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- Liam James
Putin calls Trump ‘talented individual’ and laughs when asked if he’s a killer

Washington-Moscow relations at lowest point in years, says Russian president

- Gustaf Kilander
‘Unabated crime wave as president’: Former prosecutor says Trump must be prosecuted

‘If he is not held accountable, if we don’t prosecute him, then what we are doing is we are encouraging tomorrow’s version of Donald Trump,’ Glenn Kirschner says

- Via AP news wire
Early voting starts in NY, candidates urge people to polls
Candidates in New York City’s heavily contested Democratic mayoral primary are urging people to go to the polls in the coming days as early voting kicks off
- Clara Hill
Kamala Harris appoints her own ‘vice president’: A little boy who admired her VP pin

“Of he wears it then he’s the vice-president,” his classmate said about the pin.

- Gustaf Kilander
‘Nixon On Stilts And Steroids’: Watergate-era White House lawyer digs into bombshell new Trump scandal

‘Nixon didn’t have that kind of Department of Justice,’ former White House Counsel says

- Via AP news wire
AP News Digest 2:15 p.m.

Here are the AP’s latest coverage plans, top stories and promotable content. All times EDT. For up-to-the minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at

- Nathan Place
Pilot finds moving note left by colleague at beginning of Covid pandemic

‘If you are here to pick it up then the light must be at the end of the tunnel,’ a pilot wrote in March 2020 as he parked a plane in the California desert

- Clara Hill
Tourist visiting Florida charged with hate crime for attacking Asian family

Man told Asian family to “go back to where they came from” while vacationing in Florida among rise in hate crime towards AAPI communities

- Natalie Lisbona
Time running out for Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of Sunday’s crucial vote

Barring something spectacular happening before the vote, the curtain appears to be coming down on the Israeli leader’s premiership, reports Natalie Lisbona in Tel Aviv

- Via AP news wire
EU talks up hope of breakthrough at Iran nuclear meetings
European Union negotiators say international talks on the Iran nuclear agreement are on track to revive the deal, which crumbled after the United States withdrew in 2018
- Gustaf Kilander
Man gets his gun back nine months after domestic altercation and uses it to shoot and kill his wife

Shooter’s lawyer says without gun, ‘I don’t think what happened that night would have happened that night’

- Gustaf Kilander
Remains of KKK leader Nathan Bedford Forrest exhumed from Tennessee park

‘We wanted this process to be respectful, to be something that healed divisions,’ Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner says

- Via AP news wire
Making history: The scramble to document presidents' summits
If President Joe Biden has any private words with Russia’s Vladimir Putin at their meeting next week, U.S. interpreters and diplomats will be standing by to document their high-stakes encounter
- Celine Wadhera
Lobster diver survives being swallowed and spat out by humpback whale

‘I realised – oh my God, I’m in a whale’s mouth and he’s trying to swallow me’

- Gustaf Kilander
Plantation cancels Juneteenth event that focused on plight of ‘white refugees’

‘Sympathizing with an overseer who is no longer allowed to enslave people is disgusting,’ one critic says on social media

- Clara Hill
Country legend Reba McEntire lashes out at GOP fundraiser listing her as special guest without consent

Representatives for Kristi Noem has said there was “written confirmation” despite McEntire’s insistence she refuses to get involved in politics

- Nathan Place
Apple sets limits on legal requests after Justice Department snooped on top Democrats

The new policy comes amid reports that the Trump-era Justice Department seized data on two Democratic congressmen

- Via AP news wire
As virus cases wane, governors weigh ending emergency orders
With COVID-19 cases declining and vaccinations increasing, governors across the U.S. are wrestling with decisions about when to declare an end to the emergency declarations they have issued and reissued throughout the pandemic
- Via AP news wire
Johnson voices caution over next lockdown easing in England
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hinted that the next planned relaxation of coronavirus restrictions in England this month will be delayed as a result of the spread of the delta variant first identified in India
Video: Ex-Labour Leader Jeremy Corbin Embraces Pro-Palestinian Rally Outside Downing St
A wave of pro-Palestinian marches has been taking place in the United Kingdom, as well as the United States, in the wake of the recent escalation in the Gaza Strip between Hamas and the IDF. Participants have called on governments to stop arming Israel in the decades-long conflict.
Moscow Welcomes Baku's Decision to Free 15 Armenian Troops in Exchange for Minefields Maps
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia welcomes Azerbaijan's decision to hand over 15 soldiers to Armenia in exchange for maps of minefields, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Saturday.
US's Biden, France's Macron Discuss Russia, China As Policy Priorities, White House Says
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - US President Joe Biden has exchanged with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on a set of bilateral topics, including the political approaches to Russia and China, on the sidelines of the G7 Summit, the White House said on Saturday.
Biden Reportedly Refused to Hold Joint Presser With Putin to Avoid Helsinki Scenario
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - US President Joe Biden has decided to hold a separate press conference after a meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin due to the unfavourable impression Donald Trump left after his summit with the Russian president back in 2018, the New York Times newspaper said on Saturday, citing the Biden administration.
Texas Plans to Build Border Wall Following Migrant Influx and Biden Halting Trump's Policies
The Democrat president ordered the suspension of many of Trump's immigration policies on his first day in office, including the Republican's iconic project to build a border wall with Mexico that was supposed to help curb the influx of illegal migrants into the country.
One Dead, 9 Injured in Chicago Shooting, Reports Say
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - One person was shot dead and nine people sustained injuries in a shooting in the US city of Chicago, the ABC 7 Chicago broadcaster reported on Saturday, citing police.
White House Area Cordoned Off as Four Separate Protests Hit Washington, DC - Photos, Video
Saturday in the US capital has seen a flurry of activity, as the city has seen as many as four separate protests held simultaneously in the White House area.
US Should Drop Idea to Drag Ukraine Into NATO and Find Agreement With Russia Instead, Professor Says
Ahead of an upcoming meeting with Joe Biden in Geneva, Vladimir Putin noted that Russia-US ties are now at their lowest point in years. The tensions between the two nations are building up in various areas, and one of the most problematic issues is the situation in Ukraine - which recently received $150 million in military aid from Washington.
Netanyahu Might Pull His Last Trick in Knesset on Sunday to Try to Stay in Power
The Israeli prime minister’s record-setting 12-year time in the office, having made it through numerous scandals, attacks by Hamas, and the 2020 pandemic, could abruptly end on 13 June if a new broad coalition government succeeds in winning a vote of confidence in the Knesset.
Indians Turn 'Corona' Into ‘Masked Goddess’ in State of Uttar Pradesh, Create a Temple - Video
India has now battled two waves of the novel coronavirus pandemic between March 2020 and May 2021. The virus, that latches itself to the human lungs and corrodes them has already killed 367,081 Indians, as per government figures. The second and most recent COVID wave left people dying, gasping for breath, and created a horrible disaster.
Gamaleya Chief Promises Putin That COVID-19 Vaccine for Kids Will Be Ready by 15 September
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The director of the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Alexander Gintsburg, assured Russian President Vladimir Putin that a COVID-19 vaccine for children would be ready by 15 September.
Bill Gates Says US Should Build New Nuclear Power Plants to Deal With Climate Change
The Microsoft co-founder, who has donated more than $50 billion to philanthropic causes since 1994, has in recent years focused his attention on climate change, which he considers one of the most acute problems facing humanity. He has spearheaded several initiatives on the research and development of clean energy.
BREST Fast Neutron Reactor: Russia Offers a New Nuclear Paradigm for Sustainable Development
Rosatom's newly inaugurated nuclear energy complex with a BREST-OD-300 fast neutron reactor may become a breakthrough providing relatively inexpensive, safe, carbon-free, and nearly inexhaustible nuclear power as energy consumption is set to dramatically soar in the coming decades.
Brussels Dresses Manneken Pis in Russian Imperial Uniform on Russia Day - Photo
MOSCOW  (Sputnik) - Manneken Pis, the most recognizable symbol of Brussels, has been dressed in a historical uniform of the Russian Imperial Guard on the occasion of Russia Day celebrated on 12 June, a Sputnik correspondent reported.
Indian MP Says Revocation of Kashmir's Special Status May Be 'Re-looked', Sparks Row
On 5 August 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi abolished Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that granted special autonomy to the Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). The autonomy allowed the state legislature to make its own laws and banned non-natives from getting government jobs.
Putin and Biden to Hold Separate Pressers After Their Meeting in Geneva
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Kremlin is aware of US President Joe Biden's plans to hold a solo press conference in Geneva after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Sputnik, adding that the Russian president would also talk to the media unaccompanied by his American counterpart.
Putin Awards State Prizes to Sputnik V Developers
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday awarded state prizes to the scientists who developed the country's flagship vaccine against the coronavirus, Sputnik V, and commended the achievement as a triumph of Russian science.
Iranian Navy Ship in Atlantic Reportedly Carrying Fuel Alongside Armaments for Venezuela
The US earlier expressed concerns regarding media reports about two Iranian warships in the Atlantic Ocean possibly trying to deliver weapons to Venezuela. The online publication Foreign Policy noted, however, that Washington's options to legally stop them are severely limited.
Things Turn Ugly at Indian Wedding as Elephant Goes Berserk and Wreaks Havoc - Video
As the daily number of COVID cases has dropped in India, brides and grooms who postponed their weddings between April and May are finally getting married in the presence of friends and family. While COVID has shortened the guest list at Indian weddings, the pomp and show remain intact.
President Putin Congratulates Nation on Russia Day
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - President Vladimir Putin has congratulated the nation on Russia Day during the national awards ceremony on Saturday.
- Jon Rogers
WHO chief says Wuhan Covid lab leak theory can’t be ruled out and insists China should help solve the ‘origin’ of virus
THE head of the World Health Organisation has said the Wuhan lab leak theory can’t be ruled out and that China should help solve the mystery of where Covid came from. WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, 56, urged more “transparency” from China in the ongoing investigation and suggested that Beijing had not fully […]
- Olivia Burke
Sex worker, 28, who plotted with two ex-Army soldiers to extort £115k from Brit millionaire lover in Majorca is jailed
TWO ex-soldiers have been jailed over the violent kidnap of a British millionaire “betrayed” by his Pretty Woman-style call girl. Ex-British Army pair Benjamin Norman Stridgeon and Karl John Boorman were caged for nine years each after admitting to taking part in a robbery and extortion plot hatched by the wealthy businessman’s high-class Bulgarian escort. […]
- Jon Lockett
Brutal groom kills fiancée  ‘with axe’ and disfigures her face with 83 blows on eve of their wedding day
A BRUTAL groom has been jailed for beating his fiancée to death after inflicting 83 separate blows on the eve of their wedding. Russian travel agent Alexander Voronin – the son of a senior ex-KGB officer – was sentenced to fourteen-and-a-half years in prison. The semi-naked body of Marina Pankratova, 26, was found slumped on […]
- Debbie White
Brit woman, 28, rescued from jaws of 10ft crocodile by twin speaks for first time saying ‘I’m grateful I came out alive’
A BRITISH backpacker plucked from the jaws of a crocodile while swimming with her twin in Mexico has spoken for the first time. Melissa Laurie, 28, has awoken from a coma and praised her brave sister, Georgia, for saving her, adding: “I am extremely grateful that I came out of this alive.” Melissa had been […]
- Jon Lockett
Inside Malaga jail where This Is England star Andrew Shim ‘locked up for drug smuggling’ and Brit lag killed himself
THIS Is England star Andrew Shim is reportedly locked up in a jail which was once Spain’s most overcrowded and where a Brit inmate killed himself earlier this year. The popular actor is behind bars after being arrested in Marbella, on the Costa del Sol, on suspicion of drug trafficking, it was reported last night. […]
- Debbie White
Boy, 10, attacked by two-metre shark while snorkelling with dad in Australia as beach closed
A BOY, 10, has been airlifted to hospital after being attacked by a two-metre-long shark at a remote swimming area. The lad screamed for help while snorkelling about 75 metres offshore with his dad in Western Australia, says a tour guide who dragged him “bleeding in to the shallows”. The boy’s dad had to fend […]
- Jon Lockett
Man hides secret lover in parents’ house for 11 YEARS over fears they would disapprove of her
A MAN hid his secret lover in his parents’ house for more than 11 YEARS over fears they would disapprove of her. Rahman Khani even rigged his bedroom door handle with electricity to keep his mother, father and sister out. The 34-year-old, from Kerala, India, ran away with Sajita, 28, in 2010 amid fears their […]
- Patrick Joseph DUGGAN
This Is England star Andrew Shim ‘locked up in Malaga jail on drug trafficking charge’
THIS Is England star Andrew Shim is locked up in a Spanish jail on suspicion of drug trafficking, it’s reported. The actor is behind bars after being arrested in Marbella on the Costa del Sol, the Mirror reports. Shim, 37, has allegedly been on remand at Alhaurin de la Torre prison near Malaga, since October […]
- Jacob Bentley-York
Pentagon UFO report’s ‘classified annex’ may be hiding US and China’s ‘experimental craft’ as they wage hypersonic war
A BOMBSHELL Pentagon report into UFOs is likely to withhold details of “experimental hypersonic aircrafts”, according to an academic. The fresh claims comes ahead of the documents release to Congress on June 25, which many have hoped would lift the lid on the potential existence of alien life. Currently, the document’s ‘classified annex’ – which […]
- Jacob Bentley-York
G7 summit – Fears Russian cruise missile sub is stalking Cornish coast as meddling Putin tests Boris and Biden
THERE are fears a Russian cruise missile submarine could be stalking the Cornish coast during the G7 summit. Reports claim that air forces have been engaged in “unusual” operations in and around waters near to the event- sparking concerns that something could be awry.   The fresh revelations come ahead of the G7 this weekend […]
- Sarah Grealish
Kim Jong-un brands K-pop a ‘vicious cancer’ corrupting North Koreans’ hairstyles & threatens to EXECUTE fans
KIM Jong-un has threatened to EXECUTE K-pop fans after he branded the South Korean pop culture a “vicious cancer” which is corrupting the state’s hairstyles. South Korean music, movies and television shows have been smuggled into the totalitarian state – and the North Korean leader fears it will influence young people in the country and […]
- Henry Holloway
Russia’s hardest Ultra ‘Vasily the Killer’ moans Euro 2020 will be ‘dull’ as hooligans cower from Covid at home
RUSSIA’S most vicious football Ultra “Vasily The Killer” has predicted a “dull” tournament as fans and hooligans have to stay home due to Covid. Vasily Stepanov, who has since given up hooliganism, told The Sun Online restrictions on travel and fan numbers due to the virus will mean he will be cheering on the Russian […]
- Adrian Zorzut
Toddler gives sister sweet kiss in adorable last video before ‘both killed and dumped 3,000ft under sea by dad’
A HEARTBREAKING video of two young sisters kissing and hugging has emerged days after they were kidnapped and ‘killed’ by their father. The 30-second clip shows six-year-old Olivia Gimeno kissing her younger sister Anna, one, on the cheek and teaching her to do the same back. In the footage, Olivia asks Anna for a “besito” […]
- Alice Peacock
Inside China’s ‘dystopian hellscape’ where millions of Uighur Muslims are ‘brainwashed and tortured in camps’
ACCOUNTS from inside China’s detention camps where millions of Uighur Mulims are brainwashed and tortured, paints the Xinjiang region as a “dystopian hellscape”. Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities face systematic and state-organised “mass internment and torture amounting to crimes against humanity”, International Amnesty has said in a new 160-page report. The minority groups […]
- Adrian Zorzut
Body found in bag 3,000ft below sea off Tenerife IS missing six-year-old ‘kidnapped by her dad’
THE body of a little girl found in a bag 3,000ft below sea off Tenerife is a missing six-year-old kidnapped by her dad, cops have confirmed. Olivia Gimeno was identified after carrying out an autopsy on a body found inside a sports bag on the seabed near Port of Guimar, Spain. Spanish rescuers found the […]
- Aliki Kraterou
Haunting creaking noises freak out tower block residents who say it’s like living in ‘The Conjuring’ horror movie
A TOWER block’s residents say they feel like they are starring in “The Conjuring” horror movie as they are constantly haunted by “creepy” creaking noises in their apartments. High-rise residents at Multiplex’s Melbourne Square and the Aurora building on La Trobe Street in Melbourne say they can hear the “ominous” squeaking sound coming from deep […]
- Adrian Zorzut
Bitcoin crackdown sees 1,100 people arrested on money laundering charges in China sending cryptocurrency plunging
MORE than 1,100 people have been arrested in China after Beijing launched a crackdown on Bitcoin operations in the country. China‘s Ministry of Public Security claimed the suspects used digital assets to launder profits from internet and telephone scams. In a swoop spanning 23 provinces, regions and cities, Chinese law enforcement on Wednesday rounded up […]
- Olivia Burke
Glam girlfriend of cartel boss assassinated by fake shoe salesman after she flaunted her wealth on Insta
THE GLAMOROUS ex-girlfriend of an assassinated cartel boss who flaunted her wealth on Instagram has been shot dead after being duped by a fake shoe salesman. Paulina Arreola Perez, 26, was assassinated by gunmen on motorbikes after she was tricked into meeting a bogus client who wanted to buy her shoes. Her friend Eduardo Arturo […]
- Imogen Braddick
Monkeypox: Inside dreaded outbreaks as virus first found in brain test lab monkeys leaves humans covered in blisters
A RARE virus which leaves humans with a raging fever and covered in oozing blisters was first found in dozens of monkeys in a lab in Denmark more than 60 years ago. Monkeypox, first discovered in 1958, spreads from animals to humans – and now the UK is “dealing with” a fresh outbreak of the […]
- Olivia Burke
US ‘greatly concerned’ as Iranian warships enter the Atlantic for first time to smuggle weapons to arch-rivals Venezuela
US DEFENSE officials are “greatly concerned” about two Iranian warships that have entered the Atlantic Ocean and are believed to be smuggling weapons to Venezuela. The Iranian destroyer Sahand and support vessel Makran have been tracked by intelligence agencies since they left the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas last month. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin […]
- Mark Hodge
Insane $5bn life of El Chapo’s wife Emma Coronel Aispuro who posed in bikinis, splashed cash and busted him out of jail
EL CHAPO’S beauty queen wife lived a life of luxury splashing his $5bn fortune and helping bust him out of jail – but now she faces being banged up behind bars. Emma Coronel Aispuro was just 18 when she entered into the nightmarish romance with crime lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman – turning her into […]
- Aliki Kraterou
Crocodile attack: How are twins Melissa and Georgia Laurie doing?
BRIT twins have survived a terrifying crocodile attack after being pounced on by the beast in a river in Mexico. Georgia Laurie, 28, was able to save her sister Melissa who was swimming at the Manialtepec Lagoon by punching the animal in the face three times. Who are Melissa and Georgia Laurie? The twins are […]
- Adrian Zorzut
Tenerife tot may never be found after empty bag discovered near holdall ‘containing sister’s remains’ 3,000ft under sea
A GIRL of one kidnapped by her estranged father may never be found, police say, after discovering her sister’s body 3,000ft under the ocean off Tenerife. Cops believe missing six-year-old Olivia Gimeno was dumped inside a sports bag and weighed down with an anchor, meanwhile a second empty sports bag was found nearby. A spokesman […]
- Jon Lockett
Inside China’s shadowy bioweapons unit ‘creating weaponised coronaviruses, bacteria bombs and anthrax ready for WW3’
CHINA is feared to have spent decades illicitly researching biological weapons at dozens of secretive sites ahead of a potential apocalyptic World War 3. The vast country is home to at least 50 covert labs where state scientists are thought to have manufactured deadly “bacteria bombs”, stockpiled deadly pathogens such as Anthrax, and even probed […]
- Alice Peacock
Madeleine McCann suspect Christian B WILL be charged with raping Irish woman within three months, says prosecutor
PRIME Madeleine McCann suspect Christian B will be charged with raping Irish woman Hazel Behan within three months, a prosecutor says. Hazel was just 20 years old when she was raped in her flat in Praia da Rocha, around 30 minutes away from the holiday village from which Maddie went missing. Madeleine McCann was just […]
Second man charged in shooting of British BLM activist Sasha Johnson
A second man has been charged in the shooting last month of Black Lives Matter activist Sasha Johnson, the London Metropolitan Police said in a statement Saturday.
French authorities race to clean up oil spill drifting to Corsica's coast
French authorities were racing to clean up an oil spill approaching the island of Corsica on Saturday, launching an "anti-pollution plan" to prevent the slick from reaching sunbathers on the coast.
Moscow mayor announces 'non-working' week to curb spread of Covid-19
The mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin has asked inhabitants of the Russian capital to stay home in the coming week, declaring it a "non-working" week, to try and curb the spread of Covid-19.
Nigeria's president vows to fight militant groups and fix economy as activists call for anti-government protests
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari acknowledged Saturday the increased violence by armed groups in the northeast of the country and vowed to "soon bring some of these culprits to justice."
This $22.5M condo could be the most expensive home ever paid for in crypto
Boasting ocean views and a 5,000 sq ft interior, this $22.5M Miami penthouse could be the most expensive US real estate purchase ever made using cryptocurrency.
Here's what Bezos' trip to space will look like
Jeff Bezos has announced that he and his brother will be on board his company Blue Origin's first crewed mission to space. The capsule known as New Shepard is set to launch on July 20th.
Why electric cars are heavier than regular cars
Batteries are heavy. That's why, generally, electric cars weigh considerably more than otherwise similar gasoline-powered vehicles. Take the GMC Hummer EV, for instance. The Edition 1 version, which has lots of batteries for additional driving range and power, weighs over 9,000 pounds. That's roughly three times the weight of a Honda Civic.
Silicon Valley may look very different after the pandemic
After four months of working from home during the pandemic, Reeba Akram decided to change where home was.
US cities are losing 36 million trees a year. Here's why it matters
If you're looking for a reason to care about tree loss, the nation's latest heat wave might be it. Trees can lower summer daytime temperatures by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a recent study.
How rich people could help save the planet from the climate crisis
Rich people don't just have bigger bank balances and more lavish lifestyles than the rest of us -- they also have bigger carbon footprints.
Why it cost over $300 million to develop NASA's new space suits
Humans have explored the infinite abyss beyond Earth's atmosphere for over half a century.
France is sending a second Statue of Liberty to the US
New Yorkers have a surprise gift to look forward to for this Independence Day: a second Statue of Liberty sent by France. This new bronze statue, nicknamed the "little sister," is one-sixteenth the size of the world-famous one that stands on Liberty Island. On Monday, during a special ceremony, the smaller sibling was lifted and loaded into a special container at the National Museum of Arts and Crafts (CNAM) in central Paris, where it has been installed since 2011 in the museum's garden. It will be erected on Ellis Island, just across the water from the original, from July 1 to July 5.
The real reason most late night talk show hosts sit behind a desk
For more than six decades, American late night talk show hosts have sat behind large wooden desks, with guests in cushioned chairs or couches to their right. Behind them, the wall may be painted to mimic an open vista; around them, a brightly lit studio set is made more inviting through warm wood tones, mugs on a desk or -- in Johnny Carson's case -- a couple of well-placed house plants.
See the 'brightest color on Earth'
Art and science can seem two opposites on a spectrum. One is creative and interpretive, the other exact and empirical. But an emerging technology known as Pure Structural Colour -- dubbed the "boldest, brightest color on Earth" in a new exhibition -- shows how interplay between the two may be revolutionary for both.
Kate Winslet fought to keep 'bulgy bit of belly' in her 'Mare of Easttown' sex scene
Kate Winslet has said she rejected a retouched promotional poster and insisted her "bulgy bit of belly" was not edited out of a sex scene for her TV series "Mare of Easttown."
EU Digital Covid Certificate: Everything you need to know
How travel will look in the near future is the question on everyone's lips, and as Europe begins to reopen its borders to travelers from outside the continent, the European Union has announced the launch of its EU Digital Covid Certificate -- set to allow freedom of movement around the bloc.
One of the remotest paradises on the planet
For miles on end there are hardly any inhabitants in sight on the French Polynesian island of Nuku Hiva. This South Pacific utopia is one of the world's most remote locations and is an extraordinary part of the planet where a traveler can be as far from the crowds as it's possible to be.
The hidden costs of owning a superyacht
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, many people were forced to make big decisions when it came to their upcoming travel plans.
Double-decker airplane cabin concepts
Airplane seat designers have long been dreaming up innovative economy cabin concepts, looking for the ideal balance between squeezing in as many passengers in as possible, and keeping the experience relatively enjoyable for fliers.
The rapid rise of 'red tourism' in China
Growing up in Guang'an, Zhang Yiwen always felt a closeness to late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, who spent the first 15 years of his life in her home city in the country's western province of Sichuan.
Why the Learjet is no match for today's jets
Learjet. For generations, the name has been synonymous with business jets, with more than 3,000 of the small private jet planes delivered since the first Learjet 23 flew in 1963.
A high school senior was accused of violating his graduation's dress code with his shoes -- so a teacher switched with him
With minutes to spare, a Hahnville High School teacher in Boutte, Louisiana, traded shoes with a senior so he could walk at his graduation after allegedly violating the dress code.
When the pandemic brought her business to a halt, this chef tackled food insecurity with farm-to-table meals
Before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, Chef Q. Ibraheem ran an upscale catering business and underground supper club in Evanston, Illinois. She was able to charge $250 per person for ambitious, farm-to-table, multicourse meals served in an intimate setting. After years of working to launch her business, it was finally taking off.
- Heather Stewart & Toby Helm
Brexit bust-up torpedoes Johnson’s bid to showcase ‘global Britain’ at G7

