Court Reinstates Ban on N.Y.P.D.’s Use of Holds That Restrict Breathing

Passed amid protests over police brutality, the “diaphragm law” has been the target of law-enforcement unions, which say it ties officers’ hands.

An appeals court reinstated a New York City law forbidding police officers from compressing a suspect’s diaphragm, the latest turn in a protracted legal struggle over the measure passed two years ago.

The law was part of a broader effort to limit the kinds of physical restraints police officers could use in detaining someone, including chokeholds. Police unions sued almost as soon as the statute was passed, saying it was overly broad and would deter officers from physically restraining suspects, even if it was necessary or done in good faith.

A state Supreme Court judge in Manhattan agreed and struck down the policy last fall, saying its language was “unconstitutionally vague.”

In Thursday’s ruling, the Appellate Division ruled the judge had erred in striking down the policy and said the statute clearly explained what officers could and couldn’t do.

“A trained police officer will be able to tell when the pressure he is exerting on a person’s chest or back, in the vicinity of the diaphragm, is making it hard for the person to breathe, just as a driver should be able to tell when the amount of alcohol he consumed is making it unsafe for him or her to drive,” the panel wrote.

The use of chokeholds by police officers is already a felony under New York State law, and New York City Police Department guidelines forbid their use. The conduct forbidden by the law passed by the City Council includes chokeholds but also a litany of other physical restraints, including applying any pressure to someone’s neck or kneeling on a person’s back. Under the city law, either could be prosecuted as a misdemeanor.

The Council passed the law in the summer of 2020, as sweeping, nationwide protests against police brutality spilled into the streets after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

Even law enforcement officials who applauded banning chokeholds said at the time that they feared the law’s provisions were too broad and could put officers at risk of unfounded prosecution.

But the panel challenged assertions that the law lacked specificity. To pretend that police officers could not understand the difference between acceptable restraint and dangerous levels of compression was to make a poor argument, the judges said.

Patrick J. Lynch, the president of the city’s largest police union — which joined the lawsuit challenging the statute — chastised the judges for reinstating the law and said the ruling would deter officers from doing their jobs even as the city wrestles with an increase in some crimes.

“Our city leaders need to realize that this ruling deals a direct blow to our fight against the violence that is tearing our city apart,” said Mr. Lynch in a statement. “This ill-conceived law makes it virtually impossible for police officers to safely and legally take violent criminals into custody — the very job that New Yorkers are urgently asking us to do.”

The union did not immediately say whether it would appeal to New York’s highest court.

‘Heroes of our time’ exit Mariupol steel plant; Kremlin calls it mass surrender: Live Ukraine updates

A contingent of Ukrainian fighters who doggedly defended a steel mill in Mariupol for weeks “fulfilled its combat mission,” Ukrainian officials said, and efforts were underway Tuesday to evacuate the last of the group.

“The Supreme Military Command ordered the commanders of the units stationed at Azovstal to save the lives of their personnel,” the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a statement. “Mariupol defenders are heroes of our time.”

More than 260 Ukrainian troops were evacuated to areas controlled by Russian-backed separatists. The Kremlin called the exodus a mass surrender. Russian Defense Ministry video shows troops patting down and searching the fighters. Some were on stretchers as they were loaded onto the buses.

Ukraine Minister for the Reintegration Irina Vereshchuk said a prisoner exchange will take place for the more than 50 wounded soldiers, when their condition stabilizes, along with more than 200 other fighters evacuated through a humanitarian corridor. Hundreds of prisoners from both sides have been exchanged since the war began Feb. 24.

An unknown number of troops remained at the Azovstal steel plant that sprawls across 4 square miles. The plant has symbolized Ukraine’s final holdout in the besieged city.

“The work to bring the guys home continues, and it requires delicacy and time,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

In this photo provided by Azov Special Forces Regiment of the Ukrainian National Guard Press Office, a serviceman injured during fighting against Russian forces, poses for a photographer inside the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 10, 2022.

