Finland wants to sign on the dotted line.
NATO. After Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year (citing concerns over NATO expansion), Finland’s been eyeing NATO membership. It would be a historic move considering the country’s traditionally neutral past. Finland argues that Russia’s war in Ukraine has “completely changed” its security landscape. Joining the alliance could provide some beefed-up protection against Moscow. Now, Finland’s leaders say the Nordic nation needs to join NATO “without delay.”
It gets military support from fellow NATO members — including the US — in the event that it's attacked. It's also required to reciprocate that support for other members. That could mean increased tensions with Russia. Finland — which shares over 800 miles of border with Russia — would roughly double the border that Russia shares with NATO territories, bringing the alliance even closer to the Kremlin’s doorstep.
It's not. Its foreign ministry warned that Finland joining the alliance would “inflict serious damage” to the two countries' relationship. Now, Russia's saying it would be forced to take retaliatory steps to counter the “emerging threats.” In the past, Russia threatened to station nuclear weapons in the Baltic Sea. Reminder: one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s key requests following the Ukraine invasion was that Ukraine be blocked from joining NATO. Finland’s president said nobody else caused this but Russia. The Biden admin says it supports their application.
There are still a few steps left before Finland gets a NATO ID badge. Meanwhile, Sweden could announce plans to join the org in the coming days.
Russia says it invaded Ukraine over key security concerns like NATO. Now, the invasion is pushing two historically neutral countries to rethink their national security concerns. That’s bringing the alliance too close to home for Putin’s comfort.
The stock market. Yesterday, the S&P 500 continued to decline, putting the index on track for its worst weekly drop since January. The weekly declines are inching the market closer toward bear market territory — when stock prices go down for a sustained period (think: 20% from a recent high). To put it another way: a more than $7 trillion market value has been reportedly wiped off of the index so far this year. But nothing is safe. By that we mean...
Crypto: Yesterday, a cryptocurrency sell-off erased more than $200 billion off the market in a single day. Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, hit its lowest level since 2020. Some are pointing fingers at one crypto in particular, TerraUSD, for the sell-off.
PS: We asked a personal finance expert what to do when the stock market drops on Skimm This. Listen here.
North Korea. Yesterday, the hermit kingdom reported six people died after admitting a COVID-19 outbreak for the first time. Another 350,000 people are said to have shown signs of fever that quickly spread. The country immediately imposed a nationwide lockdown after reporting its first case more than two years into the pandemic. The claim that the country hadn’t been hit by the virus until now didn’t have many countries convinced. But the new admission has public health experts worried the situation must be serious for the country’s supreme leader to acknowledge the problem. And the repercussions could be bad: North Korea is one of the few remaining countries that is believed to not have administered vaccines to some 26 million people. It comes as one of the country’s only allies — China — moved this week to tighten restrictions in Shanghai, which has been on a city-wide lockdown since March.
Grim milestone: Meanwhile, the US surpassed 1 million deaths this week. Yesterday, The Biden admin honored the lives lost to COVID-19 by ordering flags to be flown at half-staff.
Enter: this. Yesterday, a company began selling the first FDA-authorized underwear to protect against STIs during oral sex. There’s a lot to unpack here but we’ll be brief. Sexually transmitted infections from diseases like gonorrhea and syphilis are on the rise. But dental dams are about as popular as they sound. So one company, noticing a hole in the market, decided flavored latex undies were the way to go. The goal: to match condoms’ energy and protect against infections from the vagina and anus, too. Now, never nudes have a new uniform. People getting down can have a snack while they’re having a snack. But that’s not all…The undies reportedly taste like “you’re eating a cookie.” C is for cookie, that's good enough for me.
Skimm’d by Rashaan Ayesh, Melanie De Lima, Kate Gilhool, Julie Shain, and Mariza Smajlaj
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