Northern Ireland border row hits summit in Cornwall as prime minister tells other leaders UK is ‘a single country’

Boris Johnson was embroiled in an extraordinary public spat with EU leaders over Northern Ireland on Saturday as tensions over Brexit boiled over at the G7 summit in Cornwall.

After a series of tense bilateral meetings at which the French president, Emmanuel Macron, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel and the European commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, told their summit host the UK must implement the Brexit deal in full, an unrepentant Johnson said he had urged his EU colleagues to “get it into their heads” that the UK is “a single country”.

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- Guardian staff and agencies
No joint news conference after Biden-Putin summit: White House
Biden will speak to press alone after Geneva meetingTrump caused outcry by accepting Putin denials at Helsinki

Joe Biden will give a solo news conference after his meeting next week with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, the White House has said.

Putin and Biden will meet in Geneva on Wednesday. The White House has said Biden will bring up ransomware attacks emanating from Russia, Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine, the jailing of dissidents and other issues that have irritated the relationship.

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- Barry Glendenning
Denmark 0-1 Finland: Christian Eriksen awake after collapse – as it happened

Finland took the points at the end of a match delayed following the first-half collapse and subsequent resuscitation of Denmark’s Christian Eriksen

Jonathan Wilson on a stadium falling silent in horrorFinland’s win overshadowed by Eriksen collapse

8.55pm BST

Euro 2020 Group A: Joel Pohjanpalo scored the only goal of the game in a match that was completely overshadowed by the collapse and subsequent resuscitation of Christian Eriksen just before half-time.

Related: Finland’s win against Denmark overshadowed by Eriksen collapse

8.46pm BST

Thank you. It’s been a strange evening, dear Reader. Thanks for all your kind messages and Tweets, enquiring after my welfare and providing welcome translations. I am absolutely fine but as much as I’d love to make this all about me, I don’t think it would be approriate. There’ll be a match report along at some point but in the meantime I’ll leave you with this ...

#FIN fans: “CHRISTIAN”#DEN fans: “ERIKSEN”❤️

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- David Connett and Jonathan Wilson
Denmark’s Christian Eriksen given chest compressions after he collapsed

Midfielder, 29, required urgent CPR on the pitch during match against Finland but is now stable

Danish international footballer Christian Eriksen was given chest compressions by medics during the Euro 2020 clash against Finland in Copenhagen on Saturday.

Eriksen, 29, collapsed face first into the pitch while running to collect a throw-in with no other player near him. His teammates and Finnish players nearby quickly signalled to English referee Anthony Taylor that Eriksen, a former Tottenham Hotspur favourite, needed urgent medical attention.

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- Edward Helmore
Sold! Bidder pays $28m for spare seat on space flight with Jeff Bezos

Bids in 10-minute auction started at $4.8m for 20 July trip on Blue Origin spacecraft with Bezos and his brother.

Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin has sold the spare seat of the company’s 20 July New Shepard space rocket blast-off for $28m, the company announced on Saturday.

Related: Rocket men: Bezos, Musk and Branson scramble for space supremacy

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- Oliver Holmes in Jerusalem
New Israeli coalition government seeks to put an end to the Netanyahu era

The opposition-led administration will be sworn in on Sunday if it can prevail in a confidence vote in the Knesset

Benjamin Netanyahu is due to be ousted from office on Sunday by a new Israeli government formed with the primary aim of dethroning the country’s longest-serving leader.

A motley grouping of politicians, including former Netanyahu allies turned foes, have set aside bitter differences to put an end to the prime minister’s historic run in power. If successful, it will also break a political stalemate that has seen four snap elections in the country since 2019.

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Five fertility clinic patients awarded $15m after failure of freezing tank
Storage tank maker knew of defect before California incidentCase likely to increase calls for regulation of $37bn industry

Five patients of a California fertility center have been awarded a total of $15m after a freezing tank failed, rendering some of more than 3,500 frozen human embryos and eggs unviable.

While the extent of the damage from the accidental thaw is unclear, jurors awarded the sum to clients of the Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco after finding that the storage tank maker, Chart Industries, knew about a defect that prevented accurate temperature monitoring and had not warned the center about the problem.

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- Phillip Inman
Drop Covid vaccine patent rules to save lives in poorest countries, Britain and Germany told

G7 summit hears move would slash the cost of jabs and accelerate rollout of programmes across the developing world

Britain and Germany were under intense pressure on Saturday to drop their resistance to proposals that would slash the cost of Covid-19 vaccines, following accusations that an agreement at the G7 summit to fund a billon doses will give the world’s poorest countries “crumbs from the table”.

Aid agencies said rules that protect drug patents from being illegally copied must be waived during the pandemic to accelerate the rollout of vaccines and save lives across the developing world.

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- Emma Graham-Harrison
Opposition forces Orbán into U-turn over Chinese campus plan in Budapest

With a general election due next year, Hungary’s government has put the divisive project in the capital’s heart on hold

Protests against the construction of a Chinese university in Budapest have energised the Hungarian opposition ahead of elections next year, and forced the government into a rare U-turn.

Outrage at plans to build a campus of Shanghai’s Fudan University became a rallying cry for the opposition, drawing thousands to protest in defiance of government regulations

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- Sam Jones in Madrid
Spain’s right unites in fury as PM considers Catalan pardons

Rightwing parties condemn prime minister’s call to work for ‘co-existence’ with separatists

On Sunday thousands of people, among them the leaders of the three parties on Spain’s right, will once again gather in the Madrid square that boasts the world’s largest Spanish flag to protest against the Socialist-led government’s handling of the Catalan independence crisis.

In February 2019, in a deeply controversial moment immortalised in photographs of the occasion, the conservative People’s party (PP), the centre-right Citizens party and the far-right Vox party joined forces in the Plaza de Colón to accuse the prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, of betraying Spain, and to call for an early election.

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- Edward Helmore
‘My God, I’m in a whale’s mouth’: lobster diver on brush with hungry humpback

Michael Packard, 56, was spat out after half a minute but expert says experience would have been ‘totally freaky’ for the whale

A New England lobsterman has described the moment he realised he was trapped in the mouth of a humpback whale off the coast of Cape Cod.

“Oh my God, I’m in a whale’s mouth and he’s trying to swallow me. I thought to myself, ‘hey, this is it. I’m finally going to die. There’s no getting out of here,’’’ Michael Packard told a local news station in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

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- Kaamil Ahmed (now); Harry Taylor, Miranda Bryant (earlier)
Covid live news: UK records a further 7,738 cases as Johnson cautious over lockdown easing; Vietnam approves Pfizer vaccine for emergency use

Honours for key UK figures in vaccine drive; MPs say Covid passports are discriminatory and should be scrapped

Delay lifting Covid restrictions in England, experts urgeSaudi Arabia bans foreigners from hajj over Covid concernsMost people in UK initially opposed to vaccine have had jab - study Lifting restrictions in England on 21 June: what are the alternatives?See all our coronavirus coverage

9.00pm BST

G7 leaders discussed the origins of Covid-19, including the theory it originated in a Chinese lab, WHO head Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“We believe that all hypotheses should be open, and we need to proceed to the second phase to really know the origins,” he told reporters.

