“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.
In late March, Congress passed the largest stimulus package in American history in an effort to offset the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. One of the most important elements of the massive $2 trillion bill was a provision that boosted unemployment insurance benefits for those who lost work because of stay-at-home orders designed to limit the spread of the virus. Nearly 39 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the past nine weeks.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared Wednesday that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China – a landmark decision that is likely to escalate already strained U.S.-Chinese relations and that could have serious economic consequences for the global financial hub. "No reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China, given facts on the ground," Pompeo said in a statement. The White House will determine the next step, which could involve new sanctions on China, visa restrictions on government officials or nixing Hong Kong's special trade status.
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.
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 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.
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.
REUTERS/Bruno Kelly Brazil is predicted to surpass 125,000 COVID-19 deaths by August 4, according to new estimates from the University of Washington. By comparison, the US is expected to reach 131,967 deaths by August 4. Earlier this week, Brazil surpassed the US in the daily death toll from the virus.
South Korea reported its biggest jump in coronavirus infections in seven weeks on Wednesday, driven by a fresh cluster at an e-commerce warehouse on Seoul's outskirts, as millions more pupils went back to school. The country has been held up as a global model in how to curb the virus and has rushed to contain new infections as life returns to normal. But officials announced 40 new cases Wednesday -- taking its total to 11,265 -- with most new infections from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area.
MINNEAPOLIS—Flames and black smoke poured into the sky over Minneapolis late Wednesday as the second day of protests over the death of George Floyd took a violent turn, with a local business near police headquarters set ablaze and at least one person fatally shot in the area. Minneapolis Police spokesman John Elder confirmed the shooting shortly before midnight local time, but he did not say if it was connected to the protests, according to the Star Tribune. The shooting came amid reports of widespread looting and a major fire at an AutoZone near the police headquarters.
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.
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned that Hong Kong could lose its status as a global financial centre if a proposed Chinese crackdown goes ahead, and promised a "very interesting" US response within days. The Chinese legislation would ban secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference after months of massive, often-violent pro-democracy protests last year in the semi-autonomous territory. Hong Kong's chief executive, Carrie Lam, said on Tuesday that essential freedoms would remain.
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 huge disparity When white Americans who live in a "stand your ground" state make self-defense claims in situations involving a black person's death, 36 percent are ruled justifiable homicides, Robert Spitzer, a professor of political science at the State University of New York, Cortland, said. When the situation is reversed and black Americans make self-defense claims in cases involving dead white people in these same states, just 3 percent see those deaths ruled justifiable homicides. That's the pattern in more than a decade of data.
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.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson condemned the protests that have broken out in Minneapolis following the killing of George Floyd by police, claiming on Wednesday night that they are a “form of tyranny” and “oppression.” With demonstrations growing violent and chaotic as protesters have clashed with riot gear-clad police—who have cracked down on the protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets—Carlson devoted most of his attention to the actions of the demonstrators, who are protesting the death of a black man who was pinned down by a cop.
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.
Brazil's Federal Police on Wednesday executed more than two dozen searches and seizure warrants in six states as part of an investigation into a network that allegedly spread defamatory fake news and threats against Supreme Court justices. The judicial orders targeted allies and supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro, and the president's son Carlos Bolsonaro criticized the operations on his official Twitter account, calling the investigation “unconstitutional, political and ideological. A lawmaker closely allied with Bolsonaro, Carla Zambelli, also denounced the searches.
China must respect Hong Kong's autonomy, the European Union said on Tuesday, amid controversy over Chinese plans to adopt a national security law for the city. "We attach great importance to the preservation of Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy in line with the Basic Law and international commitments," European Council President Charles Michel, who represents European governments, said. Speaking after a video conference with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, he said Europe and Japan "share the same ideas" on China.
Tropical Storm Bertha made landfall on South Carolina's coast Wednesday morning shortly after it formed, forecasters said. Bertha is the second named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, which doesn't officially begin until June 1. A tropical storm warning was in place for much of the South Carolina coast.
Two days after the US recorded its first case of coronavirus, Donald Trump said the situation was "totally under control" and assured the public it was "going to be just fine". Fast forward four months and the virus has spread across all 50 states, leaving a death toll of 100,000 from more than 1.6 million confirmed cases. The death toll in the US became the highest in the world in early April and has risen dramatically since then.
A gang of 26 suspected people smugglers have been arrested in France and Belgium in an investigation prompted by the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants found in the back of a lorry in Essex last year. In Belgium, 11 Vietnamese and two Moroccans were held, while in France, authorities said the suspects were “mostly Vietnamese and French”. The suspects are allegedly part of an organised crime group that smuggles refugees from Asia, particularly from Vietnam, and that likely has transported up to several dozen people every day for several months, Europol said in a statement.