`He is going to change the world': Funeral held for Floyd
HOUSTON (AP) — George Floyd was fondly remembered Tuesday as “Big Floyd” — a father and brother, athlete and neighbourhood mentor, and now a catalyst for change — at a funeral for the black man whose death has sparked a global reckoning over police brutality and racial prejudice.
More than 500 mourners wearing masks against the coronavirus packed a Houston church a little more than two weeks after Floyd was pinned to the pavement by a white Minneapolis police officer who put a knee on his neck for what prosecutors said was 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
Cellphone video of the encounter, including Floyd's pleas of “I can't breathe,” ignited protests and scattered violence across the U.S. and around the world, turning the 46-year-old Floyd — a man who in life was little known beyond the public housing project where he was raised in Houston’s Third Ward — into a worldwide symbol of injustice.
“Third Ward, Cuney Homes, that's where he was born at," Floyd's brother, Rodney, told mourners at the Fountain of Praise church. “But everybody is going to remember him around the world. He is going to change the world.”
The funeral capped six days of mourning for Floyd in three cities: Raeford, North Carolina, near where he was born; Houston, where he grew up; and Minneapolis, where he died. The memorials have drawn the families of other black victims whose names have become familiar in the debate over race and justice — among them, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin.
'Chaos in Georgia': Is messy primary a November harbinger?
ATLANTA (AP) — The long-standing wrangle over voting rights and election security came to a head in Georgia, where a messy primary and partisan finger-pointing offered an unsettling preview of a November contest when battleground states could face potentially record turnout.
Many Democrats blamed the Republican secretary of state for hourslong lines, voting machine malfunctions, provisional ballot shortages and absentee ballots failing to arrive in time for Tuesday's elections. Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential campaign called it “completely unacceptable.” Georgia Republicans deflected responsibility to metro Atlanta’s heavily minority and Democratic-controlled counties, while President Donald Trump’s top campaign attorney decried “the chaos in Georgia.”
It raised the spectre of a worst-case November scenario: a decisive state, like Florida and its “hanging chads” and “butterfly ballots” in 2000, remaining in dispute long after polls close. Meanwhile, Trump, Biden and their supporters could offer competing claims of victory or question the election’s legitimacy, inflaming an already boiling electorate.
“I feel like we’re struggling as a country right now to hear people who really need to be heard,” said Atlanta resident Ross Wakefield, a 28-year-old white software engineer who waited nearly four hours to vote and watched others “peace out and bail” on the line. “This does not give me a lot of confidence that we’re doing that.”
At Trump’s campaign headquarters, senior counsel Justin Clark blamed Georgia’s vote-by-mail push amid the COVID-19 pandemic, alluding to the president’s unfounded claims that absentee voting yields widespread fraud.
Were they worth it?: Key protest movements over the decades
LONDON (AP) — The protests that left much of the world in a haze of tear gas last year were slowed by a pandemic – until the death of George Floyd sparked a global uprising against police brutality and racial inequality.
From Hong Kong to Khartoum, Baghdad to Beirut, Gaza to Paris and Caracas to Santiago, people took to the streets in 2019 for the pursuits of freedom, sovereignty or simply a life less shackled by hardship while few prospered. It seemed as if the streets were agitated everywhere but the United States.
Now, after the death of Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis who died in police custody when a white officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for several minutes, protests rage around the globe.
Police or military brutality and racism are universal dynamics that are experienced in many societies.
The very nature of a protest suggests a fervent desire for change, the need to right a perceived historic injustice. It’s a means to an end. But to what end? Depending on the government the activists are demanding change from, the results can be varied.
Pope sends strong message to US Catholics after Floyd death
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis called George Floyd by name, twice, and offered support to an American bishop who knelt in prayer during a Black Lives Matter protest.
Cardinals black and white have spoken out about Floyd's death, and the Vatican’s communications juggernaut has shifted into overdrive to draw attention to the cause he now represents.
Under normal circumstances, Floyd’s killing at the hands of a white police officer and the global protests denouncing racism and police brutality might have drawn a muted diplomatic response from the Holy See. But in a U.S. election year, the intensity and consistency of the Vatican’s reaction suggests that, from the pope on down, it is seeking to encourage anti-racism protesters while making a clear statement about where American Catholics should stand ahead of President Donald Trump's bid for a second term in November.
Francis “wants to send a very clear message to these conservative Catholics here who are pro-Trumpers that, ‘Listen, this is just as much of an issue as abortion is,’” said Anthea Butler, a presidential visiting fellow at Yale Divinity School.
Butler, who is African American, said the Vatican is telling Catholics “to pay attention to the racism that is happening and the racism that is in your own church in America.”
COVID-19 just the latest epidemic in areas struck by disease
SULEIMAN KHEL, Pakistan (AP) — When Tariq Nawaz’s daughter was born a year ago, he borrowed money to pay for his wife’s cesarean delivery. Seven months later, they learned their baby had polio and sold the little bit of jewelry his wife had received for her wedding to pay mounting medical bills.
Then the new coronavirus pandemic struck Pakistan, prompting a countrywide lockdown that closed even their village of Suleiman Khel, at the edge of a tribal region plagued by militants. Still in debt, Nawaz lost his job, his monthly paycheque of $95 and the means to provide treatment for the baby’s polio.
“It’s all I can think of. I feel like my head is going crazy,” he said.
