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Key moments in Blac Chyna’s trial against the Kardashians

To keep up with the Kardashians for the past two weeks, you would’ve had to spend a lot of time at a downtown Los Angeles courthouse, where they’ve been watching and testifying at a trial over a lawsuit brought against them by former reality television star Blac Chyna.

In a verdict delivered Monday while defendants Kim Kardashian, Kris Jenner, Khloe Kardashian and Kylie Jenner were all in New York attending the Met Gala, the Kardashians were victorious.

Here’s a look at the scene, the surroundings and the case that pulled them in.

The setting

The Stanley Mosk civil courthouse is among the most heavily trafficked by celebrities in the world. The famous divorces decided here alone could fill a walk of fame. Kim Kardashian appeared on video in a Mosk courtroom in February to be declared single in her ongoing divorce with Ye, and appeared here in person to finalize her divorce from previous husband Kris Humphries.

In recent years it’s been best known as home to the high drama, and colorful protests, surrounding the Britney Spears conservatorship. Keanu Reeves and Don Johnson each sat through most of civil trials they were parties to. Members of Michael Jackson’s family appeared for much of the long wrongful death case against his doctor.

Still, the courthouse has rarely seen such consistent presence from a group of such well-known stars.

The scene

The Kardashian defendants had all been expected to testify in person during the trial. But many in court were surprised, and a little star struck, when all four strode in wearing business suits on the first day of jury selection, which turned into a public forum where dozens of prospective jurors got to vent their mostly negative feelings about the family. (A few proudly proclaimed their fandom.)

The women sat in the front row of the courtroom — there were too many of them to sit at the defendants’ table — for most of the trial. Kim Kardashian, who is studying law, often carried a binder and took notes.

Court security escorted the family into the courthouse through an underground parking garage. The women waited nearby in a guarded room until proceedings were about to begin, then deputies shepherded them across the hall into the courtroom.

That quick walk still provided memorable moments, as when Kim Kardashian’s boyfriend, “Saturday Night Live” star Pete Davidson, greeted her with a kiss after showing up during closing arguments.

Private security guards — sharply dressed men in sportscoats with telltale earpieces — were both in the courtroom and outside it. At the midday break they brought food to the secluded room from places such as Urth Caffe, a popular LA lunch spot.

The Kardashians’ treatment is common for high-profile parties with court business, due to, as their attorney told one prospective juror, the “dark side” of fame. Some have had to get restraining orders in this courthouse due to stalkers.

But the prospective juror wasn’t entirely satisfied with that explanation, saying, “Does that mean that they need Fiji water hand-delivered to them as they sit in court?”The courtroom with a capacity of 200 was rarely more than half full during the 11-day trial.

About a dozen reporters were in the room throughout. Unlike the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial happening simultaneously in Virginia, which was televised and may have stolen some of the thunder of these proceedings, no cameras were allowed. A pair of sketch artists provided the only visuals.

The suit

Chyna’s lawsuit was filed in 2017 in the aftermath of her engagement to Rob Kardashian. She originally alleged that six women from the Kardashian family had defamed her by falsely spreading word that she had physically abused him, and interfered with her contract by convincing the E! network to cancel their “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” spinoff, “Rob & Chyna.” She sought as much as $108 million.

It was the sort of inter-celebrity suit that that is usually dismissed or settled long before it gets to trial. But this one improbably survived for five years.

Two defendants, Kourtney Kardashian and Kendall Jenner, were dropped during that time.

The stories

Kris Jenner’s two days on the stand provided drama when she testified that she feared Chyna was going to “murder” her son Rob in December of 2016. She teared up when she described being already vulnerable because Kim Kardashian had been tied up in Paris by armed robbers who stole $10 million in jewelry just a few months earlier.

Rob Kardashian, who appeared only to testify, also had a dramatic and emotional stint on the stand, in which he said that Chyna twice held a gun to his head and beat him with a metal rod.

Chyna testified that she was never violent against him, saying she had grabbed his gun playfully, and was joking around when she put a phone cord around his neck.

She conceded that she had damaged a television and a gingerbread house in her anger.

Kardashian lawyer Michael G. Rhodes seized on this in his closing argument. “Who does that? A gingerbread house?” he said. “It’s the happiest thing you can put in a house.” Davidson, in the back of the courtroom, had to stifle a laugh.

Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian and Kylie Jenner were each on the stand only briefly, and their testimony was not especially eventful. The judge dismissed Kim Kardashian as a defendant in the defamation part of the case when he decided no violating statement had been identified.

The jury apparently did not find any of the Kardashians’ stories terribly convincing. They found on the verdict form that they had often acted in bad faith, and were not justified in what they told executives, but found that their statements hadn’t affected Chyna’s TV career or the fate of her show.

The saga

The legal fight is far from over. Chyna’s lawyer says they will appeal the verdict. And a set of separate allegations against only Rob Kardashian will be heard at another trial in about a week.

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EU proposes to ban use of flavored tobacco vaping products

The European Commission on Wednesday proposed to ban the use of flavored tobacco vaping devices in Europe because of concerns about their increasing popularity and health effects.

“With nine out of ten lung cancers caused by tobacco, we want to make smoking as unattractive as possible to protect the health of our citizens and save lives,” said EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides in a statement.

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Read more: Growing number of teenagers are vaping, believe it is ‘fashionable’: UAE experts

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Ghislaine Maxwell handed 20-year prison sentence for sex trafficking  

Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Tuesday for helping the sex offender and globetrotting financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls, in what a judge called a “horrific scheme” that inflicted “incalculable” harm on victims.

