First Factor: the killing of George Floyd, one 12 months on |

Good morning.

One year ago, the world watched in horror as George Floyd was murdered while handcuffed on the ground, a now-former Minneapolis police officer’s knee on his neck. Since then a racial reckoning has swept the nation, with a summer of demonstrations and marches in cities and towns big and small.

More rallies marking the anniversary of Floyd’s death are expected to take place across the country throughout the week. Today, Joe Biden is scheduled to meet Floyd’s family at the White House.

  • “How many times have we seen Black death go viral?” A look back at how, one year later, Floyd’s murder changed the world.

  • Police originally called Floyd’s death a “medical incident during police interaction”. Here’s a look at this country’s history of whitewashing history, and the fight against it.

  • The teenage cashier who accepted Floyd’s alleged counterfeit $20 bill. “I allowed myself to feel guilty for a very long time before the trial happened,” Christoper Martin told the Guardian. “I just kept replaying that decision in my head. What if I would have just told him he couldn’t buy the cigarettes?”

Belarusian journalist was forced to record confession, father says

Belarusian journalist was forced to record confession video, says father – video
Belarusian journalist was forced to record confession video, says father – video

Roman Protasevich, the journalist arrested from the commercial Ryanair airplane that the Belarus president, Alexander Lukashenko, ordered his military to scramble a Mig-29 fighter to intercept, made his first appearance since being detained on the country’s television news to apparently confess to crimes against the state.

The former editor of the influential Telegram channels Nexta and Nexta Live appeared to have light bruising above his right eye in the footage. Belarus has accused him of terrorism and provoking riots after the Nexta channels became one of the main conduits for organizing last year’s anti-Lukashenko protests over election fraud.

His father, Dzmitry Protasevich, told Reuters in an interview late yesterday that he believed the comments his son made on video were coerced. “It’s likely his nose is broken, because the shape of it has changed and there’s a lot of powder on it. All of the left side of his face has powder,” he said.

“It’s not his words, it’s not his intonation of speech. He is acting very reserved and you can see he is nervous.”

  • EU imposes new economic sanctions against Belarus: These video remarks come as the European Union hit Belarus with new economic sanctions and called for EU carriers to avoid Belarusian airspace. EU leaders also agreed to ban overflight of EU airspace by Belarusian airlines and prevent access to EU airports.

  • “A direct affront to international norms.” Joe Biden applauded the sanctions, condemning “in the strongest possible terms” the operation to arrest the dissident. Like other EU leaders, he called for Protasevich’s release.

  • “Don’t do this, they will kill me.” Just before landing in Minsk, a visibly trembling Protasevich begged the flight attendants to reconsider and grew frantic. At Athens airport he had messaged friends about how he was being shadowed by a bald man speaking Russian.

  • Minsk blames the west for escalating tensions. “The situation is being intentionally politicized, and there are baseless accusations and labelling,” the Belarusian foreign ministry said in a statement, calling the accusations over the incident “hasty and openly belligerent”.

  • “This is a test for the international community.” Under the Belarus president, Alexander Lukashenko, more than 35,000 people have been arrested and thousands tortured or abused. Currently, 400 political prisoners are behind bars. “Yes, Lukashenko is a psychopath, a dangerous one,” said Andrei Sannikov, a former Belarus presidential candidate imprisoned in 2010.

US urges citizens to avoid travel to Japan

With a new variant of coronavirus on the rise, the US issued its highest level 4 travel warning to Japan. The warning comes less than two months before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, already postponed a year, are set to open.

Texas poised to remove one of state’s last major gun restrictions

Despite widespread objections, the state’s Republican-dominated legislature approved legislation on Monday that would allow people to carry handguns without a license and without training. Greg Abbott, the state’s governor, has said he would sign it.

In other news …

  • More than 500 Democratic staffers urge Joe Biden to hold Israel accountable. Democratic party staffers and alumni ofJoe Biden’s 2020 campaign are calling for the US president to do more to protect Palestinians and hold Israel accountable for its actions in and over Gaza, where a ceasefire currently holds.

  • Clown threat led to increased surveillance. Remember all those rumors of people dressing up as menacing clowns? In Washington DC, those vague social media threats in 2016 led to intense police monitoring.

Stat of the day: 53% of all Republicans still believe Donald Trump won the 2020 US presidential election

Comparatively, 25% of all Americans still believe Donald Trump won the 2020 US presidential election, and 3% of Democrats, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll.

Don’t miss this: the viral punk youth band, the Linda Lindas, discuss their hit, ‘Racist, Sexist Boy’

The Linda Lindas perform during LA Family Housing’s Home Together virtual event on 29 April. Photograph: LA Family Housing Home Together 2021/via Getty Images

The Linda Lindas went viral last week when their performance at the Los Angeles Public Library exploded on social media. Hundreds of thousands found themselves either relating to or rooting for 10-year-old drummer Mila and her anti-Asian experience behind the song. The band is currently in talks for a deal with Epitaph Records.

Last Thing: The structural inequalities in America’s food system

Renowned urban farmer Karen Washington argues that it’s by design, not accident that people of color are denied access to nutritious affordable food, farmland and business opportunities in the food industry.

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