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This is the Global News podcast from the BBC World Service. I'm Nick Miles. And in the early hours of Tuesday, the 30th of March, these are our main stories. The trial has begun in the US city of Minneapolis of the white former police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd, whose death last May sparked protests around the world. Vessels are sailing once again through the Suez Canal after a giant container ship that had been blocking it was refloated.
Also in this podcast in northern Mozambique have seen people decapitated.
And during that journey, they have seen audio of children and people along the forests.
Some of the traumatic testimony from some of the thousands of people who fled this week's Islamist attacks. And an alleged Italian gangster has been deported from the Dominican Republic after he mistakenly revealed his distinctive tattoos on kookery videos he posted online. One of the most high profile trials in decades is taking place in the American city of Minneapolis.
The white former police officer, Derrick Shervin, is accused of murdering the African-American man, George Floyd.
Outside the court, relatives and lawyers for Mr. Floyd's family knelt in protest for about nine minutes. That's the amount of time Derek Chauvin was seen on video kneeling on George Floyd's neck last May.
When that footage first emerged, it sparked protests across the United States and around the world about police tactics and alleged racism. Here's Mr. Floyds Brother Villainies outside court.
I was watching the video not to not to discuss myself or get myself furious. That was the last time I could hear his voice, you know. So I watched it. I watched it. I watched it. Every time I watched it, it seemed like it just got me. It made me made me strong because I knew they murdered him. Well, we still fly strong and we still hear. So we go to hold it down for him and they say trust the system.
They want us to trust the system. Well, this is a chance to show us that we can trust you.
The civil rights activist, the Reverend Al Sharpton, told a news conference there was a lot at stake.
Make no mistake about it, Shavon is in the courtroom, but America is on trial. America is on trial to see if we have gotten to the place where we can hold police accountable if they break the law. The law is for everybody. Policemen are not above the law. Policemen are subject to the law. And that's what's going on in this courtroom.
An attorney for George Floyd's family, Benjamin Crump, said the trial marked a significant moment for America.
Today starts a landmark trial that will be a referendum on how far America has come in its quest for equality and justice for all. It would be prima facie evidence. Well, the America. It's going to live up to the Declaration of Independence. Our correspondent Barbara Starr is in Minneapolis for us. She began by outlining the prosecution's opening statement.
A key part of that was that the prosecution played in full that shocking video of George Floyds arrest, the one where he's on his face on the ground with Derek Chauvin's knee on his neck, and during which he said, I can't breathe 27 times. That's the core part of it. The evidence that the prosecution is planning to argue and presented that made the point that this went on for nine minutes and 29 seconds. So it was no split second reaction to an imminent threat.
And the jury, Blackwall, of the prosecution team said to the jurors, you can believe your eyes, that it's homicide, it's murder.
He also argued that Mr. Chauvin's actions had disgraced the policing profession, symbol of public faith, ethics to police service, sanctity of life.
All of this matters tremendously to this case because you will learn that on May 25th of 20/20, Mr. Barrett Shaman betrayed this badge when he used excessive and unreasonable force upon the body of Mr. George Floyd, that he put his knees up on his neck and his back, grinding and crushing him until the very breath. Now, ladies and gentlemen, until the very life was squeezed out of the park.
Well, meanwhile, the defense has been laying out its reasons for acquitting, hasn't it? Yes, this is Erik Nelson, the defence lawyer. He said that there was much more to this than the length of time that Mr. Chauvin knelt on Mr. Floyds neck. He said there were more than 50000 pieces of evidence so encouraging the jury to keep an open mind. He basically has two arguments, which he began to outline. He said that Mr Death, he's going to argue that Mr.
Floyds death was caused by his underlying heart disease, drug use and adrenaline, not by Mr. Shervon squeezing the breath out of him. He also began to lay the groundwork for the second argument that Mr. Chauvin's force had been within the bounds of his training and that Mr. Floyd had resisted him so that his actions were reasonable. He told the jury and he also told the jurors they only needed a reasonable doubt to find his client not guilty.
Barbara, what struck a lot of people, including me, was the multiracial nature of the protests that followed Mr. Floyds death. Do you think that means that this trial is significant for a broad range of Americans?