The British socialite, 60, was convicted in December of five charges, including sex trafficking a minor, for recruiting and grooming four girls to have sexual encounters with Epstein, then her boyfriend, between 1994 and 2004.

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Speaking at her sentencing hearing in Manhattan federal court before learning the sentence, Maxwell called Epstein a “manipulative, cunning and controlling man” who fooled everyone in his orbit. She said she was “sorry” for the pain that his victims experienced.

“It is the greatest regret of my life that I ever met Jeffrey Epstein,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell's month-long trial in late 2021 was widely seen as the reckoning that Epstein – who killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 at age 66 while awaiting his own sex trafficking trial – never had.

It was one of the highest-profile cases in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which encouraged women to speak out about sexual abuse, often at the hands of wealthy and powerful people.

In imposing the sentence, US Circuit Judge Alison Nathan said Maxwell did not appear to express remorse or accept responsibility.

“Maxwell directly and repeatedly and over the course of many years participated in a horrific scheme to entice, transport and traffic underage girls, some as young as 14, for sexual abuse by and with Jeffrey Epstein,” Nathan said. “The damage done to these young girls was incalculable.”

Bobbi Sternheim, a lawyer for Maxwell, said Maxwell would appeal, arguing the public scrutiny of the case before the trial “left little room for her to be treated fairly.”

“We all know that the person who should have been sentenced today escaped accountability, avoided his victims, avoided absorbing their pain and receiving the punishment he truly deserved,” Sternheim told reporters.

‘Pattern of deflection of blame’

Maxwell’s lawyers had proposed she serve no more than 5-1/4 years, arguing she was being scapegoated for Epstein’s crimes. Prosecutors had last week suggested she serve between 30 and 55 years in prison, but on Tuesday said the 20-year sentence would hold Maxwell accountable for “heinous crimes against children.”

“This sentence sends a strong message that no one is above the law and it is never too late for justice,” Damian Williams, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, said in a statement.

Nathan said Maxwell’s statements showed a “pattern of deflection of blame.”

“Although Epstein was of course central to this criminal scheme, Ms. Maxwell is not being punished in place of Epstein or as a proxy for Epstein,” Nathan said. “Ms. Maxwell was instrumental in the abuse of several underage girls.”

In often emotional and explicit testimony during the trial, Annie Farmer, a woman known as “Kate,” and two other women testified that Maxwell, who was found guilty on five counts, was a central figure in their abuse by Epstein.

During Tuesday's hearing, Farmer, now a psychologist, said her experience being exploited by Maxwell “resulted in significant shame” that sometimes left her feeling like she wanted to “disappear.”

Kate said she was proud to help hold Maxwell accountable.

“Today, I can look at Ghislaine and tell her that I became what I am today in spite of her and her efforts to make me feel powerless and insignificant, and I will cast that empowerment on my daughter,” Kate said.

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UK hospital uses holographic patients, XR to train future doctors in world’s first

A hospital in the United Kingdom has become the first in the world to train its future doctors with the use of holographic patients.

Researchers at the Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge have developed mixed-reality technology that can mimic medical situations for students through which they can treat virtual patients.

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During these simulations, medical students encounter a virtual patient experiencing symptoms and must make decisions on how to care of it in real-time.

The students wearing the mixed-reality headsets are able to see each other in real life, while also interacting with a multi-layered, medically accurate holographic patient, a statement by Cambridge University Hospitals said. This enables an environment where medical students can learn and practice vita decision making and treatment in real-time.

The new mixed-reality training application, HoloScenarios, is being developed by Cambridge University Hospitals National Health Service Foundation Trust (CUH) in partnership with the University of Cambridge and Los Angeles-based technology company GigXR.

NHS medical director Sir Stephen Powis said that this new technology “could enhance the learning experience of our next generation of doctors, nurses and healthcare workers, by creating new environments to practice medicine in real-time, while improving access to training worldwide.”

Through the same type of mixed-reality headset, medical instructors can alter patient responses, introduce complications to the simulations, and record observations and discussions. This can be conducted in person within a teaching group or remotely, and can be done in various locations worldwide via the internet.

“This makes training much more interactive and realistic, and you can safely make mistakes and learn from them,” said CUH junior doctor Aniket Bharadwaj.

“Throughout medical school we would have situations where actors would come in an act as patients. With the pandemic a lot of that changed to tablet-based interactions because of the risk to people of the virus.”

Learners can watch, contribute to and assess these patient scenarios from their Android or iOS smartphones, or tablets. The technology is now available for license to learning institutions all over the world.

The first module features a hologram patient with asthma, followed by anaphylaxis, pulmonary embolism and pneumonia, the statement revealed, adding that further modules in cardiology and neurology are now in development.

“Mixed reality is increasingly recognized as a useful method of simulator training. As institutions scale procurement, the demand for platforms that offer utility and ease of mixed reality learning management is rapidly expanding,” said the project’s leader Dr. Aruna Gupta, who is also a consultant anesthetist at CUH and director of postgraduate education at Cambridge University Health Partnership.

The new technology provides an opportunity for more flexible, cost-effective training without heavy resource demand of traditional simulations, which can make immersive training financially prohibitive.

“Empowering instructors with 360-degree preparation for clinical practice represents a milestone for GigXR that allows us to provide our customers with a library of applications that offers solutions for students from their first courses to continuing education,” said GigXR founder David King Lassman.

“Our first HoloScenarios module represents a new and incredibly powerful way to use mixed reality for healthcare training, to be followed up by many more modules and new applications delivered soon.”

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