July 14, 2024

The U.S. Congress narrowly avoided a government shutdown on Saturday by passing a stopgap spending bill to temporarily keep the government open; however, the bill did not include any additional aid for Ukraine. The White House and leaders of both parties in the Senate pushed for more Ukraine funding to be included, and the failure to do so highlighted the decreasing willingness of some Republicans to fund Kyiv’s war effort.

Members of both parties said they were confident that further financial commitments would be agreed to. Ukraine’s government said yesterday it was also confident that the U.S. would continue to support the country in its war with Russia.

Despite the lack of additional support for Ukraine, the bill does continue funding at current levels for 45 days and won’t immediately affect the pipeline of U.S. military aid. The bill also keeps in place a program to send money to Ukraine for purposes including training troops, and the Pentagon still has the authority to draw about $5.6 billion in arms and equipment from existing stockpiles.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy signaled yesterday that he was willing to make a deal to keep military assistance flowing to Ukraine, but that such an agreement would depend on Congress’s making significant changes to U.S. border security.

President Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia rejected U.S. assertions that he was engaged in a buildup of forces along the Kosovo border, calling them a “campaign of lies” in a video posted on Instagram. At least a dozen armored fighting vehicles could be seen returning from the border zone yesterday, according to New York Times reporters on the scene.

U.S. officials said on Friday that they were monitoring “unprecedented” Serbian military advancement along the border, raising fears that the decades-old conflict between Serbia and its former territory Kosovo — whose independence it has never recognized — was about to flare up.

Context: Serbian gunmen stormed a village in northern Kosovo last month, in a violent clash that left four people dead and was largely regarded as the most serious confrontation between the two ethnic communities in recent years.

The scale of China’s property problems — enormous levels of debt, an oversupply of apartments and consumers’ increasing wariness of buying — means the government could be forced in the coming years to spend huge sums of money bailing out banks.

That’s because China’s giant banking system, the world’s largest, is heavily exposed to the real estate crisis: Nearly 40 percent of all bank loans in the country are related to property. Pressure is building as dozens of real estate developers, including China Evergrande, the world’s most indebted developer, have defaulted or missed payments on overseas bonds.

Analysis: Beijing’s extensive control of the system means that the country could probably prevent a fast-moving crisis like the one the U.S. faced in 2008.

NASA is going to build houses on the moon — ones that can be used not just by astronauts but by ordinary civilians as well. NASA scientists believe that by 2040 the U.S. will have its first subdivision in space.

The plan is to blast a 3-D printer up there and build structures, layer by layer, using rock chips, mineral fragments and dust found on the moon’s surface. Some in the scientific community say NASA’s timeline is overly ambitious, but several NASA scientists said the 2040 goal would be attainable if the agency could continue to hit its benchmarks.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s story is improbable: He is an immigrant bodybuilder from Austria who became one of Hollywood’s biggest stars and the governor of California.

Schwarzenegger believes his life and outlook can be a model for others. At least that’s the premise of his new self-help book, “Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life,” which will be published on Oct. 10.

“What I’m doing is saying: Look, everyone that I’ve talked with, that I’ve helped and reached out to, they learned from me the sky’s the limit,” he told The New York Times Magazine in an interview. “If you fail, [expletive] it. It’s not the end of the world.”

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Justin

P.S. The Times received 16 Emmy nominations across 12 categories.

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