People are getting back to traveling, which means flights are filling up — and plane ticket prices are going sky-high.
Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
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Global coronavirus cases dropped 14% last week, WHO reports. The biggest decreases were in Europe, but the agency warned that case numbers and deaths overall are still high. The US has hit a big vaccine milestone, with half the adult population fully vaccinated, according to CDC records. And a new vaccine could be coming for young people. Moderna plans to request FDA authorization next month to open up its shots to adolescents after saying a trial showed the vaccine is safe and appears to be effective for kids 12 to 17. Meanwhile, Chinese state media is criticizing Dr. Anthony Fauci after he said he is no longer convinced the Covid-19 pandemic originated naturally. He later clarified, saying that although all possibilities must be investigated, he still believes that its origin in nature is “highly likely.”
2. White House
President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend a high-stakes summit in Switzerland next month, marking the first face-to-face meeting between the leaders and Biden’s first international trip since taking office. The White House says the leaders will discuss restoring “predictability and stability” to US-Russia relations. Biden will also address Ukraine and Belarus, two areas of regional political conflict. At home, Biden has reportedly informed GOP senators that he’d be willing to accept an infrastructure package of around $1 trillion. That’s a major concession, with a price tag considerably lower than the $1.7 trillion the White House offered last week (itself lower than the $2.25 trillion cost of the initial proposal).
3. Trump Organization
Manhattan’s top prosecutor has convened a grand jury that is expected to decide whether to indict former President Trump, should prosecutors present criminal charges in their probe of the Trump Organization, The Washington Post reports. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s team has been investigating for more than two years whether the company misled lenders and insurance companies about the value of properties and paid appropriate taxes. This latest news could mean the team is nearing the end of its probe. Meanwhile, Trump responded to a lawsuit aimed at holding him accountable for his role in the January 6 insurrection by claiming he had absolute immunity as president. The suit was brought by Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell and focuses on Trump’s incendiary speech on the day of the riot.
4. Europe policing
Police forces across the European Union are disproportionately stopping and searching members of various ethnic, religious and other minority groups like LGTBQ people, a report published by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights has found. The report is based on a survey of roughly 35,000 people from across the EU, the UK and North Macedonia. Different places reflected different modes of reported racial and ethnic discrimination: South Asians in Greece and Roma people in the Netherlands and Portugal, for instance, were among those most likely to report racial profiling by police. The report has renewed conversations about ethnic profiling and discrimination among Europe’s law enforcement.
Mali’s transitional vice president, Assimi Goita, has ousted the country’s transitional President and Prime Minister less than a year after a coup upended the nation’s government. President Bah N’Daw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane were put in charge of the transitional government after the August coup, which was led by Goita. Now, Goita says he removed the two leaders because they failed to consult him on a Cabinet reshuffle. Local leaders say N’Daw, Ouane and some of their staffers have been arrested and are in military officers’ custody. This latest political upheaval has triggered international concern, with fellow African leaders calling it a “power grab.” France, a former colonial power and military ally to Mali, says it is ready to sanction those involved in the coup.
‘This is Us’ saves another surprise for its wedding-episode season finale
Raise your hand if you’ve been emotionally victimized by this show.
‘Friends’ cast teases tears during big reunion special
They’ll be there for each other.
Airbnb’s CEO says business travel won’t ever go back to what it was pre-pandemic
“Business trip that could have been a video call” is the new “meeting that could have been an email.”
Ford is the undisputed king of trucks. Here’s how it got there
Chris Hemsworth, literal God of Thunder, says his son wants to be Superman
No one can humble you faster than a child.
That’s how many acres California wildfires have burned this year — five times more than the area burned over the same period last year. It’s especially concerning since 2020 was the state’s worst fire season ever.
“Vaccination is a personal decision between each citizen and a medical professional — not state government.”
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who signed an executive order banning the state government from requiring Covid-19 vaccine passports. Governors in Alabama, Florida and Texas have issued similar legislation.
Well, no one’s perfect
We’ve all had days that feel like this (purposefully) error-ridden, hilariously catastrophic performance from Jerome Robbins’ ballet “The Concert,” as set to, what else, Frédéric Chopin’s “Mistake” Waltz in E Minor. A huge thank you to the reader who suggested this video! (Click here to view.)