Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 11, 2022

U.S. ends COVID test requirement for international travelers, Ukrainian forces taking heavy casualties and running out of ammunition, and more

1

U.S. ends COVID test requirement for international travelers

The Biden administration announced Friday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is ending its requirement that international travelers procure a negative COVID test before flying to the United States. The change will go into effect at midnight on Sunday. The mandate has been in place since January 2021. The decision will likely be a welcome one. The travel industry has been lobbying against the measure for months, arguing that it's both out of date and harmful to business. Even lawmakers, including Democrats, have recently pushed the administration to lift the requirement.

2

Ukrainian forces taking heavy casualties and running out of ammunition

Around 200 Ukrainian soldiers are dying every day as Russia continues its campaign in the Donbas, an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday. This number of military deaths suggests that, factoring in the number of wounded, Ukraine could be losing up to 1,000 troops a day, a far higher casualty rate than was seen in the early days of the war. Meanwhile, Russian forces, bolstered by an overwhelming advantage in firepower, have nearly seized control of the entirety of Luhansk Oblast while the Ukrainian military's shortage of artillery rounds makes it difficult to fight back. For every artillery shell Ukraine fires, Russia is able to fire 10, a Ukrainian defense adviser said.

3

Trump issues flurry of Truth Social posts in wake of 1st Jan. 6 hearing

Former President Donald Trump issued a barrage of posts on social media on Friday after the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot castigated him in its first hearing the previous night. Writing on his homegrown Truth Social, Trump called former Attorney General William Barr — whose testimony was shared during the televised proceedings — a "coward," "weak," and "frightened." In the clip played Thursday night, Barr was shown telling investigators that he repeatedly told Trump there was no evidence to support his claims of election fraud. The ex-president also claimed he "NEVER said, or even thought of saying, 'Hang Mike Pence,'" alluding to claims made by committee member Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.).

4

Average U.S. gas price hits $5 a gallon

The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States hit five dollars on Saturday, according to the American Automobile Association. Last month, gas was $4.40 per gallon. A year ago, it was $3.08. The average price as of Saturday was over four dollars per gallon in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In California, it was over six dollars. Tom Kloza, the global head of energy analysis at Oil Price Information Service, said the average consumer should expect to spend around $450 a month on gasoline this summer.

5

Federal judge strikes down Biden admin's immigration enforcement guidelines

Federal Judge Drew Tipton of the Texas Southern District Court issued a ruling Friday striking down the Biden administration's immigration enforcement guidelines. Last year, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas directed Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to arrest only those undocumented immigrants who crossed the border recently or who posed a threat to public safety or national security, claiming that being in the country illegally "should not alone be the basis" for arrest or removal. Tipton wrote that although "the Executive Branch has case-by-case discretion to abandon immigration enforcement as to a particular individual," the administration's policy "binds … officials in a generalized, prospective manner—all in contravention of Congress's detention mandate."

6

Zelensky 'didn't want to hear it' when warned of Russian invasion, Biden says

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky "didn't want to hear it" when the U.S. tried to warn him about Russia's plans to invade, President Biden said at a fundraiser on Friday. "I know a lot of people thought I was maybe exaggerating. But I knew we had data to sustain [Russian President Vladimir Putin] was going to go in," Biden said. "There was no doubt," he continued, "and Zelenskyy didn't want to hear it, nor did a lot of people. I understand why they didn't want to hear it, but he went in." In the weeks leading up to Russia's invasion on Feb. 24, Zelensky asked Biden to tone down the alarmism to avoid destabilizing Ukraine's economy.

7

Inflation in May hits highest level in more than 4 decades

U.S. inflation increased 8.6 percent from a year ago in May, the fastest increase since December 1981, the Labor Department reported Friday. The May reading of the Consumer Price Index — which measures what consumers pay for goods and services — was also up from that of April, which saw a slight moderation from March. Shelter, gasoline, and food prices all contributed to the May jump. Energy costs rose 34.6 percent from a year ago, while shelter costs jumped 5.5 percent over the same period —the biggest increase since February 1991. Groceries were up 11.9 percent on the year.

8

China uses 'political intimidation' and 'economic coercion' against neighbors in the Pacific, SecDef says

The People's Republic of China is using "political intimidation" and "economic coercion" to "undermine security, and stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific," U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Saturday at a defense conference in Singapore. In his keynote address, Austin accused China of sending large numbers of warplanes into Taiwan's air defense identification zone, conducting illegal fishing operations, and dangerously intercepting patrol planes belonging to U.S. allies. Lt. Gen. Zhang Zhenzhong, the deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department of China's Central Military Commission, told reporters Austin's speech was full of "unfounded accusations."

9

Poll: Macron's coalition tied with leftist bloc ahead of first round of French parliamentary elections

French President Emmanuel Macron's centrist coalition, known as Ensemble or ENS, is running neck-and-neck with the left-wing New Ecologic and Social People's Union (NUPES) ahead of France's first round of parliamentary elections on Sunday, according to a survey conducted Friday by the polling firm Ipsos-Sopra Steria. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a leftist who leads NUPES and placed third in April's presidential race, hopes to become prime minister. The survey showed NUPES and ENS polling at 27 and 28 percent respectively, well within the margin of error. Runoff elections, in which Macron's bloc will likely have the advantage, will be held on June 19.

10

Tesla proposes 3-for-1 stock split

Electric car maker Tesla revealed Friday in an SEC filing that it's planning a 3-for-1 stock split, causing stock prices to rise by around one percent after hours. Shareholders will vote on the proposal on Aug. 4. The filing also revealed that Oracle founder Larry Ellison, a friend of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, would not stand for re-election to Tesla's board. On Monday, Amazon executed a 20-for-1 stock split. Share prices initially rose before dropping sharply — from around $124 per share to less than $110 per share — by the end of the week.

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