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Media caption“I’m am an angry black woman”: Breonna Taylor’s mother gives her reaction in a statement read by her sister

A man accused of shooting two policemen in Louisville, Kentucky, amid racial justice protests has been ordered to be held in jail on $1m (£786,000) bail.

Larynzo Johnson, 26, was arrested hours after it was announced that no murder charges would be brought for Breonna Taylor’s death during a police raid.

The decision sparked days of unrest and the city is under a weekend curfew.

Ms Taylor’s family has demanded that a grand jury transcript of her case be released to the public.

The grand jury – a group of citizens empowered to consider criminal charges – on Wednesday returned charges of ‘wanton endangerment’ against one former officer. However, the decision not to lay charges for killing Ms Taylor triggered protests around the US.

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Larynzo Johnson is accused of shooting at police officers

Over 127 people were arrested on Wednesday night. On Thursday night, Louisville police arrested at least 27 protesters, including the only African-American lawmaker in the Kentucky legislature.

What does the Taylor family want?

In a news conference on Friday, Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the Taylor family, led chants of “release the transcripts,” and accused Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron of failing to mount a strong enough case to the grand jury to secure murder charges against the three officers who fired bullets into Ms Taylor’s home in Louisville on 13 March.

Police entered her flat during a drug raid, though none were later found.

“What did Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron present to the grand jury? Did he present any evidence on Breonna Taylor’s behalf?” Mr Crump asked.

“Or did he make a unilateral decision to put his thumb on the scales of justice to help try to exonerate and justify the killing of Breonna Taylor by these police officers?”

1601105945 209 Breonna Taylor Louisville police shooting suspect held on 1m bail

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Media caption“To be a black woman right now, it’s painful”: Activist and businesswoman Yandy Smith-Harris reacts to the Breonna Taylor case

Ms Taylor’s family had called for all three officers to be arrested for murder, but only one has been charged. Brett Hankison, who was fired from the police force in June, is accused of wanton endangerment, a low-level felony, for firing shots into Ms Taylor’s neighbour’s apartment.

In her first public statement since the grand jury’s ruling, Ms Taylor’s mother said she “never had faith” in the prosecutor, Mr Cameron, who is Kentucky’s first ever black attorney general.

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Breonna Taylor was an emergency medical technician

“I was reassured Wednesday of why I have no faith in the legal system, in the police, in the law,” Tamika Palmer said in a statement which was read by Ms Taylor’s aunt. “They are not made to protect us Black and brown people.”

“What I had hoped is that [Mr Cameron] knew he had the power to do the right thing, that he had the power to start the healing of this city, that he had the power to help mend over 400 years of oppression,” her statement continued.

“What he helped me realise is that it will always be us against them, that we are never safe when it comes to them.”

What were the circumstances of Ms Taylor’s killing?

Three plainclothes policemen – Mr Hankison, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove – were executing a search warrant on 13 March. They forced their way into the apartment where Ms Taylor, 26, was in bed with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, shortly after midnight.

Mr Walker fired a shot from his licensed gun, later telling police he thought that Ms Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, had broken in, according to the New York Times.

Officials say Mr Walker’s bullet struck Mr Mattingly in the leg. The three officers returned fire, discharging 32 rounds, according to a ballistics report from the FBI.

Ms Taylor was shot amid the commotion and died on the hallway floor.

A timeline of the shooting

  1. Walker fires one bullet, hitting Mattingly in the leg moments after police take down the flat door with a battering ram
  2. Mattingly returns fire, shooting six times at Walker and Taylor, who is standing beside him in her hallway
  3. Cosgrove fires 16 shots from the doorway of Taylor’s home
  4. Taylor is struck six times in a matter of seconds
  5. Hankison fires 10 shots through a patio door and window. His bullets enter the next-door flat

Mr Hankison was fired from the police after investigators found he had “wantonly and blindly fired 10 rounds” during the raid, according to his termination letter.

Mr Mattingly and Mr Cosgrove were reassigned to administrative duties.

