The New York Times 2024-03-09 16:34:21


Three Is Best: How China’s Family Planning Propaganda Has Changed


For decades, China harshly restricted the number of children couples could have, arguing that everyone would be better off with fewer mouths to feed. The government’s one-child policy was woven into the fabric of everyday life, through slogans on street banners and in popular culture and public art.

Now, faced with a shrinking and aging population, China is using many of the same propaganda channels to send the opposite message: Have more babies.

The government has also been offering financial incentives for couples to have two or three children. But the efforts have not been successful. The birthrate in China has fallen steeply, and last year was the lowest since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

Instead of enforcing birth limits, the government has shifted gears to promote a “pro-birth culture,” organizing beauty pageants for pregnant women and producing rap videos about the advantages of having children.

In recent years, the state broadcaster’s annual spring festival gala, one of the country’s most-watched TV events, has prominently featured public service ads promoting families with two or three children.

In one ad that aired last year, a visibly pregnant woman was shown resting her hand on her belly while her husband and son peacefully slept in bed. The caption read: “It’s getting livelier around here.”

The propaganda effort has been met with widespread ridicule. Critics have regarded the campaign as only the latest sign that policymakers are blind to the increasing costs and other challenges people face in raising multiple children.

They have also mocked the recent messaging for the obvious regulatory whiplash after decades of limiting births with forced abortions and hefty fines. Between 1980 and 2015, the year the one-child policy officially ended, the Chinese government used extensive propaganda to warn that having more babies would hinder China’s modernization.

Today the official rhetoric depicts larger families as the cornerstone of attaining a prosperous society, known in Chinese as “xiaokang.”

For officials, imposing the one-child policy also meant they had to challenge the deep-rooted traditional belief that children, and sons in particular, provided a form of security in old age. To change this mind-set, family planning offices plastered towns and villages with slogans saying that the state would take care of older Chinese.

But China’s population is aging rapidly. By 2040, nearly a third of its people will be over 60. The state will be hard pressed to support seniors, particularly those in rural areas, who get a fraction of the pension received by urban salaried workers under the current program.

Now the official messaging has shifted dramatically, highlighting the importance of self-reliance and family support.

Under the one-child policy, local governments levied steep “social upbringing fees” on those who had more children than allowed. For some families, these penalties brought financial devastation and fractured marriages.

As recently as early 2021, people were still being fined heavily for having a third child, only to find out a few months later, in June, that the government passed a law allowing all married couples to have three children. It had also not only abolished these fees nationwide but also encouraged localities to provide extra welfare benefits and longer parental leave for families with three children.

The pivot has prompted local officials to remove visible remnants of the one-child policy. Last year, local governments across various provinces systematically erased outdated slogans on birth restrictions from public streets and walls.

In a village in Shanxi Province in northern China, government employees took down a mural with a slogan that promoted the one-child policy.

But the slogans that the government would like to treat as relics of a bygone era are finding new resonance with young Chinese.

On social media, many Chinese users have shared photos of one-child policy slogans as witty retorts to what they described as growing societal pressure to have larger families. Some of the posts have garnered thousands of likes and hundreds of comments.

‘You Can Hear a Pin Drop’: The Rise of Super Strict Schools in England

As the teacher started to count down, the students uncrossed their arms and bowed their heads, completing the exercise in a flash.

“Three. Two. One,” the teacher said. Pens across the room went down and all eyes shot back to the teacher. Under a policy called “Slant” (Sit up, Lean forward, Ask and answer questions, Nod your head and Track the speaker), the students, aged 11 and 12, were barred from looking away.

When a digital bell beeped (traditional clocks are “not precise enough,” the principal said) the students walked quickly and silently to the cafeteria in a single line. There they yelled a poem — “Ozymandias,” by Percy Bysshe Shelley — in unison, then ate for 13 minutes as they discussed that day’s mandatory lunch topic: how to survive a superintelligent killer snail.

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Macron and Scholz, Never Close, Spar Over Policy Toward Ukraine and Russia

It was a private dinner in a Parisian garden on the Boulevard St. Germain, meant to cement the important personal relationship between the leaders of France and Germany.

After the meal on July 4, 2022, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said, “Merci beaucoup,” in a Twitter post praising “close exchanges.” But on the way out, President Emmanuel Macron muttered to a confidant: “This is not going to be easy.”

It is hardly a secret that the dealings between the two men have been anything but easy. Barely disguised insults between them in recent days have pointed to deeper differences over Ukraine, how to confront and contain an aggressive Russia and how to manage an increasingly polarized United States.

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The 10-Year-Old Boy Who Has Become the Face of Starvation in Gaza

It is all too easy to trace the skull beneath the Gazan boy’s face, the pallid skin stretching tight over every curve of bone and sagging with every hollow. His chin juts with a disturbing sharpness. His flesh has shrunk and shriveled, life reduced to little more than a thin mask over an imminent death.

In one of a series of news photographs of the boy, Yazan Kafarneh, taken with his family’s permission as he struggled for his life, his long-lashed eyes stare out, unfocused. In that widely shared picture online, his right hand, bandaged over an intravenous line, contracts in on itself at an awkward angle, a visible marker of his cerebral palsy.

He was 10, but in photographs from his last days at a clinic in southern Gaza, he looks both small for his age and at the same time ancient. By Monday, Yazan was dead.

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Russia’s Advance Around Avdiivka Loses Momentum After Quick Gains

When the eastern city of Avdiivka, a Ukrainian stronghold, fell to Russian forces three weeks ago, Kyiv and its allies feared that Moscow’s troops could build on their momentum and quickly press ahead toward strategic military hubs and population centers.

But after making rapid gains in the subsequent days, Russian assaults have stalled around three contested nearby villages. Military experts cite several factors, including terrain that does not favor offensive operations, Russian troops exhausted by months of fighting and a Ukrainian army that has committed significant forces to defending the area.

Russia seems to be maintaining its initiative on the battlefield, and military analysts say its forces could still break through Ukrainian lines in the near future, especially since Kyiv’s defensive efforts are increasingly curtailed by the absence of further American military aid.

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Middle East Crisis: Plan to Deliver Aid by Sea Faces Big Hurdles

There are enormous logistical hurdles to deliver much-needed aid to Gaza by sea.

An international plan to bring desperately needed food, water and medicine to Gazans by boat will face enormous logistical challenges, diplomats and aid officials say, making the proposition both expensive and likely to take some time.

Aid officials have criticized the plans, saying delivering aid by truck is by far the most efficient way to help Gazans. They have called for Israel to open new crossing points in northern Gaza and to ease its entry restrictions. U.S. officials have conceded it will take weeks to establish a maritime corridor, but say it will eventually enable them to significantly increase the amount of aid.

Kerem Shalom is one of two border crossings through which aid has been allowed to enter Gaza; most of it transits through the Rafah crossing with Egypt. The U.N. has said it can be very challenging for aid to go north beyond Rafah.

Gaza does not have a functioning port, and its coastal waters are too shallow for most vessels — particularly the large barges that would be necessary to ferry the cargo necessary for hundreds of thousands of hungry Palestinians.

Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the E.U. executive body, said Friday that officials expected to test the process in the coming days during what she described as a pilot project. But it was not immediately clear how or where any vessels would unload their cargo or how it would be distributed amid Israeli bombardment and attacks on aid trucks as hunger grows in the enclave.

On Thursday night, President Biden announced a U.S.-led initiative to establish a temporary floating pier off Gaza’s coastline to enable the transit of goods. U.S. officials hope to ultimately use the pier to enable the delivery of two million meals a day for Gaza’s 2.3 million people, Here are some of the hurdles ahead.

  • Cost: Building the floating pier will be pricey and time-consuming. U.S. officials say the project could take up to 60 days to complete, and Gazans need more aid now. United Nations officials warn that famine is imminent in the enclave.

    Two Western diplomats briefed on the project said they were told the full cost could be tens of millions of dollars over six months, although it was unclear whether that was just the port itself or included the cost of the intended supply shipments as well. Several countries, including Britain and the United Arab Emirates, have announced they will back the project, although they have not said how much they will chip in.

    Some have called for Israel to fully open the Israeli port of Ashdod just north of Gaza to allow international aid to flow into the enclave. The harbor is already largely equipped to scan and process aid deliveries. After U.S. pressure, Israel began allowing some shipments of flour and other goods to enter there in January.

  • Security and distribution: It is also unclear who will manage and secure the temporary port area and the convoys of trucks that would be needed to distribute the aid.

