Bloomberg - Evening Briefing - No ‘dirty bombs’

Bloomberg Evening Briefing.

United Nations watchdogs threw more cold water on widely dismissed Russian allegations that Ukraine was making radioactive “dirty bombs.” After weeks of unsubstantiated claims by Kremlin officials, UN inspectors went in at the invitation of Kyiv to take a look. They said they “found no indications of undeclared nuclear activities and materials.” Vladimir Putin and his aides have dangled the option of using his country’s nuclear arsenal against Ukraine, and the US, NATO and others warned that his subsequent “dirty bomb” claims were a so-called false flag that could be used to justify such an atomic strike. Meanwhile in Ukraine’s east, diesel generators are again powering safety systems at Europe’s largest nuclear plant as fighting near the Zaporizhzhia station damaged power lines and substations. For months the Russian military has controlled the plant, and shelling nearby has raised concerns of a potential accident. More broadly, Ukraine has faced blackouts for days to preserve energy as attacks by Russia continue to target the nation’s energy grid

Here are today’s top stories

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said the economic turmoil hitting the UK this year is worse than anything in the 1970s. The remarks may underscore why the central bank is signaling a more cautious approach to interest rates than the US Federal Reserve. On Thursday, the BOE raised its benchmark lending rate at the sharpest pace in 33 years, but pushed back on market expectations for rapid increases going forward. In the US, markets were mostly lower after Fed Chair Jerome Powell warned of more rate hikes Wednesday. 

Andrew Bailey Photographer: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

Citadel’s Ken Griffin, Blackstone’s Steve Schwarzman and Oracle’s Larry Ellison—worth a collective $150 billion—are among the 12 top political donors ahead of the midterm election. Of that dozen, 10 are backing Republicans in a big way: They’ve spent a cumulative $338 million, up 250% from the 2018 cycle. Already, spending in the 2022 race has shattered records. Meanwhile, days before the election, Facebook and Twitter are letting 2020 election fraud lies go viral.

Former Pakistan leader Imran Khan is in stable condition after he was shot during a rally. Khan was ousted from power in April, and the attack raises the specter of further political unrest in a country with a history of political assassinations

Imran Khan  Photographer: Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images

In the latest warning sign for the US economy, tech companies announced new measures to rein in costs. Amazon said it would pause hiring corporate workers. Stripe, one of the world’s most valuable startups, is firing 14% of its workforce. Lyft also said it would terminate 13% of its employees to cope with a “tough reality.” Over at Twitter, half of the workers are on the chopping block, courtesy of Elon Musk.

First-time US homebuyers are now the oldest on record, and the proportion of purchases by Black, Asian and Pacific Island-Americans is the lowest since 1997, the latest evidence that it’s increasingly difficult to buy a home. 

A Blackstone real estate fund for small investors has turned into a $70 billion force: buying up apartments, suburban homes, dorms, data centers, hotels and shopping centers. It owns Las Vegas’s lavish Bellagio hotel and casino; a 76-story New York skyscraper designed by Frank Gehry; and a sprawling Florida complex for interns working at the Walt Disney World Resort. But as real estate softens, this money machine is facing its biggest test yet

The Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas  Photographer: Roger Kisby/Bloomberg

Investors have erased about $7 billion from the Saudi National Bank’s market value amid growing concern over the lender’s plans to purchase a stake in embattled Credit Suisse. The Saudi lender, which is 37% owned by the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, is set to become one of the Swiss bank’s biggest investors—but analysts are questioning the upside.

Bloomberg continues to track the global coronavirus pandemic. Click here for daily updates.

 What you’ll need to know tomorrow

The Rush to Save Ukraine’s Cultural Treasures   

Potentially tens of thousands have been killed and millions displaced in Putin’s war on Ukraine. Many grassroots efforts by Ukrainians have documented not only the atrocities allegedly perpetrated on civilians by Kremlin forces, but on the country’s monuments and cultural landmarks as well. Across the country, it’s estimated that more than 550 cultural sites, buildings and monuments of cultural importance have been damaged or destroyed since Russia started its war.

Orthodox Pokrovsky Church, damaged by Russian army shelling in Malyn, Zhytomyr area, Ukraine, April 16, 2022. Photographer: Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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