George Floyd’s murder trial begins
Court proceedings against the policeman on trial for the murder of George Floyd began in central Minneapolis this week. Derek Chauvin, who denies murder and manslaughter charges, could face up to 40 years in prison if found guilty. Mr Floyd’s death sparked protests around the world, with demonstrators calling for racial justice and an end to police brutality, particularly against ethnic minorities. The three other officers on duty that day, Tou Thao, J Alexander Keung and Thomas Lane, will stand trial for lesser charges later this year.
Lenny Henry and others urge Black Britons to get the vaccine
Worrying data from the Office for National Statistics have shown a lower rate of vaccine uptake within certain ethnic groups in the UK. This prompted comedian Lenny Henry, actress Thandie Newton, Youtuber KSI and others to pen a letter urging those anxious to have the jab to take it. The differences between certain groups are striking. For instance, in the over 70s category, 91.3% of white Britons have had the jab, compared to 58.8% of black Africans and 68.7% of Black Caribbeans.
In perhaps the surest sign yet that we will all soon be carrying around proof of vaccination this summer, Michael Gove held a zoom-based charm offensive on Monday night to try and calm the nerves of Conservative backbenchers surrounding the issue. With pressure mounting to open the country up in a safe and controlled manner through the use of vaccine passports, Tory leaders must quell the nerves of their more libertarian colleagues.
This issue is expected to rumble on for a while longer and is likely to contradict the very foundation of Britain’s civil liberties. However, with foreign countries already demanding proof of vaccination before travel, pressure on Boris Johnson’s government may continue to grow.
Cameron comes under fire
Former PM David Cameron has come under fire for his involvement in the Greensill Lobbying scandal. Last Saturday, The Times revealed that Australian banker Lex Greensill was given an influential role in government before hiring Cameron to lobby senior government ministers on his behalf.
To add insult to an already injured Cameron, on Monday the FT reported on a camping trip in the Saudi desert that he went on with Mohammed Bin Salman and Lex Greensill, one year on from the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and amid the ongoing saga regarding the use of British weapons in the Yemeni Civil War.
Trouble in the Suez
The Ever Given, the container ship that had been blocking the Suez Canal for the past week, has been freed and trade is once again passing through one of the world’s busiest shipping ways. The surrounding region has often served as a catalyst for anxiety. The geopolitical importance of the Suez Canal and the surrounding region cannot be understated. As we saw with the incident in the Strait of Hormuz not too long ago, events in this region can have serious knock-on effects when it comes to global trade.
Worryingly, the region is becoming increasingly volatile. The world is locked in a nautical arms race, a race to build bigger ships to match our increasing demand. This has entailed intense scrutiny on the small pockets of the world where most of this trade passes. Accordingly, an intense focus on security and sustainability has also emerged. Consideration of these issues begs numerous questions over the long-term sustainability of attempting to cater for unfettered demand.