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

Feminist groups sign letter in support of Amber Heard

More than 130 feminists and women’s organizations have signed an open letter supporting Amber Heard, who alleged her ex-husband, actor Johnny Depp, abused her. Heard lost a defamation suit against Depp earlier this year.

The letter’s signatories include Gloria Steinem, the National Organization for Women, the Women’s March Foundation, and more.

“In our opinion, the Depp v. Heard verdict and continued discourse around it indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of intimate partner and sexual violence and how survivors respond to it,” the letter reads. “The damaging consequences of the spread of this misinformation are incalculable. We have grave concerns about the rising misuse of defamation suits to threaten and silence survivors.”

Kathy Spillar, the executive director of the Feminist Majority Foundation, told NBC that the foundation signed the letter in response to “growing backlash” against women who condemn the perpetrators of sexual assault or domestic abuse.

“If this can happen to Amber Heard, it will discourage other women from speaking up and even filing reports about domestic violence and sexual assault,” Spillar said.

In June, Virginia’s Fairfax County Circuit Court awarded Depp $15 million in damages for a 2018 Washington Post essay in which Heard did not name him but alleged she was a victim of domestic abuse. According to NBC News, "The jury unanimously found that Heard could not substantiate her allegations against Depp and that she knew her claims of abuse were false when she published her 2018 essay." Last month, Heard began laying the groundwork for an appeal. —Madeline Fry Schultz

Trump is running again in 2024

Former President Donald Trump, who continues to insist that he won the presidential election in 2020, announced on Tuesday that he is running for president in 2024. The announcement came exactly one week after many of Trump’s hand-picked candidates lost their races in the midterm elections.

“This comeback starts right now,” Trump said during the announcement at his Mar-a-Lago residence. “In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States.”

Since leaving office, Trump has been embroiled in legal troubles, with the FBI raiding his home to retrieve classified documents in August.

“Trump’s urgency to announce also comes from wanting to get ahead of a potential indictment in any of the several ongoing criminal investigations into his conduct,” the Washington Post reports. “He and close associates are under multiple criminal investigations: by the Justice Department for the effort to submit phony electors claiming Trump won key states in the 2020 election and for the mishandling of classified documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago; and by an Atlanta-area prosecutor for pressuring Georgia officials to overturn that state’s election results.”

Whatever his reasons, Trump may be betting his presidential bid on Republican Party support that just isn’t there anymore. In a recent poll of Florida Republican primary voters, Governor Ron DeSantis beat Trump by 45 percentage points. —MFS

Taylor Swift fans break the internet—and Ticketmaster

If you managed to get tickets to Taylor Swift’s "Eras" tour when the presale began on Tuesday, you’re the lucky one. The rollout of tickets for Swift’s upcoming tour following her Midnights album was a total disaster, with Ticketmaster crashing and Swifties waiting hours to be able to purchase tickets. The early rollout was supposed to be just for diehard fans who had been given access to the presale, but millions more reportedly flooded the website, as well as billions of bots.

Now, Ticketmaster has canceled its release of tickets available to the general public, which the website was supposed to drop on Friday. Some 90 percent of the tour’s tickets have already been purchased, and tickets are being resold with markups of tens of thousands of dollars.

“There are a multitude of reasons why people had such a hard time trying to get tickets and I’m trying to figure out how this situation can be improved moving forward,” Swift said in response to the debacle on social media. “I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could. It’s truly amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really pisses me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them.” —MFS

Beyoncé leads Grammy nods, tying Jay-Z for nomination record

The nominations for next year’s Grammy awards are out, and Beyoncé leads the pack with nine nominations. No matter how many she wins, she has already broken a record.

Since Beyoncé has snagged 88 Grammy nominations throughout her career, she is tied with her husband, Jay-Z, for the most-nominated artist in Grammy history. “Now,” Pitchfork reports, “she just needs to win four of those categories to surpass orchestral conductor Sir Georg Solti as the most Grammy-winning individual ever.”

Other highly nominated artists this year are Kendrick Lamar (eight), Adele and Brandi Carlile (seven), Mary J. Blige, DJ Khaled, Future, and Harry Styles (six). Popular songs include Adele’s “Easy on Me,” Lizzo’s “About Damn Time,” and Doja Cat’s “Woman,” which each received nominations for Record of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance.

Taylor Swift, of course, is also up for several awards: Song of the Year and Best Music Video, both for “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)”; Best Country Song for “I Bet You Think About Me (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)”; and Best Song Written For Visual Media for “Carolina (From Where the Crawdads Sing).”

If you care to tune in, next year’s Grammy awards are Sunday, February 5. If not, you can listen to most of the nominated artists on the radio—or TikTok. —MFS

Five Iranian protesters sentenced to death, thousands more detained

Five individuals have been sentenced to death in relation to ongoing protests in Iran against the government, which erupted following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was killed in the custody of Iran’s morality police for allegedly breaking hijab rules.

A viral meme circulated on social media claiming 15 thousand of Iranians had been sentenced to death. However, it was later revealed that this information was false; in fact, 15 thousand had been arrested, two thousand protestors had been officially charged, and five had been sentenced to death.

Norway-based Iran Human Rights said that 20 protesters face charges punishable by death. Iran Human Rights also reports that at least 326 protesters, including 43 children, have been killed, while other human rights agencies estimate that these numbers are higher.

"Protesters don't have access to lawyers in the interrogation phase, they are subjected to physical and mental torture to give false confessions, and sentenced based on the confessions," the director of Norway-based Iran Human Rights, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, said.

Iran has the highest execution rate of any country in the world, according to Iran Human Rights, and Iran’s parliament issued a statement demanding “decisive action” against protestors. —GP

World Cup kicks off in Qatar despite boycott, protests

The World Cup is underway in Doha, Qatar, despite the host country’s dubious human rights record and strict laws. Reports have shown that at least 6,500 migrant workers died while preparing the tournament's infrastructure, and many fans have moved to protest the World Cup.

Additionally, early Friday morning, just two days before kick-off, Qatari officials and FIFA decided to ban alcohol sales at the World Cup. Many met this decision with shock and frustration, as Budweiser has been an important World Cup sponsor since 1986.

Despite the protests, millions of fans descended on Doha for the opening ceremonies and the opening match between Qatar and Ecuador, which ended Qatar 0-2 Ecuador.

On Monday, Team USA tied 1-1 with Wales, England beat Iran 6-2, and The Netherlands beat Senegal 2-0.

In perhaps one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history, Saudi Arabia beat Argentina 2-1. Argentina is ranked third in the world and has been unbeaten for three years. Saudi Arabia ranks 51st.

The World Cup will continue for the next several weeks, ending with the final game on Sunday, December 18. —GP

Good News

95-year-old Angela Alvarez made history Thursday night as the oldest person to win a Latin Grammy.

Alvarez, who has been singing for nine decades, was born in Cuba. As a young girl, her father disapproved of her dream to become a professional singer and told her to save her singing for her family, not the public. Alvarez held onto her dream even as she was separated from her four children during political turmoil in Cuba and later through the loss of her husband to cancer.

Alvarez’s dream finally had a chance of coming true when her grandson, an LA-based composer, produced an album of her music, released in June 2021.

In her acceptance speech, Alvarez thanked her grandson and encouraged others to never give up on their dreams.

“To those who have yet to make their dreams come true, know that although life is hard, there’s always a way out, and with faith and love everything can be achieved,” Alvarez said. —GP

Watch of the Week

Watch Angela Alvarez perform her song, “Un Canto a Mi Cuba,” on Jimmy Kimmel Live.