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The governor of Russia's Belgorod region says residents of two villages on Ukraine’s northeastern border have been evacuated after a munitions depot near the village of Timonovo have gone ablaze. The governor said Friday there were no casualties in the late Thursday blaze. The fire came days after another ammunition depot exploded on Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea. The Russian-occupied territory was seized by Moscow in 2014. Nine Russian warplanes were reported destroyed last week at an airbase on Crimea. It demonstrated both the Russians’ vulnerability and the Ukrainians’ capacity to strike deep behind enemy lines.
Ships are creeping down the middle of the Yangtze after China’s driest summer in six decades left one of the mightiest rivers barely half its normal width. The drought has set off a scramble to contain damage to a weak economy in a politically sensitive year. Factories in Sichuan province and the adjacent metropolis of Chongqing in the southwest were ordered to shut down after reservoirs that supply hydropower fell to half their typical levels and demand for air conditioning surged in scorching temperatures. River ferries in Chongqing that usually are packed with sightseers were empty and tied to piers beside mudflats that stretched down to the depleted river’s edge.
Car rental costs are up nearly 50% since 2019, compared to just a 7% increase in hotel prices and a 16% increase in flight prices over the same period. High demand, a global semiconductor shortage and labor industry shortages contributed to the low supply of rental cars. Prices have actually dropped slightly since the high in July 2021, but they’re still far above pre-pandemic pricing. To save on your next rental car, consider renting from a location outside the airport and don’t prepay. Last-minute bookings are usually cheaper, and you can always rebook if the price drops after you reserve a car.
Asian shares are mostly higher as regional markets looked to strong economic signs out of the U.S. and China as drivers of growth. Benchmarks rose in morning trading in Japan, China and Australia, although shares dipped slightly in South Korea. Analysts warned major risks remain, such as worries about global inflation, China’s policies to curb infections while trying to stimulate growth and surging cases of COVID-19 in some countries in Asia, including Japan. Stocks ended mostly higher on Wall Street after another bumpy day as investors cautiously reviewed mostly encouraging financial results from major retailers.
For the second year in a row, Arizona and Nevada will face cuts in the amount of water they can draw from the Colorado River as the West endures more drought. Federal officials made the announcement Tuesday. The cuts planned for next year will force states to make critical decisions about where to reduce consumption and whether to prioritize growing cities or agricultural areas. Mexico will also face cuts. But the seven states that rely on the river could soon face even deeper cuts that the government has said are needed to prevent reservoirs from falling so low they cannot be pumped.
Asian shares are mostly rising after a rebound on Wall Street, despite regional investor risks reflected in negative economic data out of China. The benchmark in Tokyo was little changed, erasing earlier gains, but indexes in South Korea, Australia and China gained in morning trading. Falling oil prices are one positive factor for the region. In Japan, recent economic data have shown a recovery, but high rates of COVID-19 are fueling fears people will hold back on travel and other economic activity. Stocks recovered from early losses and ended higher on Wall Street. Investors remain focused on the economy and upcoming reports from retailers this week.
A federal judge has reinstated a moratorium on coal leasing from federal lands that was imposed under former President Barack Obama and then scuttled under former President Donald Trump. Friday’s ruling from U.S. District Judge Brian Morris requires government officials to complete a new environmental review of the leasing program before they can resume coal sales. It marks a major setback for the already struggling coal industry. Few leases were sold in recent years as coal demand shrank drastically. But coal from existing leases remains a major contributor of planet-warming emissions. The industry’s opponents had urged Morris to revive the moratorium to ensure coal can’t make a comeback as climate change worsens.
Stocks are closing higher on Wall Street, giving the S&P 500 its first 4-week winning streak since November. The benchmark index gained 1.7% Friday, and other indexes also rose. Technology stocks drove much the broad rally. Inflation cooled more than expected last month, sending stocks higher. Investors see a greater chance inflation may have peaked, allowing the Federal Reserve to be less aggressive with its rate hikes than it has been this year. Crude oil prices fell, while bond yields were mixed.
A ship has docked in a Ukrainian Black Sea port to begin loading wheat for hungry people in Ethiopia. That would be the first food delivery to Africa under a U.N.-brokered plan to unblock grain trapped by Russia’s war on Ukraine and bring relief to some of the millions worldwide on the brink of starvation. For months, fighting and a Russian blockade meant grain produced in Ukraine, known as the world’s breadbasket, piled up in silos. In recent days, several ships carrying grain have left Ukrainian ports under the new deal — but those shipments were animal feed and went to previous buyers. The ship named Brave Commander will carry its wheat to Djibouti, where it will be unloaded and sent on to Ethiopia.
India will miss its renewable energy targets for the end of the year, with experts saying “multiple challenges” including a lack of financial help and taxes on imported components are stalling the clean energy industry. The country has installed just over half of its planned renewable energy capacity, a high level parliamentary report said last week. The Indian government’s ministry of new and renewable energy, which is in charge of meeting the nation’s renewable energy targets, attributed the failure to meet targets to the COVID-19 pandemic. The government now says it hopes to achieve the goal by mid-2023.