Zelenskyy urges speaking out against war at Cannes Film Festival

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a former actor, has a flair for the dramatic. He demonstrated that trait again Tuesday when he made a video appearance at the opening ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival in France.

If Zelenskyy’s presence was surprising, his words were powerful, prompting the audience at the Palais des Festivals to give him a standing ovation, according to

“Hundreds of people are dying every day. They won’t get up again after the clapping at the end,” Zelenskyy said in the prerecorded message. “Will cinema keep quiet, or will it speak up?”

Zelenskyy alluded to the 1940 film “The Great Dictator,” featuring Charlie Chaplin playing the two leading roles. Released during World War II, the movie satirizes Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

“Chaplin’s dictator did not destroy the real dictator, but thanks to cinema, thanks to this film, cinema did not stay quiet,” Zelenskyy said. “We need a new Chaplin to prove today that cinema is not mute.”

Treasury Secretary Yellen says war should hasten transition to clean energy

The energy security emergency facing Europe and the world because of the war is a moment to rapidly accelerate the transition to clean energy, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Tuesday. Yellen, in a prepared speech for the Brussels Economic Forum, called the war a “wake-up call” for energy security and said that “no country controls the wind and the sun.” Europe’s dependence on Russian energy has complicated efforts to sting Moscow with harsh economic sanctions.

Colombia extradites drug lord ‘Otoniel’ to the United States

Dairo Antonio Usuga’s Gulf Clan was believed to be responsible for 30 percent of all cocaine exports from Colombia.

Drug lord Dairo Antonio Usuga -aka 'Otoniel' - walks up the steps to the plane with armed soldiers keeping watch as he's extradited to the US
Colombian drug lord and head of the Gulf Clan, Dairo Antonio Usuga – also known as ‘Otoniel’ – boards a plane to the US [Colombian Presidency via AFP]

One of Colombia’s most notorious drug lords has been extradited to the United States to face drug trafficking charges.

“I want to reveal that Dairo Antonio Usuga, alias ‘Otoniel’ has been extradited,” President Ivan Duque announced on Twitter on Wednesday, calling him “the most dangerous drug trafficker in the world”.

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Usuga, 50, was the most wanted person in Colombia until he was arrested last October in the northwest of the country after a massive military operation.

Duque described Usuga as a “murderer of social leaders and police, an abuser of boys, girls and teenagers”.

“Today legality, the rule of law, the security forces and justice triumphed,” he added.

On Wednesday afternoon, a convoy of five bulletproof police vehicles transported Usuga from a prison in the capital, Bogota, to a military airport, where he was handed over to US Drug Enforcement Administration officials.

Images shared by local media showed a handcuffed Usuga seated in a plane alongside Colombian police and an Interpol official.

[Translation: I want to make it absolutely clear that in our government narco-terrorists are captured, extradited or charged. And to all those in the Gulf Clan either they submit to the authorities or they will suffer the same fate as the man with the alias ‘Otoniel’]

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Usuga was the leader of Colombia’s largest narco-trafficking gang, known as the Gulf Clan.

He was captured near the border with Panama following a military operation involving 500 soldiers backed by 22 helicopters, in which one police officer was killed.

His arrest was one of the biggest blows to Colombia’s drug trafficking business since Pablo Escobar was killed in 1993.

Usuga was indicted in 2009 in the United States, which had offered a $5m bounty for information leading to his arrest.

The US accuses Usuga and the Gulf Clan of illegally bringing at least 73 tonnes of cocaine into the country between 2003 and 2012.

Following Usuga’s arrest and that of another 90 suspected gang members, Duque declared the “end” of the Gulf Clan.

However, four Colombian soldiers were killed in attacks blamed on the gang just days after Usuga’s arrest.

The Gulf Clan was believed to be responsible for 30 percent of cocaine exports from Colombia, the world’s largest producer and supplier of the drug.

