U.S. inflation keeps soaring
Consumer prices climbed far more quickly than expected in the U.S., grim news for the Federal Reserve as it tries to bring the most rapid price increases in four decades under control.
Overall inflation climbed 8.2 percent in the year through September, more than some economists expected, and prices increased 6.6 percent after stripping out fuel and food, the so-called core index. That is a new high for the core index this year, and the fastest pace of annual increase since 1982.
Fed officials are closely watching the monthly numbers, which give a clearer snapshot of how prices are evolving in real time. They offered more reasons to worry: Overall inflation climbed 0.4 percent in September, much more than last month’s 0.1 percent reading, and the core index climbed 0.6 percent, matching a big increase in the prior month.
Takeaways: The disappointing inflation data is most likely bad news for Democrats ahead of the midterm elections.
What’s next: A sixth round of rate hikes from the Federal Reserve this year looks likely. Central bankers have signaled that they will consider an increase of up to three-quarters of a point at their next meeting in November.
Scrounging for energy in Europe
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has left many Ukrainian cities in ruins. The war could also mean the end for a German farming village.
Lützerath sits next to a coal mine and atop a large coal deposit, which the German government hopes to mine to make up for a looming shortage of cheap Russian gas, which Germany normally relies on for heat in the winter.
The U.S. push to hinder China’s technological development
The Biden administration wants to limit the Chinese military’s rapid technological development by choking off China’s access to advanced chips.
China has been using supercomputing and artificial intelligence to develop stealth and hypersonic weapons systems, and to try to crack the U.S. government’s most encrypted messaging, according to intelligence reports. Last week, the administration unveiled what appear to be the most stringent U.S. government controls on technology exports to China in a decade, technology experts said.
In dozens of interviews with officials and industry executives, my colleagues Ana Swanson and Edward Wong detailed how this policy came together. The administration spent months trying to convince allies like the Dutch, Japanese, South Korean, Israeli and British governments to announce restrictions alongside the U.S. But some of those governments feared retaliation from China, one of the world’s largest technology markets. Eventually, the Biden administration decided to act alone.
Details: U.S. officials described the decision to push ahead with export controls as a show of leadership. They said some allies wanted to impose similar measures but were wary of antagonizing China; the rules from Washington that target foreign companies did the hard work for them.
What’s next: The controls could be the beginning of a broad assault by the U.S. government. “This marks a serious evolution in the administration’s thinking,” said Matthew Pottinger, a deputy national security adviser in the Trump administration.
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Saving food, and the climate
Food waste rotting in a landfill produces methane gas, which quickly heats up the planet. Worldwide, food waste accounts for 8 to 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, at least double that of emissions from aviation.
A lot of it doesn’t need to be there: Thirty-one percent of food that is grown, shipped or sold is wasted. To slow global warming and feed people, governments and entrepreneurs are coming up with different ways to waste less food, writes my colleague Somini Sengupta.
In California, grocery stores must donate food that’s edible but would otherwise be trashed; supermarket chains in Britain have done away with expiration dates on produce; and in South Korea, a campaign to end food waste in landfills has been underway for nearly 20 years.
Food waste in South Korea declined from nearly 3,400 tons a day in 2010 to around 2,800 tons a day in 2019. In the latest experiment, the government has rolled out trash bins equipped with radio-frequency identification sensors that weigh exactly how much food waste each household tosses each month.
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