They came, they shook, they talked. After what was billed as a showdown between rival powers, U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin concluded yesterday’s Geneva summit with the sober language of diplomacy. Biden, who recently called Putin a “killer,” said there were no threats during the three-hour meeting, while Putin said there was “no hostility.” But during separate media appearances afterward, Biden said he noted “significant cyber capabilities” America would use to retaliate against new Russian hacking, for which Putin denied culpability. While they differed on many issues, they did agree to return their ambassadors to Washington and Moscow.
Who gained the most from this meeting? Answer our PDB poll.
2. In Rare Admission, Kim Hints at Food Shortage
It’s not paradise. While the world may understand that about North Korea, its dictators have rarely suggested otherwise. But in a state media report, Kim Jong Un told senior leaders that, “The people’s food situation is now getting tense,” with subpar grain harvests because of last year’s typhoons. That comes after independent media outside the Hermit Kingdom have reported pandemic-stoked shortages and price spikes, with bananas selling for $45 a kilogram. While Kim himself probably has a healthy supply, he appears less pudgy in recent photos, causing the latest speculation that his health has suffered.
3. As Southwest Swelters, a New Dire Climate Report
They’re trapped. And so is the planet’s heat, stuck under greenhouse gases about twice as much as it was in 2005, according to new satellite data from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “The Earth is warming faster than expected,” said NASA scientist Norman Loeb, who called the imbalance between solar heat absorbed and radiated back into space “unprecedented.” Meanwhile, some 50 million Americans are suffering record-breaking heat waves across the Southwest. In Las Vegas, residents are urged to remain indoors while California authorities are vigilant for new wildfires.
4. Report: Addressing Inequality Crucial to Pandemic Rx
This tide needs to lift all boats. One crucial way America can cure its pandemic-stricken economy is to address payrolls’ racial disparities, according to a report released today. The McKinsey Institute for Black Economic Mobility’s Economic State of Black America report found a $220 billion wage gap suffered by Black workers, whose median wage, at $30,000, is $12,000 less than the nationwide median. Part of the reason is that they’re underrepresented in higher-paying fields like medicine, law and high-level tech. On the other hand, the report says, achieving parity could lift incomes by 30% and foster 615,000 new Black-owned workplaces.
Coronavirus Update: A clinical trial shows that CureVac’s mRNA vaccine is only 47% effective, while the U.S. government plans to purchase 200 million additional doses of Moderna’s inoculation as potential booster shots if needed. And India is seeing a surge in people seeking visas to go abroad to escape its deadly wave of contagion.
Today on The Carlos Watson Show, meet a rising star of the modeling world, Leyna Bloom. The first transgender Black and Asian model to appear in Sports Illustrated, she’s trailblazing a new path and not letting anything stand in her way. The star of Pose and new film Port Authority joins Carlos to share insights into the rise of Black Filipinas — a pedigree she shares with Saweetie and H.E.R. — and how her parents helped her thrive through her transition. Watch now.
Black stories are often portrayed in extremes — as struggles or triumphs — but these stories do not represent the full richness of the Black experience. What about the inside jokes, hard conversations, honest gestures, family struggles and celebrations? To understand the Black experience, we need to see the whole truth. By enabling Black creators, P&G aims to widen the screen to widen our view to combat systemic bias in advertising and media. Our “Widen the Screen” initiative is an expansive content creation, talent development and partnership platform that enables and advocates for increased inclusion of Black creators across the advertising, film and television industries.
Amid tense divisions over America’s legacy of racism, Congress didn’t hesitate to add a new holiday to commemorate the end of slavery. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill establishing a federal day off on June 19, known as Juneteenth. That’s when word of slavery’s abolition reached Texas, where it’s been a holiday since 1980. Fourteen Republicans voted against it, some saying that it was divisive and arguing that including “independence” in Juneteenth National Independence Day confuses it with July 4 Independence Day celebrations. Passed unanimously by the Senate, the bill’s due for President Biden’s signature today.
Sword of Siegfried, comin’ atcha. Invoking Hitler is no laughing matter anywhere, especially among soldiers in the nation that’s atoned for Nazi crimes for seven decades. So the German military is recalling 30 soldiers from Lithuania after some of them reportedly got drunk and sang a birthday song for Der Führer in April. Meanwhile, leftist squatters hurled cobblestones and bottles amid burning barricades Wednesday in Berlin, injuring 60 police officers in some of the worst violence between authorities, who were trying to conduct a fire inspection, and housing activists occupying apartment buildings. More trouble is expected as police block off the neighborhood.
It’s one small step … in an epic march. China added another piece to its superpower puzzle today, launching the first crew for its new space station. Led by mission commander Nie Haisheng, 56, astronauts Liu Boming, 54, and Tang Hongbo, 45, rode the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft into orbit to board the station’s inaugural module, Heavenly Harmony. It’s the seventh piloted mission for the People’s Republic, which has recruited solely from the military for its space program. After crew members move in, they’ll conduct tests and experiments during their three-month deployment, and the program plans to add two modules next year.
4. Cartoonists Puzzled by Pulitzers’ Mysterious Snub
The OG meme makers are finding themselves out in the cold this week after America’s premier journalistic commendation was denied them on Friday. The three Pulitzer Prize finalists for editorial cartooning, Ruben Bolling, Marty Two Bulls Sr. and Lalo Alcaraz, along with other colleagues, expressed disbelief that judges failed to reach a consensus on a winner, with some calling it an insult to cartoonists everywhere. While Pulitzer categories periodically go blank, it’s the first time since 1973 that it’s happened in cartooning, and at a time when newsrooms are cutting such positions.
5. Trans Student Athletes Win Title IX Protections
It’s all about change. The U.S. Education Department yesterday announced that it interprets the 1972 Title IX gender discrimation law to include transgender students. That reverses Trump administration policy and follows the 2020 Supreme Court decision protecting LGBTQ people from employment bias, with the department concluding that the ruling must also apply to education. “All students … deserve the opportunity to learn and thrive in schools that are free from discrimination,” said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. The ruling means schools that, for example, won’t let trans athletes compete with the gender they identify with, could face sanctions such as loss of federal funding.