“I can't breathe” were some of the last words that a handcuffed George Floyd said as he was pinned on the ground, while a white Minneapolis police officer held a knee to his neck for several minutes on Monday. Floyd, a black man, is now dead. Now the four officers from the Minneapolis Police Department involved in the incident have been fired.
On a day when the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic neared 100,000, President Trump sought to direct the nation's attention back to the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic as a way to smear the reputation of his Democratic rival Joe Biden, who was vice president at the time. Joe Biden's handling of the H1N1 Swine Flu was a complete and total disaster. In the early weeks of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., Trump repeatedly sought to show that he was doing a good job dealing with the pandemic compared with how Biden and then-President Barack Obama had responded to the H1N1 pandemic.
The United States said on Wednesday it will terminate sanctions waivers that had allowed Russian, Chinese and European companies to carry out work originally designed to make it harder for Iranian nuclear sites to be used for weapons development. The waivers, which officials said expire on July 27, covered the conversion of Iran's Arak heavy water research reactor, the provision of enriched uranium for its Tehran Research Reactor and the transfer of spent and scrap reactor fuel abroad. In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave no precise justification for the move, which will halt some work originally designed to make it more difficult for Iran to potentially develop fissile material for nuclear bombs.
Riot police flooded central Hong Kong as people of all ages took to the streets to protest the territory's legislators preparing to debate another bill, one that would make it illegal to insult or abuse the Chinese national anthem. Pro-democracy protesters and politicians say the bill, which carries penalties of up to three years in jail and fines of up to $50,000 Hong Kong dollars ($6,450), is yet another sign of increasing interference from Beijing. Hong Kong Police said they have arrested more than 300 people on a number of charges, including possession of weapons and illegal assembly in the city center, Mong Kok, the Causeway Bay area and Wan Chai area.
A Pakistani villager has urged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to return his pigeon, currently being held in India on charges of spying. The Pakistani villager, who claims the arrested pigeon is his, says the code is actually his mobile phone number. Pakistan's Dawn newspaper has identified the man as Habibullah and reports that he owns a dozen pigeons.
The founder of the Knights of Columbus, the influential U.S.-based lay Catholic organization, is moving a step closer to possible sainthood. Pope Francis has approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of the Rev. Michael McGivney, a Connecticut priest who died at age 38 of pneumonia in 1890 during a pandemic similar to the current coronavirus outbreak. The Vatican said Wednesday that Francis had signed off on the miracle required.
A pair of Russian planes restricted a Navy pilot from safely maneuvering over international waters for more than an hour, service officials said on Tuesday. Two Russian Su-35 aircraft on Tuesday simultaneously flew close to each wing of a Navy P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea, according to Navy news release describing the incident. It was the third time in two months that Russian aircraft have intercepted Navy aircraft in the Sixth Fleet of operations, the release states.
A New York pharmacist bought up $200,000 worth of N95 masks before the coronavirus pandemic grew severe in the US, then sold them at up to a 50% markup, prosecutors allege. The pharmacist, 66-year-old Richard Schirripa, sold more than $2,000 worth of masks to an undercover officer, and said during the transaction he felt "like a drug dealer standing out here." Schirripa has been arrested and charged with violating the Defense Production Act by hoarding and price-gouging.
A Eurowings flight from Düsseldorf, Germany, to Sardinia, Italy, was forced to turn around at the last minute because the destination airport was closed due to coronavirus lockdowns in Italy. The plane made it all the way to Sardinian airspace on Saturday when they were told that the airport was closed to commercial traffic. An aviation blog theorized that the mistake was made because the airport was ordered to reopen earlier this month, but that decision was immediately overruled by the local government.
Government officials and Minnesota locals alike expressed outrage after a video surfaced showing a white police officer kneeling on the neck of a black man and ignoring his pleas for help until first responders put him, unresponsive, on a stretcher. The man, identified at 46-year-old George Floyd, died at a local hospital, according to police. The four officers involved in the Monday incident were fired Tuesday, and the attorney for Floyd's family, Ben Crump, called for their arrests.
The US military withdrawal from Afghanistan is considerably ahead of schedule, an official told AFP on Wednesday, as President Donald Trump reiterated calls for the Pentagon to bring troops home. The developments came as questions loomed over the next phase of Afghanistan's long war following a historic, three-day ceasefire that led to a major drop in civilian casualties. The truce, which the Taliban called to mark the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Fitr, ended Tuesday night, leaving Afghans anxious about whether it would be extended, or when the war might come raging back.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden released a video message on Wednesday marking the grim milestone of 100,000 American lives lost to the coronavirus pandemic, telling the bereaved: "The nation grieves with you." Biden spoke after various tallies of COVID-19 deaths, including one compiled by Reuters, showed that the novel coronavirus has killed over 100,000 people in the United States, even as the slowdown in deaths encouraged businesses to reopen and Americans to emerge from more than two months of lockdowns. Biden, speaking from his home in Delaware, drew on his own family loss when making his remarks.
