying for Charlie and his parents, and urged the faithful to join him in prayer so that the baby’s parents ‘may find God’s consolation and love.’”
The parents had been fighting to get baby Charlie moved to the United States for further treatment. Charlie’s parents tried to convince the judge to allow them to say goodbye to their son at home; however, it was ruled that hospice would be the best option. The BBC reported that Charlie will be moved to hospice, and his life support will be removed shortly after. —Gabriella Patti
‘Diana, Our Mother’ Offers New Glance at the People’s Princess
This past Monday HBO aired Diana, Our Mother, the first ever documentary on the death of Princess Diana featuring extensive interviews from Princes William and Harry. It's an emotional look at the life of a woman renowned for her beauty and humanitarianism. “The first time I cried was at the funeral,” Harry tells viewers at one point. “And probably since then, maybe only once. So there’s a lot of grief that still needs to be—let out.”
The film includes never before seen photos of the princess with the boys, as well as never before heard conversations between the brothers—maybe even, as Rebecca Mead at the New Yorker puts it, never before had conversations between the two. While, as Mead puts it, the film “does not add much to the already well-known lore of Diana [and] does not even seem to aspire to,” it conveys Diana’s heart. For instance, it recounts her 1987 visit to the Middlesex Hospital that led to a photo with an AIDS patient in the days where many feared the incurable disease. While Diana’s loss was intimate for William and Harry, it was a loss shared by many throughout the world, and this production will likely be a welcome one. —Mary Rose Somarriba
Jeff Bezos, Now World’s Richest Man, Came from Humble Beginnings
This week Bloomberg reported that the world’s richest man is Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and the world is abuzz about it. Along with the news have come many other stories recounting Bezos’ path to fortune, including one from People that highlights how Bezos was the product of a teen pregnancy. His mom Jackie got pregnant at 17, had Bezos, and married a man a few years later who became Bezos’ adoptive father and raised him the rest of his life. We may have always known about Bezos’ ingenuity, but I love hearing about the families behind them and moms who persevere against the odds. —MRS
NPR Compiled Best Albums Made by Women, and We Can’t Get Enough of Them
Nearly fifty women from across the NPR employee roster compiled a list of the top 150 albums made by women. The top ten include wonder women such as Aretha Franklin, Amy Winehouse, Beyoncé, and Joni Mitchell. The list is beautifully curated and will definitely inspire your next playlist or jam sesh.
As NPR’s Ann Powers shared on Morning Air, “These women need to be acknowledged for their vision, not just for their charisma—for the notes they hit and the melodies they charted and the beats they pioneered, for the stories they told and are still telling, every time we really listen to them.” —GP
Angelina Jolie Opens Up to Vanity Fair
Actress Angelina Jolie opened up in an intimate way in a recent spread for Vanity Fair. Having separated from husband Brad Pitt amid allegations of abuse, Jolie shares how she’s regaining her footing in a new home alongside her six children. The lengthy read spans from her early film career to her humanitarian efforts to her directorial projects. Amidst the heavy upheaval in her life, Jolie says she’s finding respite in being present with her children, and putting her health first. “I actually feel more of a woman because I feel like I’m being smart about my choices, and I’m putting my family first, and I’m in charge of my life and my health. I think that’s what makes a woman complete,” Jolie said. —Krysta Scripter
Britain Bans Ads That Objectify Women
British advertising regulators announced that they are developing new guidelines that will effectively ban all ads that “that promote gender stereotypes, sexually objectify women, or promote an unhealthy body image.” This decision was made following the publication of a report by the Advertising Standards Authority, entitled “Depictions, Perceptions, and Harm.” The conclusion was that ads that depict sexist or gendered stereotypes “restrict the choices, aspirations, and opportunities of ad viewers.”
While regulations are still in development, this is important news. U.S. Advertising executive Madonna Badger has likewise said that her company found that the objectification of women is linked to portrayals seen in advertising. Great Britain is not the first country to make rules like this and one hopes they won’t be the last. —GP
When Life Gives You Lemons . . .
A 5-year-old girl in London was fined $200 for selling lemonade on a street corner. Her father, Andre Spicer, says his daughter was approached by police officers who told her she needed a permit to sell goods. The little girl reportedly burst into tears and said, “I’ve done a bad thing.” Spicer said, "She was very upset and had to watch Brave a few times to calm down."
When the local government body that issued the fine realized what had happened, they immediately apologized and canceled the penalty. “We expect our enforcement officers to show common sense and to use their powers sensibly. This clearly did not happen," the East London Tower Hamlets said in a statement. I’m sure police officers have their fair share of having to do unpleasant things for the sake of their jobs, but here's hoping making little girls cry over lemonade stands isn’t on that list in the future. —KS