News Headlines 6/3/21

DEAL REACHED ON GOVERNING COALITION IN ISRAEL,  CLEARING WAY TO REMOVE NETANYAHU: A deal was announced yesterday (June 2nd) to form a new governing coalition in Israel, clearing the way for the removal of Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister after 12 years in power. The agreement was announced by opposition leader Yair Lapid and his main coalition partner, Naftali Bennett, shortly before a midnight deadline. The deal still has to be approved by Israel’s parliament, a vote that’s expected early next week, and Netanyahu is expected to do everything possible before then to derail the new coalition from taking power. Under the agreement, Lapid and Bennett will split the job of prime minister in rotation, with Bennett to serve the first two years and Lapid the final two years.

BIDEN ANNOUNCES ‘MONTH OF ACTION’ ON COVID VACCINATIONS: President Biden announced a, quote, “month of action” yesterday (June 2nd) from the White House in an effort to reach his goal of 70 percent of U.S. adults having gotten at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by the Fourth of July. As of now, just under 63 percent of the adult population has gotten at least one shot. As part of that, there will be new incentives to get vaccinated and new steps to reduce barriers to for those who haven’t been vaccinated yet and to make getting the shots more appealing.

The incentives include: Anheuser-Busch saying they’ll “buy Americans 21+ a round of beer” once Biden’s 70 percent goal is met; DoorDash giving gift cards to community health centers to be used to prod people to get vaccinated; CVS launching a sweepstakes with prizes including free cruises and Super Bowl tickets; Major League Baseball hosting on-site vaccine clinics and ticket giveaways at games; and Kroger giving $1 million to a vaccinated person each week this month and dozens of people free groceries for a year.

Steps to make vaccines more accessible include: partnering with early childhood centers and YMCAs to provide free childcare for people looking for shots or needing help while recovering from side effects; a partnership to bring vaccine education and doses to Black-owned barbershops and beauty salons; pharmacies extending their hours this month; and helping employers run on-site vaccination clinics.

BIDEN ‘LOOKING CLOSELY’ AT POSSIBLE RETALIATION OVER RUSSIA-LINKED CYBERATTACK ON MAJOR MEAT PRODUCER: President Biden said Wednesday (June 2nd) that he’s examining the possibility of retaliating for a Russian-linked cyberattack Sunday on JBS, the world’s largest meat processing company. Asked if the U.S. could retaliate against Russia, Biden said, “We’re looking closely at that issue.” The administration said Tuesday they believe the attack came from a criminal organization, likely based in Russia. The JBS cyberattack came less than four weeks after a similar one against Colonial Pipeline by hackers cybercriminals believed to be operating in Russia, which led to the pipeline being shutdown for five days and disrupting fuel supplies.

CALIFORNIA FIREFIGHTER SHOOTING RELATED TO JOB DISPUTE: The shooting at a Los Angeles County fire station Tuesday in which an off-duty firefighter fatally shot a 44-year-old colleague and critically wounded a 54-year-old fire captain before apparently killing himself appears to be related to a long term job-related dispute, authorities said Wednesday (June 2nd). L.A. County sheriff’s Lieutenant Brandon Dean said that other employees at the rural fire station about 45 north of Los Angeles indicated the shooter and the fellow firefighter had, quote, “some workplace beef.” The gunman was identified as 45-year-old fire specialist Jonathan Tatone.

MEETING ON INFRASTRUCTURE BETWEEN BIDEN, REPUBLICAN SENATOR: President Biden and Senator Shelley Moore Capito, the top Senate Republican negotiating on potential infrastructure legislation, met yesterday (June 2nd) for nearly an hour. The two agreed to meet again Friday, but there weren’t any outward indications of progress ahead of a June 7th administration deadline to see clear direction and signs of progress. Talks with Republicans over Biden’s massive infrastructure proposal have been moving slowly. The White House has come down from Biden’s initial $2.3 trillion proposal to $1.7 billion, while the Republicans have moved up to a $928 billion proposal after their initial $568 counter-offer. A key sticking point is Biden wanting to raise corporate taxes to pay for it, while Republicans instead want to use unspent coronavirus relief money.