Trump impeachment trial, coronavirus pandemic, NBA national anthem controversy: 5 things to know Thursday

Trump impeachment trial, coronavirus pandemic, NBA national anthem controversy: 5 things to know Thursday

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Trump impeachment trial: House prosecutors will wrap up arguments

House prosecutors will complete opening arguments Thursday in the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, after a full day of presentations in which they played harrowing video of rioters clashing violently with Capitol Police officers. The nine House Democratic prosecutors, known as managers, said they thought their evidence was compelling enough to convince more Senate Republicans to vote to convict Trump on the impeachment charge. But a two-thirds majority of the Senate is required for conviction, which would require at least 17 Republicans joining the 50 lawmakers who caucus with Democrats. After House managers finish, Trump’s defense team led by Bruce Castor Jr. and David Schoen will have up to 16 hours over two days to make their arguments. Castor said the videos were powerful, but he hadn’t heard the violence connected to Trump.

Back to school? Chicago teachers vote to return to classrooms

Pre-K and special education programs could return as soon as Thursday under the plan that the Chicago Teachers Union grudgingly approved on Wednesday. In the nation’s third-largest school district, the union clashed with the district over a plan to gradually reopen the roughly 340,000 student district amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They also argued over major issues including widespread vaccinations for the district’s 25,000 educators, metrics to gauge school infections and accommodations for teachers who have a person in their household who’s more susceptible to the coronavirus. Students in kindergarten through fifth grade would go back to school March 1 and middle schoolers a week later. No return date has been set for high schoolers.

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After NBA’s national anthem controversy, what’s next?

More public reaction is expected in the sports world Thursday, a day after the NBA announced that all teams would be forced to play the national anthem before games. The move comes after the Dallas Mavericks, who had previously not played the anthem at their home games this season, played the song before their game against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night. The national anthem at sporting events has been a divisive topic since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” NBA players had not knelt for the anthem until last summer at games in the bubble near Orlando, Florida, when they showed support for racial justice and equality. 

‘More death, inequality’: New report says Trump presidency worsened US health 

About 40% of the nation’s coronavirus deaths could have been prevented if the United States’ average death rate matched other industrialized nations, according to a new report published Thursday. While the Lancet Commission on Public Policy and Health in the Trump era faulted former President Donald Trump’s “inept and insufficient” response to COVID-19, its report said the roots of the nation’s poor health outcomes are much deeper. The commission’s co-chairs said the document underscores decades of health, economic and social policies that have accelerated the nation’s disparities. COVID-19 has disproportionately affected people of color. Public health measures such as mask-wearing and physical distancing could have saved lives, said commission co-chair Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, of New York’s Hunter College, but Trump failed to create a national response, instead leaving crucial decisions to states. 

Senate committee to vote on Education Secretary nomination

A key Senate committee is scheduled to vote on the nomination of Miguel Cardona as the next U.S. Education Secretary on Thursday, putting him a step closer to guiding the reopening of more K-8 classrooms in America, albeit under a scaled-back plan announced by the White House this week. As a first-generation college student, a former teacher and administrator, a father of school-aged children, and someone who grew up poor and speaks English as a second language, Cardona is viewed as a person with experience with just about all the key issues in K-12 and higher education right now.  He has won praise from both Republican and Democrats on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.  If approved by the full Senate, Cardona would succeed former education head Betsy DeVos and take the helm of American schooling at a fraught time. 


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