It is significant for a broader range of Americans than it might have been before Mr. Floyds death last year. Because you're right, the protests were multiracial.
Both the prosecution and defense have said this trial is about one man, the guilt or innocence of Derrick Chauvin.
But outside the courtroom, it is being seen as more than that. It is being seen as an issue of race and racial justice, and that is because of the widespread movement for racial justice that it triggered. And it's being seen as a test case to see if America will hold its police to account for the excessive use of force.
Barbara Platania. It's been the strangest of static blockbusters.
The images of the huge container ship ever given splayed across the Suez Canal have made rather compelling viewing.
Now, though, after five desperate days of trying, it has been moved and traffic through that key trade route has restarted.
Maritime insurance experts say that's helped avoid a catastrophic disaster for global trade.
More than 400 vessels had been unable to get past that ship.
Local tugboat owners could be heard chanting as they managed to dislodge it.
They are celebrating a job well done. Well, Sully Nabeel monitored the salvage effort from Ismailia on the canals West Bank.
It's a jubilant atmosphere here, a strong sense of achievement.
Ships are blowing their horns, celebrating the refloating of the giant ever given. More than 10 tugboats took part in salvage efforts. Huge amounts of sand were dredged to make room for the ship to move. Some expected it might take weeks to dislodge the vessel and unblock the canal. The crisis has been resolved, but the challenge facing the authorities now is congestion. They will have to work around the clock to clear the backlog of hundreds of stranded ships. The head of the Suez Canal Authority said vessels will cross the waterway on a first come, first serve basis.
Some exceptions might be given to specific ships based on the type of cargo on board. The deadlock over the past days has put the authorities here under immense pressure, given the huge impact it has on global economy.
Well, just before the shipping got moving again, our international business correspondent Theo Leggett told me about the repercussions of this book.
What we will see is an immediate impact. So the goods that have been specifically delayed by the blockage of the Suez Canal and obviously a certain number of those goods are on board the ever given itself.
It will be arriving at Rotterdam and then at Folkston in the UK and so on late. So people who are expecting consignors on that ship will gain them late. And it's a container ship. It could be carrying almost anything. We've spoken to some of the people who have goods on board. They range from coconut milk to heavy machinery to goods ordered through Amazon, all sorts of different things. Those consignments are going to be late. And then you have the ships backed up because of the blockage in the Suez Canal.
Hundreds of them, they range from bulk carriers to other container ships to oil and gas vessels.
So there's all this backlog that has to be cleared and that'll take a minimum of several days. It could take weeks, and that costs money. You know, the delays so far have been calculated that hundreds of millions of dollars per day, you also have vessels which chose not to go through the Suez Canal and chose to take the long way round round the southern tip of Africa around the Cape of Good. Hope that route you can get to your destination, but it will take you longer and it'll cost more in terms of fuel.
So there's an additional cost there.
So who's going to pick up the tab for this? I imagine insurance companies are going to be arguing the toss over this.
Well, the immediate costs of rescuing the ever given will be met by insurance companies when it comes to the cargoes.
It depends on what other insurance policy. These are in place, so if you're carrying perishable goods, for example, the chances are you'll have an insurance policy to cover those goods. If you're not carrying perishable goods, you may not get a payout.
And in fact, you may have to just cope with the delay, in which case the cost is met by whoever was expecting those goods to be delivered.
They'll be delayed. They'll they'll pick up costs themselves.
But there's also the wider picture that we have to take into account here, which is the disruption to supply chains as a whole.
There are going to be ships queued up at Suez, which were due to sail on to one destination, drop off a cargo, pick up another cargo and go somewhere else.
They haven't been able to do that on time, which means there's actually a shortage of shipping capacity. Some containers will be in the wrong place. Some equipment will be in the wrong place. There may be congestion at ports because of vessels arriving at the wrong time.
All of this adds to the overall cost, and that is not a cost which is going to be met by insurance. It's a cost which will be met by people shipping goods from A to B in terms of higher cargo rates. So ultimately, businesses and consumers can expect to pick up the tab in some way, shape or form.
