Germany Eyes Coal, Yellowstone, and New York's Dolphins

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Good morning. It's Monday, June 20, and we're covering a shift in Germany's energy plans, damage assessments in Yellowstone National Park, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at hello@join1440.com.

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NEED TO KNOW

 

Germany Turns to Coal

German officials announced yesterday the country would restart a number of coal-fired power plants over the coming months as part of an effort to conserve natural gas supplies amid the ongoing war in Ukraine. The move comes in response to Russia's recent throttling of gas exports to Europe, while breaking with climate pledges made by Olaf Scholz, who was elected chancellor in December. 

 

Natural gas accounts for about 25% of Germany's energy consumption (see overview), the majority of which is used for heating and industrial purposes. Roughly one-third—down from more than half—of Germany's gas supplies come from Russia.

 

In related news, at least two US veterans who traveled to fight in Ukraine have been captured by separatists in the country's eastern Donbas region. It remains unclear whether a third American reported missing in the area has been captured. 

 

See updates on the war here.

Yellowstone Recovery

Efforts to rebuild parts of Yellowstone National Park damaged by severe floods last week may take years and cost more than $1B, according to estimates over the weekend. The assessment comes as park officials said Yellowstone's southern loop, which includes the famed geyser Old Faithful, would reopen to a limited number of visitors Wednesday. 

 

Heavy rains combined with melting snow over the June 10 weekend led to surging water levels across regions of southern Montana and northern Wyoming. Flooding in the northern half of Yellowstone washed out roads, destroyed bridges, and forced the evacuation of roughly 10,000 visitors (see photos). The high waters caused the nearby town of Billings, Montana, to temporarily suspend operations at its primary water plant.

 

The park's limited construction season typically runs from around mid-April to late October. See aerial footage of the damage here.

Macron Loses Majority

French President Emmanuel Macron lost control of the country's parliament yesterday, after his centrist coalition failed to win a majority of the 577-seat body in national elections. The outcome means Macron, elected to a second term in April, will likely face significant challenges in achieving legislative priorities. 

 

Macron and his political allies in the National Assembly faced stiff opposition from both the left and the right. A progressive coalition led by veteran left-wing politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon appears on track to win around 140 seats, while Marine Le Pen's conservative populist bloc is projected to take 90 seats—a significant jump from the eight seats won in 2017. As of this writing, Macron's bloc is projected to take around 230 to 240 seats.

 

Analysts say frustration with major parties has led to a drop in voter enthusiasm, with less than half of eligible voters casting ballots. 

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IN THE KNOW

 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Matt Fitzpatrick edges Masters champion Scottie Scheffler to win golf’s 2022 US Open (More) | Colorado Avalanche take 2-0 lead over Tampa Bay Lightning after 7-0 win in Game 2 of Stanley Cup Final; Game 3 is tonight (8 pm ET, ABC) from Tampa Bay (More)

 

> World swimming governing body sets new rules for transgender athletes; policy includes restrictions on athletes who experienced male puberty from competing in women's events (More)

 

> Oscar-winning screenwriter and director Paul Haggis arrested in Italy on sexual assault charges (More) | Two actors killed in car crash while working on Netflix's "The Chosen One" (More)

Science & Technology

> US health officials give final sign-off on COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as 6 months old; shots expected to be available as early as today (More) | US COVID-19 deaths continue to hover around 300 per day; see data here (More)

 

> Former Amazon employee found guilty of hacking customers' cloud data systems, stealing information linked to 2019 Capital One data breach that exposed more than 100 million records (More)

 

> Traumatic brain injuries can rewire neural connections across brain regions not directly associated with the injury, new study shows (More)

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close mixed Friday (S&P 500 +0.2%, Dow -0.1%, Nasdaq +1.4%), markets post worst week since 2020 (More)

 

> Bitcoin drops below $20K for the first time since November 2020, now down over 70% from November 2021 high of $69K (More)

 

> Apple store workers in Towson, Maryland, vote to join a union, the first US Apple retail store to unionize (More)

Politics & World Affairs

In partnership with Ground News

> Colombia elects Gustavo Petro, a former rebel and mayor of the capital city of Bogotá, as president; Petro becomes the first leftist politician to lead the country (More)

 

> Texas lawmakers say officials from Uvalde, Texas, to cooperate in probe of the police response during May's mass school shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead (More) | City had previously declined a request for documents from the state attorney general (More)

 

> More than 200 people killed in an ethnic attack by rebel groups in Ethiopia; officials say the mass killing comes amid rising ethnic tensions across the country (More)

From our partners: How does your news influence your politics? Ground News reveals just how powerful framing is in our current media landscape. Compare how breaking news is being covered by thousands of bias-labeled news sources—all independently rated, all in one place. Become a Ground News subscriber and transform the way you read the news. 

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ETCETERA

 

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Dried tea bags are rife with insect DNA.

 

Clickbait: When you're just taking your goose for a stroll.

 

Historybook: Samuel Morse patents the telegraph (1840); HBD Beach Boys cofounder Brian Wilson (1942); Mobster Bugsy Siegel is murdered (1947); HBD actress Nicole Kidman (1967); Manjil–Rudbar earthquake kills 35,000-50,000 (1990). 

 

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