Tuesday morning news – March 30, 2021

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Chauvin trial underway in Minneapolis » The trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd is underway.

In his opening statement on Monday, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell told jurors in Minneapolis,

BLACKWELL: We are going to prove to you that Mr. Chauvin’s conduct was a substantial cause of Mr. Floyd’s death. We have charged him with second degree, murder in third degree, and manslaughter for using excessive force.

Prosecutors also played video of the incident for the jury at their earliest opportunity.

Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson in his opening statement told jurors that he intends to show that other factors led to Floyd’s death. He said prior to Floyd’s arrest.

NELSON: Mr. Floyd consumed what were thought to be two Percocet pills. Mr. Floyd’s friends will explain that Mr. Floyd fell asleep in the car and that they couldn’t wake him up.

The jury also heard from the first witness, 911 dispatcher Jena Lee Scurry.

She said she was able to see Floyd’s arrest on a neighborhood surveillance camera in real-time, and she felt so unsettled by what she saw that she called the sergeant on duty.

SCURRY: It was a gut instinct to tell me that now we can be concerned. 

The Chauvin and Floyd families are allotted one seat each in the courtroom. Floyd’s brother Philonise represented the Floyd family on Monday. The seat for a Chauvin family member was empty.

WHO team to release report on origins of coronavirus » The World Health Organization team that visited Wuhan, China earlier this year to investigate the origins of the coronavirus is expected to release its report today. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: In a draft obtained by the Associated Press, the researchers, including Chinese scientists, said it is “extremely unlikely” that the virus leaked from a lab. The document describes four scenarios and labels transmission from bats through another animal as the most likely.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has told CNN he was concerned about the team’s methodology, including Beijing’s involvement. Multiple delays held up the investigation and report, and some suspect Chinese officials were interfering with results. Last year, China repeatedly prevented researchers from accessing areas and data associated with COVID-19.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Biden administration extends eviction moratorium » The Biden administration is extending a federal moratorium on evictions of tenants who have fallen behind on rent during the pandemic. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

PSAKI: The moratorium was scheduled to expire on March 31st and is now extended through June 30th. The president is committed to supporting renters and small landlords through the COVID-19 crisis. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday moved to continue the eviction protection.

The CDC initially enacted the moratorium for qualified tenants last year. The reasoning behind it was that some evicted tenants would be forced to move in with others contributing to the spread of the coronavirus.

Over the past five weeks, judges in Texas and Ohio ruled that the moratorium is unlawful. They say the CDC overstepped its authority. But neither judge issued an injunction, and the Justice Department has appealed.

Supreme Court to hear bid for new defense of Kentucky pro-life law » The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal from Kentucky’s attorney general who wants to defend a pro-life law that the state’s governor will not defend. WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown has more on that.

ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN, REPORTER: The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will hear Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s appeal.

It centers on a 2019 Kentucky law that largely banned a type of abortion called dilation and evacuation, also known as dismemberment abortion.

Abortionists often use this method to crush a baby’s body parts or remove the baby in pieces during the second trimester.

Kentucky’s governor at the time, Republican Matt Bevin, signed the bill into law. But the next day, a federal judge struck it down. Bevin appealed, but the state’s current Democratic Governor Andy Beshear dropped the case.

But Daniel Cameron said he wants to take up defense of the law. When the appeals court rejected his efforts to intervene, Cameron appealed to the Supreme Court. And the high court will hear the case, likely sometime in the fall.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown.

Traffic again moving through Suez Canal » Ships are once again sailing through the Suez canal, a day after salvage teams freed a colossal container ship stuck there for nearly a week.

As the container ship clogged one of the world’s most vital waterways, it caused a massive traffic jam of hundreds of ships. That held up $9 billion dollars a day in global trade.

And Captain John Konrad, CEO of the shipping website gcaptain, said it also delayed delivery of critical supplies.

KONRAD: Things like respirators for COVID and PPE are undoubtedly on these vessels, as well as oil tankers and boat carriers with grain and food supplies. Everything can pass through now. 

The container ship, called the Ever Given, is one of the largest in the world. It’s almost as long as the Empire State Building is tall.

It ran aground on a bank of the canal during a sandstorm. But on Monday, a flotilla of tugboats, helped by a rising tide, wrenched the ship from the canal’s sandy bank.

Brandon Williams, the nephew of George Floyd, tears up as attends a news conference with attorney Ben Crump, not pictured, and the Rev. Al Sharpton, left, at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, Minn., on the first day of the Derek Chauvin murder trial Monday, March 29, 2021. (Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune via AP)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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