Above all, at the root of the #COVID19 pandemic is a deficit of solidarity and sharing – of the data, information, resources, technology and tools that every nation needs to keep its people safe. @WHO believes the best way to close that deficit is with a #PandemicTreaty. #G7UK

8.52pm BST

A poll for the Observer shows more than half the British public support delaying the lifting of restrictions on social contact because of the rising number of Covid-19 cases, report Michael Savage and Ben Tapper.

With Boris Johnson poised to announce a delay to his plan to remove the remaining restrictions on 21 June, an Opinium poll for the Observer found that 54% think the move should be postponed, up from 43% from a fortnight ago.

It suggests that the public is taking a cautious view following the emergence of the Delta variant, first detected in India and thought to be 60% more transmissible than the variant previously dominant in the UK. The proportion of people who thought Johnson should push ahead with the unlocking has fallen from 44% a fortnight ago to 37% this week.

Related: Delay ending lockdown: majority of public back Boris Johnson

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- Helena Smith in Athens
‘Americans are heaven for us’: the surge in US visitors throwing Greece a lifeline

Country confounds post-Covid predictions as transatlantic holidaymakers flood in ready to spend

Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverage

A fresh wind blows down Adrianou. Seated in front of his rug store on the street that cuts through the heart of ancient Athens, Theo Iliadis takes in the scene. At 47, he’s seen “a lot of bad stuff” in recent years. The global pandemic couldn’t have come at a worse time for Greece, already gutted by prolonged economic crisis.

But barely a month after the tourist-dependent country opened its doors, the entrepreneur is in ebullient mood. There’s a glint in his eye and a lightness in the air of the carpet-stacked cavern behind him. “Americans are in town,” he smiles. “Business is good, the loom is good and I’ve got drinks on ice.”

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- Associated Press in Riyadh
Saudi Arabia bans foreigners from hajj over Covid concerns

Annual pilgrimage will be restricted to 60,000 vaccinated adults from within the kingdom

Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverage

Saudi Arabia has announced that this year’s hajj pilgrimage will be limited to 60,000 vaccinated people from within the kingdom because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The kingdom ran a reduced pilgrimage last year, but still allowed a small number of people to take part in the annual event.

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- Gloria Oladipo
Black and Latino communities are left behind in Covid-19 vaccination efforts

Although a few states have seen large increases in vaccination rates among Black and Latino Americans, most are still trailing behind

When vaccines became increasingly available throughout America, US health officials moved quickly to try to convince large numbers of Americans to get vaccinated. But amid the mass vaccination rollout, Black and Latino communities, who are disproportionately affected by the pandemic, have been left behind in vaccination efforts, creating racial disparities about who was more likely to get a Covid-19 shot.

Amid federal and local efforts to address vaccine disparity, vaccination rates for Black Americans and Latinos lag behind the general population, leaving many communities of color still unprotected against the Covid-19 pandemic.

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- Séamas O’Reilly
I’d like to make a complaint... Why some of us are so good at making a fuss

Were you the child whose indignant letter yielded a free bar of chocolate? Séamas O’Reilly puts pen to paper to reveal why we are a nation of complainers

The biscuit was only barely covered. If I’d had to guess, I’d have said 30% of its surface had chocolate applied, and that’s being charitable. Certainly more charitable than the manufacturer of the Jaffa Cake in question, who I pictured as God’s perfect miser; a Scrooge-like figure toiling in a candle-lit factory, peering over their bifocals to smear homeopathic levels of chocolate on one sorry corner of my favourite tea snack. I was 10 years old, and had never had a particularly strong sense of myself as a consumer champion, but this biscuit, this disgrace, roused something inside me.

“Dear McVitie’s,” I wrote, addressing the entire company in my missive. “I was shocked and appalled to discover this Jaffa Cake (enclosed) in such a state.” In hindsight, I was savvy enough to moderate my speech to sound adult, but not perhaps worldly enough to consider enclosing the foodstuff itself in plastic before popping it in with my letter. By the time I posted it the following day, I remember already noticing some of its soft greasiness had permeated the envelope, but I reckoned this was probably just the way things were done. Evidently it was, as two weeks later I received a letter apologising for my suboptimal experience, along with an invitation to tour a factory, and two whole boxes of Jaffa Cakes. These, I am happy to report, were perfectly chocolated.

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- Alice Fisher
It’s this season’s must-have Hermès bag. And it’s made from fungus

The luxury label is the latest to adopt pioneering technology as designers shift to plant-based fabric. Is this the end of leather?

It’s fair to say that Hermès knows handbags. The luxury fashion house’s Birkin and Kelly bags are among the most expensive ever sold; demand outstrips supply by so much that you can’t even join a waiting list. Acquiring one is a matter of luck and contacts. So when Hermès announced this season’s handbag would be made from plant leather, it marked a new era in designer accessories.

The autumn/winter 2021 Hermès Victoria (prices start from about £3,500 for its previous leather version) will be made from Sylvania, a leather grown from fungus, before being crafted in France into a perfect Hermès handbag.

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- Anthony Cummins
Brandon Taylor: ‘I grew up reading my aunt’s nursing-home manuals and bodice-rippers’

The Booker-shortlisted novelist on teaching himself to read, critics who say he’s not nice enough to white people, and why the Bible still haunts him

Brandon Taylor, 32, grew up in Alabama and studied at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He was shortlisted for last year’s Booker prize with his debut, Real Life, a campus novel about a gay black biochemist. His new book, Filthy Animals, is a series of linked stories loosely centred on the sexual tension between Lionel, a black maths postgraduate, and two white dance students, Charles and Sophie. The writer Paul Mendez has called Taylor “a phenomenon… the laureate of young, expensively educated people... pleasuring and harming themselves and each other”. He spoke to me over Zoom from his home in Iowa City.Did you consciously set out to broaden your range in these stories?I wrote the bulk of them in 2016, before writing Real Life, but I was revising the collection just as Real Life was being shortlisted for the Booker. After the challenge of writing that novel from one character’s perspective over one weekend, I found that when I came back to the stories I had more confidence to play around: the central thread of the collection is that Lionel meets these two dancers at a party, so I got to have different point-of-view characters circling one another, which was nice after the hermetic severity of Real Life.

In one story, a black protagonist recounts his boyhood trauma because white people have “a vast hunger for the calamities of others”…A black student on my creative writing programme criticised that line heavily, but it seemed so true to me. I was trying to work out my feelings about black subjectivity as it would be consumed on the page by progressive white liberals – as a black person, am I complicit in the consumption of my own calamity? Like, I profit from it in some ways and not in others; I was trying to put down some of what that feels like, when there are white people ready to consume your story and give you a scholarship for having a tragic past or whatever. Real Life was all about what happens when you take white people up on their very kind offer to pay for your education because they feel sorry for you.

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- Andrew Anthony
David Eagleman: ‘The working of the brain resembles drug dealers in Albuquerque’

The neuroscientist, broadcaster and author on the evolution of the brain, the mystery of consciousnesss, and why the next generation will be much smarter than us

David Eagleman, 50, is an American neuroscientist, bestselling author and presenter of the BBC series The Brain, as well as co-founder and chief executive officer of Neosensory, which develops devices for sensory substitution. His area of speciality is brain plasticity, and that is the subject of his new book, Livewired, which examines how experience refashions the brain, and shows that it is a much more adaptable organ than previously thought.

For the past half-century or more the brain has been spoken of in terms of a computer. What are the biggest flaws with that particular model?It’s a very seductive comparison. But in fact, what we’re looking at is three pounds of material in our skulls that is essentially a very alien kind of material to us. It doesn’t write down memories, the way we think of a computer doing it. And it is capable of figuring out its own culture and identity and making leaps into the unknown. I’m here in Silicon Valley. Everything we talk about is hardware and software. But what’s happening in the brain is what I call livewire, where you have 86bn neurons, each with 10,000 connections, and they are constantly reconfiguring every second of your life. Even by the time you get to the end of this paragraph, you’ll be a slightly different person than you were at the beginning.

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- Rupert Neate
Clamour for wealth tax grows after revelations about super-rich’s affairs

Data leak published by ProPublica fuels calls to tighten up system which sees ultra-wealthy pay little or no tax

The revelation last week that the 25 richest US billionaires have paid very little tax even as their fortunes have soared has reignited demands for wealth taxes on both sides of the Atlantic.

An unprecedented leak of “a vast trove” of 15 years of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data to the investigative news site ProPublica has provided a staggering insight into the legal strategies the very rich deploy to avoid tax.

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- Michael Savage and James Tapper
Delay ending lockdown: majority of public back Boris Johnson

Observer poll reveals most people believe prime minister should wait past proposed 21 June date

Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverage

The majority of the public back delaying the end of legal restrictions on social contact in the wake of rising cases of a more transmissible Covid variant, according to a new poll.

With Boris Johnson poised to announce a delay to his plan to remove the remaining restrictions on 21 June, an Opinium poll for the Observer found that 54% think the move should be postponed, up from 43% from a fortnight ago.

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- Associated Press in Austin
Gunman at large after Austin shooting leaves 13 injured, police in Texas say
Incident occurred in early hours in entertainment districtTwo victims in critical condition as at least one suspect sought

Police in Austin, Texas, are searching for a suspect in a shooting early on Saturday that injured 13 people in the city’s downtown entertainment district.

Authorities said they had responded to reports of multiple shots fired about 1.30am and had initially located several victims who had sustained gunshot wounds and were injured. A total of 13 victims sustained gunshot wounds or were injured, Austin PD said in a statement. Eleven victims were in stable condition, and two victims were in critical condition. No fatalities have been reported.

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Thousands march in support of Muslim family killed in Canada truck attack – video

Thousands of people have marched in Canada in support of a Muslim family run over and killed by a man driving a pickup truck. Police have described the incident last Sunday as a premeditated attack motivated by Islamophobia. Crowds in London, Ontario, marched five miles on Friday from the spot where the family was killed to a nearby mosque, the site close to where police arrested the attacker. Candlelight vigils were also held to honour the victims and protest against hatred

Fear and anger in Canada after Muslim family is killed: ‘How many more people have to die?’ Continue reading...
- Pete McKenzie
New Zealand’s campaign finance laws are broken. That can have enormous consequences |  Pete McKenzie

An increased appetite for political donations strengthens the political influence of the wealthiest New Zealanders

The spokesperson for Aotearoa New Zealand’s Green party was genuinely surprised. She had called after I informed them that a major donor to their 2020 election campaign had subsequently pleaded guilty to animal neglect. The spokesperson said the Greens had not known about the neglect when they took her money.

They nevertheless refused to donate it onwards. They argued the Incorporated Societies Act required them to hold on to it. As I later found out, that’s not quite true: returning the donation, or donating it to an organisation like the SPCA, seems to be possible according to their party’s charter.

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- Naaman Zhou
Universities promise to ramp up face-to-face learning as student frustrations grow

Students have been able to go to pubs and clubs this year, but not lectures. Now universities are saying next semester will be radically different

Australian universities say campuses will look “radically” different next semester as students return to more in-person learning, although most large lectures will still be delivered online.

As many students yearn for a return to the classroom, universities say they are planning to offer in-person learning for up to 90% of courses next semester.

