Your Thursday Briefing

Source: : 2022-06-16 03:22:28 : Natasha Frost

Amid increasingly urgent calls from Ukraine, President Biden yesterday announced an additional $1 billion in weapons and aid for the war-torn country. Overall, the U.S. has now committed about $5.6 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since Russia invaded on Feb. 24. Germany, Slovakia, Canada, Poland and the Netherlands have also pledged more artillery. Follow the latest updates.

The promise of additional aid came as the U.S. and its allies sought to present a united front against the Kremlin. The war in Ukraine has radically altered the strategic calculus in Europe. Nearly four months in, some fissures are emerging over the end game of an increasingly intractable conflict as Europe grapples with the economic fallout from the war, including rising inflation and gas prices.

Though the U.S. has said it will not pressure Kyiv into negotiations, Emmanuel Macron, the French president, yesterday said that the conflict would eventually have to end with talks. “At some point, when we will have done our maximum to help Ukraine resist — when, I hope, it will have won and the firing has ceased — we will have to negotiate,” he said.

In other news from the war:

The Federal Reserve yesterday raised interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point in the largest increase since 1994, signaling that it is prepared to inflict economic pain to get inflation under control. The rate increase could be followed by a similarly sized move next month, officials said.

Increasing interest rates will make buying a home or expanding a business more expensive, restraining spending and slowing the broader economy. Officials expect growth to moderate in the coming months and years. Unemployment is forecast to rise about half a percentage point to 4.1 percent by late 2024 as Fed policy squeezes companies and workers.

Jerome Powell, the Fed chair, acknowledged that it was becoming increasingly difficult for the central bank to slow inflation without causing a recession as outside forces, including the war in Ukraine and factory shutdowns in China, threaten to curb the supply of goods and commodities like oil. “The environment has become more difficult, clearly, in the last four or five months,” he said.

By the numbers: The latest move set the Fed’s policy rate in a range of 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent, and more rate increases are to come. Officials expect interest rates to hit 3.4 percent by the end of 2022.

Dr. Hans Kluge, the W.H.O.’s top official in Europe, yesterday called for urgent action by the authorities and civic groups to control fast-rising cases of monkeypox that he said posed a real risk to public health. More than 1,500 cases have been identified across 25 European countries, accounting for 85 percent of global cases, he said.

“The magnitude of this outbreak poses a real risk,” Dr. Kluge said. “The longer the virus circulates, the more it will extend its reach, and the stronger the disease’s foothold will get in nonendemic countries.” Monkeypox is a viral infection endemic in West Africa, but it has now spread to 39 countries, including 32 that have no previous experience with it.

Infections mostly result from close physical contact, but the virus can also spread through respiratory droplets in prolonged face-to-face contact. The current outbreak has mainly affected men who have sex with men, raising concerns about transmission over a summer of Pride events, music festivals and other mass gatherings. Dr. Kluge said the disease was not a reason to cancel events, but he highlighted the need for awareness.

Next steps: The W.H.O. will meet next week to determine if the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, a formal declaration that calls for a coordinated response from countries.

Sierra Leone is one of a few countries in sub-Saharan Africa that have not banned female genital cutting, a centuries-old ritual tied up in ideas of sexual purity, obedience and control. Now, young women are defying their mothers and grandmothers by refusing to undergo the procedure, known as “bondo.”

But refusing bondo comes at a great social cost. Women who do so are not permitted to marry; to represent their communities in religious or cultural events; to participate in celebrations or funerals; or to serve as chief or in Parliament.

An explosion of social media stars are teaching followers to flip their furniture — a trend that is perhaps no surprise after a period in which so many people downloaded TikTok to fend off the boredom of being stuck on the couch.

“Flipping,” in this sense, means finding a well-built but aging piece of furniture, refurbishing it — often by sanding, adding fresh paint or varnish and updating its hardware — and reselling it. But many of the people making videos also aim to help viewers improve the furniture already in their homes.

“So many people can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars on furniture,” Christina Clericuzio, a flipper from Connecticut, told The Times. “So it’s fun to show people that they can have these things for less when they D.I.Y.”

See you next Friday — Natasha

P.S. Try Chess Replay, a new puzzle from Times Games featuring commentary from the grandmaster Daniel Naroditsky.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about the bear market.

Tom Wright-Piersanti wrote today’s Arts and Ideas. You can reach Natasha and the team at

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