Your Friday Briefing: Russia Proposes a Short Cease-Fire

President Vladimir Putin ordered a unilateral ceasefire for Russian troops from noon today until the end of tomorrow to observe Orthodox Christmas, according to the Kremlin.

A senior Ukrainian official was quick to dismiss the move as a “banal trick” and a “propaganda gesture”, though it was unclear what Kyiv’s final response would be and whether hostilities would actually cease along a front line of almost 700 miles.

Ukraine has expressed skepticism about Moscow’s earlier pledges to exercise military restraint. In March, he accused Russia of violating a humanitarian ceasefire, which was meant to allow evacuations from the besieged city of Mariupol. Some pro-war Russian nationalists also rejected the proposal, underscoring the depth of mutual animosity.

Context: The ceasefire would be the broadest of its kind since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Diplomacy: Russia’s announcement came hours after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, who has positioned himself as a mediator, spoke with Putin and called for a ceasefire.

Kevin McCarthy has now lost eight straight votes to be Speaker of the House of Representatives, essentially crippling the chamber at the start of Republican rule. Here are live updates.

House precedent dictates that members continue to vote in succession until someone secures a majority to prevail. But until a speaker is chosen, he can’t pass laws or swear in his members.

McCarthy privately agreed to more demands from right-wing dissidents. He accepted measures that would considerably weaken oratory. But the latest vote indicated that the concessions were still not enough to garner the votes he needed to succeed.

Whats Next: Either McCarthy pools the votes to become a speaker, or eventually his colleagues encourage him to drop out. Steve Scalise, the No. 2 Republican, is seen as a possible endorsement. He is deeply conservative and always on message, but it’s not clear that he can win votes more easily than McCarthy.


As Japan’s population ages and its birth rate has plummeted, nearly 60 percent of business owners don’t know who will succeed them. Policymakers fear the country could soon be hit by an increase in lockdowns as Japan’s business owners, whose average age is around 62, begin to retire in droves.

Hidekazu Yokoyama, 73, is a poignant example of the looming trouble. He has spent three decades building a thriving logistics business in Hokkaido, a northern snowy island that provides much of Japan’s milk.

Last year, he felt too old to continue much longer. But his sons were not interested in running the business. Neither did his employees. Few potential homeowners wanted to move to the remote and frozen north. So he settled on a radical solution: he decided to advertise the business and give it all away, for free, to an aspiring 26-year-old.

Context: Japan’s Ministry of Commerce projected that by 2025, around 630,000 profitable businesses could go out of business, costing the economy $165 billion and up to 6.5 million jobs.

A community of older gay men in the Philippines calls itself the Golden Gays. It was established in the 1970s, after a lawmaker and AIDS activist opened his house to the disenfranchised.

Today, they still put on contests and shows to make ends meet. “Our philosophy, because we are showgirls, is that the show must go on,” said the 72-year-old community president. “The course of life must continue to flow.”

Prince Harry’s new book, “Spare,” will be released on Tuesday. It may shed the harshest light yet on his break with the royal family.

In the book, Harry accuses Prince William of attacking him during a furious argument about Meghan Markle. according to The Guardian, who said he had obtained an advance copy of the memoir. “It all happened so fast,” Harry writes, adding, “he grabbed me by the neck, broke my collar, and threw me to the ground.”

The book has been awaited with trepidation by the royal family and with anticipation by millions of people captivated by the House of Windsor soap opera.

In recent days, Harry has recounted unpleasant details of his break with the family to stoke interest. “I would like to get my father back. I would like to get my brother back, ”he said in a promotional preview for a television interview. “They have shown absolutely no willingness to reconcile,” he added, apparently referring to Guillermo and King Carlos III.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Have a beautiful weekend! —Amelia

PS Do you have an amazing pet name for someone you love? Tell us about it. We can use your submission for a special Valentine’s Day project on language and love.

“The Daily” is about George Santos, a Republican elected representative who has lied about his past.

You can always contact me at briefing@nytimes.com.