Key events since George Floyd's arrest and death
- The Daily Beast
JUAN BARRETO/AFP via Getty ImagesBOGOTÁ—As Colombia concludes nine days of nationwide protests with hundreds of thousands of individuals taking to the streets, a dispirited government led by lame duck President Ivan Duque continues to cast aspersions that the marches have been premeditated, organized and financed by illegal groups involved in narco-trafficking.The concern is what comes after these declarations, as there is neither any sign that the protests—triggered at first by an unpopular tax reform bill—are diminishing in size or spread, nor that the government plans to de-escalate their militarization of towns and cities.“These actions were organized and financed by the FARC dissident groups and the ELN guerrillas,” said Minister of Defense Diego Molano on Sunday. “Amongst the criminal organizations, we have identified the following movements or groups: JM19, Luis Otero Cifuentes, Gentil Duarte, the escudos azules, and the escudos negros,” added Molano, referring to illegal armed groups involved in cocaine production and trafficking in Colombia.Colombian Cops Killed, Maimed, and Sexually Abused Protesters During Anti-Police UprisingPart of a tired strategy employed in Colombia which people now openly question, this laundry list of armed groups detailed by Molano has also been repeated by the president and the district attorney. But this narrative feeds into something even more worrying: the possibility that the government, with momentum now firmly with protesters, may declare a state of emergency.The move to declare a state of emergency, albeit drastic, would permit authorities to skip due process, control the flow of information, make arbitrary detainments, and further erode human rights. Local NGO Temblores has registered 37 homicides, 1,708 cases of police brutality, and 10 cases of sexual violence at the hands of the police since protests began on April 28, and international organizations like Amnesty International have called on authorities to guarantee the Colombian people’s right to peaceful protest.“They look like war warriors in the early ’90s casting about for a new enemy to accuse their political opponents of colluding with,” Adam Isacson, director for defense oversight at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), told The Daily Beast. “For 50 years they delegitimize peaceful political opponents by accusing them of links to the FARC. Some got killed by paramilitaries—and it was certainly impossible to have a big broad-based protest.”Isacson added: “Now the big national guerrilla group is gone. But they’re still trying to stigmatize the protesters by tying them to guerrillas. It looks sort of ridiculous now because the new enemy is small, dispersed, and not very ideological.”Nightly running street battles in smaller towns, in addition to major cities, have led to the government miscalculating the extent of the resentment and polarization in the country. Images of bloodied citizens have flooded social media, footage of police tasering and killing protesters and ARVs popping off tear gas and flash-bang grenades into crowds have circulated on social media, prompting global outrage.“We are marching for equality and that the injustices, deaths and massacres are brought to an end in Colombia,” Luisa, a student protester in Bogotá, told The Daily Beast. “We’re marching for dignity, education and food.”The overarching belief amongst protestors is that the government is deaf to the needs of the people and out of touch with reality. Poverty levels rose to 42.5 percent of the population last year amid coronavirus lockdowns, further increasing longstanding inequities within Colombian society. The number of Colombians living in extreme poverty grew by 2.8 million in 2020.Although the discontent has led to the wanton vandalism and destruction of police stations and public transport systems over the past week, it finds its roots in profound issues. Protesters are demanding that the government commit to the 2016 peace accord with the FARC and prevent further massacres and killings of social leaders in the country. According to Colombian research NGO Indepaz, there have been 33 massacres and 57 killings in 2021 so far carried out by illegal armed groups, a problem that the government has failed to appropriately address.Other demands voiced by protesters include the outlawing of fracking, acting on rampant police brutality, and putting an end to the spraying of chemicals on coca plants across the country, which are harmful to humans and the environment.Instead of addressing these concerns, President Duque’s move has been to militarize the country, crack down on the democratic right to protest, and spin information suggesting that what is currently taking place in Colombia is little more than a “narco-terrorist” plot.It begs the question, who is calling the shots?“I think the government is talking to its base, which is becoming more radicalized as the protests are evolving,” Sergio Guzman, of Colombia Risk Analysis, told The Daily Beast. “I think they are waiting to see what sticks. This is because the reality sheds a negative light on them as they cannot address the facts.”While there may be ELN and dissident support networks members taking part in some of the vandalism, there is no evidence to suggest that they’re masterminding it or even commanding very many people.The question remains: If this cold war rhetoric is unsuccessful, then what comes next?Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- Associated Press
Police in Thailand said Friday they have charged a U.S. citizen from the state of Colorado with murdering his pregnant Thai wife. Jason Matthew Balzer, 32, was interrogated Friday in the northern city of Nan where he had lived with Pitchaporn Kidchob, said police Lt. Col. Somkiat Ruam-ngern. Balzer was arrested Thursday in the northern city of Chiang Mai and confessed to killing his 32-year-old wife, said Maj. Gen. Weerachon Boontawee, chief of Provincial Police Region 5′s Detective Department.
