Biden heads to NATO headquarters, Austin shooting, Israeli Prime Minister: 5 Things podcast
- President Biden is in Brussels to meet with NATO leaders.
- Authorities are searching for different suspects after multiple shootings around the country.
- Israel has a new Prime Minister as former PM Benjamin Netanyahu is ousted.
On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: The president continues his European trip in Brussels. Plus, Israel has a new prime minister, the U.S. is on the brink of 600,000 deaths from COVID-19, authorities are searching for different suspects after multiple shootings around the country and two people are dead after being swept out by a current in Florida.
Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below.This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.
Good morning, I’m Taylor Wilson. And this is 5 Things you need to know Monday the 14th of June, 2021. Today, Biden heads to NATO headquarters. Plus, 600,000 deaths from COVID-19 and more.
Here are some of the top headlines.
President Joe Biden’s nonstop European trip continues Monday as he heads to NATO headquarters in Brussels. At meetings there, world leaders are expected to publicly recommit to a number of defense and security goals. Topics range from cyber attacks to migration and climate change, as well as Russia and China. International correspondent Kim Hjelmgaard looks ahead.
NATO is a massive kind of military and political alliance, 30 countries. Canada is a member. The US is obviously a big member. The US is the biggest contributor in terms of financing it. And then there’s many countries in Eastern Europe or either just recently joined or trying to get in. And so a lot of discussions in there. I mean, it’s tempting on this first trip of Biden’s overseas just to view everything against the background or the palate of how Trump performed. And I think that’s a temptation that we’d all do well to resist although it’s hard, but in NATO, they will talk with the various NATO leaders.
And they’ll talk about things like meeting sort of funding requirements to NATO. In 2014, a big notable NATO summit, all the countries agreed to have this 2% of economic output of GDP as the level of money that they put into the Alliance. And not that many countries actually have been doing that. It’s been creeping up over the last few years. The latest estimates of NATO’s are between 9, 10, 11 countries I believe, that are meeting this 2% target. And this has been a perpetual or perennial, I should say, issue for the US and various US administrations. Every time they’ve gone to one of these summits, they’ve tried to put pressure on European allies to spend more, more active role on defense and security issues that the US speaks up on.
On the European side, different priorities. They feel that this spending requirement is something that they will do, but perhaps take a longer time to get there for their own reasons. There’s also internal divisions and dissent about whether European Union in particular should sort of come up with its own form of an army, but ways of defending the region that are separate to NATO. Those kinds of questions are not going to get answered at this summit, but they will be discussed. And they will also discuss, again, like at the G-Summit stuff, stuff that is not on the formal agenda: old China’s rise, for example.
And particularly, the Russia issue will be a big one because it is a major focus for NATO. Since the fall of the Soviet Union really, NATO has been getting closer and closer to Russian territory. Ukraine is a bit of a red line for Russia, for a former Soviet country, huge Russian speaking population, culturally aligned to Russia. President Putin has been, I wouldn’t say clear because he’s quite difficult to read, but he’s made it clear in various sort of underhand ways that Ukraine is a red line. And Ukraine wants to be a NATO member. It also wants to join the EU. I mean, ultimately that ambition has been behind a lot of the things that have roiled that part of the world over the last four or five years.
Biden arrives in Belgium after four days in the UK, including a G-7 Summit there and a meeting with the Queen.
There’s a new prime minister of Israel. Naftali Bennett takes control after a tight 60 to 59 vote on Sunday ended Benjamin Netanyahu’s twelve-year run. Bennett is a far right politician who has taken extreme stances on Palestine. He’s vowed to do everything in his power to block Palestinian statehood and supports annexing 60% of the West bank. He previously worked on Netanyahu’s staff, and experts in the region say he shares some similarities with his predecessor.
But Bennet’s appointment comes as part of a coalition spanning a few different ideologies. And in two years, centrist Yair Lapid, will take the position as part of an agreement. Bennett and Lapid have both said they will focus more on domestic matters than contentious policies like Israel Palestine, though what that looks like in practice is still not clear. For more, head to the world section on usatoday.com.
The United States is about to hit 600,000 deaths from Coronavirus.
(Bells toll slowly.)
That’s the Washington National Cathedral. It rang the morning bell 600 times on Thursday to note the dark milestone. As of early Monday morning, 599,769 people had died from the virus in the US. Deaths have dropped considerably as a huge chunk of Americans are now vaccinated. 279 people died Saturday from the virus, that’s compared to a daily high of nearly 4,500 in January. More than 52.4% of Americans are now at least partially vaccinated and a handful of states have more than 70% of adults, at least partially vaccinated, but some states lag well behind.
And a recent briefing from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation found that COVID-19 variants could lead to a surge in cases and deaths this fall if more people don’t get vaccinated.
Authorities are still looking for suspects after separate shootings over the weekend in Georgia, Illinois, and Texas. In Savannah, Georgia, a gunman opened fire outside a residence killing one person and injuring seven others. In Chicago, police are searching for two men who opened fire on the city’s South side, killing a woman and injuring nine others. And in Austin, Texas, a suspect has been arrested and another remains at large. There, the shooting killed one person and injured 13.
A man and a three-year-old are dead after being swept out by currents in Florida. The man and child were waiting in water at a Tampa beach when they got taken by the strong current. And another man who tried to save them is currently missing. Authorities say that man identified as 27-year-old Kristoff Murray, saw the adult and child were struggling and immediately jumped in the water before also being swept up in the current. According to the National Weather Service, there have been at least 14 deaths due to rip currents across the US this year. The US Lifesaving Association estimates more than 100 people are killed by rip currents every year and lifeguards rescue some 30,000 people from them.
Thanks for listening to 5 Things. Before I go, I wanted to remind you about Prime Day, which is coming up on June 21st. This week, our experts will be sharing some tricks to help you find the best deals and recommendations on some top rated products from the Reviewed Test Lab. You can watch daily beginning Tuesday at noon, Eastern time, and on demand after. For more info and to RSVP head to hackprimeday.usatoday.com or find the link in our show description. And you can subscribe for free to 5 Things wherever you find your audio. You can also rate us and review on Apple podcasts. Thanks as always to Shannon Green and Claire Thornton for their work on the show. 5 Things is part of the USA TODAY Network.
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