Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Victoria Gallegos, Tia Sewell
Thursday, April 8, 2021, 5:00 PM

The ninth day of the murder trial of Derek Chauvin focused on medical testimony about the cause of George Floyd’s death, writes the New York Times. Among those testifying was Martin Tobin, a veteran lung doctor, who stated Floyd’s death was partially caused by Chauvin’s knees pressing against Floyd’s neck and back, which had restricted his breathing. Tobin also said that the pressure from Chauvin and being handcuffed caused Floyd to die “from a low level of oxygen.” The handcuffs were an “extremely important” factor in Floyd’s death, according to Tobin.

The National Intelligence Council released its “Global Trends” report today—a document published every four years that “assesses the key trends and uncertainties that will shape the strategic environment” in the U.S. for the next 20 years, reports the Post. The report projects an international order dominated by the U.S.-China rivalry, which the authors predict will lead to “a more conflict-prone and volatile geopolitical environment.” The document also forecasts critical issues propelled by climate change, such as mass migration and rising inequality. And it warns that the coronavirus pandemic could have profound implications for the future, calling it “the most significant, singular global disruption since World War II.”

President Biden announced his administration’s first actions on gun regulations today, writes the Times. Biden said that the Justice Department would issue a proposed rule to require ghost guns—firearms that can be assembled from pieces in a kit—to have serial numbers, making the weapons traceable. The rule would also require the ghost guns to be legally classified as firearms and subject their buyers to background checks. Biden additionally introduced new regulations on stabilizing braces and said that the Justice Department would publish model “red flag” legislation for states, which would allow police officers and family members to legally petition to strip people considered to be potentially dangerous of their firearms.

The White House has placed seven Chinese firms under U.S. export controls in retaliation for the companies’ roles in helping Beijing develop supercomputers that could be used to design advanced military weapons, according to the Washington Post. The seven firms are linked to China’s effort to build the world’s first exascale computer, which can handle a million trillion calculations per second. With that computing power, the Chinese government could more accurately conduct research on hypersonics weapons and other advanced military technologies.

Israel will not recognize the authority of a tribunal led by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on possible war crimes in Palestinian territories, writes Reuters. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that Israel would not cooperate with the ICC inquiry and that the country “knows how to investigate itself.” Netanyahu also rejected the assertion that Israel had committed war crimes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinian authorities said they would cooperate with the ICC.

The ruling military junta in Myanmar has limited the internet and begun confiscating satellite dishes used to access international news broadcasts, reports the Associated Press. It is unknown if the limited internet access will be temporary. Since the Feb. 1 coup, the junta has gradually blocked access to social media and mobile data use.

Twelve people, nationalities unknown, were found beheaded in the town of Palma, Mozambique, the site of a recent mass attack led by Islamic State-linked insurgents, writes Reuters. The local police chief stated he was unsure of the nationalities of the 12 people, but he believed them to be foreigners because they were white. In response to the attacks, regional leaders met in the capital of Mozambique today and resolved to send a mission to the country later this month.

Violence in parts of Northern Ireland between unionists, nationalists and police forces continued into its sixth consecutive night, reports CNN. The conflict began last week amid rising tensions related to a fallout from Brexit as well as unionist anger over a decision by police to not prosecute leaders of the Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein for breaking coronavirus restrictions to attend the funeral of a prominent former IRA member. Over 55 police officers have been injured during the clashes.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast, featuring Scott Anderson’s conversation with Bessma Momami, professor at the University of Waterloo, and Ghaith al-Omari, fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, about the royal crisis in Jordan.

Justin Cole analyzed a recent decision by the African Court and its implications for the rule of law in Rwanda and greater Africa.

Jim Dempsey, Chris Jay Hoofnagle, Ira Rubinstein and Katherine J. Strandburg summarized their new paper on enforcement frameworks outside the privacy field.

Howell also shared an episode of Rational Security, the “Scoop d’etat” edition.

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