First Thing: Breonna Taylor decision sparks protests across the US

Good morning,

From Atlanta to Portland to San Diego, protests erupted again on the streets of dozens of US cities on Wednesday night, after a grand jury in Louisville, Kentucky, declined to charge three police officers in the killing of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old EMT shot dead in her own apartment in March.

In Louisville itself, two police officers were shot amid the unrest, sustaining non-life-threatening injuries. For protesters who have been on the city’s streets for almost 120 days, the verdict was crushing. “People say they fear for our city. I don’t fear for our city. I fear for our people,” David Mour, an attorney who represents many of the protesters, told Josh Wood:

We can rebuild buildings, we can fix broken windows, we can wash off graffiti, but we can’t heal broken hearts. We can’t heal broken spirits – and that’s what we’ve got.

  • The Black cyclist Dijon Kizzee was not holding a gun when he was shot dead by Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies in August, his family lawyer has said, contrary to police claims. Kizzee was shot at least 15 times during his struggle with officers.

Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power

Donald Trump fuelled growing concerns about his post-election intentions on Wednesday, when he refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose in November, and repeated false claims about mail-in ballot fraud at a White House press conference. “Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful – there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation,” he said.

With the president spreading misinformation and armed supporters already on the streets, experts told Adam Gabbatt they fear a wave of post-election violence far more dangerous than the so-called “Brooks Brothers riot” in 2000. Meanwhile, it has been revealed that pro-Trump activists planned and trained for violence in online chats ahead of recent clashes with leftwing protesters in Portland.

  • Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, have been criticised for breaching royal protocol over political neutrality, after the couple appeared in a video urging US voters to “reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity” at the election.

  • James Baker will vote for Trump. The Republican former secretary of state told the authors of a new biography he considered voting for Biden but decided re-electing Trump “was worth it to get conservative judges, tax cuts and deregulation”.

California will ban gas-only cars within 15 years

Morning traffic in Downtown Los Angeles.

Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, has signed an executive order to ban the sale of gas-only cars in the state within the next 15 years, to combat the damaging effects of climate breakdown after a summer of record temperatures and historic wildfires. “For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe,” Newsom said in a statement:

Californians shouldn’t have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.

  • Federal officials are investigating whether the Bobcat fire, which is still burning in the mountains near Los Angeles after more than two weeks, was sparked by Southern California Edison utility equipment.

‘I feel like I lost a relative that fought for me’

Mourners line up to pay their respects to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court.

The casket carrying the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg was on Wednesday placed on the steps of the US supreme court in Washington, where she will lie in repose until Friday, when she will be moved to lie in state at the US Capitol – the first time a woman has been granted that honour.

David Smith spoke to the mourners, some of whom had travelled hundreds of miles to pay their respects to the beloved supreme court justice. “She represented what America should be: equal pay, gender, sexual roles, everything. That was her soul,” said Karen Liebowitz, a social worker from upstate New York. “But I feel now everything is at stake and could be reversed.”

In other news …

A new satellite image of a Uighur internment camp in China’s Xinjiang region.
  • China has built 380 new internment camps for Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region in the past two years, an Australian thinktank has found, despite Beijing’s claim that its “re-education” programme is being wound down.

  • Of the 10 largest US cities, only Chicago has not agreed police reforms in the wake of multiple police shootings and widespread civil rights protests since the death of George Floyd.

  • Seoul has accused North Korea of killing a South Korean official and burning his body while he was investigating claims of unauthorised fishing near the maritime border between the two countries on Monday.

Great reads

Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi: ‘I do this because we deserve to live.’

Opal Tometi: ‘This movement is about all of us’

Black Lives Matter may be the biggest movement in US history, but it began with three California women, incensed by the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer in 2013. One of those co-founders was Opal Tometi. “We need to work round the clock to save the democracy we have,” she tells Ellen E Jones.

Are the Saudis about to make a deal with Israel?

Behind the scenes, Saudi Arabia quietly encouraged the recent diplomatic agreements between Israel and the Kingdom’s Gulf neighbours Bahrain and the UAE. Now, reports Martin Chulov, the Saudis could make a similar deal – upending the region’s politics.

Why big tech’s favourite buzzword is nonsense

The concept of “disruption” has allowed Silicon Valley firms to claim their tech is fundamentally transforming how capitalism functions. But is it really just an extension of how capitalism has always functioned, asks Adrian Daub – and is “disruption” simply a word used to justify those firms’ unconstrained power?

Opinion: grassroots organisations can help Biden defeat Trump

Joe Biden is showing weaknesses among key constituencies including Latinx and Black voters in several swing states. Defeating Trump is too important to leave to the Biden campaign, say Peter Hogness and Emily Lee.

Grassroots organizations in working-class communities and communities of color are well-equipped to do this work. New Florida Majority, Pennsylvania Stands Up and many others have been active in their communities for years, and know the terrain. They know how to reach people who might not otherwise cast a ballot.

Last Thing: Deadpool wants a stake in a Welsh soccer club

Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.

The Welsh football club Wrexham AFC, which sits in the fifth tier of English football, has announced an unexpected investment bid from Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds and his fellow actor Rob McElhenney, the creator and star of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

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