    In response to a question on who would secure the port, President Biden told reporters Friday that “the Israelis” would provide security. He did not elaborate further, and there was no immediate comment by Israeli officials.

    Israel’s ground invasion successfully toppled Hamas’s government in northern Gaza and nothing has filled the vacuum. The result has been widespread lawlessness. Some of the few trucks ferrying food and medicine to northern Gaza have been attacked by both ordinary Palestinians and well-organized gangs, according to aid officials.

    The desperation was made apparent last month when, according to Gazan health officials more than 100 Palestinians were killed after thousands of people massed around an Israeli-organized aid convoy. Witnesses described extensive shooting by Israeli forces, and doctors at Gaza hospitals said most casualties were from gunfire.

    The Israeli military acknowledged firing at members of the crowd who approached them “in a threatening manner,” but said most of the victims were trampled in a crush of people trying to seize the cargo.

    The remaining employees of Hamas’s civilian police could step in for security, U.N. officials have said, but their involvement would likely be unacceptable to Israel and the United States because of their connection to the militant group. In a briefing with reporters last month, Jaime McGoldrick, a senior U.N. relief official, said the organization was seeking to work with what remains of the police on crowd control. But they were hesitant to escort the convoys north, fearing Israeli airstrikes, he said.

    The Israeli military could deploy to patrol the convoys, but their presence would pose a challenge for the United Nations, which takes pains to avoid being seen as too close to any side. The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, for example, “does not provide any assistance anywhere with the presence of the Israeli Army nor does it ask it to provide security for its convoys,” said Juliette Touma, the agency’s director of communications.

    One proposal on the table would be for private Palestinian contractors to handle the distribution while coordinating with the United Nations, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation.

Officials say UNRWA has taken immediate steps to improve oversight.

Canada and Sweden are resuming funding for the main United Nations agency supporting Palestinian refugees in Gaza, citing the spiraling humanitarian catastrophe there and saying that the agency had taken steps to improve accountability amid accusations that some of its employees had links to Hamas.

The countries were among more than a dozen that suspended payments to the aid organization, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, known as UNRWA, after accusations in January by Israel that a dozen of its 13,000 employees in Gaza had been involved in the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attacks on Israel or their aftermath.

UNRWA has argued that Israel has targeted it with a “deliberate and concerted campaign” to undermine its operations when its services are most needed. Warnings of widespread hunger bordering on famine have become more urgent, and signs of desperation are growing as people resort to consuming animal feed or ambushing aid trucks.

In a government statement on Saturday, Sweden said that it would disburse a conditional first payment of some $20 million. It said that UNRWA had agreed to allow independent audits and to strengthen internal oversight.

“In this urgent situation, when the need is so great among the civilian population, it is first and foremost important to save lives,” the statement said.

Canadian officials said on Friday that they had received an interim report from the internal United Nations office investigating the claims, and that the agency had taken immediate steps to improve accountability. The United Nations has also commissioned an external review.

The European Union, one of the largest donors to UNRWA, announced last week that it was substantially increasing funds to the agency, saying that Palestinians were facing terrible conditions and should not be made to pay for Hamas’s crimes. The first tranche of 50 million euros, about $54 million, was scheduled to be disbursed this week.

The United States has said it would wait for the results of U.N. investigations before deciding whether to resume donations. The United States is the agency’s single largest donor, having pledged $344 million in 2022.

Canadian officials said that UNRWA plays a “vital role” in providing humanitarian assistance to Gaza’s 2.2 million civilians, and that other organizations depended on the longstanding agency’s expertise and infrastructure.

The international community has faced increasing pressure to act to alleviate the growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Officials with UNRWA have said that without a reversal of donor countries’ suspensions, which cost it about $450 million in funding, the organization would soon run out of reserves.

The United States and other countries announced plans this week to try to get aid into northern Gaza by sea through the Mediterranean coast. In recent weeks, nations have been sending in aid via airdrops attached to parachutes.

Israel has claimed that at least 10 percent of UNRWA’s staff in Gaza is affiliated with Palestinian armed groups and that what it says are employees’ links to Hamas fundamentally compromise the agency. In a proposal for Gaza’s postwar governance last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel included a call for UNRWA to be closed and replaced “with responsible international aid agencies.”

Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA’s chief, said this week that he had not received any additional information to back up Israel’s accusations after they were initially presented to him in January, but that the agency had immediately terminated the contracts of staff members accused of involvement with the Oct. 7 attacks because of the gravity of the allegation.

A correction was made on 

March 9, 2024

An earlier version of this article misstated the number of people working for UNRWA. Thirteen thousand are employed in Gaza, not across the world. The error was repeated in a capsule summary.


When we learn of a mistake, we acknowledge it with a correction. If you spot an error, please let us know at nytnews@nytimes.com.Learn more

The U.S. plan to build an aid port could deliver two million meals to Gaza a day, the Pentagon says.

The Biden administration’s floating pier and causeway for humanitarian aid could, when completed, help deliver as many as two million meals a day for residents of Gaza, but the project will take at least a month and maybe two to complete, the Pentagon said on Friday.

The details for the pier and causeway plan, President Biden’s latest idea to get around Israel’s blocking of aid deliveries via all but two land crossings, were outlined by the Pentagon press secretary, Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, in a news conference on Friday.

Aid organizations have welcomed the plan, which was announced on Thursday, days after the U.S. military began airdropping supplies into Gaza. But aid workers say that the maritime project is not ambitious enough to alleviate the humanitarian disaster unfolding as Israel continues to bombard the Gaza Strip.

General Ryder said that one of the main military units involved in the construction of the floating pier for Gaza would be the Army’s 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary), out of Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., near Norfolk. Some 1,000 American service members, he said, will work to complete the pier and causeway.

The floating pier, General Ryder said, would be built and assembled alongside an Army ship off the Gaza coast. Army ships are large, lumbering vessels, so they will need armed escorts, particularly as they get within range of Gaza’s coast, Defense Department officials said, and officials are working through how to ensure their protection as the pier is built.

Describing the project, a U.S. Army official said that, typically, a large vessel would sit off shore of the desired location, and a “Roll-on-Roll-off Discharge Facility” — a big floating dock — would be constructed next to the ship to serve as a holding area. When any cargo or equipment is driven or placed onto the floating dock, it can then be loaded onto smaller Navy boats and moved toward a temporary causeway anchored onshore.

On Thursday, Sigrid Kaag, the U.N. humanitarian and reconstruction coordinator for Gaza, welcomed the Biden announcement.

But speaking with reporters after briefing the U.N. Security Council, she added, “At the same time I cannot but repeat: Air and sea is not a substitute for land and nobody says otherwise.”

Since Israel began its bombardment and invasion of Gaza, in response to the Hamas-led attack of Oct. 7, only two land crossings into the territory have opened: One at Rafah, a Gazan city on the southern border with Egypt, and one at Kerem Shalom, on the border with Israel.

Aid workers have described bottlenecks for aid at border crossings because of lengthy inspections of trucks, limited crossing hours and protests by Israelis, and they have also highlighted the difficulty of distributing aid inside Gaza. Israeli officials have denied they are hampering the flow of aid, saying the United Nations and aid groups are responsible for any backlogs.

On Friday, General Ryder said that U.S. officials were “working with ally and partner nations,” as well as the United Nations and aid groups, to coordinate security and distribution of aid from the floating pier and causeway. He emphasized that “there will be no U.S. forces on the ground in Gaza.”

He also acknowledged that neither the airdrops nor the floating pier were as effective as sending aid by land would be.

“We want to see the amount of aid going via land increase significantly,” General Ryder said. “We understand that is the most viable way to get aid in.”

But, he added, “We’re not going to wait around.”

An audio clip emerges of Biden saying he told Netanyahu they are nearing a ‘come-to-Jesus meeting’ on Gaza aid.

President Biden said on Thursday that he and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel were headed toward a “come-to-Jesus meeting” over the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, according to an audio clip of the president’s remarks posted on social media on Friday.

Mr. Biden’s comment highlights the rising tensions between him and Mr. Netanyahu in recent weeks, as the civilian death toll in Gaza has risen inexorably and Mr. Biden has come under political pressure at home and abroad to do more to compel Israel to agree to a cease-fire.

In recent days, Mr. Biden had expressed hope that at least a six-week cease-fire deal would be in place by Ramadan, the Muslim holy month that starts in a few days. But Israel and Hamas have reached an impasse in negotiations to recover vulnerable hostages taken during the Oct. 7 attack in Israel in exchange for a permanent cease-fire and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza.

On Friday, when asked by reporters if a deal could still be reached by Ramadan, Mr. Biden said, “It’s looking tough.”

