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In today's Morning Brief, we look ahead to the opening of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death last year of George Floyd.

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George Floyd murder trial tests how much — if anything — will change in U.S.

Jury selection for the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, whose knee pressing on George Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes was captured on graphic video last May, is expected to get underway Monday.

Last summer, millions of people across the U.S. protested against Floyd's killing in scenes not witnessed since the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Protests against racial injustice and police brutality spread to Canada and many cities around the world.

Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter, with the potential addition of a third-degree murder charge. Three other officers go on trial in August. The criminal trial against Chauvin will be prosecuted by the state of Minnesota. 

WATCH | Trial for George Floyd's killing brings heightened emotions and security:

Trial for George Floyd’s killing brings heightened emotions and security

The National

2 months ago
3:37



Cameras in the courtroom will capture the trial and live stream it for broadcast on some TV channels — a first for Minnesota. The trial is being compared to that of the Los Angeles police officers who were acquitted in the beating of Rodney King 30 years ago, as well as the O.J. Simpson murder trial, which commanded large TV audiences.

"The killing of George Floyd by Officer Chauvin is akin for many Americans to some type of public lynching, the likes of which we haven't seen for decades," said Kami Chavis, a law professor at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

"I don't want people to underestimate the power and the importance of this case and what might happen," she said. "It's a huge signal, I think, to law enforcement about what they can and can't do."

The Hennepin County courthouse in Minneapolis is now surrounded by three rings of cement barriers, three-metre high fencing and concertina wire. The state has allocated $36 million US to security and has activated the Minnesota National Guard. Staff in the building, which includes the county government office, have been told to stay home. Read more on this story here.

Harry and Meghan's revelations about race, rift with Royal Family

(Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese/Reuters)

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex offered numerous revelations in their interview last night with Oprah Winfrey that are sure to rattle the monarchy. Amid all that Prince Harry and Meghan had to say, one statement stood out and seems particularly serious for the House of Windsor: the declaration that a senior member of the Royal Family had worries about the colour of the skin of their first child before he was born. Read more about the interview here.

In brief

Over the last four years, Lethbridge NDP MLA Shannon Phillips has had suspicions that some members of the city's police force have been monitoring her. Newly released documents show she was right. Back in 2017, when Phillips was Alberta's environment minister, Lethbridge police officers took surreptitious photographs of her at a diner and posted them anonymously on the internet. Last year, she filed a request under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act on herself and the Lethbridge Police. The result was 9,308 pages on a compact disc. Almost all of it is blacked out in full or in part, but the several hundred unredacted pages released and viewed exclusively by CBC News contain startling revelations. Over the course of 11 months in 2018, Phillips's name was searched eight times by five different police officers, one of whom is now retired, as well as one civilian employee. While the documents reveal that police accessed files containing personal information about Phillips, there was no investigative purpose given for any of those searches. Read more on this story from CBC's Carolyn Dunn.

WATCH | Alberta MLA Shannon Phillips quietly monitored by local police:

Alberta MLA Shannon Phillips quietly monitored by local police

The National

2 months ago
8:20



Back in 2013, three groups donated tens of thousands of dollars to WE Charity, then known as Free the Children, for what turned out to be the same deep water borehole well in the village of Osenetoi, Kenya — total amounts that far exceeded the cost of the well water project and raise questions about what the charity did with the extra money that was collected. A former WE employee who liaised with outside fundraising groups told The Fifth Estate that they frequently heard complaints about the charity's fundraising tactics. "We would have people coming to us and saying, like, 'Hey, my donor was led to believe that they were the only donor to this community or the only donor to the school,'" said the source, who requested their name not be used because they fear professional repercussions for speaking publicly. In a statement, WE Charity said that while there were occasions when monies raised exceeded the cost of a project, all of the funds were redirected to humanitarian projects. Read more about the group's fundraising here.

