10 things you need to know today: June 3, 2021
Israel's opposition finalizes coalition deal, Tulsa leaders pass resolution apologizing for 1921 race massacre, and more
Israeli opposition seals coalition deal
Israeli opposition leaders said Wednesday they had finalized a deal to form a new governing coalition and oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the country's longest-serving premier. "This government will work for all the citizens of Israel, those that voted for it and those that didn't," said opposition leader Yair Lapid, who formed the coalition with former Netanyahu ally Naftali Bennett. The deal includes a small Islamist party, the United Arab List, the first Arab party in a governing coalition. The announcement came shortly before a midnight deadline. Lapid and Bennett plan to rotate in the prime minister's job, with Bennett serving the first two years. A parliamentary approval vote is expected early next week, giving Netanyahu several days to turn lawmakers against the fragile coalition.
Tulsa council apologizes for 1921 race massacre
The Tulsa City Council on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution acknowledging and apologizing for the 1921 Tulsa race massacre, when as many as 300 Black residents were killed by a white mob that attacked an affluent neighborhood known as Black Wall Street. The resolution did not include reparations, but it acknowledged the "1921 Tulsa Race Riot Commission Report" of 2001, which called for them. Most of the two dozen people who spoke to the council before the vote backed monetary reparations to achieve the resolution's goal of restoring economic prosperity and generational wealth in the community. "We had a massacre, and you guys are apologizing for it without reparations," local organizer Tykebrean Cheshier said. "That is what we need now, and that's all we need. Period."
Biden renews vaccination push to reach July 4 goal
President Biden announced Wednesday that his administration was stepping up its COVID-19 vaccination outreach effort to counter falling inoculation numbers, in a push to reach the goal of having 70 percent of eligible Americans either fully or partially vaccinated by the July 4 holiday. Calling June a "national month of action," Biden said some pharmacies would stay open all night on Fridays so more people could get shots. Childcare centers are waiving fees to make it easier for parents to get vaccinated. Anheuser-Busch said it would help the White House push by offering free beer once the vaccination goal is reached. Biden said the vaccination campaign was helping pave the way for "a summer of freedom, a summer of joy, a summer of get-togethers and celebrations, an all-American summer that this country deserves after a long, long dark winter that we've all endured."
Pressure mounts on Manchin to back voting rights bill
Democrats and civil rights activists on Wednesday stepped up pressure on Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a moderate Democrat swing vote, to get behind legislation to counter voting restrictions being imposed by several Republican-controlled state legislatures. President Biden on Tuesday accused two unnamed Democratic senators of voting too frequently with Republicans, a perceived jab at Manchin. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is pushing for a vote this month on a House-passed elections bill co-sponsored by every Senate Democrat except Manchin. The vote could force him to pick a side. The Rev. Al Sharpton said Wednesday that he and other civil rights leaders would "appeal" to Manchin next week on the importance of backing the legislation to keep red states from putting obstacles in front of voters of color.
Biden meets with GOP negotiator on infrastructure
President Biden met Wednesday with lead Republican negotiator Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) to discuss their rival infrastructure proposals. Biden had set a Memorial Day deadline for a breakthrough, but pushed it back as the two sides crept closer to a deal. Biden cut his proposal from $2.3 trillion to $1.7 trillion, then GOP senators upped their offer from under $600 billion to $928 billion. But Biden rejected the Republicans' proposal to pay for it with diverted coronavirus relief funds, which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said was key to a reaching a bipartisan deal. Biden wants to cover costs with tax hikes on corporations and the super rich. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden is "eager to find a path forward on bipartisanship."
Legendary Duke basketball coach retiring
Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, the winningest coach in college basketball history, plans to retire after next season, Jeff Goodman with Stadium reported Wednesday, citing multiple sources. Krzyzewski, 74, has won 1,170 games, all but 73 at Duke. He arrived on the Durham, North Carolina, campus in 1980. After three rebuilding seasons, he led the Blue Devils to the men's NCAA Tournament in every year but one between 1984 through 2019. Duke failed to qualify for the tournament in the pandemic-shortened 2020-2021 season, missing out for the first time since 1995. Krzyzewski led Duke to five national championships, and tied UCLA legend John Wooden for the most Final Four appearances, with 12. Associate head coach and former Duke player Jon Scheyer will succeed him.
Census Bureau: Coronavirus relief eased hardship
A Census Bureau analysis released Wednesday found that the latest rounds of coronavirus relief, which totaled $585 billion, made a significant difference in Americans' ability to pay grocery and other household bills. The poorest households and those with children benefited the most, both financially and in terms of reduced anxiety and depression, according to the analysis. Reports of food shortages fell by 42 percent from January to April in households with children, as they received the latest round of stimulus checks. The frequency of anxiety and depression dropped by more than 20 percent among all households. "We see an immediate decline among multiple lines of hardship concentrated among the most disadvantaged families," said H. Luke Shaefer, a professor at the University of Michigan who co-authored the study with a colleague, Patrick Cooney.
Churchill Downs suspends Bob Baffert for 2 years
Churchill Downs announced Wednesday that it was suspending Bob Baffert, trainer of Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, for two years after the horse failed a post-race drug test. The decision came after Medina Spirit was found to have unacceptably high levels of betamethasone in its bloodstream. It wasn't the first time one of Baffert's horses had failed a test. Baffert at first insisted Medina Spirit had never been treated with the substance, then changed his story, finally admitting the horse had been treated for a rash with a topical ointment containing betamethasone. "Mr. Baffert's record of testing failures threatens public confidence in thoroughbred racing and the reputation of the Kentucky Derby," Churchill Downs said. An investigation is continuing, and could lead stripping Medina Spirit of the crown.
JBS meat plants restart but shortages drag on after cyberattack
Brazilian meat producer JBS, which provides nearly a fifth of U.S. meat supply, said Wednesday that most of its plants were back up and running after being shut down by a ransomware attack, but the hack continued to slow distribution, pushing up wholesale meat prices. Shifts at some processing facilities remained suspended even though employees had been told to return to work. The White House has said the cyberattack appeared to be the work of a criminal group likely based in Russia. President Biden reportedly plans to bring up the matter during his June 16 summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva. Chicken plants operated by Pilgrim's Pride, a JBS subsidiary, also were affected. Publix Super Markets said the plant closures could cause intermittent chicken shortages for a few days.
Trump shuts down blog after less than a month
Former President Donald Trump's new blog on his website has shut down less than a month after going live, his spokesman said Wednesday. The "From the Desk of Donald J. Trump" page "will not be returning," Trump senior aide Jason Miller told CNBC. "It was just auxiliary to the broader efforts we have and are working on." The blog provided a way for Trump to speak directly to his supporters after he was banned from Twitter and Facebook after a mob of his supporters attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, aiming to prevent the certification of Trump's election loss. Asked whether the blog's shuttering was related to a plan for Trump to shift to another social media platform, Miller said, "Yes, actually, it is. Stay tuned!"