5 things to know for June 23: Extreme weather, January 6, Gun laws, Uvalde, Covid-19
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By Alexandra Meeks, CNN
You can’t predict the future, but you can do your best to prepare for it. According to a survey of more than 1,100 US retirees, 70% of respondents wished their younger selves would have saved more and started earlier to create bigger nest eggs for retirement.
Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
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1. Extreme weather
The official start of summer this week has been marked by triple-digit temperatures across much of the southern US. On Wednesday, more than 20 million Americans across 16 states were under heat alerts and some cities shattered decades-old records. Macon, Georgia, reached 105 degrees, beating the previous record of 101 degrees set in 1925. New heat records were also set in Alabama, Tennessee and North Carolina. And unfortunately, meteorologists say there’s no relief in sight. The heat in the South and the Plains is expected to continue to build through the weekend with much of the region expected to set more records in the coming days, the National Weather Service said. On the other hand, severe storms are expected to dump several inches of rain in some parts of the Southwest today.
2. January 6
The January 6 committee investigating the insurrection at the US Capitol plans to draw attention today to former President Donald Trump’s effort to use the Justice Department to bolster his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Three top officials who led the Justice Department in the final days of the Trump administration will testify at today’s hearing about how the former President and his allies sought to enlist the department to give their baseless fraud allegations credibility, according to committee aides. The officials will also make a case that Trump considered replacing the acting attorney general with an official who bought into his claims of fraud, committee aides said. Separately, the Justice Department has subpoenaed the Georgia Republican Party chairman for information related to the Trump campaign’s fake elector scheme.
3. Gun laws
The Senate is poised to take a critical vote today to advance a major bipartisan gun safety bill toward final passage. House Republican leaders, however, are lining up in opposition to the legislation. But even with House GOP leaders opposing the bill, some Republican members have already indicated they plan to vote for it, and the Democrat-controlled House is expected to be able to pass the legislation once it passes in the Senate. If passed, it would be the most significant new federal legislation to address gun violence since the expired 10-year assault weapons ban of 1994 — though it fails to ban any weapons and falls far short of what Democrats and polls show most Americans want to see.
Uvalde school district police chief Pedro Arredondo was suspended on Wednesday after weeks of brewing anger over his department’s botched response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School nearly a month ago. Arredondo and responding law enforcement agencies have faced fierce criticism over the length of time officers waited in a hallway outside adjoining classrooms at the school where an 18-year-old gunman and the victims were located. The gunman fired at officers in the first minutes of the incident — with two receiving grazing wounds — according to an updated timeline from the Texas Department of Public Safety. Yet more than 70 minutes would elapse before the gunman was shot and killed by officers who stormed the room. This week, the top Texas official in charge of the investigation described the response as an “abject failure.”
A new study suggests coronavirus subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 appear to escape antibody responses from vaccination and prior infection. The levels of antibodies that a previous infection or vaccinations would provide are several times lower against these two subvariants compared with the original coronavirus, according to new data published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. However, Covid-19 vaccination is still expected to provide substantial protection against severe disease, and vaccine makers are working on updated shots that might elicit a stronger immune response against the variants. BA.4 and BA.5 are the fastest-spreading variants reported to date and caused an estimated 35% of new Covid-19 infections in the US last week, recent data shows.
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“You know what’s worse than high inflation and low unemployment? It’s high inflation with a recession and millions of people out of work. I hope you consider that before you drive this economy off a cliff.”
— Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, urging Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to proceed with rate hikes cautiously. At a committee hearing on Wednesday, Powell conceded that the Fed’s aggressive interest rate hikes won’t solve two of the biggest problems facing Americans: high prices for gas and groceries.
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