Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)


- Agence France-presse

Prosecutor­s on Wednesday asked a US judge to sentence the white former police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd, an unarmed Black man whose death last year sparked nationwide protests, to 30 years in prison.

Attorneys for the Minneapoli­s officer, Derek Chauvin, countered with a far different request - a sentence of time served and probation, claiming that their client was guilty of “an error made in good faith”.

In court documents sent ahead of the June 25 sentencing hearing, prosecutor­s in Minnesota called actions by the 45-year-old Chauvin an “egregious abuse” of his position.

“Defendant’s conduct was also particular­ly cruel,” prosecutor­s said. They recalled that Judge Peter Cahill had ruled there were four aggravatin­g factors in the case, allowing him to depart from state sentencing guidelines and clearing the path for a tough sentence.

Chauvin was captured on video kneeling on the neck of the 46-year-old Floyd - suspected of using a counterfei­t bill - for more than nine minutes until he passed out and died on May 25, 2020, while ignoring the victim’s pleas for air and help.

After a trial lasting several weeks, Chauvin was convicted of murder on April 20 and immediatel­y jailed. The most serious charge that he was convicted of second-degree murder - carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

More than two billion Covid-19 vaccines have been given across the world, according to an AFP tally on Thursday drawn from official sources. The milestone comes six months after the first vaccinatio­n campaigns against Covid-19 began.

At least 2,109,696,022 shots have been given in 215 countries and territorie­s, according to the count from an AFP database. Israel, which has led the race from the start, is still out in front, with nearly six in 10 people there fully vaccinated.

It is followed by Canada (59% of the population have had at least one jab), the United Kingdom (58.3%), Chile (56.6%) and the United States (51%).

Six out of 10 of the injections have been administer­ed in the world’s three most populous countries - China (704.8mn doses), the US (296.9mn) and India (221mn). Only six countries haven’t started vaccinatin­g - North Korea, Haiti, Tanzania, Chad, Burundi and Eritrea.

WHO rules out new variant in Vietnam

A Covid-19 variant that Vietnamese authoritie­s had thought was a combinatio­n of the variants found in India and the UK, is not a new hybrid but part of the existing strain detected in India, Kidong Park, the World Health Organizati­on’s (WHO) representa­tive in Vietnam, told Nikkei newspaper.

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