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Courtesy of Midjourney

Joe Biden thinks he’s digging in, but in reality, he’s only digging down. And as usual, the longer this goes on the worse it gets.

It’s now been two weeks since his cadaverous, confused performance at the presidential debate, and the crisis surrounding his candidacy isn’t just getting graver, it’s getting weirder.

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U.S. President Joe Biden holds a press conference during NATO's 75th anniversary summit, in Washington, U.S., July 11, 2024.

REUTERS/Nathan Howard

Joe Biden’s “big boy” press conference at the end of Thursday’s NATO summit was a high-stakes mixed bag.

The president, facing growing calls to drop his reelection bid over concerns about his age and poor polling, made a few social media-friendly gaffes (he called Kamala Harris his “Vice President Trump” after earlier introducing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as “Putin”) but otherwise gave reasonably coherent answers to a range of domestic and foreign policy questions.

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A drone view shows a flooded area in the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl, in Houston, Texas.

@cjblain10 via X/via REUTERS

670,000: Is there a doctor in the house? Maybe, but if you’re an Ontarian, you might have to travel. At least 670,000 residents of the province live more than 50 kilometers from their family physician, according to a new report. Meanwhile, the number of Ontarians who have no family doctor at all has risen by a third since 2020 to more than 2.5 million people.

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Handout photo shows Left to right: President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Ukraine) with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Vilnius. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky to the NATO Summit on Wednesday July 12, 2023, ahead of the inaugural meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Photo by NATO via ABACAPRESS.COM

NATO allies will reportedly announce today that Ukraine’s progress towards joining the organization is “irreversible.” The language will appear in the joint communiqué released by the alliance to conclude its three-day summit in Washington.

But when, precisely, that irreversible momentum will culminate in a NATO membership card for Kyiv is still no clearer now than it was three days ago.

Reports suggest that the allies spent hours hashing out how explicit to make any conditions in the text, but there seem to be two main hurdles: ending the war with Russia, and getting Ukraine’s governing and military institutions up to NATO-level snuff.

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Joseph Nyuma Boakai, Liberia's Vice President and presidential candidate of the Unity Party (UP), speaks during a campaign rally in Monrovia, Liberia December 24, 2017.

REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon

40: Amid a rising cost-of-living crisis in his country, Liberian President Joseph Boakai, who took office in January, has slashed his own salary by 40%. The gesture of solidarity, which echoes a similar move by his predecessor, will bring his yearly pay down to $8,000. Liberia’s GDP per capita is about $800 a year, among the lowest of any country in the world.

359: Airstrikes by Myanmar’s military junta killed at least 359 civilians between January and April, putting the regime on pace to kill more noncombatants in 2024 than in the previous three years combined. In the three years since it took power in a coup, the junta has been waging war against a patchwork of regional and ethnic militias. The US has tried to sanction the sale of jet fuel to the Myanmar regime, but China and Vietnam have skirted those efforts. For the historical background, see here.

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Russia's President Vladimir Putin and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi walk during their meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence near Moscow, Russia July 8, 2024.

Sputnik/Gavriil Grigorov/Pool via REUTERS

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeared to take a swipe at Vladimir Putin during their meeting in Moscow on Tuesday, even if only a subtle one.

Just moments after the Russian president welcomed him to the Kremlin, Modi lamented that his “heart bleeds” whenever children are killed in war.

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Suspended Jewish Columbia and Barnard students participate in a press conference outside the president of Columbia University’s house on April 23, 2024, in Manhattan, New York.

REUTERS/ Barry Williams

3: Columbia University on Monday removed three deans from their positions over antisemitic text messages they exchanged in a group chat during a late-May event about Jewish life on campus in the wake of protests about Oct. 7 and the war in Gaza. The three have been placed on indefinite leave. For our complete on-the-ground coverage of the upheaval at Columbia this spring, led by GZERO’s Riley Callanan, see here.

2: Iran has been ramping up its output of ballistic missiles at two key production facilities, according to satellite imagery. Tehran’s most prominent buyers of the missiles include the Houthi rebels in Yemen, Hezbollah paramilitaries in Lebanon and, of course, Vladimir Putin’s Russia, which signed a missile deal with Iran in 2022.

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Sen. JD Vance addresses the 2024 Conservative Political Action Conference in February 2024.

CNP/INSTARimages.com via Reuters

From holler to white collar. That’s the unusual life arc of J.D. Vance, the 39-year-old junior senator from Ohio.

Born into extreme poverty in rural southern Ohio, he grew up in the holler – “the hollow” – surrounded by abuse, addiction, and despair. But he made it out: He joined the Marines, graduated from Yale Law School, and became a successful tech venture capitalist.

He recounted all of this in his bestselling 2016 memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” which became required reading after Trump’s shock victory over Hillary Clinton spurred interest in the disaffection of white working-class America. In the book, Vance criticized a culture of victimhood and dependency among poor whites while also blasting the establishment’s condescension and neglect.

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