Saluting Old Glory 🇺🇸

·5 min read

We're celebrating Flag Day in America while President Joe Biden meets with NATO leaders in Brussels. And an "unruly passenger" who forced a flight to be diverted was ID'ed as a flight attendant.

👋 It's Laura. It's Monday's news, just for you.

But first, watch out. The queen's got a sword. ⚔️ Y'all, this video has been cracking me up all weekend. Watch Queen Elizabeth insist on cutting a cake with a huge sword, because why not? 😂

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Stars & Stripes forever

Happy Flag Day! 🇺🇸 Stuck between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, Flag Day often gets overlooked. It falls on June 14, which is Monday this year. The patriotic holiday was established by President Woodrow Wilson on May 30, 1916, but was not included in the 1968 Uniform Holiday Act, which excluded it as a federal holiday. It is the day, 244 years ago, when Congress commemorated Betsy Ross' creation of the Stars & Stripes as our national flag. Last week, Biden declared June 13 the start of National Flag Week and directed officials to display the flag on all federal buildings this week.

The top of the Washington Monument and part of a U.S. flag are reflected in the sunglasses of Austin Clinton Brown, 9, of Gainesville, Ga., as he poses at the Capitol where he joins others in the March on Washington on Aug. 29, 1963.
The top of the Washington Monument and part of a U.S. flag are reflected in the sunglasses of Austin Clinton Brown, 9, of Gainesville, Ga., as he poses at the Capitol where he joins others in the March on Washington on Aug. 29, 1963.

'I want NATO to know America is there'

So what has Biden been up to while he's been in Europe? Well, on Monday, at the second stop on his three-stop overseas trip to Europe, President Biden visited NATO headquarters in Brussels. While in Belgium, he met with NATO leaders and will hold talks on Tuesday with the European Union. "There is a growing recognition over the last couple years that we have new challenges," Biden said during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. "I want NATO to know America is there."

Meanwhile, in a fresh provocation from Russian President Vladimir Putin as he prepares to sit down with Biden for a high-stakes summit this week, the Russian autocrat said he could not guarantee opposition leader Alexei Navalny would leave prison alive. Putin also denied ordering an assassination attempt on the anti-corruption crusader. Biden and Putin will meet Wednesday in Geneva, amid escalating tensions over Russia-based cyberattacks, the Kremlin's suspected election interference in the U.S., and Putin's efforts to stifle dissent inside Russia.

President Joe Biden arrived to the NATO summit in Brussels, where he held a short bilateral meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
President Joe Biden arrived to the NATO summit in Brussels, where he held a short bilateral meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

What everyone's talking about

  • Tropical depression forms off the North Carolina coast, could become Tropical Storm Bill.

  • Family of Alton Sterling accepts $4.5M settlement nearly 5 years after he was killed by police.

  • 'We still have so much to do': Vice President Kamala Harris marches at Pride parade.

  • Birmingham news anchor and former Alabama football player Christopher Sign dies at 45.

8 states seeing rise in coronavirus cases

Although new coronavirus cases are declining across most of the nation, eight states are seeing increases – and seven of those have below-average vaccination rates, new data reveals. Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii, Missouri, Nevada, Texas, Utah and Wyoming have seen their seven-day rolling averages for infection rates rise from two weeks earlier. All of them except Hawaii have recorded vaccination rates lower than the U.S. average of 43% fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

And in a huge step forward for Novavax, the fifth company to receive major federal support for its COVID-19 vaccine, its vaccine is more than 90% effective, according to data the company released Monday. It expects to request federal authorization for the vaccine this summer after it completes final chemistry, manufacturing and control requirements.

Today's numbers: The U.S. has more than 33.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases and at least 599,700 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Novavax, the fifth company to receive major federal support for a COVID-19 vaccine, reported Monday that its vaccine was more than 90% effective.
Novavax, the fifth company to receive major federal support for a COVID-19 vaccine, reported Monday that its vaccine was more than 90% effective.

Woman killed, 3 hurt when car plows into crowd

Just before midnight Sunday, a car rammed into a group of protesters in the Minneapolis neighborhood where a Black man was shot and killed by sheriff's deputies this month. A woman was pronounced dead at the hospital after the crash, and three people were treated and released for non-life-threatening injuries, police said Monday. The suspect drove a car into the crowd and was pulled from the vehicle before being arrested, and Minneapolis police said drug or alcohol use by the driver may be a factor. The city has been on edge since the death of George Floyd more than a year ago. There have been multiple protests in Minneapolis' Uptown neighborhood after Winston Smith Jr, a 32-year-old Black father of three, was shot by two deputies June 3 during an attempted arrest.

Discarded police tape lays outside a Target Monday, June 14, 2021, in Uptown Minneapolis.  Minneapolis police and witnesses say a woman was killed and multiple others were injured when an SUV struck a parked car and tossed it into demonstrators during a protest late Sunday in Minneapolis.
Discarded police tape lays outside a Target Monday, June 14, 2021, in Uptown Minneapolis. Minneapolis police and witnesses say a woman was killed and multiple others were injured when an SUV struck a parked car and tossed it into demonstrators during a protest late Sunday in Minneapolis.

Real quick

'Unruly' flight passenger ID'd as off-duty flight attendant

An "unruly passenger" who caused a stir, forcing a Delta Air Lines flight to divert Friday, was confirmed to be an off-duty Delta flight attendant, Delta spokesman Eric Zeugschmidt said Monday. The passenger, who Zeugschmidt said is an inactive employee who had been on leave, got ahold of the plane's public announcement system and told passengers to get back in their seats, saying oxygen masks would deploy soon. The diverted aircraft landed in Oklahoma City, where the man was taken into custody by law enforcement. The incident is the latest in a reported increase of unruly passengers, which has forced a crackdown by the FAA as travel volumes pick up.

  • Flight diverted: Delta flight forced to divert after an 'unruly passenger' tries to breach cockpit.

  • Record travel numbers: TSA screened more than 2 million on Friday for the first time since the pandemic hit.

Passengers push their luggage on arrival in Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport in London, on June 3, 2021.
Passengers push their luggage on arrival in Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport in London, on June 3, 2021.

A break from the news

  • 💭 'It's a very fluid thing': What your pansexual friend wishes you knew.

  • 📈 Will the stock market take a breather? Here’s what the second half of 2021 could look like for your retirement investments.

  • 🙇‍♀️ Paris Jackson said the paparazzi traumatized her. What exactly is trauma?

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.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Flag Day, Biden at NATO, COVID-19 cases rising, Novavax, unruly passenger ID'ed as off-duty flight attendant. It's Monday's news.

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