The president’s earlier “come-to-Jesus” comments were captured on a hot microphone during what Mr. Biden thought was a private exchange with Senator Michael Bennet, Democrat of Colorado, after the State of the Union address.

According to a recording of the conversation, Mr. Bennet encouraged the president to “keep pushing” on the issue of humanitarian assistance to Gaza as Israel fights its war against Hamas, a war for which the United States has provided funding and weaponry.

“I told him, ‘Bibi’ — don’t repeat this — I said, ‘You and I are going to have a come-to-Jesus meeting,’” Mr. Biden said, referring to the prime minister by his nickname.

Mr. Biden was informed by an aide that his microphone was still on and that the conversation was being recorded. “I’m on a hot mic here?” Mr. Biden said. “Good. That’s good.”

Mr. Biden had just used his prime-time address to Congress to forcefully call on Israel to curtail civilian casualties and to allow greater quantities of food, medicine and other aid into the besieged enclave. Gazan health authorities say 30,000 have been killed in the Israeli offensive on Gaza, most of them civilians. Millions of residents have been displaced, and hundreds of thousands more are facing starvation.

“Israel also has a fundamental responsibility, though, to protect innocent civilians in Gaza,” Mr. Biden said in his speech. “This war has taken a greater toll on innocent civilians than all previous wars in Gaza combined.”

Mr. Biden strongly backed Israel’s right to invade Gaza after Hamas fighters crossed the border on Oct. 7 and killed more than 1,200 Israelis, according to Israeli authorities, in border towns, while committing atrocities and taking hostages.

The United States has continued to supply Israel with weapons and block U.N. resolutions demanding a cease-fire, backing Mr. Netanyahu’s stance that a permanent cease-fire would be a victory for Hamas, which the United States regards as a terrorist group.

But the civilian toll of Israel’s bombing campaign, coupled with rising levels of hunger and disease in Gaza, has provoked international outrage, and calls have grown for the United States to use its influence with Israel to bring about a cease-fire. At home, Mr. Biden has faced a rebellion on the issue from left-leaning Democrats and Arab Americans who were important to his winning coalition in 2020, notably in the battleground state of Michigan.

Mr. Biden’s speech on Thursday seemed aimed in part at mending those fences. He also announced that the U.S. military would build a floating pier off Gaza.

“To the leadership of Israel, I say this: Humanitarian assistance cannot be a secondary consideration or a bargaining chip,” Mr. Biden said in his address. “Protecting and saving innocent lives has to be a priority.”

Mr. Biden slyly acknowledged his comment to Senator Bennet when asked about it before boarding Air Force One on Friday. “I didn’t say that in the speech,” he said. But when asked about comments after the speech, Mr. Biden told reporters, “You guys are eavesdropping on things.”

The U.N. human rights chief warns that Israeli settlements could amount to war crimes.

The United Nations human rights chief on Friday condemned Israeli plans to build more than 3,000 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank, warning that settlement expansion amounts to a war crime.

The Israeli government has shrugged off criticism from the United States and others to move ahead with its building plans, which come as tensions have soared in the West Bank since the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attack on Israel prompted all-out war in Gaza.

“The West Bank is already in crisis,” the U.N.’s rights chief, Volker Türk, said, “yet, settler violence and settlement-related violations have reached shocking new levels, and risk eliminating any practical possibility of establishing a viable Palestinian state.”

Roughly 500,000 Israelis live in settlements in the occupied West Bank, where the Israeli military rules over roughly 2.7 million Palestinians. Much of the Israeli right believes Israel should control the West Bank in perpetuity, while Palestinians see the area as integral to their aspirations for an independent state.

Mr. Türk’s comments accompanied a report released by his office that said the expansion of settlements and a dramatic rise in associated violence and discrimination against Palestinians, particularly since Oct. 7, “have taken the West Bank to the brink of catastrophe.”

Settler violence had already reached record levels in 2023, with 835 incidents recorded before the Oct. 7 attack. Since then, settler violence has skyrocketed, the U.N. said, with another 603 settler attacks reported.

The U.N. reported nine Palestinians killed by settlers using firearms and 396 killed by Israeli security forces, with two other Palestinian deaths that could not be attributed.

More than 1,200 Palestinian herders had been forced from their homes as a direct result of settler violence and close to 600 Palestinians, the U.N. reported.

Israel’s latest plan to build 3,476 new settler homes follows construction of 23,000 new homes in the 12 months that ended in October, the U.N. human rights office reported, representing the fastest rate of expansion since monitoring started in 2017.

The expansion represents a transfer of Israel’s population to occupied territory, which is prohibited under international law and amounts to a war crime, the U.N. said.

The policies of Israel’s current government appear aligned to an unprecedented extent with the goals of its settler movement to expand long-term control over the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and to steadily integrate this occupied territory into Israel, the U.N. said.

It cited the appointment of Bezalel Smotrich, the Israeli finance minister and a settler, as an “additional minister” in the defense ministry with widespread powers over the West Bank, including over the designation of land, planning and property demolitions. Israel had recorded 468,000 Jewish Israelis in the West Bank at the end of 2022, the report noted and, in May 2023, Mr. Smotrich presented a two-year plan to attract another half-million Israelis to move there.

Navalny’s Heirs Seek a Political Future in Russia

Aleksei A. Navalny built Russia’s largest opposition force in his image, embodying a freer, fairer Russia for millions. His exiled team now faces the daunting task of steering his political movement without him.

The movement has found a leader in Mr. Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, who has presented herself as the new face of the opposition to President Vladimir V. Putin. Ms. Navalnaya, 47, is aided by a close-knit team of her husband’s lieutenants, who took over running Mr. Navalny’s political network after his imprisonment in 2021.

Maintaining political momentum will be a challenge. Few dissident movements in modern history have managed to stay relevant, let alone take power, after the death of a leader who personified it. And so far, Mr. Navalny’s team has made little attempt to unite Russia’s fractured opposition groups and win new allies by adjusting its insular, tightly controlled ways.

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‘Decolonizing’ Ukrainian Art, One Name-and-Shame Post at a Time

Hiding for days in the basement of a kindergarten in Bucha, the Kyiv suburb that became synonymous with Russian war crimes, Oksana Semenik had time to think.

Outside, Russian troops were rampaging through the town, killing civilians who ventured into the streets. Knowing she might not make it out, Ms. Semenik, an art historian, mulled over the Ukrainian artworks she had long wanted to write about — and which were now in danger of disappearing.

That time spent holed up in Bucha was during the early days of Russia’s full-scale invasion, but even then, two years ago, she had already seen reports of destroyed museums. Precious folk paintings by her favorite artist, Maria Primachenko, had gone up in flames. Moscow, she realized, was waging a war on Ukrainian culture.

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Iran’s 2022 Protest Crackdown Included Killings, Torture and Rape, U.N. Finds

United Nations investigators say Iranian authorities killed, tortured and raped women, men and children in a brutal repression of mass protests that erupted over the death in police custody of a young Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for allegedly wearing a mandatory hijab incorrectly.

A U.N. fact-finding mission reporting to the Human Rights Council in Geneva cited as credible estimates that 551 people were killed by security forces, most of them by gunfire, as part of a widespread and systematic crackdown on the protests, which were mostly led by women. The casualties included at least 49 women and 68 children.

“Many of the serious human rights violations outlined in the present report amount to crimes against humanity, specifically those of murder, imprisonment, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence, persecution, enforced disappearance and other inhumane acts, that have been committed as part of a widespread and systematic attack directed against a civilian population,” the mission states in the report. The Human Rights Council will discuss the report next week.

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Ireland to Vote on Changing Constitutional Language on Role of Women

For more than eight decades, Ireland’s Constitution has included language enshrining the role of women in the home, which equality advocates have long seen as a relic of a patriarchal past. On Friday, the Irish public will vote on proposals to change that language and to broaden the definition of what constitutes a family.

The voting coincides with International Women’s Day and could be another milestone in a transformative few decades during which Ireland has reshaped its Constitution in ways that reflect the country’s more secular and liberal modern identity.

If passed, the amendments would provide the latest updates to the Constitution, a document originally written in line with the values of the Roman Catholic Church and ratified in 1937, when religion and social conservatism dominated society.

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Theresa May, Former U.K. Prime Minister, Won’t Stand in Next Election

Theresa May, the former British prime minister whose time in Downing Street was scarred by a protracted battle over Brexit, is to leave Parliament at the next general election after 27 years as a lawmaker.

