A treat for the early birds: You may be able to see a “ring of fire” solar eclipse this morning, depending on where you are.
Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
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1. White House
President Biden meets today with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson as part of his first foreign trip since taking office. The two are expected to talk about lifting travel restrictions between the US and UK, in place to stop the spread of Covid-19. They’re also expected to agree to a new Atlantic Charter, updating the historic declaration made by FDR and Winston Churchill outlining their shared goals for after World War II. Up next on Biden’s agenda: defending democracy, restoring American alliances in Europe and speaking his mind in next week’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Vice President Kamala Harris’ trip to Central America has been rockier.
The big priority for US officials right now is getting people vaccinated — at home and abroad. Beyond supporting incentives for Americans to get shots, the Biden administration plans to donate 500 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine worldwide. Still, the US vaccination rate is slowing. States are reporting they have Johnson & Johnson vaccines set to expire before they’ll get used, and J&J and federal officials are looking at whether the shelf-life can be extended or the doses can be put to other use. As the focus shifts to vaccines and life begins to return to normal, about two dozen states have scaled back their daily tracking of Covid-19 data. Some experts called the move premature, given the ongoing public health emergency and the risk of new variants.
3. Keystone XL Pipeline
After years of stops and starts, the Keystone XL Pipeline is officially dead. The developer announced it is pulling the plug on the controversial project after the Biden administration revoked its permit in January. The pipeline, which has been a political football for more than a decade, would have carried oil from the tar sands of Canada into the US. The news comes as a disappointment for many in the oil and gas industry. But for environmentalists, who have long argued the pipeline would worsen the climate crisis, it’s a big victory.
4. Law enforcement
Police chiefs in cities across the nation are confronting a surge in gun violence and murder — even before the usual spike of crime seen in the summer. After major cities saw a 33% increase in homicides in 2020, law enforcement officials and experts say they’re alarmed by the numbers seen so far this year. They attribute the rise in gun violence to a number of factors, among them the economic collapse, de-policing in major cities after last year’s protests and shifts in law enforcement resources to downtown areas because of those protests. Separately, the American Academy of Neurology said law enforcement’s use of neck restraints such as chokeholds and strangleholds should be prohibited — something some localities did last year.
Deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been formally charged with corruption by Myanmar’s military government. A commission found her guilty of “committing corruption using her rank,” accusing her of illegally accepting cash and gold in bribes and of misusing her authority when she rented out a property to open her foundation’s headquarters. Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate once seen as a global icon of democracy, was overthrown from her position as the country’s de facto leader after the military seized power in a coup on February 1. She’s since been detained and charged with a series of crimes that her supporters and lawyers consider to be politically motivated.
Prince Edward talks the Sussexes, the Queen and his father’s legacy
“That’s families for you,” he said of the current royal rift in a new interview.
France is sending a second Statue of Liberty to the US
Lady Liberty is getting a little sister this Independence Day.
You’re not imagining things. Nearly everything is getting more expensive
Turns out there’s a perfect storm behind the soaring costs.
Hundreds of mysterious fast radio bursts have been detected in space
These fleeting flashes of light could help us better understand the universe.
The Perseverance rover is going on a Martian road trip
It’s headed for a crater that could contain evidence of ancient microbial life.
That’s how much meat supplier JBS USA says it paid in ransom after a cyberattack last week shut down its entire US beef processing operation.
“I’ve found that working remotely has given me more space for long-term thinking and helped me spend more time with my family, which has made me happier and more productive at work.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, reportedly telling employees in a memo that he plans to work remotely for at least half of the next year
A surefire mood booster
“Hallelujah” on a harp with a pup on a sunny day … a foolproof recipe for happiness! (Click here to view.)