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5 things to know for June 17: Biden trip, voting laws, coronavirus, Myanmar, climate

President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin held their first face-to-face meetings in Geneva. CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports.

Posted: Jun 17, 2021 7:10 AM
Updated: Jun 17, 2021 7:10 AM

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.

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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.

3. Coronavirus

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.

4. Myanmar

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.

5. Climate

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.

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That's gonna be one heck of a parking ticket.

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If anything can flummox AI technology, it's a bunch of angry strangers online.

TODAY'S NUMBER

$500,000

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.

TODAY'S QUOTE

"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.

TODAY'S WEATHER

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AND FINALLY

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)

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Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1605320

Reported Deaths: 27132
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook61354910964
DuPage1039171357
Will873121089
Lake771121060
Kane65888850
Winnebago39007544
Madison38143576
St. Clair35003569
McHenry33032316
Peoria25972362
Champaign25862182
Sangamon24588271
McLean21879207
Tazewell19736326
Rock Island17806344
Kankakee16784234
Kendall15459106
LaSalle14496275
Macon14478240
Vermilion13234189
Adams12695148
DeKalb11667128
Williamson11419157
Whiteside7897176
Jackson769188
Boone760082
Coles7341112
Ogle713486
Grundy701281
Franklin686899
Clinton681498
Knox6651164
Marion6547138
Macoupin646399
Henry620474
Jefferson6060132
Effingham604382
Livingston571295
Woodford554291
Stephenson546289
Randolph529297
Monroe508199
Christian491780
Fulton487970
Morgan487296
Logan477474
Montgomery467476
Lee458156
Bureau427188
Perry415171
Saline409263
Fayette398956
Iroquois394673
McDonough354956
Jersey322253
Shelby311843
Douglas306636
Crawford304130
Lawrence301131
Union296747
Wayne274057
White265930
Richland262054
Hancock256334
Pike255956
Cass250928
Clark250738
Bond244024
Clay240047
Ford235256
Edgar234744
Carroll225437
Warren224960
Johnson213524
Moultrie211831
Jo Daviess206126
Washington206127
Wabash200915
Greene200739
Mason199351
Massac198144
De Witt195530
Piatt190814
Mercer190634
Cumberland178325
Menard158612
Jasper152418
Marshall134721
Hamilton128821
Brown10178
Pulaski98311
Schuyler9688
Edwards96315
Stark76827
Gallatin7435
Scott6975
Alexander67611
Henderson65114
Calhoun6442
Hardin56013
Putnam5444
Pope4815
Unassigned1882432
Out of IL40

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 941120

Reported Deaths: 15315
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1282511983
Lake633041097
Allen53609758
Hamilton43827447
St. Joseph41906590
Elkhart33545490
Vanderburgh30383448
Tippecanoe26820249
Johnson23609417
Hendricks22250341
Porter21737346
Clark17409229
Madison17366384
Vigo16108281
Monroe14466191
LaPorte14311239
Delaware14070221
Howard13865272
Kosciusko11418135
Hancock10841165
Warrick10674177
Bartholomew10542168
Floyd10430205
Wayne9959226
Grant9130204
Morgan8865160
Boone8389111
Dubois7710123
Dearborn762289
Henry7608130
Noble7413101
Marshall7362128
Cass7176117
Lawrence6957153
Shelby6584111
Jackson656785
Gibson6156107
Harrison603786
Huntington600195
Montgomery5805105
DeKalb574291
Knox5494104
Miami542488
Putnam536768
Clinton533665
Whitley524953
Steuben497268
Wabash483592
Jasper479160
Jefferson470092
Ripley454277
Adams444068
Daviess4169108
Scott405865
White391857
Clay390857
Greene388392
Decatur385296
Wells384983
Fayette374278
Posey359941
Jennings353156
Washington332047
LaGrange321375
Spencer317835
Fountain316555
Randolph312888
Sullivan307449
Owen283863
Starke280064
Fulton277553
Orange275859
Jay254837
Perry251652
Carroll243729
Franklin239338
Rush234130
Vermillion233250
Parke219820
Tipton209655
Pike207639
Blackford168334
Pulaski163551
Crawford146018
Newton144345
Benton142516
Brown135346
Martin128217
Switzerland125810
Warren114616
Union96911
Ohio79711
Unassigned0479