Theo Leggett. Thousands of people in Mozambique have fled hundreds of kilometres from an Islamist attack, and they're seeking shelter in the port city of Pember. They were forced to escape after dozens of militants stormed Parmer last Wednesday, killing dozens of people and destroying parts of the town. The Islamic State group has now claimed responsibility and said that it's taking control of the coastal town after days of clashes with Mozambican security forces. The exact number of civilians killed is unclear, but it's said 55 had died.
Many are still unaccounted for.
Manuel Banesto, an Anglican bishop, visited camps for people displaced by the attacks in Parmer, where he heard testimonies of trauma and horror.
They are telling experience of terror. They say they have seen people decapitated and during their journey, they have seen audio of children and people along the forests. The majority probably died from hunger because many are still hiding for weeks and weeks in the forest.
Lionel Dyke runs the private military company Dike Advisory Group contracted by the government to fight the Islamists. But this contract ends next week, and Mr Dyker told the BBC that his company's departure would leave the Mozambican army vulnerable.
Until we put sufficient troops in there to clear them out of the houses of Parmer, they will remain in control because there's no way anybody can get into the town of PAMA to reestablish anything until these people are cleared up. This particular group, although their uniform to have their black pajamas on in amongst the people. So until and house to house clearing operations taking place, this will be a long time before parliament is livable.
Our Africa correspondent Catherine Byaruhanga is following developments from Nairobi and sent this report.
Phone lines to Parmar have been cut off for days. Many of those who died were travelling in a convoy of cars ambushed by the militants as they tried to escape. Nick Alexander, who is a British South African national, was caught up in the violence. His daughter Gracie, told us he spent days under siege in a hotel.
He sent me a video of the gunshots going on.
He told us just keep praying and thinking of him and that he was hoping to get evacuated as soon as possible.
Mr Alexander finally managed to leave Palmer, but Gracy told us he had to fight his way out armed with a gun.
The attack was carried out by the Islamic State group's Mozambican branch, known locally as al-Shabab. IS says it's killed dozens of people, including foreign contractors, and now claims control over the town. If true, seizing this area on the doorstep of a multibillion pound natural gas facility will be a big coup for the group. Several international companies, including Toytown, have invested in Mozambique's energy industry. The authorities in the country have acknowledged people were killed in the attack, but insist they're in a good position to restore peace to the town.
Catherine Byaruhanga now are the coffee habits of wealthy countries posing a danger to tropical regions?
Yes, according to a new study which suggests that demand for commodity products from coffee to cocoa is speeding up deforestation in places like Ghana, Vietnam and Tanzania.
Our environment correspondent Matt McGrath reports. Trees that grow in the world's tropical areas are the most. Valuable in protecting species and limiting global heating, but forests in the Amazon, Central Africa and parts of Asia are increasingly being cut down to grow commodity products like coffee and soybeans for export. The authors link specific countries to specific threats. So German demand for cocoa is putting forests at risk in Ghana, while the Japanese taste for sesame seeds is threatening Tanzania's trees. And even as richer countries plant more trees in their own forests, their imports are causing more destruction in the developing world.
So what can be done? Experts say that the problem lies with supermarkets and suppliers. According to Audrey Shango from Friends of the Earth Europe, the origins of consumer products need to be much clearer on the labels.
A lot has to do with corporate power and in transparency of how supply chains work. For instance, now processed meat imported from Brazil, for instance, if it's cans means it doesn't say the origin of the product. It's important that the origin of meat, for instance, is labeled on products as well as better labels and stricter laws.
The researchers say that wealthier countries will have to pay the poorer ones to keep their forests intact. They believe that this is an expensive but effective long term solution.
Megraw, now a fugitive Italian gangsters urge to show off his cookery skills, has landed him in hot water.
Italian police have revealed they tracked down Marc Ferrum, Claude Beart through his Colaneri videos on YouTube. Here's Mike Saunders.
Marc Mark Claude Byard was always careful to hide his face in the videos he posted, but his distinctive tattoos gave him away. Police spotted that he was the subject of an arrest warrant issued in Italy in 2014. Italian police forces working with Interpol analyzed the metadata and tracked him down to Boccaccio in the Dominican Republic, where neighbors knew him simply as Mark. Police say the 53 year old is part of the intranet, a criminal organization. It reportedly makes tens of billions of dollars each year from drug trafficking laundered through legitimate businesses.
