Opening arguments in Floyd trial today – National & International News – MON 29Mar2021

Trial of Derek Chauvin for murder of George Floyd opens today. Security ramped up outside court building.

Opening arguments in Floyd trial. Students failing nationwide. Ship refloated; Suez reopens. 185 Galapagos turtle babies found in suitcase.


Opening arguments in Floyd murder trial today

After over two weeks of jury selection, the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin will get underway today. Chauvin and other former officers face charges in the death of George Floyd. A video of the arrest that circulated last year showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly 9 minutes. Floyd was already unresponsive when Chauvin eventually stood up. The video sparked months of police brutality protests and will feature prominently in the trial.

Chauvin is charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The trial will likely last about 4 weeks.

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More students failing nationwide

States and school districts across the country are pondering what to do about COVID’s lost year for America’s schoolchildren. Districts in various states are reporting failure rates that are double or triple the normal average. Standardized test scores have also dropped significantly, with some areas seeing up to two-thirds of students receiving scores of ‘not proficient’ in math and reading skills.

While school closures have affected student performance across the board, students of color and students from low-income families have been hit hardest. Teachers report that some high-school aged students are working two jobs to support their families after their parents lost work due to the pandemic.

Experts say it may take up to two years to catch student up and prevent them face a ‘generational hurdle’ for future achievement. Some states are considering legislation to allow parents to choose whether or not their children will repeat a grade to make up for lost ground, a decision that is usually up to school districts.

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Suez traffic resumes after Ever Given partially refloated

Teams of salvage workers and tug boats have succeeded in partially refloating the Ever Given, the boat that wedged itself across the Suez Canal last week. The ship’s technical manager says the accident occurred due to high winds, while canal authorities blame technical or human error.

Monday’s high tide helped to partially refloat the vessel . Salvagers are towing the ship to a nearby lake for a technical inspection. Meanwhile, commercial traffic on the Suez has resumed after nearly a week.

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Ecuador: 185 Galapagos turtle babies found in a suitcase

Ecuadorian customs officials discovered 185 Galapagos turtle babies individually wrapped in plastic and stuffed in a suitcase. Officials believe the plastic was meant to keep the babies immobile. It appears that an X-ray operator became suspicious and opened the suitcase. Amazingly, only ten of the hatchlings had died before they were rescued.

The Galapagos Islands, which belong to Ecuador, are home to many unique flora and fauna. The islands’ giant turtles are among the most famous residents. Wildlife traffickers can sell hatchling-sized juveniles for more than $5,000 per animal.

An export firm had posted the suitcase to the airport, labeled as containing “souvenirs”. No one has been arrested, but employees at the transport firm had been questioned. Anyone caught smuggling animals from the Galápagos faces one to three years in prison.

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