Newsletter: Bloomberg Evening Briefing

Yesterday, the implosion of the TerraUSD stablecoin kindled wide-spread panic in the crypto space. But 24 hours later, things looked a bit calmer. Terraform Labs restarted the Terra blockchain following a software update to help avoid attacks against the network. In the land of equities, however, there was little calm in the air on Thursday. More hair-raising volatility in the S&P 500 pushed the index within spitting distance of a 20% drop. Coming 30 points from a bear market before an end-of-day rally, the benchmark appears destined to decrease for a sixth straight week, something that hasn’t happened since June 2011. While recessionary fears tied to the U.S. central bank’s inflation fight are animating many investors, Fed official Mary Daly backed raising interest rates by a half-percentage point at each of the central bank’s next two meetings, adding she’d like to see financial conditions tighten further. “Going up in 50-basis-point increments to me makes quite a bit of sense,” she said. “And there’s no reason right now that I see in the economy to pause on doing that in the next couple of meetings.” David E. Rovella

Bloomberg is tracking the coronavirus pandemic and the progress of global vaccination efforts.

Here are today’s top stories

Russian military losses in Ukraine have begun to prompt more explicit warnings in China about Moscow’s value as a diplomatic partner, in a sign of growing unease over President Xi Jinping’s strategic embrace of Vladimir Putin. In Ukraine, the United Nations says more than 1,000 dead civilians, including hundreds who were apparently executed, have been discovered in areas north of Kyiv that had been occupied by Russian soldiers. The US said it will soon begin a “major initiative” alongside the European Union and the UK to help Ukraine document potential war crimes and human rights abuses committed by Putin’s forces, Beth Van Schaack, the State Department’s ambassador-at-large for global criminal justice, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. She appeared remotely from a conference in the German city of Nuremberg, where Nazi leaders were tried after World War II, noting she was in “the very room where the judges deliberated before releasing their judgment, which would change the world forever.” Of Russia’s actions in Ukraine over the past 2 ½ months, Van Schaack said, “this is another Nuremberg moment.”

Russian forces recently shelled the town of Orikhiv, near Zaporizhzhia in eastern Ukraine. Some shells hit a local cemetery. Photographer: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP

Ten more European gas buyers have opened accounts in Russia’s Gazprombank, doubling the total number of clients preparing to pay in rubles for Russian gas—as Putin has demanded. While the Kremlin seeks to prop up the ruble, the EU has yet to say whether a new workaround is legal under international sanctions.

G7 foreign ministers vowed to break a Russian blockade of grain in Ukrainian ports, and wheat futures rose in Chicago after the US Department of Agriculture estimated that production in the country will drop by one-third compared with last season. Some in Europe say  Kremlin-friendly Hungary’s refusal to sign on to a proposed embargo of Russian oil may have doomed the critical sanctioning effort for now.

Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister, left, with Russian leader Vladimir Putin at the world judo championship in Budapest in 2017.  Photographer: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg

Elon Musk is in talks to raise enough equity and preferred financing for his proposed buyout of Twitter that he could eliminate the need for a margin loan linked to his Tesla shares. Over at Twitter, the current CEO announced a hiring freeze and other cost-cutting efforts, a reflection of the company’s state of uncertainty while it awaits Musk’s $44 billion takeover.

Israel was accused of killing an American citizen whose work as a journalist is famous across the Middle East. Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, wearing a blue flack jacket and helmet, both clearly labeled “press,” was shot in the head while covering a raid by Israeli security forces in the occupied West Bank. Israel at first sought to blame Palestinians for the killing of the American, but then sought to back off the claim. During last year’s war between Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers, Israel destroyed the building in Gaza City housing the offices of The Associated Press and Al Jazeera.

As the U.S. Small Business Administration moves to shut down aid programs for mom-and-pops that have struggled to survive the pandemic, many business owners are saying they never heard back from thee agency on applications filed more than two years ago, let alone funds or appeals. Now their time may have run out.

As the first lockdown hit in 2020, Jaja Chen and her husband Devin Li of Waco, Texas, applied for help from the SBA. More than two years later, an advance grant they were promised still hasn’t arrived.  Photographer: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg

The fourth season of Bloomberg’s podcast The Pay Check examines how inequality trends have played out locally during the pandemic, analyzing the varied economic impacts of a pathogen that’s reached every corner of the world. And while overall the poor have gotten the worst of it, the financial fallout has generated more than a few surprises.

What you’ll need to know tomorrow

Crypto’s Massacre Bloodies Digital Exchanges

Cryptocurrencies only seem to “work” when prices are going up. On the way down, nothing functions as it should—a trait common to Ponzi schemes throughout history, Lionel Laurent writes in Bloomberg Opinion. Bitcoin, supposedly a store of value and inflation hedge, is failing at both. It’s down about 56% in six months as investors dump it for the traditional fiat money that crypto was supposed to disrupt. In the current market carnage, Laurent says, the exchanges that have promoted digital currencies have a lot to answer for.

Bloomberg’s Australia BriefingTo get the latest on the Australian election and what’s happening around the region, sign up for the Australia Briefing. It’ll land in your inbox daily in the lead-up to the May 21 election, and then every Friday. Sign up here.

Bloomberg New Economy Gateway Latin America: The region is fast embracing tech-based innovation. Will the emerging digital economy widen inequality or create more opportunity? Government and business leaders will gather May 18-19 in Panama to address Latin America’s prospects for inclusive growth in education, jobs, transportation infrastructure, fintech, clean energy and healthcare. Learn more here and get exclusive alerts on how to watch the livestream.

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