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Top US general ‘I should not have been there’ : Live updates | George Floyd protests News

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  • The police killing of George Floyd has triggered anti-racism protests around the world. A number of monuments with links to colonialism and slavery have been defaced or pulled down in Europe and the United States as demands for racial justice continue.

  • One of the four former Minneapolis police officers who was charged over the death of Floyd, was released on a $750,000 bail.

  • Floyd died on May 25 after a policeman knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. His death has sparked nationwide calls for policing reforms. 

Milley

General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff walking near President Donald Trump towards visit St. John’s Church, in Washington, US on June 1, 2020 [Patrick Semansky/AP Photo]

14:15 GMT – Pentagon chief says he was wrong to accompany Trump on church walk

Army General Mark Milley, the US’s top military officer, said he was wrong to have accompanied President Donald Trump on a walk to a church through Lafayette Square, where he was photographed in his combat uniform with the presidential entourage.

“My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics,” Milley said. “As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from, and I sincerely hope we all can learn from it.”




Covering the George Floyd protests as a Black journalist | Between Us

The statement by the Joint Chiefs chairman risked the wrath of a president sensitive to anything hinting of criticism of events he has staged. Trump’s June 1 walk through the park to pose with a Bible at a church came after authorities used pepper spray and flash bangs to clear the park and streets of largely peaceful protesters.

Milley said his presence and the photographs compromised his commitment to a military divorced from politics.

“I should not have been there,” Milley said in pre-recorded remarks to a National Defense University commencement ceremony.

14:00 GMT – Fitness company apologises for ‘I can’t breathe’ workout

A health club company has apologised on behalf of a franchisee who posted an “I can’t breathe” workout at its gym in Wisconsin.

Photos of the workout instructions drawn on a dry erase board at Anytime Fitness in the city of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin were shared widely on social media and drawn criticism.

The “I can’t breathe” workout included burpees, or squat thrusts, with the instructions “don’t you dare lay down”. It also showed a person in a kneeling position, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The company said it was “profoundly sorry” that the workout was posted.

“No matter what the intent, we absolutely do not condone the words, illustrations or actions this represents. One of our publicly-stated commitments to antiracism work is to bolster training efforts for our franchise owners to lead with empathy, love and respect. This incident makes it clear we have more work to do in this space,” a statement from the company read.

The workout instructions at the gym have since been removed.

13:00 GMT – One of four Minneapolis police charged over Floyd‘s death freed on bail

One of the four former Minneapolis police officers who was charged over the death of George Floyd, was released on bail on Wednesday.

The former police officer released, Thomas Lane, 37, had been held on $750,000 bail and was freed from Hennepin County jail, sheriff’s office records showed.

All four officers have been fired from the Minneapolis police department.

Catch up on Wednesday’s updates here.


SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies



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COVID: How has the UK managed to master the vaccine roll-out? | Coronavirus pandemic News

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London, United Kingdom – When Ayesha Sharieff, a general practitioner in a south London surgery, administered the first COVID vaccines to her patients earlier this month, she was overjoyed.

“It was the best afternoon I’ve spent for a long time,” said Sharieff, who has been a doctor for 20 years. “After all these tough times we’ve been through recently, it was such a pleasure. I wanted to jump on top of my car and honk the horn.”

Each day, Sharieff and her team vaccinate up to 300 patients, currently focusing on elderly people from the area’s diverse urban population as a priority, as part of the United Kingdom’s rapid vaccine roll-out.

“I recently vaccinated a Caribbean nurse working in infectious diseases who must have been 88,” said Sharieff. “It just felt like such an honour to be doing that for her. I had tears in my eyes.”

The UK has earned cautious early praise for its vaccine roll-out, which has seen it produce double the number of vaccinations per person per day of any other European country.

This marks a significant turnaround because with the highest COVID-19 death toll in Europe, the UK government faces high levels of criticism for failing to contain the virus.

The UK became the first Western country to license a COVID-19 vaccine on December 2 when the medicines regulator approved the Pfizer-BioNTech jab [File: Phil Noble/Reuters]

More than six million people in the UK have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to date, as part of the largest vaccination programme in British history. The National Health Service (NHS) has vaccinated more than half of those aged 80 and over and more than half of elderly care home residents, both considered priorities, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.

Once those priorities have been treated, the UK will offer the vaccine to everyone over 50 and then everyone aged over 18.

‘Flexible, scalable system’

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has said it plans to offer a first dose of vaccine to every adult in Britain, who make up 51 million of its total 67.5 million population, by September.

It will soon begin a trial of 24-hour injections as it continues to add more vaccination sites to increase the pace of delivery.

Good logistics planning and significant financial investment have underpinned the early positive vaccination numbers, according to Sarah Schiffling, a supply chains expert at Liverpool John Moores University.

“We can’t underestimate the fact the UK is devoting nearly £12 billion to the purchase, manufacture and roll-out of the vaccine,” she told Al Jazeera. “But the UK is seeing the benefit of having a coordinated approach. It’s started out really well and gotten up to quite a volume of patients vaccinated very quickly and that is very promising.”

Schiffling believes the centralised nature of the NHS as well the UK’s “far-reaching delivery network” – which spans from local GPs to mass vaccination centres – has also played a key role. “It’s a flexible, scalable system and that’s been working really well so far,” she explained.

The NHS, unlike some countries that have a federal approach, has departments already in place for bulk purchasing, says Schiffling, and the UK invested quickly into materials such as syringes that are now in high demand.

“One system can work along the supply chain, and that’s worked to the UK’s advantage here,” she said.

UK adopts first dose strategy

The UK became the first Western country to license a COVID-19 vaccine on December 2 when the medicines regulator approved the Pfizer-BioNTech jab. Since then, it has also approved vaccines produced by Oxford-AstraZeneca and Moderna, but doses of the latter are not expected for months.

But unlike other nations, the UK has decided to increase the time between vaccine doses given to people from 21 days to up to 12 weeks, a decision that is thought to mean more people will get their first dose more quickly.

“The UK has prioritised getting people the first doses,” said Mark Jit, a professor of vaccine epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “This has enabled more people to be vaccinated quickly. From what we know about vaccines, the first dose gives quite good protection, especially with the Astra-Zeneca vaccine. It’s not that the second dose will be dropped entirely.”

Professor Jit says the UK’s history of previous successful campaigns has also helped the rapid roll-out.

“The UK has an advantage because it has a long history of successful vaccine introductions,” he said, pointing to the introduction of the Shingles vaccine to adults in 2013, the HPV vaccine for adolescents in 2008 and national flu campaigns. “Part of it is also good communication, so there is good public confidence in vaccines.”

Johnson poses for a photograph with a vial of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca COVID-19 candidate vaccine in Wrexham, Wales, on November 30, 2020 [File: Paul Ellis/Pool via Reuters]

But Jit added that while success in the UK’s vaccine roll-out is good news, the issue will persist while all countries still need vaccine supplies.

“This is a global issue and the pandemic won’t be solved until we address those worldwide concerns,” he said.

With England in a third national lockdown since January 2 after a highly transmissible variant helped push the number of people hospitalised with COVID-19 to record highs, for some, vaccination can’t come any sooner.

The UK is now rapidly approaching 100,000 coronavirus-related deaths, marking the worst death toll in Europe and the fifth-highest number worldwide, and some 50,000 health workers are off work due to COVID-19 infections and exposure quarantines.

“This vaccine roll-out has been one of the most uplifting things in my career,” said Sharieff, the GP. “But as it continues we will have to vaccinate larger, more diverse patient groups. We need to make sure everyone is protected equally.”



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