Your Thursday Briefing
A giant poster in Luhansk, Ukraine, on Wednesday declared, “With Russia forever!” Credit…Associated Press
Russian proxies push for annexation
Russian proxy officials in occupied areas of Ukraine have appealed to Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, to annex the regions. The appeals followed sham referendums in four regions in Ukraine that purported to put a stamp of approval on joining Russia. Many of the ballots were cast at the point of a gun, witnesses said.
The formality of the annexation requests was at odds with the chaos Russia faces both on the battlefield, where it continues to suffer losses, and at home, where tens of thousands are fleeing the country to avoid a military draft. It came as the E.U. moved to impose new sanctions on Russia, including an oil price cap, trade restrictions and blacklisting of individuals who were responsible for the referendums.
When it comes to annexation, Russian officials appear to want at least a patina of legality — even as most of the world condemns the referendums, and Russia’s land grab, as patently unlawful. Under Russia’s 1993 Constitution, Moscow cannot annex areas of a neighboring country without consent.
Investigation: In phone calls to friends and relatives at home, Russian soldiers gave damning insider accounts of battlefield failures and civilian executions, excoriating their leaders just weeks into the campaign to take Kyiv.
More news from the war:
After the mysterious attack on gas lines under the Baltic Sea, some officials have suggested Moscow was to blame, but with little evidence, others urged caution.Here’s what we know.
Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Prague, spurred by rising prices and an energy crisis that is affecting countries across Europe.
Hurricane Ian pummels Florida
Millions of Florida residents faced a harrowing night as wind and rain from Hurricane Ian pounded the state’s southwestern coast and moved inland toward Orlando, knocking out power to more than 1.8 million customers statewide. The storm is among the most powerful to strike the U.S. in decades. Follow its path here.
West of Fort Myers, where the hurricane came ashore, a storm surge of up to 12 feet submerged cars, knocked over houses and trapped residents. Some places remained too dangerous for water rescues, officials said, adding that they were taking down addresses to help once it was safe.
As the world copes with the effects of climate change, strong storms are becoming more common in the Atlantic Ocean, as its surface water has warmed. Ian also rapidly transformed into a strong storm, another phenomenon that has become more common. The storm is poised to drop large amounts of rain — which, combined with higher sea levels, could cause flooding.
First person: A veteran hurricane hunter flew into the eye of the storm. “I’ve never seen so much lightning,” he said.
The pound’s long decline
The pound has fallen more than 20 percent this year, to its lowest recorded level — close to parity with the dollar, with £1 worth $1.03. While the immediate cause of the pound’s alarming drop on Monday was the announcement of a spending and tax plan by Britain’s new Conservative government, the currency had been sliding for many years.
The sense of crisis ramped up yesterday when the Bank of England warned of “material risk to U.K. financial stability” from the government’s plan and said it would start buying British government bonds “on whatever scale is necessary” to stem a sell-off in British debt.
For some experts, the pound’s journey indicates a decline in economic and political influence that accelerated when Britain voted to leave the E.U. in 2016. In many respects, Britain already has the worst performing economy, aside from Russia, in the 38-member O.E.C.D.
Analysis: “It’s just a question of time before it falls out of the top 10 economies in the world,” said Ian Goldin, professor of globalization and development at the University of Oxford. Britain currently ranks sixth, having been surpassed by India.
THE LATEST NEWS
Around the World
Nine people were killed in the semiautonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq yesterday after Iranian forcesbombarded the area for the fifth straight day.
Four Palestinian militants were killed in an Israeli Army raid in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian officials said.
Guinea began a long-delayed trial yesterday of its former president and 10 others, who are accused of being responsible for a 2009 massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators.
Six people were shot at a school campus in Oakland, Calif., prompting lockdowns and evacuations.
Other Big Stories
Russia and the U.S. are both vying to run a U.N. organization that sets standards for new technologies, part of a global battle over the direction of the internet.
People who received a shot of the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine were significantly less likely to be infected than those who did not, a U.S. study found.
Donald Trump’s request that a special master review government documents in the Mar-a-Lago case increasingly looks like a blunder.
The Chinese tech billionaire Richard Liu will face a courtroom jury this week in the U.S. over sexual assault allegations.
What Else Is Happening
The mysterious marks on this leaf aren’t necessarily evidence of disease. They may be leaf mines or galls — and that’s a good thing.
In crypto havens such as Meia Praia, a beach in Portugal, confidence in digital currencies remains undimmed even after this summer’s crash.
MacKenzie Scott — perhaps the world’s most influential philanthropist — filed for divorce from her second husband and removed his name from her recent donations.
A Morning Read
A limited number of lucky and notably brave people in San Francisco, including the Times reporter Cade Metz, have had the opportunity to ride the city’s streets in an experimental driverless vehicle.
His verdict: “Spooky, impressive, perplexing and stressful.”
Coolio, the West Coast rapper whose gritty music and anthemic hits like “Gangsta’s Paradise” helped define hip-hop in the 1990s, died yesterday in Los Angeles. He was 59.
SPORTS NEWS FROM THE ATHLETIC
Brazil star calls for action after banana thrown in racist incident: A banana was thrown at Tottenham Hotspur forward Richarlison in Paris after he celebrated scoring in his side’s win over Tunisia. He says action must be taken, as opposed to meaningless words.
Bad news for England, the U.S., Germany and France: Only one victorious team in the 21st century lost a single match in their five games immediately before the World Cup. This group just joined the club. Can they break the trend?
FIFA accused of ‘ignoring’ Ukraine and urged to scrap Russia TV deals: The chief executive of leading Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk claims soccer’s governing body has ‘destroyed’ the game in their country.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Culture around the world
Ourforeigncorrespondents are not only reporters. They’re also residents of the countries they cover, and they keep tabs on cultural phenomena and breakout hits.
In East Africa, an essay collection started a wave of frank conversations about sex. “Everyone — and I mean everyone — has either read, is reading or was at some point shamed for not reading ‘The Sex Lives of African Women,’” said Abdi Latif Dahir, who lives in Nairobi, Kenya.
In Ukraine, “Stefania,” a soaring rock tribute performed at the Eurovision Song Contest by the Ukrainian band Kalush, above, has seemed ubiquitous in the streets of Kyiv, the capital. “It’s almost as if it’s disloyal to pay attention to just ordinary pop hits or hit TV series now,” said Jane Arraf, our Baghdad bureau chief, who helped report from the ground in Ukraine.
And in Iraq, the recent death of the poet Mudhafar al-Nowab brought his verse of protest to the forefront, Jane said. He could be more acerbic than unfamiliar readers might expect. One poem includes these lines: “I pee on the governing police. It is the era of urine. I pee on the tables, the parliaments and ministers with no shame.”
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
This seasonal tart is simple and beautiful.
What to Listen to
“It’s like playing out of a wine glass.” The pop star Lizzo played the crystal flute made for President James Madison in 1813. Watch here.
What to Read
Read your way through Rome with the Somali Italian author Igiaba Scego.
Now Time to Play
Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Sound check word (four 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. The Times won three Online Journalism Awards.
The latest episode of “The Daily” is on the protests in Iran.
You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].