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Russia and North Korea Sign Defense Partnership

What's Happening

Kim Jong Un and President Vladimir Putin


Russia and North Korea Sign Defense Partnership

What's going on: Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un signed a deal to provide mutual aid if either country is attacked. The specific details of the agreement aren't clear, but the pact was finalized as part of their summit in Pyongyang, which marked Putin's first visit to the capital city in 24 years. It comes as both countries face escalating tensions with the West, including the US. Officials say Russia has received ammunition from North Korea in recent months for use in the war in Ukraine. Putin and Kim framed the agreement as an alliance looking to maintain peace. A spokesperson for the National Security Council said “this should concern any country that cares about maintaining peace and stability.”

What it means: North Korea and Russia have entered a number of security pacts over the years, but this is the first time since the Cold War that defense-related clauses have been included. The agreement gives Putin much needed support as he faces growing international pressure and isolation over the war in Ukraine. It sends a message to the US and its allies, especially South Korea, that the relationship between North Korea and Russia is getting stronger. The deal also stands to make it more difficult to curb North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. Moscow previously played a role in helping the US limit those programs, but that could be coming to an end.

Related: All of the Gifts Putin and Kim Exchanged Including a Tea Set (BBC) 

US News

Louisiana Is Putting the Ten Commandments in the Classroom

What's going on: Yesterday, Louisiana became the first state to require public schools to display the Ten Commandments in all classrooms. The new law, signed by Gov. Jeff Landry (R), also mandates public colleges and universities to put up the posters. Similar laws have been proposed in other states, like Texas, Utah, and South Carolina, but none have been successful. Civil liberties groups, like the ACLU and Freedom from Religion Foundation, said the law “is blatantly unconstitutional” and promised to challenge it in the courts. Landry welcomed the legal challenges and said he “can’t wait to be sued.”

What it means: The move is seen as a broader effort by conservative Christian groups to boost public expression of religion. States in the past have tried to display the commandments in schools, but failed. In 1980, the Supreme Court struck down a similar Kentucky law and said it “had no secular legislative purpose” and was “plainly religious in nature.” However, some conservatives think there is a better chance of courts upholding laws like Louisiana’s after the Supreme Court sided with a high school football coach in 2022 who argued he had a right to pray on the field after his team’s games.

Related: The “After School Satan Club” Is Also Pushing Boundaries (NYT Gift Link)


Disputes Over Credit Card Charges Surge

What's going on: From duplicate charges to deliveries arriving late, more consumers are using a variety of reasons to get their money back on credit card purchases. Last year, credit card users disputed 105 million charges, worth an estimated $11 billion. That’s up from $7.2 billion in 2019, according to Datos Insights, a finance-industry research company. The company projects that number to rise nearly 40% by 2026.

What it means: Experts said more people might be realizing how easy it is for them to get their money back from credit card companies, regardless of whether or not their reason is legitimate. Some cardholders are misusing the process, resulting in a rise in “friendly fraud.” These claims, which consumers sign off on, accounted for 20% of all disputes last year, according to Cybersource. Still, retailers have to foot the bill unless they can prove it wasn’t their fault — a process that can take months. And too many disputes could be just as bad for a business’ reputation as a string of one-star Google reviews.

Related: Afraid of Credit Card Scams? Here’s How to Avoid Them (Time Magazine)

Quick Hits

🤱 Some breastfeeding mothers are getting paid break time. Waiting for the rest of the country to follow suit.

🇺🇲 Patriotic or boring? Ralph Lauren’s Team USA uniforms have the sports world talking.

🎬 Embrace your main character energy on a Bridgerton replica set at the Netflix House.

👀 Limited Too’s revival is healing our inner child. Crossing our fingers for adult sizes.

😎 Central Cee and Sabrina Carpenter were playing games while Paul Mescal kept things short. Very short.

Extra Credit

Hummus served with meat and pita


Think hummus is just for snacking? Enter dinner hummus — which, to be clear, is very different from nights when you’re so tired you house a half-eaten container with whatever crackers and veggies you find. Instead, it’s when a little extra effort and a couple of hearty toppings transform the dip into a fully satisfying meal. As is the case with Spoon Fork Bacon’s garlicky loaded hummus, which includes a generous layer of spiced lamb and a swirl of fresh herbs.

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