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Government watchdog knocks Postal Service for operational changes

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“The resulting confusion and inconsistency in operations at postal facilities compounded the significant negative service impacts across the country,” the inspector general wrote.

In addition, the inspector general found that the documentation of the operational changes provided by USPS officials to customers and congressional lawmakers “was generally accurate but incomplete.”

The “collective results” of the changes by DeJoy and USPS executives, “combined with the ongoing employee availability challenges resulting from” the coronavirus pandemic, “negatively impacted the quality and timeliness of mail delivery nationally,” the inspector general wrote.

The inspector general also found that the agency’s “mail service performance significantly dropped beginning in July 2020, directly corresponding to implementation of the operational changes and initiatives.”

DeJoy, a former businessman and Republican megadonor, was tapped to lead the cash-strapped USPS this summer as the White House escalated its unsubstantiated attacks on mail-in voting — provoking widespread criticism of DeJoy’s organizational restructuring at the agency.

DeJoy came under further scrutiny last month after The Washington Post reported he had potentially violated campaign finance law by pushing employees at his former North Carolina-based company to donate to Republican campaigns and reimbursing them using bonuses.

A spokesperson for DeJoy told the Post that DeJoy was not aware that any employees had felt pressured to make donations.

Last week, the USPS agreed to reverse all the changes it made earlier this year that allegedly slowed mail service, settling a lawsuit filed against the agency and DeJoy by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock. The agreement required the USPS to prioritize election mail.

The 39-page watchdog report comes as tens of millions of Americans have already cast their ballots in the 2020 election, which has seen local and state governments significantly expand vote-by-mail capabilities to better protect public health amid the pandemic.

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How The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Exacerbating The Mental Health Crisis At UK Universities

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There are fears mental health among students may worsen as many are isolated from friends and family


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Student representatives have warned that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic will only worsen the mental health crisis that has gripped British universities in recent years.

“There was a mental health crisis across universities prior to the pandemic,” said Sara Khan, NUS vice president for equality and liberation. 

“Students were not being given adequate support or access to mental health services, and the pandemic has only exacerbated these issues.”

Statistics from the past decade paint a poor picture of the state of mental health provisions across higher education.

There was a fivefold increase in first-year students reporting a mental health problem in the 10 years to 2016, according to a recent IPPR study, and 94% of higher education institutions claimed to have seen a rise in demand for counselling services over the past five years.

The result has been widespread reports of long waits for support services, lack of funding, inconsistencies in approach across the sector, and significant gaps in NHS provision. 

And the cost has sometimes been tragic—2015 saw a record number of deaths by suicide among students, representing a 79% rise since 2007.

The crisis came into the spotlight in 2018 after it was revealed that at least 11 students at the University of Bristol had died by suspected suicide in just 18 months.

James Murray, whose son Ben committed suicide at the university in 2016, said he feared the next crisis in university mental health was already on the horizon. 

If we can’t physically see somebody to spot the signs because they’re working remotely, then we’ve got a potential crisis on our hands


– James Murray, father of Ben Murray who committed suicide as a student in 2016

“I think the first thing is to recognise that, sadly, the stats tell us that students are most vulnerable at this time of year. The highest peak in suicides is in January,” he told the BBC’s Today programme.

“And we know from pre-Covid days that there were 95 student deaths in 2016. And one in five students has suicidal thoughts, ideation, that doesn’t necessarily lead to suicide, but it makes them vulnerable. 

“Given that two-thirds of the suicides are unknown to support, if we can’t physically see somebody to spot the signs because they’re working remotely, then we’ve got a potential crisis on our hands. January is the crunch month and I’d like to see more action.”

Steps were being taken by the government late last year to remedy the situation, including supporting a sector-backed University Mental Health Charter, which set out best practice and recognised institutions demonstrating it. 

But much of this progress has been hindered by the ongoing pandemic, and many have criticised the government for advocating the return of students to university campuses, only for them to be met with online-only classes, limits on social activities and the threat of coronavirus quarantines.


