After months of pandemic restrictions, a US cruise line is set to sail once again starting next month.
Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
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1. San Jose shooting
Nine people are dead after a gunman opened fire yesterday morning at the Valley Transportation Authority light rail yard in San Jose, California. The shooter, a VTA employee, is also dead, and police believe he took his own life. The shooting happened as the night and morning shifts overlapped and rail activity was starting up for the day. No motive has been released, but San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said “the victims and all the colleagues knew the shooter well.” This is not the first time the pandemic’s essential workers have been at the center of such a tragedy, following shootings last month at an Indianapolis FedEx facility and in March at a Colorado grocery. President Biden yesterday urged Congress to “take immediate action” on gun legislation, saying, simply, “Enough.”
Biden has asked the US intelligence community to double down on efforts to investigate the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic in Wuhan and report back to him in 90 days. It’s important to note this is an intelligence operation, not a scientific inquiry, and it’s not clear how many answers the intelligence community will be able to land amid complex science and China’s general secrecy on the matter. Meanwhile, a study has revealed the majority of severe Covid-19 cases brought on long-term symptoms. While grim, US officials hope the warning will encourage more people to get vaccinated. In Japan, the government will decide tomorrow whether to extend a state of emergency across much of the country, nearly two months before the planned start of the Tokyo Olympics.
3. Policing bill
The Biden administration and Democrats in Congress are facing increased pressure from Black civil rights leaders to make headway on some sort of police reform legislation. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is still stalled amid Republican opposition, though there’s been some movement in bipartisan negotiations. The bill includes provisions to set up a national registry of police misconduct and a ban on racial and religious profiling by law enforcement. The biggest sticking point is an overhaul of so-called qualified immunity for police officers, which critics say limits police accountability and proponents say empowers police to do their jobs in dangerous situations. Legislators are racing to reach a compromise by next month.
Biden’s top trade negotiator had what she called “candid” talks with Chinese leaders about improving trade relations between the two powers. The conversations, the first of their kind for this administration, don’t represent an official resumption of US-China trade talks, but they’re seen as an important step in the relationship as tensions grow on several fronts. A key US aircraft carrier based in Japan is expected to head to the Middle East in the next few days, which could create a gap in naval coverage as China turns up the heat over the South China Sea and Taiwan. At home, the Endless Frontiers Act, a bipartisan bill aimed at boosting US competitiveness with China, faces a key procedural vote today.
Climate activists have notched two major victories over oil companies. A hedge fund that’s criticized ExxonMobil’s climate strategy won enough shareholder support to oust at least two directors from the oil giant’s board. The shake-up marks the first time in modern history that America’s largest oil company has faced such a challenge, and it sends a message to other oil companies that investors are not afraid to act on the possibility of shifting away from fossil fuels. Meanwhile, a Dutch court ruled that Royal Dutch Shell must dramatically reduce its carbon emissions — by 45% by 2030 from 2019 levels. This is the first time a court has ruled a company must reduce its emissions in line with global climate goals, and the decision could have far-reaching implications for other oil companies.
The ‘Friends’ reunion special is finally here
With a two-hour run time, the special is like a nostalgia smorgasbord: It’ll leave fans feeling a little bloated — but totally satisfied.
Emmy Rossum announces the birth of her first baby
Nothing “Shameless” about this good news!
Scientists are zapping clouds with electricity to make rain
A giant tortoise thought extinct 100 years ago is living in Galapagos, Ecuador says
An alligator from Louisiana was discovered over 400 miles away on a South Texas beach, and no one knows how it got there
Eric Carle, the author and artist behind the iconic children’s book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” has died at age 91. Carle’s family acknowledged his passing on the author’s website, saying, “In the light of the moon, holding on to a good star, a painter of rainbows is now traveling across the night sky.”
That’s about how many people are now homeless in West Bengal, an eastern state that borders Bangladesh, after the powerful Cyclone Yaas swept into eastern India.
“We’ll see if America will save you now.”
That’s what displaced Tigrayans were reportedly told as hundreds of young men were rounded up from displaced peoples camps in the Tigray region and then beaten, harassed and taken away by Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers. The incident came days after the US announced financial sanctions and visa restrictions on Ethiopian and Eritrean officials.
A precious visit
There’s something magical about being visited by a hummingbird. It’s like you’ve been chosen for something by a wise forest sprite. (Click here to view.)