- The Independent
‘It is ironic that we came to India for two weeks and he contracted it here,’ says Dr Rajendra Kapila’s widow
The government will bring some "vulnerable" Australians home after its travel ban ends next week.
- The Week
Dr. Rajendra Kapila, an infectious disease expert and professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, died of COVID-19 last month while in India. Kapila, 81, died on April 28, three weeks after testing positive for COVID-19, ABC News reports. India is the world's biggest COVID-19 hotspot, and Kapila went to the country to help care for relatives, his ex-wife, Dr. Bina Kapila, told WABC. She said he only planned on staying in India for a short period of time. In a statement, Rutgers called Kapila a "genuine giant in the field of infectious diseases" who was "recognized worldwide and sought out for his legendary knowledge and extraordinary clinical acumen in diagnosing and treating the most complex infectious diseases." Kapila founded Rutgers' Division of Infectious Diseases, was a founding member of the New Jersey Infectious Disease Society, and "provided care to tens of thousands of patients and trained numerous generations of medical students, residents, and fellows," Rutgers said. His wife, Dr. Deepti Saxena-Kapila, said her husband was fully vaccinated before traveling to India; while it is extremely rare for a vaccinated person to die of COVID-19, most who have died had underlying health conditions and were older, ABC News reports. Kapila's ex-wife told WABC he had heart issues and diabetes. More stories from theweek.comHouse GOP leader Kevin McCarthy apparently pays $1,500 to live in a 12-bedroom, 16-bath penthouseThe insurrectionists are winningElise Stefanik tells Steve Bannon in 2022, Republicans need Trump and 'his coalition of voters'
- The Daily Beast
Fox NewsIn what has become a commonplace occurrence these days, Fox News host Tucker Carlson addressed a controversy purely of his own making on Thursday night, this time regarding his dangerous and sloppy suggestion that dozens of Americans a day are dying from the coronavirus vaccines.How did he explain away the highly misleading and disingenuous speculation? Well, by blaming it all on President Joe Biden, of course.Carlson, who has increasingly sought to cast doubt on the efficacy and safety of the highly effective vaccines, took his vaccine skepticism to new heights on Wednesday night when he cited a faulty open-sourced database dubbed a “a breeding ground for misinformation” to suggest that thousands of Americans have died from the shots.“Between late December of 2020 and last month, a total of 3,362 people apparently died after getting the COVID vaccine in the United States,” Carlson exclaimed, citing the Center for Disease Control’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. “That is an average of roughly 30 people every day. So, what does that add up to? By the way, that reporting period ended on April 23, and we don’t have numbers past that.”While acknowledging that there’s been criticism of the VAERS database’s numbers and insisting he believes “vaccines aren’t dangerous,” Carlson still spent 15 minutes speculating that the federally authorized COVID-19 vaccines are leading to an untold number of deaths.“The actual number is almost certainly higher than [30 people every day], perhaps vastly higher than that,” he said at one point.Of course, Carlson never once noted that the CDC itself had analyzed the reports of deaths submitted to VAERS—which is nothing more than open-access data—and offered the following conclusion: “A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines.”Following a 24-hour period in which he was roundly criticized and fact-checked—including from his own Fox colleagues—Carlson issued his rebuttal. And he wanted his critics to know he was “just asking questions.” Oh, and it’s also Biden’s fault.“We looked up the numbers the Biden administration has gathered on vaccine safety. Then last night, we boldly read those numbers on television—the Biden numbers,” Carlson began with a mocking tone.“As we did that, we noted the administration’s reporting system for injuries—it’s called VAERS—has been credibly accused of being inaccurate,” he added. “We also noted that very same system has been used for a long time.”Once again insisting that “more deaths have been connected to the new COVID vaccines over the past four months than all previous vaccines combined” in recent years—again, something the CDC has thoroughly knocked down—Carlson claimed he was just seeking answers.