👋 Grüss Gott!*
Welcome to Monday, where Volodymyr Zelensky addresses G7 leaders as strikes hit Kyiv, reverberations continue after the end of U.S. federal protection for abortion rights, and Japan asks 37 million citizens to turn the lights off. Meanwhile, for French economic daily Les Échos, Benjamin Quénelle looks at the “inevitable” recession around the corner for Russia, despite its apparent resilience to Western sanctions.
[*Swabian - Germany]
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• Zelensky addresses G7, Russia defaults: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the G7 summit via video-call today, where he reportedly asked the leaders of Western nations for anti-aircraft defense systems, more sanctions on Russia, security guarantees, and help to export grain from Ukraine. Meanwhile, Russia has defaulted on its foreign debt for the first time in more than a century as Western sanctions continue to isolate the country from much of the world economy.
• Post-Roe protests continue as more states move to restrict abortions: Mass protests are taking place across the United States following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the precedent setting case on abortion rights Roe v. Wade. Eighteen states have already effectively banned abortions, and many have severely restricted access to them. The ACLU plans to sue the states of Kentucky and Florida over their abortion bans, and abortion pill manufacturers have announced that they are prepared for a surge in nationwide demmand.
• Suspect named in case of Oslo gay bar shooting:Norwegian authorities have named the suspect in a deadly shooting at a popular LGBTQ+ bar in Oslo as a 42-year-old Norwegian citizen of Iranian origin. The shooting, which killed two and injured 21, is being treated as an act of Islamic terrorism.
• Saudi Arabia changes Hajj overnight: The travel plans of Muslims across the West have been disturbed after Saudi Arabia suddenly instated a lottery system and demanded that all Westerners who plan to make the pilgrimage cancel prior travel arrangements and use the new system. British Muslim travel agencies say they may go out of buisiness, and thousands of travelers will be forced to pay more than expected to make the pilgrimage this year.
• 22 bodies found at South African bar: At least 21 young people have been confirmed dead after 22 bodies with no visible wounds were found at a nightclub in East London, South Africa. The cause of death is unknown and the bodies are being submitted for autopsies.
• Colombia bullfight stand collapses: At least six people were killed and 100 more were injured after a stand collapsed at a bullfight in Espinal, Colombia. The new president-elect of Colombia Gustavo Petro released a statement demanding that events which involve the death of people or animals should be outlawed.
• Luxottica founder dies at age 87: Leonardo Del Vecchio, the Milan-born founder of the world’s largest eyewear company Luxottica has died at age 87. Del Vecchio started Luxottica as a tiny eyeglass shop in Italy’s Dolomite mountains. The conglomerate now produces frames for many of the world’s top eyewear brands, including Armani, Prada, Ray-ban, and Oakley.
“A very, very strong signal of unity,” titles German daily Die Welt, quoting Germany’s chancellor Olaf Scholz who is hosting the annual G7 summit in the Bavarian Alps with U.S. President Joe Biden. The war in Ukraine, food insecurity and the looming economic crisis are on the agenda of the world leaders who are gathering until Tuesday. “The West demonstrates unity but the challenges are huge,” writes the daily.
As an unusual heat wave is hitting the country, Japan topped its highest temperatures ever recorded in June with 40.2°C in the city of Isesaki. Government officials have urged up to 37 million Japanese to reduce their consumption of energy in the afternoons and to switch off their lights in order to avoid potential power shortages.
How much longer can the Russian economy survive sanctions?
Vladimir Putin boasted at the recent forum in St. Petersburg International Economic Forum about Russia’s economic resilience against Western sanctions. But behind the scenes, Russian business leaders tell a different story, reports Benjamin Quénelle for French daily Les Échos.
💰 Officially called the "International" Economic Forum, the annual event organized by Putin is meant to attract foreign investors — but this year, the elite of the national business community were cut off from the rest of the world. "Just among Russians... And forced to line up behind the regime and its economic strategies that lead us to a dead end,"a Russian manager in one of the main state-owned companies says.
🇷🇺 🙅 At the beginning of the Kremlin’s “special operation” conducted in Ukraine, many top business leaders were shocked and did not hide their disapproval of the military offensive. Four months later, the successive series of sanctions are making it impossible for them to leave Russia. Departures that, on the contrary, would have weakened the Kremlin and its economic strategy.
📉 The first real damages to the economy, the performance of Russian companies' earnings, are expected to arrive in the fall. Recession looks inevitable. But, defying earlier forecasts, the gross domestic product drop is likely to be closer to 15% than to 25%. Because the very structure of Russia’s economy helps it to cope. Moscow's state aid and intervention has thus helped with short-term resilience, but the false picture of an invincible Russian economy in the face of Western pressures is bound to backlash among a bewildered middle class.
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I think it’s better to tell him to his face what we think of him.
— In an interview with German broadcaster ZDF, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said the potential presence of Russian president Vladimir Putin at November’s G20 shouldn’t be a reason for Western leaders to boycott the summit. The Russian leader has been invited to the meeting by Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo, who has also extended an invitation to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, although Ukraine isn’t a G20 country.
✍️ Newsletter by Joel Silvestri, Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Anne-Sophie Goninet
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