10 things you need to know today: June 6, 2022
Zelensky visits troops in eastern Donbas, weekend of mass shootings leaves at least 12 dead, and more
Zelensky visits twin city of embattled Sievierodonetsk
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the eastern city of Lysychansk on Sunday, one of his few trips outside Kyiv since Russia invaded in February and the closest he has been to the fighting since Russian forces withdrew from around Kyiv in late March. Lysychansk is located just across the Siverskiy Donets River from its twin city, Sievierodonetsk, which has become the focal point of Russia's campaign in eastern Ukraine. "What you all deserve is victory — that is the most important thing," Zelensky told troops in a video released Sunday night. "But not at any cost."
Weekend of mass shootings leaves at least 12 dead and 38 injured
Six mass shootings that took place across the United States over the weekend left at least 12 people dead and at least 38 injured. On Saturday night, multiple shooters opened fire on a busy street in Philadelphia, killing three and injuring 12. Two people died and 12 were injured by gunfire in Chattanooga, Tennessee, while a third person died after being struck by a car. In Clarendon County, South Carolina, a drive-by shooting at a graduation party — which authorities said may have been gang related — killed one person and wounded seven. Other shootings took place in Saginaw, Michigan, and Mesa, Arizona.
Boris Johnson to face no-confidence vote
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will face a no-confidence vote from his ruling Conservative Party sometime between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Monday night, London time. A spokesperson for the prime minister's office said Johnson "welcomes the opportunity to make his case to [members of Parliament]." The vote was triggered when 15 percent of Conservative lawmakers submitted letters of no confidence to the 1922 Committee, which comprises all Conservative members of Parliament who do not hold government posts. Johnson has faced criticism over the "Partygate" scandal, in which he flouted his own government's COVID-19 restrictions with a series of parties and other gatherings.
Biden will take executive action to support domestic solar panel production
President Biden reportedly plans to invoke the Defense Production Act to support the domestic solar panel industry. He also plans to announce a two-year halt on tariffs on solar equipment, a move designed to allow companies working on solar projects in the United States to keep using foreign-made equipment while U.S. manufacturing catches up. These decisions come after several exporters have reduced or stopped sales of solar equipment to the U.S. in response to an investigation by the Commerce Department that could lead to the imposition of retroactive tariffs.
Mass shooting at Nigerian church kills at least 28
At least 28 people were killed on Sunday when a group of gunmen attacked a church in southwestern Nigeria. State lawmaker Adeyemi Olayemi said the attackers approached St. Francis Catholic Church on motorcycles, stormed into the church, "and started shooting sporadically." Another lawmaker said the death toll was at least 50 and that the presiding priest was abducted by the attackers. Ondo state Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu called the attack "vile and satanic," promised to "commit every available resource to hunt down these assailants and make them pay," and urged the public not to "take laws into your hands."
Bipartisan gun control deal is within reach, senators say
Senators said Sunday that a bipartisan deal to strengthen federal gun laws is within reach. The bill could expand background checks and encourage states to adopt "red flag" laws but is unlikely to heed President Biden's call to implement a new assault weapons ban. "It's really tough sledding," said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). "But I've never been part of conversations that are this serious and this thoughtful before." Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) said he feels "like we are closer than we've been since I've been in the Senate" to passing meaningful gun control legislation. Any gun control bill would require 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, meaning at least 10 Republicans would have to vote for the legistation.
Report: U.S. warned African countries against buying stolen Ukrainian grain from Russia
Last month, the United States sent an alert to 14 countries, mostly in Africa, warning them against buying stolen Ukrainian grain from Russia, The New York Times reported Sunday. Despite these warnings, African countries where millions of people are beset by famine are unlikely to refuse food on principle. The United Nations reports that wheat prices are up 23 percent in the past year, and Africa normally gets 40 percent of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine. "Africans don't care where they get their food from, and if someone is going to moralize about that, they are mistaken," said Hassan Khannenje of the Kenya-based HORN International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Voters in Kazakhstan approve constitutional amendments
Voters in Kazakhstan on Sunday approved a group of constitutional amendments that President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said would end the "super-presidential rule" of former strongman Nursultan Nazarbayev, who ruled Kazakhstan for nearly 30 years. Preliminary results showed a turnout of around 68 percent, with 77 percent of voters backing the amendments. Nazarbayev relinquished the presidency to Tokayev in 2019 but continued to wield power behind the scenes. When violent demonstrations that ultimately killed more than 230 people broke out in January, Tokayev took action to remove Nazarbayev and his allies from several key posts. The new amendments ban relatives of the president from holding government positions.
Ruble weakens against dollar but remains stronger than before Russia's invasion
The Russian ruble weakened against the U.S. dollar on Monday, with each dollar buying around 61.46 rubles, though the currency remains stronger against the dollar than it was before Russia invaded Ukraine. Russian capital controls have helped stabilize the currency, which is much weaker at Russian banks. VTB, the country's largest lender, is selling cash dollars for 84 rubles each. A week before Russia invaded Ukraine, one U.S. dollar would buy 76 rubles. By March 10, that number was over 130, with President Biden declaring that the ruble was "rubble." Throughout late March and April, the currency recovered as Russia's economy adjusted to wartime sanctions.
Bon Jovi bassist Alec John Such dead at 70
Alec John Such, a founding member of Bon Jovi who played bass for the rock band from 1983 until 1994, has died at the age of 70. "We are heartbroken to hear the news of the passing of our dear friend Alec John Such," the band wrote on Twitter, adding that Such was "integral to the formation of the band." When the group reunited in 2018 to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Such said of his Bon Jovi bandmates, "These guys are the best. We had so many great times together and we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for those guys. Love them to death and always will."