For millions of people like Nawaz who live in poor and troubled regions of the world, the novel coronavirus is only the latest epidemic. They already face a plethora of fatal and crippling infectious diseases: polio, Ebola, cholera, dengue, tuberculosis and malaria, to name a few.
The onslaught of infectious diseases is made worse by the many other threats in lives already overwhelmed by adversity. Crushing poverty leads to malnutrition and lack of medical care, making people more susceptible to illness. In many places, they must also navigate the violence of militants, gangs and government soldiers, which can make campaigns to fight disease more difficult.
Facing electoral headwinds, Trump brings back his 2016 team
NEW YORK (AP) — As anyone who has ever heard him speak knows, President Donald Trump loves to relive 2016.
He recycles old attack lines once aimed at Hillary Clinton. He recounts the drama of election night, complete with impersonations of stunned news anchors putting state after state (Pennsylvania! Wisconsin!) in the Republican’s column.
And at other times, in private calls from the White House residence, he reminisces about the camaraderie of those days, turning nostalgic as he remembers being surrounded by a rag-tag team of campaign staffers as his private plane flew from one distant city to another.
Now, Trump is getting the band back together again.
The president in recent days has signed off on hiring a number of his 2016 veterans for his 2020 campaign, a reenlistment of loyalists that follows the return of other members of his original team to the West Wing. A creature of habit who demands loyalty and trusts few, Trump has moved to recreate the magic of his original team five months before he faces voters again.
2 kids vanished, and it just got stranger. Now, a grim turn
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — It was the extended family who grew suspicious first, and then at their urging, local police: Seven-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and his 17-year-old sister Tylee Ryan hadn't been seen in far too long, and their mother wouldn't give a straight answer about where they were.
Soon strangers around the world were following the case, transfixed by the increasingly strange circumstances surrounding Lori Vallow Daybell and her new husband, Chad Daybell. The investigation grew to include the mysterious deaths of their former spouses, rumours of doomsday cult-like beliefs and their sudden move to Hawaii.
The case took a grim turn Tuesday when investigators announced they found human remains while searching Chad Daybell's rural Idaho home. In a field near his house, the FBI and local authorities erected canopies, draped blue tarps on the ground and brought in heavy equipment to help dig. Victim advocates began calling family members, telling them about the remains.
Chad Daybell was arrested on suspicion of concealing or destructing evidence and has been booked into jail. He hasn't been formally charged yet.
“Throughout the investigation, detectives and investigators have recovered what’s believed to be human remains that have not been identified at this time,” Rexburg Assistant Police Chief Gary Hagan said at a news conference.
Sweden halts probe into 1986 murder of PM Olof Palme
STOCKHOLM (AP) — Sweden on Wednesday dropped its investigation into the unsolved murder of former Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, who was shot dead 34 years ago in downtown Stockholm, saying that decision was made because the main suspect died in 2000.
Palme was gunned down on Feb. 28, 1986, after he and his wife Lisbet Palme left a movie theatre in the Swedish capital. The murder shocked the nation and shook the Scandinavian county’s image as being so safe and peaceful that politicians could wander around in public without protection.
More than 100 people have been suspected in the crime and the unsolved case has generated scores of conspiracy theories, with possible villains ranging from foreign governments or rogue Swedish police with right-wing sympathies to an act by a lone shooter.
The investigation was being closed because the main suspect, Stig Engstrom, died in 2000, the case’s chief prosecutor, Krister Petersson, told a news conference in Stockholm on Wednesday.
“Stig Engstrom is deceased, and therefore I am not able to start proceedings or even interview him, that is why I decided to discontinue the investigation,” Petersson told reporters. “Since he has died, I cannot indict him.”
AP PHOTOS: Manaus indigenous struggle for care amid pandemic
MANAUS, Brazil (AP) — They left their tribal lands in the Amazon for the city, many seeking a better life. But in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic they have neither the protective isolation of their homelands, nor the government care that drew them to the city of Manaus in the first place.
More than 30,000 indigenous people live in the Brazilian state capital hardest hit by the global pandemic. Many among them are sick with fever, straining for air and dying, but just how many no one knows.
The indigenous people of Manaus live together in poor neighbourhoods where they struggle to maintain their native languages, culture and identity on the fringes of Brazilian society.
In April, Brazil’s minister of education said during a Cabinet meeting: “I hate the term ‘indigenous peoples’” because in his opinion the indigenous should just be called Brazilians. The comments were roundly denounced in Brazil and abroad by those who believed he meant to erase the identity they are trying to preserve.
For decades, they have fought racism and discrimination with the worst health indicators in the country, including the highest infant mortality rate. The pandemic only highlights this.
Unemployed Filipina feeds other jobless migrants in Dubai
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Feby Dela Peña saw her fellow Filipinos standing in line outside her building in Dubai, waiting for free food. And she was stricken — what if her family, too, had lost their income amid the COVID-19 outbreak? How would she have fed her three children?
Dela Peña is unemployed. “We’re poor, to be honest,” she said. “But it’s not a reason for me not to help, you know?”
So the next day, she pulled out the money that was supposed to feed her family of five for a month. When their 11 housemates got wind of her plan — like most migrant workers in Dubai, the family lives in a shared apartment — those who could chipped in as well.
She was able to buy about 500 dirhams, or $136, worth of groceries, including 30 frozen chickens and sacks of rice. And she began to cook.
That is how Dela Peña launched the project she calls Ayuda — help, in Filipino, a language heavily influenced by Spanish colonial rule. Each day, she offers 200 free meals to the hungry of Dubai, all of them foreigners, like her own family.