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Annie Gugliotta.

UK Chippies battered by effects of the war in Ukraine

Andrew Crook, a fish and chip shop owner in the northern English town of Euxton, has been in the industry for so long, he says, that he’s got “vinegar in his blood.”

Crook has seen plenty of ups and downs at work. But the 46-year-old says he’s never seen anything quite like the storms shaking the industry now, as the effects of the war in Ukraine put an iconic British industry on the brink of disaster.

“It’s a bleak picture,” Crook tells us from his home in the nearby town of Chorley, just as a loud shriek interrupts the conversation. “I’ve got a macaw,” he explains. “He can tell when I’m on a call, and he likes to join in.”

Even before Russia invaded Ukraine, the chippies were struggling because higher fuel costs caused by the pandemic were forcing fish trawlers to charge more for their haul.

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Ukraine's grain exports are being held hostage.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Hard Numbers: Ukraine’s food storage dilemma, American tourists behaving badly, Vietnam’s health minister in cuffs, British journalist missing in the Amazon

23.5 million: Ukraine is being forced to find storage capacity for a whopping 23.5 million tons of grain thanks to Russia’s blockade of Black Sea ports usually used to transport Ukrainian exports like corn and wheat. Kyiv is trying to up its storage capacity ahead of a summer harvest, wary that improperly stored grains can easily spoil.

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Paige Fusco

What We’re Watching: Global stagflation warning, food fight at the UN, China in Cambodia

World Bank issues stark stagflation warning

The war in Ukraine has frustrated attempts to revive the pandemic-battered global economy, creating an endless loop of bad news. That trend continued Tuesday when the World Bank slashed its global growth forecast to 2.9% – down from a January prediction of 4.1%. (It was 5.7% in 2021.) What’s more, the body warned that “subdued growth” will likely continue throughout the decade and could give rise to 1970s-style stagflation – the double whammy of a stagnant economy coupled with double-digit inflation. But the impacts of the lingering global economic crisis won’t be felt equally. The World Bank says that while wealthy countries like the US and China will experience slower-than-usual growth, developing countries will be hardest hit as borrowing costs rise. This is already playing out: Cash-strapped Sri Lanka was recently forced to default on its sovereign debt for the first time. Crucially, the World Bank also warned that the deepening food crisis could cause social upheaval in import-reliant countries in the near-term.

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Police detain a man on the 33rd anniversary of the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations at Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989, in Hong Kong, China.

REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Hard Numbers: Hong Kongers arrested, British cucumber shortage, Japan’s dwindling population, deadly blaze in Bangladesh

6: Six Hong Kongers were arrested over the weekend for publicly marking the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Beijing bans commemorating the event on the mainland, but Hong Kong was, until recently, one of a few Chinese territories where it was allowed. That changed in 2020, when Beijing imposed a draconian national security law on the city.

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Ari Winkleman

No feed no chicken

First, it was Indonesia with palm oil, then India with wheat. This week, Malaysia joined a growing list of countries nationalizing food supplies by suspending exports of live chickens to cool down soaring local prices that have skyrocketed since Russia invaded Ukraine.

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British PM Boris Johnson looking puzzled.

Leon Neal via Reuters

What We're Watching: Confidence in Boris, Shanghai reopens, chicken inflation

The Boris vote is coming

Following last week’s Gray report, findings from an investigation into allegations that Boris Johnson attended lockdown-violating social events during the pandemic, it seemed that the UK prime minister might avoid a vote of no-confidence in his leadership of the Conservative Party. But a clumsy response — Johnson claims the report “vindicated” him — and resulting criticism this week from members of his party suggest the vote is coming, perhaps as soon as next week. Here are the basics: It would take a formal request from 54 Tory MPs to force a vote and a simple majority of 180 Tories to oust him. For now, it appears the vote would be close. A narrow victory would leave him a diminished figure, but he could survive in power until a national election in 2024. A loss would create a wide-open, two-month contest to lead the party forward. The vote may wait until after a pair of crucial parliamentary by-elections on June 23. A loss for Conservatives in both those votes might seal Johnson’s fate.

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Export Controls Are “Worst Possible” Thing To Do in Food Crisis | Global Stage | GZERO Media

In a food crisis, export controls are "worst possible" thing to do, says UN Foundation chief

The war in Ukraine has aggravated a global food crisis that started with the pandemic. Is there anything we can do about it?

The UN is trying, but there needs to be a much more ambitious response to what is already a catastrophic humanitarian crisis, UN Foundation President Elizabeth Cousens said during a Global Stage livestream discussion hosted by GZERO in partnership with Microsoft at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. She was joined by Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media; Brad Smith, president and vice chair of Microsoft; and moderator Nicholas Thompson, CEO of The Atlantic.

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Why We’re in the Current Food Crisis — And Who Could Fix It | Hunger Pains | GZERO Media

Why we're in the current food crisis — and who could fix it

Sylvain Charlebois knows a thing or two about food. He's a professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, and tweets as @FoodProfessor. So, what does he think about the current global food crisis?

It started two years ago, when COVID disrupted supply chains, but the acute shortages that are driving up prices are more recent, he explained in a conversation for GZERO with Diana Fox Carney, Senior Advisor at Eurasia Group.

Why? Charlebois cites climate issues that hurt inventories, higher shipping costs due to the COVID hangover of weakened supply chains, Russia's war in Ukraine pushing prices up across the board, and "nationalistic hoarding" of staples by certain countries.

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