10 things you need to know today: June 13, 2021
G7 leaders wrap up summit, China to G7: Small groups of countries no longer dictate global decisions, and more
G7 leaders wrap up summit
The Group of Seven summit will wrap up Saturday in the United Kingdom, and the leaders of some of the world's richest nations are set to issue their final communique after the three-day meeting. They're expected to include promises on issues like the global COVID-19 vaccination effort, an international corporate tax minimum, and carbon emissions goals, though the specifics of the commitments remain unclear. For instance, Politico reports that the cohort agreed on accelerating the process of phasing out coal in the 2030s, but could not come to terms on a precise timeframe. Uncertainty also surrounds how the communique will address China's forced labor practices and human rights abuses, particularly regarding Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities. President Biden has urged his allies to take a strong stand against Beijing, but other leaders want to tread more cautiously.
China to G7: Small groups of countries no longer dictate global decisions
The Chinese embassy in the United Kingdom released a statement Saturday directed at the Group of Seven, whose leaders had gathered in the country for a multi-day summit this weekend, that said "the days when global decisions were dictated by a small group of countries are long gone." Now, the statement continues, "there is only one system in the world, that is, the international system with the United Nations at the core and the international order based on international law," suggesting that Beijing won't take any declarations from the G7 seriously. "We always believe that countries, big or small, strong or weak, poor or rich, are equals and that world affairs should be handled through consultation by all countries," the embassy said.
Netanyahu's run as Israeli PM set to end
Israel's parliament will hold a confidence vote Sunday that will likely result in the end of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year run in power and the installment of Naftali Bennett in his stead. Bennett, the leader of the right-wing Yamina party, joined a wide-ranging coalition with centrist opposition Yair Lapid — who, per their agreement, is set to replace Bennett as prime minister in two years — in an effort to oust Netanyahu, who is facing corruption charges. If the vote succeeds, as is expected, Israel will have its "most heterogeneous government" ever, Gideon Rahat, a senior fellow at the Jerusalem-based Israel Democracy Institute told The Wall Street Journal, which could prove challenging. At the moment, though, the parties' ideological differences are outweighed by their mutual opposition to Netanyahu.
Federal judge dismisses Houston hospital employees' vaccine lawsuit
U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes on Saturday dismissed a lawsuit from 117 Houston Methodist employees, who are seeking to challenge the hospital's requirement that all staff be vaccinated against COVID-19. Last week, 178 employees were suspended for two weeks without pay for failing to comply. Hughes' decision was the first in a federal court on coronavirus vaccine mandates. In the ruling, Hughes wrote that the hospital's policy was not unlawful. "This is not coercion," he said. "Methodist is trying to do their business of saving lives without giving them the COVID-19 virus. It is a choice made to keep staff, patients, and their families safer." He added that "caring for patients during a pandemic far outweighs protecting the vaccination preferences of 116 employees," and also wrote that it was "reprehensible" that the plaintiffs equated the vaccine requirement to medical experimentation in Nazi concentration camps.
Danish soccer star Eriksen's condition stable after on-field collapse
Danish soccer star Christian Eriksen was awake and in stable condition at a Copenhagen hospital after collapsing on the field during a European Championship match between Denmark and Finland on Saturday, Danish soccer's governing body announced Saturday night via Twitter. In another statement Sunday morning, the Danish federation said "we have spoken to Christian Eriksen, who has sent his greetings to his teammates … he continues to be hospitalized for further examination." Eriksen was not involved in a collision with another player or the ball before he collapsed, and he received CPR while on the ground before being taken off the field on a stretcher. It has been revealed that Eriksen was awake as he was transferred to the hospital. The Denmark-Finland contest was suspended after the frightening incident, but eventually resumed later on Saturday once information on Eriksen's condition became available.
Austin police arrest 1 suspect in connection with mass shooting
Austin police and the Lone Star Fugitive Task force have arrested one man in connection with an early Saturday morning shooting, in which 14 people were injured, in the downtown area of Texas' capital city. Police said they were focusing on two suspects who were previously involved in a dispute, The Austin American-Statesman reports, and investigators are confident they'll be able to determine what exactly prompted the gunfire soon. Officials reportedly said they believe most of the victims were innocent bystanders.
Gas explosion kills at least 12 in central China
At least 12 people were killed in a natural gas explosion in Shiyan, a city in central China, on Sunday, state media reports. More than 150 people were hospitalized, including 37 who were reportedly in serious condition, while at least 150 people were evacuated. Many others were reportedly trapped after the incident, and rescue efforts are ongoing. State broadcaster CCTV reported that the explosion occurred at one of the city's food markets, which collapsed in on itself. The cause of the accident remains unclear, and an investigation is underway.
Trump again blames McConnell for GOP losing Senate majority
Former President Donald Trump appeared via live video during MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's MAGA Frank Free Speech rally in New Richmond, Wisconsin, on Saturday, telling the crowd that "if it wasn't for me, right now the Senate would be 60-40" with a Democratic majority, instead of a 50-50 split. Trump argued that he is to thank for Republicans retaining some leverage in the upper chamber "because I made teleconference calls … speaking to tens of thousands of people, for congressional candidates and senators." He also suggested Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was to blame for the GOP losing two seats in Georgia earlier this year, which gave Democrats their slim majority. McConnell, Trump said, "hurt us very, very badly in Georgia … we never should have lost those two seats."
$28 million bid wins auction for seat on Bezos' flight to space
A mystery bidder pledged $28 million to win an auction to join Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos and his younger brother, Mark, on a flight to space in July. The trio, plus a fourth crew member who will be announced later, will embark on an 11-minute journey, which will briefly take them beyond Earth, on the New Shepard, a rocket made by Bezos' space exploration company, Blue Origin. Nearly 7,600 people from all over the world put down a bid for a seat. The winner's name will be revealed in a few weeks, Blue Origin said. The money will be donated to the company's foundation, Club for the Future, "to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and help invent the future of life in space."
Krejcikova wins women's French Open title
The Czech Republic's Barbora Krejcikova defeated the No. 31 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who hails from Russia, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, becoming the third unseeded women's player to win at Roland Garros in five years, following Poland's Iga Swiatek in 2020 and Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko in 2017. It was the first appearance for both Krejcikova and Pavlyuchenkova in a Grand Slam final and, therefore, the former's first win on that stage. On the men's side, top-seeded Novak Djokovic is facing off against No. 5-seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday's final. He's seeking his second French Open crown and his 19th Grand Slam title.