Today is Friday, April 9, 2021. Let's get caught up.
These headlines are in the news this morning: Medical experts testify that lack of oxygen killed George Floyd; Amazon comes out ahead in early returns of union vote; politicians in crisis refuse calls to resign.
Read on for these stories, other top headlines, celebrity birthdays and more.
Expert: Lack of oxygen killed George Floyd, not drugs
George Floyd died of a lack of oxygen from being pinned to the pavement with a knee on his neck, medical experts testified at former Officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial, emphatically rejecting the defense theory that Floyd's drug use and underlying health problems killed him.
“A healthy person subjected to what Mr. Floyd was subjected to would have died,” prosecution witness Dr. Martin Tobin, a lung and critical care specialist at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital and Loyola University’s medical school in Illinois, testified Thursday.
Using easy-to-understand language to explain medical concepts and even loosening his necktie to illustrate a point, Tobin told the jury that Floyd's breathing was severely constricted while Chauvin and two other Minneapolis officers held the 46-year-old Black man down on his stomach last May with his hands cuffed behind him and his face jammed against the ground.
The lack of oxygen resulted in brain damage and caused his heart to stop, the witness said.
Amazon union organizers deflated as vote tilts against them
Amazon is heading into the final stretch of a union push in Bessemer, Alabama, with a sizeable lead over labor organizers.
With nearly half the ballots counted Thursday night, 1,100 warehouse workers had rejected the union while 463 voted in favor of it.
The count will resume Friday morning in Birmingham, Alabama, where agents for the National Labor Relations Board are counting each vote by hand. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which is organizing the Amazon workers in Bessemer, said that 3,215 votes were sent in — about 55% of the nearly 6,000 workers who were eligible to vote. Whichever side secures the majority of the votes will be declared the winner.
For Amazon, which has more than 950,000 workers in the U.S. and has fought hard against organizing attempts, a union loss could chill similar efforts around the company.
'New strategy': Politicians in crisis refuse calls to resign
The mere whiff of a scandal once unraveled political careers with stunning speed. Not anymore.
Suddenly embroiled in a federal sex trafficking investigation, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida has denied the allegations, rebuffed suggestions that he resign and sent fundraising appeals that portray him as a victim of a “smear campaign.” He's expected to make a high-profile appearance Friday at former President Donald Trump's Doral golf club in Miami.
The congressman joins a growing list of politicians from both parties — almost exclusively men — who are defying the traditional response to controversy. Rather than humbly step back from public life, they barrel ahead, insisting they did nothing wrong and betting that voters will forget alleged misdeeds once the news cycle eventually shifts.
In other news today ...
- President Joe Biden is giving himself lots of latitude when he defines infrastructure for the purpose of spending money on it. It’s not just steel, but home health care workers. Not just excavating dirt, but building “dignity.”
- Democrats in Congress are trying to pass the first major gun control legislation in more than two decades. But they are confronting a potentially insurmountable question over what rules should govern private sales and transfers, including those between friends and extended family, as they seek Republican votes.
- There will be no reckoning at the Republican National Committee. Three months after former President Donald Trump helped incite a violent attack against Congress, the GOP is bringing hundreds of donors and several future presidential prospects to the former president's doorstep in south Florida.
- Nearly 150 groups are calling on the Senate to eliminate the filibuster, saying it is a Jim Crow-era relic that can be used to block an upcoming voting rights bill and other priorities, and should be relegated to the “dustbin of history.”
- Complex forces are driving an increase in the number of migrant families and unaccompanied children coming to the U.S. Many say President Joe Biden's positions on immigration, whether real or rumored, have influenced their decisions.
- A man opened fire Thursday at a Texas cabinet-making company where he worked, killing one person and wounding five others before shooting and wounding a state trooper prior to his arrest, authorities said.
- Japan announced it will raise the coronavirus alert level in Tokyo to allow tougher measures to curb the rapid spread of a more contagious variant ahead of the Summer Olympics.
- The latest U.S. sanctions on Myanmar target an army-controlled gems business rife with corruption and abuses that is one of the junta’s key sources of revenue.
- A Russian-U.S. trio of space travelers launched successfully Friday, heading for the International Space Station.
Click on the links below for full versions of these stories and scroll further for a look at today in history and celebrity birthdays.
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