Britain’s cost of living crisis hits families
In Britain, one of the world’s wealthiest countries, growing numbers of working people are struggling to feed their children amid a devastating cost of living crisis. Food and energy prices have reached record highs, and austerity measures by Conservative-led governments have eroded benefits for many low-income families, including working households.
In response to the crisis, the BBC has published dozens of recipes online costing less than a pound, or around $1.23 per serving. Some schools have lowered their heating. And many communities have opened “warm spaces” – heated public rooms for people with cold homes.
Job growth has left Britain with fewer jobless households, but many of those who found jobs were still vulnerable when inflation hit a 41-year high a few months ago and the salaries have not followed. The incomes of low-income people have grown more slowly in Britain than in other Western countries, including Germany and France.
By the numbers: In October, consumer prices jumped 11.1% from a year earlier. In December, consumer prices were still up more than 10% compared to a year earlier.
First person: Aislinn Corey, a pre-school teacher in London, turned giving her two sons an orange or an apple into a game, cutting it in thirds and pretending to have a picnic. “We do it as an activity,” she said. “So they don’t know mom is struggling.” She sometimes skips a meal so that there is more food for her children.
Tanks confirmed for Ukraine
President Biden announced yesterday that the United States would send 31 Abrams M1 tanks to Ukraine to help defend against Russian invaders and that Germany would follow by providing 14 Leopard 2 tanks, allowing other allies to send theirs. He stressed that the buildup was not meant to expand the war in Russia.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, who lobbied for the tanks to counter Russia’s advantage in arms and troops, expressed his gratitude for the US decision. Writing on Twitter, he said: “Today the free world is united as never before for a common goal: the liberation of Ukraine.” Zelensky claimed 300 tanks in total.
The Pentagon had been reluctant to send the Abrams tanks, in part because they are exceptionally complex machines that are difficult to operate and maintain. As things stand, officials said it could take them a year or more to reach the battlefield in Ukraine. The pledges could unlock more aid ahead of an expected escalation in fighting in the spring.
Hourly: The news came as the Ukrainian military acknowledged it had withdrawn from Soledar, a strategic eastern town that Russian forces had fought to capture during months of brutal trench warfare and battles of artillery.
Meta will restore Trump’s Facebook account
Just over two years after Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts were suspended, Meta, the platform’s owner, said it would restore the former president’s access to them. It previously had hundreds of millions of followers and was the most followed account on Facebook when it was banned.
Meta, along with other mainstream social media services, suspended Trump from its platforms in 2021 after hundreds of people stormed the Capitol on his behalf, saying his posts risked inciting more violence. The company said yesterday it had decided to roll back the bans because the risk to public safety had ‘reduced enough’.
In November, Trump’s Twitter account was also reinstated, giving the former president more of a megaphone as he campaigns for the White House in 2024. But Trump did not post on Twitter and is not currently active only on the right-wing social network Truth Social. YouTube did not say whether it would allow the former president to return to the platform.
Quoteable: In an article on Truth Social, Trump said a “deplatform” should “never again happen to a sitting president, or anyone else who doesn’t deserve retaliation!”
Related: Trump has long been opposed to emails and other communications that leave a record. But recently, his associates say, he’s taken to texting.
THE LAST NEWS
Around the world
‘The Modi Question’, a new BBC documentary about India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, focuses on his role in the deadly Hindu-Muslim riots in Gujarat state in 2002. The Indian government has denounced the film and taken steps to make it difficult to see inside the country.
“By doing this they are making this documentary more popular,” said one student activist. “Now everyone wants to watch it.”
Balkrishna Doshi, the first Indian architect to receive the Pritzker Prize, contributed to the development of Indian modernism. “We wanted to find our own identity,” he said. He died at 95.
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Collin Morikawa and Adam Scott join a new golf league: Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas are other players committed to playing in Tiger Woods’ new league.
SPOTLIGHT ON AFRICA
A diplomatic competition
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in Africa this week for his second diplomatic tour in less than a year. He is expected to be back in the coming weeks for a planned visit to North Africa. While Russia relies on a long-standing diplomatic network on the continent, Ukraine has far fewer embassies there.
Yet as the war in Ukraine nears the end of its first year, many African countries have remained neutral. Lavrov’s visit began in South Africa, with stops in Botswana and Eswatini, before heading to Angola, a major oil producer. Along the way, he extended invitations to a Russia-Africa summit in July.
The trip overlaps with visits by two senior US officials: UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
Yellen, who was visiting Senegal, Zambia and South Africa, warned that Russia’s “barbaric aggression” was hurting African economies, including through rising food prices. And Thomas-Greenfield said: “Africa is key to putting pressure on Russia because we need to send a strong and unified message to Russia that what they are doing in Ukraine is unacceptable. — Lynsey Chutel, Writer of Briefings in Johannesburg
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