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Stock markets slide as inflation worries and tech selloff spooks investors – business live

stock-markets-slide-as-inflation-worries-and-tech-selloff-spooks-investors-–-business-live

Wall Street’s so-called ‘Fear Index’, the CBOE volatity index (or VIX) has risen to its highest level since March 25th.

Breaking Market News
(@breakingmkts)

$VIX HITS HIGHEST SINCE MARCH 25, LAST UP 2.09 POINTS AT 21.75

May 11, 2021

The VIX is up around 10% this morning, having also jumped on Monday.

It’s still relatively low, as this chart shows, but a rising VIX suggests investors are getting more nervous:

The VIX volatility index

The VIX volatility index Photograph: Refinitiv

Martin Baccardax
(@mdbaccardax)

Brace … Brace … https://t.co/VL7rovCfrl

May 11, 2021

European markets on course for worst day this year

European stock markets are on track for their worst day of 2021, as the tech selloff and inflation worries hit shares.

The Stoxx 600 index is currently down 2% in late-morning trading, following the slide in technology shares in New York last night and the selloff in Asia-Pacific markets today.

That would be its biggest one-day loss since late December.

Steen Jakobsen, chief investment officer at Saxo Bank, says the mood in the markets has darkened, with Japan’s Nikkei dropping 3%, its worst fall since February.


Global equities have suffered an ugly shift in sentiment after US stocks declined sharply yesterday, led by the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 index, which suffered one of its worst sessions this year and closed at is lowest in over a month.

The weak sentiment spilled over into Asia, with the Nikkei declining sharply towards major support.

The UK’s FTSE 100 is still sharply lower too, with every stock in the red.

The blue-chip index is down 160 points at 6963 points, a drop of 2.2% – which would be its worst day since late February.

It’s a broad selloff in London. Engineering companies Renishaw (-6.2%), Melrose (-5.4%) and Rolls-Royce (-4.2%) are in the top fallers, along with British Airways parent company IAG (-4.8%), and retailers JD Sports (-4.6%) and Next (-4.3%).

Technology investors are also sliding, with Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust down 4.2%. Baillie Gifford, which also invests in fast-growing tech stocks, are down 5.9% on the FTSE 250 index.

The jump in Chinese factory gate price rises earlier today, to a three-year high of 6.8%, has highlighted the inflationary pressures in the global economy.

AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould says the markets can’t shake off inflation worries today:


“Some days investors appear relaxed about inflation risks and the possibility of central banks having to lift rates and withdraw stimulus. Today is not one of those days as, after last night’s big sell-off on Nasdaq, the FTSE 100 finds itself undoing much of its recent progress and trading below 7,000.

“Surging commodity prices are acting as a canary in the coal mine for inflation – with the huge infrastructure and stimulus packages in the US a key contributing factor.

“The valuations of the tech-based growth companies in the US are harder to justify in an inflationary and rising interest rate environment – where lower risk assets typically offer higher returns – hence the big fall in the Nasdaq yesterday.

Updated

The markets love an acronym – so hat-tip to Reuters for flagging that BATs and FANGs are both giving the markets a fright.


With talk of tighter regulation from Beijing, Chinese tech heavyweights Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, collectively dubbed the BATs, all dropped more than 3%. Food delivery major Meituan tumbled as much as 9.8% too, leaving its value $30 billion lower in a week.

That followed a 3.6% plunge in the FANG+ index of large tech firms last night, with Tesla tumbling 6.4%.

Rising concerns about inflation, leading to higher interest rates, are one factor, as Mizuho’s head of multi-asset strategy Peter Chatwell explains:


“The underlying driver is that there is still a rotation out of duration (higher interest rate) sensitive parts of the market and this is why tech stocks are coming under pressure now,.

“Given the rise in the earnings power of these firms different governments will also seek to raise more tax revenue from them in the coming years.”

More here: FANGS and BATS sell-off spooks world stocks

ZEW: German economic expectations highest since 2000

Over in Germany, investor confidence has surged on hopes of an economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

ZEW, the Munich-based research institute, says its economic expectations index has jumped sharply this month, up to 84.4 from 70.7 in April.

That’s the highest reading since February 2000, suggesting broad confidence that the economic picture is improving.

Ivan Krivicic
(@IvanKrivicic)

ZEW EU sentiment highest since early 2000. pic.twitter.com/rELDI4Hysb

May 11, 2021

ZEW’s assessment of the current economic situation for Germany also improved to the highest since the start of the pandemic; although remained in negative territory – rising from -48.8 to -40.1.

ZEW president Professor Achim Wambach says the economic outlook appears to be improving considerably.


“The braking of the third wave of Covid-19 has made financial market experts even more optimistic. In the May survey, ZEW economic expectations reach their highest level in more than 20 years.

The assessment of the economic situation is also improving noticeably. The experts expect a significant economic upturn in the next six months. The economic outlook for the euro area and for the United States is also improving considerably.

