Sunshine and Glistening Seas on the Cover of Your Beach Read Might Mask Something Darker

Publishers put a blue sky and sand dunes on the cover no matter the subject; ‘The Hemlock Sisters’ becomes ‘The Sunshine Sisters.’ …read more

Inflation Stayed High in May, According to Fed’s Preferred Measure

The pace of consumer price increases held steady last month at close to a four-decade high. …read more

Biden will not directly ask Saudis to increase oil production during visit

President Joe Biden said Thursday he will not directly ask Saudi Arabia’s leaders to increase oil production when he visits the kingdom next month, insisting that his trip to the Middle East is not focused on one-on-one engagement with King Salman or Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“That’s not the purpose of the trip,” Biden said at a press conference in Madrid in response to a question about direct engagement with Saudi leadership and how he would balance those interactions with his pledge to more directly address the kingdom’s human rights record.

Biden is set to travel next month to Saudi Arabia to participate in a summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council with leaders across the Middle East. There, Biden said he will see the king and crown prince, but he won’t directly ask them about oil production.

“No, I’m not going to ask them,” Biden said. “All the Gulf states are meeting. I’ve indicated to them that I thought they should be increasing oil production generically, not to the Saudi Arabia in particular. I hope we see them in their own interests concluding that makes sense to do.”

Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia marks a reversal of sorts for the president, who pledged during his 2020 campaign to make the kingdom a “pariah” over its record of human rights abuses. Last year, the Biden administration made public a U.S. intelligence report which found that bin Salman approved the operation that led to the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside a Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

But on Thursday, Biden was insistent that his trip to Saudi Arabia would focus on regional, not bilateral, issues.

“It’s in Saudi Arabia. It’s not about Saudi Arabia. It’s in Saudi Arabia,” Biden said of the summit. “There’s a whole range of things that go well beyond anything having to do with Saudi Arabia.”

The president also stressed the United States’ commitment to Israel, which he will visit before traveling to Saudi Arabia. There, Biden said he will affirm the two countries’ “unbreakable bond” and work to “deepen Israel’s integration to the region… which is good for peace and good for Israeli security.”

Biden will also speak with leaders about managing the war in Yemen, he said.

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Biden: War ‘will not end with a Russian defeat of Ukraine in Ukraine’

President Joe Biden on Thursday vowed that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine “will not end with a Russian defeat of Ukraine in Ukraine.”

The president’s pledge came during a news conference at the conclusion of the NATO summit in Madrid — where Biden sought to rally Western allies to prolong their support for Ukraine, and where Finland and Sweden signed an agreement with Turkey that paved the way for the two Nordic nations to join the mutual-defense military bloc.

“Putin thought he could break the transatlantic alliance,” Biden told reporters. “He tried to weaken us. He expected our resolve to fracture. But he’s getting exactly what he did not want. He wanted the Finland-ization of NATO. He got the NATO-ization of Finland.”

“We are going to stick with Ukraine, and all of the alliance is going to stick with Ukraine as long as it takes to, in fact, make sure that they are not defeated,” Biden said.

Reiterating his commitment, Biden said American drivers would be forced to bear the costs of increased gasoline prices brought on by Russia’s invasion for “as long as it takes.” Russia, he added, “cannot, in fact, defeat Ukraine and move beyond Ukraine. This is a critical, critical position for the world.”

Despite Biden’s declaration about NATO’s resolve, there has been a growing public divergence among allies over how long the war will last, the lengths to which Western governments will go to help Ukraine win and what exactly a victory might look like.

Still, NATO leaders have remained forceful in their official condemnations of Putin’s invasion, adopting a new “Strategic Concept” on Wednesday that branded Russia as “the most significant and direct threat to Allies’ security and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area.”

That same day, Biden announced plans for the United States to send more naval destroyers, air defense systems and redeployed troops further into eastern Europe in the coming months.

U.S. officials also worked to assuage Turkey’s concerns about Finland and Sweden becoming NATO member states; Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had been angered by what he claimed was Helsinki and Stockholm’s support for Kurdish militants and arms embargoes on Ankara.

Erdoğan ultimately backed away from blocking Finland and Sweden’s membership bids on Tuesday, as the Biden administration expressed support for Turkey buying roughly $6 billion worth of F-16 fighter jets and modernization kits from Lockheed Martin. U.S. officials have denied any linkages between the potential arms sale and the NATO expansion.

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Man, 72, beaten to death during fight with cousin in NYC apartment: cops

The victim was discovered lying in bed unconscious and unresponsive with head trauma when cops responded to a 911 call at the apartment on Kosciuszko Street near Tompkins Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant around 4:30 a.m., police said.  …read more

ICC issues arrest warrants for war crimes committed during Russia-Georgia war

The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for three people, including two Russians, for suspected war crimes in the 2008 Russia-Georgia war. …read more

Ben & Jerry’s slam Unilever’s ice cream sale to Israeli licensee

“We continue to believe it is inconsistent with Ben & Jerry’s values for our ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” Ben & Jerry’s tweeted on Wednesday. …read more

Key inflation gauge tracked by the Fed remains a high 6.3%

A measure of inflation that is closely tracked by the Federal Reserve jumped 6.3% in May from a year earlier, unchanged from its level in April. Thursday’s report from the Commerce Department provided the latest evidence that painfully high inflation is pressuring American households and inflicting particular harm on low-income families and people of color…. …read more

Why Rwanda doesn’t celebrate Independence Day

On July 1, Rwanda marks 60 years of independence from Belgium. Unlike other African countries that celebrate with pomp and festivities, Independence Day in Rwanda is a somewhat muted affair. …read more

Seven firefighters injured as Rices fire in Northern California swells past 900 acres

Crews battling the Rices fire are contending with dangerously steep terrain and drought-dried brush that can easily act as fuel, officials said.

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