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U.S. teen Rittenhouse acquitted of murder, all other charges after divisive trial

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A jury acquitted teenager Kyle Rittenhouse on Friday of murder in the fatal shooting of two men during racial justice protests in a decision that ignited fierce debate about gun rights and the boundaries of self defense in the United States.

The jury found Rittenhouse, 18, not guilty on all charges: two counts of homicide, one count of attempted homicide for wounding a third man, and two counts of recklessly endangering safety in protests marred by arson, rioting and looting on Aug. 25, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Rittenhouse broke down sobbing after the verdict and collapsed to the floor before being helped back into his chair.

Amid a heavy law enforcement presence, several dozen protesters lined the steps outside the courthouse after the verdict was read, some carrying placards in support of Rittenhouse and others expressing disappointment.

“We are all so very happy that Kyle can live his life as a free and innocent man, but in this whole situation there are no winners, there are two people who lost their lives and that’s not lost on us at all,” David Hancock, a spokesperson for the Rittenhouse family, told Reuters.

Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and fired a bullet that tore a chunk off the arm of Gaige Grosskreutz, 28. Rittenhouse claimed self defense.

President Joe Biden, who during last year’s election campaign tweeted a video that appeared to link Rittenhouse to white supremacists, said on Friday he supported the jury’s decision.

But elsewhere reaction showed deep partisan divisions. It was greeted with outrage by many on the political left and celebrated by gun rights supporters.

“It is unconscionable our justice system would allow an armed vigilante … to go free,” the Congressional Black Caucus said in a statement.

The thorny issue of race also hung over the case, although Rittenhouse and the men he shot were all white. Some Black activists said on Friday the U.S. police and courts would have treated the teenager more harshly if he had been Black.

But conservatives saw the verdict as a validation of the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment, which grants Americans the right to bear arms.

U.S. congressman Madison Cawthorn, a Republican representative from North Carolina, said on Instagram: “Kyle Rittenhouse is not guilty my friends. You have a right to defend yourselves. Be armed, be dangerous and be moral.”

REPEATEDLY ATTACKED

In reaching their verdicts after more than three days of deliberations, the jury contended with dueling narratives from the defense and prosecution that offered vastly different portrayals of the teenager’s actions on the night of the shootings.

The defense argued that Rittenhouse had been repeatedly attacked and had shot the men in fear for his life. They said he was a civic-minded teenager who had been in Kenosha to protect private property after several nights of unrest in the city south of Milwaukee.

The unrest followed the police shooting of a Black man named Jacob Blake, who was left paralyzed from the waist down.

The prosecution portrayed Rittenhouse as a reckless vigilante who provoked the violent encounters and showed no remorse for the men he shot with his AR-15-style rifle.

Wisconsin criminal defense lawyer Daniel Adams, who closely followed the trial, called the verdict “very dramatic but not entirely surprising.”

Most lawyers “who looked at the evidence had a feeling the state would not be able to clear the threshold of disproving self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said.

Live-streamed and dissected by cable TV pundits daily, the trial unfolded during a time of social and political polarization in the United States. Gun rights are cherished by many Americans and are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution even as the nation experiences a high rate of gun violence and the easy availability of firearms.

Rittenhouse, who testified https://www.reuters.com/world/us/rittenhouse-called-stand-testify-own-defense-us-murder-trial-2021-11-10 that he had no choice but to open fire to protect himself, is viewed as heroic by some conservatives who favor expansive gun rights and consider the shootings justified. Many on the left view Rittenhouse as a vigilante and an embodiment of an out-of-control American gun culture.

Protests against racism and police brutality turned violent in many U.S. cities after the police killing of Black man George Floyd in Minneapolis three months before the Kenosha shootings.

The Rittenhouse verdict ended the highest-profile U.S. civilian self-defense case since a man named George Zimmerman was acquitted in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager, in Florida in 2013.

With so much of that night in Kenosha caught on cellphone and surveillance video, few basic facts were in dispute. The trial instead focused on whether Rittenhouse acted reasonably to prevent “imminent death or great bodily harm,” the requirement for using deadly force under Wisconsin law.

The prosecution, led by Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger, sought to paint Rittenhouse as the aggressor and noted he was the only one to kill anyone that night.

