Good morning. We’re covering the Chinese leadership’s new goals for women and a U.S. push for humanitarian pauses in the Israel-Hamas war.
Plus New Zealand’s curling team enjoys life at a Canadian retirement home.
|Xi Jinping attending the National Women’s Congress in Beijing last month.Yao Dawei/Xinhua, via Getty Images|
China’s male leaders push for women to stay home
The National Women’s Congress, held every five years, has long been a forum for the ruling Communist Party to demonstrate its commitment to women. This year, officials downplayed gender equality and focused on President Xi Jinping’s goal for Chinese women: Get married and have babies.
“We should actively foster a new type of marriage and childbearing culture,” Xi said in a speech at the closing meeting on Monday. He added that it was the role of party officials to influence young people’s views on “love and marriage, fertility and family.” He made no mention of women at work.
The language used by senior officials was another glimpse of how the party sees the role of women. In a departure from a two-decade tradition, Xi’s deputy, Ding Xuexiang, failed to mention in an opening address at the congress a standard sentiment: that gender equality is a basic national policy.
Context: The party desperately needs women to have more babies. China has been thrust into a demographic crisis as its birthrate has plummeted, causing its population to shrink for the first time since the 1960s. It is also facing a social welfare system that is severely underdeveloped and unable to support a rapidly aging population, and leaders seem to want women to fill the gap.
|“A pause means give time to get the prisoners out,” President Biden said Wednesday.Kent Nishimura for The New York Times|
U.S. to press Israel for “humanitarian pauses”
Antony Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, will urge the Israeli government to agree to a series of brief cessations of military operations in Gaza when he arrives in Israel today. The “humanitarian pauses” are meant to allow for hostages to be released safely and for aid to be distributed.
White House officials said they were pushing for pauses that were limited by location and duration, and that the request was far different from an overall cease-fire, which the Biden administration believes would benefit Hamas.
In the West Bank, a much bigger and more complex Palestinian-majority area, violence by settler extremists is hitting its highest levels in years, and the region feels primed to explode.
|Ukrainian soldiers firing toward a front line in eastern Ukraine last month.Nicole Tung for The New York Times|
Ukraine’s top commander says the war is at a “stalemate”
With the front line in Ukraine having barely shifted despite months of fierce fighting, Gen. Valery Zaluzhny said the fighting had reached an impasse, the most candid assessment so far by a leading Ukrainian official of the military’s stalled counteroffensive.
“Just like in the First World War, we have reached the level of technology that puts us into a stalemate,” he told The Economist. The general said modern technology and precision weapons on both sides were preventing troops from breaching enemy lines, and called for advances in electronic warfare as a way to break the deadlock.
|A police officer at the property of Erin Patterson on Thursday.James Ross/AAP, via Associated Press|
|Eric Trump began testifying yesterday after his older brother left the stand.Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times|
|The team has financed its curling dreams by landing day jobs in Calgary.Todd Korol for The New York Times|
New Zealand’s curling team wanted to train with the “big boys” in Canada. So they’re spending the winter at a retirement home in Calgary, Alberta, sipping Caesar cocktails while their neighbors play bridge and tabletop shuffleboard.
“That’s all the women talk about,” said Bill Dench, 67, a retired letter carrier and Zamboni driver who lives down the hall.
|Three percent of India’s population flies on a regular basis.Ajay Aggarwal/Hindustan Times, via Getty Images|
Why India is the world’s biggest plane buyer
India’s largest airlines have ordered nearly 1,000 jets this year, committing tens of billions of dollars to a spending spree that is unparalleled in aviation. Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi could see 109 million passengers next year, which would make it the world’s second busiest.
The government has invested more than $11 billion in airports over the past decade; in the nine years of Narendra Modi’s tenure as prime minister, the number of airports has doubled, to 148 from 74. Plans are underway to bring that number to 230 by 2030.
Foreign tourism arrivals are still scant — just 10 million, about the same as Romania. The growth is coming from India’s middle class. A $126 ticket from Delhi to Darbhanga, in the state of Bihar, was a pinch for Prasanna Kumar Jha, a tax consultant, but it beat 30 hours on a train. “Who ever expected that Darbhanga would be on the air map?” he asked.
|Kate Sears for The New York Times.|
Listen to “Now and Then,” which is billed by its label as “the last Beatles song.”
Wear items from A1, the hotly anticipated line from Phoebe Philo.
That’s it for today’s briefing. Jonathan Wolfe will be here on Monday. — Whet
P.S. The Run-Up, The Times’s elections podcast, is back.