“Very same system, very different results,” he said, adding: “How does this happen? So what is that explanation? We still don’t know. Instead of answering that simple and important question, the usual chorus of partisans started screaming and calling for censorship!”After mocking his critics for telling him the VAERS numbers are untrustworthy, he wanted to know why “hasn’t the Biden administration fixed its reporting system” and “what are the real numbers.”Carlson, meanwhile, ended the segment by flipping the indignation over his reckless speculation back onto his critics, insisting they are actually the ones who are doing harm to the public.“It’s fair to ask how much harm this medicine causes. No one has told us,” he declared. “Their position is, you don’t need to know the rate of injury! That doesn’t matter. Anyone who asks about harm is immoral. That’s what they’re arguing. If you ever find yourself arguing that, you will know for certain you have lost the thread. You are no longer arguing for public health. You’re doing something else entirely.”Carlson, of course, could just read the disclaimers when searching the database to realize that it’s not a typical government data source and the numbers don’t reflect direct causation.“Reports may include incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental and unverified information,” one disclaimer reads, while another warns: “The number of reports alone cannot be interpreted or used to reach conclusions about the existence, severity, frequency, or rates of problems associated with vaccines.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
SYDNEY (Reuters) -Australian citizens stranded in COVID-ravaged India will be able to return home from May 15, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday, as Sydney remains on high alert for a potential outbreak. Morrison stood by his decision to impose a biosecurity order barring flights to and from India, a ban that was backed by potential prosecution and financial penalties. The policy drew heavy criticism from lawmakers, expatriates and the Indian diaspora, but Morrison said it had worked to slow the rate of COVID-19 infections in people quarantined in Australia.
Stephens has debuted a new line of swimwear in partnership with the women’s active wear brand, Solid & Striped and the “goal was to create a line that makes you feel confident, comfortable, and always serving looks.” Tennis star Sloane Stephens is serving up fresh fashions right on time for summer. As a partner with the women’s activewear brand, Solid & Striped, Stephens debuted her new line of swimwear and cover-ups on Thursday.
- Business Insider
Melinda Gates was upset and uncomfortable after she and Bill Gates met with Jeffrey Epstein, The Daily Beast reports
Sources told The Daily Beast that Bill Gates' relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein "still haunts" Melinda.
BERLIN (Reuters) -The third wave of the coronavirus pandemic appears to be broken, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Friday, as social distancing measures and an accelerating vaccination campaign help lower the infection rate. "The third wave appears to be broken," Spahn told a regular weekly news briefing on Germany's pandemic management. The head of the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases, Lothar Wieler, said the incidence of COVID-19 infections was falling across all age groups, and he was hopeful of soon controlling the pandemic in Germany.
Former Republican pollster Frank Luntz tells Kara Swisher on her New York Times podcast "Sway" that Donald Trump's lies about the 2020 election "could cost the Republicans the majority in the House in 2022."Why it matters: The former president is still the most popular figure in the Republican Party, but his baseless claims about the election have alienated moderates and key GOP leaders — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.).Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.Key exchange: Luntz: "More than two-thirds of Republicans believe that the election was stolen."Swisher: "So it's working. This 'Big Lie' thing is working."Luntz: "It is working. ... What Donald Trump is saying is actually telling people it's not worth it to vote. Donald Trump single-handedly may cause people not to vote. And he may be the greatest tool in the Democrats' arsenal to keep control of the House and Senate in 2022."The big picture: "If Donald Trump runs for president as a Republican, he's the odds-on favorite to win the nomination," Luntz added. "He could never win a general election, but I can't imagine losing a Republican primary. ... I would bet on him to be the nominee and I would bet on him losing to whatever Democratic nominee there was."Listen up.Like this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.
