Today’s Headlines: Biden and Putin’s meeting
President Biden says he emphasized human rights issues in his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. That includes the cases of two Americans who Biden says are “wrongfully imprisoned” in Russia.
President Biden said his meeting with Vladimir Putin was “frank,” but the Russian leader deflected criticism.
Biden and Putin’s Meeting
President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin both emerged from more than three hours of direct talks declaring their first meeting a success. Notwithstanding that they made little tangible progress toward immediately improving the strained relationship between Washington and Moscow.
Biden and Putin had opened the Geneva meeting with gestures of respect. Putin, notorious for late arrivals, pulled into the driveway of the summit site first and ahead of schedule. Biden arrived 15 minutes later at the front door of the picturesque 18th century villa and stood with Putin as Swiss President Guy Parmelin welcomed them.
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On a point of agreement, Biden said he and Putin concurred on efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Additionally, the two sides agreed to start an interagency dialogue to improve relations and return their ambassadors to each other’s capitals soon.
Biden had dismissed questions about whether he was meeting with Putin — whom he had called “a worthy adversary” — too soon in his presidency, noting that NATO allies who’d spoken to him about it uniformly expressed their support.
If Biden drew any red lines with Putin, he was primarily vague in describing them during a 33-minute news conference with U.S. reporters following the talks.
— The House passed legislation designating June 19 as a new federal holiday, just a day after the Senate voted unanimously to approve a mirror bill commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. The rare bipartisan legislation will go to Biden’s desk just a day or two before Juneteenth on Saturday.
— Voting rights bills are fizzling in Congress. Can Vice President Kamala Harris persuade voters to care? On Wednesday, she met with a group of Democratic state lawmakers from Texas in her highest-profile event yet.
— The U.S. government ended two Trump administration policies that made it harder for immigrants fleeing violence to qualify for asylum, especially Central Americans.
Newsom’s Fortunes Rise, for Now
As Californians streamed into Universal Studios behind him, an unmasked and unusually jovial Gov. Gavin Newsom declared Tuesday that the state was reopened and finally ready to “turn the page” after a tough year.
And as he ends COVID-19 restrictions, Newsom is doing his best to shut the book on the recall — months before the election.
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Newsom was praised for his health-first approach to governing. But muddled policies, school closures and his damaging missteps, such as his French Laundry dinner during the state shutdown, frustrated even some of his staunchest supporters and inflamed an angry bloc of voters who had grown tired of his emergency use of executive powers.
Although the timeline appears to be working in Newsom’s favor now, that doesn’t mean other unforeseen problems won’t arise.
The recall date has not been set, and while Newsom’s advisors want to push for an earlier election, late summer timing could affect voter turnout if parents are preoccupied as their children return to school. In addition, less likely political dangers, such as a botched response to a natural disaster, sweeping power outages, or other major governing failures, could present challenges.
The Body Collector
Karl, 45, is an all-but-invisible man. He works in the massive Loma Linda University Medical Center’s dispatch department, wheeling patients from hospital rooms to radiology for MRIs and CT scans. He delivers specimens to labs, moves supplies and medications, transports blood and plasma.
He has held the same job for the last 16 years. He is tall and thin, with curly reddish hair and a sprinkling of freckles across his nose. Before working at the medical center, he had a factory job in Tucson. These days he lives in San Bernardino, describing himself in one sentence: “I’m just a regular guy who loves life, I love people.”
Due to the pandemic, Karl became the person who moved the dead bodies from the rooms, then took them to the morgue. Thus, Karl became the body collector.
Karl is a Christian, a deeply private man of very few words. He does not want his last name used or his photograph taken. Nevertheless, he was willing to answer questions about himself, his work and the pandemic’s impact — but only via email.
More Top Coronavirus Headlines
— Now that California has eased its COVID rules, many customers at stores, restaurants and hotels want things to be normal. Here’s what workers think.
— As case numbers decline and states reopen, the U.S. campaign to defeat COVID-19 is turning into a slog, with a variant gaining a bigger foothold.
— The European Union is recommending that member countries start lifting restrictions on tourists from the United States. The move was adopted during a meeting in Brussels of permanent representatives to the 27-nation bloc.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
On June 17, 1947, while responding to a citizen’s phone call, Los Angeles police found Linda Henderson, 7, and her dog, Butch, sleeping in an automobile’s back seat.
The citizen reported seeing the child sleeping in the car three nights in a row. Police left a note on the car and took the child and dog to the Wilshire Station.
