A Georgia prosecutor asked Travis McMichael in his second day on the stand at his murder trial on Thursday about apparent inconsistencies in his accounts of pursuing and fatally shooting Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man running through a mostly white area.
McMichael, 35, is one of three white men on trial for the killing of 25-year-old Arbery in their neighborhood of Satilla Shores near the coastal city of Brunswick on Feb. 23, 2020. Prosecutors and relatives say Arbery was an avid runner jogging in a neighborhood a couple of miles from his home.
McMichael began testifying on Wednesday after prosecutors from the Cobb County district attorney’s office rested their case. He told jurors he only wanted to ask Arbery what he had been doing in the neighborhood that day after recognizing him as the man seen walking around a nearby construction site.
He told jurors on Wednesday that at one point while he and his father and co-defendant, Gregory McMichael, were chasing Arbery in their pickup truck that Arbery “turned and ran” when the younger McMichael told him the police were on their way.
In cross-examination by prosecutor Linda Dunikoski, McMichael agreed that he did not explicitly mention such a moment in a police interview the afternoon of the shooting, nor include it in a written statement he made that day. He says he fired his shotgun at Arbery in self defense after Arbery grabbed at the gun at the end of the five-minute chase.
McMichael said his statements to police that day were “choppy” because he was nervous and under stress, at times saying he misspoke or “had it wrong” in his statement.
“I just killed a man,” he said. “I had blood on me still. It was the most traumatic event of my life.”
“You’re telling this jury you’re all confused and you can’t get your facts straight when you’re telling the police why you shot and killed a man?” Dunikoski asked.
“I’ve never been through a situation like that,” he said.
The younger McMichael said he tried to be calm when calling out to Arbery during the chase. Dunikoski contrasted that with the more aggressive language his father used recounting events to the police how they trapped Arbery “like a rat.”
Dunikoski pointed to a part of a map illustrating the chase.
“You stop, you get out and yelled, ‘Stop! Stop!’ That’s when your father yelled at him, ‘Stop or I’ll blow your fucking head off?'”
McMichael said he not think so.
“I mean, you’re standing right there, you heard your father say this, yes?”
“I don’t think I heard it,” McMichael replied.
“But you know that’s what he told the police he said?” McMichael said he had only heard that in court.
The two McMichaels are standing trial alongside their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, who jumped in his own pickup truck and joined the chase after seeing it go past his driveway. His cellphone video of the shooting caused outrage.
Before jurors were brought in on Thursday, Judge Timothy Walmsley said he was weighing whether prosecutors could ask Travis McMichael about a racial slur Bryan said McMichael used while standing over Arbery’s body. Defense lawyers have objected, saying it is unfair to rely on evidence from a co-defendant who has not himself testified.
(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta and Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Donna Bryson, Richard Pullin and Steve Orlofsky)
Omicron: Canada tightening border measures – CTV News
Canada is reviewing its vaccine booster strategy, adding new countries to the list of nations subjected to federal travel restrictions, and is imposing new testing requirements on all air travellers coming from outside of Canada with the exception of the U.S., due to concerns over the Omicron variant.
Federal ministers and public health officials announced these three new steps on Tuesday during an update on the latest measures Canada is taking, with the aim of preventing further importation and spread of the variant of concern.
The new testing requirements mean that all air travellers coming from outside Canada, with the exception of the United States, will now need to be tested at the airport when they land in Canada, on top of the existing pre-departure test requirement.
Those who are vaccinated will have to isolate until they get a negative result, and those who are unvaccinated will continue to have to isolate for the full 14 days and test on day one and day eight of their quarantine. So long as these travellers have a safe place to isolate they do not have to spend their isolation in a government quarantine hotel.
The new air traveller testing requirement for non-travel ban countries is set to come into effect “over the next few days,” said Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos. He expects this will see approximately 32,000 tests being administered at Canadian airports per day, with the government covering the cost of these tests.
Duclos said Canada is preparing for a “possible extension” of this policy to include the United States and the land borders if the situation evolves to the point that re-imposing further restrictions on Canada’s borders is warranted.
REVIEWING BOOSTER PLAN
While it remains unclear just how transmissible and severe infection by the variant B.1.1.529 might be, Duclos said given that Omicron is highly mutated, the federal government is asking the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) to quickly provide an update on its directives on the use of COVID-19 vaccine boosters.
“This measure, this call that we are making is to ask NACI to provide quick guidance on whether we should revise national standards, national attitudes, and actions on the use of boosters across Canada in the context of the new Omicron variant,” Duclos said. “We are explicitly asking NACI to come up quickly with a revised view on where, and how, and to whom these boosters should be administered.”
While all provinces and territories are handling how boosters are being prioritized in their jurisdictions, access is not currently widespread, with the conversation continuing to play out over whether Canada should be offering third doses to healthy adults or sending those shots to other nations who do not have the kind of access that Canada does.
TRAVEL BAN TERMS
In terms of the travel ban, Nigeria, Malawi and Egypt will join seven other African countries— South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini—that the federal government moved to restrict travellers from on Friday.
The policy bans the entry into Canada of all foreign nationals who travelled to these countries in the last 14 days. Canadians, permanent residents as well as all those who have the right to return to Canada will still be able to return home but will face new measures upon arrival.
All returning Canadians and others with right of entry will have to be tested before entering Canada, and effective Tuesday night, that test cannot have been administered in one of the 10 countries on the list. This means that those looking to get back to this country will first need to go to a third country to receive a negative test result before travelling home.
