Your Tuesday Briefing
Giorgia Meloni has a long record of bashing the E.U., international bankers and migrants.Credit…Gianni Cipriano for The New York Times
Italy turns right, alarming the E.U.
Giorgia Meloni is poised to be Italy’s first far-right nationalist leader since Mussolini after a right-wing coalition led by her post-Fascist party, the Brothers of Italy, dominated national elections.
The victory, which would make her the country’s first female prime minister, sent a tremor through Washington and across Europe, where the establishment is worried about a new rightward tilt. The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine, with high national debt and rocketing inflation, has deeply damaged centrist parties across the continent.
The appeal of nationalists and populists remains strong and is spreading. This month in Sweden, once a bastion of liberal Nordic politics, the far-right Sweden Democrats became the second-largest party, and the largest in what is expected to be a right-wing coalition.
Now Italy has also turned away from the European mainstream. If Meloni joins the populist, Euroskeptic leaders of Hungary and Poland inside the E.U., she could further undermine the bloc’s consensus. One analyst said that such a development would be “Brussels’s nightmare.”
The war: Meloni has supported Ukraine in the war against Russia. But Italian popular opinion is traditionally sympathetic toward Moscow. If economic costs rise, she may take a different approach from her pro-NATO predecessor, Mario Draghi.
Russia admits to problems with its draft
A Kremlin spokesman yesterday acknowledged irregularities in Russia’s effort to mobilize 300,000 people to join the war in Ukraine, but sought to shift blame to local authorities.
The admission came amid growing domestic opposition to the “partial mobilization” that was announced by Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president. Last week, the country’s defense minister pledged that only men with military experience and specialization would be called up. There have been numerous reports of people who have never served in the military receiving orders.
In a sign of growing frustration, a gunman, apparently distraught over the chaotic mobilization, opened fire at a draft office in Siberia yesterday, seriously wounding a recruitment officer. The authorities arrested a suspect, who is in his mid-20s. His mother told a local news outlet that his close friend had received a draft summons despite having never served in the military.
The State of the War
- Occupied Territories: In Kremlin-controlled regions of Ukraine, Russian occupiers are rounding up Ukrainian men to fight against their own nation and forcing residents to vote in staged referendums on joining Russia.
- Putin and the War: President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia appears to have become more involved in strategic planning, rejecting requests from his commanders on the ground that they be allowed to retreat from the vital southern city of Kherson.
- Fleeing Russia: After Mr. Putin called up roughly 300,000 reservists to join the war in Ukraine, waves of Russian men who didn’t want to fight began heading to the borders and paying rising prices for flights out of the country.
- Emblem of Fortitude: When Ukrainians pulled a man’s body from a burial site in the northeastern city of Izium, his wrist bore a bracelet in Ukraine’s colors, given to him by his children. The image has transfixed the nation.
Context: The shooting came after protests against forced conscription and rumors that the authorities could close Russia’s borders. An estimated 261,000 men fled Russia between Wednesday and Saturday, according to the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
Fighting: The fierce battle for the critical Donbas region is now centered on two strategically important cities: Lyman and Bakhmut.
In other Russia news:
Edward Snowden was granted Russian citizenship.
A gunman killed at least four adults and 11 children in a school shooting.
The global economy slows
Markets around the world tumbled yesterday and the S&P 500 dropped to its lowest level of 2022 as panic mounted that the global economy was going to take a hit.
The decline came after the British pound briefly fell to its weakest level against the U.S. dollar on record, with investors balking at the new British government’s tax cut and spending plans. China, which tightly controls its currency, fixed the renminbi at its lowest level in two years while taking steps to manage its fall.
The global economy is still fighting to recover from the pandemic and cope with war. A new forecast showed that it was slowing more than expected, prompting one official to say that “the world is paying a very heavy price” for Russia’s invasion.
