5 things to know for June 18: Affordable Care Act, Juneteenth, Covid, Iran, China

The planet is trapping roughly double the amount of heat in the atmosphere than it did nearly 15 years ago, according to new analysis from NASA and NOAA.

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1. Affordable Care Act

The Supreme Court has dismissed a challenge to the Affordable Care Act brought on by Republican-led states. The justices decided that the opponents in this case, who urged justices to dismiss the entire 2010 law, weren’t actually harmed by ACA provisions because Congress has reduced the penalty for failing to buy health insurance to zero. This was the third major challenge to the landmark healthcare reform law, and while the decision has preserved the ACA for now, there will undoubtedly be more Republican challenges. One such lawsuit is currently brewing in Texas, in which a group of individuals and businesses are arguing that an ACA provision requiring insurers to offer certain free preventative services is unlawful. About 31 million Americans have health coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

2. Juneteenth

Juneteenth is now officially a federal holiday. President Joe Biden signed a bill into law yesterday commemorating June 19, 1865, the day slaves in Texas were told of their emancipation. Juneteenth is the first holiday to be approved since Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which was established in 1983. Since Juneteenth falls on a weekend this year, some state government offices may be closed today in observance. Juneteenth gained wider recognition following the wave of racial justice activism last summer. While many have welcomed the new holiday, other nationwide issues related to race and equality are still being met with division. Congress is all but stalled on police reform legislation, debates are roiling about teaching critical race theory in schools, and several states have passed or are trying to pass laws threatening the voting rights of underserved communities.

3. Coronavirus

The Biden administration has announced it will invest more than $3 billion for the discovery, development and manufacturing of Covid-19 antiviral medicines, like a pill someone could easily take at home early in an illness. Meanwhile, the US is still trying to reach a goal, set by President Biden, of at least partially vaccinating 70% of the adult population by July 4. Experts continue to sound the warning of possibly dangerous consequences if the US doesn’t meet such thresholds. In Indonesia, hundreds of health workers have been sickened with Covid-19 even though they received the Sinovac vaccine, raising even more questions about the efficacy of some vaccines against more infectious variants.

4. Iran

Voters are heading to the polls today in Iran for a controversial election that is all but guaranteed to deliver a hardline president after all the other serious contenders were barred from the race. The practically uncontested frontrunner is Ebrahim Raisi, a close associate of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Raisi lost a 2017 election and has headed the country’s judiciary for the last two years. He emerged as the likely victor after an election supervisory body barred his main rivals from the race in a widely criticized move. If he wins, Raisi and his government will have to confront an economic crisis exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, calls for constitutional reform and growing questions around the succession plans for Khamenei, 81, who is the final arbiter of all Iranian affairs.

5. China

A coronavirus outbreak in a powerful shipping region in China could end up snarling holiday shopping, even though the holidays are half a year away. Last month, authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong — home to some of the world’s busiest container ports — canceled flights, locked down communities and suspended trade along its coastline to bring a rapid spike in Covid-19 cases under control. Things have improved, but the shipping damage is already done. The shutdown created a huge backlog of shipping containers and vessels waiting to dock. This congestion has led major shipping companies to warn clients of delays, changes to vessel routes and destinations and spikes in fees. The whole situation could take months to clear.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Vacation home sales spiked during the pandemic

Some people bought houseplants. Other people just bought … more houses.

New England Aquarium honors woman’s 38-year-old ticket

It’s never too late to see the fish!

A mannequin is going to the moon, and you can help NASA name it

It’s currently being called a “moonikin” and frankly, that’s going to be hard to top.

This disgusting ‘house from hell’ is listed for $600,000 … and getting multiple all-cash offers

The real estate agent said “you can feel the smell.” Looking at the pictures, she’s definitely right.

Murder hornet’ found near Seattle is the first US sighting in 2021

No! No more scary bugs! Go back to 2020 where you belong!

TODAY’S NUMBER

26%

That’s how much of the American TV viewer’s diet is spent on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. That’s still less than cable, which accounts for about 39% of all TV consumption, according to Nielsen.

TODAY’S QUOTE

It’s never an easy decision to take but after listening to my body and discuss it with my team I understand that it is the right decision.”

Rafael Nadal, who has announced he is pulling out of Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics. Fellow champ Naomi Osaka has also pulled out of Wimbledon, but still plans to compete at Tokyo.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

And who are YOU?

In honor of Father’s Day this weekend, an all-time dad video, in which a baby meets her father’s twin brother and gets INCREDIBLY confused.

(Click here to view)

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