Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Tia Sewell
Monday, April 5, 2021, 1:28 PM

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As the murder trial of Derek Chauvin continues, the prosecution’s focus has turned to the issue of whether Chauvin was violating police policy when he knelt on George Floyd for nearly 10 minutes, reports the New York Times. Last week, witnesses delivered emotional testimony about Floyd’s death, which sparked an outpouring of national outrage about racial inequality and police misconduct as bystander video of the incident circulated widely on social media. Today, the prosecution is expected to call Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo to the stand to examine Chauvin’s actions in the context of the department’s procedures. Arradondo fired Chauvin and the other officers present at the scene the day after Floyd died. He has previously called Floyd’s death a “murder.”

In Jordan, authorities have hinted at a failed palace coup with foreign backing, according to the Times. Prince Hamzah, former crown prince and younger half-brother of the Jordanian King, appears to be at the center of the conspiracy: On Sunday, the country’s foreign minister accused Hamzah of working with several others to target “the security and stability of the nation.” The Wall Street Journal reports that more than 20 people have been taken into custody so far, many of whom are close with the crown prince—and diplomats who spoke with Jordanian authorities note that “more arrests are expected to follow.”

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will present a three-phase roadmap for peace in Afghanistan as a counter to U.S. proposals, writes Reuters. Washington is pushing the Taliban and Afghan government to finalize a peace deal this month, as the May 1 deadline for a full withdrawal of foreign troops looms on the horizon. Last month, the Taliban threatened to retaliate if U.S. troops do not depart by May 1, though President Biden has stated that it would be “hard” to meet the deadline. According to the Times, U.S. diplomats have quietly been working to build on classified parts of the 2020 Taliban-U.S. peace deal to reduce violence and stave off a spring offensive by the Taliban. These new negotiations exclude representatives from the Afghan government.

China has created its own digital currency, a move that is expected to give the Chinese government vast new surveillance tools and an international economic edge, writes the Wall Street Journal. Beijing has marketed the digital yuan as a chance to undermine the power of American sanctions, as the cryptocurrency could provide a new way for individuals and entities to exchange money without U.S. knowledge.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial resumes today in Jerusalem, reports the BBC. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin is set to meet with parliamentarians today to discuss who they support to form the next government following last week’s election in Israel, which left all parties short of a majority. Rivlin will ultimately nominate a leader who he thinks is best-positioned to begin forming a coalition government.

The Times profiled Aye Myat Thu, a 10-year-old girl who was killed by security forces in Myanmar. Since the military seized power on Feb. 1, Myanmar’s security forces have killed more than 40 children in a brutal crackdown on protesters calling for a reversal of the coup.

The Supreme Court issued an order today that mooted a lawsuit over Trump’s blocking of certain Twitter users, as he is no longer president, according to Politico. Justice Clarence Thomas weighed in with a 12-page opinion singling out leadership at Google and Facebook by name and expressing concern about their concentration of power. “Today’s digital platforms provide avenues for historically unprecedented amounts of speech, including speech by government actors. Also unprecedented, however, is control of so much speech in the hands of a few private parties,” Thomas wrote. “We will soon have no choice but to address how our legal doctrines apply to highly concentrated, privately owned information infrastructure such as digital platforms.”

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jason Blazakis and Naureen Chowdhury Fink explained how tools developed to combat terrorist financing over the past two decades can be adapted to confront the emerging threat posed by international far-right terrorism.

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Tia Sewell is a former associate editor of Lawfare. She studied international relations and economics at Stanford University and is now a master’s student in international security at Sciences Po in Paris.

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