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- By Siobhán O'Grady
Algeria holds first Parliament election since protest wave in 2019. But many stayed away.
The vote reflected dismay over the slow pace of reforms since longtime leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika was ousted in 2019.
- By Antonia Noori Farzan
Putin laughs off ‘killer’ comments ahead of summit with Biden
Putin described Biden as a “career man” who has “spent virtually his entire adulthood in politics,” making him a very different type of politician than former president Donald Trump.
- By Karla Adam and Loveday Morris
Cornwall, where G-7 leaders are hosted at a beach resort, is one of the poorest regions in Britain
Locals say the contrast between luxury hotels and food banks is stark.
- By Antonia Noori Farzan and Quentin Aries
Britain’s Boris Johnson takes shots at E.U. leaders as tensions over ‘sausage war’ threaten message of unity
“I’ve talked to some of our friends here today, who do seem to misunderstand that the U.K. is a single country, a single territory," Johnson told Sky News. "I just need to get that into their heads.”
- By Antonia Noori Farzan
Did Biden give Boris Johnson a $6,000 bike and get a Wikipedia printout in return? Not exactly.
For starters, the bicycle only cost $1,800, and Johnson will likely have to pay for it himself if he wants to keep it.
- By Antonia Noori Farzan
What you need to know about El Salvador’s plan to use volcano-powered bitcoin as legal tender
Here's what the country's new bitcoin law could mean, and why implementation could be complicated.
- By Isabelle Khurshudyan and Loveday Morris
Ransomware’s suspected Russian roots point to a long detente between the Kremlin and hackers
One apparent cybercrime rule still applies: Don’t target Russia or its friends.
- By Michael E. Miller, Erin Cunningham and Lateshia Beachum
Covid-19 live updates: J&J to scrap about 60 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine
The Food and Drug Administration cleared 10 million doses made at the problem-plagued Emergent BioSolutions plant for use.
- By Harrison Smith
Gottfried Böhm, Pritzker-winning architect who sculpted in concrete, dies at 101
He designed a monumental, jewellike church in the German town of Neviges.
- By Miriam Berger
Death of prisoner from covid-19 sparks protests as Bahrain battles outbreak
Husain Barakat, 48, had received the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine but still died after being hospitalized, according to human rights groups.
- By Jennifer Hassan
Boris Johnson says he and President Biden are ‘working together’ on case of Harry Dunn
Sacoolas was working in the United Kingdom for a U.S. intelligence agency, as was her husband, her lawyer told a Virginia court earlier this year.
- By Katerina Ang, Erin Cunningham, Kim Bellware and Hannah Knowles
Most Americans support required vaccinations for school attendance, survey finds
President Biden is slated to announce the plan at the Group of Seven meeting in Britain this week.
- By Karla Adam
At the G-7 in Cornwall, protesting with signs, samba and electronic trash
Protesters are hoping to get the attention of world leaders.
- By Jennifer Hassan
World leaders are in England, but beautiful British beaches have stolen the show
It's not all floating diapers, pebbles and angry seagulls.
- By Dylan Moriarty and Ruby Mellen
The toll of Israeli strikes on Gaza: Mapping the destruction left behind
U.N. data shows that along some 140 square miles, 459 buildings were destroyed or damaged some of which were near hospitals, clinics and schools.
- By Antonia Noori Farzan
What’s on the menu for the G-7 summit? Baked brie, toasted marshmallows and hot buttered rum.
The three-day summit in Cornwall, England, will also serve as an opportunity for Britain to show off its finest cuisine — and demonstrate that it has more to offer than jellied eel and beans on toast.
- By William Booth
G-7 in Cornwall aims to be first carbon-neutral summit. What will it take to offset all the jet fuel?
Boris Johnson undercut his green messaging when he arrived by plane.
- By Michael E. Miller
Op-eds in a Chinese state tabloid slammed U.S. policy. The author works at the Pentagon.
Franz Gayl, a celebrated whistleblower and former Marine, is being investigated after attacking American policy on Taiwan in a Chinese government mouthpiece.
- By Griff Witte and Sufian Taha
Long overlooked, Israel’s Arab citizens are increasingly asserting their Palestinian identity
Recent conflict and political developments have turned a spotlight on a community often caught between two worlds.
- By Associated Press
Bolsonaro fined as he flouts mask rule before motorcyclists
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has led a throng of motorcyclist supporters through the streets of Sao Paulo — and got hit with a fine for failure to wear a mask, in violation of local pandemic restrictions
- By Associated Press
Activists and a medical group say shells have hit a hospital in a northern Syrian town controlled by Turkey-backed fighters, killing at least six people, including two medical staff
- By Konstantin Testorides | AP
Police in North Macedonia say officers discovered 82 migrants hidden in vehicles in two separate operations Friday
- By Jim Heintz | AP
Moscow orders new restrictions as COVID-19 infections soar
Moscow’s mayor has ordered a week off for some workplaces and imposed restrictions on many businesses to fight coronavirus infections that have more than doubled in the past week
- By Associated Press
Israeli police say woman with knife shot dead in West Bank
Israeli police say a Palestinian woman carrying a knife ran toward an Israeli military checkpoint and was shot dead by a private security guard
Biden to urge G7 leaders to call out, compete with China
Leaders of the world's largest economies unveiled an infrastructure plan Saturday for the developing world to compete with China's global initiatives, but there was no immediate consensus on how forcefully to call out Beijing over human rights abuses.
Police: Attacker wounds 13 in Austin shooting and escapes
Someone opened fire in a busy entertainment district in downtown Austin early Saturday, wounding 13 people, including two critically, before getting away, authorities said.
Israeli police say woman with knife shot dead in West Bank
Israeli police said a Palestinian woman carrying a knife ran toward an Israeli military checkpoint on Saturday and was shot dead by a private security guard.
Queen shows off sword skills by cutting cake during G7 in Cornwall
Never one to do things by halves, the Queen showed off her sword skills Friday cutting a cake at a lunch organized by educational charity Eden Project.
Biden to name Pulse Nightclub a national memorial
U.S. President Joe Biden said on the fifth anniversary of a mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando that he will sign a bill naming the site as a national memorial.
Aid groups appeal to G7 for cash to get shots into arms
Rich nations must do more than just donate surplus vaccines if they hope to end the COVID-19 pandemic, according to public health experts and humanitarian groups that are calling for money, increased production and logistical support to help developing countries where the virus is still raging.
Five years on, LGBTQ2S+ community marks grim anniversary of Pulse shooting
The LGBTQ2S+ community and survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting are marking the five-year anniversary of the attack in Orlando, where 49 people died and more than 50 were injured.
Travel rebound: 2 million people go through U.S. airports
The airline industry's recovery from the pandemic passed a milestone as more than 2 million people streamed through U.S. airport security checkpoints on Friday for the first time since early March 2020.
Arkansas state trooper sued for allegedly causing a pregnant woman's car to flip during traffic stop
An Arkansas woman is suing a state trooper after she claims he performed a dangerous pursuit intervention technique manoeuvre during a traffic stop, which caused her vehicle to flip on its top as she attempted to pull over.
Teachers in U.S. wary of new laws limiting instruction on race
As middle school teacher Brittany Paschall assembled a lesson plan on the history of the Negro Baseball Leagues, she wondered how she might have to go about it differently next year under a new Tennessee state law that prohibits teaching certain concepts of race and racism.
Biden urges G7 leaders to create unified front to counter China
Leaders of the world's largest economies unveiled an infrastructure plan Saturday for the developing world to compete with China’s global initiatives, but there was no immediate consensus on how forcefully to call out Beijing over human rights abuses.
France reaches 30 million Covid-19 vaccine first doses
France has administered a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to 30.14 million people, health authorities said on Saturday, hitting the government's target for mid-June.
Denmark's Christian Eriksen in stable condition after collapse during match
Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen was taken to a hospital Saturday after collapsing on the field during a match at the European Championship, leading to the game being suspended for more than 90 minutes.
Barbora Krejcikova wins French Open women's title
Unseeded Barbora Krejcikova won her first Grand Slam title by beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 in the French Open final Saturday.
Wales draw with Switzerland, mighty Belgium enter fray
Euro 2020 stopped off in Baku as Kieffer Moore earned Wales a 1-1 draw with Switzerland in their opening game on Saturday, following Italy's impressive win to get the tournament underway in Rome the previous night. Finland beat Denmark 1-0 in a match overshdowed by Danish star Christian Eriksen's collapse, and star-studded Belgium launched their campaign by facing off against Russia.
Macron will reset relations with UK if Johnson 'keeps his word' on Brexit
French President Emmanuel Macron offered on Saturday to reset relations with Britain as long as Prime Minister Boris Johnson stands by the Brexit divorce deal he signed with the European Union.
Low turnout Algerian elections amid opposition boycott
Algerians vote in parliamentary elections on Saturday as authorities seek to bolster their legitimacy and snuff out a long-running protest movement, under what activists say is a "climate of repression".
- Alexia KEFALAS
Greek PM discusses relations with Turkey, migrants and summer tourism
In an interview with FRANCE 24, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis played down tensions with neighbouring Turkey ahead of a meeting with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at next week's NATO summit. Asked about the issue of migrant arrivals, he said "it is our job to defend our borders". Finally, the Greek leader encouraged tourists to come to Greece this summer, calling it "a safe country" and saying that Greece has "managed the pandemic better than many other European countries".
Saudi allows hajj pilgrimage for 60,000 vaccinated residents, bars foreigners again
Saudi Arabia announced Saturday it will allow 60,000 residents vaccinated against Covid to perform this year's hajj, but Muslims from abroad will be barred for a second straight year.
Gunmen kill dozens of villagers in northern Nigeria
Armed cattle thieves have killed 53 people in northwest Nigeria's Zamfara state, police and local residents said Saturday, the latest violence to hit the restive region.
Moscow introduces new restrictions amid surge in Covid-19 cases
Moscow's mayor on Saturday ordered a week off for some workplaces and imposed restrictions on many businesses to fight coronavirus infections that have more than doubled in the past week.
Hong Kong activist Agnes Chow released from prison on protest anniversary
Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow was released from prison on Saturday after serving nearly seven months for her role in an unauthorised assembly during anti-government protests in the city in 2019.
Italy launches Euro 2021 with commanding win over lacklustre Turkey
Italy kicked off the European Championship in emphatic style on Friday as they delivered a commanding performance to sweep past toothless Turkey 3-0 in the Stadio Olimpico and stamp their early authority on Group A.
No 'serious irregularities' found in Peru's disputed presidential election
Peru's disputed presidential vote had not shown any "serious irregularities", international election monitors said Friday, as the country's caretaker leader urged calm after five days of rising tensions without a result from the cliffhanger poll.
Djokovic reaches French Open final with thrilling victory over Nadal
Novak Djokovic came from a set down in a spellbinding French Open semi-final to inflict only a third ever defeat on the Parisian clay for Rafa Nadal, moving through 3-6 6-3 7-6(4) 6-2 in front of mesmerised crowd on Friday.
‘Geostrategic consensus’ on China keeps US-UK relationship special
Joe Biden and Boris Johnson met for the first time on Thursday ahead of the  G7 summit, after much media discourse highlighted the White House’s concerns over Northern Ireland and the president’s scorn for the PM in the past. But as Biden’s US prioritises building an anti-Chinese alliance, analysts say it finds Britain much more likeminded than Germany or France – demonstrating that there was substance beneath the “special relationship” smiles.
Main suspect in murder of RFI journalists killed by French strike in northern Mali
A jihadist leader of al-Qaeda who was responsible for the 2013 abduction and murder of French journalists Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon was killed in a French army strike in northern Mali, France’s Defence Minister Florence Parly said Friday.
Mali announces new govt with army figures kept in key roles
Mali announced a new government on Friday in which key roles were retained by army figures, according to a statement read out on the national broadcaster. 
French Open: Tsitsipas fights back Zverev to book spot in maiden Grand Slam final
Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas staved off a fightback from German Alexander Zverev to win 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-3 in a scintillating French Open clash on Friday and book a maiden Grand Slam final spot. 
Amazon share in French football TV rights sparks furious Canal+ boycott
The award of a share of French league television rights to Amazon on Friday sparked a furious boycott from the other winning bidder Canal+.
NATO chief says worsening security situation in Sahel region 'of great concern'
In an interview with FRANCE 24 ahead of next week's NATO summit, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg discussed the worsening security situation in Africa's Sahel region, as well as NATO's withdrawal from Afghanistan. He also welcomed the Biden administration's commitment to the Alliance after the turbulent Trump years.
Afghan arsonists sentenced to 10 years each for burning down Greek migrant camp
A court has sentenced four migrants to 10 years in prison each for their part in fires that engulfed the Greek refugee camp Moria last year.The Afghans immediately appealed after the verdict in the trial on Saturday, but this has no postponing effect, Greek state radio ERT reported.In September 2020, the Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos was almost completely destroyed in the fire, leaving around 12,000 people without accommodation overnight. No one died.Police investigated six youths…
Second teenager charged over London shooting of Black Lives Matter activist Sasha Johnson
A second teenager appeared in court on Saturday on a charge of conspiracy to murder over the shooting in south London last month of Sasha Johnson, a prominent member of the Black Lives Matter movement in Britain.The Metropolitan Police said 18-year-old Devonte Brown was charged on Friday evening. He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court and was remanded into custody with an order to appear at the Old Bailey courthouse on July 7.Johnson, a mother of two, was shot in the head at a house…
Unnamed bidder pays US$28 million to join Jeff Bezos on Blue Origin space flight next month
An unnamed bidder paid US$28 million at auction on Saturday for a seat alongside Jeff Bezos on board the first crewed space flight of the billionaire’s company Blue Origin next month.The Amazon founder revealed this week that both he and his brother Mark would take a place on board the company’s New Shepard launch vehicle on July 20, to fly to the edge of space and back.They will be joined by the winner of Saturday’s charity auction, whose identity will be disclosed in coming weeks, and by a…
Thirteen wounded, two critically, after shooter opens fire in Austin, Texas entertainment district then escapes
A shooter opened fire in a popular entertainment district in downtown Austin, Texas early on Saturday, wounding 13 people, including two critically, before getting away, authorities said.Investigators were looking into what sparked the shooting but were not able to get a detailed description of the shooter, though they believe it was a man and were going through surveillance video and other evidence, interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon said at a news conference at 4am local time. He asked anyone…
Denmark’s Christian Eriksen given CPR by medial staff after collapsing on pitch during Euro 2020 football match
Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen collapsed while playing and was given CPR by medical staff during his side’s Euro 2020 soccer match with Finland in Rome, Italy on Saturday. The game has been suspended.A Reuters photographer at the match saw Eriksen raise his hand as he was carried from the pitch on a stretcher.Eriksen collapsed suddenly in the 42nd minute of the match while running near the left touchline. Teammates Martin Braithwaite and Thomas Delaney rushed to assist him, with Delaney…
Brexit dispute between Britain and EU over Northern Ireland clouds G7 leaders’ summit
Turbulence from the divorce between the UK and the European Union provided an unwanted distraction at the Group of Seven (G7) summit taking place in southwest England, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying on Saturday that post-Brexit agreements will fail if the EU continues to take a “theologically draconian” approach to the rules.Johnson held meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and the bloc’s top officials on the sidelines of the summit…
Organiser of annual Tiananmen vigil in Hong Kong vows to fight on despite speech by top Beijing official denouncing ‘enemies’
The lead organiser of Hong Kong’s annual Tiananmen Square vigil, which calls for an end to “one-party dictatorship” in mainland China, has vowed not to disband despite a fresh round of pressure exerted by a top Beijing official, even as the group said it would meet to reassess its plight.Chow Hang-tung, the vice-chairwoman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, said on Saturday the group had “made plans” to prepare for escalating threats but ruled out…
Saudi Arabia limits haj to vaccinated citizens, bars foreign travellers over Covid-19 fears
Saudi Arabia announced on Saturday it will allow 60,000 residents vaccinated against Covid-19 to perform this year’s haj, but Muslims from abroad will be barred for a second straight year.The haj – a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lives – typically packs millions of pilgrims into congested religious sites and could be a major source of contagion amid the coronavirus pandemic.This year it would be “open for nationals and residents of the kingdom, limited to 60,000 pilgrims”,…
Why businesses may have to ‘pick sides’ if China starts using anti-sanctions law
China will soon start targeting foreign and Chinese businesses under its new law to counter Western sanctions, effectively forcing them to “pick sides”, according to legal observers.They say the broad scope of the legislation could present foreign businesses in China with a major dilemma, as they may be caught between compliance with foreign sanctions and the new law that prohibits them from enforcing those measures.Under Article 12 of the law, passed by the National People’s Congress Standing…
Cargo ship explosion in Philippines injures at least six, causes fire in Manila slum
A fire and a powerful blast ripped through a small cargo ship docked to refuel in the Philippine capital of Manila on Saturday, injuring at least six people and igniting a blaze in a nearby riverside slum that gutted dozens of shanties, officials said.It was not immediately clear what triggered the fire, which raged for about seven hours aboard the MV Titan 8 and forced its crew to jump in panic into the Pasig River.At least two crewmen who were on the vessel remained unaccounted for.The vessel…
G7 leaders adopt ‘Build Back Better World’ plan to rival China’s belt and road strategy
The Group of Seven richest democracies on Saturday sought to counter China’s growing influence by offering developing nations an infrastructure plan that would rival President Xi Jinping’s multitrillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).The G7, whose leaders discussed strategic competition with Beijing during their meeting in southwestern England, has been searching for a coherent response to the growing assertiveness of Xi after China’s surging economic and military rise over the past 40…
Hong Kong’s home buying frenzy returns, as a record number of bidders snapped up every flat of New World’s The Pavilia Farm III project on offer in Tai Wai
Hong Kong’s property buyers snapped up every single flat put on the market by New World Development during its second round of weekend sales of The Pavilia Farm III project in Tai Wai, with a record number of bidders chasing after every unit.As many as 30,108 online bids were received for 338 flats, or 89 registrations of interest for every apartment on average, according to a New World spokeswoman. Every unit had sold out by 7pm, according to several sales agents.The project’s location in Tai…
‘No fear of sacrifice’: China-India border clash survivor doubles down on sovereignty line
Nearly a year after a deadly clash on its border with India, China has reasserted its claims to the area, with a survivor of the confrontation saying he was willing to give his life to safeguard the country’s sovereignty.In a ceremony to commemorate military martyrs on Friday, Qi Fabao, a Chinese regimental commander who sustained head wounds in the attack, said he was not afraid of making the sacrifice.“If the army is compared to a sharp sword, then the blood of the soldier is the edge. We…
China’s DR Congo hydropower projects: a win-win deal or short circuit?
A major Chinese-funded and built hydropower dam taking shape in the southeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo may find itself affected by the Congolese president’s desire to renegotiate deals signed with foreign mining companies.Work on the US$660 million Busanga Hydropower Station began in 2017 and once completed the project will provide power to a major mining project, Sicomines, in the mineral-rich region.The hydropower project is part of a minerals-for-infrastructure deal signed in 2007…
Coronavirus: Hong Kong confirms 3 imported Covid-19 cases as expert assures residents BioNTech vaccine safe for children
Hong Kong confirmed three new Covid-19 infections on Saturday, all of them imported, as a leading health expert sought to allay fears over possible vaccine side effects as the city prepares to inoculate younger children. The latest cases, three arrivals from Indonesia, came after no infections emerged on Friday. The local coronavirus count now stands at 11,877, with 210 related deaths. The vaccination drive also hit a new daily high, with just over 54,000 doses being administered, according to…
Hong Kong to widen access to corporate executives’ data to professionals to enhance compliance work, deter money laundering
Hong Kong’s government plans to allow a longer list of professionals to gain access to the personal data of corporate directors and executives, in a refinement of a plan to crack down on money laundering and financial misdemeanour.The Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau (FSTB) would add practising accountants, lawyers, bankers to a list of “specified persons” who can get access to the personal data of corporate directors and executives, said the FSTB Secretary Christopher Hui Ching-yu…
India’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics quest overshadowed by controversy over Chinese sponsor Li-Ning
India’s quest for Olympic glory has run into a hurdle, even before it can start.Days after Olympic kits for its athletes were unveiled by sports minister Kiren Rijiju at a special ceremony, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) cut ties with the main sponsor of the team, the Chinese sports brand Li-Ning.The decision has now become a diplomatic irritant for New Delhi, after the Chinese foreign ministry said it expected India to view bilateral cooperation in an “objective and fair manner”, rather…
China hits out at Washington’s missile plans and calls for cuts to US and Russian nuclear arsenals
China has criticised the United States over plans to deploy missiles and defensive systems in neighbouring countries and called for cuts to the American and Russian nuclear arsenals.Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the comments in an address to the UN-backed Conference on Disarmament in which he also called for fresh efforts to advance nuclear talks with Iran and criticised Washington’s “unilateral bullying”.Wang was speaking days after the Biden administration lifted some of its sanctions on Iran…
G7 leaders turn attention to China as summit focus shifts to foreign policy
China was not represented at the G7 summit in Cornwall but it will be the focus of talks as leaders discuss foreign policy issues on Saturday.Sources involved in planning the event said the main issues would range from human rights abuses in Xinjiang and the crackdown in Hong Kong, to strengthening supply chains and an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.Leaders from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the European Union will be under pressure from US…
Hong Kong protests: muted demonstrations, at least 4 arrested on anniversary of first major clash of 2019
At least four people were arrested as muted demonstrations by small, scattered groups marked the anniversary of the first major clash of Hong Kong’s 2019 anti-government protests amid a heavy police presence on the streets. At about 9.30pm, police entered Langham Place in Mong Kok after they found about 20 people shouting slogans they said “might breach the national security law”. At least three males and one female aged between 15 and 19 were arrested for disorderly conduct in a public place…
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen apologises for surge in Covid-19 deaths
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen has apologised for the recent surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths.On Saturday, Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Centre reported 251 new Covid-19 cases and 26 deaths, a slight decrease from the previous day’s tally of 287 cases and 28 deaths.On the same day, Tsai published a short video on Twitter, apologising to all those affected by the outbreak.“Each and every Taiwanese who has been infected, or even lost their life, is part of our greater national community,”…
Coronavirus: Guangzhou outbreak leaves small firms reeling amid fears of possible ‘spillover effects’ on nearby cities 
Strict coronavirus containment measures in Guangdong are heaping pressure on local businesses still finding their feet after the first wave of the pandemic swept through the province last year, threatening to wipe up to a percentage point off local growth, but posing only a minor threat to China’s overall economy.Lockdown measures and service suspensions have been imposed in some parts of the province since late May, after a 75-year-old woman living in Guangzhou was found infected with the…
Why Western sanctions could push Belarus to switch to Chinese tech
China and Belarus could forge stronger military and technology ties as sanctions from the West prompt Minsk to look to Beijing for more support, diplomatic observers said.The European Union and the United States imposed sanctions on Belarus after a flight heading to Lithuania from Greece was forced to land in Minsk and Belarusian dissident journalist Roman Protasevich was arrested last month.The EU barred its airlines from using Belarusian airspace and Belarus planes were banned from EU…
Coronavirus: Guangzhou patients ‘thought they had the flu’, delayed seeking treatment
Nearly two-thirds of the Covid-19 patients diagnosed in an outbreak in a southern Chinese city thought they had the flu and delayed seeking treatment, public health officials said on Saturday amid signs of easing in the disease’s spread.Yang Zhibin, director of the centre for disease control and prevention in Guangzhou, said nearly 60 per cent of the latest patients confirmed with Covid-19 self-medicated with flu drugs after experiencing symptoms including fever, coughing, fatigue, a sore…
Coronavirus: India cases fall to two-month low; Japanese schools pull out as Olympic spectators
India logged 84,332 fresh coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the lowest number of infections in 70 days, government data showed on Saturday.The South Asian country however reported a high number of virus-related deaths, with 4,002 fatalities in the same period, according to a Health Ministry bulletin.The rise in deaths has been attributed to a revision of casualty figures from states like western Maharashtra, which alone added 2,213 “backlog deaths,” broadcaster NDTV reported.On Thursday,…
Brazil’s Bolsonaro fined for not wearing mask at motorcycle rally amid COVID-19
Jair Bolsonaro, who tested positive for COVID-19 last year, was also fined for failure to wear a mask during a rally with supporters in May in the northeastern state of Maranhao.
Russia tests nasal spray COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 8 to 12
The children's shot is expected to be ready for distribution by Sept. 15, Gintsburg was quoted as saying during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.
- Hannah Jackson
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen stable in hospital after collapsing during match
Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen collapsed near the end of the first half of the match against Finland during the UEFA European Championship Saturday.
European Union, U.K. Brexit spat over Northern Ireland clouds G7 summit
The spat has drawn in U.S. President Joe Biden, who is concerned about the potential threat to Northern Ireland's peace accord.
13 injured in shooting in downtown Austin, suspect not in custody: police
Two of the injured people were in critical condition but as of the news conference at 4 a.m. local time, no one had died, interim Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon said.
- Emerald Bensadoun
Trudeau discusses detained Michaels, foreign policy with G7 leaders on 2nd day of summit
Ramping up the worldwide vaccine campaign to beat COVID-19 is a major focus of the G7 Leaders' Summit, hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Mexico says a quarter of its population has been infected with COVID-19
The new estimated number, which exceeds 31 million people, is far higher than the country's confirmed case count of nearly 2.5 million.
Prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activist given early release from prison
Agnes Chow had been convicted with her long-time activist colleague Joshua Wong for their involvement in an illegal rally near police headquarters in the Chinese-ruled city.
Biden dismantles Trump-era office for victims of crimes committed by immigrants
Trump created the Victim Of Immigration Crime Engagement Office, known by its acronym VOICE, by executive order during his first week in office in January 2017.
Queen Elizabeth to G7: Are you supposed to be enjoying yourselves?
As she sat for a photocall with the world leaders, Queen Elizabeth quipped: 'Are you supposed to be looking as if you're enjoying yourselves?' provoking laughter.
Tens of thousands march against far-right in France
Tens of thousands of people across France on Saturday marched against "attacks on freedoms" and what organisers said was a growing influence of far-right ideas ahead of next year's presidential elections.
Canada paying final homage to family killed in truck attack
The city of London, Ontario paid homage Saturday to a Muslim family deliberately mowed down by the driver of a pick-up truck, in an attack that has shocked Canadians and which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced as "terrorist."
Trip to space with Jeff Bezos sells for $28 mn
An unnamed bidder paid $28 million at auction Saturday for a seat alongside Jeff Bezos on board the first crewed spaceflight of the billionaire's company Blue Origin next month.
Fujimori clings to fraud claim in Peru as vote tally nears end
Right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori insisted Saturday that Peru's presidential election was marred by fraud, as final vote counting dragged on with her leftist rival slightly ahead.
'Intense' Iran nuclear talks resume as Germany calls for rapid progress
Indirect talks between Tehran and Washington on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal resumed in Vienna on Saturday as the European Union said negotiations were "intense" and Germany called for rapid progress.
Moscow residents told to stay off work to combat COVID-19
MOSCOW: Moscow's mayor has effectively declared a public holiday for all of next week to combat a surge in COVID-19 cases. Sergei Sobyanin announced the decision on Saturday (Jun 12), saying it would not affect organisations that maintain the Russian capital's infrastructure, the military, and ...
Socialist Castillo close to victory in Peru as few votes remain to be counted
LIMA: Peruvian socialist candidate Pedro Castillo was close to being named the Andean country's next president as the vote count neared an end, making a last-minute flip by right-wing rival Keiko Fujimori increasingly unlikely. Castillo, an elementary school teacher raised in an impoverished ...
Four Afghans get 10-year jail terms for Greek migrant camp fire
A Greek court on Saturday sentenced four Afghan asylum seekers convicted of starting fires that burnt down Europe's largest migrant camp last year to 10 years in prison each.
Moscow announces 'non-working week' as COVID-19 cases surge
MOSCOW: Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin on Saturday (Jun 12) announced a "non-working" week in the Russian capital, with non-essential workers told to stay home, as COVID-19 cases hit a six-month high. The decision marks a change of tone for Russian authorities, with President Vladimir Putin ...
Rising UK COVID-19 cases are 'serious, serious concern': PM Johnson
CARBIS BAY, England: Rising COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalisations are a matter of "serious, serious concern", British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday (Jun 12), adding he was less optimistic about reopening the country than he was last month. "It's clear that the Indian variant ...
UK, EU show little sign of defusing post-Brexit row
CARBIS BAY: Britain and the European Union showed little sign of defusing a post-Brexit trade dispute on Saturday (Jun 12), with both sides repeating their opposing positions even after US President Joe Biden encouraged them to find a compromise. Since Britain completed its exit from the EU late ...
UK's queen joined by cousin for 'Trooping the Colour' event
LONDON: Britain's Queen Elizabeth viewed a scaled-down military ceremony at Windsor Castle to mark her official birthday on Saturday, her first since the death of her husband Prince Philip two months ago. The 95-year-old monarch was accompanied by her cousin Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent ...
Saudi Arabia bars foreign travellers from Haj over COVID-19
DUBAI: Saudi Arabia has restricted the annual Haj pilgrimage to citizens and residents and set a maximum of 60,000 pilgrims in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was announced on Saturday (Jun 12) by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah in a statement carried by state media. The pilgrimage ...
US fisherman survives being swallowed by humpback whale
It sounds like a real-life take on "Pinocchio" - a US lobster fisherman says he was scooped into the mouth of a humpback whale Friday and yet lived to tell the story.
Nobel-winning Japanese chemist Ei-ichi Negishi dies at 85
WASHINGTON: Japanese chemist Ei-ichi Negishi who won the Nobel prize for developing a method for creating complex chemicals necessary for manufacturing drugs and electronics has died aged 85, his US university said. Negishi died on Sunday in Indianapolis, Purdue University said in a statement on ...
UK PM Johnson likely to delay England's final stage of COVID-19 reopening: Report
LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to delay lifting the remaining COVID-19 restrictions in England as data shows a further rise in cases of the rapidly spreading Delta variant, British media reported. Johnson is due to announce on Monday (Jun 14) whether the planned lifting of ...
G7 rivals China's belt and road with grand infrastructure plan
CARBIS BAY, England: The Group of Seven richest democracies on Saturday (Jun 12) sought to counter China's growing influence by offering developing nations an infrastructure plan that would rival President Xi Jinping's multi-trillion-dollar Belt and Road initiative. The G7, whose leaders are ...
India's daily COVID-19 infections at more than 2-month low
NEW DELHI: India on Saturday (Jun 12) reported 84,332 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, the lowest in more than two months, data from the health ministry showed. The South Asian country's total COVID-19 case load now stands at 29.4 million, while total fatalities are at 367,081, data ...
Apple reaffirms privacy stance amid Trump probe revelations
Apple reaffirms privacy stance amid Trump probe revelations
G7 summit outlines health pact to stop future pandemics
CARBIS BAY, United Kingdom: G7 leaders are on Saturday (Jun 12) set to agree a joint declaration aimed at preventing another pandemic, as they resume wide-ranging talks at their first in-person summit in almost two years. The group of leading economies - Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy ...
Migrant school forced online by COVID-19 unites children on Mexico border
MATAMOROS, Mexico: Standing in her kitchen Alma Beatriz Serrano Ramirez waves a small board in front of her phone, hoping the students watching on the other end are paying attention to the math lesson she is teaching. The 38-year-old Honduran migrant had dreamed of settling in the United States ...
Putin hopes Biden less impulsive than Trump
Russian President Vladimir Putin voiced hope Friday that Joe Biden will be less impulsive than his predecessor Donald Trump ahead of his first summit with the new US leader.
Commentary: Britain emerges a major global powerhouse in post-pandemic world
Engagement with China, technological innovation, and clean energy should be on the country's agenda if it is to catalyse economic growth in the coming decades, says best-selling author Dambisa Moyo.
Commentary: US withdrawal from Afghanistan is hollow victory for Pakistan
The groups Pakistan has nurtured in supporting the Taliban could strike at its own breast, says Shashi Tharoor.
Bolsonaro booed on plane, tells critics to 'take a donkey'
They say Brazil is polarized under far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, but the divide was literal Friday, when he boarded a commercial plane to greet supporters in the front -- as opponents booed him at the top of their lungs from the back.
Texas police seek two suspects over mass shooting
A total of 14 people were wounded in the incident in Austin.
US rapper Polo G charged with assaulting police officer
The Chicago-based artist had released his newest album Hall Of Fame on Friday.
Bolsonaro fined for failing to wear mask during motorbike procession
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro led supporters on bikes through Sao Paulo.
28 million dollar auction bid wins ride into space with Jeff Bezos
The winner’s identity will be revealed in a couple of weeks.
Protesters take to canoes and surfboards to urge G7 leaders to save seas
Organisers Surfers Against Sewage said more than 1,000 people paddled out to sea to join the demonstration in Cornwall
Johnson voices 'serious concern' over Delta variant in hint at delay to lockdown end
The British prime minister is expected to delay the final lifting of restrictions in England following a rise in cases of the variant
Boris Johnson: I will not hesitate to take unilateral measures over Northern Ireland
The British prime minister has warned EU leaders he is prepared to invoke Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol
Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow released from prison
Ms Chow, 24, was greeted by a crowd of journalists as she left the Tai Lam Centre for Women.
Von der Leyen tells Johnson UK must implement Brexit deal
EU tells Britain's Johnson: implement the Brexit deal
Saudi Arabia says hajj to be limited to 60,000 amid coronavirus restrictions
This year’s event, which will begin in mid-July, will be limited to people aged 18 to 65 who have been vaccinated.
- 247 News Around The World
Euro 2020: England plead with their fans no to boo when players take a knee at Wembley

