Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 19, 2022

Bitcoin drops below $20,000, NATO secretary-general says war in Ukraine could last for years, and more

1

Bitcoin drops below $20,000 for the first time since Nov. 2020

The price of Bitcoin dropped below $20,000 on Saturday for the first time since Nov. 2020 and dropped below $18,000 before recovering Sunday morning to around $19,500. Bitcoin has lost more than 70 percent of its value since it peaked in Nov. 2021 at nearly $69,000. These losses are tied to a larger downward trend in the stock market, driven by inflation and the Federal Reserve's decision to raise interest rates.

2

War in Ukraine could last for years, NATO secretary-general warns

The war in Ukraine could last for 'years,' NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview published Sunday in the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag. "We must prepare for the fact that it could take years. We must not let up in supporting Ukraine. Even if the costs are high, not only for military support, but also because of rising energy and food prices," said Stoltenberg, who previously served as prime minister of Norway. United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who visited Ukraine on Friday, made a similar statement Saturday, urging his countrymen to continue supporting the fight against Russia and warning against "Ukraine fatigue."

3

CDC approves COVID vaccines for kids as young as 6 months

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky endorsed on Saturday an advisory committee's recommendation that the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines be approved for children aged six months to five years. The CDC said in a statement that "all Americans ages 6 months and older are now eligible for vaccination" and that "[a]ll children, including children who have already had COVID-19, should get vaccinated." The Moderna vaccine will be administered to young children in the form of two quarter-strength injections, while the Pfizer vaccine will be given in three doses, each one-tenth the strength of those given to adults.

4

France holds second round of parliamentary elections

French President Emmanuel Macron's majority in the National Assembly was on the line Sunday as French voters headed to the polls for the second round of parliamentary elections. The centrist bloc supporting Macron, who won re-election by a comfortable margin in April, faces a strong challenge from a leftist alliance — the New Ecologic and Social People's Union (NUPES) — led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Polling conducted last week projected that Macron's coalition, Ensemble!, would win between 255 and 305 of the 577 seats in the National Assembly. If Ensemble! falls short of the 289 seats needed for an absolute majority, it could seriously hinder Macron's ability to govern.

5

Report: Uvalde police never tried to open door to classroom during massacre

Law enforcement officers responding to the mass shooting that took place last month at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, never attempted to open the door to the classroom where students were trapped with the gunman, according to a report published Saturday. Surveillance footage shows police, who later claimed they were waiting to obtain a key, standing outside the classroom door for 77 minutes without ever checking of the door was actually locked. They also had access to a forced entry tool that could have opened the door even if it was locked. The classroom doors at Robb Elementary School cannot be locked from the inside, a law enforcement source said.

6

Fed governor says he'll support raising interest rates again next month

Federal Reserve governor Christopher Waller said Saturday that he supports raising interest rates by another 0.75 percent at the Federal Reserve's July meeting. The Fed previously raised rates by 0.75 percent on Wednesday, bringing the federal funds rate up to between 1.5 and 1.75 percent. "The Fed is 'all in' on re-establishing price stability," Waller said at a conference in Dallas. A report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released earlier this month showed that consumer prices jumped 8.6 percent between May 2021 and May 2022, the fastest rate of increase in four decades.

7

Workers at Maryland Apple Store vote to unionize

Workers at an Apple Store in Towson, Maryland, voted to join a union on Saturday, becoming the first Apple retail store in the country to unionize. The more than 100 employees at the Baltimore-area store voted "overwhelmingly" to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the union announced, and will be known as the Coalition of Organized Retail Employees (AppleCore). The initial tally was 65 in favor of unionization and 33 against, despite a campaign by Apple aimed at persuading workers not to organize.

8

Colombians choose between leftist and outsider in presidential runoff race

Colombian voters cast ballots on Sunday, choosing between leftist senator Gustavo Petro and political outsider Rodolfo Hernández, a millionaire businessman. Hernández, who during his stint as mayor of Bucaramanga was suspended for slapping a city councilman in the face, financed his own campaign and has relied on TikTok videos rather than rallies to spread his anti-corruption message. Petro, who spent time in prison for guerilla activities and went on to serve as mayor of Bogotá, has called for universal healthcare, free higher education, and an end to oil exploration. Whoever wins, this election stands as a rebuke to Colombia's mainstream center-left and center-right parties, neither of which qualified for Sunday's runoff.

9

Biden is 'fine' after falling off bicycle, White House official says

President Biden fell off his bicycle during a ride in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, on Saturday. The 79-year-old president quickly got back up and told onlookers, "I'm good." A White House official later dismissed any concern, telling the press that Biden's "foot got caught on the pedal while dismounting and he is fine. No medical attention is needed." An employee at Trek, the company that made Biden's bicycle, said Biden "needs a bike that's easier to get on and off." The pedals on Biden's bicycle have toe cages, which make it easier to pedal fast but can catch a rider's toes when he tries to dismount.

10

U.S. celebrates Juneteenth amid controversy over commercialism

The U.S. celebrated Juneteenth as a federal holiday for only the second time on Sunday, commemorating the day in 1865 that enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, learned they had been freed. Because Juneteenth falls on a Sunday, federal workers will get the day off on Monday, as will anyone whose employer observes all federal holidays. State government employees in the more than 30 states that have yet to approve funding for the day off will still have to work on Monday. The new holiday has also led some Black Americans to express concerns about the commercialization of Juneteenth.

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