We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—Verily's quick takes on the happenings of this week.
Serena Williams is retiring to focus on her family
In an essay for Vogue, Serena Williams announced her retirement from tennis to spend more time with growing her family. The tennis champion, who has a 5-year-old girl with Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, said that she wouldn’t have to make this decision if she were a man.
“Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family,” she wrote. “I don’t think it’s fair. If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labor of expanding our family.”
Yet even Williams admits that giving birth to her daughter didn’t hold her back. “A lot of people don’t realize that I was two months pregnant when I won the Australian Open in 2017,” she wrote, adding later, “ I went from a C-section to a second pulmonary embolism to a grand slam final. I played while breastfeeding. I played through postpartum depression.”
Williams, considered the best female tennis player of all time, is a 23-time Grand Slam champion. She is now 40, well beyond the age most tennis players retire. After playing a match in Toronto this week, “She did not state precisely what her last event will be, but did make it sound as if her final farewell will come at the U.S. Open, which begins August 29 in New York,” ESPN reports.
“I don’t want it to be over,” Williams wrote for Vogue, “but at the same time I’m ready for what’s next … these days, if I have to choose between building my tennis résumé and building my family, I choose the latter.” —Madeline Fry Schultz
FBI raids Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home
FBI agents raided former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home on Monday. The raid may be connected to documents in Trump’s possession sought by the National Archives, to which all official documents are to be given when a president leaves office. A federal magistrate judge would have had to approve the warrant after seeing evidence a crime had been committed.
Attorney General Merrick Garland revealed on Thursday that he had approved the decision to seek a search warrant for the raid. On Friday afternoon, a judge granted the Justice Department’s request to unseal the warrant.
The New York Times reports, “The seized documents were part of an inquiry into violation of the Espionage Act and two other laws. A list of documents removed from former President Donald J. Trump’s Florida residence, Mar-a-Lago, includes materials marked as top secret and meant to be viewed only in secure government facilities.”
Back in January, Trump turned over 15 boxes of documents to the National Archives after months of delay. After the FBI raid on Monday, the Wall Street Journal reports that “the episode points to a sharp escalation in the Justice Department’s inquiry into Mr. Trump, which also includes an investigation into the events leading up to the January 6, 2021, riot on the Capitol.” Never before has the FBI raided a president’s home, a move that prompted Trump supporters to rally near his residence in Palm Beach, Florida.
“After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate,” Trump said in a statement, arguing that the raid was an attack from Democrats who don’t want him to run in 2024 and are worried about Republican wins in November’s midterm elections. He also compared the event to Watergate.
The Biden administration claimed it had no knowledge of the raid until after the fact. "We learned just like the American people did," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday. Jean-Pierre said Biden is committed to Justice Department investigations being “free of political influence.” —MFS
Author Salmon Rushdie is attacked before speaking appearance
Salman Rushdie, the author of more than a dozen books that often deal with themes of religion and Islam through satire, was attacked on Friday, August 12 as he prepared to give a lecture at Chautauqua Institution in Western New York. A man rushed the stage and stabbed Rushdie in the neck, only stopping his attack when reportedly five men were able to take him to the ground. Rushdie was airlifted to the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.
Rushdie has been the target of attacks and attempted assassinations, appearing on Al Qaeda’s hit list in 2010. His 1988 novel, The Satanic Verses, was banned in Iran, causing the writer to be placed under police protection in Britain as death threats were hurled his way. Over 30 years later, these threats are still present, and Rushdie’s attack is an event that the New York Times says is sending “ripples of shock and horror through the literary world.” —Gabrielle Sanford
Singer and Actress Olivia Newton-John passes away at 73
Australian actress and singer Olivia Newton-John best known for her role as Sandy in the 1978 blockbuster movie Grease, passed away Monday at age 73.
"Dame Olivia Newton-John passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends. We ask that everyone please respect the family's privacy during this very difficult time," her husband, John Easterling, wrote in a statement on the singer's verified Instagram account. "Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer."
In 2018, Newton-John announced she was undergoing cancer treatments this was her third cancer treatment. Newton-John first achieved fame as a pop singer in the seventies but starred in one of the most famous movies of all time Grease as Sandy alongside actor John Travolta.
“My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better,” John Travolta wrote in an Instagram tribute Monday, for his former costar. “Your impact was incredible. I love you so much. We will see you down the road and we will all be together again. Yours from the first moment I saw you and forever! Your Danny, your John!” —Gabriella Patti
Miss Universe Pageant announces change to include wives, mothers in competition
After 70 years, the Miss Universe Pageant is making a change to its eligibility rules and will now allow women who are wives and mothers to compete in the pageant. This change will effective starting at the 72nd pageant in 2023.
Currently, the rules state that only single women between the ages of 18-28 are allowed to compete. Although women no longer need to be single to participate, the age bracket will remain the same.
In an internal memo from the Miss Universe corporation they stated “We all believe that women should have agency over their lives and that a human’s personal decisions should not be a barrier to their success.”
Miss Universe 2020, Andrea Meza who represented Mexico, told Insider that the change is long overdue.
“I honestly love that this is happening,” Meza said. “Just like society changes and women are now occupying leadership positions where in the past only men could, it was about time pageants changed and opened up to women with families. There are a lot of women that got married young or had kids in their early 20s and they always wanted to participate in Miss Universe but couldn’t because of the rules. Now those women can start or boost their careers in entertainment because of these changes.”
Meza stated that some people have been against the change because they prefer to see a “single, beautiful woman who is available for a relationship.”
“Just like in any other industry, women are capable of having demanding leadership positions without or with a family, it is no different in this case,” Meza added. —GMP
Good News of the Week
A recently published study reveals that leisure activities such as taking a walk, playing games, seeing friends, and reading a book can help reduce dementia.
A meta-analysis published Wednesday in Neurology, the online journal of the American Academy of Neurology, looked at a total of 38 longitudinal studies, with 2,154,818 participants in all, and found that physical, cognitive and social leisure activities are "inversely associated with risk of" Alzheimer’s disease (AD), vascular dementia (VD) and all-cause dementia (ACD).
Consider this just another reminder to cuddle up with a book or get together with your girlfriends this week. —Mary Rose Somarriba
Watch of the Week
As we remember the life of Olivia Newton-John this week, enjoy this clip of her performing “Hopelessly Devoted to You” from Grease.