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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review


After being arrested by the police in Minneapolis, George Floyd, an unarmed, 46-year-old black man, was killed by a white officer, Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds while Floyd, handcuffed and facedown on the pavement, repeated the words “I can’t breathe” at least 16 times.1 2 Chauvin and three other police officers who were involved in Floyd’s death were fired, and calls for criminal charges against the officers resulted in hundreds of people being arrested in protests in at least 140 cities across the United States, where police violence is one of the leading causes of death among black men.3 4 Chauvin was later charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.5 In multiple states, police officers fired rubber bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at protesters. SWAT teams and National Guard troops were deployed, several journalists were arrested, and curfews were declared in more than two dozen cities.6 7 In New York City, two police cruisers accelerated and drove through a crowd of protesters, and in Minneapolis, video showed officers marching through residential streets and firing paint rounds at residents who were standing on their own front porch.8 9 “Light them up,” one officer was heard saying. “THUGS,” tweeted Donald Trump of the protesters.10 “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” Trump added, recalling the notorious words of a Miami police chief during the civil-rights movement who in 1967 said, “We don’t mind being accused of police brutality.” Fires were lit outside the White House, which turned off its lights and went dark.11

In Toronto, protesters gathered in response to the death of a 29-year-old black woman who had fallen from her 24th-floor balcony after police entered her apartment and she was heard calling, “Mom, help! Mom, help!”12 In New York, a white woman was fired from her job at an investment bank after an encounter in Central Park with a black Harvard graduate who is on the board of the New York City Audubon Society.13 The man, who was bird-watching in the park, asked the woman to leash her dog. “I’m going to call the cops,” she told him as he recorded the interaction on his phone. “I’m going to tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life.”14 The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide surpassed six million, and the death count in Brazil, where there has not been widespread testing for the coronavirus, overtook that of France.16 It was reported that a senior official in the Brazilian government had said that “it’s good that deaths are concentrated among the old,” adding that the pandemic “will reduce our pension deficit.”17 The government in the Canadian province of Alberta announced that it would distribute face masks to residents at McDonald’s drive-throughs, Japanese theme parks announced that screaming would no longer be allowed, and the government of Cyprus announced that it would cover medical expenses for any tourists who contracted COVID-19 while traveling in the country.18 19 20 A British man landed his plane on a military base near the coast of Wales, telling officials that he had seen the area on Google Earth and had wanted to go to the beach.21

A group of monkeys near Delhi ambushed a health-care worker and took three coronavirus-test blood samples, and a senior minister in Indonesia compared suffering from COVID-19 to having a wife.22 23 “Initially, you try to control it,” he said. “Then you realize you can’t.” Denmark announced that the country’s borders would open to visitors seeking to reunite with their romantic partners, provided they are able to prove their relationship using “very intimate things” like “a photo or a love letter,” according to a police official.24 The city of Vancouver, British Columbia, expanded its program of feeding birth control pellets to pigeons to eight additional transit stations, and a man in Pakistan demanded the release of Golden Madi, his pet pigeon, which was detained by Indian authorities, apparently on suspicion of spying.25 26 27 A turtle hit the windshield of a car in Georgia, and a woman in California used a leaf blower to spray glitter at police officers at the end of a high-speed chase.28 In what the local fire department described as a “heartbreaking incident,” a ton of liquid chocolate was spilled on a street in the town of Werl, Germany.29 A man was arrested in San Diego after breaking into a Wells Fargo branch in the middle of the night to use the staff microwave to heat up Hot Pockets.30 “Hell yeah,” he said. “It was worth it.” The Crew Dragon, SpaceX’s private spacecraft, entered outer space for the first time, carrying two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.31 “The Dragon was a slick vehicle,” the astronauts said as they left Earth. “We had an excellent, excellent evening.”—Sharon J. Riley

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