With the Conservative Party trailing badly in opinion polls before an election that many analysts expect it to lose, Mrs. May is the most senior of the approximately 60 lawmakers from the party who have so far announced plans to leave Parliament.

Mrs. May, Britain’s second female prime minister, said in a statement to her local newspaper that she had “taken the difficult decision” to stand aside because she no longer felt she could represent voters in her district of Maidenhead in the way they deserved.

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A Boring Capital for a Young Democracy. Just the Way Residents Like It.

Reporting from Belmopan, Belize

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Mention Belmopan, Belize’s capital that sits deep in the country’s interior, and many Belizeans will belittle the city as a bastion of pencil-pushing bureaucrats that’s not just dull, but also devoid of nightlife.

“I was warned, ‘Belmopan is for the newlyweds or the nearly deads,’” said Raquel Rodriguez, 45, owner of an art school, about the reactions when she moved to Belmopan from coastal, bustling Belize City.

Not exactly known as an Eden for young urbanites, Belmopan figures among the smallest capital cities anywhere in the Americas. It has only about 25,000 residents and a cluster of hurricane-proof, heavy-on-the-concrete, Maya-inspired Brutalist buildings.

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For Car Thieves, Toronto Is a ‘Candy Store,’ and Drivers Are Fed Up

Vjosa Isai drove around Toronto in a Volkswagen Passat with 290,000 miles on it, a vehicle not coveted by car thieves, to report this article.

Whenever Dennis Wilson wants to take a drive in his new SUV, he has to set aside an extra 15 minutes. That’s about how long it takes to remove the car’s steering wheel club, undo four tire locks and lower a yellow bollard before backing out of his driveway.

His Honda CR-V is also fitted with two alarm systems, a vehicle tracking device and, for good measure, four Apple AirTags. Its remote-access key fob rests in a Faraday bag, to jam illicit unlocking signals.

As a final touch, he mounted two motion-sensitive floodlights on his house and aimed them at the driveway in his modest neighborhood in Toronto.

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Where Hostage Families and Supporters Gather, for Solace and Protest

A week after Hamas-led terrorists stormed his kibbutz and kidnapped his wife and three young children, Avihai Brodutch planted himself on the sidewalk in front of army headquarters in Tel Aviv holding a sign scrawled with the words “My family’s in Gaza,” and said he would not budge until they were brought home.

Passers-by stopped to commiserate with him and to try to lift his spirits. They brought him coffee, platters of food and changes of clothing, and welcomed him to their homes to wash up and get some sleep.

“They were so kind, and they just couldn’t do enough,” said Mr. Brodutch, 42, an agronomist who grew pineapples on Kibbutz Kfar Azza before the attacks on Oct. 7. “It was Israel at its finest,” he said. “There was a feeling of a common destiny.”

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How John Travolta Became the Star of Carnival

Jack Nicas and Dado Galdieri reported this article among the giant puppets of the Carnival celebrations in Olinda, Brazil

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It was near the start of one of Brazil’s most famous Carnival celebrations, in the northern seaside city of Olinda, and the town plaza was jammed with thousands of revelers. They were all awaiting their idol.

Just before 9 p.m., the doors to a dance hall swung open, a brass band pushed into the crowd and the star everyone had been waiting for stepped out: a 12-foot puppet of John Travolta.

Confetti sprayed, the band began playing a catchy tune and the crowd sang along: “John Travolta is really cool. Throwing a great party. And in Olinda, the best carnival.” (It rhymes in Portuguese.)

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Murder and Magic Realism: A Rising Literary Star Mines China’s Rust Belt

For a long time during Shuang Xuetao’s early teenage years, he wondered what hidden disaster had befallen his family.

His parents, proud workers at a tractor factory in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang, stopped going to work, and the family moved into an empty factory storage room to save money on rent.

But they rarely talked about what had happened, and Mr. Shuang worried that some special shame had struck his family alone.

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Can Gabriel Attal Win Over France?

Gabriel Attal, 34, is a new kind of French prime minister, more inclined to Diet Coke than a good Burgundy, at home with social media and revelations about his personal life, a natural communicator who reels off one-liners like “France rhymes with power” to assert his “authority,” a favorite word.

Since taking office in early January, the boyish-looking Mr. Attal has waded into the countryside, far from his familiar haunts in the chic quarters of Paris, muddied his dress shoes, propped his notes on a choreographed bale of hay, and calmed protesting farmers through adroit negotiation leavened by multiple concessions.

He has told rail workers threatening a strike that “working is a duty,” not an everyday French admonition. He has shown off his new dog on Instagram and explained that he called the high-energy Chow Chow “Volta” after the inventor of the electric battery. He has told the National Assembly that he is the living proof of a changing France as “a prime minister who assumes his homosexuality.”

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Architect Embraces Indigenous Worldview in Australian Designs

Jefa Greenaway will never forget the first time he heard his father’s voice. It was in 2017, when he was watching a documentary about Indigenous Australians’ fight to be recognized in the country’s Constitution.

“It was poignant, surreal,” Mr. Greenaway recalled. “In one word: emotional.”

In the film, his father, Bert Groves, an Indigenous man and a civil rights activist born in 1907, recounts how he was prevented from pursuing an education because of the size of his skull, a victim of phrenology, the pseudoscience that lingered in Australia into the 20th century.

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The Friar Who Became the Vatican’s Go-To Guy on A.I.

Before dawn, Paolo Benanti climbed to the bell tower of his 16th-century monastery, admired the sunrise over the ruins of the Roman forum and reflected on a world in flux.

“It was a wonderful meditation on what is going on inside,” he said, stepping onto the street in his friar robe. “And outside too.”

There is a lot going on for Father Benanti, who, as both the Vatican’s and the Italian government’s go-to artificial intelligence ethicist, spends his days thinking about the Holy Ghost and the ghosts in the machines.

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Cleaning Latrines by Hand: ‘How Could Any Human Do That?’

When he came to fully realize exactly what his parents and older brother did for a living, and what it likely meant for his own future, Bezwada Wilson says he was so angry he contemplated suicide.

His family members, and his broader community, were manual scavengers, tasked with cleaning by hand human excrement from dry latrines at a government-run gold mine in southern India.

While his parents had tried hard to hide from their youngest child the nature of their work as long as they could — telling Mr. Bezwada they were sweepers — as a student Mr. Bezwada knew his classmates viewed him with cruel condescension. He just didn’t know the reason.

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Canadian Skaters Demand Bronze Medals in Olympics Dispute

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Nearly a month after international figure skating’s governing body revised the results of a marquee competition at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, stripping Russia of the gold medal and giving the United States team a long-delayed victory, a new fight about the outcome erupted on Monday.

Eight members of the Canadian squad that competed in the team competition in Beijing have filed a case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport demanding that they be awarded bronze medals in the team event. The court announced the filing but revealed no details.

The Canadians, whose case was joined by their country’s skating federation and national Olympic committee, are expected to argue that figure skating’s global governing body erred when it revised the results of the competition in January after a Russian skater who had taken part, the teenage prodigy Kamila Valieva, was given a four-year ban for doping.

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In Latin America, a New Frontier for Women: Professional Softball in Mexico

Reporting from Mexico City and León, Mexico

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In many parts of Latin America, baseball is a popular and well-established sport with men’s professional leagues in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, among others. But women wanting to play baseball’s cousin — softball — professionally had only one option: to leave. They had to go to the United States or Japan.

Until now.

In what is believed to be a first in Latin America — a region where men often have more opportunities than women, particularly in sports — a professional women’s softball league has started in Mexico. On Jan. 25, when the inaugural season began, 120 women on six teams got to call themselves professional softball players, many for the first time.

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Why the Cost of Success in English Soccer’s Lower Leagues Keeps Going Up

Geoff Thompson knows there are plenty of people who want to buy what he has to sell. The phone calls and emails over the last few weeks have left no doubt. And really, that is no surprise. Few industries are quite as appealing or as prestigious as English soccer, and Mr. Thompson has a piece of it.

It is, admittedly, a comparatively small piece: South Shields F.C., the team he has owned for almost a decade, operates in English soccer’s sixth tier, several levels below, and a number of worlds away, from the dazzling light and international allure of the Premier League. But while his team might be small, Mr. Thompson is of the view that it is, at least, as perfectly poised for profitability as any minor-league English soccer club could hope to be.

South Shields has earned four promotions to higher leagues in his nine years as chairman. The team owns its stadium. Mr. Thompson has spent considerable sums of money modernizing the bathrooms, the club shop and the private boxes. There is a thriving youth academy and an active charitable foundation. “We have done most of the hard yards,” Mr. Thompson said.

