10 things you need to know today: June 29, 2021
Pelosi unveils plan for Jan. 6 select committee, Supreme Court rejects bathroom case in win for transgender student, and more
Pelosi introduces proposal for select committee to investigate Jan. 6 attack
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) introduced legislation seeking to establish a select committee to investigate the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump. A vote is expected on Wednesday. Pelosi's office said she was considering picking a Republican among her eight appointees. Five other members would be chosen "after consultation with" House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). A month ago, Senate Republicans blocked a proposal to form an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the riot. The commission would have been modeled on the one that investigated the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Pelosi said in a statement Monday that Democrats "are determined to find the truth."
Supreme Court rejects bathroom case in win for transgender student
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a Virginia school board's challenge of lower court verdicts in a bid to reinstate its policy barring a transgender boy from using the boys' bathroom in his school. The court gave no reason for its decision not to hear the appeal. Two members of the court's 6-3 conservative majority — Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito Jr. — said they would have granted a review of the case. The high court last year made its first ruling supporting transgender rights when it said LGBTQ workers were covered under a federal employment discrimination law. Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for the majority, said that in this case the court did "not purport to address bathrooms, locker rooms, or anything else of the kind."
Death toll reaches 11 in Florida condo collapse
The confirmed death toll from the Thursday collapse of a beachfront South Florida condominium rose to 11 on Monday as rescuers continued to dig through the rubble. Town officials in Surfside, north of Miami Beach, said they were clinging to hope that search crews still could find some of the 151 people still unaccounted for alive. "They're out there with every resource that they need to ensure that they can search this area," Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Ray Jadallah said crews had found more pockets in the debris pile where residents theoretically could be found, although no sounds had been detected suggesting people were alive inside any of the voids.
Study: Pfizer, Moderna vaccines could provide years of immunity
The coronavirus vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna appear to have the potential to trigger an immune reaction that could protect against COVID-19 for years, possibly a lifetime, scientists said in a study published Monday in the journal Nature. The findings supported mounting evidence that the mRNA vaccines might not need boosters if new variants do not develop that render the vaccines less effective. "It's a good sign for how durable our immunity is from this vaccine," said Washington University in St. Louis immunologist Ali Ellebedy, who led the study. Immunologists said the lasting immunity shows that while the virus is evolving, so are B cells, white blood cells that fight bacteria and viruses by producing antibodies.
Iran-backed militias vow revenge after U.S. airstrikes
Iran-backed militias on Monday said they would counterattack after U.S. airstrikes against their facilities in Iraq and Syria. "We are fully prepared ... to respond and take revenge," said Ahmed al-Maksusi, a commander of one of the militias that was hit, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks extremist propaganda. The U.S. said the airstrikes were retaliation against groups that have attacked U.S. troops in the border area. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said President Biden was "fully prepared to act and act appropriately and deliberately to protect U.S. interests." A spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi called the U.S. airstrikes "a blatant and unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty and Iraqi national security." Iran's government made no immediate comment.
Arizona county to scrap voting machines confiscated for GOP election 'audit'
Maricopa County, Arizona, announced Monday that it would replace voting equipment handed over to private contractors for an election "audit" ordered by Arizona's Republican-controlled Senate. The county's Board of Supervisors told Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in a letter Monday that it shares her concerns about potential tampering by the GOP-hired Florida audit contractor, Cyber Ninjas, which is not certified to handle election equipment in the U.S. and has been accused of failing to observe basic security and transparency standards. "The voters of Maricopa County can rest assured, the county will never use equipment that could pose a risk to free and fair elections," Maricopa County said in a statement. "As a result, the county will not use the subpoenaed equipment in any future elections."
Portland, Seattle break temperature records as heatwave continues
Temperatures hit record highs in Portland, Seattle, and other spots in the Pacific Northwest on Monday as a brutal heatwave continued to shut down normal life in much of the region. Portland's airport registered a high of 115 degrees Fahrenheit, setting a record high for the third day in a row. The temperature at Seattle's airport reached 106 degrees, also an all-time high. The temperature in Salem, Oregon's capital, reached 117 degrees, the highest since record-keeping began in the 1890s. The heat has been blamed on a dome of atmospheric high pressure over the region similar to one that raised temperatures in the Southwest earlier this month. Multnomah County, which includes Portland, opened 11 "cooling shelters" as an emergency resource for people without air conditioning.
Ethiopia declares ceasefire, Tigrayan fighters enter regional capital
Ethiopia's government announced a unilateral ceasefire in its Tigray region on Monday after eight months of civil war resulted in the worst famine the world has seen in a decade. Government forces retreated from the regional capital, Mekelle, and Tigrayan fighters moved in. The Ethiopian military has occupied the region since November, and the ceasefire could deescalate a crisis that has destabilized Africa's second most populous nation. The government said in a statement that the government's decision "will enable farmers to till their land, aid groups to operate without any military movement around, and engage with remnants (of Tirgay's former ruling party) who seek peace." Refugees and international observers have accused the military of atrocities.
Tropical storm drenches parts of South Carolina
Tropical Storm Danny made landfall in South Carolina late Monday just north of Hilton Head, and immediately weakened into a tropical depression due to unfavorable upper-level winds. Danny had only reached tropical storm status late Monday morning when it was about 100 miles from South Carolina's coast. It is the fourth named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. As Danny headed for land, government forecasters issued tropical storm warnings for the South Carolina coast from Edisto Beach northeast to South Santee River. The storm was bringing heavy rains to parts of South Carolina and Georgia as it pushed inland on Tuesday after dumping about three inches of rain on parts of South Carolina on Monday.
Woman blamed for Tour de France crash reportedly flees
The sign-toting woman who caused dozens of cyclists to crash at the Tour de France on Saturday reportedly "got on a flight and is untraceable," CBS News reported on Monday. The woman appeared to have fled after race officials said they planned to sue her for disrupting the storied cycling event. The pileup — the first of two crashes on opening day — occurred after the excited spectator's homemade cardboard sign hit German rider Tony Martin in the face, knocking him off his bike and bringing down a wave of riders behind him. Tour officials, who tweeted a video requesting spectators "respect the safety of the riders," are suing the woman "so that the tiny majority of people who do this don't spoil the show for everyone," CBS News reported.