A Russia-Ukraine grain deal that has been critical to keeping global food prices relatively stable and preventing famine in parts of the world is in tatters. Earlier this week, Russia said it was pulling out of the year-old deal, which allowed shipments of grains and other foodstuffs to travel past the Russian naval blockade in the Black Sea. And to make matters worse, over the next two days Russia bombed the Ukrainian port of Odesa, destroying more than 60,000 tons of grain.

As a result, food prices have surged, with the cost of wheat, corn and soybeans in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere all skyrocketing. So, what is the grain deal, and why is it so important to the global food supply chain?

Anna Nagurney is an expert on supply chains, including those involving perishable products like food, and is co-chair of the board of directors overseeing the Kyiv School of Economics in Ukraine. Here, she explains how important Ukrainian grain is to feeding the world – and why the Black Sea is a vital route to getting it to people who need it.

Also this week, check out a trio of reports on China, and read our coverage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which kicks off today.

Bryan Keogh

Managing Editor, US edition

The grain deal allowed Ukrainian corn and other products to reach ports in Lebanon and elsewhere. AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

Why Russia pulled out of its grain deal with Ukraine – and what that means for the global food system

Anna Nagurney, UMass Amherst

Russia’s move, which it followed by bombing the key port city of Odesa and threatening to attack any ship sailing for Ukraine, sent global food prices skyrocketing.

Too few children means China needs to look outside the country for new blood. Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

China needs immigrants

Dudley L. Poston Jr., Texas A&M University

Chinese politicians have looked toward policies to encourage couples to have more children to offset population decline. It hasn’t worked.

FIFA Women’s World Cup: Gender equity in sports remains an issue despite the major strides being made

Treisha Hylton, Wilfrid Laurier University

While the 2023 Women’s World Cup might be the best yet for women in terms of investments and viewership, there is still room for improvement for the 2027 World Cup.

Hip-hop and health – why so many rap artists die young

A.D. Carson, University of Virginia

As hip-hop turns 50, an unfortunate reality is that so many of its pioneering artists never live to see much more than 50 years themselves, a professor of hip-hop writes.

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie is a ‘feminist bimbo’ classic – and no, that’s not an oxymoron

Harriet Fletcher, Anglia Ruskin University

While the film obviously appeals to women, it is men who really need to watch it.