NATO, Crime, Jupiter: Your Monday Night Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. NATO leaders blocked weapons against China and Russia at the summit on Monday, when President Biden reaffirmed his commitment to the alliance.

China’s growing influence and military could “pose challenges,” the 30-nation alliance said, a rhetorical escalation from past summits. Unsurprisingly, Russia remains a “threat” despite Biden saying above that he is not looking for a conflict.

The one-day meeting takes place at an evolving point in diplomatic relations. Israel’s new administration tried to mend its relationship with the US Democratic Party, which crumbled when Benjamin Netanyahu befriended Donald Trump.

“We are with a Democratic White House, Senate and House of Representatives, and they are angry,” said Yair Lapid, the new foreign secretary. “We have to change the way we work with them.”

2. The US was nearing 600,000 registered deaths from the coronavirus pandemic, the highest known number of any country.

There is good news: the number of deaths has slowed. The United States recorded 500,000 deaths by February, around four months ago. By comparison, the country hit 400,000 in January and 300,000 in December. New results from a potential fourth vaccine, Novavax, suggest it will be a good booster.

But vaccinations have also slowed down. Although more than half of American adults are fully vaccinated, the number of new daily positive tests appears to be flattening across the country, after having declined steadily for months. The problem is not supply, but demand.

And many churches will long struggle with the scale of the loss. New research shows the devastation for Hispanic Americans who were disproportionately younger when they died. Above is a memorial in Brooklyn.

In virus news overseas, England delayed reopening plans as the highly transmittable Delta variant spreads there. And a top Chinese virologist flatly denied claims that the virus escaped from her Wuhan lab.

3. Amid an outcry over leaks and seized records, The Justice Department will tighten its rules on the seizure of information about members of Congress and their aides.

The aforementioned Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the changes Monday amid political turmoil over a Trump-era subpoena in which investigators gathered data on several Democratic MPs and staff.

Garland’s announcement also came as he was preparing to meet with leaders of major news organizations after it was revealed that the Trump-era Justice Department secretly seized phone records for their reporters.

In a timely but unrelated move, the officer who oversaw the leak investigations will step down next week on a scheduled departure.

This includes President Biden, the first Catholic in 60 years to fill the Oval Office.

Despite the Vatican’s remarkably public stop sign, the bishops will most likely force a debate this week. The effort could destroy her facade of unity with Rome and create what church historians consider a dangerous precedent for episcopal conferences around the world.

5. Top executives from an electric vehicle manufacturer have resigned how it struggles to survive.

Lordstown Motors lost its founder Steve Burns and its chief financial officer on Monday after the board and investors questioned the startup’s viability.


June 14, 2021 at 5:25 p.m. ET

The company doesn’t have enough money to start manufacturing its truck, a prototype of which burned down during testing in February and is undergoing further testing. And securities regulators are investigating the company and its claims of customer interest in its truck.

6. Crime is increasing in US cities, just as the entrepreneurs hoped that the economic downturn would finally come to an end.

Some city officials focus on progressive strategies, such as restoring trust between communities and the police. Others crack down, step up surveillance and enforce curfews. Above is a Chicago crime scene.

However, tourists and workers remain cautious about returning to the city centers, where murders, assaults and car thefts remain stubbornly high. Last year, murder rates in major cities rose by an average of more than 30 percent and at the beginning of this year by a further 24 percent. Some parents and grandparents hoping to protect their families want to leave.

7. Election restrictions could harm people with disabilities trying to cast a vote.

State, Republican-led legislative efforts threaten the rights of 38 million disabled Americans who are eligible to vote. However, Republicans deny concerns that the bills are undermining democracy itself.

In Texas, for example, efforts to ban thoroughfare may hinder people with mobility issues. Partisan election monitors can misinterpret legal arrangements – like a blind voter using a screen reader – as fraud.

“You’re really getting us out of a voice,” said Susie Angel, who has cerebral palsy and lives in Austin. “And without that, we can’t get the things we need to survive.”

8. A West Virginia County Is Education Is Great as coal mining is declining.

McDowell County’s Education Board is the largest employer, trying to attract more teachers to its understaffed schools. An unusual initiative proposes schools as a basis for renewal, the recruitment of educators and the expansion of the district’s social infrastructure.

But despite McDowell’s best efforts, cities like Welch above have yet to find a way to build lasting and self-sustaining communities.

The county has lost more residents than any other county in the state in recent years. One teacher sees it this way: “The options are you can get a job as a teacher or you go.” Now that the student population is falling, officials are planning to consolidate three elementary schools.

9. A brave probe orbits Jupiter, above, passing on the discoveries of the gas giant.

NASA’s Juno probe is a tough machine – the mission’s chief investigator described it as “an armored tank” – and it will spend the next four years orbiting Jupiter and its largest moons.

Juno has already found lightning higher than thought possible, perhaps thanks to ammonia crystals. It photographed rings of stable storms, each around 2,500 miles in diameter, at the poles and found a companion to the Great Red Spot, a centuries-old giant storm: the Great Blue Spot.

10. And finally the day of the dogs is over.

Wasabi, the deep-seated Pekingese who prances upstairs, won Best in Show in Westminster on Sunday. He swept the competition, who jumped, cleaned, and peed on a rolling green lawn north of New York City instead of their usual indoor space in Madison Square Garden.

Wasabi is certainly an eye-catcher – my colleague Lisa Lerer described him as “the brood of a mop and a Roomba” – and he has company. Here are glamor shots from Saturday and Sunday and the other top contenders.

In other dog news, don’t worry if your good boy is eating a few cicadas. (This also applies to cats.)

Have a victorious evening.

Your evening briefing will be posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.

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