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VPM Daily Newscast: June 24, 2021

VPM's daily newscast contains all your Central Virginia news in just 5 to 10 minutes. Episodes are recorded the night before so you can wake up prepared.        

Listeners can subscribe through NPR One, Apple Podcasts, Megaphone, Spotify and wherever you get your podcasts.    

Here’s a recap of the top stories on the morning of Thursday, June 24, 2021: 

  • Governor Ralph Northam is calling the General Assembly back for a special session in August. When they meet, lawmakers will need to figure out how to spend more than $4.3 billion in federal coronavirus relief funding.  Some ideas include investments in public health services, economic recovery programs, and upgrading public schools to improve air quality and safety. The special session will begin on Monday, August 2.
  • Virginia’s constitution will mark its 50th anniversary on July 1. As Ben Paviour reports, it replaced a document that was built on white supremacy.
  • Yesterday, a federal appeals court dismissed Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax’s libel lawsuit against CBS. The court found Fairfax failed to prove the network acted with “malice” when it broadcast exclusive interviews in 2019 with two women who accused him of sexual assault.  Fairfax alleges CBS failed to thoroughly investigate the women’s claims and was motivated to air them for a national audience by the #MeToo movement. Fairfax -- who recently lost his bid for the democratic nomination in the Governor’s race -- has maintained his innocence, asserting both encounters were consensual.
  • The group in charge of establishing independent oversight of the Richmond Police Department will get more time to present its proposal to city council.  As Whittney Evans reports, the Civilian Review Board Task Force will have until the end of August.  
  • Virginia’s unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent last month. In a press release, Governor Ralph Northam says the new number is lower than a year ago and below the national average of 5.8 percent. The unemployment rate measures the number of workers in the labor force who don’t have a job, but are actively looking for work. The only states with lower unemployment are Alabama and Georgia. 
  • City officials say their response to economic hardship caused by the pandemic has gotten Richmond an international recognition. During the mayor’s weekly press briefing yesterday, the Director of Economic Development, Leonard Sledge, reported the city received high marks for potential global investment by the trade publication “FDI Intelligence.” Mayor Levar Stoney added Richmond’s post-pandemic comeback has to be centered in equity, in jobs, homes, schools and neighborhoods.  
  • Virginia Union University and Apple are teaming up to create a “Smart Campus.” The historically Black college announcedthis week that it will provide first-year students with a technology bundle including an I-Pad, Apple Watch and Air-Pods.  School officials say it’s part of a new initiative called “Mobile Learning, Mobile Life,” to prepare students for a digital future. They say the partnership will also allow Apple to provide programming and app development classes for all students. Doors will open to the “Smart Campus” for students in the class of 2025. 
Ian M. Stewart is the transportation reporter and fill-in anchor for VPM News.
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