WATCH | Multiple donors raised money for the same WE Charity project:

Multiple donors raised money for the same WE Charity project

The National

2 months ago
2:36



Canada's health minister says requiring a vaccine passport to travel internationally is a "very live" issue as more Canadians receive shots and countries consider loosening border restrictions. "It's being discussed around the world. I'm a member of the G7 health ministers, we meet every couple weeks. This has been on our agenda," Patty Hajdu said Sunday on Rosemary Barton Live. Some jurisdictions are looking to use proof of immunization against COVID-19 as a way to allow travel within and between countries. Last month, the World Health Organization said that national authorities should not require such certificates for travel because it's still unclear how well vaccines minimize transmission of the virus. Read more about vaccine passports here.

After Michelle Sinclair ordered her son a sports jersey from Ireland last month and paid $24 for shipping, she was surprised when the courier company, DHL, emailed to tell her she owed a further $23.25 for import duty and tax. When Sinclair inquired why duty and import fees amounted to $23 on a $68 item, a DHL brokerage supervisor told her imports are subject to "duty, taxes, and other customs related charges" and directed her to the website of the Canada Border Services Agency. But when Sinclair pressed, she learned that only $5.40 was being charged for GST and the remaining $17 plus tax was a "standard processing fee" DHL was pocketing for completing customs paperwork. There was, in fact, no import duty. Read more on this story here

WATCH | International courier DHL questioned about 'hidden fees':

International courier DHL questioned about ‘hidden fees’ | Go Public

The National

2 months ago
2:04



January brought a fresh set of challenges for Alberta's United Conservative Party government, such as the public outcry over strict pandemic health measures and intense blowback over its coal mining policy. While top Alberta government officials looked for ways to turn the page, some in the party were musing about whether it was time to turn the page on Premier Jason Kenney himself. CBC News spoke to nine UCP constituency association presidents and members of constituency association boards from across the province. CBC has agreed not to name some of them as they were not authorized to speak publicly about party matters. Most of those who spoke to CBC said their association boards had talked about whether it was time to look for a new leader. One riding association president said that about 80 per cent of their board expressed dissatisfaction with the party's leadership. Others said that while they'd heard rumblings of unhappiness with Kenney, their own boards had not talked about triggering a review. Read how the conservative grassroots put Alberta's premier on notice.

Now for some good news to start your Monday:  A family in Georgetown, Ont., has brought some cheer to its community during the pandemic by creating 201 birdhouses and placing them around town. The Champ family said its creations, all numbered, were designed to bring smiles to people who live in Georgetown, a community in Halton Hills, west of Toronto. "People have been pretty good through this pandemic, but people are wearing out. You can see the edges fraying. There's no hugs. There's no dinners. You run out of things to do. Somehow, we put this together and came up with a crazy idea," said Jamie Champ, the dad of the family, His wife, Carol, said they placed the birdhouses anonymously under community mailboxes, on footpaths to parks, and outside long-term care homes, schools and the local hospital. The family's favourite spots were atop piles of snow left by snowplows at the end of cul-de-sacs. Other birdhouses were placed on top of hockey nets. Read more about the birdhouses here.

Front Burner: Are all COVID-19 vaccines created equal?

How solid is the science behind delaying second COVID-19 vaccine doses? Are the shots from AstraZeneca-Oxford and Johnson & Johnson effective enough?

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases specialist at Toronto General Hospital and a member of Ontario's COVID-19 vaccine task force, answers our most pressing questions about the latest vaccine news.

How solid is the science behind delaying second COVID-19 vaccine doses? Are the shots from AstraZeneca-Oxford and Johnson & Johnson effective enough? Infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch answers our most pressing questions about the latest vaccine news. 21:55

Today in history: March 8

1867: The British Parliament passes the British North America Act. The act received royal assent on March 29 and Queen Victoria set July 1 as the date for Confederation.

1939: Sir Henry Pellatt, the millionaire who built Casa Loma in Toronto, dies at age 80. Pellatt had the castle built between 1911 and 1914 at a cost of $2 million. Based on European designs, it had about 50 rooms and was lavishly decorated. Pellatt suffered financial losses in the 1930s and lost Casa Loma, which is now a tourist attraction.

1994: Rogers Communications and Maclean-Hunter strike a $3.1-billion deal to create one of Canada's largest media companies. 

2018: A new $10 bill featuring civil rights icon Viola Desmond is unveiled. Desmond became the first Black person — and the first non-royal woman — to appear on a regularly circulating Canadian bank note.

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With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters

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