World this week
North Korea's Kim Jong Un vowed "full and unconditional support" for Russia's Vladimir Putin as the two leaders isolated by the West held a summit that the U.S. warned could lead to a deal to supply ammunition for Moscow's war in Ukraine. The meeting, which lasted over four hours at Russia's spaceport in the Far East, underscores how the two countries' interests are aligning: Putin is believed to be seeking one of the few things impoverished North Korea has in abundance -- stockpiles of ageing ammunition and rockets for Soviet-era weapons.
The decision to meet at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia's most important launch centre on its own soil, suggests Kim is seeking Russian help in developing military reconnaissance satellites. He has previously said that is crucial to enhancing the threat of his nuclear-capable missiles, and North Korea has repeatedly failed to put its first military spy satellite into orbit. Washington has accused North Korea of providing Russia with arms, including selling artillery shells to the mercenary group Wagner.
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy announced he was directing the House led by the Oversight Committee "to open a formal impeachment inquiry" into President Joe Biden over his family's business dealings, launching historic proceedings ahead of the 2024 election. McCarthy said that House investigations so far "paint a picture of a culture of corruption" around the Biden family as Republicans probe the business dealings of the president's son, Hunter Biden, from before the Democratic president took office.
"These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption, and they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives," McCarthy said. The White House called the effort "extreme politics at its worst." McCarthy is launching the inquiry without a House vote, and it's unclear if he would even have enough support from his slim GOP majority. Some lawmakers have panned the evidence so far as not reaching the Constitution's bar of "high crimes and misdemeanours."
The European Central Bank hiked its key interest rate to a record high, pressing its fight against stubbornly high inflation that has been plaguing consumers - even as worries grow that higher borrowing costs could help push the economy into recession. The increase of a quarter-percentage point comes as central banks around the world, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, try to judge how much anti-inflation medicine is too much - and what's the right point to halt their swift series of rate hikes before the economy tips into a downturn and people lose their jobs.
"Inflation has declined, and we want it to continue to decline and to reinforce that process," ECB President Christine Lagarde said at a news conference. Nevertheless, the bank signaled that its 10th straight hike could be its last, shifting its emphasis from raising rates to keeping them high enough for long enough to beat down inflation.
NASA said that the study of UFOs will require new scientific techniques, including advanced satellites as well as a shift in how unidentified flying objects are perceived. The space agency released the findings after a yearlong study into UFOs. In its 33-page report, an independent team commissioned by NASA cautioned that the negative perception surrounding UFOs poses an obstacle to collecting data. But officials said NASA's involvement should help reduce the stigma around what it calls UAPs, or unidentified anomalous phenomena.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said the agency wants to shift the conversation about UAPs "from sensationalism to science." Nelson added the panel found no evidence that UAPs had extraterrestrial origin. The 16-member panel noted that artificial intelligence and machine learning are essential for identifying rare occurrences, including UFOs. "NASA will do this transparently," Nelson said. At the one and only public meeting earlier this year, the independent team selected by the space agency insisted there is no conclusive evidence of extraterrestrial life associated with UFOs.
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