Christophe Barraud🛢
(@C_Barraud)

🇩🇪 #GERMANY MAY ZEW CURRENT CONDITIONS INDEX RISES TO -40.1 (highest since Feb. 2020); EST. -41.6 – BBG

*GERMANY MAY ZEW INVESTOR EXPECTATIONS RISE TO 84.4 (highest since Feb. 2000); EST. 72.0 pic.twitter.com/XuqgQw1V0o

May 11, 2021

Germany’s economy contracted in the first quarter of 2021, under the latest lockdown. But economists predict it is returning to growth. It is also relaxing its Covid-19 restrictions for people who have been fully vaccinated, or recovered from the virus; they won’t be subject to curfews or restrictions on social gatherings.

Updated

US tech stocks could be heading for further falls today, with Nasdaq futures currently down over 1% in pre-market.

ThinkMarkets
(@ThinkMarketscom)

Risk off continues after Wall Street dropped last night. #Nasdaq futures are over 1.2% lower with European indices testing fresh session lows ^FR #stocks

May 11, 2021

Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA, says investors are concerned that tech stocks may have soared too high:


The falls overnight on equity markets, notably technology, are likely to be just as much due to extended shorter-term valuations and nervous investors than to inflation prospects. Goldman Sachs may also be partially responsible, publishing a report on technology stocks highlighting that regulatory risks are the biggest threat to the big-tech story.

That report also cited other possible threats: “High market concentration, changes in the tax code, rising interest rates and lofty valuations” could all be potential risks to the FAAMG sector (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google/Alphabet), as CNBC explains here.

CNBC
(@CNBC)

New for subscribers: Goldman says these are the biggest threats to the dominant 5 tech stocks. Check out @CNBCPro today. https://t.co/9pwt4ePUUT

May 10, 2021

The selloff isn’t abating. Instead, it’s getting a bit worse.

After more than an hour’s trading, the FTSE 100 index is down over 2.2% – shedding 160 points to trade around 6964.

That drags the blue-chip index away from its recent 14-month highs, and back below the 7,000 point mark, which it hit last month for the first time since the pandemic.

The FTSE 100 index over the last two years

The FTSE 100 index over the last two years Photograph: Refinitiv

Neil Wilson of Markets.com says “the risk-off tone” is spreading through the whole market. It’s not just a tech selloff, even though it began with the Nasdaq’s fall last night.


NatWest fell over 3% to 190p after the government offloaded a 5% stake at this price. IAG fell close to 5% as investors showed more displeasure at the government’s green list.

Scottish Mortgage dropped over 4% on its exposure to the US and other tech stocks.

Whilst this was a tech-led sell-off, the worst sectors are the reflation plays (i.e, the new ‘momentum’ stocks) – basic materials, financials and energy. On the Stoxx 600, the worst sectors this morning are consumer cyclicals, tech and basic materials with only a handful of stocks in the green.

He also agrees that inflation worries are weighing on the market — with the jump in Chinese factory gate prices showing that cost pressures are building.


If you are looking for inflation signals, China’s factory gate prices are a pretty good leading indicator. So today’s report showing that producer price inflation rose 6.8% from a year earlier in April, the fastest pace in more than three years, could be of concern. Tomorrow’s US CPI numbers are going to be closely watched. On Friday we saw the market show that an easier-for-longer Fed ought to help risk assets. But whatever the Fed tries and sticks to in terms of its employment mandate, the bond market will move if inflation takes off.

The wage component of the jobs report was underappreciated. A lack of employees will drive up wages and end prices. Wage-push inflation is more ‘dangerous’ than cost-push. My worry is we have a perfect storm of wage-push, cost-push and demand-pull pressures that won’t be as transitory as the Fed thinks (ignoring the fact that inflation is here already, has been for years in asset prices, just not in the narrow gauges used by central banks).

IGSquawk
(@IGSquawk)

#FTSE 6967 -2.20%#DAX 15100.02 -1.95%#CAC 6268.33 -1.84%#AEX 695.61 -2.29%#MIB 24499.51 -1.22%#IBEX 9020.1 -1.36%#OMX 2210.115 -2.42%#STOXX 3948.09 -1.87%

May 11, 2021

Supermarket chain Morrisons has seen a jump in fuel sales and takeaway food, as the easing of lockdown restrictions helped people return to more normal times.

My colleague Julia Kollewe explains:


Fuel sales at the supermarket group jumped 17.5% in the 14 weeks to 9 May, its first quarter, contributing to a 5.3% rise in total sales. Like-for-like sales were up 2.7% excluding fuel, and 4.7% higher including fuel.

“The pandemic is not yet over, but it is in retreat across Britain and there is much to be positive about as something approaching normal life begins to take shape,” said David Potts, the Morrisons chief executive.

“Our forecourts are getting busier, we are seeing encouraging recent signs of a strong rebound of food-to-go, takeaway counters and salad bars, and our popular cafes will soon fully reopen. The nation has a summer of socialising and sport to look forward to and we’ll all be able to rediscover the joys of meeting up and eating well together.”

