Chauvin pleads guilty to violating Floyd’s civil rights. Congress votes to raise debt ceiling, averts default. Haiti: Over 60 dead in fuel tanker explosion.
Chauvin pleads guilty to violating civil rights of George Floyd and a 14-year-old boy
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has pleaded guilty to violating the civil rights of George Floyd. He also pleaded guilty to civil rights charges in a second unrelated 2017 incident in which he assaulted a 14-year-old boy. Chauvin hit the boy with flashlight, grabbed him by the throat and knelt on his neck.
A jury convicted Chauvin of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death earlier this year. Last year, a video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly 10 minutes as he slowly expired sparked months of Black Live Matter protests.
Chauvin initially received a 22 year sentence in Floyd’s murder. By pleading guilty to the federal civil rights charges, Chauvin avoids another trial but will likely have more time added to his sentence. Three other former officers involved in the Floyd case, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Kueng, will face both federal and state trials in 2022.
Congress votes to raise debt ceiling, averts default
Both the House and Senate have approved a bill to raise the federal debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion. The bill heads to Biden’s desk with just hours to spare to avert a projected default. When Congress approved a smaller rise in October, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen projected that the U.S. would default on its debts around December 15. This would have triggered a historic default with disastrous economic consequences both in the U.S. and abroad.
Democrats were able to pass the bill with a simple majority this time. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says this increase to the debt ceiling means that Congress would not have to wrangle over the debt ceiling again until after the 2022 midterm elections.
Haiti: Over 60 dead in fuel tanker explosion
A fuel tanker exploded in the city of Cap-Haïtien in northern Haiti, killing more than 60 people. The fuel tanker had met with an accident and fuel was pouring out. Some of the dead had been attempting to collect the spilling fuel when it ignited. The blast also seriously injured and burned dozens of people.
Local healthcare facilities have been inundated with wounded and are overwhelmed. There have been severe shortages of basic medical supplies in the country for months. A severe earthquake earlier this year severely taxed the nation’s health system.
To make matters worse, armed gangs patrol the country’s highways, making it difficult or impossible to transport necessary supplies over land. These supply bottlenecks no doubt contributed to the desperation of the victims, who rushed to steal precious fuel from the tanker instead of giving it a wide berth.
Cap-Haïtien mayor Yvrose Pierre says, “We need human resources, and also material resources, namely serum, gauze, and anything that can be used in case of serious burns”.
A similar incident took place in the West African county of Sierra Leone just over a month ago. Scores of people rushed to collect the fuel spilling from a tanker after it was t-boned by another truck. Investigators believed that one of the people collecting the fuel sparked the blaze by scraping a metal spade on the asphalt. That explosion killed about 115 people.
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