Still to come, astronauts are middle aged men and women. And if I ask myself, what is the single most catastrophic medical problem that could occur that would be life threatening? It's hard heart attack. Why space can be bad for your heart.
There's been an outcry in Italy after dozens of women who had an abortion or miscarriage discovered that, unbeknown to them, the fetus had been given a religious burial in a grave marked with the woman's name.
The violation of privacy came to light after one woman shared a photo of the tomb. She discovered it's put a focus on the struggle many Italian women still face to access abortion in Italy, which was legalized there in 1978. Our Rome correspondent Michael Rowland reports.
They call this place the Garden of Angels. I'm at the edge of Rome's largest cemetery, Flaminia, where there are rows of crosses where aborted or miscarried fetuses have been buried. But on the cross is a small plate bearing the full name of the woman who carried that fetus, a shocking violation of privacy that could have continued if one woman, Marta Loy, hadn't spoken out, see whether they were going to be done.
Following my second trimester termination of pregnancy, I made a very clear decision that I didn't want to have a physical place of memory. But afterwards I started questioning what had happened and I called the morgue at the hospital. They told me that all fetuses were buried at the Flamingo Cemetery there. I found a tomb with my fetus beneath a religious symbol that I don't identify with because I'm an atheist.
With my first and last name exposed to at the library in Orlando. After the nightmare discovery, Martha wrote a long Facebook post which unleashed a storm. Talk shows, articles and messages from dozens of other women who then found the same under Italian law aborted or miscarried fetuses from 20 weeks. Pregnancy must be buried, but it's usually done in mass graves. A religious burial must be requested by the woman, adding her name is illegal. The cemetery management company, widely blamed, has refused an interview.
Martha says somebody must be held responsible and answer.
I think this is an act of institutional violence. It's biological material that belongs to a woman. No one else should intervene.
La la la la la la la la la. But frequently, Catholic associations do, carrying out a religious burial of the fetus, often at the request of a woman. This ceremony without the women's names, was in the northern Italian city of Cremona, attendees reciting pro-life prayers.
Then a box containing the remains is lowered into the ground.
But it's put in the same plot beneath a Christian tombstone as other fetuses from women who did not choose a religious burial.
The work of the Catholic associations and the scandal with the names have cast a spotlight on the continuing struggle to protect abortion here, which was legalized in Italy in 1978 amid mass pro-choice marches. It was enshrined in Law 194, which also allowed doctors to be conscientious objectors 43 years on.
The Italian health ministry says 70 percent of doctors across Italy now refuse to carry out the procedure. And in some regions of the country, it's more than 90 percent. I've come to meet one of them, Professor Joseph Penya, Medical Christiano.
I'm a Christian Catholic doctor.
I find it very unnatural that a doctor who has taken an oath to defend life would need to convince himself to terminate one. In my experience, 80 percent of women that came here with the intention to abort changed their mind. Because I explained things to them, I made the science clear to them.
But is that not pressure on them? Do you call it clarification?
It's shown no pressure. No pressure at all.
OK, back at the Rome cemetery, the outcry has forced the authorities to start replacing the names on tombs with numbers, a belated atonement for a discovery that for many women reawakened both their trauma and a social battle they thought they'd won.
Mark Lowen reporting the French pharmaceutical company Savea has been found guilty of manslaughter over the deaths of hundreds of people who took a weight loss pill. A court found the firm failed to take any action about the drug despite knowing the risks.
It's been fined more than three million dollars. Here's our Paris correspondent Lucy Williamson.
At a time when France is trying to persuade its population to trust medical research. This trial has refocused attention on one of the country's biggest health scandals. Media tour was a popular drug in France, marketed as a treatment for diabetes in the 1970s. It was eventually prescribed to many of its five million users as an appetite suppressant. It was withdrawn from sale in 2009, but that was more than a decade after concerns had first surfaced about potential links to serious heart problems.
Hundreds of people are now thought to have died as a result of taking it, though studies say the final figure could be 2000 Iran fresher. A lung specialist who led the campaign against the drug said she was relieved at the verdict, but frustrated by what she called the modest sentences handed down.
