10 things you need to know today: June 11, 2021
Johnson says G7 countries will donate 1 billion vaccine doses, Senate centrists reach $1 trillion infrastructure deal, and more
Johnson says G7 will donate 1 billion vaccine doses
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Thursday that Group of Seven leaders were preparing to commit to sharing at least 1 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines with other nations. Johnson, who met with President Biden ahead of a G7 summit starting Friday, said half of the shots would come from the United States, and 100 million from the U.K. Biden called for America's wealthy allies to increase their efforts to end the pandemic. "We're going to help lead the world out of this pandemic working alongside our global partners," Biden said after formally announcing that the U.S. would donate 500 million doses. The other G7 nations — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan — also are expected to make specific commitments on vaccine sharing, as wealthy nations face rising pressure to help ease vaccine shortages in poorer nations.
Bipartisan Senate group reaches $1 trillion infrastructure deal
A bipartisan group of 10 centrist senators announced Thursday that they had agreed to a framework for an infrastructure bill that would include $579 billion in new spending, and cover costs without tax increases. The group, which includes five Republicans and five Democrats, said they were reaching out to fellow senators and President Biden, and expected to win broad support. The senators said they had "worked in good faith" and agreed on a "realistic, compromise framework to modernize our nation's infrastructure and energy technologies." Their package would cost $974 billion over five years, and $1.2 trillion over eight. Biden pushed for a $1.7 trillion package. Earlier this week he ended negotiations with a group of Republican senators led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who wanted a far smaller plan.
Consumer prices jumped by more than expected in May
The Consumer Price Index jumped by 5 percent in May compared to a year earlier, the fastest rate since 2008, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists had forecast a 4.7 percent increase. The index, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, increased by 0.6 percent from April to May. The surge came as consumer demand increased as pandemic restrictions eased thanks to widespread vaccinations, while suppliers of goods and services struggled to keep up. The data fueled questions about how bad inflation will get, and how long it will last. "We are at peak heat, this is the moment," said Julia Coronado, founder of the research firm MacroPolicy Perspectives. "We know we'll get a fade — the question is, how big is the fade?"
Ex-police chief among 6 militia members charged over Capitol riot
Federal prosecutors have charged six members of the right-wing Three Percenters militia group with conspiring to bring weapons to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 and storm the Capitol as part of an effort to overturn then-President Donald Trump's election loss, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday. One of the men, Alan Hostetter, is a former La Habra, California, police chief. He and the other suspects — Russell Taylor, Eric Scott Warner, Felipe Antonio "Tony" Martinez, Derek Kinnison, and Ronald Mele — allegedly started plotting the attack in December 2020 using the encrypted messaging app Telegram. They reportedly chose Jan. 6, the day Congress certified President Biden's Electoral College victory, because Trump had tweeted a call for supporters to stage a protest that day and "be wild!"
Trump DOJ secretly sought data on 2 House Democrats
Early in the Trump administration, the Justice Department secretly subpoenaed Apple for the data of two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee in an investigation into leaks of classified information, The Washington Post and The New York Times reported Thursday, citing committee officials and others. The investigators sought information on Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), then the panel's top Democrat and now its chair, and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.). The department also sought information on several of the lawmakers' staff members and family members. Then-President Donald Trump's Justice Department was trying to determine who had provided members of the news media with classified information about contacts between Trump associates and Russia. Schiff said Trump "repeatedly and flagrantly" used DOJ as a "cudgel against his political opponents."
El Chapo's wife pleads guilty to helping run drug cartel
Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán, pleaded guilty Thursday to helping her husband run the powerful Sinaloa cartel. Coronel, a former beauty queen, was arrested arriving at Dulles International Airport in February, and charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and marijuana for importation into the U.S. She also pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder narcotics profits, and illegal financial dealings related to properties owned by El Chapo, who controlled the cartel for three decades before being extradited to the United States in 2017 to face trial. He was convicted after witnesses described his organization's brutal tactics along with details of his vast drug empire. He is serving a life sentence at the Colorado Supermax prison.
CDC halts shipments of J&J vaccine as state stockpiles grow
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stopped sending states new shipments of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to help them get through a backlog of unused shots before they expire. "It just hasn't been included in our weekly allocations, from the feds, which means it is not available to order," said Oklahoma State Department of Health Deputy Commissioner Keith Reed. The change came as the Food and Drug Administration separately extended the official shelf life of Johnson & Johnson's one-shot vaccine to four and a half months from three months once refrigerated, according to the company. Public health experts said the two moves would help states draw down their stockpiles and avoid having to destroy expiring doses.
U.S. household wealth jumped in 1st quarter
U.S. households' net worth increased to $136.9 trillion in the first quarter of 2021, rising by 3.8 percent compared to the end of 2020 as falling coronavirus cases and deaths fueled a stock-market surge, according to Federal Reserve data released Thursday. The rise included $3.2 trillion in equity holdings and $1 trillion from skyrocketing real estate values. The S&P 500 gained 7 percent in the quarter as rising corporate earnings, low interest rates, and other factors boosted investors' appetites for stocks. Household net worth has now nearly doubled since a decade ago, as Americans were emerging from the Great Recession. Household debt, which totaled $16.9 trillion, increased at a 6.5 percent rate, the fastest since 2006.
2 vaccinated Celebrity Millennium cruise ship passengers test positive for COVID-19
Two guests on the Celebrity Millennium ship tested positive for COVID-19, Celebrity Cruises said Thursday. The ship set sail from St. Maarten on Saturday for a 7-day cruise with stops in Barbados, Aruba, and Curacao. Before boarding, guests were required to show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours. All guests had to be tested again for COVID-19 at the end of the cruise, and the two passengers who tested positive shared a stateroom on the ship. They are both asymptomatic, Celebrity Cruises said, and are being monitored by a medical team. This was the first major cruise ship to sail with American passengers since the pandemic shut down the industry, CNN reports. Celebrity said it is now conducting contact tracing and expediting additional COVID-19 testing.
Texas governor says state will build its own border wall
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said Thursday that Texas will build its own wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. President Biden halted work on border barriers his predecessor, Donald Trump, had pushed in a bid to block immigrants from entering the country. Abbott, speaking at a meeting with state law enforcement officials in the border town Del Rio, also said Texas will jail anyone "who enters our state illegally and is found trespassing, engaged in vandalism, criminal mischief, or smuggling," find extra cells in local jails. These changes will deter border-crossing in Texas, Abbott predicted, because "it's not the red carpet that the federal administration rolled out to them." Immigration advocates said Abbott's plan would face legal challenges.