6th grader shoots 3 at Idaho school – National & International News – FRI 7May2021

An unidentified 11 or 12-year-old female student opened fire inside her Idaho middle school.

6th grader shoots 3 at Idaho school. Chauvin, others face federal charges. Germany bucks Biden on vaccine patent waivers.

NATIONAL NEWS

6th grader shoots 3 at Idaho school

Police say an unidentified 11 or 12-year-old girl pulled a gun from her backpack and fired several rounds inside and outside Rigby Middle School in Rigby, ID. The girl shot two other students and a member of staff before being disarmed by a female teacher. Fortunately, none of the victims were seriously wounded. The staff member was treated and released. One child, shot in two limbs, may require surgery.

Dr. Michael Lemon of the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center says the community is “absolutely blessed” that injuries were not more severe.

Police do not yet know the girl’s motivation, nor where she got the gun. Superintendent Chad Martin says local schools would be closed on Friday and counsellors would be available.

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Chauvin, three others face federal charges in Floyd’s death

Federal prosecutors have charged former police officers Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao for violating the civil rights of George Floyd during his deadly arrest last year. As many know by now, Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck, causing him to suffocate. During the encounter, Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back, Lane held down his legs, and Thao prevented bystanders from intervening. Chauvin was the most senior officer on the scene.

Chauvin is charged with violating Floyd’s rights to freedom from unreasonable seizure and unreasonable force. Kueng and Thao likewise face charges of violating Floyd’s right to freedom from unreasonable seizure. All four are charged with failing to provide medical care to Floyd.

An additional charge against Chauvin relates to his use of a neck restraint while arresting a 14-year-old boy in 2017.

Chauvin is awaiting sentencing in late June after his second degree murder conviction in Floyd’s death. The other three face a state trial in August.

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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Germany bucks US on vaccine patents

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has restated her opposition to a patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines. Her announcement comes after President Joe Biden announced his support for the waiver earlier this week. Germany is now one of the lone voices in Europe that still opposes the waiver, with some now backing Biden’s stance after previously opposing the waiver.

Germany may be a lone voice, but it is a powerful one. At the upcoming negotiations with the World Trade Organization, representatives will have to decide on the waiver by consensus. Germany’s opposition could possibly deadlock the talks.

Pros and cons of waivers

Merkel contends that, “the limiting factors in the production of vaccines are the production capacities and the high-quality standards and not patents”. She also says that preserving patents is key to incentivizing future vaccine innovation. 

Proponents of the waiver argue, firstly, that it was governments, not the producers, that funded the lion’s share of the innovation for these vaccines. Governments all over the world invested $billions in the effort. In fact, governments, especially the US, have been subsidizing pharmaceutical companies’ research and development to a large degree long before COVID ever appeared.

Secondly, supporters of the waiver argue that there is a moral and practical imperative to waiving patents as mutant strains devastate developing countries like India. While Merkel is correct in saying production capacity and demanding specifications pose difficulties, patents are also a formidable barrier to broader production. Unlocking patents would undoubtedly speed production in many developing countries, including India.

The WHO also backs the waivers. As they point out, the current crisis in India, and the threat of its spread to other countries, amply demonstrates that no one is safe from COVID until everyone is safe.

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