Potts has also told reporters that people will want to celebrate this summer, at events such as the postponed Euro 2020 football tournament, as the pandemic eases.


“That sense of optimism is percolating through the country and it will lead to people wanting to celebrate events.

“We’ll be doing everything we can to be part of that.

Shares in Morrisons are up 0.8%, near the top of the FTSE 250 risers (the index of medium-sized companies in London.

Analyst: Selloff was long overdue

Today’s selloff comes after European stock markets, and America’s Dow Jones Industrial Average, both hit record highs this month.

Naeem Aslam, analyst at Think Markets, say:


The big sell-off in the stock market, which traders have been waiting for some time, is here.

Yesterday, traders started to punish the Big Tech on Wall Street, and as a result of this, we saw the Nasdaq index coming off its highs. The sell-off was across all sectors, and we did see the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones indices moving away from their all-time highs.

Aslam argues, though, that the economic picture is brightening:


When we look at the US stock market or the European market stock market, there is no doubt that they went too far and too fast, and a healthy retracement was long due. The keyword here is a healthy retracement, and this is what traders need to pay attention to the most. This is because if we look at the overall economic indicators over in Europe and in the US, there is no doubt that they are not only well off from their pandemic lows, but they are also indicating that a strong recovery is in place. In addition to this, we also have the massive coronavirus vaccine programme taking place in the US and in Europe, and the success of this programme has boosted morale among investors who know that things are on the right track.

Furthermore, we still have massive support from fiscal and monetary policies on both sides of the Atlantic.

There are 600 European companies in the Stoxx 600 share index…and currently 585 of them are down, with just 13 risers defying the selloff and two stocks resolutely flat.

The Stoxx 600

The Stoxx 600 Photograph: Refinitiv

The top riser is The Hut Group, whose shares have surged 15% after it struck a deal with Japanese conglomerate Softbank, which values THG’s new business-to-business tech arm at $6.3bn.

My colleague Rupert Neate explains:


The deal, announced on Monday, values THG Ingenuity, which Moulding described as a “social media influencer platform” used to promote products, at about the same amount that the whole company floated at last year.

Under the terms of the $1.6bn deal SB Management, a division of SoftBank, has bought an option to buy a 19.9% stake in THG Ingenuity that values the division at $6.3bn. SBM will also take a $730m stake in The Hut Group by taking part in a share placement.

European markets also opened sharply lower, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 index dropping by 1.6%.

Both Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC shed 1.7% in a wide-spread selloff.

Every sector of the Stoxx 600 is in the red, with travel and leisure firms, technology companies, and miners all hit hard.

Reuters has more details:


European tech shares tumbled 2.2% to their lowest level since late March, while miners handed back some of their strong gains in the previous session.

Travel and leisure stocks slumped 3.7% as Sweden’s Evolution Gaming Group tumbled 9.6% after the bookrunner announced the pricing of block trades.

The FTSE 100 is a classic ‘sea of red’, with every constituent dropping in early trading.

The FTSE 100 in early trading, May 11 2021

Photograph: Refinitiv

FTSE 100 falls sharply

The London stock market has opened sharply lower, following losses in Asia-Pacific markets overnight.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 has tumbled by 132 points, or 1.85%, down to 6991 points.

Engineering group Renishaw is the top faller, down 5.7% in early trading, followed by airline group IAG (-4.7%).

Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, which hold stakes in major technology companies, is down 4.5%, hit by the fall in tech stocks.

NatWest is down 3.3%, after the UK government cut its stake in the bank last night, selling around 5% of the company’s stock.

Retail group JD Sports (-3.2%), mining companies Rio Tinto (-3%) and Antofagasta (-2.7%), and business software developer Aveva (-3%) are also in the top fallers.

Updated

China factory gate prices jump

China’s factory gate inflation rose at its fastest rate in nearly four years last month, as manufacturers were hit by rising commodity prices.

China’s producer price index (PPI), which measures the cost of goods sold by manufacturers, jumped by 6.8% year-on-year in April.

That’s the highest reading since October 2017, and much faster than the 4.4% recorded in March.

National Bureau of Statistics statistician Dong Lijuan explained:


“In April, domestic industrial production recovered steadily, the prices of international commodities such as iron ore… rose, and prices in the production sector continued to rise.”

The jump in the PPI underlines why some economists are worried about rising inflation.

However, consumer prices in China are rising more modestly. The CPI index rose by a mild 0.9% on year, held down by weaker food prices, suggesting rising factory prices aren’t yet hitting consumers.

Shane Oliver
(@ShaneOliverAMP)

China Apr PPI inflation rose to +6.8%yoy, stronger than exp.

But CPI inflation was a bit less than expected at +0.9%yoy, with the rise from +0.4%yoy in Mar due to base effects as prices actually fell in April. Core CPI inflation rose to +0.7%yoy from +0.3%.

(Goldman Sachs chart) pic.twitter.com/OUItBmOV17

May 11, 2021

Introduction: Markets under pressure after tech selloff

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.

