Good morning. We’re covering the end of Roe v. Wade, a G7 summit on Ukraine and an investigation into China’s surveillance state.
President Biden said the countries would ban imports of Russian gold. Leaders are also expected to discuss possible attempts to tighten sanctions on Russian oil.
Fighting: Ukrainian forces will retreat from the key eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, where about 90 percent of the city’s buildings have been destroyed. And the mayor of Mykolaiv, an embattled southern city that has embodied Ukraine’s never-say-die spirit, urged residents to leave.
Diplomacy: The G7 leaders detailed a new plan designed to counter China’s expanding influence from its Belt-and-Road Initiative. They also invited five nonmember nations to attend, an effort to bolster relationships with countries that they fear could drift into China’s and Russia’s orbits.
For over a year, they analyzed over 100,000 government bidding documents, which detail the surveillance technology and software and explain the strategic thinking behind the purchases.
The reporters found that China’s ambition to collect a staggering amount of digital and biological data from its citizens is more expansive and invasive than previously known. Here are four takeaways from the investigation, and a 14-minute video.
Cameras: These are the foundation of China’s surveillance state, feeding data to analytical software that can tell someone’s race, gender and whether they are wearing glasses or masks. All of this data is stored on government servers.
Phones: Authorities use phone trackers to link people’s digital lives to their identity and physical movements.
Profiles: DNA, iris scan samples and voice prints are collected indiscriminately from people with no connection to crime in order to build comprehensive profiles for citizens.
Artificial intelligence: The latest technology promises to predict or detect crimes, such as signaling officers when a person with a history of mental illness gets near a school, or alerting authorities if a marriage is suspicious.
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Beijing is not known for its natural refuges — or its rule-bending. But “wild swimming” in the city’s lakes and waterways has continued to attract stubborn bathers, despite attempts by authorities to restrict the practice. During the pandemic, interest only grew.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Japan’s complex heroines
At a time of widespread debate over the depiction of women in film, top Japanese animators work in a long tradition of complex and layered heroines.
Working on smaller budgets than their American counterparts, directors like Mamoru Hosoda offer personal visions. His film “Belle,” available on major platforms, draws inspiration from “Beauty and the Beast,” but its heroine writes deep, complex music about her grief at losing her mother. The protagonist of the Disney version never mentions her mother. Nor does Jasmine in “Aladdin.”
And Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away” — perhaps Japan’s most famous animated film — grew out of his dissatisfaction with the superficial entertainment offered to adolescent girls. “I wanted the main character to be a typical girl in whom a 10-year-old could recognize herself,” Miyazaki said.
“She shouldn’t be someone extraordinary, but an everyday, real person — even though this kind of character is more difficult to create,” he continued, through a translator. “It wouldn’t be a story in which the character grows up, but a story in which she draws on something already inside her that is brought out by the particular circumstances.”