“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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
The Michigan governor who implemented some of the toughest coronavirus lockdown rules in the United States came under heavy criticism Tuesday over allegations that her husband pressured a dock to prepare his boat for an outing. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who has defended her tough stay-at-home policies against armed protestors and attacks from President Donald Trump, announced last week the lifting of some restrictions ahead of the long Memorial Day weekend. According to a claim posted on Facebook by Northshore Docks owner Tad Dowker, Whitmer's husband Marc Mallory subsequently tried to use her position to get his boat moved ahead of others for launching before the holiday weekend.
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.
Reuters Chinese President Xi Jinping urged his army to increase its preparedness for "armed combat" as protests in Hong Kong ramp up over a proposed new law that would effectively strip away the city's autonomy. Xi on Tuesday told Chinese military officers on the sidelines of the National People's Congress (NPC) — an annual weeklong gathering of China's top legislative bodies — that the military must "explore ways of training and preparing for war" amid the coronavirus 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
"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.
The University of Connecticut student wanted in connection with two deaths has been captured after a nearly weeklong manhunt, officials said Wednesday night. "Peter Manfredonia has been found & is in custody," Connecticut State Police tweeted. Manfredonia, who was captured in Maryland, was not injured, officials said.
George Floyd, who was black, repeatedly told a white police officer kneeling on his neck that he couldn't breathe. People gathered on the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue, where Floyd was arrested for suspicion of forgery outside a deli. After he was taken into custody and the incident that followed, the 46-year-old was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, according to CBS Minnesota.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the President plans to issue an executive order "pertaining to social media," several White House reporters aboard Air Force One tweeted on Wednesday. The Washington Post reported that the order may encourage federal agencies to investigate tech companies' moderation policies and narrow Section 230, which shields them from legal liability for content published on their platforms. Law professor Kate Klonick tweeted that she had obtained a draft of the order, saying it would argue that fact-checking is "editorial" speech and thus isn't protected under Section 230.
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.
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.
A Georgia judge has scheduled a hearing next week for three men charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, court officials said Wednesday. Glynn County Magistrate Court Judge Wallace E. Harrell set a preliminary hearing for June 4, said court clerk Luetrice Lott. More than two months passed before Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34, were arrested May 7 on charges of felony murder and aggravated assault.
In February, I wrote about Asian families in California clashing with schools over whether their children should be allowed to wear masks in class. At that time, Asian people wearing masks were targets for verbal and physical abuse. Attackers saw masks on Asian faces as signs of disease and invasion; people were punched and kicked, harassed on public transit, bullied at school and worse.
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.