News Headlines 6/4/21

BIDEN ANNOUNCES U.S. TO QUICKLY GIVE 25 MILLION VACCINE DOSES THROUGH GLOBAL PROGRAM: President Biden announced yesterday (June 3rd) that the U.S. will quickly give an initial donation of 25 million doses of surplus Covid-19 vaccine to other countries through the U.N.-backed COVAX program. The donation will boost the COVAX effort, which has so far shared just 76 million vaccine doses to needy countries. The White House has announced plans to share 80 million doses globally overall by the end of this month, mostly via COVAX. Administration officials say that one-quarter of the U.S. excess supply will be kept in reserve for emergencies, and to share directly with allies and partners. More doses are expected to be shared in the coming months.

WHITE HOUSE WARNS COMPANIES TO INCREASE SECURITY AGAINST RANSOMWARE ATTACKS: The White House yesterday (June 3rd) warned company executives and business leaders to increase their security against ransomware attacks, after two such attacks in recent weeks disrupted operations at a major meatpacking company and the country’s biggest fuel pipeline. National Security Council cybersecurity adviser Anne Neuberger said in a letter to the executives that there’s been a significant increase in both the frequency and size of the attacks, writing, “The threats are serious and they are increasing. We urge you to take these critical steps to protect your organizations and the American public.” Similarly, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters, “Business leaders have a responsibility to strengthen their cyber defenses to protect the American public and our economy.”

REPORT: AT LEAST 17 POLICE OFFICERS STILL OUT OF WORK WITH U.S. CAPITOL ATTACK INJURIES: At least 17 police officers are still out of work due to injuries they suffered nearly five months ago during the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to CBS News. The report said at least 10 Capitol Police officers were out as of yesterday (June 3rd), as were seven members of the D.C. Metropolitan Police, who also responded to the attack. There were more than 150 officers in all injured that day, 86 Capitol Police officers and 65 members of the Metropolitan Police. The wounds officers suffered included head wounds, cracked ribs and smashed spinal disks,  according to Capitol Police Labor Committee Chairman Gus Papathanasiou.

POSTMASTER GENERAL DEJOY BEING INVESTIGATED OVER POLITICAL FUNDRAISING: The Justice Department is investigating Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over political fundraising, the Washington Post reported yesterday (June 3rd). A spokesperson for DeJoy confirmed the investigation, related to campaign contributions made by employees who worked for DeJoy when he was in the private sector, but he denied any wrongdoing by DeJoy. The Post reported last fall that former employees of a company that had been run by DeJoy said they were pressured to donate to Republican candidates and then reimbursed via bonuses. Encouraging a donation isn’t illegal, but reimbursing campaign contributions is.

THIRD DEATH AFTER SUNDAY’S MIAMI MASS SHOOTING,  NO ARRESTS YET: Miami police said Thursday (June 3rd) that a third person had died as a result of Sunday’s mass shooting outside a banquet hall in the city. In addition to the two people who’d previously died, 32-year-old Shaniqua Peterson was one of more than 20 people who were injured in the early morning shooting, in which three gunmen opened fire on the crowd outside the hall that had been rented for a concert. No arrests have been announced. Although the three men who arrived in an SUV opened fire indiscriminately before taking off again in the vehicle, police have said they had specific targets, and that it appeared to be related to rivalries between two groups.