We cover the explosive flare-up in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and examine why China’s relaxation of family planning rules has not encouraged births.
Fight against anger in Israel and Gaza
On the second day of the rocket fire and air strikes, Israel murdered several commanders of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, suggesting a possible ground invasion of Gaza. The militants responded with a new barrage of more than 1,000 missiles fired on cities in southern Israel.
Here are the latest updates.
An Israeli military official said three infantry brigades were preparing “for a worst-case scenario” and confirmed that a ground invasion could follow the aerial bombardment. Israel’s most recent operation was against the Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military wing and one of several Palestinian militant factions active in Gaza.
Two days of Israeli strikes have killed at least 53 Palestinians, including 14 children, and injured more than 300 people, according to Palestinian health officials. At least seven people were killed and 100 injured in the rocket attacks, according to Israeli health authorities. An Israeli was killed by an anti-tank missile near the Gaza Strip.
International answer: A senior US diplomat travels to the Middle East to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders and demand de-escalation. Tor Wennesland, the United Nations envoy for the Middle East, said the situation “was escalating towards an all-out war”.
A Covid spike in the world’s most vaccinated nation
Recognized as the most vaccinated nation in the world, Seychelles relied heavily on China’s Sinopharm vaccine to vaccinate more than 60 percent of their population.
But now a surge in coronavirus cases, including those who are fully vaccinated, raises some questions about vaccine choices. Scientists warn that developing countries that choose to use Chinese vaccines may lag behind countries that use vaccines with higher efficacy numbers. Health officials said that while people became infected, they did not get very sick. Still, residents said the government did not provide enough information about the vaccines.
The situation on the island in the Indian Ocean contrasts with Israel, which has the second highest vaccination rate in the world and where infections with the Pfizer vaccine have decreased.
Quote: “You have to be using really powerful vaccines to get these economic benefits or you will be living with the disease long term,” said Raina MacIntyre, biosecurity researcher at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.
Details: In the two-dose population, 57 percent received Sinopharm and 43 percent received AstraZeneca. Thirty-seven percent of the new active cases, according to the Ministry of Health, are fully vaccinated people who did not indicate how many people among them received the Sinopharm shot.
Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
In other developments:
Will China Allow Couples to Have a Third Child?
The ruling Communist Party is slowly easing its longstanding restrictions on the birth of children. Some local governments have tacitly allowed couples to have more than two children, and a growing number of votes have urged the government to abolish the rules.
A census published this week showed a significant drop in birth rates, adding to the urgency of these changes. But the party is cautious about relinquishing its control, writes our reporter, and in some cases has taken a gradual approach with exceptions.
Context: China’s one child policy was in effect from 1980 to 2016, when couples were allowed to have two children. Before they were wound up, family planning agencies asked women to equip themselves with intrauterine devices or forced them to have abortions. They also collected billions in fines for rule violations annually.
A good example of this: Ms. Chen Huayun’s parents, 33, hid her or sent her to her grandparents’ home during the school vacation because she was their second child. As officials, her parents would have been released if she was found out. “It wasn’t until they retired that their colleagues knew I existed,” she said.
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The Colombian police fought against left-wing guerrillas and paramilitaries for decades. It was a force built for war, and now it has found a new one – on the streets of Colombian cities where police are accused of treating civilian protesters as enemies of the battlefield.
ART AND IDEAS
The power of a tick
Achieving daily goals can be difficult. About a decade ago, Amitava Kumar hired a class of college seniors to write something every day – in part to motivate themselves to write.
To be successful, Kumar tried a simple trick: after completing each day’s chores, he put the date and a check mark on the last page of the notebook. Somehow it worked – by the end of the year he had finished a short book.
Today, for Kumar, check marks serve a greater purpose. They remind him that he is a writer. “It is the visible symbol of my realization that what I do defines who I am,” he writes in the Times Magazine letter of recommendation. And he explains why you might like them too. “The tick is more important than anything that comes out of the day-to-day work that you mark completion,” he argues. “The first represents real life; the second, just one life. “