Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Victoria Gallegos
Tuesday, April 6, 2021, 2:18 PM

The murder trial of Derek Chauvin continued into its seventh day, with the prosecution and defense focused on whether Chauvin violated police policy when he knelt on George Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes, reports the New York Times. Today, the court heard testimony from Sergeant Ker Yang, a crisis intervention coordinator with the Minneapolis Police Department, and Morries Lester Hall, a friend of Floyd’s who had been in the car with Floyd moments before he had been arrested. Hall planned to invoke the Fifth Amendment, however Judge Peter Cahill ordered Chauvin’s lawyer to draft questions for Hall by Thursday which could be answered without self incrimination. 

President Biden will announce a new deadline for states to make all adults eligible for coronavirus vaccines, moving the original May 1 goal to April 19, writes the New York Times. Biden changed the timeline after increases in vaccine supply prompted states to speed up their vaccination drives. Vaccinations in the U.S. continue to steadily increase, and over 3 million doses are administered each day.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting government-mandated “vaccine passports,” saying a system to track those vaccinated would tread on Texans’ personal freedoms, writes the Hill. “Every day, Texans are returning to normal life as more people get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. But, as I’ve said all along, these vaccines are always voluntary and never forced” said Abbott. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has also vowed to take similar executive action against companies requiring a vaccine passport. 

The Chicago Project on Security and Threats released its initial findings on its analysis of the 377 Americans so far charged in the Capitol insurrection today in the Washington Post. Using court records to analyze the demographics and characteristics of those charged, the research showed that “ [c]ounties with the most significant declines in the non-Hispanic White population are the most likely to produce insurrectionists who now face charges.” Specifically, the counties that had the greatest decline in white population had an 18 percent chance of sending an insurrectionist to the Jan. 6 riots, whereas counties with the least decline in white population had only a 3 percent chance. 

U.S. and Iranian officials convened in Vienna to begin reviving the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal that President Biden pledged to rejoin, reports the Washington Post. The two nations will not meet directly, and European diplomats will act as intermediaries. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the U.S. expects to discuss, “ the nuclear steps that Iran would need to take in order to return to compliance with the terms of the [nuclear deal] and the sanctions relief steps that the United States would need to take in order to return to compliance as well.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on NATO to create a path for Ukrainian membership in the alliance, days after Russia began amassing troops in the Donbass region, reports Reuters. In a phone call with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Zelenskiy said  “NATO is the only way to end the war in Donbass,” and that Ukraine’s entry into the alliance “will be a real signal for Russia.” 

Jailed Russian opposition-leader Alexei Navalny was moved to a medical unit due to an acute respiratory infection yesterday, writes CNN. Navalny began a hunger strike last week to protest the lack of access to medical care in the prison, and will continue his hunger strike despite having a fever and severe cough, according to his team.  

Over 1,800 inmates escaped in southeast Nigeria after heavily armed gunmen attacked a prison with explosives and grenades, reports Reuters. The Nigerian police believe the attackers were from a banned separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra, but the group denied involvement. Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari called the attack an “act of terrorism” and ordered security to apprehend the escaped prisoners. 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Bryce Klehm announced an episode of Lawfare Live on April 8 at 7 p.m. ET, during which the National Security Law Society at the Georgetown University Law Center will host a live recording of the Lawfare Podcast on the continuing threat of white extremism.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast, featuring Benjamin Wittes’s conversation with Lawfare’s Jacob Schulz and Justin Sherman, fellow at the Atlantic Council, about a report released by the New Zealand government on the Christchurch shooting. 

Jordan Schneider shared an episode of ChinaTalk, featuring an interview with Derek Sandhaus about his book “Drunk in China: Baiju and the World’s Oldest Drinking Culture.” 

Jackson Neagli explained Hong Kong’s election overhaul. 

Darrell West shared an episode of TechTank, titled “What We Can Learn About Mars From the Perseverance Exploration.”

Jacob Schulz shared a report released by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board on the use of Executive Order 12333. 

Emma Svoboda asked if Kazakhstan failed Xinjiang’s ethnic Kazakhs. 

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