University lockdown Thousands of students across the UK were told to self-isolate due to coronavirus (Image: PA)


“The decision to encourage students back to campuses was motivated by income over the welfare of students,” Ms Khan said.

“The marketised system of higher education has meant that universities were forced to prioritise tuition fees over the safety of their students, in order to secure their future sustainability. 

“This is completely unacceptable and has led to a complete lack of consideration of the effect that this would have on students.”

How this social isolation could impact the mental health of young people this academic year is one of the biggest areas of concern, said Sophia Hartley, welfare officer at Leeds University Union (LUU).

She told PoliticsHome: “Many students in Leeds have already had to experience a two-week isolation period which naturally lends itself to low mood, anxiety around leaving the house and feeling closed off from the outside world.”

“All students want is to be heard. This can sometimes feel like an impossible task when you are one voice amongst a group of almost forty thousand. However, it is so important that students feel like their needs are met.”

Though the university had been able to expand the capacity of its services, said Katie Hughes, LUU’s deputy head of help and support, they were seeing many more students struggling with the new normal. 

Nightline reported triple the number of calls relating to loneliness or problems with friends and family between March and April this year

“What we are hearing is that students who have previously been able to manage their mental health are finding that the strategies they’ve used before aren’t currently an option, for example seeing friends and family, taking part in group sports activities etc., so they are reaching out to try and find alternative ways,” she explained.

Statistics published by Nightline—a student-run listening service operating at universities across the UK—tell a similar story. 

Their phone lines reported triple the number of calls relating to loneliness or problems with friends and family between March and April this year, as well as double the number of calls related to academic stress.

No data is available yet for the current academic year, but according to Beth Scahill, coordinator of Nottingham University’s Nightline, a similar trend was playing out on their service.

“We’ve seen more use out of our phone lines than actually through our instant messaging service,” she said. 

“More people have been calling us rather than messaging us, which I thought was quite interesting because it seems people are missing their human contact and sometimes it’s nicer to hear someone’s voice than to see a message.”


University lockdown There are concerns about the impact of social isolation may have on young people (Image: PA)


The universities contacted by PoliticsHome reported that they had been able to offer expanded and/or adapted mental health provisions, such as delivering one-to-one counselling via Zoom or setting up digital support groups to help struggling students.

But, there were still accounts of young people who had seen therapy services disrupted due to the pandemic, or had struggled to access support when needed.

One student said she had been offered three mindfulness sessions in April by her university while suffering poor mental health, but had them cancelled after one appointment as the counsellor administering them had been furloughed.

Meanwhile, an undergraduate at a different institution said the counselling service took four weeks to reply to him at the height of lockdown, only for them to say they were unable to offer any sessions.

And, as students returned for the new school year, concerns were raised after thousands of students across the UK were forced to self-isolate regardless of whether they had symptoms of coronavirus. 

Undergraduates at Manchester Metropolitan University, where 1,700 people were required to quarantine in late September, complained they felt “neglected” and were struggling to access food.

Even before the pandemic, students were placed on long waiting lists for access to mental health services – we cannot have students falling through the cracks now.


– Shadow minister for mental health Rosena Allin-Khan

Shadow minister for mental health Rosena Allin-Khan is now leading calls for the government to step in and ensure universities have support provisions in place.

Writing for The House Live earlier this month, she said young people were facing a “unique set of challenges during the pandemic” resulting in a “mental health crisis ready to explode”. Her proposed measures, however, are yet to be brought forward. 

“Even before the pandemic, students were placed on long waiting lists for access to mental health services – we cannot have students falling through the cracks now,” she told PoliticsHome.

“The Education Secretary acknowledged that the situation on campuses will affect the mental health of students. However, the Government has failed to act on our request for a package of support for students’ mental health.

“Students cannot be forgotten in the crisis–their mental health and wellbeing depends on it.”

Meanwhile, NUS vice president Ms Khan said universities needed show greater flexibility and offer more support for students self-isolating

“Universities should be providing care packages with food, household products, wellbeing materials and general necessities, and targeted educational and mental health support, with facilitation of social activity,” she added.

