Ari Winkleman

The global tourism industry got pummeled during the pandemic. Economies reliant on international visitors for a large chunk of their GDP were hit particularly hard. But after more than two years of restrictions, scenes at airports around the world today suggest that the travel bug is back. Still, looking at data from the US — a top destination for global travelers — it’s clear that the revival will be slow going. We take a look at international arrivals to the US from 2000 to March 2022.

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REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

SCOTUS hands Biden a win and a loss

The US Supreme Court on Thursday handed down decisions in two closely watched cases. First, the court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency can’t enforce rules limiting carbon emissions at existing power plants. The six conservative justices who backed the majority opinion said only Congress should regulate climate policy. The long-running case – which made its way through the courts during the Obama, Trump, and Biden presidencies – is emblematic of the broader fight between coal-loving Republican states and Democrats pushing for more action on climate change. The decision will also complicate Biden’s pledge to switch the power grid to clean energy by 2035 – and to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Crucially, the US is the world’s second-largest carbon emitter after China. SCOTUS’s subsequent ruling, however, went in Biden’s favor: two conservative justices joined the court’s progressive wing to scrap the “Remain in Mexico” policy, a Trump-era immigration law requiring some migrants to wait in Mexico while their asylum claims are processed. Still, a federal judge has blocked Biden from lifting another Trump-era immigration restriction, so this ruling is unlikely to have a significant impact on the immigration landscape ahead of November’s midterms.

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Police outside the Bataclan concert hall in Paris.

REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

7:Seven years after Islamist terrorists stormed the Bataclan theater in Paris, killing 130 people in an hours-long rampage, judges on Wednesday found 20 men guilty of the crime. The scourge of Islamic terrorism in France, which has suffered more attacks in recent years than any other Western country, was a key issue in the country’s recent presidential elections.

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Finland's President Sauli Niinisto and Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson pose after signing a document during a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain.

REUTERS/Violeta Santos Moura

Turkey opens NATO door to Finland and Sweden

The first day of the NATO Summit in Madrid brought concrete results. Turkey, Finland, and Sweden came to an agreement that addresses Ankara’s security concerns and paves the path to Finland and Sweden joining NATO. The Nordics’ joint bid for membership, inspired by Russian aggression in Ukraine, was at the center of the summit’s agenda. Accession demands consensus, and Turkey had raised objections, making security-centric demands from Stockholm and Helsinki that threatened to slow the process. In response, Sweden and Finland have suspended a 2019 arms embargo against Ankara and agreed to cut assistance to the People’s Protection Units, an armed group affiliated with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, Turkey’s enemy. Some of Ankara’s requests still need to be discussed, but Turkey is walking away from its veto option, swinging the doors open to Finland and Sweden’s membership in NATO. Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, has said the expansion doesn’t threaten Russia but warned that Moscow would respond to any extension of military infrastructure into that region.

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Mother and daughter outside the US Supreme Court.

REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

Roe v. Wade is dead, but the abortion debate in America lives on.

Since it became clear two months ago that the demise of the landmark 1973 decision was inevitable, the contours of the abortion debate have shifted.

Even before Roe’s reversal by the Supreme Court on Friday, access to surgical abortions – those involving a vaginal procedure – had already been severely curtailed in many parts of the country. Now they will be very difficult to obtain in at least half of all states. As a result, medical abortions – a less invasive method that involves swallowing a pill – have become the new frontier in the battle over reproductive rights and access in America.

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China President Xi Jinping and U.S President Joe Biden hold a virtual meeting.

Reuters

China-US: Bad politics, good economics

President Joe Biden is a very different president than his predecessor, Donald Trump. But on some foreign policy issues – notably managing relations with China – the two are kindred spirits. US-China relations crashed under Trump, and Biden has kept the relationship on a mostly combative footing, leaving Trump-era tariffs on some Chinese goods in place. Still, while the White House talks tough about isolating China geopolitically, speculation of a US-China “decoupling” is misplaced. Beijing and Washington need each other because their economies are closely intertwined. The US is China’s biggest trading partner, with Americans importing a whopping $541.5 billion worth of Chinese imports in 2021. Even in 2020 – a slower trading year amid the pandemic – China and the US traded $559.2 billion worth of goods. What’s more, two-way foreign direct investment, which is more resistant to economic shocks, has ballooned in recent years (Chinese FDI in the US increased 61% between 2015 and 2020). The resilience of the bilateral economic relationship is also reflected in the fact that China is the third-largest export market for American goods (behind Mexico and Canada). Support for a tough-on-China stance gets rare bipartisan support in Washington these days, so political ties between Beijing and Washington will likely remain rocky. Still, with their economic fortunes so closely linked, China and the US are in this marriage for the long haul.

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8 million: Global food prices have risen amid the war in Ukraine, but it is particularly bad for emerging-market economies. UNICEF now says that up to 8 million children under the age of 5 could die from severe malnutrition in the coming months. The organization listed nearly two dozen “high risk” countries and urged developed states to step up and help.

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Paige Fusco

The justices have spoken. After weeks of speculation following the leak of a draft opinion in early May, the highest court in the land has reversed the landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling that had legalized abortion in 1973.

“The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives,” the decision read.

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