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Netflix Moves to Make ‘House of Cards’ All About Claire—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.

We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.


TIME Person of the Year Recalls #MeToo

TIME has named its new Person of the Year—and it is more than one person. While many expected that President Trump might win again, TIME actually gave the prestigious title to the women who broke the silence of sexual assault this year. The group was large and included Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan, and Taylor Swift. These women are now labeled “The Silence Breakers.” According to editor in chief Edward Felsenthal, the #MeToo movement is the “fastest-moving social change we’ve seen in decades, and it began with individual acts of courage by women and some men, too.” —Mary Margaret Olohan

No Rings for Russia

Russia has officially been banned from participating in the Winter Olympics. According to the New York Times, “The country’s government officials are forbidden to attend, its flag will not be displayed at the opening ceremony, and its anthem will not sound.” The decision was made to ban Russia after it was discovered that the country had been systematically doping its Olympic athletes via “an extensive state-backed doping program.” The International Olympic Committee has ruled that in the event a special dispensation is given to any specific Russian athlete and this player is allowed to participate in the Olympics, the player must wear neutral clothing, and any medals that he or she wins will not be awarded in Russia’s name. —MMO

Robin Wright Will Be Center Stage in House of Cards Season 6

Robin Wright will be taking Kevin Spacey’s place in the limelight of season six of House of Cards. According to the New York Times, Spacey was recently fired from the show after a multitude of sexual allegations against him were revealed. As recently as 2016, Spacey reportedly sexually assaulted an 18-year-old girl in a bar in Massachusetts, and fellow House of Cards member Anthony Rapp caused a stir by revealing that Spacey had assaulted him in 1986 when he was a minor. Now Wright’s character in the show will be taking Spacey’s place as the lead—ironically by becoming president instead of Spacey’s character, who has resigned in disgrace. —MMO

The Work Holiday Party Might Look a Bit Different This Year

In the wake of this year’s string of sexual harassment cases being brought to light, companies are setting regulations for their employees, especially with approaching holiday work parties. In a Wall Street Journal article this past week, reports say that many companies are doing away with open bars at holiday soirees, with some getting rid of alcohol altogether at the gatherings. For example, software start-up COO Brandon Bruce plans to host his company’s holiday party at the local children’s science museum in order to have fun in a family-friendly setting. Brian Kropp, head of an HR practice group, told his HR employees they should “consider the holiday party a work night because they will be expected to police the event for bad behavior.” What does that mean exactly? “They were told to go ahead and interrupt that conversation if they don’t like the looks of it,” he said. “. . . Let them dance together, but not too close.” If there’s one thing finally being made clear this year, it’s that there’s no place for mistletoe when you’re with your managers. —Victoria Rabuse

L.A. Devastated by a Fiery Blaze

Dubbed “the Thomas fire” because of its close starting proximity to St. Thomas Aquinas College, a wildfire has caused serious damage to Southern California. According to the Los Angeles Times, fierce winds have impacted the spread of the fires so seriously that many different communities have been forced to evacuate from neighborhoods and colleges to nursing homes. The fire has covered more than 115,000 acres and spread from Santa Paula to the Pacific Ocean. While 50,000 people have been forced to evacuate, state officials warn that about 12,000 homes still remain in danger. Officials hope for fog and rain to quell the destruction that the Thomas fire has caused—hopefully by Friday, they say, the winds will have ceased. —MMO

Campus Sexual Assault Reporting Taken On by Tech

After the U.S. Education Department changed the protocol for reporting sexual assault on campuses earlier this fall, many students have wondered about the steps they need to take in situations of sexual assault. One person’s solution has begun to spread: a software called Callisto for secure online reporting of sexual abuse and harassment. Developed by Jessica Ladd, who struggled with the traumatic nature of the reporting process herself when she was in college, Callisto has spread to twelve campuses and almost 150,000 users since its launch two and a half years ago. According to NPR, “Students can log on 24/7 to write a secure online account of their experience. The questions are based on best practices for investigating victims of traumatic events. The written account is encrypted and time-stamped.” After writing their accounts, the students can keep them private, send them to their Title IX coordinators, or pass the information to the police. NPR reports that Ladd’s ultimate vision “is big: a central site where survivors, whether in school or in the workplace, can come to learn about their rights and tell their story—and if they name the same perpetrator, they can connect with each other securely.” With the recent changes in the reporting process, it’s empowering to see a woman creating a platform where victims can be heard. As Ladd says, “How do we start to give power back to victims? One of the ways is to help them find each other.” —VR

Stranger Things Just Keep on Happening

The new year hasn’t even started yet, but we already know that it will be bringing the same thrills and chills we’ve found on Netflix since 2016. This past week, Netflix announced its decision to renew Stranger Things, The Duffer Brothers’ smash hit, for a third season. With a cheeky tweet, Netflix announced, “Should we make another season of Stranger Things? FOR THE LOVE OF STEVE, DUH! So hold tight baby darts—season 3 is officially happening.” The Huffington Post reported that “three days after the season 2 release, 15.8 million people had watched the premiere episode,” and fans couldn’t wait for the next installment. Since the first and second seasons were released a year apart, The Duffer Brothers expect to jump a time gap between seasons two and three as well, mostly because of their quickly aging cast of teenagers. We’re counting down the days until the lovable Hawkins AV club and mom of the year Winona Ryder grace our screens once more. —VR

All That Glitters Is Not Gold

After a New Zealand environmental anthropologist told The Independent last month that “all glitter should be banned,” numerous news outlets have picked up the story. According to the New York Times, the claims are partly true. Glitter is made from microplastics and, when washed down the drain, can seep into various freshwater sources. Glitter’s main issue, unlike other pollutants, is that it “sticks around.” Plastic pollution researcher Sherri A. Mason said that “glitter, like any other plastic particles, can carry chemicals that are ingested by small creatures and then make their way up the food chain.” Have no fear, though, glitter-lovers! Many companies are now making the shiny flecks from degradable materials rather than the microplastics, which means your holiday season can still shine merry and bright. —VR