REUTERS WORLD NEWS: China’s Covid Surge, Peru Chaotic, Ukraine Blasts Russian Forces, Puerto Rico Vote, World Cup: Argentina-France Final

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Reuters

The Reuters Daily Briefing

Thursday, December 15, 2022

by Linda Noakes

Hello

Here’s what you need to know.

China’s retreat from ‘zero-COVID’ turns messy, Russian-controlled Ukraine comes under heavy shelling, and why Germany’s half-a-trillion dollar energy bazooka may not be enough

Today’s biggest stories

People line up next to a medical worker in a protective suit at a fever clinic of a hospital in Beijing, December 15, 2022. REUTERS/Josh Arslan

WORLD

China raced to vaccinate its most vulnerable people in anticipation of waves of COVID infections, with some analysts expecting the death toll to soar after it eased strict controls that had kept the pandemic at bay for three years. COVID infections were exploding in China well before the government’s decision to abandon its strict ‘zero-COVID’ policy, a World Health Organization director said.

Ukrainian forces staged their heaviest shelling attack in years in the country’s Russian-controlled east, Moscow-installed officials said, as both sides ruled out a Christmas truce in the nearly 10-month-old war. Here’s what you need to know about the conflict right now.

Peru announced a nationwide state of emergency, granting police special powers and limiting freedoms including the right to assembly, after a week of fiery protests that have left at least eight dead.

A Turkish court sentenced Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu to jail and imposed a political ban on the opposition politician who is seen as a strong potential challenger to President Tayyip Erdogan in elections next year.

National Health Service nurses in Britain staged a strike, their first ever national walkout, as a bitter dispute with the government over pay ramps up pressure on already-stretched hospitals at one of the busiest times of the year.

Bird houses in honor of the victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School hang from a tree on Ram’s Pasture on the 10th anniversary in Newtown, Connecticut, December 14, 2022. REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin

U.S.

President Joe Biden marked the 10 years since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut by saying Americans should have “societal guilt” for failing to address gun violence appropriately in the decade since.

Survivors of mass shootings targeting U.S. LGBT nightclubs detailed the violence they endured and criticized inflammatory political rhetoric in a congressional hearing.

Puerto Ricans could move a step closer to a referendum on whether the island should become a U.S. state, an independent country or have another type of government when the House of Representatives votes today on a bill outlining the process.

Georgia’s top election official called on lawmakers to eliminate the state’s unusual runoff election system, a week after Democrats again prevailed in a runoff for a closely fought Senate race.

The bodies of a mother and her young son were recovered hours after a tornado destroyed their home as it ripped through a rural town in northwest Louisiana – one of a swarm of twisters unleashed during the heavy winter storm system sweeping the United States.

Screens on the trading floor at New York Stock Exchange display Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell during a news conference, December 14, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

BUSINESS

Global shares slid for a second day as major central banks deliver their final policy decisions of the year, with the U.S. Federal Reserve signaling that it expected interest rates to stay higher for longer.

The European Central Bank is set to raise interest rates for the fourth time in a row today, although by less than at its last two meetings, while a ninth interest rate hike in a row by the Bank of England looks to be a foregone conclusion.

Germany is bleeding cash to keep the lights on. Almost half a trillion dollars, and counting, since the Ukraine war jolted it into an energy crisis nine months ago. That’s the cumulative scale of the bailouts and schemes the Berlin government has launched to prop up the country’s energy system since prices rocketed and it lost access to gas from main supplier Russia, according to Reuters calculations.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission voted to propose some of the biggest changes to American equity market structure in nearly two decades, aimed at boosting transparency and fairness while increasing competition for individual investors’ stock orders.

U.S. senators pressed Congress to regulate cryptocurrency under existing financial rules, as lawmakers scramble to rein in the troubled industry after prosecutors filed criminal charges against FTX founder Samuel Bankman-Fried.

Tesla boss Elon Musk disclosed another $3.6 billion in stock sales, taking his total near $40 billion this year and frustrating investors as the company’s shares wallow at two-year lows.

WORLD CUP

France held their nerve to overcome a gallant Moroccan effort, setting up a heavyweight final with Argentina.

FULL COVERAGE

Quote of the day

“It was terrifying to have my brother scream and shout at me, and my father say things that just simply weren’t true, and my grandmother quietly sit there”

 

 

Harry accuses Prince William of screaming at him, his aides of leaking stories

Video of the day

This satellite monitors Earth’s water from space

NASA is launching an international satellite mission that will conduct the first global survey of the world’s surface waters, helping shed new light on the mechanics and consequences of climate change.

And finally…

In a small Russian town, a pensioner’s street art denounces the Ukraine conflict

 

Over 20 years, Russian pensioner Vladimir Ovchinnikov gained a following for his street murals in the small town of Borovsk. But just over a month after Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine, Ovchinnikov created a new work – one that would place him in serious legal jeopardy.

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