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Playing Soccer in $1.50 Sandals That Even Gucci Wants to Copy

The wealthy pros of Ivory Coast’s national soccer team were resting in their luxury hotel last week, preparing for a match in Africa’s biggest tournament, when Yaya Camara sprinted onto a dusty lot and began fizzing one pass after another to his friends.

Over and over, he corralled the game’s underinflated ball and then sent it away again with his favorite soccer shoes: worn plastic sandals long derided as the sneaker of the poor, but which he and his friends wear as a badge of honor.

Shiny soccer cleats like his idols’? No thanks, said Mr. Camara, a lean 18-year-old midfielder, as he wiped sweat from his brow.

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FIFA Convictions Are Imperiled by Questions of U.S. Overreach

Nearly a decade after police officers marched world soccer officials out of a luxury hotel in Zurich at dawn, revealing a corruption scandal that shook the world’s most popular sport, the case is at risk of falling apart.

The dramatic turnabout comes over questions of whether American prosecutors overreached by applying U.S. law to a group of people, many of them foreign nationals, who defrauded foreign organizations as they carried out bribery schemes across the world.

The U.S. Supreme Court last year limited a law that was key to the case. Then in September, a federal judge, citing that, threw out the convictions of two defendants linked to soccer corruption. Now, several former soccer officials, including some who paid millions of dollars in penalties and served time in prison, are arguing that the bribery schemes for which they were convicted are no longer considered a crime in the United States.

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La ayuda de World Central Kitchen de José Andrés podría salir a Gaza en unos días

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El primer cargamento marítimo de ayuda humanitaria a Gaza —asistencia alimentaria de la organización World Central Kitchen— podría salir del país insular mediterráneo de Chipre en unos días, dijeron autoridades de la Unión Europea.

Ursula von der Leyen, presidenta del organismo ejecutivo de la UE, describió el cargamento como un “proyecto piloto” para un corredor marítimo de asistencia a Gaza, pero ofreció pocos detalles sobre cómo se llevaría a cabo ni en qué ubicación del territorio se entregaría.

El célebre cocinero español José Andrés, fundador de World Central Kitchen, publicó el viernes en las redes sociales imágenes en las que se veían plataforma de carga cargadas en un buque con los nombres de su grupo y de Open Arms, un organismo de asistencia español. Dijo que los planes para el envío estaban “en las fases finales” y que “desembarcaría en las playas de Gaza con 200 palés”. No quedó claro cómo se recogería o distribuiría la ayuda, si llegaba a Gaza.

Desde octubre, organizadores y cocineros palestinos que trabajan con la World Central Kitchen han servido más de 32 millones de comidas en Gaza, según ha declarado el grupo. Sus esfuerzos podrían ser impulsados por los planes del ejército de EE. UU. para construir un muelle flotante para llevar más ayuda a Gaza, y los anuncios el viernes del Reino Unido, la Unión Europea y otros países indicando que establecerían un corredor marítimo de asistencia al territorio.

La medida le daría al grupo un acceso clave a un suministro constante de alimentos, el cual les serviría para más que duplicar las raciones que sirven diariamente y ayudar incluso más a la población de la zona norte de Gaza, dijo José Andrés en una entrevista el jueves, luego de que Estados Unidos anunció los planes del muelle flotante.

“Estamos intentando hacer lo imposible”, dijo. “Merece la pena intentar lo imposible para alimentar a la población de Gaza”.

La organización ha establecido 65 cocinas comunitarias en Gaza gestionadas por palestinos locales y tiene planes de añadir al menos 35 más, dijo José Andrés. Cada día se sirven unas 350.000 raciones, pero, añadió, le gustaría distribuir más de un millón.

Llevar alimentos y ayuda a Gaza ha sido desalentador, dijo. World Central Kitchen ha recurrido a enviar alguna de sus ayudas mediante lanzamientos aéreos con la Real Fuerza Aérea Jordana.

José Andrés fundó la organización tras el terremoto de Haití de 2010, en el que fallecieron unas 300.000 personas. Desde entonces, ha asistido en numerosas catástrofes naturales y guerras en Estados Unidos y en el extranjero. En 2017, la asociación sirvió millones de raciones de comida a los puertorriqueños afectados por el huracán María, a los ucranianos damnificados por la guerra contra Rusia y, más recientemente, a personas que se enfrentaban a incendios en Chile y Texas, entre otros lugares.

“Tenemos que apuntar a la Luna, porque donde sea que caigamos, merece la pena el esfuerzo”, dijo.

La asociación es el mayor programa de alimentación de emergencia creado por un grupo de cocineros: ha servido más de 350 millones de raciones de comida desde su fundación. Su impacto es inmediato, pues José Andrés y su personal pueden establecer redes rápidamente, organizar cocinas en condiciones difíciles y conseguir ingredientes y equipos.

Las cocinas, como las de Gaza, suelen estar gestionadas por lugareños, que preparan su gastronomía. Muchas de esas recetas se recopilaron en el libro de cocina del World Central Kitchen que se publicó en septiembre.


Christina Morales es reportera de alimentación para el Times. Más de Christina Morales.

Monika Pronczuk es una reportera radicada en Bruselas. Se incorporó al Times en 2020. Más de Monika Pronczuk.

Juan Orlando Hernández es hallado culpable en juicio de narcotráfico

Juan Orlando Hernández ejerció el poder en Honduras durante más de una década, primero como integrante del Congreso Nacional, luego como líder de ese organismo y finalmente como el presidente del país.

El viernes, un jurado estadounidense de un Tribunal Federal del Distrito encontró a Hernández culpable de conspirar para importar cocaína a Estados Unidos y de posesión y conspiración para poseer “dispositivos destructivos”, entre ellos ametralladoras.

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Tras el veredicto, Hernández, quien se enfrenta a una pena de prisión obligatoria de al menos 40 años, y cuya sentencia está prevista para el 26 de junio, se puso de pie y permaneció en silencio con las manos cruzadas mientras los miembros del jurado desalojaron el juzgado.

Durante su primera campaña presidencial en 2013, Hernández, militante del derechista Partido Nacional de Honduras, se presentaba como un candidato favorable a la aplicación de la ley y el orden que sería capaz de detener la epidemia de drogas y delincuencia que había azotado al país.

Pero según los fiscales en Estados Unidos, Hernández estaba aliado con las mismas fuerzas a las que pretendía combatir. Durante un juicio por conspiración en Manhattan, una serie de testigos declararon que el éxito político de Hernández estuvo impulsado por las ganancias del narcotráfico que le entregaban los traficantes de cocaína, a quienes trataba como socios comerciales.

Los fiscales afirmaron que Hernández recibió millones de dólares de organizaciones de traficantes en Honduras, México y otros lugares, entre ellos Joaquín Guzmán Loera, conocido como el Chapo, un capo mexicano de la droga y antiguo líder del Cártel de Sinaloa. A cambio, agregaron los fiscales, Hernández permitía que grandes cantidades de cocaína pasaran por Honduras de camino a Estados Unidos.

Se jactaba de “meter la droga por las narices de los gringos”, según los fiscales de EE. UU.

Las pruebas y los testimonios presentados durante el juicio de Hernández retrataron un panorama desolador de un país en el que las drogas y la política han estado entrelazadas durante mucho tiempo y en el que la gente que trabaja en la política han exigido y aceptado sobornos de forma rutinaria.

Diariamente, las filas de asientos del tribunal se abarrotaban de hondureños que decían acudir a ver cómo Hernández se enfrentaba a un proceso judicial del tipo que algunos dudaban que pudiera haber sucedido en su país de origen.

Algunos de esos espectadores se rieron burlonamente cuando Hernández, vestido con un traje oscuro, dio su testimonio cerca del final del juicio, insistiendo que no tenía ninguna relación con el narcotráfico y que los testigos que habían declarado lo contrario eran “mentirosos profesionales”.

Un abogado defensor amplió esa idea durante su alegato, repasando una lista de delitos —incluidos un total de 224 asesinatos— que han sido asociados a varios de los antiguos traficantes que subieron al estrado como testigos del gobierno.

“Este fue un elenco de personajes que nunca antes se había visto y los cuales nunca se volverán a ver mientras se viva”, dijo el abogado, Renato Stabile. “A lo largo del juicio estas personas les han dicho que son mentirosos. Les han dicho que son asesinos”.

Pero un fiscal, Jacob H. Gutwillig, le dijo a los miembros del jurado que Hernández había aceptado “sobornos pagados con cocaína” de los cárteles y que había “protegido sus drogas con todo el poder y la fuerza del Estado: ejército, policía y sistema judicial”.