- The Independent
‘I’m a vet ... f*** you all!’: Capitol riot suspect screams at judge and disconnects call during wild hearing, report says
Attempts to mute defendant were unsuccessful and he may face competency hearing and detention
- Business Insider
Mitch McConnell's alma mater rejects his views on the 1619 Project and says they are 'quite troubling'
"To imply that slavery is not an important part" of US history "fails to provide a true representation of the facts," a university official said.
DeGeneres shut down speculation that she was living with the "Friends" star because of "marital troubles."
- National Review
President Biden said “I don’t understand the Republicans” in response to a question on Wednesday about a GOP push to remove Representative Liz Cheney (R., Wy.) from her role as chair of the House Republican Conference. Biden’s initial comment came as he returned to his motorcade from a Washington, D.C., taqueria. Later at the White House, Biden added to his comments, saying that he believes the GOP is having an identity crisis. “They’re in the midst of a significant, sort of, mini-revolution going on in the Republican Party,” Biden said. “… I think the Republicans are further away from trying to figure out who they are and what they stand for than I thought they would be at this point.” BIDEN: There's a "mini-revolution going on in the Republican Party." "I think the Republicans are further away from trying to figure out who they are and what they stand for than I thought they would be at this point." pic.twitter.com/EhCgO1hjzo — Breaking911 (@Breaking911) May 5, 2021 The president’s remarks follow reports that GOP leaders are looking to oust Cheney from her No. 3 leadership position after she told the New York Post last week that while she believes Republicans could take back the presidency in 2024, she thinks lawmakers who supported Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election results should be disqualified from running. Representative Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.) has received support from former President Trump as well as the top two Republicans in the House for her bid to replace Cheney. A spokeswoman for House GOP Whip Steve Scalise (R., La.) said Wednesday that the No. 2 Republican in the House “has pledged to support [Stefanik] for conference chair.” “House Republicans need to be solely focused on taking back the House in 2022 and fighting against Speaker Pelosi and President Biden’s radical socialist agenda, and Elise Stefanik is strongly committed to doing that,” Scalise’s spokeswoman, Lauren Fine, said in a statement. Meanwhile, according to Punchbowl News, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) is working with Scalise to support Stefanik for Conference Chair after having told Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy in off-air comments that he thinks Cheney has “got real problems.” “I’ve had it with … I’ve had it with her. You know, I’ve lost confidence. … Well, someone just has to bring a motion, but I assume that will probably take place,” McCarthy said in a tape of the conversation, which was obtained by Axios on Tuesday. Cheney has drawn the ire of her Republican colleagues repeatedly since she voted in favor of Trump’s second impeachment but previously survived a secret ballot the House GOP conference conducted in February over whether to keep her in her post. The conference voted 145–61 to keep Cheney in her leadership role at that time. Recent comments from party leadership seem to suggest the House GOP could hold a second vote to oust Cheney in the near future.
- Associated Press
Qatar's finance minister was being questioned over alleged abuse of power and misuse of public funds in the energy-rich state after the attorney general ordered him arrested, state-run media reported Thursday. The detention of Ali Sharif al-Emadi is a rare move that analysts said could herald a larger campaign to increase transparency and root out graft in the sheikhdom. The Qatar News Agency said the attorney general had ordered al-Emadi detained but did not provide other details about the graft case involving the minister, who has held the post since 2013.
A wave of women streaming in bikinis - the 'hot tub meta' trend - has caused an uproar on Twitch, where critics claim it cheapens the platform.
- Associated Press
Rep. Elise Stefanik stated her case Thursday for replacing Rep. Liz Cheney as the No. 3 House Republican leader, implicitly lambasting Cheney's battles with former President Donald Trump by saying, “We are one team and that means working with the president." The remarks by Stefanik, R-N.Y., a one-time moderate who's evolved into an ardent Trump champion, came as Cheney seems likely to be tossed from her leadership post next week. Cheney, R-Wyo., has repeatedly rejected Trump's false insistence that he lost the 2020 election because of widespread fraud, and has blamed him for inflaming followers who assaulted the Capitol on Jan. 6.
- Business Insider
Rudy Giuliani has reportedly shed his entourage and hired a part-time driver to cut costs as his legal fees mount
The former New York City mayor reportedly pays as much as $42,000 per month in alimony, which may have factored into the layoffs, Politico reported.
In an email, chief executive Sundar Pichai suggests working three days in the office is the way forward.