Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

People walk past the old military headquarters in Belgrade. Photo: Getty

Local Serbian TV stations report that police are still holding two Americans from Florida for allegedly using a drone to film military facilities in Belgrade, though two Ukrainian women arrested with them were released earlier on Tuesday. The Serbian Ministry of Defense confirmed the arrests on Monday.

The backdrop: The news follows several other security-related issues in Serbia involving foreigners. An American was reportedly arrested earlier this month in possession of a firearm, and "pro-government media alleged that he was a former Navy SEAL and had planned the assassination of unidentified Serbian officials," per the AP.

The Ministry of Defense said the two Americans and two Ukrainians were detained on Sunday trying to film buildings that once housed the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Yugoslavia, until they were destroyed by NATO bombing in 1999. The Serbian Defense Minister said, "It is not a coincidence that such a large number of foreign citizens tried to bust into premises controlled by the Army of Serbia."

Why it matters: The arrests come as Russia and the West are vying for influence in Serbia, the largest of the states to emerge from the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Orthodox Christian and Slavic, Serbia has close historical ties with Moscow, but President Aleksandar Vucic has made joining the European Union a priority.

The latest
  • Serbian broadcaster Pink reported Tuesday that the two Americans still being held by police are from Florida and claim they are working for a non-governmental organization.
  • The two Ukrainian women with the Americans have been released, with local media reporting they are from Luhansk, a city in the east of Ukraine, which is occupied by Russia.
  • There is still some confusion of the number of arrests, with Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin claiming that members of Military Police on Sunday and Monday detained a total of eight foreign nationals in connection with the incident.

Worth noting: Amid growing worries about press freedom in Serbia, the Belgrade government on Monday granted a temporary residence permit to Belgian journalist Philippe Bertinchamps – a permit that he was previously denied – following protests by media rights organization Reporters Without Borders. Bertinchamps told local news that he believed he was no longer welcome in Serbia, despite being a long-term resident, because of his “critical writing about the situation in the country”.

Go deeper

38 mins ago - World

U.N. envoy resumes push for cease fire in Gaza

Tor Wennesland. Photo by KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP via Getty Images

Tor Wennesland, U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process , has been holding extensive talks with both Israel and Hamas over the past 24 hours in an effort to restore peace, a diplomatic source tells Axios.

Driving the news: The source said Wennesland spoke on Sunday to Israel’s National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and other senior Israeli security officials as well as Hamas officials and Egyptian intelligence officials.

4 hours ago - Health

CDC director says politics didn't play a role in abrupt mask policy shift

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky told Fox News Sunday that political pressure had nothing to do with the agency's sudden announcement that fully vaccinated Americans can go without masks in most indoor settings.

Why it matters: Emerging evidence shows vaccinated people are less likely to transmit the virus, as COVID-19 cases and deaths drop. But the responsibility to uphold the abrupt policy change falls to individuals and businesses.