Your Friday Briefing
Volunteers at a food bank in London.Credit…Mary Turner for The New York Times
A global campaign to crush inflation
Central banks across Asia and Europe are raising interest rates in a war against the inflation that is bedeviling consumers and worrying policymakers. But the policy tools are blunt and work with a lag: The interest rate increases taking place will need months to filter out across the global economy and take full effect.
The aggressiveness of the monetary policy action now underway pushes central banks into new and risky territory. By tightening quickly and simultaneously when growth in China and Europe is already slowing and supply chain pressures are easing, global central banks risk overdoing it and causing deeper recessions, some economists warn.
The Bank of England raised interest rates half a point to 2.25 percent yesterday, even as it said Britain might already be in a recession. The European Central Bank is similarly expected to continue raising rates at its meeting in October to combat high inflation, even though Russia’s war in Ukraine is throwing Europe’s economy into turmoil. Indonesia, Taiwan, the Philippines, South Africa and Norway have also lifted rates.
The cost of inflation: The longer inflation continues apace, the greater the risk that it will become a permanent feature of the economy, affecting employment contracts and prices for the long term.
The yen: After the Japanese currency lost over 20 percent of its value against the dollar over the past year, the government intervened to prop up its value.
Avoiding the draft, men flee Russia
A day after Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, announced a call-up that could sweep 300,000 civilians into military service, thousands of Russians across the country received draft papers. Mothers, wives and children said tearful goodbyes as men were marched to buses and planes for training — and perhaps soon to the front in Ukraine.
Russian officials said the call-up would be limited to people with combat experience. But the net appeared wider, and some men decided it was best to head for the borders. Military-age men clogged airports and border crossings trying to flee, and some ended up in distant cities like Istanbul and Namangan, Uzbekistan.
The escalation of the war effort has reverberated across Russia. Historians said it was the first time since World War II that the Kremlin had declared a wartime mobilization. Officials in Russia are still referring to the invasion as a “special military operation,” rather than a war.
First person: One 23-year-old bought a plane ticket to Istanbul, wrapped up his business and kissed his crying mother goodbye — all within about 12 hours of Putin’s announcement. He said he had no idea when he would return. “I was sitting and thinking about what I could die for, and I didn’t see any reason to die for the country,” he said.
World Bank leader affirms belief in climate change
David Malpass, the World Bank president, who was nominated by Donald Trump and who has been accused of climate denial, attempted to restate his views on climate change yesterday, saying, “It’s clear that greenhouse gas emissions are coming from man-made sources, including fossil fuels.”
He had faced calls from activists and climate experts to be removed from his post after he refused to acknowledge that the burning of fossil fuels is warming the planet. At a New York Times event this week, Malpass would not say whether he accepted that man-made emissions had created a worsening climate crisis. “I’m not a scientist,” he said.
The World Bank aims to reduce poverty by lending money to poor nations to improve their economies and living standards at favorable loan terms. There is growing pressure on the bank to do more to help countries facing climate disasters, and to move away from financing new oil and gas projects.
THE LATEST NEWS
Around the World
For the first time, Catholics outnumber Protestants in Northern Island, a striking demographic shift that could eventually fuel calls to reunite Ireland.
Across Europe, once-submerged villages, ships and bridges have re-emerged as rivers and reservoirs have dried up because of heat waves and drought.
A deadly cholera outbreak is spreading in Syria, where millions of people, displaced by civil war, lack clean water and health care.
Other Big Stories
The James Webb Space Telescope took some of the best pictures of Neptune in decades, capturing the planet’s rings in infrared.
Numerous investigations and lawsuits swirling around Donald Trump are creating significant financial pressures on him.
Ten months after the arrival of Omicron, the variant appears to be sticking around.
New research shows thatsmoke from wildfires has worsened over the past decade, potentially reversing decades of improvements in air quality in the western U.S.
What Else Is Happening
Roger Federer will play the last competitive match of his career today in London. Learn more about the Laver Cup, the event Federer and his management team founded in 2017.
Most companies participating in a four-day workweek pilot program in Britain said they had seen no loss of productivity.
A new global census for ants suggests there are 20 quadrillion of them — that’s 20 with 15 zeros following it. Ants outnumber humans at least 2.5 million to one.
A Morning Read
Two Michael Jackson impersonators offer a study in contrasts, reflective of Argentina’s deep economic divide. One man was able to finance 13 surgeries to look more convincing, while the other resorts to tape on his nose and drawn-on sideburns.
“Through makeup, I can build a character,” said one. “And then I can have my own separate life.” The other, who is looking into a 14th surgery, to extend his jawline, said it was not just a job but a lifestyle. “I don’t go home and say, ‘I’m done,’” he said. “I never finish.”
SPORTS NEWS FROM THE ATHLETIC
Why being a female fan at the World Cup comes with risks: Human rights groups have expressed concerns over the reporting of sexual violence at the tournament, due to precedents set by Qatari law.
Kylian Mbappé’s issue with image rights, gambling and KFC: French soccer is in turmoil amid a rolling series of scandals, and none of it bodes well for the World Cup in just two months.
U.S. Soccer seeking to join UEFA Working Group for World Cup workers: The group supports compensation for workers at the Qatar World Cup. The federation had been criticized by Human Rights Watch for its “silence” on the issue.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Is the hyperloop doomed?
For over 150 years, people have dreamed of high-speed travel via pneumatic vacuum tubes, allowing them to shoot underground from one place to the next. A more sophisticated form of this technology, known since the 2010s as the hyperloop, promised something still more ambitious: transportation not just of a few blocks, but also between cities.
While companies have raised hundreds of millions of dollars to design and construct hyperloop systems, the technology remains an aspiration, and transportation analysts say the industry faces major difficulties.
The main issue? Infrastructure. A hyperloop system would require constructing miles-long systems of tubes and stations, acquiring rights of way, adhering to government regulations, and avoiding changes to the ecology along its routes.
A passenger-viable system would also cost considerably more than a cargo-centric one, to avoid discomfort and ensure safety, including avoiding the risk of sabotage or a system failure causing a catastrophic loss of pressure or a lack of oxygen for those traveling.
Read more about the future of the hyperloop.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
Classic apple crumble is a no-fuss favorite.
Revisit the 25 most influential women’s wear collections since the end of World War II.
What to Read
Celeste Ng’s “Our Missing Hearts” explores a dystopia uncomfortably close to reality, Stephen King writes in a review.
Now Time to Play
Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: “Death Becomes ___” (1992 film) (three letters).
And here are today’s Wordle and the Spelling Bee.
You can find all our puzzles here.
That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. — Natasha
P.S. Phil Pan is our next International editor. He was the first Asia editor of The Times, based in Hong Kong, and previously served as our Beijing bureau chief.
The latest episode of “The Daily” is on Vladimir Putin’s escalation of the war.
You can reach Natasha and the team at email@example.com.