AP News Summary at 1:31 p.m. EDT

Jun 20, 2022

Biden says decision on gas tax holiday may come this week

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. (AP) — President Joe Biden says he’s considering a federal holiday on the gasoline tax. That could possibly save U.S. consumers as much as 18.4 cents a gallon. Biden indicated to reporters Monday that his decision could come by the end of the week. The administration is increasingly looking for ways to spare the public from higher prices at the pump, which began to climb last year and surged after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Gas prices nationwide are averaging just under $5 a gallon, according to AAA. Taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel help to pay for highways.

Israel coalition agrees to dissolve, hold new elections

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s weakened coalition government has decided to dissolve parliament and go to new elections. The vote, expected later this year, could bring about the return of a nationalist and religious government led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or another prolonged period of political gridlock. In a nationally televised press conference, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Monday while it wasn’t easy to disband the government, he had made “the right decision for Israel.”

Sweltering streets: Hundreds of homeless die in extreme heat

PHOENIX (AP) — Hundreds of homeless people die in the streets each year from the heat, in cities around the U.S. and the world. The ranks of homeless have swelled after the pandemic and temperatures fueled by climate change soar. Global warming is ramping up the dangers of being outside on hot days and not just in desert areas like Las Vegas or Phoenix. The Pacific Northwest was unprepared last summer when record heat killed scores of people, some of them homeless. Concerns have grown worldwide in places like Spain and India about longer, more frequent heat waves as cities take steps to protect vulnerable communities.

The moments resonating from the Jan. 6 hearings (so far)

NEW YORK (AP) — Nielsen numbers tell us how many people watched live coverage of the Jan. 6 committee hearings — 20 million the first night, 11 million the second and nearly 9 million for the third. Yet those traditional yardsticks don't begin to account for the true impact of what is being said. Memorable moments from each hearing are sliced for quick consumption online, and on television news and comedy shows — almost certainly reaching a larger audience than watched them originally, and sealing them in the public memory. Liz Cheney's prediction, a previously little-known breakout star and Rudy Giuliani's alcohol intake stand out so far.

Shots for tots: COVID vaccinations start for little US kids

The nation’s youngest children are getting their chance at vaccines for COVID-19. Shots began Monday at a few locations, though they were expected to ramp up after the Juneteenth federal holiday. The Food and Drug Administration cleared vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer last week and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the final signoff over the weekend.  Roughly 18 million youngsters under 5 are eligible. For the little kids, Pfizer’s vaccine is three shots and Moderna’s is two shots. Getting some parents on board may be a challenge given disappointing vaccination rates in school-age kids.

Men, morale, munitions: Russia's Ukraine war faces long slog

BAKHMUT, Ukraine (AP) — Russia’s initially botched offensive is focusing on Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. The war has hit a seemingly more enduring phase as fighters on both sides take heavy casualties. “Ukraine fatigue” is rising abroad and the question has become one of how long the war will go on and how sustainable it will be. The factors are manpower, morale, and munitions. And they are all unknowns. One Western analyst says the war could last years as Western defense industries move from peacetime mindset to wartime production to equip the fight. He says time is on Ukraine's side for now.

France awakens to an emboldened Le Pen after far-right gains

PARIS (AP) — France has awakened to an ecstatic Marine Le Pen after her party’s far-right candidates for parliament sent shockwaves through the political establishment. They helped deny President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance an absolute majority. Le Pen’s National Rally party didn’t win the two rounds of voting in the parliamentary election which ended Sunday. But it secured more than 10 times the seats it won five years ago. It was only a couple of months ago that Le Pen lost the presidential election to Macron. But now it was her turn to gloat on Monday since she knows she can use the seats in the National Assembly to thwart Macron’s domestic agenda.

College basketball player killed in NYC shooting; 8 wounded

NEW YORK (AP) — A college basketball player was killed and eight other people were wounded Monday in an early-morning shooting at a gathering in Harlem, New York City police said. Officers responded around 12:40 a.m. to reports of a shooting on a footpath along FDR Drive and found several people wounded. Other victims went to hospitals on their own. Twenty-one-year-old Houston Baptist University senior Darius Lee was killed, the Texas university said. The wounded included six males and two females. The shooting comes amid national concern over gun violence and as the U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether to strike down a law making it difficult to legally carry handguns in New York.

Title IX: WNBA owner among women athletes running businesses

SEATTLE (AP) — WNBA co-owner Ginny Gilder says fighting for equal treatment as a rower at Yale 46 years ago radicalized her. Gilder says what she has learned from that experience of being discriminated against for the first time in her life has helped her succeed in the business world. As Title IX marks its 50th anniversary this year, Gilder is one of countless women who benefited from the enactment and execution of the law, translating those opportunities into becoming leaders in their professional careers. Any success the WNBA has had Gilder says is because of the law, pointing out that “we wouldn’t exist as a league without Title IX."

Cambodian catches world's largest recorded freshwater fish

BANGKOK (AP) — Scientists say the world’s largest recorded freshwater fish, a giant stingray, has been caught in the Mekong River in Cambodia. Wonders of the Mekong, a joint Cambodian-U.S. research project, says the stingray, captured a week ago, measured almost four meters (13 feet) from snout to tail and weighed slightly under 300 kilograms (660 pounds). The Mekong River runs through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It is home to several species of giant freshwater fish but environmental pressures are threatening their survival. A tagging device was implanted in the stingray before it was released back into the river to track its movements.

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