Good morning. We cover a possible Ukrainian blocked grain deal and an interest rate hike in Europe.
Ukrainian grain: unlocked?
Turkey stated that Moscow and Kyiv an agreement was reached to unblock the export of Ukrainian grain. The Turkish presidency said the pact would be signed today, but Russia and Ukraine have not confirmed that they have reached an agreement.
If signed, the agreement would help alleviate global food shortages. Ukraine is one of the breadbaskets of the world, and since the Russian invasion, more than 20 million tons of grain have entered the country’s Black Sea ports.
Details: Russia’s de facto blockade of the Black Sea has sent Ukraine’s exports down to one-sixth of pre-war levels, exacerbating famine in Africa and disrupting food supply chains already hit by the pandemic.
Europe raises rates amid inflation
European Central Bank raised three interest rates by half a percentage point yesterday, as inflation skyrocketed across the continent, war raged in Ukraine and fears of an economic downturn grew. The increase, the first in more than a decade, was twice as large as expected.
Consumer prices in the eurozone increased by an average of 8.6 percent last month compared to a year earlier. The last time the region experienced such severe inflation, the euro did not exist.
Officials hope the move will be a powerful tool to help control rapid inflation, and the central bank has called it an attempt to “speed up” rate hikes. And as a sign of investor confidence, European stocks ended the day exactly where we started.
Financial context: Last week, the euro fell to parity with the dollar for the first time in 20 years. This added to the bloc’s inflationary pressures as the lower value of the currency increased the cost of imports. There is growing concern that the bloc will enter a recession.
Global context: Growth follows similar measures adopted by the US Federal Reserve and dozens of other central banks this year. The global outlook has worsened in recent months as disruptions caused by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine continue to disrupt supply chains.
This is partly due to the fact that mortality is not rising significantly. There are no severe cases either, and intensive care units are not overcrowded with Covid patients. Instead, authorities appear to be relying on high vaccination rates, increased access to booster vaccinations, and past infections to dampen the effect of Omicron sub-options, although some experts still worry about vulnerable people.
Europeans also seem to have chosen to live with the virus. People are traveling again, entering restaurants without masks and sitting in subway seats once left open for social distancing.
“These are things from the past,” one woman at a Rome bookstore said of floor stickers urging shoppers to keep “at least 1 meter distance.” She described the red signs with crossed-out spiky coronavirus spheres as artifacts “like the bricks of the Berlin Wall.”
United States: President Biden positive for covid yesterday. The White House said he had “very mild symptoms.”
Australia: The number of Covid hospitalizations in the country is approaching a maximum, but the authorities abstained from return restrictions.
The world of birdsreally plain and brown and boring“, – said the ornithologist. The study reports that it could become even more dangerous: The current biodiversity crisis means that the most characteristic birds will become extinct first.
Difficulty adapting Austin
The best adaptations of Jane Austen are faithful to the plot of the novel and confident in their own worlds. The Netflix version of Persuasion is neither. Sara Lyall writes.
The problem is not that the film takes liberties, she writes. Many iterations of Austin do: “Fire Island” sets up Pride and Prejudice in a contemporary country house with a group of gay men looking for love. But the new Persuasion deviates from the novel’s cautious pace, allowing the characters to reveal their feelings early. And he mixes the 19th-century setting with modern phrases (“If you’re five in London, you’re 10 in Bath,” says one of the characters).
In an interview, the film’s director Carrie Cracknell – a dramatic prodigy who co-directed a major London theater until the age of 30 – defended her choice“One of my big hopes for the film was to bring a new audience to Austen and make them feel like they really get to know the people on screen.”