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Good evening. Here’s the latest at the end of Tuesday.
1. The last bridge out of Sievierodonetsk was destroyed, decreasing Ukraine’s chances to hold the eastern Donbas region.
Capturing Sievierodonetsk would give Moscow a substantial victory. Hundreds of civilians are trapped there while Russia bombs it, targeting a chemical plant sheltering 500 civilians. Russia said today that it would permit a humanitarian corridor from the plant.
2. Stock markets steadied today after closing yesterday in bear territory.
Stocks on Wall Street ended 0.4 percent lower after yesterday’s sell-off pushed the S&P 500 into a bear market. European markets were sharply lower, and stocks in the Asia-Pacific region also dropped.
Tomorrow, the Fed is expected to discuss making the biggest interest-rate increase since 1994, with many investors betting that rates will rise by three-quarters of a percent. One analyst wrote that the economy was “headed for a slow train wreck,” adding that we might see a recession.
In other market news, the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase said it would cut 18 percent of its work force.
Better Understand the Russia-Ukraine War
3. It’s primary election night in several states, with marquee races in South Carolina and Nevada.
In South Carolina, two Republican House members are facing Trump-backed challengers. Tom Rice and Nancy Mace crossed former President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, with Rice a surprise vote for impeachment. Republicans worry that a loss for Mace could jeopardize her seat on the affluent South Carolina coast.
No state is as thoroughly up for grabs as Nevada. Three of its four House seats, one Senate seat and the governorship are rated tossups, and all are now held by Democrats.
Voters in Maine and North Dakota are also heading to the polls, and there’s a special election in Texas. Follow our live coverage of election night here.
4. Sierra Leone is one of a few countries in sub-Saharan Africa that have not banned genital cutting.
The centuries-old ritual is still practiced by almost every ethnic group in every region of the country. But it is now at the center of intense debate in the media and in Parliament. As the battle plays out, girls and young women are staging an act of defiance almost unimaginable a generation ago: They are refusing to participate in initiation, even though it allows entrance to the groups that control much of life in Sierra Leone.
5. What does it take to find a home?
Wendy Marcum became homeless during a divorce and spent three years in shelters. Through the grapevine, she heard about a program in Houston that helped people like her obtain apartments of their own.
As part of the Headway project, which explores the world’s challenges through the lens of progress, The Times documented Marcum’s 10-month journey, and looked at how Houston has moved 25,000 people from the streets and into homes.
In New York City, Eric Adams unveiled a multiyear plan to address the city’s growing housing crisis.
6. This man takes the job of cleaning Houston’s Buffalo Bayou personally.
Over 200 square miles of Houston’s streets drain into the bayou and one of its tributaries. Bayou Dave and his deckhand are among a handful of those who pull garbage from the water before it reaches the Gulf of Mexico.
The two men patrol on a barge with a jury-rigged pipe that sucks up trash, hauling about 250 garbage bags’ worth every week. “It’s the whole ecosystem I’m concerned about,” Bayou Dave said. “The animals aren’t responsible for the pollution. But they’re directly affected by it.”
7. Happy the elephant isn’t legally a person.
That’s according to New York’s highest court, which ruled that the Asian elephant is not a person, in a legal sense, and therefore is not entitled to a fundamental human right. An animal-advocacy organization had argued that Happy was being illegally detained at the Bronx Zoo and should be transferred to a more natural environment.
The case appeared to be the first examining whether an animal is worthy of so-called personhood to reach so high a court in the English-speaking world. The 5-to-2 decision is unlikely to quell the debate over the treatment of highly intelligent animals.
In other animal news, a new study suggests that cats’ reaction to catnip might be explained by the bug-repellent effect of iridoids, the chemicals in the plants that induce the high.
8. “The Cheech,” a game changer for Chicano art, opened in Riverside, Calif.
The Center for Chicano Art and Culture was founded by Cheech Marin, who is best known as the mustachioed, Chicano half of the classic stoner-comedy duo Cheech & Chong. The Cheech houses Marin’s collection of more than 700 works by Chicano artists, including major pieces by Carlos Almaraz, Frank Romero and Judithe Hernández.
It is believed to be the largest such collection in the world. Marin hopes the project will inspire a sort of Chicano art renaissance in the Inland Empire, one of the fastest-growing and most racially diverse regions in the U.S.
In other celebrity news, Lizzo changed a lyric in a new song after it was criticized for containing a word considered derogatory toward people with disabilities.
9. Travel costs are higher this summer, but so is the value of the dollar.
The euro exchange rate is currently about $1.04, compared with $1.22 this time last year and $1.58 at its high in 2008. Ditto on British pounds, where $1 buys about 82 pence, compared with 70 pence a year ago. And although inflation and increased demand have pushed up prices, the dollar still buys more than it did six months ago, one expert said.
Our Frugal Traveler columnist has tips for capitalizing on the trend: Use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees (ask your bank) and select the local currency on a card purchase if given a choice. Then in Paris, sit back and drink your 5-euro glass of wine (which is $5.20 today and might have cost $8 in 2008).
10. And finally, the passion for pickleball has drawn investor interest.
Pickleball — an easy-to-learn combo of badminton, tennis and Ping-Pong — was invented in 1965. Its popularity soared during the pandemic. With celebrities like Jamie Foxx and Ellen DeGeneres promoting the sport, sponsors are now noticing.
Investors are opening courts in unused buildings. Many cities are also enthusiastic: Lincoln, Neb., has spent $200,000 for new courts. Investors are split on whether stand-alone facilities can succeed, so are trying things like craft food, karaoke and courts in old warehouses decked in nightclub décor.