‘Who is afraid of Otoniel?’

Since his capture, Usuga has been held in a high-security prison in Bogota and has been at the heart of multiple controversies.

Recordings of testimony Otoniel gave to the Truth Commission – an extrajudicial body investigating the decades-long conflict between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) – were stolen, the perpetrators unknown.

Colombian police also halted one of Usuga’s Truth Commission hearings, saying the Gulf Clan had organised an escape attempt.

“Who is afraid of Otoniel?” read a headline on Cambio, an independent online news outlet, which claimed that some people in the Colombian government sought to silence the drug lord.

The site reported Usuga would have said during his hearings that the army continued to work with right-wing paramilitaries in some parts of the country.

Drug lord Dairo Antonio Usuga in body armour and hat, his hands cuffed, is walked to the plane by armed soldiers
Dairo Antonio Usuga’s Gulf Clan was believed to be responsible for 30 percent of all cocaine exports from Colombia, the world’s biggest producer of the drug [Colombian Presidency via AFP]

Citing a leaked Truth Commission document, the outlet said Otoniel had implicated 63 people as linked to the Gulf Clan, including a former minister, a former national director of intelligence, six former governors and four former members of parliament.

Family members of Usuga’s victims had asked for the courts to suspend his extradition, arguing that he should stand trial in Colombia for “crimes against humanity.”

“They did not respect the feelings of the victims,” said Marina Sanmiguel, whose husband was killed in a 1997 paramilitary raid.

Usuga “could be a key person to clarify what really happened,” she told AFP.

But the Colombian justice system ultimately gave the green light for his extradition, Usuga’s defence team told AFP.

Duque vowed that Usuga would still face justice in Colombia.

“This criminal was extradited to serve drug trafficking sentences in the United States,” the president said.

“But I want to be clear that once those are served, he will return to Colombia to pay for the crimes committed against our country.”

美国东海岸柴油供应依靠烟雾运行 燃料价格飙升给全球经济带来麻烦。

自由女神像以南的地平线被几个油罐农场的轮廓打断。纽约港是华尔街和金融魔法的发源地,但它也是老派石油交易商仍然以旧方式买卖精炼石油产品的地方,按加仑计算,设定基准价格。1990 年代,摩根士丹利的 Olav Refvik 控制了如此多的油库,被称为“纽约港之王”。如果今天 Refvik 还在交易,他会发现他的油箱几乎干涸:港口最基本的燃料柴油非常稀缺。

上周,东海岸的柴油库存暴跌至 30 多年前政府开始记录以来的最低季节性水平。短缺导致柴油市场出现危机,柴油批发和零售价格创下历史新高。如今,美国的柴油价格比 2008 年更贵,当时原油价格飙升至每桶近 150 美元,而目前仅略高于 100 美元。


从央行利率到超市价格,很大程度上取决于柴油。周二,美国平均零售柴油价格连续第五次创下单日新高,飙升至每加仑 5.3 美元以上,比一年前上涨近 75%。东海岸的价格飙升更为严重,现在柴油零售价超过每加仑 6 美元,几乎是 2021 年价格的两倍。


在过去的 15 年里,美国东海岸的炼油厂数量减少了一半,只有 7 家。关闭使该地区的石油加工能力从 2009 年的每天 164 万桶降至每天 818,000 桶。然而,该地区的石油需求更加强劲。


自 2009 年以来,美国东海岸的石油加工能力减半

The revolt of the college-educated working class

Over the past 15 years, many young college-educated workers have faced an uncomfortable reality: They have had a harder time entering the middle class than previous generations. The change had far-reaching effects — driving a shift in national politics and mobilizing employees to demand fairer treatment at work. It could also give the labor movement its biggest boost in decades.

