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WASHINGTON

COVID-19 hospitalizations tumble among US senior citizens

COVID-19 hospitalizations among older Americans have plunged more than 70 percent since the start of the year, and deaths among them appear to have tumbled as well, dramatic evidence the vaccination campaign is working.

Now the trick is to get more of the nation’s younger people to roll up their sleeves.

The drop-off in severe cases among Americans 65 and older is especially encouraging because senior citizens have accounted for about 8 out of 10 deaths from the virus since it hit the U.S., where the toll stands at about 570,000

COVID-19 deaths among people of all ages in the U.S. have plummeted to about 700 per day on average, compared with a peak of over 3,400 in mid-January.

«What you’re seeing there is exactly what we hoped and wanted to see: As really high rates of vaccinations happen, hospitalizations and death rates come down,» said Jodie Guest, a public health researcher at Emory University.

MINNEAPOLIS

Sharpton decries ‘stench of racism’ in Daunte Wright’s death

Daunte Wright, the young Black man shot by an officer during a traffic stop in suburban Minneapolis, was not «just some kid with an air freshener,» but a «prince» whose life ended too soon at the hands of police, the Rev. Al Sharpton said Thursday during an emotional funeral.

Hundreds of people wearing COVID-19 masks packed into Shiloh Temple International Ministries to remember Wright, a 20-year-old father of one who was shot by a white police officer on April 11 in the small city of Brooklyn Center. The funeral was held just two days after former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in the death of George Floyd and amid a national reckoning on racism and policing.

«The absence of justice is the absence of peace,» Sharpton said. «You can’t tell us to shut up and suffer. We must speak up when there is an injustice.»

The civil rights leader’s thundering eulogy included a stinging rebuke of the possibility that Wright was pulled over for having air fresheners dangling from his mirror. Wright’s mother has said her son called her after he was stopped and told her that was the reason. Police said it was for expired registration.

«We come today as the air fresheners for Minnesota,» Sharpton said, vowing changes in federal law. «We’re trying to get the stench of police brutality out of the atmosphere. We’re trying to get the stench of racism out of the atmosphere. We’re trying to get the stench of racial profiling out of the atmosphere.

LONDON

UK lawmakers pass motion saying China committing genocide

British lawmakers on Thursday approved a parliamentary motion declaring that China’s policies against its Uyghur minority population in the far western Xinjiang region amounted to genocide and crimes against humanity.

The motion is non-binding and does not compel the British government to act. But it is another move signalling the growing outcry among U.K. politicians over alleged human rights abuses in China.

The motion was moved by Conservative lawmaker Nus Ghani, one of five British lawmakers recently sanctioned by China for criticizing its treatment of the Uyghurs.

«There is a misunderstanding that genocide is just one act — mass killing. That is false,» she said, adding that all the criteria of genocide — an intention to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial or religious group — «are evidenced as taking place in Xinjiang.»

The U.S. government and the parliaments of Belgium, the Netherlands and Canada have accused Beijing of genocide, although Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been reluctant to use the term.

Stocks end lower after report on Biden’s tax proposal

A report that President Biden will propose a hefty tax increase on the gains wealthy individuals reap from investments triggered a stock market sell-off Thursday afternoon that left indexes broadly lower.

Investors who earn $1 million or more would have to pay a 39.6 percent tax rate on any capital gains, nearly double the current rate for Americans in that income bracket, according to the report by Bloomberg. A separate surtax on investment income could boost the overall federal tax rate for wealthy investors as high as 43.3 percent, the report said, citing unnamed people familiar with the proposal.

The S&P 500 fell 0.9 percent, wiping out an early gain. The benchmark index gave up nearly all of its gain from the day before, leaving it on track for its first weekly loss in five weeks.

The selling was widespread, with every sector in the S&P 500 closing lower. Technology stocks, banks and companies that rely on consumer spending, accounted for much of the skid. Treasury yields held mostly steady.

«The things that the market is going to react to are the unknowns,» said Andrew Mies, chief investment officer of 6Meridian. «The knowns are the economy is good and improving, earnings are good and vaccinations are going pretty well in the United States. The things the market doesn’t know are tax policy, both at the corporate and individual level, and what the Fed is going to do in the next 12 to 18 months.»

DOUGLAS, Wyo.

Gold-medal project: Judo seeks solutions in police training

The stakes were clear to the two dozen police officers who gathered for a workshop with an ambitious and increasingly urgent mission — recalibrating the way police interact with the public in America.

The class took place the same week as jury selection for the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis officer who was convicted Tuesday of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

No one attending the conference would deny that the profession failed the day Floyd died with Chauvin’s knee on his neck. They came to the classes with the idea that judo, the martial art with a deep global history and an imprint at the Olympics, but still shallow roots in the United States, might be able to help fix it.

«The social contract between police officers and the public is degrading a bit,» said Joe Yungwirth, a trainer at the workshop who built his career doing counterterrorism work for the FBI and now runs a judo academy in North Carolina. «All law-enforcement officers I know, we feel we need to bring that back in line somehow.»

That’s been a common refrain over a year’s worth of police shootings and protests, all of which have been underscored by calls for police reform.

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