The Morning Dispatch: New Leaders Elected in Philippines, Hong Kong

Happy Friday! And happy Kendrick Lamar Day to all who are celebrating!

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced Thursday the country plans to apply for NATO membership “without delay,” arguing such a move would strengthen both Finland’s own security and the defense alliance as a whole. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the accession process will be “smooth and swift” once Finland formally applies, and Pentagon spokesman John Kirby praised the decision as “historic.” The Kremlin, meanwhile, threatened to retaliate with “military-technical” measures if Finland follows through on the move.

  • The Interior Department canceled plans this week to auction off oil and gas leases for two regions in the Gulf of Mexico and one off the coast of Alaska, citing legal challenges and “a lack of industry interest” in the drilling rights. Industry groups disputed that characterization, noting the decision likely means the Biden administration will not auction off any leases for offshore drilling until at least 2023.

  • In light of ongoing shortages, President Joe Biden announced Thursday he had instructed his administration to crack down on any “price gouging or unfair market practices” related to baby formula, cut some restrictions on baby formula imports, and allow states to loosen certain Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) requirements.

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