Russia 'annexes' parts of Ukraine

Vladimir Putin’s sham referenda in four regions of Ukraine have officially moved forward to annexations. But Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson are bang in the center of the war zone, where fighting continues. If Russia manages to retain control of the region, which won’t be simple with Ukrainian soldiers pushing back, then Putin could have a potential land bridge between southeastern Ukraine and Crimea, already annexed by Moscow in 2014. While the annexations are illegal under international law, they come with serious military implications. Russia controls Luhansk and Kherson and about half of Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk, but the Ukrainians continue to make some gains. The referenda give Putin a cover to claim that any attack on these areas by Ukraine (backed by the West) is in fact an attack on Russia proper. Will Putin use that as cover to try to deploy nuclear weapons? The annexations, formalized with a signing ceremony at the Kremlin on Friday, are the latest push in what Putin is now calling his faltering war: an “anti-colonial movement.” In response, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has requested an accelerated accession to NATO.

Gabriella Turrisi

Could Lula win it all in Brazil’s first round?

For months, mainstream pollsters have consistently shown Brazil’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro trailing his rival, left-wing former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, by a margin of about 10 points. But a new study shows Lula now has nearly 50% support, the threshold for winning the election in the first round, which takes place next Sunday. How accurate are the polls? Support for Bolsonaro is consistently underestimated because many people are unwilling to admit openly that they’ll vote for him. Pollsters say that’s bogus and that they have a good track record of measuring public opinion over the years. Regardless of whether Bolsonaro and his supporters believe the polls, a more important question remains: will they believe the result if he loses? He has spent months fomenting doubt about the electoral system. Either way, as Brazil’s (pro-Bolsonaro) comms minister Fabio Fara put it to the FT: “the moment of truth is coming.”

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A Southern Electric gas bill and a gas stove burner as the UK government unveiled a package of reforms in the energy market.


6: Ahead of winter, the British government says it will pick up half the tab for businesses’ energy bills for six months starting Oct. 1. Increased government spending and debt, however, makes it trickier for the Bank of England to navigate its way out of soaring inflation.

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A closed gas station in Beirut, Lebanon.

Mohamed Azakir via Reuters

20,000: The cost of 20 liters of gas jumped by 20,000 pounds in Lebanon on Monday after the country’s central bank lifted its last fuel subsidies, following a year-long process to replace fuel and some food subsidies with cheaper social welfare programs. This was a massive price hike in a country already accustomed to price volatility and economic collapse.

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King Charles III delivers his address to the nation and the Commonwealth from Buckingham Palace following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Yui Mok via Reuters

King Charles III makes first public address as monarch

King Charles III addressed the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth, and the world on Friday with a public address following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. Striking both a personal and formal tone, Charles paid tribute to his “darling mama” and her “unswerving devotion” to Britain. In discussing his faith, Charles said he was brought up to “cherish a sense of duty to others,” and he vowed to “solemnly pledge [himself] … to uphold the constitutional principles at the heart of our nation.” He also spoke about the changing roles of his wife, Camilla, his Queen Consort, and his son William and daughter-in-law, Katherine, who now assume the titles of Prince and Princess of Wales. As Charles’s address aired, a service of remembrance was held for the late monarch at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral. Attendees included Britain’s newly installed prime minister, Liz Truss, who had her first meeting with the king earlier on Friday at Buckingham Palace. The queen’s coffin remains at Balmoral and will be moved this weekend to Holyrood, the royal residence in Edinburgh, where King Charles III – officially proclaimed the monarch on Saturday – and the Queen Consort will head on Sunday. A service will be held for the queen in Edinburgh on Sunday before her coffin is moved to London. Her funeral is expected to take place within two weeks at Westminster Abbey. World leaders, including President Joe Biden, will attend, paying tribute to a queen who worked with 15 prime ministers and met 13 US presidents throughout her 70-year reign.

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