News Wrap: U.S. reservoir hits record low, Labor Department gives mixed economic outlook

Judy Waldmeister:

In the other news of the day: U.S. health regulators have extended the expiration date of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine by six weeks. This extends the shelf life from three months to 4.5 months with normal storage. The announcement comes after state officials warned that many stored cans would expire before the end of the month.

The US Department of Labor today issued a mixed economic outlook. Unemployment claims fell to a new pandemic low of 376,000 for the sixth week in a row. Meanwhile, consumer prices rose 5 percent in May from last year. This is the largest 12-month rise in inflation since 2008. The increased demand for goods and services in the wake of the reopening of the economy and supply bottlenecks have caused this increase.

There is movement in Washington when it comes to infrastructure. Tonight a group of 10 senators, five from each party, announced a bipartisan agreement. They have yet to discuss this with their Senate colleagues and the White House, but this new plan would mean about $ 579 billion in new spending.

President Biden had proposed an increase of $ 1 trillion. Another Republican group had only reached $ 250 billion.

A reservoir that supplies much of the western United States has hit a record low as the region struggles with extreme drought. Levels at man-made Lake Mead in Arizona and Nevada on the Colorado River are expected to continue to decline through November. This will put further pressure on the area’s water supply and electricity generation at the lake’s Hoover Dam.

The US envoy to the United Nations today called on the Security Council to address the conflict in northern Ethiopia publicly. Fighting between the army and rebels has been devastating the Tigray region since November. The UN estimates that 350,000 people there are struggling with food shortages. And most of the region’s 5.5 million people could face famine if the fighting escalates.

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