Congress makes Juneteenth federal holiday; US West facing new, hot normal; US Open tees off today

Today is Thursday, June 17, 2021. Let’s get caught up.

These headlines are in the news this morning: Juneteenth will become America’s 12th federal holiday, a commemoration of the end of slavery; heat wave continues to scorch US West in what could become a new normal; and the US Open tees off today at Torrey Pines.

Read on for these stories, other top headlines, celebrity birthdays and more.


TOP STORIES

Congress approves bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States will soon have a new federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery.

The House voted 415-14 on Wednesday to make Juneteenth, or June 19th, the 12th federal holiday. The bill now goes to President Joe Biden’s desk, and he is expected to sign it into law.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered. That was also about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states.

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Heat wave grips US West amid fear of a new, hotter normal

PHOENIX (AP) — An unusually early and long-lasting heat wave brought more triple-digit temperatures Wednesday to a large swath of the U.S. West, raising concerns that such extreme weather could become the new normal amid a decades-long drought.

Phoenix, which is seeing some of the highest temperatures this week, tied a record for the second day in a row when it reached 115 degrees (46 Celsius) Wednesday and was expected to hit 117 (47 Celsius) each of the next two days, the National Weather Service said.

Scientists who study drought and climate change say that people living in the American West can expect to see more of the same in the coming years.

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A return to Torrey and prime time for US Open on West Coast

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The USGA is starting to escape that reputation of an East Coast bias for the U.S. Open.

The return to Torrey Pines for the 121st U.S. Open means another prime-time show along the Western seaboard, and that’s happening with greater frequency for the U.S. Open.

It wasn’t until the 48th edition of this national championship that it ventured farther west than Colorado, with Ben Hogan winning at Riviera in Los Angeles in 1948. That was the start of eight U.S. Opens in California over a span of 50 years.

The next 25 years include just as many U.S. Opens on the West Coast, which includes Los Angeles Country Club in 2023.

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Click on the links below for full versions of these stories and scroll further for a look at today in history and celebrity birthdays.

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