But countries are also reacting to U.S. policymakers’ decision to fight soaring domestic inflation with aggressive interest rate hikes, which have pumped up the value of the dollar — the go-to currency for much of the world’s trade and transactions. The policy has caused economic turmoil and profound pain across the world, pushing up prices, ballooning the size of debt payments and increasing the risk of a deep recession.
Reaction: In Nigeria and Somalia, where the risk of starvation already lurks, the strong dollar is driving up the price of imported food, fuel and medicine. It is also nudging debt-ridden Argentina, Egypt and Kenya closer to default and threatening to discourage foreign investment in India and South Korea.
THE LATEST NEWS
Around the World
Iran attacked Kurdish separatist groups in Iraq. The Kurdish community is furious about the death of a young Iranian Kurdish woman in police custody, which has set off huge, women-led protests across Iran.
Japan will hold a state funeral today for Shinzo Abe, its assassinated former prime minister. The cost of the funeral and revelations about political ties between governing party politicians and a fringe religious group have spurred an outcry.
NASA deliberately crashed a spacecraft into a small asteroid to see if it could nudge planet-threatening rocks out of Earth’s way in the future.
Cuba approved same-sex marriage.
TikTok may face a $29 million fine in the U.K. for failing to protect children’s privacy.
In the U.S., the Biden administration and TikTok are working toward a deal to resolve security concerns and allow the Chinese-owned app to continue operating there.
More electric cars will be sold in China this year than in the rest of the world combined. Its market is accelerating ahead of the global competition.
Other Big Stories
The Biden administration’s plan to forgive student loan debt for tens of millions could cost about $400 billion.
Brazil’s Supreme Court has drastically expanded its power to counter Jair Bolsonaro, the country’s anti-democratic president, who may reject an election loss. Some fear the court has gone too far.
An American ski mountaineer is missing after apparently falling into a crevasse while trying to ski down a peak in Nepal. An avalanche on the same mountain killed at least one person and injured 14.
A Morning Read
Four years ago, 12 boys and their coach were trapped in a cave in one of Thailand’s national parks. Now, as new blockbuster movies detail the dramatic rescue, the park is preparing for a tourism onslaught.
“I never expected it to change this much,” the chief of a nearby village said. “Even our own people in neighboring districts didn’t know about the cave.”
SPORTS NEWS FROM THE ATHLETIC
Eric Cantona, soccer’s biggest maverick, is sounding off: “Sheep” soccer players, David Beckham’s Qatar backing, wars — nothing is off the table in this discussion with an all-time soccer legend.
France’s worrying World Cup preparations: The mood in French soccer is bleak, with relentless rolling scandals that are constantly distracting from everyday talking points like tactics and team selections.
Inside Graham Potter’s Chelsea rebuild: Potter will need all of his new players engaged not just to navigate the relentless schedule, but to build serious Premier League momentum while rescuing a listless Champions League group-stage campaign. Relaxed player meetings, open environments are a start.
ARTS AND IDEAS
The new India
Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, has made his country indispensable to addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges, including diplomacy and climate change; technology and trade; and China’s dominance in the supply chain.
But while Modi rides India’s credentials as the world’s largest democracy, his government is undertaking a project to imprint a majoritarian Hindu ideology on India’s secular democracy. Modi and his party are stifling dissent and consolidating power, sidelining civilian institutions and marginalizing minority groups, particularly India’s 200 million Muslims.
The question is whether India can remain an engine for global growth while its government stokes cycles of extremism and volatility at home.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
This hearty eggplant dal is fragrant and silky.
What to Watch
The documentary “My Imaginary Country” chronicles the economic uprisings in Chile, which began in 2019.
What to Read
Namwali Serpell wrote “The Furrows,” a disquieting novel about grief, after her sister died of a drug overdose.
Now Time to Play
Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Frog lookalikes (five 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. — Amelia
P.S. The word “slowcitta” made its first appearance in The Times on Sunday in an article about travel in rural South Korea.
The latest episode of “The Daily” is on the decline in child poverty in the U.S.
You can reach Amelia and the team at email@example.com.