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5 things to know for June 3: Coronavirus, cyberattacks, Israel, Capitol riots, Taliban

Add another unexpected pandemic effect to the list: According to a new study, lockdowns led to reduced crime in several global cities.

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1. Coronavirus

President Joe Biden has announced a “National Month of Action” as part of a plan to get 70% of the US adult population at least partially vaccinated by July 4. The White House initiative includes new outreach efforts to educate Americans about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, new steps to make it easier to get the shot, and new vaccine incentives, like the possibility of free beer (really!). Biden has also finalized a long-awaited plan to distribute about 80 million coronavirus vaccines worldwide and is expected to release more details today or Friday. So far, the US has contributed about $2 billion to the World Health Organization vaccination effort, COVAX, and pledged another $2 billion between now and the end of 2022.

2. Cyberattacks

JBS, the major meat supplier targeted by a cyberattack this week, is getting some of its North American and Australian plants up and running again. However, serious concerns remain about meat shortages and employee pay as well as the larger specter of similar attacks in the future. The White House says the ransomware attack likely originated from Russia, prompting Secretary of State Antony Blinken to say Russia has an obligation to curb hacking groups within the country. Biden will also discuss the attack with Russian President Vladimir Putin when the two meet later this month in Geneva. Yet another ransomware attack yesterday disrupted service for a Martha’s Vineyard ferry in Cape Cod. The company says IT professionals are currently assessing the full impact of the attack.

3. Israel

A coalition of Israeli political parties have agreed to a deal to form a new government, paving the way for the exit of Israel’s longest serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The coalition, which was fully organized just 38 minutes before a midnight deadline, marks a seismic event in recent Israeli political history. If the agreement holds, it would bring about the end of a long cycle of fruitless elections in the country, as well as the end of Netanyahu’s 12 years in office. The coalition agreement must now pass a vote of confidence in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, before a new government and prime minister are sworn in. However, Netanyahu could still disrupt the process or convince some parties to defect from the bloc, since the only thing really holding them all together is the desire to oust Netanyahu and get a formal government on the books.

4. Capitol riots

Renewed conversations among QAnon believers and supporters of former President Donald Trump are stoking fears of another event similar to January’s Capitol riots. The social messaging platform Telegram has emerged as a particular source of concern among law enforcement officials, who say large groups of conspiracy theorists are entertaining false beliefs that Trump will somehow be reinstated as President in the coming months. Rhetoric from the Trump camp has reinforced these beliefs. Over the weekend, Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, appeared to endorse the idea of a Myanmar-style military coup in the US. A DC Metropolitan Police officer who was attacked during January’s insurrection said comments like Flynn’s could directly lead to more violence.

5. Taliban

The United Nations Security Council is sounding the alarm over the threat posed by an emboldened Taliban in Afghanistan. With the last remaining US troops due to leave the country in the coming months, the UN Monitoring Team has concluded the Taliban remains close to al Qaeda, and could return to power in Afghanistan by force. As part of last year’s agreement between the Trump administration and the Taliban, the militant Islamist organization promised to instruct its members “not to cooperate with groups or individuals threatening the security of the United States and its allies” in exchange for US troop withdrawal. That withdrawal is scheduled to be completed by September 11, but the UN Monitoring Team says there’s no real indication the Taliban has kept its word.


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We will regroup, re-operate and fight them back. We believe completely that we will defeat the dictatorship and the revolution must win. We will fight patiently until we get our victory.”

A member of the Chinland Defense Force, one of several local militia groups in Myanmar that are fighting the Myanmar military as the junta continues its violent suppression of citizens following February’s coup.


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