Aunque los exmandatarios extranjeros a veces son juzgados en Estados Unidos, no suelen serlo por delitos relacionados con las drogas. El paralelo más cercano a Hernández es el general Manuel Antonio Noriega, antiguo dirigente de Panamá, quien en 1992 fue declarado culpable ante un tribunal federal de Miami de permitirle al Cartel de Medellín que enviara cocaína a Estados Unidos a través de su país a cambio de millones de dólares en sobornos.

Cuando Hernández dejó la presidencia en 2022, era una figura profundamente impopular en Honduras. Su gobierno había hecho poco por mitigar los efectos de la delincuencia o por crear una economía estable, lo que llevó a muchos ciudadanos a abandonar el país. La sucesora de Hernández en la presidencia, Xiomara Castro, lo acusó de haber convertido a la nación en una “narcodictadura”, y miles de hondureños celebraron su extradición a Nueva York tres meses después de dejar el cargo.

También hubo celebraciones en el exterior del tribunal, en el sur de Manhattan, tras conocerse el veredicto de culpabilidad. Decenas de personas ondeaban banderas hondureñas y coreaban en español. Una mujer sostenía un cartel en el que advertía que no tendría que haber perdón para la narcopolítica.

Expusieron fotografías de personas que decían que habían sido víctimas de la violencia de los cárteles, junto con un uniforme de presidiario naranja con esposas unidas por una larga cadena.

De pie en medio de la multitud, Carlos Hernández, de 32 años, dijo que había abandonado Honduras cuando aún era un adolescente para huir de la violencia y la pobreza del país.

“Esto es histórico”, dijo sobre el veredicto, y añadió que el juicio le había dado a Honduras un sentido de justicia.

El juicio de Hernández fue relativamente sencillo, basado principalmente en el recuento de testigos, entre ellos un investigador de drogas hondureño y los antiguos traficantes, incluidos dos hombres que dijeron haberse declarado culpables de delitos graves y que se enfrentan a posibles cadenas perpetuas en prisiones estadounidenses.

El investigador, Miguel Reynoso, declaró que estaba presente cuando las autoridades hondureñas detuvieron a un grupo de vehículos con compartimentos ocultos y en el que encontraron armas de fuego, granadas y casi 200.000 dólares envueltos en plástico. Las autoridades también encontraron cuadernos con las iniciales de Juan Orlando Hernández que, según los fiscales de Manhattan, detallaban transacciones de drogas.

Reynoso atestiguó que los cuadernos fueron colocados en bolsas de plástico selladas y que las llevó, con los sellos intactos, a los fiscales de Estados Unidos en 2019.

Entre los extraficantes que subieron al estrado se encontraba Amilcar Alexander Ardón Soriano, quien declaró que había sido alcalde del municipio de El Paraíso mientras traficaba drogas, que había participado en torturas y asesinado a dos personas, y que era responsable de la muerte de más de 50 individuos. Dijo que había pedido a los legisladores a los que había sobornado previamente que votaran a favor de Hernández como presidente del Congreso hondureño. A cambio, dijo Ardon, Hernández prometió protegerlo de los fiscales.

Ardón añadió que entregó 500.000 dólares procedentes del narcotráfico a la campaña presidencial de Hernández en 2013 y que había sobornado a personas en El Paraíso para que votaran por él. También dijo que tenía entendido que el Chapo había acordado proporcionar a esa campaña un millón de dólares.

Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga, antiguo líder de la brutal banda hondureña Los Cachiros, fue probablemente el testigo con peor reputación en subir al estrado. Empezó a trabajar en secreto con las autoridades estadounidenses hace una década y admitió estar implicado en la muerte de 78 personas, entre ellas dos periodistas y un funcionario que trabajaba como zar antidroga en Honduras.

En 2012, testificó Rivera, sobornó a Hernández con 250.000 dólares entregados a su hermana, Hilda, a cambio de protección para los Cachiros.

Cuando un abogado defensor le preguntó si sentía algún remordimiento por las personas a las que le había hecho daño, Rivera respondió que se arrepentía de todo lo que había hecho como miembro de lo que denominó como una banda peligrosa, incluyendo los pagos de sobornos a policías y políticos “corruptos”.

Afirmó que aunque las autoridades hondureñas debían haber intentado capturarlos, más bien, se aliaron con ellos.

Una foto borrosa y un dilema: la cobertura mediática a la princesa de Gales

Tras una semana de especulaciones a menudo alarmistas sobre su bienestar, de pronto aparecieron dos pruebas plausibles de que Catalina, princesa de Gales, se estaba recuperando: una foto suya en un automóvil conducido por su madre y la confirmación por parte del ejército británico de que asistiría a una ceremonia militar en junio.

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Pero, como ha ocurrido en las últimas semanas con casi todo lo que ha rodeado a la salud de la esposa del príncipe Guillermo, de 42 años, cualquier sensación de certeza se desvaneció rápidamente.

Un funcionario de palacio dijo el martes que el ejército se había precipitado al anunciar la participación de Catalina en Trooping the Color, un ritual anual que celebra el cumpleaños del soberano. Y aunque los periódicos británicos informaron de la existencia de fotos de paparazzi, supuestamente de Catalina, que se difundieron en las redes sociales el lunes, ninguno de ellos publicó las imágenes.

Al final de otro ciclo informativo, los consumidores de noticias de la realeza volvieron a la casilla de inicio: sin información sobre la princesa, que se sometió a cirugía abdominal en enero y a quien no se ha visto durante su larga convalecencia.

La única certeza en la saga de Catalina es la participación, desenfadada y sin filtro, de su tío Gary Goldsmith, en un programa de telerrealidad británico, Celebrity Big Brother, que se emitió el lunes por la noche. En cualquier otro momento, la aparición de Goldsmith podría haber sido una vergüenza para Catalina, quien ha intentado cultivar una imagen digna y disciplinada como miembro principal de la familia real.

Sin embargo, en el vacío de noticias sobre ella, los expertos dicen que las travesuras televisivas de Goldsmith pueden ser una distracción bienvenida para los periódicos sensacionalistas británicos. Los editores se han esforzado por equilibrar su afán por informar sobre la realeza —un entusiasmo casi ilimitado, en el caso de la futura reina, antes conocida como Kate Middleton— con el reconocimiento de que, en el Reino Unido, incluso la mayoría de los personajes públicos tienen derecho a la intimidad en cuestiones de salud.

“Los medios de comunicación van, inusualmente, rezagados”, dijo Sarah Sands, ex editora sénior de la BBC y exeditora de The Sunday Telegraph. “Están confundidos: ¿La quisieron demasiado y la presionaron demasiado? ¿Es el nuevo papel de los medios de comunicación brindar tranquilidad?

“Acude en ayuda de los tabloides la simpática figura de pantomima del malvado tío de Kate, Gary Goldsmith”, continuó Sands. Goldsmith, dijo, “será probablemente el único comentario desde dentro que recibiremos durante las próximas semanas”.

De ser cierto, esto podría evitar que los periódicos y las cadenas de televisión tengan que tomar decisiones como la que debieron afrontar el lunes, cuando el sitio estadounidense de chismes sobre famosos TMZ publicó lo que afirmaba, eran las primeras imágenes de Catalina luego de que fuera hospitalizada. Las fotos, tomadas con teleobjetivo, granuladas y en las que aparece una mujer con gafas de sol que se parece a Catalina, fueron tomadas cerca del castillo de Windsor, según el sitio.

El Daily Mail dijo que las fotos no se publicaron en el Reino Unido porque el palacio de Kensington, donde Guillermo y Catalina tienen sus oficinas, “pidió que ella pudiera recuperarse en privado”. Pero la publicación luego pasó a especular que habrían sido captadas el lunes por la mañana, poco después de que Catalina dejara a sus hijos en el colegio, ayudada por su madre, Carole Middleton.

Chris Ship, editor sobre la realeza de ITV News, se refirió a las imágenes en las redes sociales, pero declaró: “No las publicamos por respeto a su intimidad mientras se recupera de la operación en el plazo que nos dieron”.

El palacio de Kensington ha declarado que Catalina no volverá a sus obligaciones reales hasta después de Pascua. La semana pasada, envuelto en un remolino de conjeturas y teorías conspirativas después de que Guillermo se retirara abruptamente de un acto, reiteró esa declaración y dijo que solo proporcionaría “actualizaciones significativas”. Según un funcionario, la princesa seguía evolucionando favorablemente.

