A Frenchman with suspected ties to Islamic radicals in Syria has been arrested over last week's fatal shooting at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, investigation sources told AFP on Sunday. The suspected gunman, 29-year-old Mehdi Nemmouche, was arrested…
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Lisa Christensen was an alternate juror in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who, this week, was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for his role in the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. And Christensen, during a post-trial interview, told "CBS This Morning's" Jamie Yuccas that the 45-year-old Chauvin stared her down during the trial and made her feel "pretty uncomfortable."
"Every time I would look up," Christensen told Yuccas, "he was right in my vision. So, we locked eyes quite a few times, and I was pretty uncomfortable."
As an alternate juror, Christensen did not vote during deliberations. But she told Yuccas that she believed the prosecution "made a really good, strong argument" against Chauvin and that she agreed with the jury's verdict.
Christensen told Yuccas, "I felt he was guilty. I didn't know if it was going to be guilty on all counts. I would have said guilty."
The Minneapolis resident found the testimony of Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonary expert and witness for the prosecution, to be especially compelling. Christiansen said of that witness, "He explained everything. I understood it down to where he said, 'This is moment that he lost his life.'"
Christiansen told Yuccas that Chauvin didn't take witnesses to Floyd's arrest seriously when they warned that he was killing him. And she praised Darnella Frazier, the Minneapolis teenager who used her cell phone camera to film the arrest — and whose video was used as evidence during the trial.
"I commend her on taking the video because without her, I don't think this would have been possible," Christiansen told Yuccas.
When Yuccas asked Christiansen what it was like to watch that video repeatedly during the trial, she replied, "It was emotional. I think my eyes teared up a couple of times."
Athletes will be banned from protesting on podiums and the field of play at the Tokyo Olympics and Beijing Winter Games after recommendations from the athletes' commission, the IOC said on Thursday.
More than two-thirds of 3,547 athletes polled said it is "not appropriate to demonstrate or express their views" on the victory podium, field of play or at official ceremonies, the International Olympic Committee said.
The recommendation, one of several adopted by the IOC executive board, follows calls to relax Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter, which bans any "demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda" at Olympic sites.
Any repeat of Tommie Smith and John Carlos's black power salute at the Mexico 1968 Games, one of the most enduring Olympic images, could now face punishment, although possible sanctions are yet to be determined.
"The majority of participating athletes did not think it is appropriate for athletes to express individual views during the opening ceremony, on the podium nor on the field of play," an IOC statement said.
"The respondents were most likely to believe it appropriate for athletes to demonstrate or express their individual views in the media, in press conferences and in the mixed zones."
The decision met with widespread criticism on Thursday.
"IOC upheld Rule 50 which bans among other things, athletes demonstrating even for peace and unity on the podium," tweeted former runner Michael Johnson, a four-time Olympic gold medallist.
"Citing 70% of athletes polled supported this. Taking the 70% claim at face value, I wonder what percent of those polled have been marginalized and targeted for hate."
American hammer thrower Gwen Berry, who staged a raised-fist protest on the podium at the 2019 Pan-American Games in Peru, was even more damning.
"The IOC are hypocrites who continue to silence athletes for capital gain," tweeted Berry.
"Again, they are on the wrong side of history. I encourage all athletes to STAND in their power and do what they feel is right!"
Among other athletes commission recommendations, the Olympic oath will be adapted to pledge inclusion and non-discrimination, and clothing with words such as "peace", "solidarity" and "equality" will be given to athletes at the Games.
The decision to bar demonstrations could meet opposition given the widespread "take a knee" and raised-fist protests in several sports in support of the Black Lives Matters movement.
The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee has already promised not to sanction American athletes for "respectful" demonstrations in support of racial and social justice at the Tokyo Games.
China, which will host the Beijing Winter Olympics in February, is facing scrutiny and boycott calls over several issues including the mass internment and other repression of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang and the clampdown on freedoms in Hong Kong.
© 2021 AFP
The Florida Supreme Court was blasted on Thursday for a controversial ruling to overturn the will of Sunshine State voters.
"On Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court—probably the most conservative state high court in the country–concluded that the state's voters could not be trusted with a ballot initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana for adults. By a 5–2 vote, the court tossed out the initiative, denying Florida residents the opportunity to vote on it. To justify its action, the majority seized upon a dubious rationale: It asserted that the ballot summary implies that the initiative will somehow legalize marijuana under federal law, rendering it "affirmatively misleading." Because of this putative defect, the court denied Floridians an opportunity to repeal state laws banning recreational weed," Slate legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern reported.
"The campaign to liberalize Florida's marijuana laws has long pitted the people against state officials. For years, the Republicans in the state legislature and governor's mansion refused to expand access to cannabis. In 2016, Floridians took the matter into their own hands, legalizing medical marijuana through a ballot initiative amending the state constitution that passed with more than 71 percent of the vote. Former Republican Gov. Rick Scott, abetted by GOP state legislators, attempted to gut this new law by strictly limiting qualifying conditions for the drug and banning smokable marijuana. A court blocked that ban, and the legislature eventually repealed it," Stern explained.
"Seizing this momentum, cannabis reform advocates launched a new ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana for all adults over the age of 21. As of Thursday, the initiative's sponsor had raised $8.2 million and collected more than 556,000 signatures out of the 891,589 needed to get on the ballot in 2022. Its strong support at this early date indicated a real possibility that the initiative would cross the 60 percent threshold necessary to amend the state constitution. But as its proponents were collecting signatures, Attorney General Ashley Moody, a Republican, asked the Florida Supreme Court to weigh in on the measure's legality," he explained.
"It seems as if the majority is offended by the notion of legalizing marijuana under state law while it remains illegal under federal statute, and worked its way back from that conviction. But that is not the Florida Supreme Court's decision to make; it is supposed to be the choice of the voters," Stern wrote. "Then again, Florida Republicans are not very friendly to self-governance through ballot initiative. In recent years, they have placed heavy new burdens on this process in an effort to restrict the number of proposed amendments that reach the ballot. This drive is motivated in part by the success of a ballot initiative restoring voting rights to people convicted of felonies, which the legislature opposed and then eviscerated. Thursday's decision may be a byproduct of Republican hostility toward the initiative process as much as it is a consequence of five conservative justices' distaste for marijuana reform. Whatever the motivation, the bottom line is clear: The Florida Supreme Court does not trust the state's voters to govern themselves."
The Florida Supreme Court's anti-weed decision today is so bizarre and illogical that it is pretty clearly the resu… https://t.co/AaTHTRGG7X— Mark Joseph Stern (@Mark Joseph Stern)1619122311.0
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