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The Football Association has pleaded with fans not to boo when England’s players take a knee ahead of their Euro 2020 opener against Croatia on Sunday. Gareth Southgate‘s side open their tournament on home turf at Wembley but there are fears the anti-discrimination gesture prior to kick-off could once again be jeered. It follows the […]

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Christian Eriksen is the Danish wonderkid who won hearts of Tottenham fans in seven thrilling years in Premier League

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FANS of all Premier League clubs were terrified when Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch during Denmark’s Euro 2020 opener with Finland this afternoon. But few fans will have felt as emotional a connection than those of Tottenham Hotspur. 11 Christian Eriksen played his way into iconic status at SpursCredit: Reuters 11 The Great Dane […]

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Slashings, anti-cop graffiti mark overnight mayhem in Washington Square Park

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Three people were hurt amid a night of mayhem in beleaguered Washington Square Park, where anti-cop graffiti was also found near the famed Arch, police sources told The Post. The victims, two men and a woman, told investigators they’d been dancing in a large gathering of about 50 people around 2:15 a.m. Saturday when an […]

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Westminster dog show 2021 LIVE: Four newly eligible breeds compete alongside usual contenders for Best in Show title

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THE annual Westminster dog show is back – but not at Madison Square Garden. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced many changes to the treasured canine event, which is taking place in Tarrytown, New York, in 2021. The 145th Westminster dog show launched on Friday, June 11, and will conclude Sunday, June 13. In a […]

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Roxanne Pallett pregnant with first child aged 38 saying she ‘feels like the luckiest woman in the world’

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ROXANNE Pallett has revealed that she is pregnant with first child aged 38 and said she “feels like the luckiest woman in the world”. The former Emmerdale star, who is expecting her first child with husband Jason Carrion, is due in the autumn. 1 Roxanne Pallett revealed she is expecting her first baby aged 38Credit: […]

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ALVISE CAGNAZZO: Euro 2020 already has its hero in Simon Kjaer, after Christian Eriksen incident

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Simon Kjaer was a true captain when Christian Eriksen collapsed against Finland on Saturday.  He was the first to get to the 29-year-old and ensure he didn’t swallow his tongue to create more damage – there by protecting him when he was down. He watched on as he was treated, walks the medical staff out from […]

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Karnataka Cops Bust Scam With Alleged Links To Chinese “Hawala” Operators

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<!– –> The police have arrested nine accused in the case so far (Representational) Bengaluru: Karnataka police on Saturday arrested two Chinese nationals and seven others when bust a scam of over Rs 290 crore that involved duping people through a mobile app after promising attractive interest on investment. The scam, aided by shell companies, […]

The post Karnataka Cops Bust Scam With Alleged Links To Chinese “Hawala” Operators appeared first on 247 News Around The World.

