Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 20, 2021

1 person killed after truck hits crowd at Pride parade in Florida, Brazil surpasses 500,000 COVID-19 deaths, and more


1 person killed after truck hits crowd at Pride parade in Florida

One person was killed and another seriously injured after being struck by a pickup truck at the start of the Stonewall Pride Parade in Wilton Manors, Florida, on Saturday. It's unclear if the driver acted intentionally, and an investigation is ongoing, but Justin Knight, the president of the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men's Chorus said the victims and the driver were all connected to the organization. "To my knowledge this was not an attack on the LGBTQ community," he said. Chris Caputo, a city commissioner in Wilton Manors, tweeted that it is "increasingly probable" the incident was an accident. Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, however, said the driver accelerated into a crowd and suggested it was a deliberate attack. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) were attending the parade. They were not injured.


Brazil surpasses 500,000 COVID-19 deaths

Brazil surpassed 500,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths on Saturday, the second highest total of any country in the world after the United States. The nation reached the grim milestone at a time when cases are rising again and less than 12 percent of Brazilian adults have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Health experts are cautioning that the epidemic could worsen still as Brazil enters the Southern Hemisphere winter. Many Brazilians directed their ire at President Jair Bolsonaro on Saturday, taking to the streets to protest his decision-making and anti-lockdown rhetoric throughout the pandemic, which his critics view as the primary reasons for the country's high death toll. 


U.S. sends Taiwan 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccines

The United States on Saturday shipped out 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan, tripling the amount initially promised. Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu responded enthusiastically to the donation on his Twitter account. "What a sight! What a gesture!," he wrote, linking to photos of the vaccines being loaded onto a China Airlines Boeing 777 freighter at Memphis International Airport. Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen thanked the U.S. "for this moving gesture of friendship." Throughout the pandemic, Taiwan has generally been considered an example of how to mitigate the virus effectively, but the island recently experienced its first significant surge in infections. Although cases are falling again, the outbreak highlighted the need for vaccine donations.


Colorado governor signs bill allowing more restrictive local gun regulations

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) on Saturday signed legislation repealing a ban on local firearms regulation, meaning that cities in the Centennial State can now enact their own gun policies. The push to repeal what's known as a pre-exemption law gained momentum after a gunman shot and killed 22 people at a grocery store in Boulder in March. Under the law, Colorado's state gun regulations will serve as the baseline; local jurisdictions can issue stricter rules, but they can't set policies that are more lenient than what comes out of Denver, The Denver Post reports. Polis also signed two other bills on Saturday — one expands background checks for gun purchasers and the other creates and designates funding for Colorado's first Office of Gun Violence Prevention.


Israeli PM calls on world to 'wake up' after Iranian election

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in his first televised cabinet session since taking over the role last week said Sunday that Iran's election of hardliner Ebrahim Raisi as its next president is "the last chance for world powers to wake up before returning to the nuclear agreement, and understand who they are doing business with," referring to efforts by the United States and several European powers to restore a 2015 agreement with Tehran. "A regime of brutal hangmen must never be allowed to have weapons of mass-destruction," Bennett said. "Israel's position will not change on this." He added that he believes Raisi's victory was engineered by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rather than a free election. Voter turnout in Iran was at a record low this year.


Judge rules CDC can't enforce cruise ship COVID-19 restrictions

A federal judge ruled Friday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's "conditional sailing order" for cruise ships "likely constitutes an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power" to the agency and cannot be enforced after July 18. The CDC order states that cruise companies can only depart for a trip if 95 percent of people on board had been vaccinated against COVID-19. If that threshold isn't met, operators are then required to bring volunteers on "test" trips to demonstrate they can reduce COVID-19 risks. But Judge Steven Merryday's decision reduces that order to a "non-binding 'consideration,' 'recommendation,' or 'guideline.'" Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who sued the CDC over cruise ship rules in April, called the ruling a "major victory." The CDC can appeal, but Merryday ruled that both sides must revisit mediation.


Pope Francis silent on U.S. bishops' vote

Pope Francis on Saturday did not address a Friday vote by Catholic bishops in the United States to advance guidance that could call into question whether Catholic politicians who support abortion rights, including President Biden, are eligible to receive Communion. The Vatican has been opposed to the motion, fearing it will politicize the sacrament, but Francis has so far kept silent about it. Church officials told The New York Times that that's both because he has "nothing left to say" and also because he and his top officials are confident the American bishops will never actually pass the final version of the guidance. Church law states it will require either unanimous support, or two-thirds support and the Vatican's approval, both of which seem unlikely.


Yang, Garcia unite for rally ahead of New York mayoral primary

Two of New York City's leading mayoral candidates, Andrew Yang and Kathryn Garcia, joined forces on the campaign trail on Saturday, just a few days before the hotly-contested, ranked-choice primary. Yang urged voters to rank him first on their ballots and Garcia second. Though Garcia didn't say the same for Yang, the dual rally appeared to be a "display of unity … aimed" at halting the momentum of the frontrunner, Eric Adams, The New York Times writes. Adams, who is Black, suggested the Yang-Garcia event may have been racially motivated. "For them to come together like they are doing in the last three days, they're saying we can't trust a person of color to be the mayor ... of New York when this city is overwhelmingly people of color," Adams said. Yang later responded by saying he "would tell Eric Adams that I've been Asian my entire life."


Bucks knock out Nets in overtime thriller

The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Brooklyn Nets in a thrilling Game 7 to advance to the Easter Conference finals on Saturday night, knocking the NBA's title favorites out in the second round behind a 40-point effort from Giannis Antetokounmpo. Milwaukee eked out the 115-111 victory in overtime after squandering a late lead in regulation. Following a failed Milwaukee inbounds play with just seconds left on the clock in the 4th quarter, Brooklyn's Kevin Durant, who scored 48, hit a long contested two, his toes every-so-slightly grazing the three-point line, to even the game. But he couldn't repeat his heroics in the extra period, airballing a similar shot as the clock wound down. Milwaukee will play either the Philadelphia 76ers or the Atlanta Hawks, who will square off in their own Game 7 on Sunday night, in the conference finals.


Bidens announce death of their dog, Champ

President Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden announced Saturday that their 13-year-old German Shepherd, Champ, has died. In a statement posted by Jill Biden, they called Champ "our constant, cherished companion during the last 13 years " and said "wherever we were, he wanted to be, and everything was instantly better when he was next to us ... in our most joyful moments and in our most grief-stricken days, he was there with us, sensitive to our every unspoken feeling and emotion."


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