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Need to know: here are your top 6 national and international news stories for June 22, 2021.

1. Senate Republicans block voting rights bill 

On Tuesday, Senate Republicans blocked the For the People Act. Vice President Harris presided over the Senate during the vote, even though she was not required to be there. 

50 Democrats voted in favor of the bill, and all 50 Senate Republicans voted against the legislation. 

Senator Manchin backed the voting rights bill, which comes after his previous oppositions for the voting rights legislation. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer stated that he and Manchin met and came to a compromise on Tuesday. “I’m pleased to report that Senator Manchin and I have come to an agreement. Sen. Manchin has informed me that he will vote yes on the motion to proceed to debate the legislation” said Schumer.

In a statement released by Manchin, he states he has, “Found common ground with my Democratic colleagues on a new version of the bill that ensures our elections are fair, accessible and secure. Today I will vote yes to move to debate this updated voting legislation as a substitute amendment to ensure every eligible voter is able to cast their ballot and participate in our great democracy.” 

However, despite Manchin’s vote, and numerous Democrats’ plea for the notion of democracy, Senate Republicans still killed the bill. 

Democrats pushed for this legislation in response to arising voting restriction laws in Republican-led states. Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated today that President Biden finds efforts to restrict voting “absolutely revolting.” Republicans however believed that the bill was a federal overreach into states voting rules. 

A total of 60 votes were needed for the bill to pass. After the vote, Senator Schumer ensured that “The fight to protect voting rights is not over, by no means.” 

Vice President Harris spoke briefly with the press after the vote stating, “The bottom line is that the President and I are very clear, we support S1, we support the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and the fight is not over.” 

2. Kim Yo-Jung shuts down United States’ hopes to talk

On Tuesday, Kim Jong-un’s sister dismissed the possibility of talks between the United States and North Korea on nuclear weapons. 

Last week Kim Jong-un stated that North Korea should be ready for dialogue. Jake Sullivan, U.S. National Security Advisor, said in response that Kim Jong Un’s statement was an “interesting signal.” 

Despite hopes, Kim Yo-Jung made clear that the U.S anticipating dialogue would “plunge them into a greater disappointment.” 

“It seems that the U.S. may interpret the situation in such a way to seek a comfort for itself,” she said. 

Her position on the issue comes a day after Sung Kim, the US North Korean special envoy, expressed the U.S would meet with North Korea, “anywhere, anytime, and without preconditions. 

Sung Kim is currently on a trip to Seoul, Korea to meet with South Korean and Japanese leaders. Kim stated that the United States seeks “calibrated and practical” ways for the regime to give up nuclear weapons. 

3. Putin pens an OpEd

On Tuesday, Russian President Putin criticized NATO for its expansion and promoted a pipeline that would run Russian gas to Europe, in an op-ed published in Die Ziet weekly German newspaper. 

“Fourteen new countries, including the former Soviet Union republics, joined the organization, effectively dashing hopes for a continent without dividing lines,” said Putin. 

He believes that NATO’s efforts to embrace former Soviet Nations were responsible for increasing issues concerning security. 

Putin expressed that “The whole system of European security has now degraded significantly.”

Despite his stance, Putin still believes that security in Europe can only be achieved together.  

“Russia is in favor of restoring a comprehensive partnership with Europe,” Putin ensured. 

The release of Putin’s op-ed comes during the 80th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. 

4. The United States takes down Iran-linked news sites

On Tuesday, U.S. authorities seized Iran-linked news sites due to a spread of disinformation. 

A U.S. official confirmed that the United States took down about three dozen websites, many of which were linked to disinformation efforts. 

The U.S Bureau of Industry and Security, Offices of Export Enforcement, and the FBI, executed the website seizes “as a part of law enforcement action.” 

The U.S official stated that these seizures happened amid increasing tensions between the countries of Iran and the U.S.

The relationship between the two countries has significantly deteriorated since former President Trump withdrew from Tehran’s nuclear deal and return of devastating sanctions on the country.

The U.S also took over news site Palestine Today, in efforts to stop misinformation following the conflict between Palestine and Israel.  

 5. Infrastructure

With ongoing talks over infrastructure, today the Press Secretary stated that the White House team had a productive meeting with a bipartisan Senate group working on infrastructure. 

“While progress was made, more work remains to be done. We expect our team to meet again with the bipartisan group later today or tomorrow, as schedules permit,” said Psaki. 

Senator Susan Collins, a member of this group, stated, “We’re continuing to work and flesh it out.” 

On Monday President Biden met with Senator Joe Manchin and Senator Sinema, two senators Biden has accused of voting with Republicans.

According to a White House official, Biden expressed to the two Senators that he was encouraged by bipartisan efforts but still has questions “about the policy as well as the means for financing the bipartisan group’s proposal.” 

The bipartisan group is reportedly very close to an agreement but still has to agree upon how the infrastructure proposals will be paid for. 

6. First Openly Gay NFL Player

Yesterday, NFL player Carl Nassib came out as gay in a video posted to his Instagram account. 

“I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay,” said Nassib. Carl Nassib’s announcement made him the first openly gay active player. He wrote on Instagram that he “agonized over this moment for the last 15 years.” 

Nassib believes that “Representation and visibility are so important.” He hopes that one day coming out announcements, like his, will no longer have to be necessary for people in the future.

The NFL player also announced in his video he will be donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project, an organization that provides suicide prevention services for the LGBTQ community. He does this in hopes of helping LGBTQ youth that he says is “5 times more likely than their straight friends” to commit suicide. 

Nassib’s coming out comes during Pride month. 

Jaala Brown

Jaala Brown is Gen Z Voice at The Pavlovic Today.