Stocks are sliding today as rising inflation worries, and a fall in tech stocks, send investors running for cover.

Markets across the Asia-Pacific region have fallen sharply, with Japan’s Nikkei sliding 3% – its worst day since February.

South Korea’s Kospi has lost over 1%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is down almost 2%.

It’s shaping up to be a poor day in Europe too, with the main indices called down around 1%.

David Ingles
(@DavidInglesTV)

Some equity markets in the Asia Pacific are a mess today pic.twitter.com/35b7UBld14

May 11, 2021

IGSquawk
(@IGSquawk)

NKY closes sharply lower#NIKKEI 28608.59 -3.08% pic.twitter.com/F6kp9dJoFX

May 11, 2021

The selloff follows a jittery day on Wall Street. where technology stocks fell sharply yesterday, dragging the Nasdaq down by 2.6%, its biggest one-day fall since March.

Bloomberg
(@business)

NASDAQ 100 DROPS 2.6% FOR WORST DAY SINCE MARCH https://t.co/cyCPX6gJz2 pic.twitter.com/0X5lKrcNEC

May 10, 2021

Anxiety that rising commodity prices could push inflation sharply higher, as some economies reopen from the pandemic, is one factor. Iron ore and copper both hit record highs this month, putting pressure on manufacturers as they try to obtain raw materials.

Michael Hewson of CMC Markets says:


This underperformance in the Nasdaq once again started to act as a drag on wider market sentiment as another disappointing close served to undermine confidence more broadly, and pull all US indices lower, though not before the Dow posted yet another record high.

Once again it has been concern about inflation that appears to be weighing on broader market sentiment, with commodity prices once again the major culprit, ahead of US CPI [consumer price inflation] numbers that are due out later this week.

Tech stocks are also suffering from the rotation into ‘value stocks’ — firms badly hit by the pandemic, whose sales and profits should improve as economies reopen.

In a more inflationary world, companies with low (or no) profits today, but high hopes for the future, are less attractive.

David Ingles
(@DavidInglesTV)

Chinese internet stocks traded in Hong Kong are down over 30% from the peak. pic.twitter.com/A4vYBewbA5

May 11, 2021

Last Friday’s disappointing US employment report also continues to reverberate around the markets. One theory is that hiring was so weak (just 266,000 new jobs), because of labor shortages – a mismatch between supply and demand. If so, bosses may need to raise wages to attract back workers.

Chris Weston of Pepperstone explains:


The move in commodities has been there for all to see, and reports that China is hoovering up everything in the bulks space has resonated, with copper also on a charge – this has led to ever-higher inflation expectations, and despite a fall in real Treasury yields, talk of inflation is deafening.

Indications of labour shortages have the inflationist talking up the prospect of rising wage pressures, and another feedback loop to higher inflation.

Also coming up today…

AstraZeneca faces a bruising clash with investors at its annual meeting today, with a protest vote expected against CEO Pascal Soriot’s pay packet.

A host of shareholder advisory groups and fund managers have lined up to oppose a pay-and-perks plan with a maximum value of £17.8m for 2021. If investors holding more than 50% of the company’s stock vote against the proposals at its annual meeting on Tuesday, AstraZeneca will be forced to redraw the scheme.

The agenda

  • 9am BST: China’s new Yuan Loans for April
  • 10am BST: ZEW Economic Sentiment Index for May
  • 11am BST: AstraZeneca’s AGM
  • 3pm BST: US JOLTs Job Openings for March

Updated

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Politics

Democrats’ domestic agenda faces setbacks by Republican obstructionism

democrats’-domestic-agenda-faces-setbacks-by-republican-obstructionism

Joe Biden’s far-reaching domestic agenda in the US is facing serious setbacks on a range of issues as the political quagmire of a tightly contested Senate is seeing Democratic ambitions sharply curtailed in the face of Republican obstruction.

On a number of key fronts such as pushing election reform and voting rights, efforts to curb gun control and to moving forwards on LGBTQ civil rights, there has been an effective push back by Republicans – and a handful of conservative Democrats – that is forcing Biden and the wider Democratic party on to the back foot.

The Senate, whom critics deride as an increasingly unrepresentative body that gives undue influence to smaller, less diverse Republican-run states, is scheduled to vote Tuesday on For the People Act, the voting rights bill that’s certain to be defeated having won no support from Republicans.

Republicans are expected to run down the clock – a controversial tactical rule known as a filibuster – on the package that requires lawmakers to reach a 60-vote threshold.

On Sunday, Ohio Republican senator Rob Portman shot down amendments proposed by West Virginia’s conservative Democrat Joe Manchin, whose rejection of the initial bill all-but scuttled the Democrats’ project. Portman described the planned legislation as a “federal takeover of our election system”.

“The bottom line is we should make it easy to vote in this country. We should also make it hard to cheat,” Portman said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “Again, I appreciate [Manchin is] trying to find that middle ground, and, who knows, maybe something can be done.”

