ANNUAL REPORT OF THE SCHOOL COMMITTEE OF THE TOWN OF NEWPORT, FOR THE YEAR

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Good morning. We’re covering a fire in South Africa’s Parliament, a breach in the Demilitarized Zone between North Korea and South Korea, and possible changes khổng lồ women’s rights in Trung Quốc.


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Smoke billowed from the National Assembly building in Cape Town.Credit...Joao Silva/The Thành Phố New York Times

South Africa’s parliament burns

A large fire damaged much of the Houses of Parliament on Sunday. Officials warned that the damage to lớn the historic complex would be extensive sầu.

Officials said the fire spread from an office space on the third floor of a building adjacent lớn the old National Assembly building. Cape Town’s Fire & Rescue Service spokesman warned that the buildings themselves were at risk of collapse, given the intense heat of the fire.

Parliament’s spokesman said that a man in his early 50s was arrested in connection khổng lồ the fire, but he did not give any further details.

Details: No injuries or fatalities have been reported. Parliament was not in session.

Quotable: “The entire parliamentary complex is severely damaged — waterlogged & smoke damaged,” said JPhường. Smith, Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for safety và security, adding that “the roof above sầu the old assembly hall is completely gone.”


Desmond Tutu: The blaze broke out a day after South Africa bid farewell to the archbishop with a simple funeral. Tutu’s death has reignited a conversation about the country’s reconciliation process and its democracy.


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A South Korean soldier walked along a military fence near the Demilitarized Zone in September.Credit...Klặng Hong-Ji/Reuters

A breach in the DMZ

The South Korean military said on Sunday that an unidentified person had crossed the Demilitarized Zone inkhổng lồ North Korea.

Footage of the person climbing a tall barbed-wire fence — the southernmost of multiple fences in the 2.5-mile-wide buffer zone separating the Koreas — was captured ​by South Korean cameras at 6:40 p.m. on Saturday. Sensors on the fence set off an alarm, the military said.


But this lathử nghiệm security lapse at one of the world’s most heavily armed borders went unnoticed until 9:20 p.m. There was no immediate response from North Korea.

Details: Defections across the DMZ are rare & dangerous, và crosses from South lớn North are even rarer. The DMZ is bristling with fences, sensors, minefields, ​sentry posts and armed patrols​, and nearly two million troops are ready for battle on both sides​.

Background: The two Koreas have sầu technically been at war for decades — the Korean War halted in 1953 with a truce, not a peace treaty. Some 33,800 North Koreans have sầu defected to lớn the South since famine struông xã the​ North in the 1990s.

Separately: Kyên Jong-un has begun his second decade as North Korea’s leader with a vow to alleviate the country’s chronic food shortages, a problem that he inherited from his father 10 years ago.


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Zhou Xiaoxuan with supporters outside a court in Beijing, after attending a hearing in her sexual harassment case against a television host.Credit...Roman Pilipey/EPA, via Shutterstock

Trung Quốc signals change on women’s rights

Beijing has framed proposed revisions to China’s law governing women’s rights as a major victory.

The revisions would be the first major changes to the law in nearly đôi mươi years và would refine the definition of sexual harassment, affirm prohibitions on workplace discrimination & ban forms of emotional abuse.


On paper, it seems like a triumph for activists. But many women are skeptical that real progress will follow.

The government has sought to control China’s fledgling #MeToo movement. It is rare for victims of sexual harassment to lớn go to court. Some women have been fired or fined for lodging accusations. Peng Shuai, a star tennis player, was censored within minutes after she said on social truyền thông that a top Chinese leader had pressured her into sex.

Context: Women have been increasingly pushed out of the workplace & into lớn traditional roles since China’s leader, Xi Jinping, assumed power. Many of the proposed revisions already exist in other laws or regulations but have sầu been poorly enforced.

Details: The law would also codify women’s right khổng lồ ask for compensation for housework during divorce proceedings — after the first-of-its-kind decision by a court last year lớn award a woman more than $7,700 for her labor during her marriage.