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Shaun White Talks About the Special Thing He Planned for 1st Anniversary with Nina Dobrev

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Nina Dobrev and Shaun White recently celebrated their first anniversary after they struck up a romance during the pandemic. The 34-year-old professional snowboarder is opening up about the special thing he planned for the occasion. Click inside to find out what he said… “I wanted to recreate our first date, but everything was closed,” he […]

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Roxanne Pallett is PREGNANT! Ex Emmerdale star, 38, expecting first child with husband Jason Carrion

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Roxanne Pallett has revealed she’s expecting her first child with husband Jason Carrion. In a new interview, the former Emmerdale star, 38, said she feels like ‘the ­luckiest woman in the world’ as she excitedly awaits the arrival of her baby this autumn. Roxanne’s baby joy comes three years after her Celebrity Big Brother ‘punchgate’ […]

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Chic Brigitte Macron in suit and espadrilles as she attends theatre performance

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As for jewellery, Brigitte kept her look simple wearing a sleek gold watch and her dazzling engagement and wedding rings.  Carrie Johnson also went for a two piece as she wore a cobalt blue suit.   Jill Biden sported a navy blue summer dress with floral motives.  Lat night, Brigitte Macron stunned with a flattering white top and skirt during the royal […]

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G7 leaders say they will support poorer countries in a "values-driven" and transparent partnership.
The Afghan asylum seekers were found guilty of starting fires that destroyed the Greek camp last year.
Nasa has assembled the key elements of its powerful SLS rocket.
Two House members had their phone records released, reportedly at the request of Trump officials.
A lobsterman in Cape Cod thought he had been attacked by a shark, but realised he was in a whale's mouth.
The red, white and blue machine was built in record time by a Philadelphia business with four staff.
The fight against militants in the north has unintentionally spread violence, Muhammadu Buhari says.
The Russian president says he expects fewer "impulse-based movements" from his US counterpart.
Agnes Chow and other activists were jailed last year for their role in pro-democracy rallies in 2019.
Darnella Frazier received a special citation by the Pulitzer Prize board for her courage.
"You want change, cast your ballot" voters are told, but the mass protest movement says it is pointless.
Some Japanese - including athletes - are afraid to come forward and show support for the Olympics.
Four people are on trial for shooting down flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine, but none are in court.
An English link has been added to the president's famed Irish ancestry. But is it meaningful to him?
MPs brawled after failing to agree on a new president, showing how elusive political unity remains.
The coronavirus has changed and changed again, getting more transmissible each time.
The cancellation of school-leaving tests has students in India staring at an uncertain future.
The Queen was not afraid to lighten the mood at the G7 'family photo' taken at the Cornwall summit.
Ros Atkins on the debate about giving Pfizer vaccine to children aged 12-15.
It's been a difficult year for US college students. This is Ana Carmona's story.
The four passengers were rescued after their boat got stuck at the top of the dam.
The SG Boys is one of the first LGBTQ podcasts in Singapore - where gay sex is still illegal.
Countries around the world have borrowed staggering amounts to deal with the pandemic. But where does a government borrow that money from - and can it ever be paid back?
A sweeping new law makes the smuggling of foreign news, films or drama punishable by death.
How supply chains can be strengthened to protect against shocks and shortages in the future.
- The Associated Press and Reuters
Groups of demonstrators rallied in Falmouth, England, on Saturday to protest the effects of climate change as world leaders gathered for the Group of 7 summit.
- Traci Carl
The royal family’s presence around the Group of 7 summit meeting is unusually strong this year.
- Anton Troianovski
Moscow’s mayor said the city’s situation had “sharply worsened” in the past week.
- Richard C. Paddock
Since the February coup, many physicians have refused to work at state-run hospitals. “I will never blame the doctors,” said a patient whose treatment stopped.
- Ian Austen
The Canadian regulator also banned the use of all products made at Emergent BioSolutions’ plant in Baltimore, Md., until it conducts an on-site inspection.T
- Michael Wolgelenter
The annual Muslim pilgrimage is scheduled to begin in mid-July, and attendees must be vaccinated and between 18 and 65 years old, the Saudi Press Agency said.
- Keith Bradsher
Four-fifths of symptomatic cases develop fevers, more than in earlier outbreaks. The findings match trends in other countries where the Delta variant is spreading.
- Matthew Futterman and Shashank Bengali
The government in Algiers says Saturday's vote will build a 'new Algeria'.
Mayor says the spread of the coronavirus infection 'has sharply deteriorated' in the Russian capital.
Football players take to social media to send their wishes for Danish player's recovery after his collapse on the pitch.
The 'Build Back Better World' project is aimed squarely at competing with China's Belt and Road initiative.
Protesters march to Downing Street and call on G7 leaders to end their support to Israel following Gaza assault.
Candidates spent more time discussing nuclear deal in third debate, as another round to restore accord begins in Vienna.
Protests against Line 3 pipeline are part of a larger movement to reclaim Indigenous land and culture in Canada and US.
Large crowd gathers to honour Afzaal family members killed in hate-motivated Islamophobic attack in London, Ontario.
The Kenyan constitution is once again threatened by the executive and it is up to the judiciary to defend it.
The unseeded 25-year-old defeated Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to claim her first Grand Slam title.
UEFA says Danish midfielder 'stabilised' after being taken to hospital following sudden collapse on the pitch.
Twelve Venezuelan football team players and staff test positive for coronavirus a day before opening match in Brazil.
Assailants on motorbikes raided several villages in northern state, attacking farmers and pursuing those trying to flee.
Six others wounded in bombings that struck neighbourhood largely populated by members of the ethnic Hazara minority.
Number of Cameroonian films available on global streaming platform set to rise to four in coming days.
In the wake of racial justice protests, monuments and institutions honouring Lee are being reimagined or repurposed.
Nationwide protests were called over bad governance, insecurity and recent Twitter ban, among other issues.
Colombo still assessing the total damage with the claim representing expenses from May 20 to June 1, authorities say.
Saudi Arabia says this year's pilgrimage will be limited to 60,000 citizens and residents.
Republican Governor Greg Abbott says wall will keep communities 'safe' amid questions over legality of the move.
In rural Bangladesh, a renewable energy solution is providing villagers with power and an income. 
Packard, 56, says he was caught in the mouth of a humpback whale off the coast of Cape Cod before he was spat out.
Police say shooting that wounded 14 in US city early on Saturday may have started as dispute between two parties.
Washington says ethnic violence and detentions of opposition figures will raise doubts about the vote's credibility.
Polls closed for first election since President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned amid boycott calls from Hirak movement.
- Global Issues
Global Leaders to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed: Stop the Atrocities in Tigray

DILI, Jun 11 (IPS) - Seven highly respected leaders in conflict resolution have issued a call for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to take immediate action to bring a halt to the atrocities being committed in the Tigray region of his nation. The letter urges the Prime Minister to implement seven steps to resolve the crisis.

Read the full story, “Global Leaders to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed: Stop the Atrocities in Tigray”, on

- Global Issues
First Person: An on-air antidote to misinformation in the Central African Republic

The citizens of the Central African Republic (CAR) have endured decades of war and conflict. Merveille Yayoro, a young reporter at Guira-FM, the radio station run by the UN peacekeeping mission in the country (MINUSCA), says that she wants her work to provide an antidote to hate speech and misinformation, and help bring about a lasting peace.

Read the full story, “First Person: An on-air antidote to misinformation in the Central African Republic”, on

- Global Issues
Guterres: Vaccines should be considered 'global public goods'

Lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines should be considered “global public goods”, the UN chief told journalists on Friday, covering the G7 Summit of leading industrialized nations taking place in the United Kingdom.  

Read the full story, “Guterres: Vaccines should be considered 'global public goods'”, on

- Global Issues

Civilians continue to flee armed conflict and insecurity in northern Mozambique, more than two months after militants attacked the coastal city of Palma, located in Cabo Delgado province, UN agencies reported on Friday. 

Read the full story, “Mozambique: Violence continues in Cabo Delgado, as agencies respond to growing needs”, on

- Global Issues
Continuing Venezuela exodus and COVID-19 highlights need for global solidarity for most vulnerable

Vulnerable Venezuelan migrants and refugees who have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 health and socio-economic crisis, urgently need greater support from the international community, UN humanitarians said on Friday, ahead of a donor conference hosted by Canada next week.

Read the full story, “Continuing Venezuela exodus and COVID-19 highlights need for global solidarity for most vulnerable”, on

- Global Issues
To Improve Global Health Security, We Must Not Abandon Tackling Existing Epidemics

HOVE, United Kingdom, Jun 11 (IPS) - As world leaders come together in the UK for the G7, the global response to COVID-19 and how we can build a better defence system against infection is at the forefront of discussions.  Whilst we applaud the incredible global efforts in tackling COVID-19 and support calls for vaccines to be shared equitably across the world, we also urge G7 leaders not to abandon efforts to tackle existing epidemics such as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), HIV/AIDs, malaria, TB and polio.

Read the full story, “To Improve Global Health Security, We Must Not Abandon Tackling Existing Epidemics”, on

- Global Issues
UN elects five new members to serve on the Security Council

Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were elected by the 75th session of the General Assembly on Friday to serve as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council for the 2022-2023 term. 

Read the full story, “UN elects five new members to serve on the Security Council”, on

- Global Issues
Why Mixed Messages Could Turn Boris Johnsons Glasgow Climate Summit Dream into a Nightmare

NEW YORK, Jun 11 (IPS) - How are preparations for the Glasgow Climate Summit in November proceeding? Currently, we are more than halfway through three weeks of virtual preparatory negotiations taking place in June. These online talks are challenging in their own right, just as many had feared  (see: ‘Should the 2021 Climate Summit in Glasgow Still Take Place?’). 

Read the full story, “Why Mixed Messages Could Turn Boris Johnsons Glasgow Climate Summit Dream into a Nightmare”, on

- Global Issues
UNESCO report highlights need for greater investment, diversity in science

Although spending on science has risen worldwide, greater investment is needed in the face of growing crises, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has recommended in a new report published on Friday. 

Read the full story, “UNESCO report highlights need for greater investment, diversity in science”, on

- Global Issues
UN Scientists: Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss. Two Parts. One Problem.

UNITED NATIONS, Jun 11 (IPS) - Earth is in the throes of multiple environmental crises, with climate change and the loss of biodiversity the most pressing.

The urgency to confront the two challenges has been marked by policies that tackle the issues separately.

Now, a report by a team of scientists has warned that success on either front is hinged on a combined approach to the dual crises.

Read the full story, “UN Scientists: Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss. Two Parts. One Problem.”, on

Saudi Arabia says hajj to be limited to 60,000 in kingdom
In last year's hajj, as few as 1,000 people already residing in Saudi Arabia were selected to take part in the hajj. Two-thirds were foreign residents from among the 160 different nationalities that would have normally been represented at the hajj. One-third were Saudi security personnel and medical staff.
Pakistan's stringent new media law stirs controversy
Pakistan's media organisations representing journalists, broadcasters, editors and news directors have already rejected the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) ordinance, describing it as an 'unconstitutional and draconian law'.
Mega global infra plan: G7 nations to counter China's Belt & Road initiative
The Group of Seven will seek to rival China’s multi-trillion-dollar Belt and Road initiative on Saturday by announcing a global infrastructure plan to help developing nations, a senior official in US President Joe Biden's administration said.The G7 is trying to find a coherent response to the growing assertiveness of President Xi Jinping after China's spectacular economic and military rise over the past 40 years.
Biden to return diverted border wall money, spend down rest
Former President Donald Trump's signature border wall project would lose much of its funding as well as the fast-track status that enabled it to bypass environmental regulations under a Biden administration plan announced Friday.
Bolsonaro booed on plane, tells critics to 'take a donkey'
Visiting the southeastern state of Espirito Santo to inaugurate a public works project, Bolsonaro took a moment at the airport to briefly enter a departing plane and say hello.
Putin says relations with US at lowest point in years
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an interview with NBC News ahead of his meeting with US President Joe Biden next week, said US-Russia relations are at their lowest point in years.

