Your Tuesday Briefing

Some bakeries in Lebanon have been forced to close because wheat mills are lacking grain. Credit…Mohamed Azakir/Reuters

Sanctions on Russia worsen global food crisis

As the U.S. and Europe contemplate further sanctions to punish Russia for its war on Ukraine, there is growing concern that the fallout is fueling an alarming hunger problem that will not easily be reversed, amid a combination of rising energy costs and constrained exports from Russia and Ukraine.

Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian president, has embraced and exacerbated the crisis, blocking exports of food and grain from the region and using the shortages as leverage to get Western sanctions rolled back. The region’s critical role in the food supply chain has meant a cascading effect, sending global food prices soaring.

Even as the scale of the crisis became more apparent, leaders of G7 nations yesterday moved close to embracing an aggressive but untried plan to manipulate the price of oil, the largest commodity market in the world. The plan would allow Russia to keep selling oil to the world but would sharply limit the price.

By the numbers: Russia and Ukraine combined export about 30 percent of the world’s wheat and 75 percent of its sunflower oil. Cutting off those supplies has prompted other governments to block exports as nations try to stockpile goods.

Quotable: Janet Yellen, the Treasury secretary, said in April that the U.S. was drafting its sanctions with global food supplies in mind. “We reiterate our commitment to authorizing essential humanitarian and related activities that benefit people around the world,” she said, “ensuring the availability of basic foodstuffs and agricultural commodities.”

In other news from the war:

  • The trial for Brittney Griner, the W.N.B.A. star detained in Russia on drug charges, is set to begin on Friday.

  • A Russian missile struck a crowded mall in central Ukraine, killing at least 16 people and wounding dozens more.

The Russian Central Bank headquarters in Moscow. Credit…Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

Russia defaults on its foreign debt

Russia missed a deadline for making bond payments on Sunday, its first default on international debt in more than a century, after Western sanctions thwarted the government’s efforts to pay foreign investors. About $100 million in dollar- and euro-denominated interest payments failed to reach investors within a 30-day grace period after a May deadline.

The default was prompted by widespread Western sanctions that sought to seal Moscow off from global capital markets after its invasion of Ukraine. Yesterday, Russia’s finance ministry said that it had made the payments in May but that they had been blocked from reaching bondholders by a Brussels-based financial clearinghouse.

News of the apparent default shows “just how strong” international sanctions against Russia have been, a senior U.S. administration official said, highlighting the “dramatic” effect on Russia’s economy.

Analysis: “We can expect Russia to stick to its alternative narrative: ‘The default isn’t a default, we tried and it isn’t our fault,’” said Tim Samples, an expert on sovereign debt, adding that Russia also hadn’t submitted to jurisdiction in foreign courts.

What it means: The default will linger in investors’ memories and will probably push up Russia’s borrowing costs in the future. But Moscow’s finances remain resilient even after months of war, and Russia continues to receive a steady influx of cash from sales of oil and gas.

Abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion campaigners demonstrated outside the Supreme Court in Washington on Monday.Credit…Shuran Huang for The New York Times

The fallout from Roe v. Wade

The U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade has led to a coast-to-coast wave of lawsuits, legislation and pitched political fights. In roughly half of the states, conservatives have moved to end or substantially restrict reproductive rights. Liberals in about 20 more are scrambling to preserve them.

In conservative states attempting to ban abortions as swiftly as possible, the legal battles are accelerating. Abortion rights advocates are coalescing around a strategy of asking courts for temporary injunctions that allow abortions to proceed in the short term. Judges in Louisiana and Utah temporarily halted their states’ trigger laws, allowing abortion clinics to remain open for now.

States that support abortion rights moved yesterday to shore up their protections. In California, a supermajority of state lawmakers placed a constitutional amendment on the November ballot to explicitly protect abortion rights for the state’s 40 million people.

Analysis: “It’s all about the states from here on out,” said Jessie Hill, a law professor who has worked on abortion rights cases. “We can fantasize about federal solutions to this issue or nationwide settlements of the abortion question, but I think that after Dobbs, I don’t see a lot of possibilities at the federal level.”


Around the World

Credit…Colombia National Police HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
  • At least six people were killed and more than a hundred injured at a bullfighting festival in El Espinal, Colombia, when wooden spectator stands collapsed.

  • A poisonous gas leak in Aqaba, Jordan, killed at least 10 people and injured about 250.

  • A new generation of French YouTubers have found success by delivering political content to an audience that tends to shun traditional media.

Other Big Stories

Credit…Federico Borella for The New York Times
  • Ferrari and Lamborghini are trying to design battery-powered cars that inspire the same devotion as their gas-guzzling models.

  • At least 40 people believed to be migrants were found dead in and around an abandoned tractor-trailer on the outskirts of San Antonio.

  • The committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol abruptly scheduled a hearing on what the panel called “recently obtained evidence.”

What Else Is Happening

  • On the first day of Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic cruised to victory. But Rafael Nadal and Matteo Berrettini — both of whom play today — are lurking.

  • Some women in the U.S. have begun stockpiling the morning-after contraception pill in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn constitutional abortion rights.

  • At least three people died after a train carrying more than 200 people collided with a dump truck in Missouri.

A Morning Read

Credit…Studio Alma, via Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

An overhaul of the area around Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris after a devastating fire in 2019 will open it up toward the Seine River and help millions of visitors flow through more easily, while also mitigating the effects of global warming.

The cathedral “had to be left in its beauty and have everything around it be a showcase for that beauty,” said Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris. But, she added, “a city like ours can no longer think outside of climate change.”


The state of men’s wear

For a reader considering refreshing his wardrobe after 20 years, Vanessa Friedman, our chief fashion critic, solicits the help of Guy Trebay, The Times’s men’s wear critic.

The good news, says Guy, from the front lines of the men’s wear shows, is that no matter your age, the options are flexible. “The broken suit — or jacket worn with one of a variety of trouser options — is now universally favored among designers,” he says.

Jeans are as present as ever. “The choices are many, although a straight leg and dark indigo selvage denim is a classic,” says Guy, who particularly likes the pricey but gorgeous Los Angeles label Hiroshi Kato. Pair them with a decent jacket, a pressed Oxford or even a crisp T-shirt and a good pair of shoes.

In such an ensemble, Guy says, you’ll be well dressed for virtually any occasion. He adds: “If you want a real break from personal tradition, take inspiration from one of the best shows I’ve seen in years, and wear Issey Miyake head-to-toe.” Pleats, please.

For more: Can a shirt made in India beat Savile Row? 100Hands, a Punjab tailor, is betting the answer is yes.


What to Cook

Credit…Julia Gartland for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Monica Pierini.

This might be the zippiest roast chicken and potatoes recipe out there.

What to Read

The stylish, reckless heroines of “Girls They Write Songs About” bond over their similarities, until one decides to settle down.

World Through a Lens

A photographer documents India’s ornamental birdhouses, known as chabutras.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Look dumbfounded (four letters).

And here’s today’s Wordle and the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. — Natasha

P.S The Society of Professional Journalists recognized The Times with four Sigma Delta Chi Awards, “which honor exceptional professional journalism.”

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about the abortion ruling.

You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].

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