Inflation, Biden in Europe, Yugos: Your Thursday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

Inflation, Biden in Europe, Yugos: Your Thursday Evening Briefing 1
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

1. Consumer prices jumped by 5 percent in May from a year ago, faster than expected.

The C.P.I. showed the strongest year-over-year reading since 2008. Part of the increase is coming from supply bottlenecks and other shortages as the economy reopens, as well as the base effect: The May 2020 number was depressed by shutdowns.

The critical question is whether that is a trend tied to reopening or something more persistent. Wall Street shook off the news as stocks hovered in record territory.

The latest data is sure to keep inflation at the center of debate in Washington. Biden administration and top Fed officials predict price increases will even out, but Republicans are warning that they may spiral out of control.

Supply issues are bubbling up for Starbucks, which is flush with customers and running out of key items like peach and guava juices, iced and cold-brew coffee and even cups, lids and straws.

Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

2. President Biden said the Group of 7 would announce a global strategy for containing the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is about our responsibility, our humanitarian obligation, to save as many lives as we can,” Biden said in Cornwall, England, where leaders of the G7 will open a summit tomorrow. He announced that the U.S. will buy 500 million doses of vaccine and donate them for use by about 100 low- and middle-income countries over the next year.

Biden and the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, unveiled a new “Atlantic Charter” to redefine the Western alliance as they sought to focus the world’s attention on emerging threats from cyberattacks, the pandemic and climate change. Here’s the latest on Biden’s Europe trip.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

3. Deaths from Covid-19 have dropped by 90 percent in the U.S. since their peak in January, but hundreds of people are still dying daily.

While the number of deaths has fallen in all age groups, about half of Covid-19 deaths are now of people aged 50 to 74, compared with only a third in December. The remaining deaths are mainly driven by those who have yet to be vaccinated. Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi have the lowest vaccination rates in the country.

Nationwide, about 10.5 million children under 18 have received at least one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Moderna has requested an emergency authorization for use of its vaccine in 12- to 17-year-olds.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the C.D.C.’s new leader, follows the science. But critics say she needs to be better attuned to the real world.

Kiana Hayeri for The New York Times

4. As the U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan, interpreters fear being left behind.

A program to bring people employed by the American military to the U.S. is backlogged, with thousands of visa applicants denied. More than 18,000 Afghans are awaiting decisions on their applications. Above, Shoaib Walizada, 31, a former interpreter for the U.S. forces.

Many say they are seized by dread, fearing they will be denied, or approved only after they have been hunted down and killed.

The Pentagon is considering whether to intervene with airstrikes to support Afghan security forces in the event that Kabul is in danger of falling to the Taliban, once U.S. troops have left the country.

Ben Curtis/Associated Press

5. Famine is hitting 350,000 Ethiopians. It’s the worst for any country in a decade.

The disaster stems from Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict, according to the United Nations and international aid groups. Fighting erupted in November, when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and neighboring Eritrea ordered their military forces into the region to crush Abiy’s political rivals and strengthen his control. Above, displaced Tigrayans receive food in northern Ethiopia.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said “the very place that woke the modern world up to the scourge of hunger” four decades ago was at risk of a repeat.

Terray Sylvester/Reuters

6. Our approach to climate change is missing something big, scientists say.

Unless the world stops treating climate change and biodiversity collapse as separate issues, neither problem can be addressed effectively, according to a report from two leading international scientific panels. Global policies usually target one or the other, leading to unintended consequences.

In other climate news, the Keystone XL pipeline, a long-embattled project that would have carried petroleum from Canadian tar sands to Nebraska, was canceled. Above, pipes for the Keystone XL project in North Dakota in 2017.

The largest source of the wine industry’s carbon footprint is glass bottles. So it’s experimenting with alternatives — like a 24,000-liter hermetically sealed plastic container of pinot grigio that will fill kegs and reusable bottles.

Joe Buglewicz for The New York Times

7. Headliners and headdresses are returning to Las Vegas.

The stakes could not be higher as the Strip tries to emerge: It’s hard to open shows without tourists, and it’s hard to draw tourists without shows. While just 106,900 tourists visited Las Vegas in April 2020, some 2.6 million people visited this past April — a big rebound, but still almost a million shy of what the city was attracting before the pandemic.

Las Vegas began filling its theaters ahead of New York, where most Broadway shows will not reopen until September.

As New York started to open up in May, The Times Magazine dispatched 15 photographers, all of them age 25 or younger, to capture the excitement and the anxiety.

Natalia Mantini for The New York Times

8. That menstrual cup belongs in a museum.

And so do the breast pump, the speculum and the IUD. A new book and exhibition series argues that there is a whole world of objects pertaining to women, mothers and pregnant people that have been overlooked from the perspective of form and function.

“These objects are often used by people who have not had the power to write history, make decisions or frame material culture,” said a curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. “They have just not been part of the conversation, out loud, until recently.”

A new such object is Phexxi, a contraceptive gel marketed as a new form of birth control to women wary of hormones.

Robert Neubecker

9. Learn 20 essential money lessons in 20 days.

Financial life often seems way more complicated than it ought to be, so Ron Lieber, who writes the “Your Money” column, and Tara Siegel Bernard, a personal finance reporter, have put together a 20-day Money Challenge. They cover a bit of banking, some investing, a helping of student loan and other debt management. Sign up for the challenge to receive one tip a day with a reasonably quick task that you can tackle once you’re done.

For other life advice, our Food and Cooking staff share their current favorite hacks, like using hotel-room shower caps as a more sustainable form of plastic wrap.

Brian Kaiser for The New York Times

10. And finally, a second look at the Mona Lisa of bad cars.

The utilitarian Yugo may be the most maligned auto in history, ridiculed for its looks and its (many) flaws. But its fans defend the car’s reputation with the kind of overprotective affection usually reserved for pet cats that go blind and three-legged dogs.

“People are buying these cars as jokes now, and to win awards in car shows,” Nick Bygrave, an employee at a parts supplier, said. He found a moss-covered 1987 GVS that had sat in a field for 20 years, but it ran. Once the moss died, it looked like a matte paint job.

Have an affectionate evening.

Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.

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