“The government needs to fully fund our education and healthcare systems, otherwise the student mental health crisis, which existed pre-Covid-19 and is only being exacerbated now, will persist.”

My students are telling me now, ‘please don’t call quite so often we’re fine’. That’s not the point. The point is keeping in contact with them


– Professor Steve West, vice-chancellor of the University of the West of England

For now, many universities are focusing on how they can ensure the mental wellbeing of their students within existing resources. 

Professor Steve West, vice-chancellor of the University of the West of England (UWE), said education leaders should prioritise keeping students in contact with their lecturers and tutors and giving them avenues to reach out if they need help/ 

“At my university, we have a 24-7 serious concerns helpline. And that helpline is available for parents or friends to raise concerns about their loved ones or friends. Students can also access it as well,” he told the Today programme.

“That’s been hugely important to make sure that we capture people early and continue to encourage students to call out and to ask for help.”

UWE is also using data analytics, he explained, to identify and understand when students were starting to disengage from university life so they could be contacted by university staff.

“Covid-19 has changed everybody’s life. So welfare calls into students who are self-isolating are hugely important, and they have to be regular,” he continued.

“In fact, my students are telling me now, ‘please don’t call quite so often we’re fine’. That’s not the point. The point is keeping in contact with them.”

Stephen Buckley, head of information at mental health charity Mind, had a similar message, urging young people struggling at university to talk to someone if they felt they needed help.

“It can be hard to know how to ask for help, or where to turn to. But if you notice changes to your thoughts, feelings and behaviours that last longer than two weeks, keep coming back, or affect your day-to-day life, tell someone you trust as soon as possible,” he said. 

“If you feel you can’t talk to a GP, open up to a friend, family member or think about talking to an academic supervisor, tutor, or a welfare staff member, who can help get you the support you need.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said:  “Protecting the mental health of students continues to be a priority, which is why the Universities Minister convened a task force of higher education and health representatives to address the issues students are facing at this time.

“We have been clear that universities have a responsibility to support their students and many have bolstered their mental health and welfare services during the pandemic, particularly to support those students who are self-isolating.

“In response to the pandemic, we have worked closely with the  Office for Students to provide up to £3 million to fund the mental health platform, Student Space, in addition to over £9 million of government funding to leading mental health charities.”


Need support? You can contact Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org.

Mind’s confidential Infoline is available Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393. Mind’s website also has information on how to cope with student life and how to manage feelings related to coronavirus.

If students would like to find out if their university is covered by a Nightline, and what services they’re currently providing, they can check by visiting their website

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Israel and Sudan have agreed to normalize relations, Trump announces

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Trump made the announcement from the Oval Office while joined on the phone by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sudanese Chairman of the Sovereignty Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

According to a joint statement from the three countries, the leaders of Sudan and Israel “agreed to the normalization of relations between Sudan and Israel and to end the state of belligerence between their nations” and “agreed to begin economic and trade relations, with an initial focus on agriculture.”

“The leaders also agreed that delegations will meet in the coming weeks to negotiate agreements of cooperation in those areas as well as in agriculture technology, aviation, migration issues and other areas for the benefit of the two peoples. The leaders also resolved to work together to build a better future and advance the cause of peace in the region,” the joint statement said.

Netanyahu said Israeli and Sudanese delegations will meet “soon” to begin discussions on cooperation in various fields, such as agriculture and trade.

Palestinian leaders slammed the normalization agreement, with one calling it a “serious stab in the back of the Palestinian and Sudanese people.” Militant groups in Gaza also voiced their anger.

The normalization announcement came shortly after the White House said Trump had informed Congress of his intent to remove Sudan from the state sponsor of terrorism list. The rescission of the 27-year old designation was widely seen as being tied to the deal with Israel, despite Khartoum’s initial desire to keep the issues separate.

Speaking from the Oval Office on Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the normalization and move to lift Sudan from the state sponsor of terrorism list “both have one thing in common: They made sense for the Sudanese people.”