This college-educated member of the working class often earns less than they expected when they went to school. “It’s not like anyone expects to make six figures,” said Tyler Mulholland, who earns about $23 an hour as a sales executive at outdoor equipment retailer REI and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. “But when the storm hit at 11:30 that night, I didn’t want to think, ‘Is Uber Home going to impact my weekly budget? ‘”

In many cases, workers have experienced bouts of unemployment. When Clint Shiflett, who has an associate’s degree in computer science, lost his job installing satellite dishes in early 2020, he found a cheaper place to live and relied on unemployment insurance for a few months. He was eventually hired at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama, where he initially earned about $17.50 an hour working the night shift.

They complain of being stuck in jobs that do not make full use of their skills. With a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s degree in opera performance, Liz Alanna started working at Starbucks in the early 2010s while auditioning for music production. After she got married and had a baby, she stayed with the company to keep her health insurance.

“I don’t think I should have to work a certain job in order to get health care,” Ms. Alana said. “I might do other types of work that might be better off in my cab.”

Economic studies show that these experiences have become more common since the Great Recession, and seem to have united many young college-educated workers around two core beliefs: that their sense that their parents could get a great economic bargain — go to college, work hard, enjoy a comfortable lifestyle — has collapsed. They see unionization as a way to revive it.

Support for unions among college graduates has risen from 55 percent in the late 1990s to about 70 percent in recent years, and is even higher among younger college graduates, according to Gallup. Mr. Mulholland, 32, said, “I think the union was really my only option. It gave me and everyone else a choice.” He helped lead the movement to unionize his Manhattan REI store in March. Mr Shiflett and Ms Alanna have also been active in the movement to unionise their workplaces.

Those efforts, in turn, may help explain the surge in organized labor, with applications for union elections up more than 50 percent from a similar period a year ago.

While college-educated workers play a key role in pushing them toward union membership in most nonprofessional workplaces, experts say, college-educated people often feel empowered in ways that others don’t. “I think it’s class confidence,” says Ruth Milkman, a labor sociologist at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. “A broader worldview that involves more than just getting through the day.”

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While other employees at companies like Starbucks and Amazon also support unions, and sometimes voluntarily form them, the presence of college-educated people in these jobs means there are “people with special tentacles,” Ms. Milkman added. “There is an additional layer of leadership.”

It’s not entirely surprising that college-educated workers are drawn to non-professional jobs at REI, Starbucks and Amazon. Over the past decade, these companies have seen a huge increase in demand for employees. Starbucks’ global workforce grew from about 135,000 in 2010 to nearly 385,000 last year. Amazon’s workforce has ballooned from 35,000 to 1.6 million during that time.

These companies attract affluent and well-educated consumers. They offer their industry handsome wages and benefits — even, for that matter, compared to some other industries that employ college-educated people.

More than three years after graduating from Siena College with a degree in political science in 2017, Brian Murray earns about $14 an hour as a youth counselor at a group home for high school students.

He quit in late 2020 and was hired a few months later by a Starbucks in the Buffalo area, where his pay increased to $15.50 an hour. “The starting salary is higher than anything I’ve ever done,” said Mr. Murray, who helped organize Starbucks workers in the city.

These examples seem to reflect broader economic forces. According to data collected over the past 30 years by Jaison R. Abel and Richard Deitz, economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the unemployment rate for recent college graduates soared to more than 7 percent in 2009, surpassing 5.3 percent — the previous record — until 2015.

Jesse Rothstein, a former chief economist at the Labor Department, found in a 2021 paper that job prospects for new college graduates began to weaken in the mid-2000s, then took a big hit during the Great Recession and still haven’t fully recovered a decade later.

Mr Rothstein, now a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, writes that the recession has left their employment “above the level of normal recession effects”. “Moreover, this change has continued among recent entrants, who were in middle school during the Great Recession.”

