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HeadlinesApril 28, 2021

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FBI Opens Probe into Police Killing of Andrew Brown as Autopsy Confirms He Was Shot in Back of Head

Apr 28, 2021

The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation into the police killing of Andrew Brown Jr. in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. An independent autopsy confirms Brown, a 42-year-old Black man, was shot five times by police, including in the back of the head. Brown’s family and their lawyers have only been allowed to see a 20-second video of the killing from a single body camera, which shows Brown had his hands on the steering wheel of his car when he was shot dead. New surveillance video shows a group of officers in a car in the moments before Brown was killed. A lawyer says just four seconds passed from the time they arrived on the scene and the time shots were fired. On Tuesday, five people were arrested as protesters defied an 8 p.m. curfew in Elizabeth City to demand justice for Brown.

Video of Police Killing of Mario Gonzalez Prompts Comparison to George Floyd, Call for Probe

Apr 28, 2021

In California, recently released body-camera footage shows Alameda police killing Mario Arenales Gonzalez, a 26-year-old Latino man, with officers kneeling on his back and shoulder until he lost consciousness — contradicting a previous account of the incident from police. Officers had alleged Gonzalez, who was from Oakland, died the morning of April 19 after suffering a “medical emergency” during a “scuffle” while they attempted to restrain Gonzalez. But the footage has revealed Gonzalez was alone in a park when officers arrived at the scene after receiving complaints of a man who was allegedly intoxicated. Gonzalez calmly speaks to the officers before they attempt to place his hands behind his back. He screams as police are trying to handcuff him. The officers then pin him face down on the ground. One officer has his knee on Gonzalez’s back, and another is kneeling on his shoulder for a few minutes until he becomes unresponsive. Police also alleged Gonzalez had died at the hospital, but the footage shows he stopped breathing on site, with one officer saying he had no pulse.

Gonzalez’s family held a press conference Tuesday and demanded an investigation into his death.

Gerardo Arenales: “Alameda police officers murdered my brother Mario. My mother was heartbroken to see Mario’s last moments. … Mario was a kind and humorous man. He was a loving father and the caretaker for our brother with special needs. … The police killed my brother in the same manner that they killed George Floyd.”

India Tops 200,000 COVID Deaths as Hospitals, Cremation Sites Are Overwhelmed

Apr 28, 2021

India’s official coronavirus death toll has topped 200,000 as its devastating second wave continues to grip the nation. Three hundred sixty thousand new cases were reported over the past day — yet another record. Researchers say the true number of cases and deaths is likely much higher. As international assistance starts to trickle in, medical supplies remain dangerously low, and hospitals and cremation sites are overwhelmed. This is an ambulance driver in New Delhi.

Joginder: “New makeshift cremation platforms are being constructed because there’s no space for cremation inside the crematorium. A few platforms are being constructed here, and a few are being constructed on the other side.”

One group estimates at least 100 journalists in India have died of COVID, close to half of those within the past two weeks. Press freedom groups warn journalists are also facing increasing obstruction and censorship by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Turkey Orders Coronavirus Lockdown; Brazil Rejects Russia’s Sputnik V Vaccine

Apr 28, 2021

Turkey announced a full, nationwide lockdown to slow its surge. Turkey reported over 37,000 new infections over the past day, the fourth-highest daily caseload in the world.

Brazil has rejected Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine over concerns about its safety, citing a lack of quality control and efficacy data. The maker of Sputnik V said the decision was politically motivated, pointing to a report earlier this year that said U.S. government officials pushed Brazil to turn down the vaccine. The World Health Organization has not yet approved Sputnik V for emergency use listing.

CDC Says Vaccinated People Can Go Unmasked in Most Outdoor Settings

Apr 28, 2021

The CDC issued new guidelines Tuesday saying fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks outdoors except for at large gatherings such as concerts or sports stadiums. This is President Biden.

President Joe Biden: “Beginning today, gathering with a group of friends in a park, going for a picnic, as long as you are vaccinated and outdoors, you can do it without a mask.”

Seattle City Council Calls on Biden to Support IP Waiver for COVID Vaccine Patents

Apr 28, 2021

The Seattle City Council passed a resolution urging Biden to support a waiver on patent rights for COVID-19 vaccines. Councilmember Kshama Sawant said, “This resolution demonstrates our movement’s rejection of the status quo of profit-driven vaccine apartheid and vaccine nationalism, and our fight for vaccine internationalism, for a People’s Vaccine!”

Meanwhile, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds a quarter of women are worse off financially than they were before the pandemic, versus 18% of men. And 27% of people of color say they are in a worse financial situation, versus 18% of whites.

Biden Proposes Crackdown on Tax Evaders, Changes to Capital Gains Tax to Fund American Families Plan

Apr 28, 2021

The Biden administration is proposing a $1.8 trillion plan to invest in education, healthcare, child care and paid family leave. Biden will unveil the American Families Plan during his first address to Congress this evening. The package would be funded in part through changes to the capital gains tax and a crackdown on tax evasion by the wealthy. Biden is proposing an $80 billion funding increase for the IRS over 10 years to fund that effort. White House officials say the move could generate $700 billion over 10 years. If passed, individuals who earn more than $400,000 a year would face a higher likelihood of an audit on their taxes.

