Your Monday Briefing: South Africa’s Parliament Burns


Good morning. We’re protecting a fireplace in South Africa’s Parliament, a breach within the Demilitarized Zone between North Korea and South Korea, and attainable modifications to girls’s rights in China.

A big fireplace broken a lot of the Houses of Parliament on Sunday. Officials warned that the injury to the historic complicated could be in depth.

Officials mentioned the fireplace unfold from an workplace area on the third flooring of a constructing adjoining to the outdated National Assembly constructing. Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service spokesman warned that the buildings themselves have been liable to collapse, given the extraordinary warmth of the fireplace.

Parliament’s spokesman mentioned {that a} man in his early 50s was arrested in connection to the fireplace, however he didn’t give any additional particulars.

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

Quotable: “The entire parliamentary complex is severely damaged — waterlogged and smoke damaged,” mentioned JP Smith, Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for security and safety, including that “the roof above the old assembly hall is completely gone.”

The South Korean army mentioned on Sunday that an unidentified particular person had crossed the Demilitarized Zone into North Korea.

Footage of the particular person climbing a tall barbed-wire fence — the southernmost of a number of fences within 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 army mentioned.

But this newest safety lapse at one of many world’s most closely armed borders went unnoticed till 9:20 p.m. There was no quick response from North Korea.

Details: Defections throughout the DMZ are uncommon and harmful, and crosses from South to North are even rarer. The DMZ is bristling with fences, sensors, minefields, ​sentry posts and armed patrols​, and almost two million troops are prepared for battle on each side​.

Background: The two Koreas have technically been at battle for many years — the Korean War halted in 1953 with a truce, not a peace treaty. Some 33,800 North Koreans have defected to the South since famine struck the​ North within the Nineteen Nineties.

Separately: Kim Jong-un has begun his second decade as North Korea’s chief with a vow to alleviate the nation’s persistent meals shortages, an issue that he inherited from his father 10 years in the past.

Beijing has framed proposed revisions to China’s legislation governing girls’s rights as a serious victory.

The revisions could be the primary main modifications to the legislation in almost 20 years and would refine the definition of sexual harassment, affirm prohibitions on office discrimination and ban types of emotional abuse.

On paper, it looks as if a triumph for activists. But many ladies are skeptical that actual progress will comply with.

The authorities has sought to regulate China’s fledgling #MeToo motion. It is uncommon for victims of sexual harassment to go to court docket. Some girls have been fired or fined for lodging accusations. Peng Shuai, a star tennis participant, was censored inside minutes after she mentioned on social media {that a} prime Chinese chief had pressured her into intercourse.

Context: Women have been more and more pushed out of the office and into conventional roles since China’s chief, Xi Jinping, assumed energy. Many of the proposed revisions exist already in different legal guidelines or laws however have been poorly enforced.

Details: The legislation would additionally codify girls’s proper to ask for compensation for housekeeping throughout divorce proceedings — after the first-of-its-kind choice by a court docket final 12 months to award a lady greater than $7,700 for her labor throughout her marriage.



What Else We’re Reading

  • Prenatal blood exams that warn of uncommon problems are normally incorrect.

  • Santander UK by chance paid about $175 million to tens of hundreds of individuals on Christmas Day.

  • Venice, Italy will exchange a multimillion-dollar bridge fabricated from glass and metal and designed by the star architect Santiago Calatrava, after too many vacationers slipped.

A Morning Read

South Korea, which has the best gender wage hole among the many rich nations, has seen gradual positive aspects in girls’s rights. Now, a rising variety of younger males are protesting feminism, arguing that they’re the victims of gender discrimination within the nation’s cutthroat job market.

Lives lived: Betty White, who created two of probably the most memorable characters in sitcom historical past, Sue Ann Nivens on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and the candy however dim Rose Nylund on “The Golden Girls,” died. She was 99.

This 12 months can be an enormous one for spaceflight and exploration. Here are some things to observe for in cosmic information throughout this journey across the solar.

The moon: If 2021 was the 12 months of area tourism and robotic missions to Mars, count on the moon to take middle stage. Several governments are launching moon-bound spacecraft, with an eye fixed towards returning people there later this decade.

Meteors: On just a few particular dates this 12 months, skywatchers will be capable of catch meteor showers bursting via the darkness. Here’s an summary with recommendations on methods to observe, together with discovering devoted dark-sky areas in cities.

Rockets: Two large rockets are anticipated to debut. The NASA Space Launch System, designed to ferry astronauts to and from the moon, will strike out on its first take a look at flight. And SpaceX is constructing Starship, a reusable rocket, to broaden tourism to Mars.