El martes, el palacio se negó a comentar las fotos, diciendo que no quería dar publicidad a TMZ. Los periódicos británicos han tratado con cautela las fotos de los paparazzi desde la muerte de la princesa Diana, madre de Guillermo, en un accidente automovilístico en París en 1997, tras una persecución a gran velocidad por parte de los fotógrafos.

“El recuerdo para la prensa británica sigue siendo nítido”, dijo Sands, quien era editora adjunta de The Daily Telegraph en el momento de la muerte de Diana. “Estaba llena de remordimientos. Las normas sobre privacidad y deber de protección cambiaron profundamente”.

Los tribunales británicos han dictaminado que el derecho a la intimidad se extiende a los miembros de la familia real, y el Código de Buenas Prácticas de los Editores, con el cual opera gran parte de la prensa británica, protege a todas las personas contra la intromisión injustificada en asuntos de salud física y mental.

Algunos críticos se mostraron menos generosos sobre los motivos de los medios de comunicación, sobre todo teniendo en cuenta que las imágenes son fácilmente accesibles para cualquiera con solo unos cuantos clics en un iPhone.

“Lo fascinante es cómo las tonterías sobre Kate en las redes sociales dan a los periódicos la oportunidad de escribir sobre algo sobre lo que no hay nada que escribir, mientras critican lo que hay en la red”, dijo Peter Hunt, antiguo corresponsal para la realeza de la BBC.

Es la segunda vez en cuatro meses que los medios de comunicación británicos se niegan a publicar detalles sobre la familia real, incluso después de que hayan circulado por las redes sociales. En noviembre, los periódicos no publicaron los nombres de Catalina y el rey Carlos III tras ser identificados, en la edición holandesa de un nuevo libro, como miembros de la familia que supuestamente habían preguntado por el color de la piel del hijo no nacido del príncipe Enrique y su esposa, Meghan.

Las compuertas se abrieron solo después de que Piers Morgan, un destacado presentador de televisión, revelara los nombres en su programa. El palacio de Buckingham dijo entonces que estudiaría la posibilidad de emprender acciones legales, pero no actuó.

Los mensajes contradictorios sobre la asistencia de Catalina a Trooping the Color pueden acabar siendo un simple caso de torpeza burocrática. El ejército dijo en su página web que Catalina, en su calidad de coronela de los guardias irlandeses, pasaría revista a los soldados que van a desfilar en la ceremonia del 8 de junio.

Pero un funcionario del palacio de Kensington dijo que era tarea del palacio confirmar la agenda de la princesa, y aún no lo ha hecho. Tampoco ha comentado la decisión de Goldsmith, hermano menor de Carole Middleton, de unirse al reparto de Celebrity Big Brother.

Goldsmith, de 58 años, antiguo empresario tecnológico, se declaró culpable en 2017 de agredir a su esposa, Julie-Ann Goldsmith.

En un video promocional del programa, un alegre Goldsmith decía: “Dar cuerda a la gente es probablemente mi pasatiempo favorito. Cada parte de mí está plagada de travesuras y peligros”.

Luego añadió: “Es una auténtica pesadilla vivir conmigo. Por algo he tenido cuatro esposas”.

Mark Landler es el jefe de la corresponsalía en Londres del Times. Cubre el Reino Unido así como la política exterior estadounidense en Europa, Asia y Medio Oriente. Es periodista desde hace más de tres décadas. Más de Mark Landler


El calentamiento global afecta en particular a las familias lideradas por mujeres, según la ONU

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El calor extremo está empobreciendo a algunas de las mujeres más pobres del mundo.

Esta es la cruda conclusión de un informe, publicado el martes, por la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Alimentación y la Agricultura (FAO, por su sigla en inglés), basado en datos meteorológicos y de ingresos en 24 países de ingresos bajos y medianos.

El informe se suma a un conjunto de trabajos que muestran cómo el calentamiento global, impulsado por la quema de combustibles fósiles, puede magnificar y empeorar las disparidades sociales existentes.

El informe concluye que, aunque el estrés térmico es costoso para todos los hogares rurales, es significativamente más costoso para los hogares liderados por una mujer: los hogares encabezados por mujeres pierden un 8 por ciento más de sus ingresos anuales en comparación con otros hogares.

Es decir, el calor extremo aumenta la disparidad entre los hogares liderados por mujeres y los demás. Eso se debe a que están en juego disparidades subyacentes.

Por ejemplo, aunque las mujeres dependen de los ingresos agrícolas, solo representan el 12,6 por ciento de los propietarios de tierras en todo el mundo, según estimaciones del Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo. Esto significa que los hogares encabezados por mujeres probablemente carezcan de acceso a servicios esenciales como préstamos, seguros de cosechas y servicios de extensión agraria que les ayuden a adaptarse al cambio climático.

El informe se basa en datos de encuestas de hogares entre 2010 y 2020, superpuestos con datos de temperatura y precipitaciones a lo largo de 70 años.

El efecto a largo plazo del calentamiento global también es patente. Los hogares liderados por mujeres pierden un 34 por ciento más de ingresos, en comparación con los demás, cuando la temperatura media a largo plazo aumenta 1 grado Celsius.

La temperatura media mundial ya ha aumentado aproximadamente 1,2 grados Celsius desde el inicio de la era industrial.

Según el informe, las inundaciones también reducen los ingresos de los hogares liderados por mujeres más que los de otros tipos de hogares, pero en menor medida que el calor.

“A medida que estos fenómenos sean más frecuentes, también se agravarán las repercusiones en la vida de las personas”, afirma Nicholas Sitko, autor principal del informe y economista de la FAO.

En los últimos años se ha prestado cada vez más atención a los daños desproporcionados de las condiciones meteorológicas extremas, a veces agravadas por el cambio climático, en los países de renta baja que producen muchas menos emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero, por persona, que los países más ricos e industrializados.

Lo que se discute con menos frecuencia son las desigualdades dentro de los países. Las disparidades de género suelen ser las más difíciles de cuantificar.

“Las mujeres y las niñas se ven afectadas de manera desproporcionada por las catástrofes relacionadas con el clima, no solo por las disparidades socioeconómicas, sino también por las arraigadas normas culturales y la falta de acceso a los recursos y a los procesos de toma de decisiones”, afirma Ritu Bharadwaj, investigadora del Instituto Internacional de Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo, quien no participó en el informe de la FAO, pero ha estudiado los efectos del género y el clima.

En algunos lugares, las condiciones meteorológicas extremas, como el calor y la sequía, pueden hacer que mujeres y niñas tengan que recorrer distancias más largas para conseguir agua, alimentos y combustible para cocinar. En otros lugares, la disminución de los ingresos puede llevar a las familias a sacar a las niñas de la escuela antes que a los niños. Cuando los hombres emigran a las ciudades en busca de trabajo, las mujeres se quedan cuidando la tierra.

Cuando los expertos en clima hablan sobre la necesidad de adaptarse al aumento de las temperaturas y a los fenómenos meteorológicos extremos, suelen referirse a la siembra de árboles para reducir los riesgos térmicos, la plantación de manglares costeros para reducir las mareas de tempestad o el desarrollo de variedades de cultivos que sean resistentes a la sequía.

Estos esfuerzos no abordan necesariamente las disparidades sociales subyacentes que hacen que el calentamiento global sea más difícil para las personas más vulnerables de una sociedad, como los hogares rurales encabezados por mujeres que destaca el informe del martes.

Se están probando otras estrategias, aunque todavía a pequeña escala.

En algunos lugares, las organizaciones humanitarias realizan transferencias de efectivo antes de que se produzcan fenómenos meteorológicos extremos, brindando a la gente dinero que puede utilizar —antes de que se produzca la catástrofe— con el fin de prepararse mejor para resistirla. En otros lugares, los seguros se activan cuando la temperatura alcanza un determinado umbral.

El nuevo informe también hace referencia a las escuelas de campo, donde los pequeños agricultores experimentan con técnicas y cultivos adaptados al clima. Cita un experimento realizado en Mozambique, donde el aumento del número de mujeres como agentes de extensión agraria animó a más mujeres para que adoptaran nuevas técnicas agrícolas.

En Malaui, añade el informe, los programas de comidas escolares redujeron la presión de las familias para sacar a las niñas de la escuela durante las malas sequías. El acceso al capital es crucial para quien carece de títulos de propiedad de la tierra. Y cuando la agricultura no proporciona los ingresos necesarios, el acceso al cuidado infantil puede ayudar a las mujeres a encontrar trabajo en otra parte.

“Las pruebas son claras: si no se abordan los efectos desiguales del cambio climático en la población rural, se intensificará la gran brecha entre los que tienen y los que no tienen y entre hombres y mujeres”, afirma el informe.

