News in Brief

Black Sea grain deal renewed for two months

Reuters – Russia confirmed on Wednesday that a deal to allow Ukraine to export its grain safely across the Black Sea, despite the Ukraine War, had been extended for two months.
Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the deal had been extended to help countries in need but added that Russia’s overall assessment of the situation regarding the deal had not changed.
On Thursday, Russia threatened to quit the arrangement, which was agreed upon last July with the help of the United Nations and Turkey, unless a list of conditions were met.
“The extension of the grain deal is for two months. Thus, there is a chance, not in words, but in deeds, to help ensure global food security. First of all, to help the most needy countries,” Zakharova told reporters in a video briefing.
The Russian conditions were designed to counter the effect of some of the economic sanctions imposed by the West after Russia sent its armed forces into Ukraine.

Energy crisis cost UK £29b more in 2022

BLOOMBERG –  The surge in wholesale electricity prices last year forced UK consumers to pay more than double the amount for power than they did before the crisis, according to a study by University College London.
Generators in Britain earned £49.5 billion ($61.7 billion) in revenue during 2022, compared with an average of £20.5 billion in 2018 and 2019, the study said.
About 70% of those extra tariffs went to gas-fired power plants and renewable-power companies.
“The exploding costs to consumers over the last year highlight the need to disentangle the UK’s electricity market from the volatile prices of fossil fuels,” said Michael Grubb, a professor at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources and one of the report’s authors.
The figures are indicative of the historic cost-of-living crunch facing the UK, where the Bank of England is warning of persistent inflation, which now tops 10%.



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