Pompeo said Sudan “did all the things that they needed to do” to be removed from the list and he noted that the US wanted to support the civilian-led government, which was established after Sudan’s strongman leader, Omar al-Bashir, was ousted in a military coup in April 2019 after three decades in power.

“The Sudanese leadership is now driving toward a really strong outcome and improved life for the people of Sudan and we think for the broader region in north Africa as well,” he said.

Designation change required by Sudan

Senior government sources in Sudan told CNN earlier this week that the state sponsor of terrorism designation change was a requirement by Hamdok, the leader of the transitional government in Sudan, before talks on normalization could proceed.

“The designation change was our priority and normalization is theirs,” one source said.

The Trump campaign has touted the President’s foreign policy achievements in the Middle East. In the past several weeks the administration has overseen normalization agreements between Israel and both the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and has teased that additional countries could follow suit.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement that the formal notification to Congress “follows on Sudan’s recent agreement to resolve certain claims of United States victims of terror and their families.” Sudan agreed to settle with survivors and families of victims of the 1998 attacks on the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, the 2000 attack on the USS Cole and the 2008 murder of US Agency for International Development employee John Granville in Khartoum.

“Yesterday, in fulfillment of that agreement, the transitional government of Sudan transferred $335 million into an escrow account for these victims and their families,” she said.

“Today represents a momentous step forward in the United States-Sudan bilateral relationship and marks a pivotal turning point for Sudan, allowing for a new future of collaboration and support for its ongoing and historic democratic transition,” she said.

Hamdok thanked Trump for the move to lift the designation.

“We’re working closely with the US Administration & Congress to conclude the (state sponsor of terrorism list) removal process in a timely manner,” he wrote on Twitter Friday. “We work towards int’l relations that best serve our people.”

The spokesman for Sudan’s sovereign council, Mohammed Al Faki, told CNN: “We have been formally notified that President Trump has signed the order rescinding Sudan’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terror. The order will be enacted in 45 days.”

Congress does have the ability to overturn the President’s decision to remove the designation, but only if both the House and Senate pass veto-proof joint resolutions of disapproval within 45 days.

Sudan has been listed as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1993, and it is one of only four nations total designated as such. Iran, North Korea and Syria are also listed. As a result, Sudan faces a series of restrictions including a ban on defense exports and sales and restrictions on US foreign assistance.

According to the joint statement, “The United States will take steps to restore Sudan’s sovereign immunity and to engage its international partners to reduce Sudan’s debt burdens, including advancing discussions on debt forgiveness consistent with the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.”

In her statement Friday, McEnany called on Congress to “act now to pass the legislation required to ensure that the American people rapidly realize the full benefits of this policy breakthrough.”

Victim reaction

Stuart Newberger, an attorney at Crowell & Moring who represents US victims of the 1998 embassy bombings and their families, told CNN this week that Congress must pass legislation because the agreement between Washington and Khartoum “requires that Sudan be basically relieved of being sued in federal court as a sponsor of terror under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.”

“So that’s why Congress has to get involved to provide Sudan what’s called ‘legal peace.’ The President can’t do that on his own; that’s something only Congress can do,” he said.

Such legislation must be passed before the $335 million can be paid out.

However, some are concerned that legislation that implements the settlement will imperil pending litigation from 9/11 families and victims against Sudan.

Others, including some victims of the twin al Qaeda bombings of the US embassies in Nairiobi and Dar es Salaam, have objected to the terms of the settlement — it would give different payouts to those embassy employees who were US citizens at the time of the attacks, those who have since become US citizens and those who are still foreign nationals.

However, other victims of the bombings and family members welcomed the news earlier this week that Trump intended to lift the state sponsor of terrorism designation and urged Congress “to immediately pass the legislation that is needed to implement the agreement, and begin the payment process.”

This story has been updated with further details.

CNN’s Nikki Carvajal, Oren Liebermann, Nima Elbagir, Yassir Abdullah, Abeer Salman and Ibrahim Dahman contributed to this report.



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