By forcing Republicans to carry out their filibuster and making their opposition clear and public to a law seen as defending the voting rights of communities of color. Democrats hope to embarrass the party. But – without destroying the filibuster, which Manchin also opposes – there is little chance of the bill passing.

Senate Democrats will also test calls for unity on LGBTQ civil rights, and another bill – The Equality Act – that is in search of Republican support. Schumer said last month the upper house is “considering” a vote on the bill but has yet to schedule it. Again, Manchin is the lone Democrat hold-out.

The proposed legislation would include sexual orientation and gender identity to the protected classes of the 1964 Civil Rights Act alongside bans on discrimination based on race, color, religion and national origin.

Wisconsin senator Tammy Baldwin, one of two openly gay senators in the 100-member chamber, has said that she is lobbying Republican colleagues but has achieved only “incremental progress”.

Baldwin has said she believes the Senate should “hold off” on a vote while “negotiations are productive” and progress is being made. The Senate is split 50-50 and only in Democratic control thanks to the tie-breaking vote of Vice-President Kamala Harris.

“There may be a time where there’s an impasse. I’m still trying to find 10 Republicans [to help pass the bill],” said Baldwin.

Republicans resistance to the legislation is focused on protecting the rights of religious institutions that condemn homosexuality and opposition transgender rights in sports. Yet it comes against a backdrop of broad public, business and judicial support on the issue.

Manchin, an anti-abortion Democrat , has said he is “not convinced that the Equality Act as written provides sufficient guidance to the local officials who will be responsible for implementing it”. But he has also said he’ll seek to “build broad bipartisan support and find a viable path forward for these critical protections”.

Nor are Democrats currently likely to find broader opportunities for political unity on infrastructure spending where large-scale Democratic proposals are running into Republican counter-offers of a fraction of the size.

Former Republican presidential adviser Karl Rove told This Week with George Stephanopoulos President Biden faces two paths on infrastructure and both are riddled with obstacles. “[It will be] a bipartisan deal small enough to get Republican support, but not big enough to keep Democrats united, or a go-it-alone and go-for-broke plan that progressives want, with a price tag as high as $6tn that’s likely too big to pass,” Rove said.

Similarly, pending gun control legislation may also be resistant to winning enough support to pass.

As it stands, two House-passed bills to expand background checks on gun buyers have all but stalled out in the Senate. But rather than push legislation that Republicans will reject, Democrats may instead push for a vote on increasing the number of online and gun show sales covered by FBI background checks – a significant retreat on the original proposals.

Senator Chris Murphy, the Democrats’ point person to win Republican support for gun control, said he’s still talking with Republican leaders about “some ideas that would involve the expansion of background checks without getting all the way to universal”.

Asked if a bill on gun show checks would be favored by Republicans, two senators involved in discussions, Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey and South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, offered a cool take on that likelihood.

“We’ll see if it goes anywhere,” Graham told Politico.

Toomey, who is set to retire next year, said: “Honestly, it’s unclear at this point.”

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Politics

Florida Pride parade crash that killed one appears unintentional, officials say

florida-pride-parade-crash-that-killed-one-appears-unintentional,-officials-say

A member of a men’s chorus group unintentionally slammed into fellow chorists at the start of a Pride parade in South Florida, killing one member of the group and seriously injuring another, the group’s director said Sunday.

The statement clarified initial speculation that it was a hate crime directed at the gay community.

The Wilton Manors vice mayor, Paul Rolli, and the Fort Lauderdale mayor, Dean Trantalis, said the early investigation shows it was an accident. The driver was taken into custody, but it was unclear whether he had been charged.

“The early investigation now indicates it looks like it was a tragic accident, but nobody’s saying finally what it is,” Rolli told the Associated Press in a phone interview.

The driver and the victims were a part of the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus family, a small 25-member group of mostly older men.

“Our fellow Chorus members were those injured and the driver is also a part of the Chorus family. To my knowledge, this was not an attack on the LGBTQ community,” President Justin Knight said in a statement Sunday, calling it “an unfortunate accident”.

Fort Lauderdale police detective Ali Adamson told reporters Saturday that authorities were investigating all possibilities from the collision. The police department did not immediately respond to additional questions about the investigation Sunday.

Trantalis, who is Fort Lauderdale’s first openly gay mayor, initially told reporters the act was deliberate, adding to the confusion Saturday night.

“It terrorized me and all around me … I feared it could be intentional based on what I saw from mere feet away,” he said in a Twitter statement Sunday. “As the facts continue to be pieced together, a picture is emerging of an accident in which a truck careened out of control.”

Wilton Manors is a tight-knit community near Fort Lauderdale with a vibrant downtown filled with cute shops, where people line up for Rosie’s famous hamburgers or to gossip and drink at Georgie’s Alibi Monkey Bar.

Photos and video from the scene showed Democratic Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz in tears while in a convertible at the parade.

In a statement Saturday night, Wasserman Schultz said she was safe but “deeply shaken and devastated that a life was lost”.

