President Biden welcomed Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson of Sweden to the White House today to emphasize America’s support for the Nordic nation’s swift acceptance into NATO.
The entry of Sweden into NATO would be a major blow for the president Vladimir Putin of Russia, who tried to stop the expansion of the alliance. Sweden broke from decades of neutrality when it applied to join after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.
But as the alliance prepares for a show of unity at a summit in Lithuania next week, the only major obstacle is Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a NATO ally. He was able to block Sweden because admission requires unanimous consent.
Erdogan’s objection centers on his accusation that Sweden has hosted Kurdish exiles and refugees associated with what Turkey considers a terrorist group. The US tried to appease the Turkish leader, including supporting the sale of new F-16 fighter jets to Turkey, but Erdogan did not budge. (The burning of a Koran in Stockholm last week could further complicate matters.)
My colleague Michael Crowley, who covers diplomacy, told me that Sweden’s acceptance remained more likely than not in the long run, but that Erdogan’s opposition should not be seen as half-hearted.
“Erdogan has a history of causing a stir about things like this, specifically in the context of NATO, and in the end he agrees to a deal against things he wants,” Michael said. “The expectation is that that will happen here. The only problem is: That’s what people told me their expectation was a year ago, and he’s still not retiring.”
The race is on to build AI bots for businesses
In less than a year, ChatGPT has helped change the way office work is done. Developers, for example, turned to the product to improve or fix code when they got stuck, speeding up the creative process. But companies are also wary of sharing their internal data with a public chat room.
That realization has created an opening for tech companies that are racing to build and sell AI robots that can be designed to suit a customer’s needs. Some of the products produce code, and others analyze documents or summarize meetings.
More top news
Ukraine: The Russia war has divided Republican candidates between those who see a global role for the United States and those who are more isolationist. This is where they all stand.
Washington: The Secret Service is investigating who brought cocaine into the White House lobby.
Los Angeles: About 15,000 hotel workers went on strike Sunday as thousands of tourists, wedding guests and visitors arrived over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
Climate: The United States has approved the construction of up to 98 wind turbine generators off the coast of Atlantic City, NJ
New York: Yusef Salaam, one of the Central Park Five, was declared the winner of the Democratic primary for a city council seat in Harlem.
New York: Bill de Blasio, the former mayor of New York, and his wife, Chirlane McCray, are separating. In an interview, they talked about how things unraveled.
Vandalism: A man seen on video using his keys to engrave his love for his girlfriend on a wall in the Colosseum in Rome has written an apology.
Wham! documentary film
Remember Wham!? In 1984, the group released the infectious pop anthem “Wake Me Before You Go,” which became an instant hit. The heartthrob duo — George Michael, who died in 2016, and Andrew Ridgeley — is the subject of “Wham!,” a documentary released today on Netflix.
The film charts the band’s climb to pop stardom, from 1982 to 1986. Unlike bands that split sharply, Wham! had no rise and fall. “It was just an escalation and they called it a day,” said the film’s director.
Read Wesley Morris’ review.
Can anyone stop Djokovic?
Wimbledon began this week on the famous lawns of the All England Club. The clear men’s favorite is Novak Djokovic, who has 86 Wimbledon wins – more than the rest of the top 20 players combined. This year, his most expected challenger is Carlos Alcaraz, who at 20 years old is already number one in the world. Alcaraz has spent much of the last month training and watching videos of Andy Murray to improve his ability on grass courts, the sport’s strangest surface.
On the women’s side, there are three big names to watch: Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina. For Sabalenka, something bigger looms over the tournament: She is from Belarus and was banned from last year’s Wimbledon following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Do you want freckles? There’s a tattoo for that
They were called imperfections, they were the subject of schoolyard bullying and they were covered in makeup. But in recent years, freckles have become all the rage. Some people, inspired by TikTok’s latest beauty obsession, have even chosen to tattoo artificial sun kisses on their faces.
The ink is semi-permanent – lasts about eight months to two years – and, unlike natural freckles, you can choose whether your freckles look like spots, hearts, stars or astrological signs.
Have a nice evening.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. – Matthew
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