We cover a Ukrainian counter-offensive and an effort by the European Central Bank to curb inflation.
Ukraine launches counter-offensive in the south
Ukrainian officials said their forces used long-range missiles and artillery to attack more than 200 Russian targets in the south on Thursday. The strikes destroyed six ammunition depots, according to the army.
The effort – greatly bolstered by a flood of powerful Western weapons – has strained Moscow’s military infrastructure and supply lines in and around Kherson province, which Russian forces seized in March. The growing scale of Ukrainian attacks in the south is consistent with preparations for a ground offensive.
Ukraine’s military success comes as it again tries to prove to the world that it can defeat the Russians. Officials point to successes such as a recent Ukrainian artillery attack on a bridge critical for Russian supplies.
But despite renewed optimism among Ukrainians, military analysts and Western officials said it was far too early to predict a reversal of fortunes, and a long slog seemed more likely.
While fully vaccinated and doubly boosted, the positive test poses health concerns for the 79-year-old president. He is given Paxlovid, an antiviral drug used to minimize the severity of Covid-19, and will self-isolate at the White House. Biden “will continue to fully perform all of his duties during this time,” his press secretary said.
Biden’s positive test also underscores how Covid remains a lingering threat in the United States, even as much of the country attempts to move past the pandemic. Fueled by the BA.5 subvariant, cases and hospitalizations have increased.
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The increase – half a percentage point larger than expected – brought an abrupt end to eight years of negative interest rates aimed at inducing banks to lend generously, although the increase left the bank’s policy rate zero percent bank. European stocks ended the day roughly where they started, after investors reacted positively to the ECB’s aggressive action to tame inflation.
In countries that use the euro, inflation is rising at its fastest pace in generations, reaching 8.6% in June. The increase was mainly due to higher energy and food prices. The ECB has a particularly delicate task: to balance the economic weaknesses and the debt burden of 19 different countries.
Recession Concerns: The most talked about recession indicator on Wall Street, the yield curve, is sounding its loudest alarm in two decades. A reversal of it has preceded every US recession for the past half century, and it is happening.
And after: The ECB has introduced a new tool – the transmission protection instrument – to control the bond markets. He doesn’t want to use it.
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The difficulty of adapting Austen
The best Jane Austen adaptations are true to the plot of the novel and confident in their own world. A movie version of “Persuasion” on Netflix is neither, writes Sarah Lyall.
The problem isn’t that the film takes liberties, writes Sarah. Many iterations of Austen do: “Fire Island” sets “Pride and Prejudice” in a present-day vacation home with a group of gay men looking for love. But the new “Persuasion” departs from the novel’s cautious pace, allowing the characters to reveal their feelings early on. And it mixes its 19th-century setting with modern phrases (“If you’re a five in London, you’re a 10 in Bath,” says one character).
In an interview, the film’s director, Carrie Cracknell, a drama prodigy who was co-manager of a major London theater before the age of 30, defended her choices: “One of the great hopes I I had for the film was to draw in a new audience to Austen, and make them feel like they really recognize the people on screen.