US employers added 209,000 jobs in June, which was the 30th consecutive month of job growth, according to data released today. The gains, however, were the slowest in a two-and-a-half-year streak of growth.

Analysts saw the report as more or less good news, especially after inflation slowed. Some experts have warned that the Federal Reserve’s moves to combat rising prices could result in significant job losses, while policymakers have expressed concerns that the labor market remains too hot. Today’s report may reflect a middle ground.

“If we continue to see this ‘spotless disinflation’ – inflation falling while employment,” said my colleague Talmon Joseph Smith, “then we may collectively be able to refine a ‘soft landing’ in which there is no recession at all in the near future. This report about work – not too hot but not too cold – gave more life to that possibility, previously unimaginable for many powerful people in this country.”

However, as is always the case with the economy, prospects remain far from certain. The Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates later this month to pull inflation down lower, which could further cool the labor market.

The Biden administration announced today that it plans to send Ukraine cluster munitions, which are banned throughout much of the world because they can cause serious injury to civilians, especially children.

President Biden made the decision to send the weapons rather than risk letting Ukrainian forces run out of the conventional artillery shells they desperately need to fight Russia. Biden’s national security adviser defended the move, arguing that Ukraine would use the cluster munitions on its own soil against the Russian military, which has been using them since the beginning of the war.

More than 100 nations have signed a treaty banning the weapons; The United States, Russia and Ukraine have not. Several Democratic lawmakers denounced the decision. One said it blurred “the lines of moral high ground”.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s trip to China this week was billed as a high-profile attempt to ease tensions between the Americans and the Chinese. But on her first day of meetings today in Beijing, Yellen made a strong objection to punitive measures Beijing has taken against US companies. She suggested that such actions justified the Biden administration’s efforts to make American manufacturers less dependent on China.

In related news, the Biden administration is ramping up the pressure on China to do more to combat the fentanyl crisis.

A self-described white nationalist who wrote that Hispanics “invaded” America before fatally shooting 23 people in 2019 at a Walmart was sentenced today to 90 consecutive life terms. Texas prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty when he is later tried on murder charges in state court. No date has been set for that trial.

  • Belarus: Officials insisted that hundreds of tents recently erected on a military base would not be used to resettle fighters from the Wagner mercenary force after its rebellion in Russia.

  • Weather: Another round of sweatier than normal summer heat is forecast to return to the Southern United States starting tomorrow and continuing into next week.

  • Special Counsel: The investigations into Donald Trump’s hoarding of government files and his efforts to overturn the 2020 election have cost taxpayers at least $5.4 million.

  • India: Officials arrested three railroad workers in connection with last month’s train crash and charged them with endangering the safety of passengers, among other charges.

  • New York: Six people have been charged with organizing illegal donations to Mayor Eric Adams’ 2021 campaign. The mayor was not charged with misconduct.

  • Florida: In good news for the state’s beaches, a giant patch of rotting seaweed on the coast is shrinking.

  • Business: As a possible strike at UPS looms, companies are rethinking ways to get their goods to customers quickly.

  • Idaho: Officials want to demolish a house where four college students were murdered last year, sparking a debate over preserving the scenes of mass violence.

  • Courts: Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black female member of the Supreme Court, established herself as a distinctive voice in a very short time.

Actor Patrick Wilson, best known for his work in horror films, had about the same reaction I did when he was told about a fifth installment of the “Insidious” franchise: “Another sequel?” he said. “Oh boy, what new ground is there even to cover?”

But eventually Wilson agreed to reprise his starring role in “Insidious: The Red Door,” which arrived in theaters today. The reason: He was offered the opportunity to direct, which is something he has wanted to do for many years.

Here is Jason Zinoman’s review of the film.

There were to be no wolves in New York State. So, when a hunter shot one near Cooperstown in 2021, it opened a new front in the wars over what might be America’s most beloved and reviled predator.

A group of passionate environmentalists who say the incident proves wolves are making a comeback in the Northeast are now pushing government agencies to do more to search for and protect the animals.

Some devour it simply, a spoon straight from the tub. Others spread it on toast, mix it with sweet ingredients or use it as a dip. No matter how you eat it, one thing is clear: cottage cheese, the diet staple of the ’70s, is making its way back into the mainstream.

Google searches for cottage cheese are now at their highest levels since 2004.

“It’s definitely really trendy right now,” said one dietitian. And it comes with a host of health benefits as a high-protein, low-calorie dairy product that is rich in nutrients.

Have a creamy and nourishing weekend.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back on Monday. – Matthew

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