George Floyd had the life “squeezed out of him” when former police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for over nine minutes, prosecutors said in opening statements at the historic trial in Minneapolis yesterday. “You can believe your eyes,” prosecutor Jerry Blackwell told the jury after showing the video of Floyd saying he couldn’t breathe and begging for his mother, which sparked protests across the country last year. The White House said President Joe Biden is closely following the proceedings, which are being broadcast around the world. Testimony continues today, with the trial expected to last about four weeks.
2. ‘Mexico's George Floyd’: Mother of Two Killed by Police
Mexican authorities are investigating the death Saturday of a Salvadoran woman at the hands of police in Tulum, which is being compared to Floyd’s death in the U.S. last year. Video shows Victoria Salazar Arriaza, 36, crying as she’s handcuffed face down on the ground as a police officer kneels on her back. An autopsy concluded that the mother of two, who was in Mexico on a humanitarian visa, died of a broken neck. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador called it “murder” and four police officers have been charged with femicide. It’s unclear why Arriaza had been detained.
3. World Leaders Call for Pandemic Treaty After Vaccine Nationalism
There will be more pandemics. That’s why world leaders say we need a global treaty, like those forged after World War II, to ensure cooperation. A joint article by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and others says COVID-19 has shown “nobody is safe until everyone is safe.” It comes in the wake of fallout between the U.K. and EU over vaccine exports. The World Health Organization has warned against vaccine nationalism, and the article stressed countries must coordinate to “be better prepared to predict, prevent, detect, assess and effectively respond to pandemics.”
4. Going Green: Biden Infrastructure Plan Relies on Renewables
Build Back Better. Tomorrow President Biden unveils his massive infrastructure plan to do so, with a focus on clean energy. Its green policies include constructing new power lines, funding energy-efficient homes and installing electric vehicle charging stations in an effort to mitigate climate change. Biden’s plan, financed largely by higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans and big business, will likely also include funding for universal prekindergarten and free community college, and is expected to create 2.3 million jobs by 2024. However, it faces a battle in the Senate, with Republicans vowing to oppose any tax hikes.
China has passed a new law restricting who in Hong Kong can run for election, in a move that will restrict the opposition. Traffic in the Suez Canal has resumed after the Ever Given was finally refloated yesterday. And a Manhattan court has slapped Jeffrey Epstein’s former partner Ghislaine Maxwell with two more charges including sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor.
Coronavirus Update: China has sent 100,000 doses of its Sinopharm vaccine to Palestiniansafter Israel was criticized for not doing enough to help them. And Stanford University students have published the “recipes” for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for free online after determining their sequences from leftover vials.
We Want Your Brains: Got a million-dollar idea? We'll help you get started! Apply to win an OZY Genius Award cash grant of up to $10,000 or nominate the brilliant college student in your life.
Today on The Carlos Watson Show: Actress Leah Remini takes us behind the scenes of her 35 years as a member of what she calls the “cult” of Scientology. Find out what the King of Queens star had on her checklist for a husband — and why she asked him about marriage the first time they met. Plus, what does she think the current political climate has in common with life in a cult? Watch now to find out.
Want more cash back? We thought so! That’s why Discover offers automatic cash back match. With Discover, you get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year. You could turn $100 cash back into $200. It’s that easy and there’s no limit to how much we’ll match. No catch, just cash back! Click “Apply Now” for more details.
Not such a wiseguy after all. The law finally caught up with Marc Feren Claude Biart, a member of the notorious ’Ndrangheta crime family on the run for years, after he posted cooking videos on YouTube. He was living in the Dominican Republic avoiding charges of cocaine trafficking, but he wasn’t cooking the books: He just couldn’t resist showing off his culinary skills. The 53-year-old hid his face in the videos, but landed in hot water when police recognized his distinctive tattoos. Hundreds of ’Ndrangheta members are set to be grilled at the biggest Mafia trial Italy has seen in decades later this year.
2. Guess Pulls Totes ‘Ripped Off’ From Black-Owned Vegan Brand
The American clothing brand has taken its new G-Logo bag off the shelves after fashionistas on social media spotted the similarity between it and the vegan, unisex totes from a small Black-owned fashion label. Telfar’s Shopping Bag totes, created by Telfar Clemens, a 36-year-old Liberian-American designer, have become favorites of celebrities from Oprah Winfrey to Dua Lipa to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. After online outrage, Guess announced yesterday it was pulling the bags, saying it did not “wish to create any impediments to Telfar Global’s success.” A Telfar representative described that decision as “a gracious outcome.”
3. NASA Says Dangerous Asteroid Still 100 Years Away From Earth
The apocalypse is on hold. Scientists, usually harbingers of doom, had some reassuring news when they announced asteroid 99942 Apophis won’t kill us for at least 100 years. The 1,100-foot rock had been projected to potentially hit Earth in 2068 and could have killed 10 million people, but NASA says that’s no longer the case. Eastern hemisphere skywatchers might still get a chance to spot it when it comes within 20,000 miles of us in 2029. Meanwhile, a NASA spacecraft to explore asteroid 16 Psyche is in the final stages of testing ahead of its 2022 launch.
4. Pretty Polly: Ancient South Americans Mummified Parrots
“This parrot is no more, it has gone to meet its maker, it’s pushing up the daisies.” Like the classic Monty Python sketch, researchers have found that ancient Chileans mummified Amazonian parrots after transporting them alive over the Andes Mountains and back to the Atacama desert. The birds were kept as status symbols and their feathers used in headdresses, anthropologists from Penn State found. After death they were mummified with beaks open, tongues out and wings spread. The tropical birds were likely brought back to the world’s driest desert by llama caravans between 1100 and 1450 A.D.
5. NBA Hopes New Basketball Africa League Will Be a Slam Dunk
The NBA is going to Africa. Starting in Kigali, Rwanda, on May 16, the new Basketball Africa League will include 12 teams from across the continent and is the first NBA collaboration outside North America. Coronavirus safety protocols will be put in place for the 26 games in the inaugural season, which will include the champions from national leagues in Angola, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia. The league will “use basketball as an economic growth engine across Africa, and shine a light on Africa's vibrant sporting culture," said BAL president Amadou Gallo Fall.
What if we told you we found a pair of jeans so good you’d never need another pair for the rest of your life? What if we told you that question wasn’t hypothetical? Outerknown’s S.E.A. JEANS are unbelievably comfy and made with unmatched quality. These versatile jeans are designed for everything and anything: from lounging around in quarantine to seizing new adventures. Best of all, the S.E.A. JEANS have a life-long guarantee so you’ll never need new jeans again (though you’ll definitely want to come back for another pair!). OZY readers get to use code OKOZY for 20 percent off — check out Outerknown now!