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Politics

Covid ‘remains a serious and deadly threat’ for unvaccinated people, Biden says – live

covid-‘remains-a-serious-and-deadly-threat’-for-unvaccinated-people,-biden-says-–-live

Democratic congressman Ted Lieu accused the US Conference of Catholic Bishops of hypocrisy for taking steps toward rebuking Catholic politicians who receive Communion and support abortion rights.

“Dear @USCCB: I’m Catholic and you are hypocrites,” Lieu said on Twitter.

Referring to Donald Trump’s attorney general, Lieu added, “You did not tell Bill Barr, a Catholic, not to take communion when he expanded killing human beings with the death penalty. You are being nakedly partisan and you should be ashamed. Another reason you are losing membership.”

Ted Lieu
(@tedlieu)

Dear @USCCB: I’m Catholic and you are hypocrites. You did not tell Bill Barr, a Catholic, not to take communion when he expanded killing human beings with the death penalty. You are being nakedly partisan and you should be ashamed. Another reason you are losing membership. https://t.co/kpIYRolnHD

June 18, 2021

Lieu also joined dozens of other Catholic Democrats in Congress in signing on to a “statement of principles” urging the USCCB not to continue with their efforts.

“We believe the separation of church and state allows for our faith to inform our public duties and best serve our constituents,” the statement says.

“The Sacrament of Holy Communion is central to the life of practicing Catholics, and the weaponization of the Eucharist to Democratic lawmakers for their support of a woman’s safe and legal access to abortion is contradictory.”

Joe Biden has arrived in his home state of Delaware, where he will be spending the weekend. The president did not take any questions from reporters as he boarded and later exited Marine One.

The Hill
(@thehill)

President Biden arrives in New Castle, Delaware pic.twitter.com/Dhx3wsqVWM

June 18, 2021

Jill Biden will travel to Jackson, Mississippi, and Nashville, Tennessee, on Tuesday to visit coronavirus vaccination sites and encourage more Americans to get vaccinated.

The first lady, the vice-president and the second gentleman have recently been participating in a nationwide tour to areas with lower vaccination rates to encourage people to get their shots.

Michael LaRosa
(@MichaelLaRosa46)

🚨 HAPPENING TUESDAY: @FLOTUS ✈️ heads to Jackson, Mississippi and Nashville, Tennessee pic.twitter.com/rsheXMmMLf

June 18, 2021

Speaking at the historically Black Clark Atlanta University in Georgia today, Kamala Harris urged Americans to reject misinformation about the vaccines and protect themselves against the virus.

“Let’s recognize that we have power in every moment of crisis, including this one,” Harris said.

David Smith

Mike Pence, the former US vice-president, has been heckled as a “traitor” for his refusal to overturn last year’s election result during a speech to a gathering of religious conservatives.

Pence, who is widely seen as laying the groundwork for a White House run in 2024, had entered an auditorium in Orlando, Florida to a standing ovation on Friday. But a small group began shouted abuse including “traitor!” as he began a 28-minute speech. The dissenters were quickly escorted out by police.

Earlier, in a corridor outside the ballroom, an attendee named Rick Hurley, wearing a red “Make America great again” cap, also vented his frustration over Pence’s role in certifying Donald Trump’s defeat on 6 January amid false claims of voter fraud.

“We need to start fighting!” Hurley shouted at anyone who would listen. “We need to stop being so damned nice. What the hell’s going on? Why is Pence coming today? Donald Trump has his pen in his back still.”

Before being taken aside by police, he also remarked: “I’m ready to fight. I’m going to boo him off stage. I’ll take the bullet. I’ll walk to the front of the stage and look him in the eye and and say, ‘What are you doing here?’

In an interview, Hurley said he had been at the US Capitol on 6 January. “I want to know why Pence is here today.” he said. “He stabbed Donald Trump in the back and took the coins like Judas.”

Dozens of Catholic Democrats in Congress signed on to a letter denouncing the efforts to rebuke lawmakers who receive Communion and support abortion rights.

“We believe the separation of church and state allows for our faith to inform our public duties and best serve our constituents,” the letter says.

“The Sacrament of Holy Communion is central to the life of practicing Catholics, and the weaponization of the Eucharist to Democratic lawmakers for their support of a woman’s safe and legal access to abortion is contradictory.”

Rosa DeLauro
(@rosadelauro)

As Catholic Democrats, we are committed to making real the basic principles that are at the heart of Catholic social teaching: helping the oppressed, protecting the least among us & ensuring that all are given opportunities to share in the blessings of this great country. pic.twitter.com/nZHeUVfP2j

June 18, 2021

The lawmakers who signed the letter — including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Joaquin Castro and Ted Lieu — also made a point to list some of the Republican policies that they say contradict Catholic teachings.

“No elected officials have been threatened with being denied the Eucharist as they support and have supported policies contrary to the Church teachings, including supporting the death penalty, separating migrant children from their parents, denying asylum to those seeking safety in the United States, limiting assistance for the hungry and food insecure, and denying rights and dignity to immigrants,” the letter says.

