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US has hit an encouraging milestone in the fight against the pandemic, with more than half of a XX now having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. NPR’s XX has more:
Nearly one in 30 million US adults 18 and older have got at least one dose of the vaccine according to a tracker from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Data from the CDC show more than 84 million Americans of all ages have been fully vaccinated, including 65% of those 65 and older. The CDC reports more than 109 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered, while more than 92 million Moderna shots have been given. A vaccine from Johnson & Johnson which is currently on pause as officials evaluate its side effects has been given to more than 7 million people in the US.
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France is imposing entry restrictions on travellers from Argentina, Chile, South Africa and Brazil. XX reports the French government wants to keep out especially contagious coronavirus variants.
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French nationals and their families, EU citizens and those with a permanent home in France will be allowed in, or will have to undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine and tougher testing requirements. France’s vaccine effort is taking off with 15% of the population now vaccinated. French officials don’t want to risk letting new highly-contagious variants into the country. The head of the EU’s vaccination campaign says 70% of all EU citizens will be able to be vaccinated by mid-July. Many countries in Europe are hoping to salvage some of their 2021 summer tourist season. French president Immanuel Macron says his government supports creating a certificate to facilitate travel between European countries.
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The Biden administration says the President is committed to raising the cap on refugee admissions this year, but as NPR’s XX reports the Secretary of State indicated the cap may not go as high as the administration’s initial goal.
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Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the Biden administration may not meet its goal of more than quadrupling the annual cap on refugees currently set at 15 thousand.
“It’s going to be very hard to meet the 15 thousand this fiscal year.” Speaking at ABC, Blinken blamed the Trump administration for cutting the refugee program.
President Biden on Saturday also cited the challenge posed by thousands of migrant children arriving at the southern border, publicly calling the situation a crisis for the first time.
Biden signed an order last week leaving in place the historically low refugee cap set by former President Trump, but the White House reversed of course under pressure from immigrant advocates and democratic allies, and it’s now promising to raise the cap by next month.

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In Minneapolis, after 3 weeks of testimony, closing arguments are going underway tomorrow on the murder trial of former police officer XX charged at the death of George Floyd. The jury then starts deliberations. The city is bracing for more protests. National guard members are on stand-by and schools are going remote later this week in anticipation of any protests.

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In Berlin the German defence ministry is preparing to offer refuge visas to Afghans who have helped the German military during its time in Afghanistan. As XX reports, Germany is set to join the US in withdrawing its remaining troops this summer.
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Defence Minister XX says Germany has a deep obligation to protect Afghan nationals who face danger for helping the XX. Speaking to the German news wire DPA, XX stressed Sunday that locals have worked alongside the military for many years risking their own safety and that they must not be left behind. Germany provides just over a thousand of the 10 thousand NATO troops still stationed in Afghanistan and employs 300 locals. The XX is due to pull out of the mission by mid-August.
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NASA is preparing to attempt the first controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet tomorrow. The space agency is planning a short flight of a small helicopter buzzing over the surface of Mars called Ingenuity. XX the 4-pound solar-powered helicopter will slowly ascend straight up to an altitude of 10 feet, hover in place for 30 seconds and then descend.
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