Good morning. We’re covering an increase in aid to Ukraine, a hike in U.S. interest rates and a viral video of an attack in China.
U.S. pledges $1 billion to Ukraine
President Biden said the U.S. would send another $1 billion in equipment and arms to Ukraine. Several other NATO allies also pledged more military help, including ammunition, long-range artillery rocket systems and helicopters.
“The bravery, resilience and determination of the Ukrainian people continues to inspire the world,” Biden said in a statement. “And the United States, together with our allies and partners, will not waver in our commitment to the Ukrainian people as they fight for their freedom.”
The announcement came after increasingly urgent pleas for more heavy arms from President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian leaders, who have emphasized that they need far-reaching weapons to counter some of Russia’s advantages in battle in the eastern Donbas region. Here are live updates.
Its aggressive move reflects the urgency of the fight against inflation, which is the fastest in four decades. Policymakers have suggested further rate increases as they fight to keep the U.S. from falling into a deep recession.
Better Understand the Russia-Ukraine War
In a sign of how the Fed expects its policies to affect the economy, officials predicted that the unemployment rate would increase to 3.7 percent this year and to 4.1 percent by 2024. They also predicted that growth would slow notably as policymakers push borrowing costs sharply higher and choke off economic demand.
What’s next: The bank has projected that interest rates will hit 3.4 percent by the end of 2022, which would be the highest level since 2008.
China: President Biden is considering rolling back some tariffs on Chinese goods to slow the rise in prices, though the effect will probably be small.
Crypto: The total value of the cryptocurrency market has dropped by about 65 percent since autumn, and the crash is shaking the industry.
China reels after a violent attack
At a barbecue restaurant in northern China, a man slapped a woman after she rebuffed him. Then, he and several other men beat her and other women at the table so brutally that two were hospitalized.
Graphic security camera footage of the attack on Friday in the city of Tangshan spread quickly on social media. Women shared their outrage and terror at the daily threat of sexual violence in China, where conversations about gender inequity are becoming increasingly common.
But the ensuing debate also showed the backlash to a growing feminist movement. Some played down the threat to women, suggesting that the incident highlighted general public safety concerns and the threat of gang violence. Weibo also deleted hundreds of accounts on its platform, accusing users of seeking to stoke enmity between genders.
Analysis: China’s government sees any independent activism as a potential challenge to its control. Feminist activists have been dismissed in court, sued or arrested, while state-owned news media has described the #MeToo movement as a foreign tool to weaken China.
Background: In January, people on social media similarly erupted in anger after a woman was found chained in a shack, but officials detained or censored some who pressed for more information. Last year, the tennis player Peng Shuai disappeared from view after accusing a former high-ranking leader of sexual coercion.
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The Congo River has become a logging highway. Men and women there lash timber together into rafts, floating downstream to lumber ports in an attempt to eke out a profit. But each tree once grew in the region’s crucial rainforest, and each raft represents its dismantling.
ARTS AND IDEAS
The fix is in
Social media stars are teaching followers to “flip” their furniture — a trend that is perhaps no surprise after a period during the pandemic when many people downloaded TikTok to fend off the boredom of being stuck on the couch.
Flipping, in this sense, means finding a well-built but aging piece of furniture; refurbishing it, often by sanding, adding fresh paint or varnish and updating its hardware; and reselling it. Many of the people making videos also aim to help viewers improve the furniture already in their homes.
“So many people can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars on furniture,” Christina Clericuzio, a flipper from Connecticut, told The Times. “So it’s fun to show people that they can have these things for less when they D.I.Y.” — Tom Wright-Piersanti, a Morning editor