News Headlines 4/12/21

BLACKOUT AT IRANIAN NUCLEAR SITE, ISRAEL SUSPECTED: Iranian officials said Sunday (April 11th) that there had been a blackout at its underground Natanz nuclear site, where uranium enrichment takes place, calling it an act of “nuclear terrorism.” Details were unclear about exactly what happened, with AP saying it was initially described as a blackout caused by the electrical grid feeding the facility. Israel quickly came under suspicion of being responsible, and Israeli media was reporting that there had been a damaging cyberattack on the facility orchestrated by Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency. Iran has stopped abiding by any limits on its uranium stockpile since former President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Iranian nuclear deal in 2018.

TOP CHINESE HEALTH OFFICIAL WALKS BACK SAYING CHINA’S COVID VACCINES NOT VERY EFFECTIVE: The head of China’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is walking back comments he made at a conference Saturday (April 10th) saying that China’s coronavirus vaccines aren’t very effective. Director Gao Fu said at the conference that China was considering options to increase effectiveness, such as boosting the dose, mixing vaccines, or using mRNA technology instead, the kind used in the highly-effective Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Not only was the admission rare from China, it also came after Beijing has sent hundreds of millions of doses of its two vaccines to dozens of countries. But Gao is now backing away from what he said, telling Chinese state media Sunday (April 11th)  that the reaction to his comments, quote, “was a complete misunderstanding,” and that he was just suggesting that how to improve Covid-19 vaccines’ effectiveness is something that, quote, “needs to be considered by scientists around the world” because it’s a new virus.

MINNESOTA MAYOR ORDERS CURFEW AFTER DEATH OF MAN IN OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING: The mayor of the town of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, ordered a curfew from early this morning (April 12th) through 6 a.m. after dozens of people gathered outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department following the death of Black man, identified as Daunte Wright, in an officer-involved shooting and car crash yesterday afternoon. An emergency proclamation said the curfew was ordered due to “growing civil unrest.” Minnesota Governor Tim Walz responded to the incident, which took place just 10 miles away from where former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial in the death of George Floyd. Walz tweeted, “I am closely monitoring the situation in Brooklyn Center. Gwen and I are praying for Daunte Wright’s family as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.” Police say they were trying to take Wright into custody after determining during a traffic stop that he had outstanding warrants. But they say he got back into his car and an officer opened fire. Wright then drove several blocks before hitting another vehicle. He died at the scene.

VIRGINIA OFFICER ACCUSED OF PEPPER-SPRAYING, THREATENING BLACK ARMY OFFICER FIRED: A Windsor, Virginia, police officer who was one of two officers accused of pepper-spraying, drawing their guns on, and threatening a Black U.S. Army officer during a traffic stop last December has been fired, the town of Windsor announced late Sunday (April 11th), after Governor Ralph Northam had called for an independent investigation earlier in the day. The town also said it joined with Northam and other officials in requesting an investigation by Virginia State Police. Army Second Lieutenant Caron Nazario, who is Black and Latino, filed a lawsuit earlier this month against Officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker, also charging in it that the officers used a slang term to suggest he was facing execution. Gutierrez is the officer who was fired, with Windsor officials saying an internal investigation determined department policy wasn’t followed. Crocker wrote in a report that he believed Nazario, who was wearing his Army fatigues, was, quote, “eluding police” and that he considered it a “high-risk traffic stop.” Nazario has said he was trying to find a well-lit area to pull over.

REPORT: CALIFORNIA WOMAN ACCUSED OF KILLING HER THREE CHILDREN WAS IN CUSTODY DISPUTE: A 30-year-old California woman who was arrested Saturday on suspicion of killing her three young children was involved in a custody dispute with their father, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday (April 11th), citing family court documents. Liliana Carrillo was arrested in Tulare County after she fled her Los Angeles apartment, where the bodies of the children, ages 3, 2 and six months, were found by their grandmother, and led officers on a chase. Police said initial reports suggested the children had been stabbed to death. The children’s father, Eric Denton, sought custody of them on March 1st, according to the Times, and had petitioned for a mental health evaluation for Carrillo. Denton told the newspaper he’d begun trying to get custody after Carrillo began acting mentally unstable.