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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Court of Appeals has agreed to consider a request from prosecutors to reinstate a third-degree murder charge against the fired Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s death.

Jury selection begins March 8 for Derek Chauvin, who is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter.

The appeals court set oral arguments for March 1 on adding the charge.

Last October, Judge Peter Cahill dismissed a third-degree murder charge, which would require proof that someone’s conduct was “eminently dangerous to others,” not just to Floyd. Cahill said there was no evidence that Chauvin’s actions were dangerous to anyone else.

Prosecutors asked Cahill to restore the charge earlier this month. They cited a three-judge appeals court panel that upheld a third-degree murder conviction against former Minneapolis officer Mohamed Noor for the 2017 shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, an unarmed Australian woman who had called 911 to report a possible sexual assault. In the Noor decision, the panel ruled that a third-degree murder conviction can be sustained even if the action that caused a death was directed at one person.

Cahill rejected the request, saying the Noor ruling won’t be established precedent until after further proceedings before the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Floyd, a Black man, died May 25 after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck while he was handcuffed and saying he couldn’t breathe. Floyd’s death sparked protests in Minneapolis and beyond, and led to a nationwide reckoning on race. Three other officers — Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao — are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter and are scheduled to face trial in August.

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Congress to weigh reforms to U.S. Postal Service over finance woes

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By David Shepardson

© Reuters/MIKE SEGAR FILE PHOTO: A USPS mail carrier walks past New York Stock Exchange in New York

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A panel of the U.S. House of Representatives will hear testimony on Wednesday from Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and other officials as lawmakers consider significant reforms to tackle the precarious finances of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).

Delays in paychecks and other mail deliveries by USPS gained attention this summer as a record number of voters mailed in ballots to elect a new president.

DeJoy, a supporter of former President Donald Trump appointed to head the USPS last year, suspended operational changes in August after enormous criticism over postal delays. He plans to release a new 10-year strategic plan soon.

House Oversight and Government Reform chairwoman Carolyn Maloney will make the case for action on the finances of the USPS in the face of shrinking volumes of first-class mail, increased costs of employee compensation and benefit, and higher unfunded liabilities and debt.

© Reuters/Mike Blake FILE PHOTO: U.S. postal service mail boxes at a post office in Encinitas

"We need to pass meaningful reforms — and hopefully bipartisan reforms — to put the Postal Service on more sustainable financial footing for years to come," Maloney will say, according to excerpts from her office.

USPS reported net losses of $86.7 billion from 2007 through 2020. One reason is 2006 legislation that it pre-fund more than $120 billion in retiree health care and pension liabilities, a reqiurement labor unions have called an unfair burden not shared by other businesses.

Maloney has circulated draft legislation on some USPS financial issues, such as eliminating a requirement to pre-fund retiree health benefits.

It would also require postal employees to enroll in government-retiree health plan Medicare, for a saving of roughly $10 billion over ten years.

Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, will urge Congress to include an additional $15 billion "to help stabilize the Postal Service during this crisis" in a COVID-19 relief package.

His testimony, seen by Reuters, calls for another USPS "modernization grant" of $25 billion to make "long overdue" investments in a clean postal fleet, modernising postal facilities and providing electric vehicle charging stations for local post offices.

Also testifying is Joel Quadracci, chief executive of printing company Quad/Graphics.

DeJoy will testify alongside Ron Bloom, a former Obama administration official elected this month as the new chairman of the U.S. Postal Board of Governors.

In December, Congress converted into a grant a $10 billion U.S. Treasury loan that lawmakers gave to USPS in March.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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