While there is no simple explanation for this trend, many economists believe automation and outsourcing have reduced demand for certain “middle-skill” jobs performed by college-educated workers. Lawrence Katz, a Labor economist at Harvard, said consolidation in industries that employ college-educated people also appeared to reduce demand for those workers, though he emphasized that people with college degrees still generally earned more than those without.

In any case, the gap between the expectations of college graduates and their employability has led to years of political ferment. A study of Occupy Wall Street participants found that more than three-quarters were college graduates, compared with about 30 percent at the time. It noted that many had been laid off in the past five years and were “saddled with huge debts”.

College-educated people are also starting to prosper in the workplace. Employees at digital media companies like Gawker and Buzzfeed unionized in the 2010s, complaining about low pay and unclear paths to advancement, as did those at think tanks and other nonprofit organizations.

Public school teachers across the country resigned in 2018 to protest low pay and dwindling resources, while the union movement among graduate students and non-tenured faculty members at private universities surged.

Ms. Milkman points to several reasons college-educated workers can successfully organize even in the face of opposition from employers: They often know their rights under labor law and feel empowered to change their workplace. They believe that if they lose their current show, there will be another.

“More education does two things — it sort of insulates you from the employer’s scare tactics,” Ms. Milkman said. “And getting fired is no big deal. You know, ‘Who cares? I could get some other crappy job. ‘”

The pandemic has reinforced this trend, disrupting the Labour market and finally appearing to stabilise for recent college graduates. In addition to modest compensation, it makes service industry jobs dangerous. Amid labor shortages, workers are increasingly daring to challenge their bosses.

Just as important, college-educated people are mobilizing more workers. Barry Eidlin, a sociologist who studies labor at McGill University in Montreal, said that when their disenchantation is confined to white-collar workplaces and trendy coffee shops, its reach is limited. But at a large company like Starbucks, the activism of these employees “has the potential to have a much bigger resonance,” he said. “It taps into the broader palette of the working class.”

College-educated union supporters began to form alliances with those who had not gone to college, some of them also up-and-coming leaders.

RJ Rebmann, who didn’t go to college, was hired last summer at a Starbucks store near Buffalo and quickly ran into problems. Union supporters, including one who studied biotechnology at a local community college, attended meetings the company was holding and urged company officials to address the issue.

“The union partners have been supporting me,” Mx said. Mr Leibman uses gender-neutral pronouns and ceremonial titles, and is already leaning towards the union. “That was the turning point in how I decided to vote.” Since then, more than 25 Starbucks stores have voted to join the union and why your child should enrol in distance learning drawing classes.

A similarly diverse workforce led the union to an 88-14 victory at the REI store in Manhattan. “We have a lot of students,” said Claire Chang, a union supporter who graduated from college in 2014. “We have a lot of people who had previous careers and changed careers.”

Then there’s Amazon’s victory, and union supporters say their multiracial alliance is a source of strength, as is the diversity of political views. “We have straight-up Communists and hard-line Trump supporters,” said Cassio Mendoza, who helped organize. “It’s really important to us.”

But the mix of educational backgrounds also plays a role. Christian Smalls and Derek Palmer, two friends who helped form the union, went to community college. Connor Spence, its vice president of membership, studied aviation while earning an associate’s degree. He read popular labor studies and helped oversee the union’s strategy to undermine amazon’s anti-unionization consultants.

Other workers at the warehouse have broader qualifications, like Brima Sylla from Liberia, who has a doctorate. In public policy. Dr. Sylla speaks many languages and translates union text messages into French and Arabic.

Asked how the union managed to bring together people of so many different classes and educational backgrounds, Mr. Spencer said it was simple: Most Amazon employees struggle with pay, safety issues and productivity goals, and few get promoted, regardless of education. (The company says about two-thirds of its 30,000 non-corporate promotions last year involved hourly workers and invested heavily in safety.)

“Amazon doesn’t allow people with different education levels to be separated,” Mr. Spencer said. “That’s how we can unite people — the idea that we’ve all been screwed.”