(Want to get this newsletter in your inbox? Here’s the sign-up.)
Good evening. Here’s the latest at the end of Monday.
1. Russia fired rockets at a residential area of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, just as envoys from Russia and Ukraine sat down for talks.
The bombardment of Kharkiv killed at least nine civilians and wounded dozens, according to Ukrainian officials. It was an ominous sign of Russia’s escalating use of lethal force on the fifth day of its invasion.
Explosions were also heard in Kyiv, the capital, as the talks ended without a resolution; a Russian official said another meeting would be held in the coming days.
In an attempt to limit the damage, the Russian Central Bank doubled its key interest rate, banned foreigners from selling Russian securities and ordered exporters to convert most of their foreign-currency revenues into rubles.
Over the weekend, the U.S., Europe, Canada and other allies took steps to impose sanctions on Russia’s central bank — an unprecedented move that made it nearly impossible for Russia to defend its currency.
Switzerland, a favorite destination for Russian oligarchs and their money, announced that it would freeze Russian financial assets. Shell, Europe’s largest oil company, said it would exit its investments in Russia, a day after BP said it would do the same.
3. Climate change is harming the planet faster than we can adapt, according to a major U.N. report.
Unless governments act quickly and reduce the current level of greenhouse gas output, the effects of climate change could soon overwhelm both nature and humanity, causing catastrophic damage.
The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of experts convened by the U.N., concludes that nations aren’t doing nearly enough to protect cities, farms and coastlines. Adaptation measures like flood barriers are too often “incremental,” the report said, while the looming climate threats require “transformational” changes.
5. What would you grab to carry with you if you had only a few hours to flee?
More than 120,000 people who were airlifted out of Afghanistan last August were forced to make that choice after the Taliban swept into Kabul, the nation’s capital, and took over.
Yalda Royan, a 42-year-old single mother and women’s rights activist, took with her the family’s pocket-size Quran. Worried for her daughters’ lives in a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, they burned all of their English documents and fled. Now the Quran, which one of her daughters held on to throughout the escape, sits on a small table in their house in Ashburn, Va.
Read Yalda’s story and those of five other Afghans who had to decide what items meant the most to them when fleeing to the U.S.
6. At least 230 Confederate symbols have been removed, relocated or renamed since the murder of George Floyd two years ago. Here’s how the movement was unleashed.
Some of the monuments were toppled in disorderly waves at the hands of protesters. Others were methodically unearthed, piece by piece, by government workers responding to the protests and fury. They came down like dominoes in the spring and summer of 2020.
The social justice movement quickly spread beyond one man’s death because the kindling was already there. Activists pointed to the myriad ways in which racism helped create disparities, and they called for racial justice in many facets of American life. Others declared that the nation’s history and Southern pride were unjustly under siege and in danger of being erased.
7. While big leaguers fight with owners about labor issues, minor leaguers are preparing for another slog of a season.
8. A soap company is dipping into psychedelic drug lobbying.
Dr. Bronner’s, the liquid soap company best known for the cosmic text on labels, has become one of the country’s biggest financial supporters of efforts to win mainstream acceptance of psilocybin and other mind-altering drugs.
The company has donated more than $23 million to drug advocacy and research since 2015, helped fund activist groups pushing to decriminalize “magic mushrooms” in Oregon and Washington, D.C., and spent millions on efforts to legalize cannabis.
The company is now run by the grandsons of the free-spirited founder, Emil Bronner, whose loquacious genius often danced on the edge of madness. “He probably would have put LSD in his soaps,” said David Bronner, the firm’s chief executive.
9. HBO’s “Euphoria” has millions of devoted watchers. But in the wake of a controversial finale, many of them aren’t fans of the show’s creator.
Sam Levinson, who wrote all 18 hourlong episodes of “Euphoria,” and directed all but three, has emerged as a central figure in the narrative around the show, which just wrapped up its second season over the weekend. A portion of the show’s sizable fan base — nearly 19 million people watched the first episode — routinely criticize Levinson, on Twitter and TikTok especially, for his portrayals of the characters.
Some critics say he inappropriately sexualizes the woman characters and appropriates experiences closely tied with marginalized groups, while others say he simply mistreats their favorite characters. However, it is unlikely that Levinson will ever leave the show, which operates without a writers’ room. “This show can’t be written by anyone else because it’s so personal,” said Zendaya, a star on the show.
10. And finally, we have not yet reached peak plant milk.
American shoppers have witnessed a proliferation of milk substitutes in grocery store aisles over the last decade — products made from a wide variety of nuts, seeds, grains and legumes — as more people have been converted by the health, environmental and ethical benefits of a vegetarian or vegan diet. But experts say the trend of alternative milks is still on the upswing.
“I don’t think there is an end in sight for dairy alternative innovation — or at least not anytime soon,” said Sydney Olson, a food and drink analyst.
Next on the list: potato milk, which, according to a report from the British supermarket chain Waitrose, is “set to dominate coffee shop menus in the coming months.”
Have an alternative night.
Angela Jimenez compiled photos for this briefing.
Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.
Want to catch up on past briefings? You can browse them here.
What did you like? What do you want to see here? Let us know at email@example.com.