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- RT
‘This madness mustn’t be tolerated,’ Tehran says after ex-Mossad chief implies Israel played role in blast & assassination in Iran
Preview The Iranian mission to the UN has accused Israel of ‘lawlessness,’ after the newly retired head of Mossad implied that his agency had been behind an explosion at an Iranian nuclear facility and the killing of a key scientist. Read Full Article at
- RT
Germany threatens Telegram app with fines, demands access for law enforcement – media
Preview The German Justice Ministry is reportedly demanding the messaging app Telegram open itself to law enforcement and pay a multi-million euro fine. The news comes after an elite police unit was disbanded over extremist group chats. Read Full Article at
- RT
#ClioMusic 2020/2021: RT Creative Lab wins GOLD, 2 SILVERS & BRONZE at global competition celebrating use of music in advertising
Preview RT Creative Lab’s projects ‘The Endless Letter’ and ‘Lessons of Auschwitz’ have won gold, two silvers and bronze at the Clio Music Awards, a global event celebrating the visceral power of music to connect consumers and brands. Read Full Article at
- RT
Armed assailants in Mexico hijack US-bound trucks carrying 7 million rounds of ammunition
Preview Two trailers transporting ammunition to the United States were ambushed by armed criminals on a Mexican highway. Most of the ammo is small-caliber and won’t be useful for drug cartels, the manufacturer said. Read Full Article at
- RT
Explosions hit two buses in Kabul, at least 7 killed & 6 injured
Preview Two minibuses have been hit by explosions in Kabul, Afghanistan, local authorities have confirmed. At least seven people were killed and six more injured in the blasts. Read Full Article at
- RT
Hajj pilgrimage will be limited to 60,000 people from within Saudi Arabia due to Covid, kingdom says
Preview Mecca will be off limits to the vast majority of Muslims this year, after Saudi Arabia announced that only a select few, all from within the country, would be allowed to participate in the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Read Full Article at
- RT
Covid-19 leads to brain changes & Alzheimer’s-like dementia, new AI-powered study finds
Preview According to recent US research, Covid-19 may lead to the type of brain changes common in Alzheimer’s disease, and a team of scientists has identified the mechanisms by which it may be causing such impairments. Read Full Article at
- RT
Massive EA Games hack began with cyber thieves posing as employee on Slack
Preview The group of hackers who swiped source code from game company Electronic Arts pulled off the stunt by tricking EA’s IT support team on Slack, according to Motherboard. Read Full Article at
- RT
‘They’re trying to kill Assange because he spoke the truth’: Roger Waters calls on Biden to end ‘disgusting’ sham prosecution
Preview With the brother and father of the jailed WikiLeaks co-founder on a US tour to raise awareness of Julian Assange’s plight, legendary Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters challenged Joe Biden to end the journalist’s prosecution. Read Full Article at
- RT
Iranian nuclear deal talks set to resume in Vienna, Tehran’s top negotiator confirms
Preview Negotiations to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal will resume in the Austrian capital Vienna on Saturday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi has announced following a recent break in the ongoing talks. Read Full Article at
- RT
French telecoms firm Orange blames software failure for network outage that disabled national emergency numbers
Preview A major network outage that prevented calls to emergency numbers in France last week was caused by a software failure, an internal inquiry by the country’s largest telecoms operator, Orange, has found. Read Full Article at
- RT
Ireland’s major political parties investigated by privacy watchdog after admitting to using fake pollsters during elections
Preview Four of Ireland’s biggest political parties, including the three currently in power, are facing audits after admitting to using fictional market research companies and posing as pollsters to survey voter mood ahead of elections. Read Full Article at
- RT
Israeli troops shoot dead Palestinian 15yo at clash in occupied West Bank, health ministry says
Preview A Palestinian teen has been killed by Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry has said. The incident occurred in Beita, near Nablus, as Palestinians protested Israeli settlements in the region. Read Full Article at
- RT
EU drugs regulator lists another rare blood condition as possible AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine side effect
Preview The European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) safety committee has added another rare blood condition to the potential side effects of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, as the UK regulator weighs precautionary advice over capillary leak syndrome.  Read Full Article at
- RT
‘Unacceptable misconduct’: Elite German police force dissolved after investigation into sharing of neo-Nazi content
Preview A special task force unit has been disbanded in the German city of Frankfurt am Main, a state interior minister has announced, amid an investigation into the sharing of extremist and neo-Nazi content on group chats. Read Full Article at
- RT
French military kills Al-Qaeda commander blamed for kidnapping & murder of journalists in 2013, defense minister says
Preview During its operation in Africa’s Sahel region, France’s military killed an Al-Qaeda commander believed to be responsible for kidnapping and murdering two French journalists in 2013, Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly has said. Read Full Article at
- RT
‘Give him the Nobel!’ Twitter trolls cheer as Kim Jong-un calls K-pop a ‘vicious cancer’
Preview K-pop music has a legion of fans worldwide, but it also has detractors, chief among them North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. And when Kim called the music a “vicious cancer,” some Twitter users couldn’t help but agree with him. Read Full Article at
- RT
EU batches of J&J Covid-19 vaccine withheld as ‘precaution’ after contamination at US factory – EMA
Preview The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said it is aware of a contaminated batch of the active substance used to make Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine and that they’re taking precautionary action to prevent possible harm. Read Full Article at
- RT
Hundreds of plants labeled ‘cannabis’ appear in French shops, likely due to ‘lack of knowledge’ of the law – gendarmerie
Preview Some 400 potted plants labeled ‘cannabis’ have mysteriously appeared on the shelves of supermarkets and garden centers in France, with a number of customers managing to take pots home before they were seized by the gendarmes. Read Full Article at
- RT
Venezuela accuses US of blocking its access to Covax vaccines with sanctions
Preview Venezuela’s Vice President Delcy Rodriguez has stated that US sanctions are preventing the South American nation from accessing Covid vaccines by blocking a $10 million payment to the global Covax scheme. Read Full Article at
- RT
Film about New Zealand mosque shootings that focuses on PM Jacinda Ardern faces boycott & accusations of ‘white saviorism’
Preview Plans for a film that will tout New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern’s leadership in the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings have met resistance from pundits and the Muslim community. Ardern has distanced herself from the project. Read Full Article at
- RT
EU drugs regulator approves new site for manufacture of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine in France
Preview The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved a new manufacturing plant in central France to boost production of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine, the regulator’s committee for human medicines has said. Read Full Article at
- RT
US-Iran nuclear talks are in ‘final sprint’, says Chinese foreign minister, blasting Washington’s ‘bullying’ for chaotic situation
Preview The Chinese foreign ministry has said Washington’s “unilateral bullying” was the cause of the Iranian nuclear crisis, but talks in Vienna aiming to restart the 2015 nuclear deal were nearly complete. Read Full Article at
- RT
Devastating flood that killed 200+ in India caused by massive avalanche and could happen again, say scientists
Preview Scientists studying the cause of a flood which killed more than 200 people in the Indian Himalayas have said the disaster was caused by a massive rock and ice avalanche that could happen again in the mountain range. Read Full Article at
- RT
Taiwan says Thailand is keeping pre-ordered AstraZeneca coronavirus shots for itself
Preview Thailand has been retaining locally manufactured AstraZeneca vaccines for itself in the midst of a massive wave of coronavirus, Taiwan’s president has said, claiming that shots scheduled for delivery in June did not arrive. Read Full Article at
A Group of Seven plan to donate 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to poorer countries lacks ambition, is far too slow and shows Western leaders are not yet on top of tackling the worst public health...
A flight en route from Los Angeles to Atlanta was diverted for an emergency landing when a passenger attacked two flight attendants and threatened to bring down the plane, authorities said.
An unnamed bidder paid $28 million at auction Saturday for a seat on board the first crewed spaceflight of Jeff Bezos' company Blue Origin on July 20, as one of four passengers including the Amazon...
The United States is back as a cooperative leader of the free world under President Joe Biden, France's Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday, illustrating the relief felt by many key US allies that the...
Want to bid for a seat on a spaceship ride with Jeff Bezos? You'll need to be quick - and you'll probably need more than $4 million.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday expressed "serious concern" about rising infections of the Delta variant of coronavirus.
A cluster of Delta-variant COVID-19 infections has been detected at an art school in the eastern French city of Strasbourg, the regional health authority said on Saturday.
As world leaders gathered in Cornwall to attend the G7 summit, the environmental organisation Greenpeace UK sent out a message to tackle the climate crisis.
It sounds like a real-life take on "Pinocchio" -- a US lobster fisherman says he was scooped into the mouth of a humpback whale Friday and yet lived to tell the story.
Gunfire erupted in a busy entertainment district in the Texas city of Austin early Saturday, injuring 13 people according to authorities who were still searching for a suspect.
Sri Lanka is seeking $40 million in damages from the operator of a ship that left massive pollution when it caught fire off the country's west coast, officials said Saturday.
Italy said Saturday it would restrict the AstraZeneca vaccine to the over-60s, with younger people who have already received one dose to complete the cycle with an mRNA jab.
Two blasts rocked western Kabul on Saturday, killing at least seven people, according to Afghanistan's Ministry of Interior.
G7 leaders on Saturday launched a plan to help build infrastructure in poorer nations, offering a "values-driven, high-standard and transparent" partnership in opposition to China's Belt and Road...
Iraq announced Saturday it has arrested two generals on suspicion of taking bribes to waive customs duties, a practice estimated to cost the state $6.3 billion a year in lost revenues.
Saudi Arabia announced Saturday it will allow 60,000 vaccinated residents of the kingdom to perform the annual hajj, state media reported.
Amid renewed calls to probe into the origins of COVID-19, Chinese researchers said they had found a batch of new coronaviruses in bats.
The subsequent socio-economic fallouts of the pandemic have had a tremendous impact on the lives of millions of children who are victims of child labour, in particular, the United Nations has...
Megha Rajagopalan, an Indian-origin journalist, won the Pulitzer Prize for innovative investigative reports that exposed a vast infrastructure of prisons and camps secretly built by China for...
The main representative of the Chinese government in Hong Kong said on Saturday people trying to turn the city into a "pawn in geopolitics" were the "real enemies" and Beijing was the true defender of...
Bolsonaro fined as he flouts mask rule before motorcyclists
He led a throng of motorcyclist supporters through the streets of Sao Paulo.
Algeria election gets low turnout amid opposition boycott
Algerians voted for a new parliament in an election with a majority of novice independent candidates running under new rules meant to erase political corruption and open the way to a “new Algeria.”
Shelling at hospital in north Syria town kills at least 6
The northern Syrian is town controlled by Turkey-backed fighters.
Final presidential debate shows Iran's political fissures
Iran’s seven presidential candidates have offered starkly different views in the country’s final debate
North Macedonia: Police find 82 migrants hidden in vehicles
Police in North Macedonia say officers discovered 82 migrants hidden in vehicles in two separate operations Friday
EU talks up hope of breakthrough at Iran nuclear meetings
European Union negotiators say international talks on the Iran nuclear agreement are on track to revive the deal, which crumbled after the United States withdrew in 2018
Israeli police say woman with knife shot dead in West Bank
Israeli police say a Palestinian woman carrying a knife ran toward an Israeli military checkpoint and was shot dead by a private security guard
Germany's Greens endorse 40-year-old lawmaker for chancellor
Germany’s environmentalist Greens formally have endorsed Annalena Baerbock.
EXPLAINER: What will change under Israel's new government?
If all goes according to plan, Israel will swear in a new government on Sunday, putting an end to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s record 12-year rule and a political crisis that led to four elections in less than two years
Second teenager charged over London shooting of BLM activist
A second teenager has been charged with conspiracy to murder in the shooting in London last month of a prominent member of the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.K. The Metropolitan Police said 18-year-old Devonte Brown was charged on Friday evening
UK-EU Brexit spat over N Ireland clouds G7 leaders summit
Turbulence from the divorce between the U.K. and the European Union has provided an unwanted distraction at the Group of Seven summit
Shootout between Kashmir rebels, Indian police kills 4
Indian authorities say a gunbattle between militants and Indian police in the disputed region of Kashmir has killed at least two police and two civilians
Afghan official: bombs hit 2 minivans in Kabul, 7 dead
Officials say separate bombs have hit two minivans in a mostly Shiite neighborhood in the Afghan capital, killing at least seven people and wounding six others
8 dead, 3 injured in China factory's chemical leak
Chinese authorities say eight people have died and three others are injured by the leak of a toxic chemical at a plant in the southwestern city of Guiyang
Torah ark desecrated inside Frankfurt Airport prayer room
A leading Jewish group in Germany has condemned the desecration of a Torah ark inside a prayer room at Frankfurt's international airport
China, US diplomats clash over human rights, pandemic origin
Top U.S. and Chinese diplomats appear to have had another sharply worded exchange, with Beijing saying it told the U.S. to cease interfering in its internal affairs and accusing it of politicizing the search for the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic
Afghan official says separate bombs hit 2 minivans in capital Kabul, killing 7
Afghan official says separate bombs hit 2 minivans in capital Kabul, killing 7
Saudi Arabia says hajj to be limited to 60,000 in kingdom
Saudi Arabia says this year’s hajj pilgrimage will be limited to no more than 60,000 people, all of them from within the kingdom, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic
China's wandering elephants on the move again
China’s famed wandering elephants are on the move again.
Sri Lanka seeks initial $40M from stricken ship's operator
Sri Lanka is seeking an interim claim of $40 million from the operator of a fire-ravaged cargo ship to cover the cost of fighting the blaze
At least 6 injured in cargo ship fire at Manila wharf
Officials in the Philippines say a fire and a powerful blast have ripped through a small cargo ship docked to refuel in the Philippine capital of Manila
AP Interview: Iraq oil minister says gas sector a priority
Iraq's oil minister says the country's oil sector is rebounding after a catastrophic year triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, with key investment projects on the horizon
US tourist wounded in beach killings in Cancún, Mexico
A U.S. tourist was wounded in a shooting that killed two men in Cancún.
Hong Kong democracy activist Agnes Chow released from jail
She served more than six months for taking part in unauthorized assemblies.
Ex-Mossad chief signals Israel attacked Iran nuclear assets
The outgoing chief of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service has offered the closest acknowledgment yet his country was behind recent attacks targeting Iran’s nuclear program and a military scientist
- Victoria Kim, Kate Linthicum, Rong-Gong Lin II
Japan and Mexico have earthquake early-warning systems. How does California's compare?

Japan has a sophisticated system to alert its residents, and Mexico City has ubiquitous sirens. Is California's early warning system ready?

- Eli Stokols
Biden presses G-7 allies for bolder front against Chinese influence, forced labor

Group of 7 leaders discuss countering Chinese influence in developing countries. Biden pushes for condemnation of China's use of forced labor.

- Del Quentin Wilber
Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland vows to fight new GOP-led state voting laws

Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland said the Justice Department would take an aggressive stance against voting restrictions passed by Republican legislatures.

- Eli Stokols
G-7 summit opens with talks on pandemic, climate change

Biden and allied leaders open the three-day Group of 7 summit in England focusing on how to end the COVID-19 pandemic and tackle climate change.

- Janet Hook
Biden's first foreign trip as VP was a breeze; Harris' was into the lion's den

Contrasting inaugural vice presidential trips — Biden's to Europe in 2009 and Harris' to Latin America — show their different roles in the No. 2 job.

- Julia Barajas
Ahead of G-7 and U.N. talks, political dissidents and human rights activists press the plight of victims

The Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy aims to ensure that human rights violations don't go unnoticed.

- Anita Chabria, Paige St. John, Richard Winton, Hannah Fry, Del Quentin Wilber
Former O.C. police chief, five others indicted on Capitol riot conspiracy charges

A former police chief and yoga instructor is indicted along with five other Southern California men for their alleged roles in the Capitol riot.

- Laura King
He 'won the lottery' of Israeli politics. But Naftali Bennett remains an enigma

Naftali Bennett, a right-wing Israeli politician, now stands somewhat surprisingly on the cusp of supplanting Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister.

- Del Quentin Wilber
Ransomware hackers remain largely out of reach behind Russia's cybercurtain

Recent high-profile ransomware assaults have added urgency to U.S. government efforts to combat Russia-linked hackers. The challenge is reaching them.

- Marc Martin
Photos: 'Ring of fire' eclipse lights up the sky

In parts of the Northern Hemisphere, this annular 'ring of fire' eclipse will appear as a thin outer ring of the sun's disk.

- Eli Stokols
Odd couple Biden and Boris Johnson recommit to U.S.-U.K. 'special relationship'

Biden meets with Johnson ahead of the G-7 summit in Cornwall, England. They've differed on Brexit, Northern Ireland and Donald Trump.

- Seema Mehta
Katie Hill fights to make revenge porn a federal crime and ponders another run for office

Former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill of Santa Clarita is pushing to make revenge porn a federal crime.

- Gary Coronado
Migrants keep crossing despite risks and Border Patrol apprehensions

Border Patrol has seen an increase in migrant crossings and deaths this year

- Molly Hennessy-Fiske
U.S. apprehensions of migrants crossing the border are 5 times higher than last year

Newly released data show that migrants were stopped 180,034 times across the southern border in May, nearly eight times the total a year ago.

- Emily Baumgaertner
Here's why you should care about the coronavirus lab leak theory

Understanding the origins of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is a linchpin for future pandemic prevention.

- Noah Bierman
News Analysis: Harris' Latin America trip shows complications and contradictions in immigration strategy

Vice President Harris' trip to Guatemala and Mexico underscored challenges and contradictions in Biden bid to address root causes of migration to U.S.

- Chris Megerian, Emily Baumgaertner, Eli Stokols
Biden to announce U.S. will donate 500 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor nations

Biden to announce at the start of the G-7 summit that the U.S. will donate enough Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to inoculate 250 million in poor countries.

- Cindy Carcamo, Andrea Castillo
'Do not come': Kamala Harris' three words to Guatemalans stir debate and backlash

Kamala Harris received an onslaught of backlash after she told would-be migrants 'do not come' to the U.S. But the message is no different from past Democratic administrations.

- Tracy Wilkinson
Trump's 'favorite dictator' is now Biden's burden

Biden vowed 'no blank checks' for Sisi, but Egypt's recognition of Israel — and help on Gaza — has long fed a U.S. alliance despite human rights abuses.

- Nick Wadhams
State Department eases its travel warnings on Mexico, Canada, other countries

Many countries move from "do not travel" to "reconsider."

- Jennifer Haberkorn
Senate approves expansive bill to boost U.S. competitiveness with China

Senate approves sweeping bill to boost U.S. competitiveness with China and address critical semiconductor shortage.

- Nabih Bulos
Palestinians find new unity in struggle against Israel

The Israel-Hamas war has helped catalyze a newfound sense of Palestinian solidarity that could mark a new moment in the Middle East, activists say.

- Del Quentin Wilber
Los Angeles Times appeals judge's ruling denying access to Sen. Burr search warrant

The L.A. Times is appealing a ruling by a federal judge blocking access to a search warrant for Sen. Richard Burr's phone.

- Noah Bierman, Tracy Wilkinson
Harris' visit to Guatemala and Mexico a mix of diplomacy and controversy

Harris meets with Mexican President López Obrador after visiting Guatemala and drawing criticism for telling Guatemalans to 'not come' to U.S.

- Amy Wilentz
Op-Ed: Will the U.S. finally correct its course in Haiti?

Until now, the U.S., along with international partners, has backed Haitian President Jovenel Moise's claim to his extra year of rule.

