Early last week a twelve-man panel from the Minneapolis city council was put in place to look into George Floyd’s nationwide firestorm. Nine of the members came out on Sunday, June 12, to announce that the council had plans to disband the city’s police department. However, they did not offer a timeline on actions they intend to take. “We are taking intermediate steps towards ending the force,” they said.
Nationwide curfews begin to lift in George Floyd protests
With major cities lifting their curfew, protesters nationwide are still pushing forward in their efforts for change even though it has been two weeks since George Floyd’s killing. They continue to voice out the bias entrenched by law enforcement agencies, especially the police, when carrying out their duty and call for immediate changes in the system.
Trump hesitates investigation Minneapolis police
According to two top Trump administration officials, “We do not believe in systemic racism in the country’s police” has led to a stark contrast on Sunday. The Attorney General William P. Barr said that President Trump is reluctant to investigate the problems in the Minneapolis city police where the national outburst began.
George Floyd gets put to rest amongst friends, family and public figures
George Floyd’s public memorial took place on Monday, June 8, and was held at Fountain of Praise church in Houston where many celebrities and political figureheads were in attendance.
Houston’s Jack Yates High School, where Floyd graduated in 1993 will have a hsted a candlelight vigil, which was held before a private service at the Fountain of Praise church that took place on Tuesday, which was followed by Floyd’s burial at Houston Memorial Gardens cemetery.
Here are other significant developments
On Sunday morning, President Trump said he is ordering the National Guard troops to begin withdrawing from the nation’s capital.
The ideology of withholding funds from the police has already begun a hot topic of interest as protests continue nationwide.
Philonise Floyd is scheduled to testify before Congress on Wednesday, which happens to be the first congressional hearing on the law enforcement since his brother’s killing in police custody on Memorial Day.
In a statement made by the Denver Police Department on Sunday said that there are making rules to ban all uses of chokeholds as part of a broader effort to address the use of force by its officers, amending the ongoing protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Former President Obama and his wife Michelle addressed the unrest caused by George Floyd’s protest and the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday’s Class Of 2020 event for graduates. “It’s fair to say that your generation is graduating into a world that faces more profound challenges than any generation in decades,” Barack Obama said.
In a televised Oval office address last night, President Donald Trump announced a temporary travel ban, limiting most Europeans from coming to the U.S.
After weeks of playing down the spread of COVID-19, a novel coronavirus, President Trump finally issued a word of caution, telling Americans to be “very, very careful.”
The travel ban will take effect at midnight on Friday, and will initially be in place for 30 days.
“I am confident that by counting and continuing to take these tough measures, we will significantly reduce the threat to our citizens and we will ultimately and expeditiously defeat this virus,” Trump said.
The address was only his second time speaking to the nation from the Oval office, the first being in January 2019 during a partial government shutdown when President Trump asserted that funding for a border wall was essential for the nation’s security.
The specifics of the travel ban
Although it was unclear in President’s Trump address, the travel ban will not prevent Americans abroad from coming home. U.S. citizens, permanent residents and their families, health professionals that are part of international efforts to combat the spread of the virus, diplomats and air or sea crew are all excluded from the ban.
Although Americans travelling abroad at the moment should take note of the spreading virus, yesterday classified as a global pandemic by the WHO, and return home immediately, regardless of whether the travel ban applies to them or not.
Which countries are included?
The 26 European countries in the Schengen zone—Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland are included in the travel ban.
Which countries aren’t?
The U.K., despite having almost 600 cases and hardly any social-distancing restrictions in place to stop its spread, and Ireland are not included in the ban. This technically means that if you are a European foreign national flying to the U.S., you could schedule a stay in the U.K. for more than 14 days and then be cleared to enter the U.S.
It’s interesting to note that the U.K. and Ireland both host Trump golf resorts.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar is due to meet the President on Thursday, and that meeting is still scheduled to go ahead.
Trade and cargo under a Europe travel ban
During his Oval office address, the President suggested that trade with Europe would be affected, saying “these prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval.”
However on Twitter afterwards, he said it was “very important for all countries & businesses to know that trade will in no way be affected by the 30-day restriction on travel from Europe. The restriction stops people not goods.”
