10 things you need to know today: June 26, 2021
Derek Chauvin sentenced for murdering George Floyd, the Pacific Northwest braces for deadly heat, and more
Derek Chauvin sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for murdering George Floyd
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison on Friday for the murder of George Floyd. Chauvin received his sentence roughly two months after he was convicted on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in April. According to The Associated Press, Chauvin "could be paroled after serving two-thirds of his sentence, or about 15 years." Prosecutors had asked for Chauvin to receive 30 years in prison; CNN's Van Jones reacted to the verdict by calling it "very disappointing," adding, "what this man did, there should have been the maximum of the maximum."
Northwest states brace for weekend of deadly heat
Friday marked the start of "one of the most extreme and prolonged heat waves in the recorded history of the Inland Northwest," according to the National Weather Service. For the over 20 million people living in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and northern California, the so-called "heat dome" — created by high pressure over the West — will mean enduring record-shattering temperatures through at least Monday. "This won't just be one day in the 100s," the NWS added, cautioning residents to expect "multiple days in a row of triple-digit highs." Temperatures of at least 113 or 114 degrees are expected, while Canada is poised to potentially break its highest-ever recorded temperature of 113 degrees.
U.S. government releases long-awaited UFO report
The United States government released its highly-anticipated report on unidentified flying objects on Friday. Of the 144 instances of unidentified aerial phenomenon (UAP) examined by the Pentagon task force, investigators were not able to explain 143 of them. The New York Times writes that "there is no evidence that any of the episodes involve secret American weapons programs, unknown technology from Russia or China, or extraterrestrial visitations. But the government report did not rule out those explanations." Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told The Washington Post that while the report is "rather inconclusive," it "only marks the beginning of efforts to understand and illuminate what is causing these risks to aviation in many areas around the country and the world."
Hope dims for families awaiting news of relatives missing in Surfside condo collapse
The number of people missing in the Surfside, Florida, building collapse rose to 159, with four confirmed dead, as hundreds of search-and-rescuers worked through Friday. With the most accessible victims already rescued, efforts largely focused on "void spaces," protected pockets formed by large objects like refrigerators or sofas that might have created a place where someone could be trapped without being crushed. "It's devastation. It's still being called search and rescue," said state senator Jason Pizzo, but many of the families and friends waiting for news at the nearby reunification center don't seem to be listening. "I know they're not going to find them [alive]," Jeanne Ugarte, whose close friends were visiting family at the tower, told The Associated Press. "It's been too long."
The Trump Organization could reportedly face criminal charges 'as soon as next week'
The Manhattan district attorney's office has informed former President Donald Trump's lawyers that it is considering criminal charges against his business, the Trump Organization, related to "fringe benefits the company awarded a top executive," Allen Weisselberg. If the case moves forward, charges could be announced as soon as next week, The New York Times reports. The Times previously reported that prosecutors were examining Trump for having handed out "valuable benefits to some of his executives and whether taxes were paid on those perks," which included school tuition, apartment rent, and car leases. Trump's lawyers met with prosecutors Thursday hoping to convince them not to charge the company, though it reportedly isn't clear whether a final decision about whether to do so has been made.
Concern grows for unvaccinated Americans as Delta variant spreads
The White House is redoubling its efforts to vaccinate Americans as concern grows over the highly contagious Delta variant, which now accounts for at least 20 percent of all new COVID-19 cases in the United States. While the Biden administration reportedly considered pressuring mayors and governors in under-vaccinated regions to reinstate mask mandates to curb the spread, the government "concluded that many people who are not vaccinated are also those who have resisted wearing masks," Politico reports. Vaccination rates have fallen by almost 300,000 per day since June 7, with only about 46 percent of the U.S. population vaccinated. "Six hundred thousand-plus Americans have died, and with this Delta variant you know there's going to be others as well," President Joe Biden said this week. "You know it's going to happen."
Trump to appear in first rally since 1/6 attack
Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to host his first rally on Saturday since his supporters' attack on the Capitol in January. Dubbed by observers to be his "revenge tour" or "grievance tour," the kickoff event at the Lorain County Fairgrounds in Ohio is expected to potentially signal whether Trump is planning on another presidential bid in 2024. With a second rally planned for July 3 in Sarasota, Florida, political scientist Justin Buchler pointed out Trump is "going to go to places where he can be surrounded by people who are his devoted followers." In a statement issued by the Save America PAC, Trump predicted "big crowds" in Ohio and added, "See you on Saturday night. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, AGAIN!"
Colombia's president survives attack on helicopter
Colombian President Iván Duque's helicopter came under gunfire late Friday afternoon as he traveled near his nation's border with Venezuela. Colombia's defense minister and interior minister were also in the helicopter at the time of the attack, which reportedly left bullet holes in the aircraft. No one was injured. It wasn't immediately clear who was responsible for the attack, which Duque described as "cowardly." While a peace deal was signed by Duque's predecessor in 2016 with the country's largest rebel group, known as FARC, pockets of violence have persisted in Colombia related to the armed groups that control the regional drug trade.
Officer injured in Capitol attack describes fruitless meeting with Kevin McCarthy
Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone told reporters that he failed to convince Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the top House Republican, to denounce lies about the attack on the Capitol on January 6 during their meeting on Friday. Fanone, who was badly injured in the attack, has been seeking to meet with Republicans, including McCarthy, to discuss how the event is being portrayed by conservative politicians. "He said he would address it at a personal level, with some of those members" who are downplaying or distorting facts, Fanone told reporters. But "I think that as the leader of the House Republican Party, it's important to hear those denouncements publicly," Fanone said.
2021 Tour de France begins in Brest
The 2021 Tour de France began early Saturday morning in the western port city of Brest, where 24 teams of eight riders set out on their 23-day trek across the nation. "The first stage is always super hectic and very messy," Australian cyclist Michael Matthews explained. Slovenians Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic are the favorites to take home the yellow jersey; Pogacar stunned during the delayed Tour de France last September when at 21 he became the second-youngest winner in race history, but Roglic, who led the 2020 Tour for nearly two weeks, "beat his young compatriot at the Tour of the Basque country in their only head-to-head duel in a stage race this season," ESPN reports. The 2,121-mile event can be followed on NBC and Peacock.