Lakotah or polymaths the knife in the hands of the offenders was appealed, and that seems to change everything but the assessment of the offense.
Sylvia Laboratories was fined two point seven million euros and its former vice president, John Phillips, etc.. Given a four year suspended sentence delivering the verdict, the presiding judge said that CVA had known about the risks for many years without taking action and had weakened trust in the health system. France's Drug Safety Agency was also given a 300000 euro fine for failing in its duty as the nation's health watchdog.
Lucy Williamson. There's been a warning that political paralysis in Lebanon risks making the country a failed state. One of Lebanon's top politicians, Nabih Berri, says the nation would sink like the Titanic unless a government is formed.
Lebanon's economy is collapsing, but it's been without a government for more than seven months. Martin Patience reports from Beirut.
The whole country's in danger, warned the speaker of the parliament, Nabih Berri. And if the ship sinks, there will be no one left. It's the latest stark warning for a nation suffering economic collapse and struggling to keep the lights on because it can't afford the fuel payments without a new government. The Lebanese parliament can carry out the reforms demanded of it by the international community in return for foreign aid for the past few months. Political leaders here have been arguing over the make up of a new cabinet, while at the same time Lebanon's crisis deepens every day.
Martin, patience. A new study has concluded that spending very long periods of time and space has something in common with extreme endurance swimming. Both can cause the heart to shrink. Scientists found that the organs muscles don't work as hard when there's less gravity, which could have serious implications for long haul spaceflight. Our science correspondent Paul Renken reports.
Right and left off a year in space starts now.
Scott Kelly being blasted into space in 2015. Even then, researchers suspected that space travel might affect the heart. But now a team writing in the scientific journal Circulation have confirmed that long periods in low gravity caused the heart to shrink. They also looked at the athlete, Ben Lecomte, who spent more than 150 days swimming across the Pacific. Both men's hearts shrink by up to a quarter, although the organs returned to their normal sizes afterwards. Water immersion and low gravity both reduce the strain on the heart because it no longer needs to pump blood uphill.
This means it doesn't need as much muscle to work so that some of it wastes away. Professor Benjamin Levine from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, who led the research.
So astronauts are middle aged men and women. And if I ask myself, what is the single most catastrophic medical problem that could occur, that would be life and mission threatening. It's a heart attack. So we screen the astronauts pretty well before they fly. But over time, just like any other person on the planet, they develop hypertension and elevated cholesterol. They get the diseases of Western society.
Heart shrinkage doesn't increase the risk of a cardiac arrest, but NASA plans to carry out more detailed studies because there are other ways spaceflight could harm the heart. Further research will be vital before the space agency sends humans to Mars because a round trip to the Red Planet could take between two and. Three years, Paul Rincón, let's return to our main story now, the murder trial in Minneapolis of a former policeman accused of killing a black man.
That man was George Floyd, and his death sparked protests way beyond the United States. Here's our America editor, John Sopko.
The classic depiction in sculpture of the ancient Greek goddess of justice is of her holding a set of scales and wearing a blindfold, the clear message being that justice is balanced and blind. In other words, everyone is equal before the law. But is justice in the United States truly colorblind? The experience of so many people who are black is that it's anything but. You're more likely to end up in prison, more likely to be randomly stopped by the police, more likely to have a criminal conviction that blights your life and restrict you in the jobs market.
And conversely, there's a widespread view that if you're white and a policeman and you do something wrong, then the scales are tipped in your favor. All of which means that what's unfolding in a courthouse in Minneapolis, up near the Canadian border, is not just about George Floyd and Derek Shervin. In many people's eyes, this is American justice itself on trial. America was convulsed last year by the Black Lives Matter protests with demonstrations erupting in every city across the land.
If Mr Shorten walks free, many will draw the conclusion that to the justice system, black lives don't matter. And that could be another dangerous flashpoint. John Sopel in Washington.
And that is all from us for now. But there will be an updated version of the Global News podcast later. If you want to comment on this podcast or the topics covered in it, you can send us an email. The address is Global Podcast at BBC Dutko Dot UK. Today, studio manager was Wayne Moses. The producer is Alison Davies and the editor Karen.
I'm Nick Miles. Until next time, bye bye. She looked at me and she said, you can't tell anyone until after I die.
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