Your Thursday Briefing

Russian representatives in the occupied areas of Ukraine have asked Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, to annex the regions. The appeals followed bogus referendums in four Ukrainian regions that were intended to put a stamp of approval on joining Russia. Many of the votes were cast at gunpoint, witnesses said.

The formality of the annexation requests was at odds with the chaos facing Russia both on the battlefield, where it continues to suffer losses, and at home, where tens of thousands are fleeing the country to avoid military conscription. It came as the EU moved to impose new sanctions on Russia, including a cap on the price of oil, trade restrictions and the blacklisting of people responsible for the referendums.

When it comes to annexation, Russian officials seem to want at least a patina of legality, even as most of the world condemns Russia’s referendums and land grabs as blatantly illegal. Under Russia’s 1993 Constitution, Moscow cannot annex areas of a neighboring country without consent.

Research: In phone calls to friends and family back home, Russian soldiers gave damning insider accounts of battlefield failures and executions of civilians, criticizing their leaders just weeks into the campaign to take Kyiv.

Millions of Floridians endured a harrowing night as wind and rain from Hurricane Ian battered the state’s southwest coast and moved inland toward Orlando, leaving more than 1.8 million customers statewide without power. The storm is one of the most powerful to hit the United States in decades. Follow your path here.

West of Fort Myers, where the hurricane made landfall, a storm surge of up to 12 feet submerged cars, toppled homes and trapped residents. Some places remained too dangerous for water rescues, authorities said, adding that they were taking directions to help once it was safe.

As the world grapples with the effects of climate change, severe storms are becoming more common in the Atlantic Ocean as its surface waters have warmed. Ian also quickly transformed into a severe thunderstorm, another phenomenon that has become more common. The storm is poised to drop large amounts of rain, which, combined with higher sea levels, could cause flooding.

The pound has fallen more than 20 percent this year, to its lowest level on record, near parity with the dollar, with 1 pound worth $1.03. While the immediate cause of the pound’s alarming drop on Monday was the announcement of a tax and spending plan by Britain’s new Conservative government, the currency had been falling for many years.

The sense of crisis heightened yesterday as the Bank of England warned of a “material risk to UK financial stability” from the government plan and said it would start buying UK government bonds “on whatever scale is necessary” to stop a massive sale of British bonds. debt.

To some experts, the pound’s ride signals a decline in economic and political clout that accelerated when Britain voted to leave the EU in 2016. In many ways, Britain already has the worst-performing economy, in addition to Russia, in the 38 members of the OECD.

Analysis: “It’s only a matter of time before it breaks out of the top 10 economies in the world,” said Ian Goldin, a professor of globalization and development at the University of Oxford. Great Britain currently ranks sixth, having been overtaken by India.

A limited number of lucky and remarkably brave people in San Francisco, including Times reporter Cade Metz, have had the opportunity to cruise the city streets in an experimental self-driving vehicle.

Their verdict: “Creepy, impressive, puzzling and nerve-wracking.”

Coolio, the West Coast rapper whose gritty music and anthemic hits like “Gangsta’s Paradise” helped define hip-hop in the 1990s, died yesterday in Los Angeles. He was 59 years old.

Brazil star calls for action after having a banana thrown at him in a racist incident: A banana was thrown at Tottenham Hotspur striker Richarlison in Paris after celebrating scoring in his team’s victory over Tunisia. He says action must be takenunlike nonsense words.

Bad news for England, the United States, Germany and France: Only one victorious team in the 21st century lost a single match in their five games immediately before the World Cup. This group just joined the club.. Can they break the trend?

FIFA Accused Of “Ignoring” Ukraine And Urged To Scrap Russian TV Deals: The CEO of the top Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk claims football’s governing body has ‘destroyed’ the game in his country.

Our Foreign Correspondents are not just reporters. They’re also residents of the countries they cover, keeping abreast of cultural phenomena and emerging hits.

In East Africa, a collection of essays started a wave of frank conversations about sex. “Everyone, and I mean everyone, has read, is reading or at some point was embarrassed that they hadn’t read ‘The Sex Lives of African Women,’” said Abdi Latif Dahir, who lives in Nairobi, Kenya.

In Ukraine, “Stefania”, a soaring rock tribute performed at the Eurovision Song Contest by the Ukrainian band Kalush, above, has seemed ubiquitous on the streets of Kyiv, the capital. “It’s almost as if it’s disloyal to pay attention to ordinary pop hits or hit TV series now,” said Jane Arraf, our Baghdad bureau chief, who helped report from the field in Ukraine.

And in Iraq, the recent death of the poet Mudhafar al-Nowab brought his protest verse to the fore, Jane said. It could be more scathing than unknown readers might expect. One poem includes these lines: “I piss on the ruling police. It is the era of urine. I urinate on tables, parliaments and ministers without shame.”