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Ukrainians suffer in cold, darkness as president implores U.N. to punish Russia By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is seen on the screen as he speaks during the 68th Annual Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Madrid, Spain, November 21, 2022. REUTERS/Juan Medina/File Photo

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By Simon Lewis and Dan Peleschuk

WASHINGTON/KYIV (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged the United Nations Security Council to act against Russia over air strikes on civilian infrastructure that have again plunged Ukrainian cities into darkness and cold as winter sets in.

Russia unleashed a missile barrage across Ukraine on Wednesday, killing 10 people, forcing shutdowns of nuclear power plants and cutting water and electricity supply in many places.

“Today is just one day, but we have received 70 missiles. That’s the Russian formula of terror. This is all against our energy infrastructure… Hospitals, schools, transport, residential districts all suffered,” Zelenskiy said via video link to the council chamber.

Ukraine was waiting to see “a very firm reaction” to Wednesday’s air strikes from the world, he added.

The council is unlikely to take any action in response to the appeal since Russia is a member with veto power.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “clearly weaponizing winter to inflict immense suffering on the Ukrainian people.”

The Russian president “will try to freeze the country into submission,” she added.

Russia’s U.N. ambassador Vasily Nebenzya responded by complaining that it was against council rules for Zelenskiy to appear via video, and rejected what he called “reckless threats and ultimatums” by Ukraine and its supporters in the West.

Nebenzya said damage to Ukraine’s infrastructure was caused by missiles fired by Ukrainian air defence systems that crashed into civilian areas after being fired at Russia’s missiles, and called on the West to stop providing Ukraine with air defence missiles.

The capital city of Kyiv was one of the main targets on Wednesday of the missile strikes. “Today we had three hits on high-rise apartment buildings. Unfortunately 10 people died,” said Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky. Reuters was unable to independently verify the reports.

Explosions reverberated throughout Kyiv as Russian missiles bore down and Ukrainian air defence rockets were fired in efforts to intercept them. Air raid sirens also blared across the country in a nationwide alert.

“Our little one was sleeping. Two years old. She was sleeping, she got covered. She is alive, thanks be to God,” said a man who gave his name as Fyodr, walking away from a smouldering apartment building that was hit in Kyiv, dragging a suitcase.

All of the Kyiv region, where over 3 million people live, lost electricity and running water, Kyiv’s governor said. Much of Ukraine suffered similar problems and some regions implemented emergency blackouts to help conserve energy and carry out repairs.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, speaking late on Wednesday, said 80% of people in the capital were still without power and water. But Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said repair crews were working hard and “electricity will begin to appear in the coming hours.”

By 6 p.m., electricity in half of the western city of Lviv had been restored following repairs, its mayor said.

Ukraine’s top military commander, General Valeriy Zaluzhniy, said air defences had shot down 51 of 67 Russian cruise missiles launched, including 20 of the 30 that targeted Kyiv.

Since October, Russia has acknowledged targeting Ukraine’s civilian energy grid far from front lines as a Ukrainian counter-offensive has recaptured territory from Russian occupiers in the east and south.

Moscow says the aim of its missile strikes is to weaken Ukraine’s ability to fight and push it to negotiate. Kyiv says the attacks on infrastructure amount to war crimes, deliberately intended to harm civilians and to break the national will.

That will not happen, Zelenskiy vowed in an earlier video address posted on the Telegram messaging app.

“We’ll renew everything and get through all of this because we are an unbreakable people,” he said.

FIRST SNOW

With the first snow of Ukraine’s generally frigid winter falling, authorities worry about the impact of power cuts on millions of people.

    Zelenskiy on Tuesday announced special “invincibility centres” would provide citizens with electricity, heat, water, internet, mobile phone links and a pharmacy, free of charge and around the clock. Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the presidential administration, said on the Telegram messaging app that 2,750 of the centres were in operation on Wednesday night.

    In addition, Europe’s biggest cities will donate power generators and transformers.

A series of Russian battlefield setbacks in the east and south included a Russian retreat earlier this month from the key southern city of Kherson.

    Ground battles continue to rage in the east, where Russia is pressing an offensive along a stretch of front line west of the city of Donetsk, which has been held by its proxies since 2014.

    Moscow says it is carrying out a “special military operation” to protect Russian speakers in what Putin calls an artificial state carved from Russia. Ukraine and the West call the invasion an unprovoked land grab.

Western responses have included billions of dollars worth of financial aid and state-of-the-art military hardware for Kyiv and waves of punitive sanctions on Russia.

