We’re covering a major shift in China’s family planning rules, and the latest on an Israeli power-sharing deal.
China says people can have three kids
China said on Monday that it would allow all married couples to have three children, ending a two-child policy and moving to avert a demographic crisis.
The labor pool is shrinking and the population is graying, threatening the industrial strategy that China has used for decades to become an economic powerhouse.
But it’s far from clear whether the new rule will actually result in a population increase. Even since the two-child policy, in 2016, followed years of the repressive one-child policy, people have chosen not to have children. High costs of living and a tough work culture have made people wary.
In an attempt to respond to those concerns, the Communist Party also pledged to improve maternity leave and workplace protections.
Quotable: “No matter how many babies they open it up to, I’m not going to have any because children are too troublesome and expensive,” said Li Shan, 26, a product manager at an internet company in Beijing.
Single moms: Declining birth rates are bringing new attention to the plight of unmarried mothers in China, who are often denied government benefits.
New Delhi reopens, slowly
The Indian capital, which just weeks ago suffered tens of thousands of new Covid infections daily and funeral pyres that burned day and night, is taking its first steps back toward normalcy.
Officials on Monday reopened manufacturing and construction activity, allowing workers in those industries to return to their jobs after six weeks of staying home. Schools, most businesses and public transit are still closed.
Cases have been plummeting for weeks. India averaged 190,392 reported cases per day in the last week, a drop of more than 50 percent from the peak, on May 9. But even a small opening is a gamble by city officials when just 3 percent of India’s 1.4 billion people are fully vaccinated.
Economic toll: Economists forecast that the country’s gross domestic product would shrink by at least 7.4 percent over the financial year that began in April.
In other developments:
Can a new ‘change government’ change Israel?
Naftali Bennett, who leads a small right-wing party, and Yair Lapid, the centrist leader of the Israeli opposition, have joined forces to try to form a diverse coalition that would unseat Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister.
After four inconclusive elections in two years and a longer period of polarizing politics and government paralysis, its architects have pledged to get Israel back on track.
Our reporter put together some basics about the upheaval that could break Israel’s impasse.
Dynamics: The biggest potential loser so far is Netanyahu and his conservative Likud party, by far the largest in Israel’s Parliament. Two ultra-Orthodox parties that are his staunchest allies would also be out of government.
Timing: Lapid has until Wednesday at midnight to inform the president, Reuven Rivlin, that he has cobbled together a coalition.
Will they get along? Leaders of the coalition have indicated they would avoid the issues that polarize Israeli society, at least for the first year. Analysts caution that its main glue was the desire to remove Netanyahu and that it may not last long once that is achieved.
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How policies are starting to focus on these habitual offenders
The riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 showed the danger of falsehoods repeatedly uttered. Internet companies began to address the outsize influence of people with large followings who habitually spread false information.
Facebook on Wednesday said that it would apply stricter punishments on individual accounts that repeatedly post things that the company’s fact checkers have deemed misleading or untrue.
Here’s where it gets tricky
Determining fact from fiction can be challenging. Facebook had barred people from posting about the theory that Covid-19 might have originated in a Chinese laboratory. That idea, once considered a conspiracy theory, is now being taken more seriously. Facebook reversed course this week.
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