The first tropical system of the season could be headed our way by the end of the week. If the storm materializes, it will be named Claudette and is expected to bring nearly a foot of rain to parts of the southern US.
Here's what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
(You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)
1. Biden trip
After months of anticipation and diplomatic preparation, President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin met yesterday for the first time since Biden took office. How did it go? "Positive" and "constructive" were two words used by the leaders. While there were some small advancements, like a decision to return each countries' ambassador back to their posts and the establishment of task forces on cyberattacks, Biden has said the point of the summit was to reestablish dialogue with Russia, not to spark some immediate diplomatic breakthrough. Still, firm words were exchanged. Biden said he warned Putin of "devastating consequences" if jailed opposition leader Alexey Navalny were to die in prison. He also confronted Putin about a spate of recent cyberattacks believed to originate in Russia, but Putin was evasive, saying of one attack, "What do Russian authorities have to do with this?" Yesterday's summit marked the conclusion of Biden's first trip abroad.
2. Voting laws
Vice President Kamala Harris met with a group of Democratic Texas lawmakers who successfully killed a state bill intended to restrict voting access -- one of many similar pieces of legislation that have been circulating through state governments across the country. Harris has been charged with leading the Biden administration's effort to bolster voting rights across the nation. While in Washington, DC, the Texas lawmakers put pressure on Congress to pass the For the People Act, a comprehensive federal voting rights bill that would counteract a number of voting restrictions put in place by Republicans at the state level. The bill has stalled in the Senate after passing the House, but there may be new movement soon. For one, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has said he wouldn't rule out supporting it with some changes.
Covid-19 cases may be going down in the US, and in some areas, life may feel like it's back to normal, but there are still sobering reminders that the pandemic isn't over yet. The US has now surpassed 600,000 coronavirus-related deaths, and concern is growing about the Delta variant and the danger it could pose to unvaccinated communities. One former White House adviser called the variant "like Covid on steroids." How much should you worry about it? If you're fully vaccinated, you're protected against the variant, the CNN Health team says. But if you're only partially vaccinated, you're still at risk.
Members of Myanmar's military junta set ablaze a village of about 800 people after clashing with opponents of their rule, witnesses said. Most of the village's residents remained in hiding in nearby forests after much of the area was reduced to ash. As security forces continue violent crackdowns in the wake of February's military coup, tens of thousands of Myanmar residents have taken to the country's jungles to escape the violence. There is a precedent for this kind of incident: Human rights groups have accused Myanmar's forces of burning hundreds of villages in 2017 during an offensive that drove about 700,000 minority Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh. One activist group estimates the junta has killed about 860 people since February's coup. Myanmar's security forces have denied that figure and have also denied burning villages in the past.
The heat wave in the Western US is hitting historic proportions. About 300 high temperature records could be broken this week, and more than an eighth of the US population -- over 40 million people -- is on alert for potentially deadly conditions. The heat and an exceptional drought are also fueling one of Arizona's largest wildfires. There have always been heat waves, but climate change is making them worse, and not just in the US. The UK's Climate Change Committee warned that heat-related deaths could triple in the country by 2050 unless urgent efforts to tackle climate change are made.
Doctors warn of pavement burns as record heat wave scorches several states
If it's sweltering outside, now is NOT the time to test out your summer feet.
Rihanna's lingerie line is offering crotchless, butt-revealing leggings. The internet isn't sure it wants them
Leggings ... or chaps? Cheggings?
Joe Jonas crashed a Jonas Brothers-themed spin class
New goal: Crash a self-themed spin class. (OK, well first: Acquire a self-themed spin class.)
By the way, the three 1970s moon buggies are still up there.
Facebook is testing AI to get you to stop fighting in its groups
If anything can flummox AI technology, it's a bunch of angry strangers online.
That's how much the Department of Education is canceling in student loan debt for 18,000 former ITT Tech students defrauded by the now defunct for-profit college. The Biden administration has been taking on a backlog of more than 100,000 student loan forgiveness claims.
"Microsoft is under intense public scrutiny due to numerous claims of sexual harassment and an alleged failure to address them adequately and transparently. Reports of Bill Gates' alleged inappropriate relationships and sexual advances towards Microsoft employees have only exacerbated concerns, putting in question the culture set by top leadership."
A statement from activist investment firm Arjuna Capital, also a Microsoft shareholder. The firm is urging Microsoft to do more to combat sexual harassment following misconduct allegations against its founder Bill Gates.
Dream when you're feelin' blue (or orange or white ...)
Octopi have all kinds of miraculous talents, like, say, changing colors while they sleep. (Click here to view)