Once landed, returning travellers from these countries who are vaccinated will have to be tested at the airport upon arrival and remain in a government quarantine facility until they receive a negative result. Then, they can go home to finish isolating as the await their day eight test result.
Those who are unvaccinated will have to quarantine for the full 14 days in a government facility.
“These testing measures will allow us to assess the evolving situation and determine any additional and appropriate measures,” said Transport Minister Omar Alghabra.
The government said singling out these 10 countries, when Omicron has shown up in other countries, is because of the rate of community transmission.
MORE CHANGES COULD COME
The federal cabinet discussed the evolving situation surrounding Omicron at a closed-door cabinet meeting Tuesday morning.
As of Tuesday evening, seven cases of the variant of concern have been confirmed in Canada, with public health officials cautioning that more cases will likely be discovered in the coming days.
Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia all have detected cases of the variant, though health officials across the country are doing targeted testing of people who have travelled from the southern African countries subjected to the ban.
Federal officials said Tuesday to expect the situation and federal policies to continue to evolve.
“This is what we are doing today, it may well be that as we gain time we find that the new variant is of less concern than what some experts might be fearing, but the situation might also evolve differently, so we’re reminding Canadians that travel rules and border rules in particular can always change… and we will be watching the situation as all Canadians will do over the next days and weeks,” Duclos said.
In an interview on CTV News Channel’s Power Play, Alghabra said that the government will likely be re-assessing the rules in the next two to three weeks, but added it’s too soon to say what the travel situation will be like come the holidays.
“This is going to add other measures at the border, and we are going to work very hard with our partners at airports and CBSA to make sure that the process is as smooth as possible… But I do want to ask for patience and understanding why these measures are important,” he said. “I understand how frustrating this whole thing has been, but what we’re doing is really to avoid going back to lockdowns.”
Reacting to the news, opposition MPs on CTV News Channel’s Power Play expressed their desire for more clarity over the measures, but voiced support for temporary measures given the current pandemic situation.
Coronavirus: Where is Omicron in Canada? – CTV News
The latest COVID-19 variant – dubbed “Omicron” – is spreading around the world, which has experts and governments on heightened alert.
While more research is needed to uncover just how transmissible and vaccine resistant the Omicron variant may be, researchers have raised concerns due to the more than 30 mutations to the spike proteins that cause infections in humans.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Canada has reported seven confirmed cases of the Omicron variant and has since banned travel into the country from a host of African nations, including South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt.
Here is where cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed in Canada:
BRITISH COLUMBIA (1)
On Tuesday, B.C. health officials announced its first confirmed case of the Omicron variant.
The individual lives in the Fraser Health region, which represents parts of B.C. south of Vancouver.
The patient had recently returned from Nigeria and is currently in isolation.
Alberta also reported its first case of the Omicron variant on Tuesday.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, told reporters that the person had returned from travelling in Nigeria and the Netherlands.
“The individual tested positive while asymptomatic and I can confirm the individual has not left quarantine since their arrival from international travel,” Hinshaw said.
Ontario has four confirmed cases of the Omicron variant, all four of whom are in Ottawa.
The first two Ottawa residents with Omicron, confirmed on Sunday, had travelled to Nigeria and arrived through Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport. It is not clear how the other two cases had come in contact with the virus.
All four confirmed cases are self-isolating.
The province is also investigating two people in Hamilton who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have met the criteria for an Omicron infection, but are awaiting genomic sequencing results.
Quebec reported its first and only case of the Omicron variant on Monday.
The woman had recently travelled to Nigeria, but the province could not release any more details due to privacy concerns.
Canada adds more countries to travel ban list over Omicron variant concerns – Canada Immigration News
The Canadian government announced this afternoon that several more countries have been added to the list of those currently subject to stricter border measures.
This is a developing story. CIC News will continue to update it once the Canadian government publishes official guidelines.
The countries added to the list are Nigeria, Egypt, and Malawi. As of today, foreign nationals who have travelled to these countries over the last 14 days will be forbidden from entering Canada. They join a list of seven southern African countries that had restrictive measures imposed on them this past Friday.
Canadian citizens and permanent residents that have been in any of these ten countries over the last 14 days will need to receive a negative PCR test before being allowed to travel to Canada. Upon arriving to Canada, they will face more testing and quarantine measures.
In addition, all air travellers (except those coming from the U.S.), irrespective of their Canadian immigration and vaccination status, will need to undergo testing at the airport in which they land in Canada. They will need to self isolate until a negative test has been confirmed. This is in addition to the PCR tests that they need to get within 72 hours of travel to Canada.
These new measures also apply to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, even those that are fully vaccinated. Canadian government ministers said during this afternoon’s press conference they will give further consideration to potentially adding these requirement to travellers entering Canada from the U.S. by air and/or land.
The stricter measures come after a new variant of COVID-19, Omicron, was discovered last week in South Africa and is causing concern around the world.
On November 26, two days following the discovery of the new variant, the Canadian government announced that foreign nationals who travelled to South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Namibia, would not be allowed to enter Canada.
The World Health Organization describes the Omicron variant of the coronavirus as “very high risk” globally and the likelihood of it spreading around the world as significant.
It is currently unknown how contagious the variant is, how dangerous or whether or not it is resistant to vaccines.
To date, five cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant have been confirmed in Canada and several other possible cases are under investigation.
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