Protesters Killed in Chad as Political Turmoil Deepens Following Death of President Déby

Apr 28, 2021

In Chad, at least five protesters were killed Tuesday as calls grow for a transition to civilian rule. Chad has been in a state of turmoil since the battlefield death of longtime President Idriss Déby last week. On Monday, Chad’s new military leaders, who took power following Déby’s death, banned demonstrations and named the runner-up of recent presidential elections as the transitional prime minister. The military government has rejected talks with the rebel fighters accused of killing Déby, who have been threatening to advance on the capital.

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Conflict in Ethiopia’s Amhara Region Killed at Least 200 People This Month

Apr 28, 2021

In Ethiopia, a senior government official says up to 200 people were killed this month in clashes between Oromo and Amhara communities — Ethiopia’s two largest ethnic groups. The fighting in the northern Amhara region has reportedly displaced over a quarter-million people, including one small town that was completely burned in March. It’s one of several flashpoints in Ethiopia. In the Tigray region, thousands of people have been killed since conflict broke out last November, with widespread reports of war crimes, including sexual violence against women and girls. The fighting has led to food shortages, and aid groups warn millions are at risk of famine.

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2 Spanish Journalists Killed in Burkina Faso Ambush While Documenting Poaching

Apr 28, 2021

In Burkina Faso, two Spanish journalists were killed Monday in an ambush while on an anti-poaching patrol in the eastern region of the country. Journalists David Beriáin and Roberto Fraile were working on a documentary about poaching and were traveling with about 40 people when an armed group attacked them on a road leading to the massive forested reserve of Pama. An Irish conservationist, Rory Young, was also killed, and at least four others were reported missing. The Committee to Protect journalists condemned the attack and is demanding a thorough and transparent investigation.

Testimony in El Mozote Massacre Trial Highlights U.S. Cover-up of Mass Killings

Apr 28, 2021

In El Salvador, pretrial hearings on the 1981 El Mozote massacre are being held this week. Nearly 1,000 civilians from across seven villages were killed in the massacre carried out by U.S.-trained Salvadoran military officers. One of the expert witnesses, Stanford University political scientist Terry Karl, detailed the on-site presence of U.S. military adviser Allen Bruce Hazelwood with the Salvadoran Army at the time of the massacre, providing new insight into what Karl referred to as a “sophisticated cover-up” of the events on behalf of the Reagan administration and the Salvadoran military junta.

Terry Karl: “The presence of an American adviser with Salvadoran General Monterrosa, whose name is Allen Bruce Hazelwood, if this had been made public at the time, in my opinion and the opinion of Thomas Enders and other secretaries of state, this would have cut U.S. aid, because this is illegal.”

Democrats and Election Experts Warn Census Results Underrepresent Latinx Community

Apr 28, 2021

Democrats and voting rights advocates are raising concerns that recently revealed census data will lead to an underrepresentation of Latinx residents as a result of former President Trump’s attempts to exclude undocumented people from the 2020 census. Texas, Florida and Arizona, which all have growing Latinx populations, had been projected to gain one additional House seat each, while Democratic states with large Latinx populations, such as California and New York, lost seats. California Congressmember Norma Torres tweeted, “The Trump administration did everything it could to prevent an accurate count in the #2020Census, and now Californians are paying the price. The culture of fear he instilled within our communities jeopardizes billions in funding that our state deserves.” Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has asked Attorney General Letitia James to look into legal options after New York came just 89 residents shy of maintaining all of its congressional districts.

ICE Will Not Be Allowed to Make Courthouse Arrests; Mayorkas Launches Probe into Extremism at DHS

Apr 28, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security is limiting the power of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to arrest immigrants in or near courthouses, unless they present an imminent danger or a national security threat. Meanwhile, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas launched a probe “to address the threat of domestic violent extremism” within his department.

ICE Flight Transfers 64 Asylum Seekers from U.S.-Mexico Border to Northwest Detention Center

Apr 28, 2021

La Resistencia is reporting an ICE flight earlier this week transferred 64 asylum seekers from the U.S.-Mexico border to Washington state’s Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, a for-profit immigrant prison run by GEO Group.

Scientists Say New Malaria Vaccine Could Be Up to 77% Effective

Apr 28, 2021

In medical news, Oxford University researchers say their new anti-malaria vaccine proved highly effective at preventing disease among children in a small clinical trial in West Africa. The vaccine showed up to 77% efficacy in a study involving 450 toddlers in Burkina Faso, where malaria is endemic. Oxford researcher Adrian Hill said it’s the first time a malaria vaccine has reached a goal set by the World Health Organization.

Adrian Hill: “They want a malaria vaccine with 75% or more efficacy by 2030. We think we can do that. So, 77% is the highest yet and could really add to the existing tools that we use to control malaria.”

Idaho Signs Draconian Anti-Abortion Bill

Apr 28, 2021

Idaho’s Republican Governor Brad Little signed into law a bill banning most abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected — which can happen as early as six weeks, before many people know they are pregnant. However, the bill will only go into effect if a federal appeals court upholds another so-called heartbeat ban, prompting reproductive rights groups to accuse Governor Little of signing the law simply to appeal to his “radical followers.”

Nurses at Massachusetts’ Saint Vincent Hospital on Strike over Ongoing Staff and Safety Concerns

Apr 28, 2021

In Massachusetts, nurses at Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester have been on strike for eight weeks to protest understaffing, nurse-to-patient ratios and cuts to support staff, which have jeopardized patient care and staff safety and caused over 100 nurses to leave the hospital. Saint Vincent Hospital is owned by Tenet Healthcare, the third-largest for-profit hospital company in the U.S.

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