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Larry Summers Says Fed Will Need to Boost Rates More Than Markets Expect

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(Bloomberg) — Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers warned that the Federal Reserve will probably need to raise interest rates more than markets are currently expecting, thanks to stubbornly high inflationary pressures.

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“We have a long way to go to get inflation down” to the Fed’s target, Summers told Bloomberg Television’s “Wall Street Week” with David Westin. As for Fed policymakers, “I suspect they’re going to need more increases in interest rates than the market is now judging or than they’re now saying.”

Interest-rate futures suggest traders expect the Fed to raise rates to about 5% by May 2023, compared with the current target range of 3.75% to 4%. Economists expect a 50-basis point increase at the Dec. 13-14 policy meeting, when Fed officials are also scheduled to release fresh projections for the key rate.

“Six is certainly a scenario we can write,” Summers said with regard to the peak percentage rate for the Fed’s benchmark. “And that tells me that five is not a good best-guess.”

Summers was speaking hours after the latest US monthly jobs report showed an unexpected jump in average hourly earnings gains. He said those figures showcased continuing strong price pressures in the economy.

“For my money, the best single measure of core underlying inflation is to look at wages,” said Summers, a Harvard University professor and paid contributor to Bloomberg Television. “My sense is that inflation is going to be a little more sustained than what people are looking for.”

Read More: Job Market Is Too Tight for Fed Comfort as Labor Pool Shrinks

Average hourly earnings rose 0.6% in November in a broad-based gain that was the biggest since January, and were up 5.1% from a year earlier. Wages for production and nonsupervisory workers climbed 0.7% from the prior month, the most in almost a year.

While a number of US indicators have suggested limited impact so far from the Fed’s tightening campaign, Summers cautioned that change tends to occur suddenly.

“There are all these mechanisms that kick in,” he said. “At a certain point, consumers run out of their savings and then you have a Wile E. Coyote kind of moment,” he said in reference to the cartoon character that falls off a cliff.

In the housing market, there tends to be a sudden rush of sellers putting their properties on the market when prices start to drop, he said. And “at a certain point, you see credit drying up,” forcing repayment problems, he added.

“Once you get into a negative situation, there’s an avalanche aspect — and I think we have a real risk that that’s going to happen at some point” for the US economy, Summers said. “I don’t know when it’s going to come,” he said of a downturn. “But when it kicks in, I suspect it’ll be fairly forceful.”

Inflation Target

The former Treasury chief also warned that “this is going to be a relatively high-interest-rate recession, not like the low-interest-rate recessions we’ve seen in the past.”

Summers reiterated that he didn’t think the Fed ought to change its inflation target to, say, 3%, from the current 2% — in part because of potential credibility issues after having allowed inflation to surge so high the past two years.

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Prince William meets President Biden, awards climate prizes By Reuters

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© Reuters. Britain’s Prince William, Prince of Wales arrives at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., December 2, 2022. Charles Krupa/Pool via REUTERS

By Jeff Mason and Brian Snyder

BOSTON (Reuters) -Prince William greeted U.S. President Joe Biden at Boston’s waterfront on Friday, the final day of a visit by British royals trying to focus attention on tackling environmental issues.

William and his wife, Kate, attempted to keep the spotlight on climate and other causes they champion on their first overseas trip since taking on the titles of Prince and Princess of Wales after the death of Queen Elizabeth in September.

In the middle of their U.S. visit, however, Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:) released a trailer for an upcoming documentary series about William’s younger brother, Harry, and his American wife, Meghan, reviving talk about rifts in the royal family. Buckingham Palace also was dealing with a new racism controversy.

On Friday afternoon, William smiled as he met Biden outdoors in cold weather along Boston’s waterfront. The two men took a brief stroll before a private meeting at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

The pair were expected to discuss “shared climate goals” and “prioritization of mental health issues,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters before the meeting.

Later on Friday, William and Kate honored winners of the Earthshot Prize, an award William established to recognize people working on solutions to problems caused by climate change.

“By supporting and scaling them, we can change our future,” William said on stage at the black-tie ceremony, which was attended by English soccer star David Beckham, James Bond actor Rami Malek and other celebrities.

Kate and William last visited the United States in 2014, when they were guests of then-President Barack Obama at the White House.

Their current trip came just days before Harry and Meghan looked set to steal the limelight at an awards ceremony in New York.

For many in the British media, Harry and Meghan have become the royal villains, turning their back on duty while using their royal status to forge out lucrative careers and earn millions, including from Netflix.

In contrast, William and Kate are usually portrayed in the British media as dutiful and earnest, reflecting the style of the late queen.

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