Somini Sengupta es la reportera de clima internacional del Times. Más de Somini Sengupta

Juicio contra Juan Orlando Hernández: los hondureños siguen el caso con atención

El caso penal contra el expresidente de Honduras Juan Orlando Hernández, que se está desarrollando en el Bajo Manhattan, apenas se registra en el vertiginoso ciclo de noticias de Nueva York.

Para los hondureños, es una oportunidad inusual de lograr justicia nacional.

El juicio a Hernández en el Tribunal Federal del Distrito de Manhattan, acusado de conspiración de importación de estupefacientes, ha conmocionado al pequeño país centroamericano y a sus expatriados, y ha atraído a una muestra representativa de los 40.000 hondureños que viven en la ciudad de Nueva York, así como a otros que se encuentran fuera del estado e incluso en la propia Honduras.

El Times  Una selección semanal de historias en español que no encontrarás en ningún otro sitio, con eñes y acentos.

“Llevó a nuestro país al infierno”, dijo Flavio Ulises Yuja, de 62 años, quien viajó de Honduras a Florida para pasar unas vacaciones, pero cambió de planes de manera abrupta y voló a Nueva York para asistir al juicio.

El juicio evidencia los problemas de un país asolado por la corrupción, la pobreza y la anarquía. Mientras los estadounidenses debaten sobre las deficiencias de su propia democracia y su sistema judicial, los hondureños ven en los tribunales estadounidenses una instancia para algo que no está disponible en su país: un juicio justo y una medida de justicia.

Los hondureños son una presencia cotidiana afuera del tribunal. Durante la primera semana del juicio, decenas de ellos se reunieron a pesar del frío, gritando consignas con megáfonos y marchando con banderas hondureñas y pancartas que denunciaban a Hernández. Una mujer de Brooklyn vendía sándwiches caseros de atún y pavo a 7 dólares que llevaba en una hielera.

Cada día, Hernández es trasladado a un juzgado abarrotado ante un escuadrón de reporteros hondureños que toman notas. Hernández dirigió al país por ocho años, hasta principios de 2022, cuando fue extraditado a Estados Unidos poco después de dejar el cargo.

En los numerosos juicios de alto perfil celebrados en este tribunal del Bajo Manhattan —incluidos los del expresidente Donald Trump y el de exempresario de criptomonedas Sam Bankman-Fried, quien fue condenado por fraude—, los equipos de grabación de las cadenas de televisión se reúnen en la entrada con camionetas de última generación equipadas con unidades de iluminación. En el juicio de Hernández, los reporteros han grabado los acontecimientos diarios en sus iPhone y han transmitido las noticias a través de las redes sociales.

El juicio que están cubriendo detalla una cultura de corrupción en Honduras, que permitió la entrada de enormes cantidades de cocaína en Estados Unidos. Hernández, quien ha negado haber cometido algún delito, fue acusado de dirigir un “narco-Estado” desde la capital de Honduras, Tegucigalpa, recibiendo millones de dólares de los cárteles violentos.

Es posible que Honduras sea conocida por los estadounidenses por su historia plagada de pobreza, inestabilidad política e intervención estadounidense. Eso incluye las guerras bananeras, que comenzaron a fines del siglo XIX para reforzar el poder político de las empresas fruteras, y la presencia del ejército estadounidense que en la década de 1980 fue desplegado para apoyar a la guerrilla de la Contra, que combatía a los dirigentes nicaragüenses.

En la década de 2000, los narcotraficantes que gozaban de protección política contribuyeron para convertir a Honduras en una privilegiada vía de llegada para los cargamentos de cocaína procedentes de Sudamérica, gran parte de la cual se dirigía a Estados Unidos para satisfacer su voraz apetito por la droga.

Shannon K. O’Neil, experta en América Latina del Consejo de Relaciones Exteriores, afirmó que era improbable que el juicio lograra cambiar la corrupción en Honduras de la noche a la mañana, pero un proceso judicial estadounidense podría ser disuasorio.

“Es importante que alguien poderoso comparezca ante la justicia”, dijo. “Ver cómo un presidente es confrontado y posiblemente acabe en una prisión de máxima seguridad en Estados Unidos puede tener un efecto amedrentador en otros dirigentes y élites, ya sea en Honduras o en otros países latinoamericanos”.

Muchos hondureños culpan a Hernández de impulsar el declive de su país, y cuando fue extraditado se hicieron celebraciones.

En la primera fila en el tribunal, sentadas junto a los periodistas, las hermanas Eugenia Brown, de 69 años, y Aurora Martinez, de 64, asentían con la cabeza ante las historias de asesinatos, narcotráfico y corrupción. Resoplaron durante el testimonio de que Hernández le ordenó a su jefe de policía que asesinara a rivales.

Las hermanas, migrantes hondureñas, dijeron que habían viajado desde Nueva Jersey y el Bronx para ver cómo por fin se hacía justicia.

“Es vergonzoso para Honduras, pero a la misma vez es bueno para nosotros porque queremos justicia”, dijo Brown.

Martha Rochez, de 60 años, otra migrante hondureña que ahora vive cerca, en Chinatown, salió de la corte visiblemente alterada y se apoyó contra una pared.

“Quiero verlo en la cárcel. Nos ha hecho sufrir. Hizo sufrir a mi familia”, dijo.

A unos 3200 kilómetros de distancia, en Honduras, cuya población de 10 millones de habitantes apenas supera a la de la ciudad de Nueva York, el caso causa conmoción desde la región de la costa de Mosquitos hasta Tegucigalpa. Se estima que la mitad de la población vive en la pobreza, la violencia de las bandas es endémica y el producto interno bruto per cápita del país es de solo unos 3400 dólares, frente a los 83.000 de Estados Unidos.

Suyapa Mendez, de 63 años, quien vende verduras en un mercado de Tegucigalpa, dijo que aunque el expresidente sea encontrado culpable en Estados Unidos, “el daño al país” ya estaba hecho.

Algunos residentes de la capital hacían apuestas sobre qué figuras de los mundos del crimen y el gobierno del país podrían ser llamadas a declarar. Algunos aliados políticos de Hernández calificaron el caso de venganza por su falta de cooperación con las autoridades de EE. UU. y expresaron su escepticismo ante la posibilidad de que pudiera tener un juicio justo.

Pero Mario Sierra, un carpintero de 69 años que ha seguido el juicio por televisión en su taller, dijo que los hondureños estaban “agradecidos” de su extradición y su juicio, porque en Honduras no pasaría “nada”.

La ciudad de Nueva York es aproximadamente un tercio hispana, pero los hondureños —dispersos por zonas del Bronx, Queens y Brooklyn— solo representan aproximadamente el 0,5 por ciento de la población total, una cifra que palidece en comparación con otros grupos como los puertorriqueños y los dominicanos y, en años más recientes, los mexicanos y ecuatorianos.

Décadas de corrupción, delincuencia y desempleo también han hecho que numerosos hondureños lleguen a Estados Unidos, lo que ayuda a explicar el afiche que llevaba un manifestante frente al tribunal recientemente: los narcogobiernos obligan al pueblo a emigrar.

Victor Velasquez, de 47 años, se quedó observando y fotografiando todo. Dijo que manejó toda la noche con su esposa y su hijo adolescente desde Virginia para llevar a un amigo, que también es un migrante hondureño, a una audiencia de asilo en el Bajo Manhattan.

“Son juicios que no podemos tener en nuestros países; demuestra el nivel de corrupción que tenemos ahí, que otros países deben intervenir”, dijo Velasquez, quien añadió que la corrupción del gobierno hondureño había ahuyentado a la organización sin ánimo de lucro en la que trabajaba, lo que le costó su trabajo.

Afuera, Alex Laboriel, de 41 años, de Brooklyn, calificó de difícil —incluso vergonzoso— presenciar el juicio al expresidente de su país natal.

“Es indignante, lamentable”, dijo. “Es un dolor”, añadió, que “se vive”.

“Sería mejor que esto estuviese pasando en nuestro país”, añadió.

Rommel Gómez, de 40 años, periodista de Radio Progreso, calificó el juicio como una prueba para todos los hondureños.

“No únicamente Juan Orlando Hernandez está en juicio”, dijo. “El Estado también”.

Joan Suazo colaboró con reportería desde Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Corey Kilgannon es un periodista del Times que escribe sobre la delincuencia y la justicia penal en Nueva York y sus alrededores, así como sobre noticias de última hora y otros reportajes. Más de Corey Kilgannon