The lawmakers encouraged the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to not continue with its efforts, saying, “We solemnly urge you to not move forward and deny this most holy of all sacraments, the source and the summit of the whole work of the gospel over one issue.”

‘I don’t think that’s going to happen,’ Biden says of efforts to block him from receiving Communion

Joe Biden took a couple questions from reporters after concluding his prepared remarks on his administration’s coronavirus vaccination efforts.

One reporter asked the president for his response to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops taking steps toward rebuking Catholic politicians, such as Biden, who receive Communion and support abortion rights.

“That’s a private matter, and I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Biden replied.

The AP has more details on the USCCB’s decision:


U.S. Catholic bishops overwhelmingly approved the drafting of a ‘teaching document’ that many of them hope will rebuke Catholic politicians, including [Biden], for receiving Communion despite their support for abortion rights.

The result of the vote — 168 in favor and 55 against — was announced Friday near the end of a three-day meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that was held virtually.

The bishops had cast their votes privately on Thursday after nearly three hours of impassioned debate.

Supporters of the measure said a strong rebuke of Biden was needed because of his recent actions protecting and expanding abortion access, while opponents warned that such action would portray the bishops as a partisan force during a time of bitter political divisions across the country.

Covid ‘remains a serious and deadly threat’ for unvaccinated people, Biden says

Joe Biden has just finished delivering remarks on reaching 300 million coronavirus vaccine doses administered since he took office in January.

The president praised the “whole of government response” that has allowed millions of Americans to get vaccinated. As of today, 65% of American adults have received at least one vaccine shot.

“Above all, we got here because of the American people,” Biden said.

ABC News
(@ABC)

Pres. Biden: “We’ve built equity into the heart of our vaccination program from day one.” https://t.co/xY8G8YiI04 pic.twitter.com/4HBMqXSsfN

June 18, 2021

The president also touted his administration’s efforts to get Americans of color vaccinated, while acknowledging more works needs to be done in that regard.

“We’ve built equity into the heart of our vaccination program from day one,” Biden said. “The more we close the racial gap in vaccination rates, the more lives we’ll save.”

While looking ahead to the country’s “summer of joy” as pandemic-related restrictions are relaxed, Biden emphasized that coronavirus “remains a serious and deadly threat” for unvaccinated Americans.

The president also warned that the delta variant of the virus could pose an even worse threat to unvaccinated people. Speaking directly to unvaccinated Americans, Biden said, “Act. Act now.”

Updated

As Joe Biden prepares to deliver an update on US vaccination efforts, Kamala Harris is in Atlanta, Georgia, to encourage more Americans to get their shots.

Speaking at the historically Black Clark Atlanta University this afternoon, Harris denounced misinformation about the coronavirus vaccines, saying, “Let’s arm ourselves with the truth.”

CBS News
(@CBSNews)

Harris speaks about the dramatic drops in COVID infections and deaths over the past five months: “Let’s recognize that we have power in every moment of crisis, including this one…When the American people come together, in the spirit of community, we can do anything. Anything.” pic.twitter.com/SIJlFEh57Z

June 18, 2021

The vice-president also noted that most of the Americans currently hospitalized with coronavirus are unvaccinated.

“Let’s recognize that we have power in every moment of crisis, including this one,” Harris said. “When the American people come together, in the spirit of community, we can do anything. Anything.”

As we prepare for Joe Biden’s remarks on the ongoing coronavirus vaccination efforts in the US, some reporters shared photos of a rainbow-lit hallway at the White House.

The colorful lights appear to be an homage to LGBTQ+ Pride month, which began on June 1.

darlene superville
(@dsupervilleap)

White House hallway lit up in rainbow colors for Pride Month. pic.twitter.com/lNFysOB31z

June 18, 2021

300 million vaccine shots administered since Biden took office, White House announces

More than 300 coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered since Joe Biden took office in January, the White House announced in a press release.

“Today, thanks to the President’s COVID-19 strategy, the virus is in retreat. 300 million shots have been administered in 150 days, COVID-19 cases and deaths have decreased by more than 90 percent, and the economy is experiencing the strongest rebound in decades,” the White House said.

“The results are clear: America is starting to look like America again, and entering a summer of joy and freedom.”



A man receives a shot at the FEMA-supported COVID-19 vaccination site at Valencia State College in Orlando.

A man receives a shot at the FEMA-supported COVID-19 vaccination site at Valencia State College in Orlando. Photograph: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock

The White House noted that 65% of American adults have now received at least one vaccine dose, and 55% of adults in the US are fully vaccinated. Additionally, 15 states and DC have gotten more than 70% of adults at least partially vaccinated.

However, it is still unclear whether the US will hit Biden’s goal of having 70% of all American adults at least partially vaccinated by July 4, when America celebrates its Independence Day.

Biden is expected to deliver an update on his administration’s vaccination efforts at any moment, so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump has endorsed a Republican Senate candidate running against Lisa Murkowski, the Republican senator from Alaska who is up for reelection next year.