FULL METAL JACKET

Rittenhouse’s gun was loaded with 30 rounds of full metal jacket bullets, which are designed to penetrate their target. The jury saw a series of graphic videos, including the moments after Rittenhouse fired four rounds into Rosenbaum, who lay motionless, bleeding and groaning. Other video showed Grosskreutz screaming, with blood gushing from his arm.

Rittenhouse testified in his own defense last Wednesday in the trial’s most dramatic moment – a risky decision by his lawyers given his youth and the prospect of tough prosecution cross-examination. Rittenhouse broke down sobbing at one point but emphasized that he fired upon the men only after being attacked.

“I did what I had to do to stop the person who was attacking me,” he said.

His defense counsel, Mark Richards, said on Friday the defense team decided to have him testify after they tested two versions of their case before mock juries, one with him testifying and one without.

“It was substantially better when we put him on,” Richards told reporters after the verdict. “In Wisconsin, if you don’t put a client on the stand, you’re going to lose. Period.”

Rittenhouse testified that he shot Huber after he had struck him with a skateboard and pulled on his weapon. He said he fired on Grosskreutz after the man pointed the pistol he was carrying at the teenager – an assertion Grosskreutz acknowledged under questioning from the defense. Rittenhouse testified that he shot Rosenbaum after the man chased him and grabbed his gun.

(Reporting by Nathan Layne in Kenosha, Wisconsin; Additional reporting Maria Caspani in New York, Mike Scarcella, Tyler Clifford, and Brendan O’Brien; Editing by Ross Colvin, Will Dunham, Paul Thomasch and Alistair Bell)

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Merck ties up with Thermo Fisher to make its COVID-19 pill in Canada

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Drugmaker Merck & Co on Monday announced a deal with Thermo Fisher Scientific to manufacture its experimental COVID-19 pill at the medical device maker’s site in Whitby, Ontario.

The site will manufacture the pill, molnupiravir, for distribution in Canada and the United Kingdom as well as markets in the European Union, Asia Pacific and Latin America.

The Ontario site is one of three manufacturing sites in the world for the pill, which is being developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

Merck on Friday said the government of Canada had secured access to 500,000 courses of molnupiravir in 2022, with options for up to 500,000 more, pending the country’s health regulator’s nod.

The drugmaker said it had filed the final molnupiravir real-time application seeking approval in Canada last month. The UK in November conditionally approved molnupiravir, branded as Lagevrio.

The company had also entered into a pact with the U.S. government to supply as many as 5 million courses of the antiviral at a price of $700 per course.

Merck is awaiting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision after the regulator’s panel of independent advisers voted to recommend the pill’s authorization.

(Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel and Shailesh Kuber)

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Canadian traveller forced to stay in quarantine facility after negative COVID-19 test – CTV News

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MONTREAL —
Lennard Skead says he felt like he’d been put in jail for a crime he didn’t commit when he returned to Canada from South Africa on Thursday.

Skead, who lives in Brandon, Man., said he wasn’t allowed to leave a Toronto quarantine hotel until the day after he received a negative result on the COVID-19 test he completed when he arrived in Canada.

“Our negative results came out on Saturday, but we are not allowed to leave until the quarantine officer calls us and tells us you can leave now. Nobody called us. Nobody called us until Sunday,” said Skead, who was travelling with his wife, Charlotte.

Skead, who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, said in an interview Monday that by the time he was told he could leave, he had already cancelled a flight back to Manitoba, keeping him in the hotel for another day. It was Skead’s third negative COVID-19 test of the trip.

Canadians travelling from one of 10 African countries, including South Africa and Egypt, are required to obtain a COVID-19 test in the country they’re travelling from, obtain a second test while in transit and get a third after arrival in Canada. They are required to stay at a designated facility on arrival.

Health Canada said in an email Monday that the requirement for testing in transit “is in place so that the risk of the traveller being exposed to the virus and its variants between the time of testing and boarding the plane, which can take up to 72 hours, is reduced.”

Tiffany Gaura, who returned to Calgary from Cairo on Saturday, said she felt after landing in Canada that she was being punished for travelling to Africa.