THE LATEST NEWS

Asia


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A crowd of devotees at the shrine, Mata Vaishno Devi, one of India’s most revered Hindu sites.Credit...NNIS, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Around the World


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Victims of a suicide attaông chồng at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistung, arriving at a hospital in August.Credit...Victor J. Blue for The Thành Phố New York Times

Coronavirus

What Else We’re Reading

A Morning Read


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Bae In-kyu, the head of Man on Solidarity, at a rally in Seoul last month.Credit...Woohae Cho for The Thủ đô New York Times

South Korea, which has the highest gender wage gap aý muốn the wealthy countries, has seen slow gains in women’s rights. Now, a growing number of young men are protesting feminism, arguing that they are the victims of gender discrimination in the country’s cutthroat job market.

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Lives lived: Betty White, who created two of the most memorable characters in sitcom history, Sue Ann Nivens on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” & the sweet but dyên Rose Nylund on “The Golden Girls,” died. She was 99.


Understvà the Evergrande Crisis


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What is Evergrande? The Evergrande Group, a sprawling Chinese real estate giant, has the distinction of being the world’s most debt-saddled developer. It was founded in 1996 và rode China’s real estate boom that urbanized large swathes of the country, và has millions of apartments in hundreds of cities.


How much does it owe? Evergrande has more than $300 billion in financial obligations, hundreds of unfinished residential buildings & angry suppliers who have shut down construction sites. Things got so bad that the company paid its overdue bills with unfinished properties và asked employees khổng lồ lkết thúc it money.


How did the company get inkhổng lồ financial trouble? For decades, China’s real estate market operated unrestrained. But recently, Beijing started taking measures, including new restrictions on trang chủ sales, lớn tame the sector. Evergrande borrowed heavily as it grew và expanded into new businesses, & eventually ended up with more debt than it could pay off.


Why does Evergrande’s fate matter? The company’s collapse would reverberate around the world, affecting global markets, the millions of jobs the company creates và hundreds of thousands of employees. China’s whole residential và commercial real estate market, which drives up to lớn a third of China’s economy, could crumble.


How has the Chinese government addressed the crisis? Beijing sat on the sidelines for months as Evergrande neared financial collapse. It wasn’t until December that the company said officials from state-backed institutions had joined a risk committee to help restructure the business.


Where bởi vì things st& with Evergrande now? For months, the real estate giant averted mặc định by making 11th-hour payments on its bonds. But on Dec. 9, a major credit ratings firm declared Evergrande in default after it failed khổng lồ meet a payment deadline. What is next for the company, bankruptcy, a fire sale or business as usual, has yet lớn be determined.


ARTS AND IDEAS


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The NASA Artemis moon rocket inside the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla.Credit...Joe Skipper/Reuters

To the moon — và beyond

This year will be a big one for spaceflight and exploration. Here are a few things to lớn watch for in cosmic news during this trip around the sun.

The moon: If 2021 was the year of space tourism and robotic missions khổng lồ Mars, expect the moon khổng lồ take center stage. Several governments are launching moon-bound spacecraft, with an eye toward returning humans there later this decade.

Meteors: On a few special dates this year, skywatchers will be able lớn catch meteor showers bursting through the darkness. Here’s an overview with tips on ways to lớn watch, including finding dedicated dark-sky areas in cities.

Rockets: Two massive rockets are expected to lớn debut. The NASA Space Launch System, designed khổng lồ ferry astronauts khổng lồ và from the moon, will strike out on its first chạy thử flight. And SpaceX is building Starship, a reusable rocket, to lớn expvà tourism khổng lồ Mars.


China: The country says it will finish building the Tiangong space station in orbit in 2022. (In 2021, it already sent two different crews of astronauts to lớn live sầu there.)

You can keep traông chồng of these and more big moments by subscribing to The Times’s space và astronomy calendar.

PLAY, WATCH, EAT

What to lớn Cook


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Credit...Kelly Marshall for The Thành Phố New York Times

This coconut-lemongrass tapioca with caramelized citrus is bright, soothing & sweet.

What to Listen to

Our critics recommover these 15 standout songs you might have sầu missed by Sofia Kourtesis, Remble, Caetano Veloso and others.

Personal Health

Six secrets lớn successful aging, from the Well desk’s most popular stories of the year.

Now Time to lớn Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword.

And here is today’s Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Amelia

Phường.S. Jenny Vrentas of Sports Illustrated is joining our Sports desk as a general assignment reporter.

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