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5 things to know for June 16: Tornadoes, Classified docs, Covid, Pope Francis, Iran

By Alexandra Meeks, CNN

(CNN) — The US is facing a serious shortage of airline pilots that is already grounding planes ahead of a record-breaking travel season. Some lawmakers believe shorter training programs would bring more pilots on board, but others are concerned that decreasing standards may produce inadequately trained flight crews.

Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

1. Tornadoes

At least three people were killed and dozens were hospitalized Thursday after a tornado ripped through a town in the Texas Panhandle. The massive tornado rolled through Perryton, Texas, with over 100 mph winds, officials said. At least 200 homes were destroyed, with the area impacted stretching up to a mile and a half in length. Perryton, a town of just over 8,000 people in the northern part of the state, remains completely without power this morning. Resources from surrounding areas have poured into the town to provide assistance. On Thursday, there were a total of two tornado reports in Texas, four in Oklahoma and one in Michigan, according to the National Weather Service, with the tornado in Perryton being the most significant.

2. Classified documents

The 21-year-old Air National Guardsman accused of posting a trove of classified documents on social media has been formally indicted on six counts of willful retention and transmission of classified information related to national defense, the Justice Department announced on Thursday. The Massachusetts native has not yet entered a formal plea and remains in federal custody after being arrested in April and charged under the Espionage Act. He allegedly took classified information from Otis Air National Guard Base and is accused of posting the information on Discord, a popular social media platform among gamers. The revelation left former and current defense personnel baffled at how he retained his security clearance and was able to continue sharing classified information for months.

3. Covid-19 boosters

A panel of 21 advisers to the FDA unanimously voted Thursday that Covid-19 vaccines should be updated for the fall. As the coronavirus shows no signs of slowing its evolution, the advisers agreed that a new vaccine should protect against just one strain of the coronavirus — a departure from the currently available bivalent vaccines, which are designed to target both the original strain and the BA.4 and BA.5 versions of Omicron. The FDA appears set to follow that advice, which would also keep it in step with international guidance. The World Health Organization said in May that its advisory group recommended that updated vaccines target an XBB strain of the virus and leave out the original version.

4. Pope Francis

Pope Francis was discharged from Rome’s Gemelli hospital today where the 86-year-old was recovering from abdominal surgery last week that renewed health fears. The pontiff left the hospital smiling and waving in a wheelchair, images showed. Well-wishers and medical staff had lined the walkway outside of the hospital in a bid to see the pope, who joked about his recovery as he left for the Vatican: “Thank you, thank you journalists. I’m still alive.” He is set to deliver his weekly Angelus prayer this Sunday and is well enough to keep nearly all of his appointments, the Vatican added.

5. Iran

The US has quietly resumed indirect talks with Iran in an effort to constrain the country’s nuclear program, multiple sources told CNN. The talks resumed late last year, months after an effort to revive the Iran nuclear deal collapsed. The Trump administration withdrew from the landmark agreement in 2018 and Iran has increasingly grown its nuclear program since. Stakes are high for the renewed efforts, which come ahead of the 2024 US presidential election and will face scrutiny from lawmakers and a key US ally in the Middle East: Israel. The US is also engaged in trying to secure the release of multiple Americans who have been detained in Iran — something the Biden administration has called a top priority.


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Which state was the first to recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday?

A. Georgia
B. Texas
C. New York
D. Virginia

Take CNN’s special edition Juneteenth quiz to see what you know about Emancipation Day, the oldest known US celebration of the end of slavery.

In commemoration of the federal holiday, CNN will broadcast a live Juneteenth concert featuring Miguel, Chlöe Bailey, and other Black artists on Monday, June 19 at 8 p.m. ET.


$250 million

That’s how much Twitter is being sued for by music publishers who allege that the social media platform “breeds massive copyright infringement that harms music creators.” Twitter’s alleged permissiveness around users sharing copyrighted songs has unlawfully helped fuel the company’s growth, according to the National Music Publishers’ Association, whose members include Universal, Sony and Warner Music Group.


“This significant achievement is an exclamation point on her long track record of protecting civil liberties and civil rights.”

A spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union, congratulating Nusrat Choudhury after she made history Thursday as the first Muslim woman confirmed as a federal judge.


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The fastest time to solve a Rubik’s Cube ever recorded
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