10 things you need to know today: June 7, 2021
Harris travels to Guatemala and Mexico to discuss migration, Manchin says he'll vote against Democrats' voting rights bill, and more
Harris to discuss migration on trip to Guatemala, Mexico
Vice President Kamala Harris is visiting Guatemala and Mexico to discuss ways to address corruption, and root causes of the wave of migrants trying to reach the United States from Central America and Mexico. Harris, making her first trip abroad since taking office, will discuss expanding immigration enforcement cooperation in a meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The trip got off to a difficult start on Sunday when Harris' plane had what officials described as "a technical issue" and had to turn around 30 minutes into her flight to Guatemala. "I'm good. I'm good," Harris said after she returned to Joint Base Maryland in Maryland to switch planes. Reporters who were on Air Force Two said they heard unusual noises from the landing gear during the flight.
Manchin to vote against Democrats' voting rights bill
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a key centrist swing vote, wrote in the Charleston, W.Va., Gazette-Mail on Sunday that he would not vote for an election reform law Democrats are pushing to counter voting restrictions passed in several Republican-controlled states. Without Manchin's vote in an evenly split, 50-50 Senate, the bill appears sure to fail. Democrats and the White House have said the reform is necessary to preserve access to the ballot, particularly for voters of color who could be most affected by new state restrictions. Manchin said the bill in Congress is partisan, and would "risk further dividing and destroying the republic we swore to protect and defend as elected officials." Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), a progressive Democrat, accused Manchin of voting "to preserve Jim Crow."
Granholm says GOP position on infrastructure 'perplexing'
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm harshly criticized Republicans on Sunday for their position on infrastructure spending, which she called "perplexing." President Biden last week pressed the lead GOP negotiator, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) to back an infrastructure plan with $1 trillion in new spending, reflected in his recently trimmed proposal for a total of $1.7 trillion. Republicans responded by adding $50 billion to the $257 billion in new spending in their counteroffer. Granholm warned that "there will be action" on infrastructure, with or without Republican support. "This has got to be done soon," Granholm said on CNN's State of the Union. "It's just curious why there isn't more coming together."
Mexico's president faces setback in midterm elections
Millions of Mexicans voted Sunday in midterm elections after a campaign that was marred by attacks, kidnappings, and murders targeting candidates, campaign aides, and election officials. Some observers estimated the number of people killed during the campaign at about 90, while others estimate that the election-related death toll is more like 150. Initial results indicated that Mexico's ruling political coalition appeared to have lost its qualified majority in the lower house of Congress. That would prevent President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is halfway through his six-year term, from major constitutional reforms he has been pushing without cooperation from opposition parties, although his coalition is projected to hold onto a simple majority.
Supreme Court asked to review male-only draft registration
The Supreme Court is expected to decide as early as Monday whether to review a case challenging the government's male-only military draft registration requirement as unconstitutional. The federal government currently calls for all young men to register for the draft when they turn 18. Women don't have to register. The outcome is expected to have little practical impact, as the U.S. hasn't had a military draft since the Vietnam War. But Ria Tabacco Mar, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Women's Rights Project, is urging the justices to examine the matter because she says it sends "a tremendously harmful message that women are less fit" to serve in the military and men are less fit to "to stay home as caregivers."
Peru presidential runoff remains too close to call
Peru's presidential runoff remained too close to call early Monday. Right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori held a 52.9 percent to 47.1 percent lead over left-wing rival Pedro Castillo after the Peruvian electoral authority ONPE had counted 42 percent of the ballots. "These results are the first official data from the polling stations that sit closest to the counting centers, that means urban votes. An important share of votes from rural areas and abroad is still waiting to be counted," said Pedro Corvetto, head of ONPE. He urged patience as results came in from the provinces. Castillo, a former teacher and political newcomer, has stronger appeal in rural areas. Fujimori, daughter of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, narrowly lost the 2016 presidential election to former president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.
Biles wins 7th U.S. gymnastics championship
Simone Biles won her seventh all-around U.S. Gymnastics Championships title in Fort Worth, Texas, on Sunday, setting yet another record in her gymnastics career and fueling expectations for her to become the first woman to win back-to-back Olympic championships in more than 50 years. Biles took the highest score in three of the four events — vault, balance beam, and floor exercise — and came in third in the uneven bars. Her overall score, 119.650, was nearly 5 points higher than runner-up Sunisa Lee (114.950), and Jordan Chiles (114.450), who came in third place. All three gymnasts are expected to earn spots at July's Tokyo Olympics at the qualifying trails in St. Louis later in June.
El Salvador president says country will make bitcoin legal tender
El Salvador's president, Nayib Bukele, announced over the weekend that his country could soon become the first in the world to accept bitcoin as an official form of payment. "Next week I will send to Congress a bill that will make bitcoin a legal tender in El Salvador," he said in a video broadcast at the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami. "In the short term, this will generate jobs and help provide financial inclusion to thousands outside the formal economy." Digital payments application Strike is working with officials in the Central American nation to resolve logistical problems and prepare the financial infrastructure needed to handle bitcoin transactions quickly. Strike CEO and founder Jack Mallers called the Salvadoran president's announcement a "shot heard 'round the world for bitcoin."
Serena Williams loses in 4th round of French Open
Tennis legend Serena Williams got knocked out of the French Open on Sunday, losing in the fourth round to 21-year-old Elena Rybakina of Khazakstan, 6-3, 7-5. Williams, who turns 40 in September, has won the French Open three times, but hasn't made it past the fourth round since 2016. Williams, who has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, said she was looking forward to the next Grand Slam tournament, Wimbledon, which starts June 28. The French Open is played on clay courts, and Wimbledon is on grass. "I'm kind of excited to switch surfaces," Williams said. "Historically I have done pretty well on grass." In the men's tournament, 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer withdrew on Sunday, saying he didn't want to push himself "too quickly" after two knee surgeries.
Meghan Markle, Prince Harry welcome 2nd child
Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, gave birth to her second child on Friday, she and her husband, Prince Harry, announced in a statement released Sunday. They named their new daughter Lilibet "Lili" Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, after her great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, and grandmother, Princess Diana. "She is more than we could have ever imagined, and we remain grateful for the love and prayers we've felt from across the globe," the couple said. Meghan and Harry's first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, is now 2. A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said that Queen Elizabeth and other senior British royals had been informed "and are delighted with the news." Harry and Meghan stepped down from their royal duties last year so they could have a normal family life.