‘I did what I came to do’

President Joe Biden met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and we’ve got the details. The EU is considering lifting a ban on American tourists. And 50 million Americans are under hot weather warnings as a heat wave smashes records in the West.

👋 It’s Laura. And I’ve got all the news you need to know Wednesday!

But first, this is awkward. 🙀 At least it’s in a good way. So, this family’s 16-year-old kitty cat, Frankie, died, so they got him cremated. Then, Frankie came back home. 

The Short List is a snappy USA TODAY news roundup. Subscribe to the newsletter here or text messages here.

Biden describes summit with Putin as ‘positive’

After a meeting lasting less than three hours, Biden struck a firm but mostly conciliatory tone Wednesday as he described both the flavor and substance of his talks with Putin at a summit in Geneva. “It was important to meet in person so there could be no mistake about or misrepresentations about what I wanted to communicate,” Biden said. “I did what I came to do.” Just before Biden’s remarks, Putin told reporters the two nations agreed to return their ambassadors to their posts in Washington and Moscow. He said there was “no hostility” between the two delegations, describing the meetings as “constructive” on some issues. The two men called the meeting to discuss a range of issues that have plagued U.S.-Russia relations for months, if not years.

And on a bit of a lighter note: Biden, ever a fan of aviator sunglasses, gifted a pair to Putin. 😎

  • From hacking to Havana Syndrome: Top issues facing the U.S.-Russia relationship.
  • With U.S.-Russia relations at a low point, Biden, Putin each bring a wariness to Geneva summit. Here’s what you need to know.

President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 16, 2021. (Photo: Peter Klaunzer/Keystone via AP)

EU agrees to lift travel restrictions on American tourists

European Union ambassadors agreed Wednesday to consider adding the United States to the list of countries from which nonessential travel is allowed. EU ministers will formally vote on the recommendation Friday. If approved, it would apply to all U.S. travelers, including those who are not vaccinated.

Hospitalized COVID-19 patients have one thing in common: Falling rates of COVID-19 across the United States mask a harsh reality — the overwhelming majority of those getting sick and being hospitalized today are unvaccinated, while vaccinated patients are becoming rare. Hospitals in states with the lowest vaccination rates tend to have more COVID-19 patients in intensive care units, according to hospital data collected in the past week.

  • Delta is the ‘most serious’ COVID-19 variant, scientists say. How will it affect us?

Joanna Moore writes a tribute to her cousin Wilton "Bud" Mitchell who died of COVID-19 at a symbolic cemetery created to remember and honor lives lost to COVID-19. (Photo: Lynne Sladky, AP Images)

What everyone’s talking about

  • ‘Mom needs help. I’m going to work.’ The toll of COVID-19 on the education of Florida’s migrant students.
  • 32 pelicans found mutilated: ‘Someone is intentionally breaking’ their wings.
  • ‘I knew something was wrong’: Mom helps doctors find a shard of glass lodged in her daughter’s chest.
  • ‘Sometimes we make a mistake’: A town in Florida sold its water tower for $55,000 by accident.

Senate passes bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday

The U.S. Senate passed a bill Tuesday to recognize June 19, or Juneteenth, as an official holiday. It passed with unanimous consent without a roll call vote or objections from the chamber. The Juneteenth National Independence Day Act heads to the House for approval. If it passes and Biden signs it into law, every federal employee will be granted a day off to commemorate June 19, 1865, the day enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, discovered President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed enslaved African Americans in rebel states 2½ years earlier. The day is also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day. 

  • Juneteenth is more popular than ever. This year’s celebrations come amid a culture war.
  • Juneteenth 2021: What to know about the holiday and how you can celebrate.

Black Chicagoan and Indiana horse owners ride through Washington Park on June 19, 2020, in Chicago. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when a Union general read orders in Galveston, Texas, stating all enslaved people in Texas were free according to federal law. (Photo: Natasha Moustache, Getty Images)

It’s too hot to come up with something to say here

Catch me in the swimming pool or fanning myself in front of the air conditioner. I’m taking to the water. It’s hot, y’all. 🥵 A 100-year record broken in Montana. The hottest temperature in a city in Utah in 147 years. Dozens of daily records smashed throughout many states. And the heat wave in the West isn’t letting up. More than 50 million Americans in eight states were under heat warnings and watches Tuesday as the National Weather Service urged people to remain hydrated and stay indoors. Dozens of daily records were smashed Monday and Tuesday, all the way from California to as far north as Montana. Rising temperatures were worsening the risk for wildfires, with strong winds threatening to stir up wildfires already burning and make it hard to stamp out new blazes. In California and Texas, power grid companies warned that plants are offline more than usual because of the heat and asked residents to conserve energy to avoid rolling blackouts.

Children play in the water at the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek in Denver, Monday, June 14, 2021. By mid-afternoon, the temperature hit 96 degrees Fahrenheit as part of the heat wave sweeping across the Western United States. (Photo: Brittany Peterson, AP)

Real quick

  • Department of Education: Transgender students protected at school by Title IX.
  • Kim Jong Un warns of ‘tense’ food situation in North Korea, extended COVID-19 restrictions.
  • ‘The family asked for help’: Ex-wife of Florida Publix shooter says sheriff unfairly blamed relatives.
  • ‘Offended’ Aaron Rodgers sends not-so-subtle jabs to Green Bay Packers amid rift.

A choice that cost about $4 billion

Who knew picking up a bottle of water could cost so much MONEY? Cristiano Ronaldo’s gesture for people to drink water instead of Coke at a Euro 2020 press conference may have cost the soda company $4 billion in market value. Coca-Cola shares dropped from $56.17 to $55.22 after Ronaldo moved two Coke bottles out of view and picked up a bottle of water before Portugal’s match against Hungary on Monday. Market value for the company dropped from $242 billion to $238 billion — a $4 billion plunge. “Agua!” the soccer superstar exclaimed (agua means water in Portuguese). Coca-Cola is one of the sponsors for the UEFA EURO 2020 tournament and a statement from the company reviewed by the Guardian said, “everyone is entitled to their drink preferences.” 

Cristiana Ronaldo may have cost Coca-Cola billions after he moved two bottles from his press conference and replaced with water. (Photo: UEFA via Associated Press)

A break from the news

  • 🧰 15 must-have tools for any homeowner — that means you!
  • 🏩 You gotta see these kid-themedhotel rooms dedicated to ‘Eloise,’ ‘SpongeBob,’ ‘Legos, and others.
  • 💸 Big sale, bigger deals: Best Amazon Prime Day sales to get right now.

This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Want this news roundup in your inbox every night? Sign up for The Short List newsletter here.

Source: Read Full Article