In the news today: Congress tries to stave off a government shutdown; Kim Jong Un may meet with Putin; and Putin dashes global hopes for reviving the Ukraine grain deal. Also, how a Mexican family is preserving an ancient red dye. 

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In the news today: Congress tries to stave off a government shutdown; Kim Jong Un may meet with Putin; and Putin dashes global hopes for reviving the Ukraine grain deal. Also, how a Mexican family is preserving an ancient red dye. The U.S. Capitol , May 22, 2023. The U.S. Capitol, May 22, 2023. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)U.S. NEWSCongress returns to try to stave off a government shutdown while GOP weighs impeachment inquiryAfter months of struggling to find agreement on just about anything in a divided Congress, lawmakers are returning to Capitol Hill to try to avert a government shutdown, even as House Republicans consider whether to press forward with an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. Read more.
Why this matters:Time is running short for Congress to keep the government fully functioning. A short-term funding measure will dominate the September agenda, along with emergency funding for Ukraine, federal disaster funds and the Republican-driven probe into Hunter Biden’s overseas business dealings.

The president and congressional leaders, including Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, are focused on passing a typical stopgap measure to keep government offices running while lawmakers iron out a budget.

McCarthy faces resistance from some hardline conservatives who openly embrace the idea of a government shutdown. He’s making the case that a government shutdown also would halt Republican investigations into the Biden administration.
Related coverage ➤ A House impeachment inquiry of President Biden is a ‘natural step forward,’ Speaker McCarthy saysMcCarthy floats stopgap funding to prevent a government shutdownGroup of House conservatives unveils demands to support spending bill and avoid shutdownWORLD NEWSNorth Korea’s Kim Jong Un may meet with Putin in Russia this month, US official saysA U.S. official said Monday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may travel to Russia soon to meet with President Vladimir Putin as the Kremlin tries to acquire military equipment for use in its war in Ukraine. Read more.
Why this matters:Kim Jong Un’s plans to visit Russia underscores deepening cooperation between the two countries, adversaries of the United States. It’s unclear how far the countries’ military cooperation would go. But their closeness comes as the U.S. is reinforcing its alliances with South Korean and Japan in the region.

National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson noted Monday that Russia’s defense minister traveled to Pyongyang recently and tried to persuade North Korea to sell artillery ammunition to Russia.

The White House said last week that it had intelligence indicating that Putin and Kim swapped letters following the Russian defense minister’s  visit. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the letters were “more at the surface level” but that Russian and North Korean talks on a weapons sale were advancing.
Related coverage ➤Seoul’s spy agency says Russia has likely proposed North Korea to join three-way drills with China
South Korea’s Yoon will call for strong response to North’s nuclear weapons at ASEAN and G20 summits
Putin says he won’t renew the grain deal until the West meets his demands. The West says it hasRUSSIA-UKRAINE WARPutin dashes global hopes for reviving the Ukraine grain dealTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, hoping to persuade Putin to rejoin a deal allowing Ukraine to safely export grain. Moscow withdrew from the agreement in July. Read more.
Why this matters:Putin has said the West must first meet its demands on facilitating Russian agricultural exports in order to revive the deal. Ukraine and its Western allies have dismissed the Kremlin’s demands as a ploy to advance its own interests.

The Kremlin refused to renew the grain agreement when it expired in July, claiming that a parallel deal promising to remove obstacles to Russian exports of food and fertilizer had not been honored.

Erdogan said Turkey and the United Nations had prepared a new package of proposals. “We believe that we will reach a solution that will meet the expectations in a short time,” Erdogan said following Monday’s talks in the Russian resort of Sochi.
Related coverage ➤More cargo ships from Ukraine use a civilian corridor despite Russian threatsAs the Black Sea becomes a battleground, one Ukrainian farmer doesn’t know how he’ll sell his grainPutin promises no-cost Russian grain shipments to 6 African countries ADVERTISEMENTHAPPENING TODAYThe impeachment trial of Attorney General Ken Paxton is set to begin in the Texas Senate.

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