Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 1, 2021

Tulsa marks 100th anniversary of race massacre, Biden warns on Memorial Day that democracy is in "peril," and more

1

Tulsa marks 100th anniversary of race massacre

Crowds gathered in Tulsa on Monday to mark the 100th anniversary of the city's 1921 race massacre, in which white mobs killed as many as 300 Black people and destroyed 35 square blocks of a prosperous community known as Black Wall Street. Black World War I veterans fought to defend the neighborhood against white attackers, many of whom were deputized and armed by the city. Tulsa denied the massacre for decades. Community activist Greg Robinson, a 31-year-old descendant of massacre survivors, was among the people who came out to honor the community's resilience. "Today is a day full of somber energy," he said. "But also a day in which you feel and understand the true strength of the ancestors." President Biden declared a "Day of Remembrance" ahead of his planned Tuesday visit to the city as excavation resumes on a mass grave possibly connected to the massacre.

2

Biden issues Memorial Day warning that democracy is in 'peril'

President Biden paid tribute to the nation's war dead at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, laying a wreath and calling fallen service members "the soul of America." Biden was joined by first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and second gentleman Doug Emhoff at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where Biden called on Americans to remember those who gave their lives to protect U.S. democracy, and to rise above partisan division. "Democracy itself is in peril, here at home and around the world. What we do now — what we do now, how we honor the memory of the fallen will determine whether or not democracy will long endure," Biden said. He called on Americans to show respect for service members "by sustaining the best of America while honestly confronting all that we must do to make our nation fuller, freer, and more just."

3

Flynn says Myanmar-like coup 'should happen' in U.S.

Michael Flynn, who served briefly as former President Donald Trump's first national security adviser, appeared to express support for a Myanmar-style coup in the United States during an appearance at a Dallas event attended by QAnon conspiracy theorists and people who believe the 2020 election was stolen. When asked why what happened in Myanmar couldn't happen in the U.S., the retired U.S. Army lieutenant general responded: "No reason, I mean, it should happen here." Lawyer Sidney Powell, who has represented Flynn, said he had not encouraged "any act of violence or any military insurrection." She accused the media of "grossly" distorting his words. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who was ousted from her party leadership position for criticizing Trump's claim the 2020 election was stolen from him, tweeted that "No American should advocate or support the violent overthrow of the United States."

4

India's capital reopens manufacturing, construction

India's capital, Delhi, on Monday reopened manufacturing and construction activity, allowing workers in those sectors to return to work after a six-week shutdown imposed to fight a devastating coronavirus surge. The change came after a drop in the official count of new infections, and as the strain on the city's hospitals eased. Schools and businesses remained closed. Before construction companies can bring the industry's million workers back to job sites, they will have to find replacements for migrant workers who fled cities when India's deadly second wave of infections hit. "Slowly in six to 10 days we will be able to mobilize labor and material and start the work," said Ram Niwas Gupta, a construction company owner and president of the Builders Association of India.

5

Texas governor threatens funding cutoff after Democrats' walkout

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said Monday that he would withhold state lawmakers' pay after House Democrats walked out Sunday night to block final passage of a restrictive voting bill pushed by Republicans. The legislation was the latest proposed by Republican-run states after former President Donald Trump falsely claimed the 2020 election was stolen from him. The Texas bill would limit mail-in voting and cut back early voting hours, among other reforms that Democrats argued would unfairly burden voters of color. Democrats called on Congress and President Biden to counter state attempts to restrict voting rights. "We needed to send a message," state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D) said after the walkout. "And that message is very, very clear: Mr. President, we need a national response to federal voting rights."

6

1st foreign athletes arrive in Japan as pressure mounts to cancel Olympics

The first foreign athletes started arriving in Japan on Tuesday ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, despite intensifying calls to cancel the Games due to the threat of coronavirus infections. Among the first to arrive were members of Australia's softball team, which will remain isolated on three floors of a hotel outside Tokyo until the Games start on June 23. A new poll by the Nikkei newspaper found that 63 percent of respondents were opposed to going ahead with the Olympics due to the threat that athletes and officials could bring in virulent strains of the coronavirus from other parts of the world. "If the lives and livelihoods of the people cannot be protected, we will have no choice but to give up" holding the Games, Japanese opposition leader Yukio Edano, head of the Constitutional Democratic Party, said at a news conference Monday.

7

Virtual climate talks start in preparation for November summit

The United Nations climate office in Bonn, Germany, on Monday launched three weeks of climate talks that will be held virtually due to pandemic restrictions. Participants will have to attend virtual sessions before dawn or late at night, depending on their time zones. "This is not ideal at all," said Marianne Karlsen, chair of one of the two international bodies holding the talks. Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, who chairs the second body at the talks, said "we're going to be engaging on substantive issues and really try to make progress." Negotiators will focus on rules for international carbon markets, providing aid to developing nations, and other unresolved issues stemming from the 2015 Paris climate accord. The talks are seen as a key step to prepare for the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.

8

Russia warns of 'uncomfortable' signals to U.S. ahead of summit

Russia said Monday it would send "uncomfortable" signals to the United States ahead of next month's scheduled summit between President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The warning came a day after Biden said he would press Putin to respect human rights at the June 16 meeting in Geneva. Relations between Washington and Moscow have reached post-Cold War lows following U.S. allegations of Russian attempts to influence America's 2016 and 2020 elections, and a Russian military build-up near Ukraine. Tensions intensified recently over Russia's jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, an outspoken Kremlin critic. Sergei Ryabkov, Russia's deputy foreign minister, was quoted by the RIA news agency saying Russia would respond to Biden's remarks on human rights.

9

Tesla raising prices due to supply chain difficulties

Tesla is raising prices for some of its electric-vehicle models due to supply chain problems plaguing auto makers, CEO Elon Musk announced Monday in a tweet. "Prices increasing due to major supply chain price pressure industry-wide. Raw materials especially," Musk wrote. Tesla hiked prices on its Model 3 and Model Y vehicles for the fifth time in several months, according to the Electrek website. In April, Musk also announced that the company was fighting through "insane" supply chain difficulties, including a chip shortage that has hampered production for most auto makers. The semiconductor bottleneck is expected to cost car makers around the world $110 billion in 2021. Ford and General Motors have slashed their earnings expectations by billions of dollars due to the crunch.

10

Naomi Osaka withdraws from French Open

Tennis star Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open on Monday, saying she would "take some time away from the court" after she was fined $15,000 and threatened with more sanctions for refusing to attend a mandatory press conference after her first-round win. Osaka wrote in a lengthy statement that she didn't want to be a distraction so "the best thing for the tournament, the other players, and my well-being is that I withdraw." Osaka, 23, said she had struggled with depression after her first major win in 2018, and got "huge waves of anxiety" whenever forced to speak to international media. Gilles Moretton, the president of the French Tennis Federation, said the tournament's organizers were "sorry and sad" for Osaka, and wished her "the quickest possible recovery."

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