He broke the “blue wall of silence.” Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo gave rare testimony yesterday against a colleague, stating unequivocally that former officer Derek Chauvin violated regulations when he pinned George Floyd for over nine minutes. “To continue to apply that level of force to a person proned-out, handcuffed behind their back — that in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy,” said the city’s first Black police chief, who fired Chauvin after the incident last year. Meanwhile, the doctor who declared Floyd dead said he most likely died by asphyxiation. The trial continues today.
2. Alexei Navalny, on Hunger Strike, Moved to Prison Sick Ward
Tuberculosis would be a relief, joked the jailed Russian dissident, who’s been moved to a sick ward and tested for COVID-19 after his health deteriorated. Navalny, a constant thorn in President Vladimir Putin’s side, began a hunger strike last week in his attempt to receive proper medical care. The 44-year-old, who blamed Putin for a nearly deadly poisoning last year, said Monday that three other inmates were hospitalized for TB, adding darkly, “If I have tuberculosis, then maybe it'll chase out the pain in my back and numbness in my legs. That'd be nice.”
The jailed Hollywood mogul has appealed his landmark conviction for rape and sexual assault, arguing that he didn’t receive a fair trial last year. Weinstein, the highest profile figure brought down by the #MeToo movement, is currently serving 23 years in a New York prison and faces further charges in Los Angeles. The 69-year-old claims the incidents with two women were consensual and that he’s been the victim of trial by media. Weinstein “did not know they were not interested in having sexual relations with him at the specific relevant times charged in the indictment,” his lawyers argued.
4. Dems Want to Tax Multinationals to Fund Infrastructure Plan
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she supports a global minimum tax on multinational companies — wherever they are located — in order to ensure “a more level playing field.” Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress have released a proposal to raise taxes on multinationals as a way to finance President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan. Their requirement that large companies pay taxes on profits they earn abroad could raise as much as $1 trillion over the next 15 years, but critics worry it could affect America’s competitiveness. Yellen is set to brief House Democrats today.
The U.S. and Iran are holding indirect talks in Vienna today over reentering the nuclear deal abandoned by former President Donald Trump three years ago. Jordan’s Prince Hamzah has signed a letter of support for King Abdullah II after a royal rift saw him placed under house arrest. And nearly 2,000 prisoners have escaped a prison in southeast Nigeria after being broken out by gunmen.
Tell Us! OZY is working on a deep dive on friendship for an upcoming Sunday Magazine, and we’d love your thoughts on a few questions here.
They broke the internet — and kept culture alive — during lockdown with their “Verzuz” Instagram livestreams pitching Alicia Keys against John Legend, DMX against Snoop Dogg and many other virtual matchups. Now music producer icons Swizz Beatz and Timbaland are bringing it to The Carlos Watson Show. Find out who they consider the most talented musician they've ever worked with — and why Swizz Beatz says COVID made him a better husband and father.
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The hills are alive with the sound of … happy Uyghurs? That’s the message from Beijing, judging by a new movie musical, The Wings of Songs, defending its policies in Xinjiang. Despite accusations against the Communist Party of genocide, forced labor, sterilizations and rape within its so-called “re-education camps” for the province’s Muslim minority, life looks pretty idyllic in the film, where people in colorful dress dance in the countryside. “The notion that Uyghurs can sing and dance so therefore there is no genocide — that’s just not going to work,” said Nury Turkel, an Uyghur American activist.
2. Can Two Billionaires Save America’s Free Press?
Dead Tree Press? Not according to two billionaires trying to save Tribune Publishing from being taken over by a hedge fund. Tribune, which owns The Baltimore Sun and The Chicago Tribune, had agreed to sell itself to Alden Global Capital — but journalists revolted and lobbied to find new buyers. Now Stewart Bainum Jr., a Maryland hotel magnate, and Hansjörg Wyss, a Swiss billionaire, have offered $50 million more than Alden. Wyss said, “I don’t want to see another newspaper that has a chance to increase the amount of truth being told to the American people going down the drain.”
3. Arkansas Transgender Bill Likely to Pass Despite Governor Veto
“Vast government overreach.” That’s why Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson vetoed a bill that would have banned doctors from providing hormone treatment or gender-affirming surgery to transgender minors. Aside from his worries the bill would allow too much government interference in medical decisions, Hutchinson was also concerned that it didn’t make exceptions for people already undergoing treatment, who would be forced to stop. Republican lawmakers in the Arkansas legislature, however, are expected to override the GOP governor’s veto, and a similar measure is headed to the Alabama House of Representatives this week.
4. Losing My Religion: US Church Membership Drops Below 50%
One nation under God? Religion is in decline in the U.S., a new Gallup poll shows, with many Americans “allergic” to the evangelical right. For the first time, the percentage of the population belonging to a church, mosque or synagogue has dropped under 50, down from 70 percent in 1999, according to the poll. Experts say it’s partly that many millennials are turning away from religion in response to churches’ hostility towards LGBTQ people. The number of people identifying as nonreligious has also grown, with more than a third of Americans under 30 classifying themselves as “none.”
5. Bears Beat Bulldogs in Men’s March Madness Final
Well, that’s the end of March Madness for another year — but what an end! Gonzaga was expected to make history by becoming the first undefeated team in 45 years, but then it all came crashing down. Baylor guards MaCio Teague, Davion Mitchell and Final Four MVP Jared Butler spurred the Bears to an 86-70 victory last night, capturing their first men’s national basketball title. It was a particularly meaningful win for Baylor coach Scott Drew, who took over the Texas team at a low point in 2003 after Bears standout Patrick Dennehy was killed by teammate Carlton Dotson.
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