Hoping to get the payroll tax cut approved by both Republicans and Democrats, and please remember, very important for all countries & businesses to know that trade will in no way be affected by the 30-day restriction on travel from Europe. The restriction stops people not goods.
The second assertion is correct—trade and cargo will not be affected. The exemption for air and sea crew from the ban in meant to keep goods moving smoothly.
Trump attacks Europe
The President accused Europe of spreading a “foreign virus” on American soil, saying the EU “failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hotspots. As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travellers from Europe.”
In fact, COVID-19 reached the U.S. a full 11 days before it reached Italy, the epicenter of Europe’s outbreak. And many clusters of infection in the U.S. are now caused by community transmission, rather than foreign travel. Despite this, little to no social distancing measures have been put in place, and testing remains inaccessible to most.
The EU, in turn, condemned the President’s unilateral ban. In a joint statement on Thursday, the presidents of the European commission and European council defended Europe’s record in managing the pandemic and sharply criticised the White House for its failure to consult its allies.
“The coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent, and requires cooperation rather than unilateral action,” Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel said in a statement.
Markets are not assured
Always sensitive to the stock market, the President said in his address that “this is not a financial crisis. This is just a temporary moment in time that we will overcome as a nation and a world.”
However, the markets seemed to be unassured by this statement, tumbling further when they opened today.
In other coronavirus news, many were saddened to learn that Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, had tested positive for coronavirus. Hanks is one of the highest-profile celebrities to contract the virus as it has spread through the globe. At 63, he is more at risk, falling into a range where the fatality rate is estimated to be 3.6 percent.
In happier news, China has passed the peak of its outbreak, according to a spokesman for the country’s health ministry. COVID-19 was detected in Wuhan in December 2019, and saw a rapid spread through the country in the months since—Chin has recoded about two-thirds of the cases worldwide. However, on Thursday, there were just 15 new cases from the previous day.
For those who are doing the math and estimating that their own personal lives may be affected for only two to three months, it’s worth noting that China adopted very aggressive quarantine, social distancing and public health policies—things that are not being adopted elsewhere.
A US District Judge issued a restraining order on July 31 preventing the publication of blueprints for 3D printed guns.
Although these guns are illegal to buy or sell, it is still legal to make them. 3D guns are available to anyone who has a 3D printer, a blueprint, and the materials needed to make it, meaning that a background check or documentation would not be needed to own one.
Guns only made out of plastic are currently illegal in the US due to the Undetectable Firearms Act, which states that any gun that cannot be detected by a metal detector is illegal. This means that if a 3D printed gun has a metal plate inserted into the body of the gun, it is legal.
The first ever 3D printed gun is believed to be invented in 2013 by Cody Wilson, a then 25-year-old law student at the University of Texas. After creating the gun, he posted the blueprint on his website, DEFCAD. The US State Department later removed the blueprint from the website.
Since then, Defense Distributed, a Texas gun rights organisation headed by Cody Wilson, along with the Second Amendment Foundation, have attempted to sue the US State Department.
Defense Distributed back 3D printed guns by stating that they are defending the 1st and 2 nd Amendments: freedom of speech and the right to bear arms.
Wilson told CBS, “I believe that I am championing the Second Amendment in the 21st century”.
In June, a settlement was reached that allowed Defense Distributed to publish their gun plans on August 1. The company published the plans five days early, on July 27.
Following the publication of the plans, Judge Robert Lasnik issued a temporary, nationwide restraining order on the distribution of the blueprints, saying that 3D printed guns have the potential to cause “irreparable harm”. Lasnik organized another hearing on August 10.
After the decision was made, Wilson tweeted: “By order of a federal judge in the Western District of Washington, DEFCAD.com is going dark.”
Bob Ferguson, Attorney General of Washington state, had filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration on Monday and sought a restraining order against the distribution of the blueprints. Ferguson called Lasnick’s decision “a complete, total victory”.
Donald Trump has weighed in on the situation, tweeting: “I am looking into 3D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, has stated: “The president is glad these efforts were delayed to give more time to review the issue. This Administration supports the decades-old legislation already in the books that prohibits the ownership of a wholly plastic gun.”