Violence flares in Charm City

The city of Baltimore is under a state of emergency after clashes erupted injuring several police officers and an unknown number of civilian protesters. Later, buildings were set ablaze and stores looted as Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced that the National Guard had been activated to assist local law enforcement.

Violence began soon after the funeral of Freddie Gray, and continued after nightfall, despite appeals for calm by the Gray family and local pastors.

Ta-Nehisi Coates writes at The Atlantic 

Now, tonight, I turn on the news and I see politicians calling for young people in Baltimore to remain peaceful and “nonviolent.” These well-intended pleas strike me as the right answer to the wrong question. To understand the question, it’s worth remembering what, specifically, happened to Freddie Gray. An officer made eye contact with Gray. Gray, for unknown reasons, ran. The officer and his colleagues then detained Gray. They found him in possession of a switchblade. They arrested him while he yelled in pain. And then, within an hour, his spine was mostly severed. A week later, he was dead. What specifically was the crime here? What particular threat did Freddie Gray pose? Why is mere eye contact and then running worthy of detention at the hands of the state? Why is Freddie Gray dead?

 

Demonstrators jump on a damaged Baltimore police department vehicle during clashes in Baltimore(image: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton)

* Reuters live blog is here.

* Live video stream from WBALTV is here.

* A rolling update from the Baltimore Sun is here, and the paper’s full coverage of the Freddie Gray story is here.

* Live updates from the Washington Post are here.

* Live updates from the New York Times are here.

Shortly before the unrest broke out, Loretta Lynch had been sworn in as Attorney General in Washington  DC. She met on Monday evening with President Obama to discuss the situation in Baltimore. Earlier, the President had spoken with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and told her the federal government is ready to provide “assistance as needed.”

With the city still on edge heading into Tuesday, the Mayor said the city’s schools would be closed and a curfew would be in place for the coming week.

***

* WORLD * With the death toll in the Nepal earthquake now apparently over 4,000 and still rising, there has been frustration at what many local people think has been a slow response to the crisis by the Nepalese government.

Here’s how front pages around the world covered the story, via Poynter, including an extra bonus letter…

nationalpost(National Post)

Here’s some drone footage from Katmandu showing the wreckage in the Nepalese capital:

(Sky News)

US Secretary of State John Kerry said that a nuclear deal with Iran is “closer than ever” but that some key issues “remain unresolved.” Meanwhile, the Senate is debating a bill to give Congress the authority to review and potentially reject any deal.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be guest of honor at a state dinner at the White House on Tuesday evening. The AP reports that when Abe and President Obama meet for talks, “a major subtext of their discussions will be the world leader not in the room — Chinese President Xi Jinping.”

The Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations also come as China is working to develop an international infrastructure bank for Asia to fill an estimated $8 trillion gap in infrastructure funding for the region over the next decade. Japan and the U.S., leading shareholders of the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, have notably declined to participate citing concerns over the new bank’s governance standards.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reshuffled his bailout negotiating team to sideline Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis. The move comes after three months of fruitless talks and was welcomed by the country’s Eurozone creditors as the next deadline approaches.

***

* BRITISH ELECTION * The Conservatives were under fire on Monday after the Telegraph published a letter apparently from 5,000 “small businesses” but really came from  Conservative Campaign HQ.

telegraph(The Guardian)

Jane Martinson at The Guardian writes that press coverage of the campaign is reflecting the disaffection generally among both papers and readers.

Other than the Telegraph, the most surprising thing on the first day of the start of the last full week before the general election, was how few political leads there were echoing grumblings from newspaper backbenches that this election is dull and turning readers off.

***

* POLITICS * Republicans will announce details on Tuesday of a compromise deal for the first joint House-Senate budget in six years. 

One of the most divisive issues in US politics returns to the Supreme Court on Tuesday, with arguments over state recognition of Same Sex Marriage. Amy Howe of the always-brilliant SCOTUSblog explains what to expect.

Most of what you need to know about the plaintiffs’ arguments can be summarized with the term that they prefer to use to describe the same-sex-marriage movement more broadly:  “marriage equality.”  The plaintiffs emphasize that they are not asking the Court to create a new constitutional right to same-sex marriage.  Instead, they explain, the Court has long made clear that marriage is a fundamental right, and they are merely seeking equal access to that right.  But even if that’s not the case, they add, the Court’s decision in the Windsor case means that states can’t exclude same-sex couples from the dignity, rights, and benefits created by marriage just because they disapprove of them.  Moreover, the laws that prohibit a state from recognizing same-sex marriages that were conducted legally in another state are, the plaintiffs contend, “disrespectful” of those states and their decisions to allow same-sex couples to marry.

***

* BUSINESS * Oil giant BP is set to release earnings numbers on Tuesday morning before the London market opens, with analysts predicting a significant drop in profits as a result in part of the depressed oil price. The Motley Fool writes:

BP has many attractive qualities and the company’s valuation, on a per barrel of reserves basis, is one of the lowest around. These qualities make the company a perfect acquisition target. Unfortunately, the government announced this morning that it will look to block any attempted takeover of BP.

Reuters reports that Time Warner Cable is “open to merger talks” with Charter Communications.

Apple earnings surged by a third on the back of iPhone sales, particularly in China. The company said it sold 61.2 million iPhones in the three months ended March 28, up 40% year-on-year.

***

* SPORTS * After all-but securing a place in the Premiership for next season, Bournemouth are reflecting on the fact that in 2008, the club was five minutes away from going out of business.

Wait.. Game Eight? The New York Islanders can but hope.

 

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