“Lisa Murkowski is bad for Alaska,” Trump said in a new statement. “Her vote to confirm Biden’s Interior Secretary was a vote to kill long sought for, and approved, ANWR, and Alaska jobs. Murkowski has got to go! Kelly Tshibaka is the candidate who can beat Murkowski—and she will.”

The endorsement is not a surprise, given that the former president has frequently criticized Murkowski since she voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial earlier this year.

Trump said of Tshibaka, “Kelly is a fighter who stands for Alaska values and America First. … Kelly is a powerful supporter of the Second Amendment and JOBS! I look forward to campaigning in Alaska for Kelly Tshibaka. She has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”

According to CNN, Tshibaka has previously written in support of an “ex-gay” Christian organization that promoted conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Mike Pence heckled at conservative Christian conference

Victoria Bekiempis

Former Vice President Mike Pence was heckled during his speech at a conservative Christian conference on Friday, with some attendees shouting “traitor!” according to Forbes.

“It is great to be back with so many patriots, dedicated to faith and freedom and the road to the majority,” Pence remarked.

Pence, speaking at the Trump supporter-filled Faith & Freedom symposium, was cheered when he took the stage, NBC News journalist Ali Vitali said. Less than thirty seconds into his address, however, yelling emerged from the audience.

Andrew Solender
(@AndrewSolender)

Pence gets drowned out by hecklers at the Faith & Freedom Coalition summit, some of whom appear to be chanting “traitor!” pic.twitter.com/pAQxavsK3O

June 18, 2021

One woman who yelled “traitor!” was escorted out, Vitali reported.

Although Pence served Trump dutifully, some of the ex-president’s supporters turned on him. On 6 January, a mob of Trump’s supporters breached the US Capitol in an attempt to overturn the election.

Some insurrectionists shouted “hang Mike Pence,” shortly after Trump remarked that he would feel “very disappointed” if his then-deputy didn’t overturn the results, per Forbes.

Updated

Today so far

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • Republicans pushed back against Joe Manchin’s compromise proposal on a voting rights bill, which the Democratic senator laid out in a memo to colleagues this week. Manchin’s bill would include Republican demands like requiring voter ID and allowing voter purges, but Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said the proposal was still “an assault on the fundamental idea that states, not the federal government, should decide how to run their own elections”.
  • Joe Biden released a proclamation recognizing Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in America. Biden signed a bill yesterday to make Juneteenth, which falls on June 19, a federal holiday. “Juneteenth is a day of profound weight and power,” Biden said in his proclamation. “On Juneteenth, we recommit ourselves to the work of equity, equality, and justice.”
  • Kamala Harris is visiting Atlanta, Georgia, as part of her tour to encourage more Americans to get vaccinated against coronavirus. Visiting a pop-up vaccination site at Ebenezer Baptist Church this afternoon, the vice-president thanked those present for getting their shots. “What you are doing truly is about leadership. These vaccines are safe and effective. It will save your life and lives of people that you love,” Harris said.

The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

Joe Biden is nominating former congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small to a senior role in the department of agriculture, the White House just announced in a statement.

If confirmed by the Senate, Torres Small, who lost her reelection bid last year, would become undersecretary of rural development at the USDA.

“In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, Representative Torres Small kept a rural hospital from closing its doors, improved constituent access to healthcare over the phone, and helped secure tens of millions of dollars for broadband in New Mexico through USDA’s ReConnect Program,” the White House said.

“Throughout her career, Torres Small has employed her experience organizing in vulnerable, rural communities to achieve lasting investments that combat persistent poverty.”

Torres Small served only one term in the House before being defeated in November by Republican Yvette Herrell, who won the race in New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District by about 7 points.

Kamala Harris toured the pop-up vaccination site at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, and she thanked those who are getting their shots today.

“What you are doing truly is about leadership. These vaccines are safe and effective. It will save your life and lives of people that you love,” the vice-president said, per a press pool report. “We’re here to say thank you.”

Harris toured the vaccination site with several Democratic lawmakers, including Georgia senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.

After Harris made her remarks to the newly vaccinated people at the site, Warnock joked, “The vice-president preached a good sermon today. Amen!”

Harris visits Georgia to encourage coronavirus vaccinations

Kamala Harris has arrived in Atlanta, Georgia, where she will continue her tour of southern states to encourage more Americans to get their coronavirus vaccines.



Kamala Harris exits Air Force Two, Friday, June 18, 2021, on arrival to Atlanta.

Kamala Harris exits Air Force Two, Friday, June 18, 2021, on arrival to Atlanta. Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Harris is scheduled to tour a pop-up vaccination site at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr once preached, and then deliver remarks at a vaccination mobilization event at Clark Atlanta University, a historically Black college.

The vice-president will also later participate in a conversation on voting rights with community leaders at the university.

As part of Joe Biden’s “month of action” to increase vaccination rates, Harris kicked off her southern tour with a trip to South Carolina earlier this week.

“Vaccination gives protection,” Harris said in Greenville. “This act, in a way, is a projection of love thy neighbor.”

Updated

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