robert massimi
7 min readJun 16, 2021

No Bull With Raging Robert.

Robert Massimi.

Biden Meets Putin

President Joe Biden will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in person for the first time as president in Geneva today, a sit-down that comes on the tail end of Biden’s first European tour.

Officials don’t expect a major breakthrough, as the meeting comes at a particularly tense time between the two countries. Among topics of contention include arms control, election interference, the imprisonment of Russian dissent leader Alexei Navalny, recent cyberattacks, and more. See what both sides are targeting during the meeting here.

The summit comes after Putin held an interview with NBC News Friday, in which he referred to Biden as a stable career politician, while stating the relationship between the two countries is at the lowest point in years. The pair will hold separate news conferences following the meeting, rather than a joint one, in a sign of the strained ties.

COVID-19 Timeline

The coronavirus may have been present in isolated cases across the US as early as December 2019, a new analysis suggests. The findings possibly reset the timeline and geography of the virus’ spread at the beginning of the pandemic. The first officially recognized case was believed to be a Washington state man who had returned from Wuhan, China, Jan. 15, 2020. Officials maintain widespread community infections did not gain momentum until February 2020.

The study analyzed blood samples taken from roughly 24,000 Americans between January and March of last year (read abstract). Nine samples tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies — suggesting infections had occurred at least two weeks prior to the sample being taken. Seven of the positive tests were dated before their state’s first recorded case, and were located in Illinois, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Mississippi.

The news comes as the US passed 600,000 reported COVID-19 deaths yesterday. The rolling average of new cases in the country has dropped to around 13,500 per day, while 61.5% of Americans over the age of 12 — and 87% of seniors — have received at least one vaccine dose.

Western Sizzle

More than 40 million people are under heat advisories as a stifling heat wave settles over the western US, bringing temperatures 10 to 25 degrees above average in parts of the country. An excessive heat watch is in effect from Nevada westward to California and stretching northward to Montana (see map).

Driven by a bulge in the jet stream (how it works), forecasters say the heat wave is notable not only for its potential for record-setting temperatures, but for its length, with many locations expected to reach new daily highs through the end of the week. During the latter half of the week, California’s Death Valley is expected to come within 10 degrees of the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth — 134 degrees Fahrenheit.

Separately, a tropical depression appears likely to form in the Gulf of the Mexico within the next two days, possibly dropping up to 10 inches of rain in Louisiana.

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

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> Harvey Weinstein, already serving prison time in New York for rape conviction, to be extradited to California to stand trial on separate sexual assault charges (More)

> Alex Cooper and her podcast “Call Her Daddy” to depart Barstool Sports for Spotify in $60M deal (More) | “Gone Girl” actress Lisa Banes, 65, dies 10 days after hit-and-run accident (More)

> MVP Nikola Jokic and Stephen Curry highlight 2020–21 All-NBA teams (More) | Kevin Durant becomes first player in NBA playoff history with at least 45 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists in single game (More)

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Science & Technology

> Delta coronavirus variant doubles the risk of hospitalization, study shows; Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines shown to work against the strain, other vaccines still being tested (More) | See which variants are dominant in the US (More)

> Engineers compile library of more than 11,000 detailed hand gestures using a motion glove with five separate sensors; may be used for training visual recognition systems controlled by hand movement (More)

> MD Anderson, MIT/Harvard Broad Institute to partner on a new translational research platform focused on treating rare cancers (More)

Business & Markets

> Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donates $2.7B to 286 organizations, third multibillion-dollar donation totaling $8.5B since July 2020 (More)

> US monthly retail sales fell 1.3% in May, but were up 28% over last year, as Americans reduce spending on large expenditures and increase on services including restaurants (More) | Lumber prices fall 40% from record levels seen in early May, prices still remain roughly three times higher than previous years’ pricing (More)

> IRL becomes latest social networking app to achieve unicorn status — private company valued over $1B (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> Senate confirms Lina Khan, an advocate for antitrust measures against Big Tech, to the Federal Trade Commission in a 69–28 vote (More)

> Southern Baptist Convention elects centrist Alabama Pastor Ed Litton as new president in a 52%-48% vote; the SBC is the largest Protestant and second-largest Christian denomination in the US (More)

> Released emails show Trump administration officials pushed Justice Department to investigate alleged election fraud claims in January (More) | Health and Human Services inspector general to review grants linked to Wuhan virology lab (More)


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“The seed must grow regardless of the fact that it’s planted in stone.”

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robert massimi

Drama critic for Nimbus Magazine, Metropolitan Magazine and New York Lifestyles Magazine. Producer, editor and writer.