“That man is going to haunt you for the rest of your life.” So said witness Donald Williams to former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin shortly after he knelt on George Floyd's neck. Chauvin’s own body-cam footage was presented to jurors yesterday in the third day of his trial. In it, the now-dismissed officer was heard telling a bystander, “We had to control this guy because he's a sizable guy. It looks like he's probably on something.” The witness confronted the officer after the doomed Black man, who pleaded for his life as Chauvin pinned him, was taken away by medics.
2. Biden Launches $2.3 Trillion Infrastructure Plan
What’s another couple trillion, anyway? If you’re President Joe Biden, his $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan is a shot in the arm for a struggling economy long in need of better roads, bridges and other infrastructure. If you’re a Republican, the corporate tax-financed measure unveiled Wednesday is a massive budget-busting boondoggle. On Capitol Hill, Biden’s fellow Democrats are expecting a grueling political struggle that could take six months. It will have to satisfy all 50 senators in their party, and can survive only three House defections, after the razor-close passage of $1.9 trillion in pandemic relief.
3. California Mass Shooter Kills Child, Three Others
A gunman opened fire in a Southern California office building Wednesday, killing four people, including a child, and critically injuring another person. The alleged shooter has been hospitalized in critical condition with a gunshot wound, but it’s not clear if he shot himself or was hit in a subsequent shootout with police. Authorities in Orange, a city of 140,000 near Los Angeles, haven’t addressed a possible motive for the shooting. Although Orange hasn’t had such a deadly shooting since 1997, it’s the third major U.S. mass shooting in two weeks.
Warning that “the epidemic is accelerating,” President Emmauel Macron ordered France into its third lockdown Wednesday. Schools will close for three weeks, while travel within the country is banned as it struggles to care for 5,000 intensive care patients and new cases, which have doubled since February. Meanwhile, Spain’s tourism industry pushed back against new mandates that require masks to be worn outside at all times, including on beaches, despite the country’s improved caseload and experts’ consensus that the risk of open-air transmission is low. Authorities say they fear a fourth infection wave.
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“It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again.” That line from Field of Dreams shows why Major League Baseball is welcoming fans back for opening day — despite dire pandemic warnings. The Washington Nationals will be missing President Biden, who’s declined to throw the ceremonial first pitch, and one unnamed player who tested positive for COVID-19, mirroring last year’s opener. All 30 teams will play today, mostly before 20 percent capacity crowds. But Monday, the Texas Rangers will open all 40,300 seats in their Arlington stadium, raising fears of a superspreader event.
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2. Factory Mistake Ruins 15 Million Vaccine Doses
You can’t mix vectors. Those harmless versions of the coronavirus used to make AstraZeneca’s and Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccines got mixed up several weeks ago in a Baltimore factory making both immunizations. The mistake ruined 15 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and cast doubt on whether Maryland-based Emergent BioSolutions will be able to ship its planned 24 million doses over the next month. Meanwhile, more than 100 fully vaccinated individuals in Washington state have tested positive for COVID-19. Experts say that the 0.01 percent “breakthrough” cases are to be expected for any vaccine.
They must have seen VW's premature “Voltswagen” electric car gag. The search giant, which has produced classic April 1 announcements about self-driving bicycles and Google Translate for animal languages, has decided not to celebrate in 2021. Google is canceling for the second year in a row “out of respect for all those fighting COVID-19” and other global crises. But other brands were undaunted by the pandemic, including a collaboration between Green Giant and Peeps for cauliflower-flavored marshmallows and Velveeta’s new luxury skincare line “inspired by the unmatchable creaminess of Velveeta liquid gold.”
4. Digital Compiling Pioneers Win Computing’s ‘Nobel’
Does your computer understand you — or at least the person who programmed the app you’re using? If you’re reading this, the answer is yes, and you have Alfred Aho and Jeffrey Ullman to thank. Yesterday they won the 2020 Turing Award for pioneering the compiler, which translates programming written by humans into the binary language computers understand. New Yorker Ullman, 78, and Canadian Aho, 79, were babies when British mathematician Alan Turing laid the groundwork for modern computing by helping decrypt secret Nazi communications in World War II. His face now graces Britain’s new 50-pound note.
5. Attic Search Yields 121-Year-Old Royal Chocolate
It’s past its sell-by date. Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk, England, is giving up its secrets, and one is a chocolate bar sent to British soldiers in South Africa’s Boer War — in 1900, at the behest of Queen Victoria. “You wouldn't want it as your Easter treat,” said Anna Forrest, a curator for the National Trust, which is responsible for the 15th-century estate. She said the still-wrapped bar, found in a military helmet case, was kept by Sir Henry Edward Paston-Bedingfeld, Oxburgh’s eighth baronet. What does it look like? Let’s just say it belongs in a museum.
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