"Life-threatening" flash flooding is expected across parts of Virginia, and South and North Carolina, after Tropical Storm Bertha made landfall sooner than expected. NASA satellites are closely watching the storm as it prepares to send two astronauts to space in a historic launch aboard SpaceX on Wednesday afternoon. The National Weather Service, meanwhile, warned that the second named storm of the season would cause ongoing river flooding across the region.
Two missing walkers have been found in the New Zealand wilderness, 19 days after they set off. Jessica O'Connor and Dion Reynolds, both 23, began walking in the Kahurangi National Park on 9 May, and expected to be gone for six or seven days. The Kahurangi, in the north-west of the South Island, is New Zealand's second biggest national park.
A top executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei is scheduled to learn Wednesday if a U.S extradition case against her can proceed. Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei's founder, at Vancouver's airport in late 2018. The U.S. wants her extradited to face fraud charges.
China is taking matters into its own hands after last year's tumultuous anti-government protests in Hong Kong that often descended into tear gas-filled clashes. In a surprise move, the central government announced last week that it would develop laws to outlaw secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference in Hong Kong. The National People's Congress is expected to ratify the bill Thursday, and legislation could be finalized this summer.
US Navy The US Navy has accused two Russian Su-35 fighter jets of conducting an "unsafe and unprofessional" intercept of a P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft over the Mediterranean Tuesday, releasing photos and video from the incident. The two Russian fighters closed in on both wings of the US aircraft simultaneously, "restricting the P-8A's ability to safely maneuver," the Navy said in a statement. Tuesday's intercept marks the third unsafe intercept over the Mediterranean in two months, following two similar incidents in April.
Protests in Minneapolis over the in-custody death of George Floyd escalated into violence Wednesday night, with a fatal shooting near the site of the demonstrations, widespread looting, multiple fires and the deployment of tear gas. It was the second night of conflict during rallies by thousands enraged by Floyd's death. The demonstrations in the southern part of the city near the site of Floyd's death began peacefully but grew more violent as the night went on.
Archaeologists have revisited an ancient Roman dig site that hasn't been touched in a century — and found something incredible underneath. In a vineyard outside the Italian city of Verona, under several feet of vines and dirt, researchers have uncovered what appears to be a perfectly preserved mosaic floor and pieces of a villa foundation dating back to the third century A.D. Surveyors in the commune of Negrar di Valpolicella north of Verona shared images of the site, providing a glimpse at a discovery that's largely still hidden beneath the dirt, BBC reports. Archaeologists first mapped out what appeared to be the remains of an ancient Roman villa outside Verona back in 1922 before the site was abandoned.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday pledged to begin charging citizens for gasoline, as the fourth cargo of a five-tanker flotilla bringing fuel from Iran approached the South American nation's exclusive economic zone. Iran is providing the country with up to 1.53 million barrels of gasoline and components to help it ease an acute scarcity that has forced Venezuelans to wait in hours-long lines at service stations or pay steep prices on the black market. With the arrival of the gasoline, Maduro said he would end the policy of providing fuel effectively for free after more than two decades of frozen pump prices.
“Never Trumper” Mitt Romney stepped in to defend his friend and former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough on Wednesday after the president renewed his Twitter feud against the MSNBC host. The Utah senator called the accusations vile and baseless after Donald Trump escalated his campaign against “psycho Joe” over the death of a former staffer Lori Klausutis, who died in Mr Scarborough's office when he was a Florida congressman, also empathising with Klausutis' husband. Joe is a friend of mine.
The United States said Wednesday it was ending waivers in its sanctions for nations that remain in the Iran nuclear accord, bringing the deal further to the verge of collapse. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was responding to Iran's "brinkmanship" of nuclear steps, which have been aimed at pressuring the United States to remove sanctions as called for by the 2015 accord. "These escalatory actions are unacceptable and I cannot justify renewing the waiver," Pompeo said in a statement.
Sweden's government defended its response to the COVID-19 global pandemic on Tuesday despite the Scandinavian country now reporting one of the highest mortality rates in the world, with 4,125 fatalities, or about 40 deaths per 100,000 people.
Churches may be closed amid the coronavirus lockdown, but one lucky couple were able to still to get married in the midst of the pandemic. Jann Tipping, a 34-year-old ambulatory emergency nurse, and Annalan Navaratnam, a 30-year-old acute medical registrar, were married in the Grade II-listed chapel at St Thomas' Hospital in London at the end of last month. The couple, front line key workers treating coronavirus patients, had been forced to scrap a planned summer wedding amid fears that their families would not be able to travel safely from Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka.