Your Thursday Briefing
Shopping in central London on Wednesday.Credit…Andy Rain/EPA, via Shutterstock
‘We are literally sinking’
Inflation in Britain rose to 10.1 percent in July compared with a year earlier, as consumer prices grew at their fastest pace since 1982. Many Britons, especially the most vulnerable, who have borne the brunt of the effects of inflation, are bracing for more sacrifices. Food banks in the country have had to cut back on hot meals amid rising demand and falling donations.
Food prices rose 2.3 percent from June to July, the steepest monthly increase in 21 years, with notable increases among staples like bread, cereal, milk, cheese and eggs. The surge in checkout prices comes as a contest to be Britain’s next prime minister has left the country in a leadership vacuum, and policy responses remain unsettled.
Rising prices are troubling households and central bankers globally, multiplying the challenges facing lawmakers. Many countries are experiencing multi-decade highs in their inflation rates as pandemic-related supply chain disruptions push up prices. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also set off an energy crisis, particularly in Europe.
Worldwide highs: Prices in Britain are rising faster than in the U.S. (8.5 percent) and the eurozone’s largest economies: Germany (8.5 percent), France (6.8 percent) and Italy (8.4 percent).
First person: “Before, we were keeping our head just above the water,” one woman in London said of the price increases. “Now, we are literally sinking.”
Europe’s unequal access to monkeypox vaccines
The outbreak of monkeypox in Europe has disturbing echoes of the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, when protective gear, tests and vaccines were inadequately and inconsistently produced and distributed across the continent. Some nations are better equipped than others, leading to competition for limited vaccine supplies.
“Vaccine tourism” — crossing borders in search of shots — is also back. Though Spain has been the center of Europe’s outbreak, the country until last week had access to only about 5,000 shots. France, with fewer than half as many confirmed cases, had already vaccinated 27,000 people. Only one vaccine, produced by the drugmaker Bavarian Nordic, has been approved by European regulators.
The E.U. created a new health emergency agency last year that was supposed to act decisively and put all 27 member countries on an equal footing. But experts say the new agency does not have the full powers envisioned for it, in part because individual countries have been unwilling to cede sufficient authority to it.
By the numbers: More than 30,000 people have been infected with monkeypox worldwide, and millions are considered at risk. About 58,000 vaccine doses of the E.U.’s initial order of 110,000 two months ago have been delivered, with the rest expected by the end of August.
In England, Ukrainian recruits train for battle
An ambitious British-led program aims to provide military training to 10,000 Ukrainian Army recruits and staff members to bolster resistance to the Russian invasion. The initiative, which began in June, started with more than a thousand British soldiers from a unit that specializes in foreign training. British trainers have already sent 2,000 Ukrainians back to the fight.
The training of troops by foreign powers has long been part of Ukraine’s plan to combat Moscow’s invasion. Before the war, Britain and other Western allies, including the U.S., gave extensive training to the Ukrainian military. Now, nations including Canada, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and New Zealand have pledged to join in after Britain requested help.
Experts say Western combat training has been instrumental in helping the Ukrainian Army during the war. “The Ukrainian Army is massively smaller than the Russians’, so the quality of training in leadership skills and tactics had to compensate for quantity,” said Jamie Shea, a former NATO spokesman. The training aims to equip conscripts with essential military skills.
Background: The Yavoriv training center, a Ukrainian military base outside Lviv that was attacked by Russian forces in March, was a hub for troops from Britain, Canada, Latvia, Poland, the U.S. and other Western nations to train Ukrainian forces since the 1990s.
Operation: Several hundred Ukrainians, including former teachers, civil engineers and businessmen, were flown to an army base in Kent, one of four sites where British trainers are leading three-week courses that cover combat tactics, medical and weapons training and the laws of war.
In other news:
Ukrainian guerrilla fighters known as partisans are taking an ever more prominent role in the war.
Ukrainian officials warned of a buildup of long-range Russian missile systems to the north, in Belarus.
Send us your questions about the war in Ukraine, and we’ll do our best to answer them.
THE LATEST NEWS
Other Big Stories
North Korea launched two cruise missiles yesterday in its first weapon test in more than two months.
“I’m done with him”: Hadi Matar’s mother disavowed her son, who is accused of trying to kill the writer Salman Rushdie, and said that her son had changed after a 2018 trip to the Middle East.
The head of the C.D.C. said the agency had failed to respond quickly enough to the pandemic and would overhaul its operations.
Mike Pence called on Republicans to stop attacking top law enforcement agencies over the F.B.I.’s search of Donald Trump’s home.
Around the World
Mexico’s president is staking the country’s future on fossil fuels.
Israel and Turkey are restoring full diplomatic ties after a four-year chill.
After an international outcry, the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, has walked back accusations that Israel carried out “50 Holocausts” against Palestinians.
A Spanish judge has ruled that the body of Angola’s longtime leader, José Eduardo dos Santos, may be returned to his home country.
What Else Is Happening
A huge pit off the coast of Guinea in West Africa is probably an impact crater made by a meteor, scientists say.
A treasured manuscript held by the University of Michigan, once thought to be written by Galileo, is now believed to be a forgery.
A Morning Read
Taiwan’s cuisine has been shaped by many cultural forces, including the native ingredients cooked by its Indigenous tribes; long-established groups of Fujianese and Hakka people; a period of Japanese colonial rule; and the wave of refugees who started arriving from mainland China in 1949.
“Even the dishes that came from Chinese immigrants have evolved over the last 70 years to be totally unique to our island,” said Clarissa Wei, a Taiwanese American journalist. “They’re the products of refugees who merged their culinary practices.”
ARTS AND IDEAS
If the movies “Big” and “13 Going on 30” painted our 30s as one’s prime, the comedy “Mack & Rita,” released this month, poses another option that’s particularly resonant in 2022: our 70s.
It also offers a portal to something deeper, Jenni Avins reports for The Times: a current collective wish to fill our kitchens with hydrangeas, pour some wine over ice with our closest friends and stop sweating the small stuff.
The vibe, termed “coastal grandmother” by the TikToker Lex Nicoleta, is the luxuriously relaxed aesthetic the actor Diane Keaton helped popularize nearly two decades ago in “Something’s Gotta Give”: easy-fitting white button-down shirts, straw hats and cardigans ranging from greige to beige.
Now, as summer winds down, Jimmy Fallon and Jane Fonda have released a music video tribute to the style and #cottagecore is raging — the timelessness of white-hot gingham and chintz table linens, floral-painted pottery and old wooden furniture.
Read more about the aspirational nature of one’s 70s.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
Make the most of a zucchini glut with this fudgy chocolate loaf cake.
Apps and tips to help you navigate travel chaos and maximize comfort.
What to Read
Let the Icelandic writer Olaf Olafsson lead you on a literary stroll through Reykjavik.
Now Time to Play
Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Ginormous (four letters).
And here’s 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’s video team won an Edward R. Murrow Award for its documentary about the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
The latest episode of “The Daily” is about airline chaos this summer.
You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].