Clashes in Kosovo

Happy Monday! If for some reason you were trying to buy Rosco fluorescent paint a few years ago and one color always seemed to be sold out, we might finally know why.

“I wanted the pinks to be very bright, and everything to be almost too much,” Greta Gerwig told Architectural Digest of the set for her upcoming Barbie movie. The film’s production designer claims to have bought so much of the paint she caused a global run: “The world ran out of pink.”

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • The Bureau of Labor statistics reported Friday that U.S. employers added 339,000 jobs in May, well above expectations and the largest month-over-month gain since January. March and April’s reports were retroactively revised up by a combined 93,000 jobs as well. The unemployment rate ticked up from 3.4 to 3.7 percent, while the labor force participation rate held steady at 62.6 percent. Average hourly earnings—a measure the Federal Reserve is watching closely in its fight against inflation—rose 0.3 percent month-over-month in April, and 4.3 percent year-over-year.
  • President Joe Biden formally signed the Fiscal Responsibility Act into law on Saturday, enacting the bipartisan legislation that suspends the debt limit until January 2025, implements caps on discretionary spending in the coming years, claws back billions of dollars in new IRS funding and unspent COVID-19 funds, reforms work requirements for certain welfare programs, forces the Biden administration to end the student loan repayment pause, and expedites the permitting process for new energy projects.
  • A train wreck in India’s eastern Odisha state killed at least 288 people on Friday—and injured hundreds more—after a high-speed passenger train was diverted onto a loop line and hit an idled freight train. The resulting crash debris subsequently led another passenger train to derail. Officials are still investigating the cause of the initial crash, but suspect an electronic signaling system error.
  • Hong Kong police on Sunday detained at least 20 people—including four accused of seditious intent—who were commemorating the 34th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square killing of pro-democracy student protesters. Hong Kong officials reportedly deployed as many as 6,000 police officers to tighten security this weekend and scheduled events restricting access to Victoria Park, the site of pre-COVID Tiananmen anniversary vigils.
  • U.S. Indo-Pacific Command reported Saturday a Chinese warship came dangerously close to a U.S. Navy destroyer sailing through the Taiwan Strait with a Canadian frigate over the weekend. China’s defense minister labeled the U.S. ship’s presence a “provocation,” suggesting the best way to avoid such confrontations with the Chinese military would be to stop sailing in the international waterway.
  • The Financial Times reported Friday CIA Director Bill Burns made a previously undisclosed trip to China last month, meeting with his counterparts and emphasizing “the importance of maintaining open lines of communications in intelligence channels.” Anonymous Biden administration officials stressed Burns’ trip was not a diplomatic mission, but it comes as the White House is seeking to “thaw” relations with Beijing after a tense several months.
  • Saudi Arabia announced Sunday after an OPEC meeting it will unilaterally cut production by 1 million barrels per day in July, a bid to boost slumping crude prices. Brent crude futures, a global benchmark, jumped 2.4 percent on the news, but recent OPEC-wide cuts—more than 1 million barrels per day announced in April and 2 million a day in October—failed to buoy oil prices for long amid concerns that looming recessions will depress demand. OPEC and Russia-led allies had announced no additional cuts this year.
  • The Justice Department’s National Security Division has reportedly closed its investigation into Mike Pence over the classified documents discovered at his Indiana home earlier this year, informing the former vice president’s legal team he will not face criminal charges. The news comes just days before Pence is expected to announce his 2024 presidential campaign.
  • Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced Friday the party’s first presidential primary debate will be held in Milwaukee on August 23, 2023. In order to participate, candidates will need to be polling above at least 1 percent nationally, have at least 40,000 unique donors to their campaign, and sign a pledge agreeing to support the party’s eventual nominee.

Chaos in Kosovo

Kosovo riot police and KFOR military police secure the entrance to a municipal building in Zvecan, northern Kosovo on May 29, 2023, following clashes with Serb protesters. (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)
Kosovo riot police and KFOR military police secure the entrance to a municipal building in Zvecan, northern Kosovo on May 29, 2023, following clashes with Serb protesters. (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

The 1990s are back—and not just because low-rise jeans and cargo pants are regrettably in vogue once again. The Taliban has returned to power in Afghanistan. There’s a civil war in East Africa. And as of last week, the Balkans are once again on a razor’s edge after violent clashes between NATO peacekeeping forces and Kosovo Serbs in northern Kosovo left dozens injured.

The latest flare-up in the region—over the outcome of April municipal elections in northern Kosovo—risks undoing the minimal progress Kosovo and Serbia have made toward normalizing relations in recent years. Although Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008 and is recognized by the United States and dozens of other countries, Belgrade still views the majority ethnic Albanian, Muslim country as a breakaway territory. 

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