Henderson reported that she and her mother, Louise M. Carringer, had no place to live. Carringer confirmed they had been living in the car. She was charged with child neglect. This photo was published on Page 1 of the June 18, 1947, Los Angeles Times. Unfortunately, a search of The Times’ archives failed to turn up a follow-up report on the homeless family.
— Ana Guerrero, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s top aide, posted sexual innuendo and disparaging comments about city employees and politicians on a private Facebook group that included other mayoral staff and supporters, according to posts reviewed by The Times. After the newspaper inquired with the mayor’s office about her Facebook messages, Guerrero issued a statement expressing remorse.
— Veteran journalist Jesse Macias, who for decades delivered the news to San Diego television audiences while breaking barriers as a Latino reporter, has died at 73.
— Culver City police are investigating a possible hate crime after a man assaulted an Asian American woman on a sidewalk Monday.
— In Los Angeles, the push to rid store shelves of flavored tobacco products has run into opposition from hookah sellers, who argue it could destroy a cherished tradition among Armenians, Arabs and other communities.
— In a farewell speech, outgoing L.A. schools leader Austin Beutner called the system a “model for the nation,” focusing on accomplishments. But others worry about work still ahead.
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— A St. Paul, Minn., man accused of speeding up and driving into a group of protesters in Minneapolis while he was drunk, killing one person, was charged with intentional second-degree murder.
— A new report offers unsparing details about a series of digital sex crime scandals that have roiled South Korea in recent years, prompting soul-searching about deep-rooted sexism.
— A nuclear power plant near Hong Kong had five broken fuel rods in a reactor, but no radioactivity leaked, the Chinese government said in its first confirmation of the incident.
— Authorities in Germany say that the number of far-right extremists in the country increased last year as neo-Nazis sought to join protests against pandemic-related restrictions.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
— Amazon Studios has announced several goals to boost diversity on its series and films as streamers expand their reach and aim to reflect their audiences worldwide.
— “Luca” is Pixar, Italian style — and one of the studio’s loveliest movies in years, writes film critic Justin Chang.
— After three seasons, NBC has decided not to renew “Manifest” despite its three-day reign as one of Netflix’s top 10 shows this week. But it won’t stay off the air if the show’s fans and creators can help it.
— It’s been more than a year of agonizing uncertainty for indie booksellers in Los Angeles and beyond. Reopening is a welcome — if anxiety-inducing — new chapter.
— The Federal Reserve will likely nudge up interest rates sooner than expected in response to sizzling economic growth and a spike in prices that has sparked inflation fears.
— AMC Entertainment appears to be closing in on key Los Angeles-area Pacific Theatres locations, but the fate of ArcLight Cinemas’ Hollywood theater and historic Cinerama Dome remains unclear.
— Paul George — “Playoff P” — scored 37 points led the Clippers to a Game 5 win, with fellow star Kawhi Leonard sidelined with a knee injury, over the Utah Jazz and to the brink of history.
— The Phillies shut out the Dodgers to salvage the final game of their three-game series. And despite Shohei Ohtani’s 19th home run, the Angels were swept by the Athletics after blowing an early lead.
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— A Justice Stephen G. Breyer retirement could help depoliticize the Supreme Court. Moreover, his remaining on the bench under current political circumstances will make it harder for the court to reclaim a reputation for standing above partisan politics, writes The Times’ editorial board.
— Many Americans refuse to talk honestly about Juneteenth, writes columnist LZ Granderson. They’re avoiding difficult conversations about the past.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
— During the pandemic, customers came to rely on Amazon’s speedy shipping. What they didn’t see were labor practices that rely on churning through workers. (New York Times)
— Wondering why you can’t get your hands on the latest sneaker drop? Well, you can thank the overwhelming hype culture around sneakers, the genius of tech and the boom of social media for the commoditized market. (AfroTech)
— As “Yoga with Adriene” grew a massive YouTube following, host Adriene Mishler’s dog Benji became one of the most famous dogs in America. But he hasn’t let it go to his sweet, soft little head. (Texas Monthly)
ONLY IN L.A.
Before fans could attend in person, Austin Donley and his father bought fan cutouts to be placed behind the outfield fence at Dodger Stadium. On the third day of the season, Dodgers catcher Will Smith hit a home run, and the ball collided with the head on Austin’s cutout. Now, when historians reflect upon how fans experienced that pandemic season, this might be the lasting image: a fake fan nearly decapitated by a real ball.
Today’s newsletter was curated by Laura Blasey and Daric L. Cottingham. Comments or ideas? Email us at email@example.com.
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