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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.


Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani held talks in Beijing as Italy plans to cancel its membership in China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative. Tajani has been engaged in the difficult diplomatic task of leaving the controversial initiative without angering China. Margherita Stancati reports for the Wall Street Journal

China will launch a state-backed investment fund to raise roughly $40 billion for its semiconductor sector, two people familiar with the matter said. One key investment area will be manufacturing equipment, as Chinese President Xi Jinping has stressed the need for China to achieve self-sufficiency in semiconductors. The move may increase China’s competitiveness after the United States and its allies imposed sanctions on China last year. Julie Zhu, Kevin Huang, Yelin Mo, and Roxanne Liu report for Reuters


Iran has slowed its accumulation of near-weapons-grade enriched uranium in recent months, the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency reported yesterday. The slowdown does not depart significantly from Iran’s nuclear program as it already has sufficient stocks of 60% enriched uranium for at least two nuclear weapons. However, the move may ease tensions with the United States. Laurence Norman reports for the Wall Street Journal

Johan Floderus, a Swedish national and member of the E.U. diplomatic corps, has been detained in Iran for more than 500 days. His detention, which appears to be part of Iran’s so-called hostage diplomacy, was not made public by Swedish or E.U. authorities. Iran has been detaining dual Iranian nationals and foreigners on spurious charges in the hopes of trading them for Iranians held in Europe or the United States or to extract money and other concessions. Matina Stevis-Gridneff reports for the New York Times


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un plans to meet President Vladimir Putin in Russia this month to discuss the possibility of increased military cooperation and weapons supplies for Russia’s war in Ukraine. Putin seeks to secure artillery shells and antitank missiles, while Kim wants Russia to share advanced technology for satellites and nuclear-powered submarines. “We urge [North Korea] to cease its arms negotiations with Russia and abide by the public commitments that Pyongyang has made to not provide or sell arms to Russia,” Adrienne Watson, a National Security Council spokesperson, said in a statement. Edward Wong and Julian E. Barnes reports for the New York Times

U.S., U.K., and E.U. officials will jointly press the U.A.E. this week to stop shipping dual-use products to Russia that could enhance Russia’s war effort. While the U.A.E. has not joined the sanctions regime imposed on Russia by the West, it has said it does not want to be a hub for Western companies to evade sanctions. Laurence Norman, Rory Jones, and Andrew Duehren report for the Wall Street Journal

The Cuban authorities are “working on the neutralization and dismantling” of a Russian human trafficking network that is coercing Cuban citizens to fight for Russia in the war in Ukraine, the Cuban foreign ministry said. The trafficking network is active both within Cuba and Russia. Reuters reports. 


Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia would not rejoin the Black Sea grain deal until the West agreed to his demand to facilitate Russian agricultural exports. Georgi Kantchev reports for the Wall Street Journal.

Russia’s demands for entering the Black Sea grain deal amount to “blackmail,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said. Kuleba added that because Russia will not abide by any future agreement, developing alternative maritime export routes is necessary. Mariya Knight reports for CNN

Western hopes that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was rebalancing toward the West were diminished yesterday as Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about expanding partnerships. Despite angering Russia when Turkey freed a group of Ukrainian commanders and lifted its opposition to Sweden’s NATO membership, Turkey appears committed to cooperating with Russia. Turkey is a vital channel for Russia’s economy, as Turkey declined to join Western sanctions and continues to ship goods to Russia. Ben Hubbard and Paul Sonne reports for the New York Times


Russian military drones landed on Romanian territory following strikes on a Ukrainian city, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba alleged. Romania has rejected Kyiv’s account of events. “Of course, there is a risk of accidents or incidents, but for the time being, it was not the case,” said Romanian Foreign Minister Luminita Odobescu. In response, Kuleba suggested that Ukraine’s allies were turning a blind eye to avoid entering the conflict. Paul Adams and Robert Plummer report for BBC News

General Sergei Surovikin, who had not been seen in public since the paramilitary organization Wagner group’s failed armed action, appeared in a photograph online with the caption “Alive, healthy, at home, with his family, in Moscow.” Surovikin, who is said to have been close to Yevgeny Prigozhin, was reportedly being investigated for possible complicity in the armed action. George Wright reports for BBC News


The U.S. Consulate in Matamoros yesterday said its “employees are currently under a shelter-in-place order” due to gun violence in the northern Mexican border townReuters reports. 

The Chinese Ministry of State Security, the primary spy agency, yesterday said that any meeting between President Xi Jinping and President Biden will be predicated on “showing sufficient sincerity.” “China will never let its guard down because of a few ‘nice words’ from the United States … The various obstacles, containment, and suppression by the United States will only make China more courageous and self-reliant,” the ministry said. The next opportunity for a meeting is an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco in November. Liz Lee reports for Reuters


U.S. funding for large naval ships may create jobs, but some in the Pentagon fear it may also be part of an outdated military strategy that the Navy may not be able to maintain in the future. Political and economic forces produce jobs-driven procurement policies that prefer large ships. The Defense Department’s war games show that big ships are increasingly vulnerable to attack. Cheaper, uncrewed, and more agile vessels being tested by the United States may be a more future-proofed investment, which has already proven effective against Iran. Eric Lipton reports for the New York Times

General Eric M. Smith, selected by President Biden to become the Marines’ next top officer, said the United States must take advantage of this “interwar period” to ensure the Marine Corps is optimized for a great-power clash, possibly with China. The need to regroup and advance new fighting concepts comes after decades of counterinsurgency warfare. However, Smith is one of over 300 senior military leaders whose nominations have been blocked by Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) over unrelated abortion policies. Dan Lamothe reports for the Washington Post


First Lady Jill Biden tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday and is “currently experiencing only mild symptoms,” while President Biden tested negative. Katherine Long reports for POLITICO

The Department of Homeland Security’s ability to inspect chemical facilities to ensure dangerous substances are not obtained by extremists lapsed as the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program expired on July 28 after Congress failed to renew it. Homeland Security officials are urging Congress to act quickly to fill this security gap when it returns this week. Rebecca Santana reports for AP News

Peter Navarro, the White House adviser to former President Trump who refused to comply with a subpoena issued by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, faces trial today. The trial will determine whether Navarro showed contempt for Congress in defying the House’s request. Navarro refused to comply with the subpoena, insisting that Trump directed him not to cooperate and dismissing the subpoena as “illegal” and “unenforceable.” Zach Montague reports for the New York Times

The Texas Senate will convene today to consider the impeachment of Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, accused of taking bribes and abusing his office. Jane C. Timm reports for NBC News