“From the time you give them your passport, they call somebody immediately who then stays with you, takes you through to a separate secondary screening area where they question you extensively, read you your rights, tell you you have a right to a lawyer and you’re being transported by the federal government to an isolation facility,” she said in an interview Monday.

While the quarantine facility is in a hotel, she said, it doesn’t have any of the usual hotel services, like a restaurant, cleaning or room service.

Gaura, who was travelling with her two children, aged five and eight, said she doesn’t understand why she had to stay in a quarantine hotel instead of returning to her nearby home to isolate there.

“This is absurd for a family with a solid quarantine plan, who has no history of not following public health directives, who’s fully vaccinated, who’s following all the rules, who has done all the PCR tests,” she said.

Asked about reports of poor conditions in federal quarantine facilities, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said Monday the requirement is “a necessary and fair trade-off.”

“We’re not going to spare any expense or resources when it comes to protecting Canadians, including at the border. We’re going to continue to provide clear travel guidance to all Canadians and others who are travelling to Canada,” he told reporters in Ottawa.

Gaura said she thinks Canada’s decision to place additional restrictions only on African nations at a time when the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus is present in Europe and the United States is “opportunistic and xenophobic.”

She said she was lucky she was able to clear German customs and get a PCR test while transiting in Frankfurt, because while Canada has put restrictions on Egypt, Germany has not.

On Saturday, the federal government announced that travellers coming from South Africa and transiting through Frankfurt would be exempt from the in-transit testing requirement until Dec. 13.

Tasha-ann Bussell of Rossland, B.C., whose husband was in South Africa for his brother’s wedding, said he was able to use that new exemption to get on a flight home, due to land in Calgary Monday.

“He’s exhausted and stressed,” Bussell said in an interview Monday. “We have three small children and my youngest and the middle child have birthdays in December so he’ll miss that … at least he’s gonna be home for Christmas.”

She adds she’s not angry with the government for implementing the regulations because one of her children is immunocompromised.

“I really appreciate the fact that they are trying their best,” she said. “It’s just hard. That’s all it is.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 6, 2021.

— With files from Fakiha Baig in Edmonton.

——

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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Canada updates travel rules for Canadians flying in from South Africa – Canada Immigration News

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Published on December 6th, 2021 at 10:30am EST

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Travellers walking through an airport with luggage, wearing surgical masks

Travellers walking through an airport with luggage, wearing surgical masks

Canada has temporarily tweaked its travel rules to allow Canadians to return home from South Africa without having to do a COVID-19 test in a third country.

Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be able to get a pre-departure test in South Africa, provided they meet all of the following eligibility requirements on the government website:

  • Get a pre-departure negative COVID-19 molecular test from an accredited laboratory in South Africa no more than 48 hours before the scheduled departure, or a positive test result from between 14 and 180 days before departure.
  • Fly from Johannesburg or Cape Town to Frankfurt, Germany on a Lufthansa flight that departs on or before December 13, 2021.
  • Transit through Frankfurt airport to travel on a direct Lufthansa or Air Canada flight to Canada.

Discover if You’re Eligible for Canadian Immigration

The Canadian government made the amendment on Saturday evening, after Canadians spoke out against the new travel rules. Many said the requirement to get tested in a third country prevented them from returning home.

Canada implemented the rules following the emergence of the Omicron variant. So far, travellers from 10 countries are restricted from coming to Canada:

  • Botswana
  • Egypt;
  • Eswatini;
  • Lesotho;
  • Malawi;
  • Mozambique;
  • Namibia;
  • Nigeria;
  • South Africa; and
  • Zimbabwe.

On Friday, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra tweeted four flow charts that offer visual guidance on the new travel measures.

Regardless of vaccination status, if you are a Canadian coming home from one of the 10 prohibited countries, you have to go into isolation after you arrive. You also have to do COVID-19 tests upon arriving to the airport, and on day 8 of your quarantine.

Vaccinated travellers from all countries other than the U.S. will need to do an on-arrival test and quarantine until they receive a negative result. If the result is positive, they must remain in isolation for 10 days.

Unvaccinated travellers from all countries other than the U.S. who are allowed to come to Canada, will need to quarantine at home for 14 days.

Discover if You’re Eligible for Canadian Immigration

© CIC News All Rights Reserved. Visit CanadaVisa.com to discover your Canadian immigration options.

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