White House to host July 4 bash; Biden preps for Putin; Ledecky sets up Olympic showdown

Today is Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Let’s get caught up.

These headlines are in the news this morning: President Biden is encouraging nationwide celebrations on July 4 to celebrate freedom from the coronavirus; Biden talks trade ahead of summit with Putin; and Katie Ledecky coasts to Olympics where a challenge awaits.

Read on for these stories, other top headlines, celebrity birthdays and more.


White House to host July 4 ‘independence from virus’ bash

WASHINGTON (AP) — Cue the fireworks.

President Joe Biden wants to imbue Independence Day with new meaning this year by encouraging nationwide celebrations to mark the country’s effective return to normalcy after 16 months of coronavirus pandemic disruption.

Even as the U.S. is set to cross the grim milestone of 600,000 deaths from the virus on Tuesday, the White House is expressing growing certainty that July Fourth will serve as a breakthrough moment in the nation’s recovery. That’s even though the U.S. is not expected to quite reach its goal of having 70% of adults vaccinated by the holiday.

As COVID-19 case rates and deaths drop to levels not seen since the first days of the outbreak, travel picks up and schools and businesses reopen, Biden is proclaiming “a summer of freedom” to celebrate Americans resuming their pre-pandemic lives.


Biden looks to ease EU trade tensions ahead of Putin summit

BRUSSELS (AP) — President Joe Biden appeared to be on the cusp of ending a long-running dispute with the European Union over airline subsidies, a major breakthrough in the U.S-EU relationship could come on the eve of his highly anticipated meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After a pair of summits with Group of Seven world leaders in the U.K. and then NATO allies in Brussels, Biden meets Tuesday with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, where he was expected to discuss U.S.-EU relations and his meeting with Putin.


Need for speed: Ledecky wins 400 but slower than expected

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Katie Ledecky touched the wall far ahead of everyone else at the U.S. swimming trials.

No surprise there.

But she was taken aback by the time. It wasn’t as fast as expected, raising the stakes for an expected showdown in Tokyo with the Aussie Terminator.

Ledecky was a good five body lengths ahead of runner-up Paige Madden, touching the wall in 4 minutes, 1.27 seconds. Another time on everyone’s mind: Ariarne Titmus won the 400 free at the Australian trials on Sunday with the second-fastest performance in history — 3:56.90.


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