The initiative is called "Build Back Better World," a play on President Biden's slogan for improving infrastructure at home.
Christian Eriksen was treated for about 10 minutes after collapsing. He was then carried off on a stretcher.
The official celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's 95th birthday kicks off on June 12 as she prepares to mark 70 years on the throne. But there's another remarkable number she can boast about – in her long reign, she's likely met more U.S. presidents than anyone else alive today.
Auto rickshaw drivers are helping to keep Indians alive as the country grapples with a deadly second outbreak.
In her nearly 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth II may have met more U.S. presidents than anyone else alive today.
Israel is expected to swear in a new government, ending the long and often rocky tenure of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In his place: an unlikely coalition that includes, for the first time, a party from Israel's Arab minority. It's a political shakeup that will have its work cut out for itself.
The recent COVID-19 surge in India has been devastating. The virus has caused at least 29 million infections and 363,000 deaths, most of them since mid-April. While new cases are declining, the nation of more than 1 billion people continues to struggle with the societal effects of the virus. In one major city, an army of volunteers is trying to deliver help and hope on three wheels.
After a roundtable discussion on childhood education, the first lady joked that it was too short. "I have a million questions written down! I'll have to give you a call!" she said.
Jingtai County Communist Party Secretary Li Zuobi jumped from his apartment and died, state television reported.
With a nervous population just weeks before the opening ceremony, Japan is finally getting its coronavirus inoculation program into gear.
The raging pandemic continues to claim millions of lives around the world, even as vaccinations have curtailed the worst of the virus's spread in the U.S.
What do 200 mile-per-hour race cars have in common with the 2,000-year-old Catholic Church? It's all in the stitching.
Exoplanet TOI-1231 b is "oddly reminiscent" of Neptune, scientists say, and could contain clouds with water.
Boris Johnson says he and Biden "working together" to end diplomatic row over whether Anne Sacoolas should face trial for death of Harry Dunn.
This weekend, motorsport fans will see the start of the Superstar Racing Experience – a new event hoping to rival Nascar – debuting on CBS Sports. Some of the best drivers will be going head-to-head behind the wheel, and the wheel itself has an unlikely connection to the Catholic Church. Chris Livesay visits a bespoke steering wheel company in Northern Italy, that works with the Pope's favored embroidery.
President Biden is set to meet with the six other G7 leaders Friday in Cornwall, England. The group is expected to commit to sharing one billion vaccine doses with countries in need, after President Biden announced the U.S. will buy and donate half of them. Nancy Cordes reports.
Sri Lanka investigating possible slick around X-Press Pearl vessel, which burned for 13 days and lost cargo to the sea before sinking and getting stuck on the seafloor.
The sun, Earth and moon aligned early Thursday for a "ring of fire" eclipse. See some of the spectacular photos.
President Biden announced that the U.S. will give 500 million COVID-19 doses to nearly 100 countries to "supercharge" the fight against the pandemic. Nancy Cordes has the latest.
The pink flower was bred and named in honor of the late Duke of Edinburgh to mark his centenary.
JBS, the world's largest meat supplier, said it paid $11 million in ransom after it was the target of a cyberattack that forced it to cease operations at some of its plants. Lawmakers pressed the FBI on what companies should do in these situations. Jeff Pegues reports.
Millions of people around the world marveled at the sight of the annular solar eclipse Thursday morning.
The company indicated that "the vast majority of the company's facilities were operational" at the time of payment.
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Colombia’s protests are a product of its post-peace-deal reality
Demonstrators in Cali, Colombia, shout anti-government slogans as they continue a blockade at the Sameco sector during a protest amid a national strike on May 19, 2021. | Gabriel Aponte/Getty Images

“The peace process has opened up a space for other concerns and for other political debates.”

In Cali, a city in southwestern Colombia, protesters put up barricades across the city. A front line — la primera línea — sometimes guards these barricades with masks and helmets and shields.

Cali is the epicenter of the unrest that has convulsed Colombia for more than a month. A tax reform bill proposed by right-wing President Ivan Duque sparked protests in late April, with thousands responding to a call from national labor unions to push against the measure.

The government defended the proposed tax increase as a much-needed measure to repair the economy after fallout from the coronavirus. Those who opposed the legislation saw it as putting another burden on middle-class and poorer families who are already in a precarious position, also because of the coronavirus.

Anger over the tax bill also became an outlet for pent-up grievances against Colombia’s economic structures and its political elite. “It only takes a spark where there’s a lot of discontent,” Muni Jensen, senior adviser with the Albright Stonebridge Group and a former Colombian diplomat, said.

Demonstrators, many of them young or from marginalized communities, are speaking out about structural inequality, poverty, land reform, health care, and lack of education and opportunity. Many of these pressures have existed in Colombia for years, but they deepened dramatically during the pandemic.

The people flooding the streets across Colombia have faced brutal crackdowns from police, fueling demonstrators’ rage and adding police brutality to their list of grievances. Human rights groups have alleged abuses such as indiscriminate beatings, killings, and sexual violence. Temblores, an organization that tracks police brutality in the country, has documented more than 3,700 cases of police violence as of May 31, 2021, as well as 45 deaths it said were caused by police. Colombia’s human rights ombudsman said at least 58 people have died during the protests so far.

“That just enraged people who are already enraged because of the situation, because of the government,” Laura Gamboa, assistant professor of political science at the University of Utah, said of the police crackdown. “What you see here is like this ball that is just going to grow and grow.”

Experts say there’s another, deeper dynamic also fueling the protests.

Columbia recently emerged from decades of internal armed conflict, the culmination of an imperfect and still not fully realized peace process. But this helped excise the civil war as the dominant political issue.

Instead, it created “the possibility new issues that had been long left aside, become central again,” Juan Albarracín Dierolf, assistant professor of political studies at the Universidad Icesi in Cali, Colombia, told me. Demonstrations also carried a stigma during the conflict, as political protests were often grouped together with armed resistance. That has dissipated in the aftermath of the peace deal, though it has not eliminated the heavy-handed response from police, a force shaped to counter guerrillas, not peaceful protesters.

Colombia’s protests, then, are as much about its past as they are about its present. As Albarracín said, it is all “happening really, really quickly.” Together, that is making Colombia’s future very uncertain.

Colombia’s peace process gave the space for these protests to happen

In 2012, then-Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos began negotiations with the leftist guerrillas known as the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), or FARC, in an attempt to end a civil war that had gone on for more than 50 years. After four years of negotiations, the Colombian government and the FARC signed a peace deal under which the FARC demobilized and became a legitimate political party.

The peace process was far from perfect. The agreement faced public opposition, though it was finally approved in November 2016. The country’s current president, Ivan Duque, ran (and won) on a platform of trying to weaken the deal, which he saw as going too easy on the guerrillas. Duque’s been trying to jam up the implementation of the deal ever since.

The peace deal did not solve all of Colombia’s problems, nor did it fully end the violence. But the civil war between the government and the FARC was Colombia’s central crisis. With the peace deal, that main cleavage consuming Colombia started to fade away, said Gamboa.

But all the other major problems stuck on the sidelines, especially socioeconomic issues, started to bubble up. Inequality, education, employment, social justice, racial inequities — all of it became much more salient.

“The peace process has opened up a space for other concerns and for other political debates,” said Sandra Botero, assistant professor of international studies and political science at Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá.

Colombia is the second most unequal country in an already unequal Latin America region. Even as its economy has grown in recent decades, the poorest slice of the population is not seeing those benefits, and many lower- and middle-income earners struggle to pay for basic services.

The Covid-19 pandemic and associated shutdowns exacerbated this divide, shrinking Colombia’s economy by almost 7 percent and increasing the poverty rate to more than 42 percent. The country adopted very strict lockdown measures to try to curb the coronavirus, which tested its social safety net. It also really squeezed the country’s most vulnerable: As of 2019, more than 60 percent of Colombia’s workers were part of the informal economy. With everyone locked down, those people, such as street vendors, couldn’t make money.

All of this was brewing underneath the surface of Colombian society — and when Duque introduced the tax bill, he unleashed these dormant frustrations.

Colombia also saw street protests in 2018 and 2019, and in some ways, this latest round of unrest is a continuation of those. But these kinds of mass protests are a relatively recent political expression in Colombia.

In the past, mass mobilization or resistance in the streets was framed by the same paradigm of war. “Before the peace agreement, any kind of dissatisfaction of the people was framed as mobilization made by the guerrillas,” Carlos Enrique Moreno León, professor of political science at the Universidad Icesi, said.

The peace deal, then, not only made room for people to push on other issues but also destigmatized demonstrations and, in doing so, reanimated one of the most potent tools regular people had to advocate for political change.

“In Colombia, civil protests were always repressed brutally because it was filed with the guerrillas and with this insurgency,” said Elvira Restrepo Saenz, associate professor of international studies at The George Washington University. “This is a post-conflict protest, and it’s unprecedented in its magnitude, in its intensity, and in its territorial comprehensiveness.”

The heavy-handed police response is a legacy of the civil war

The same peace process allowing the protests to flourish is also showing its limitations when it comes to the response from police and the government.

The Colombian National Police is very much linked to the military; though a distinctive branch, it falls under the oversight of the Ministry of Defense. The force itself was shaped by the conflict in Colombia, with officers often fighting “on the front lines, wielding tanks and helicopters as they battled guerrilla fighters and destroyed drug labs,” according to the New York Times.

Critics have said the country’s national police needs to reform, moving from a focus on training for battle to one of public safety. “On balance, there’s been a real struggle to democratize policing, in part because the institutions themselves — the police and the military — benefit politically and economically from this kind of ‘us-versus-them, we’re still at war’ mentality,” Eduardo Moncada, assistant professor of political science at Barnard College, said.

That has been on display during the most recent demonstrations. Even if the act of protest itself has become normalized in society more broadly, the police themselves still largely see the demonstrators as “internal enemies.”

“They are treating the protesters as they used to treat the guerrillas, as subversives, because that’s the type of public force that is the police,” Restrepo said. “The military and security forces that we have, that was never reformed.”

Another (almost obvious) difference is that the police can’t operate in the shadows in the same way they might have at the height of the conflict in Colombia. Now there are people with cell phones everywhere, taking videos and documenting the brutality.

All of this has escalated tensions and led to clashes with police, including the burning of a police station in Cali and attacks against officers, at least two of whom died.

Initially, Duque took a line that may sound familiar, saying he had “respect for peaceful protest” and that while incidents of police abuse are intolerable, they were isolated rather than evidence of a systemic problem. (He has since promised some reforms.)

The government has also alleged that some of the violence and chaos is the work of guerrillas, including the vestiges of the FARC, as well as drug traffickers who have infiltrated the protests. At the end of May, when protests had stretched on for a full month, Duque deployed the military to Cali, saying the increased capacity would help in the areas that have seen “acts of vandalism, violence and low-intensity urban terrorism.” Officials have also said hundreds of police officers have been injured, including by armed civilians.

Restrepo said the government is trying to bring the FARC guerrillas and Colombia’s conflict back to the center of the agenda “to justify the militarization of the police and the techniques that they’re using, the violence [and] brutality that they’re using.” In other words, when it works politically, go back to the us-versus-them paradigm.

This has further enraged protesters who see their legitimate grievances being ignored and their anger recast.

But at the same time, there are credible reports of street gangs and other criminal elements blending into the protests, trying to sow and take advantage of the chaos for their own gain.

Colombia, despite the peace deal, is still dealing with a very precarious security situation. Instead of an armed conflict, a slew of non-state actors and paramilitaries are engaging in violence of a particular form, including selective and extrajudicial killings, particularly against human rights advocates, community organizers, and civil society leaders.

Experts told me it would be a mistake to say all protesters, or even all blockades in cities like Cali, are associated with criminal elements. “That being said, you’re having this context of social protests embedded in a city, in a country where, of course, there are some powerful criminal organizations and guerrilla groups,” the Universidad Icesi’s Albarracín said. At least some of those groups will take advantage of the disorder — and the front lines are already so chaotic and disorganized, it’s hard to know who’s who.

None of this, of course, negates the very real and well-documented allegations of misconduct against Colombia’s police force. But it is a reminder of just how complex the situation on the ground in Colombia really is.

The protests are diverse in geography and demands, and that makes for a messy and volatile combination

Beyond the question of whether “terrorists” are mixing with peaceful protesters, figuring out who the peaceful protesters are and what they want is its own challenge.

Protests are happening across Colombia, in cities including Cali, Bogotá, and Medellin. But this is not a fully unified movement. Up close, the protests all look very different, with diverse and often localized grievances — and not all of the demands are aligned.

Just looking at Cali, which has become the symbol of the protests in Colombia, reveals just how complicated the movement is.

Many of the people on the front lines are young, including students who feel disillusioned with their education and employment opportunities. At different times, Indigenous groups, farmers, Afro-Colombian groups, labor unions, and other workers have all joined the protests.

“They are not organized by a mastermind or even by a collective,” Botero said. “Many of them are organic, and to a certain extent, spontaneous.”

Instead, there are many, many individuals or groups with many, many demands, and not all of them are in agreement with each other. At the Puerto Resistencia — the biggest barricade in Cali — about 21 separate groups occupy just one point, Moreno said. And those groups have no affiliation with the handful of others posted up at another blockade across the city. And, of course, the specific demands in a place like Cali will be different than those in, say, Bogotá.

Without obvious leaders, or a confederation of them, negotiations are extraordinarily difficult. The Duque government had been negotiating with the organizers from the Comité Nacional de Paro, or National Strike Committee, who originally called for the national strike in response to the proposed tax bill. But the National Strike Committee walked away from talks this week. The protests have become much bigger, though, and the committee is largely disconnected from the action on the ground. “Certainly, those are part of the groups that are being mobilized,” Botero said. “But the strike committee does not control the blockages that are happening in Cali.”

On the local level, city or municipal governments are also trying to quell the unrest and negotiate with protesters. Local officials, for example, have to deliver services behind the blockades. But they, too, are struggling to make inroads amid the demonstrations.

Experts said that even if protesters do sit down with local officials and come to an agreement, it tends to fall apart quickly. For one, who comes to the table to represent the protesters? Plus, the local government has limited resources and power; it can’t necessarily follow through on whatever promises it makes, and right now, it doesn’t have the backing of the national government.

And even if a bunch of groups and the local government agree somehow, others affiliated with the protests may be left out or feel like their demands weren’t fully heard, so why would they agree to any bargain and get off the streets?

It is, as Albarracín put it, “tiers of confusion.”

Where do the protests go from here?

Colombia’s protests, in some ways, fit into the larger global movement against police brutality and injustice that has arisen over the last year in countries from the United States to Nigeria. In other ways, they are specific to Colombia’s current status as a country still trying to overcome a decades-long conflict, with a population trying to push a more democratic and equal vision.

“The protests have put on the table a requestioning of power in Colombia,” the University of Utah’s Gamboa said.

Right now, that requestioning comes without clear resolution. Duque rescinded the tax reform bill on May 2, days after the protests started, but it didn’t stop the demonstrations, nor did the finance minister’s resignation.

Duque just made some concessions on police reform in the wake of public and international pressure. The reforms include establishing, with international guidance, a committee on human rights, in addition to new officer trainings. Also, representatives from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights are currently visiting Colombia to investigate police abuses.

Still, critics say these reforms are superficial and won’t go far in addressing the systemic problems in the force. They are calling for such actions as moving the national police force out from the auspices of the Ministry of Defense and disbanding the riot police.

There’s another challenge blocking any sort of real breakthrough: the electoral calendar. Scheduled for May 2022, Colombia’s presidential election is less than a year away. Duque is a lame duck and cannot run again (Colombia’s presidents are limited to one four-year term).

Whoever wins, Botero said, will inherit a “powder keg” — but right now, politicians on both the left and the right are carefully positioning themselves as they try to use the fallout from the protests to advance their own agendas.

This kind of volatile politics tends to benefit the more extreme candidates on either side, which may make it harder to find a leader who will address the very real need for change and reform in Colombia. That is a threat to Colombia’s democracy, and to the peace it is still trying to build.

- Sara Morrison
The FBI recovered most of Colonial Pipeline’s ransom, but the ransomware threat remains
A police officer stands guard outside the Colonial Pipeline’s tank farm in Alabama. Colonial Pipeline shut down its massive oil pipeline after a ransomware attack took some of its systems offline. Above, a Colonial facility in 2016. | Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The largest petroleum pipeline in the country was reportedly breached by a single leaked password.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has managed to recover part of the ransom paid to the criminal hacking group believed to be responsible for the attack on the Colonial Pipeline, which disrupted a major supply of fuel to the East Coast for roughly a week in May.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco announced on June 7 that the DOJ, through its new Ransomware and Digital Extortion Task Force, was able to recover about 64 of the 75 bitcoins paid to the attackers by “following the money” — even though the money was in difficult-to-trace cryptocurrency. Once it knew the address of the hackers’ wallet, it was able to get a court order to seize the funds in it. The FBI apparently had the digital key needed to open the wallet. How it got that access has not been made public. The seizure is a rare example of ransomware payments being recovered.

The attack has been attributed to DarkSide, a criminal hacker group based in Eastern Europe. The pipeline, which supplies about half of the East Coast’s gasoline, went down for several days, causing gas panic-buying, shortages, and price spikes in some states. It appears to be the largest ever cyberattack on an American energy system and yet another example of cybersecurity vulnerabilities that President Joe Biden has promised to address.

The Colonial Pipeline Company reported on May 7 that it was the victim of a “cybersecurity attack” that “involves ransomware,” forcing the company to take some systems offline and disabling the pipeline. The Georgia-based company says it operates the largest petroleum pipeline in the United States, carrying 2.5 million barrels a day of gasoline, diesel, heating oil, and jet fuel on its 5,500-mile route from Texas to New Jersey.

The pipeline provides nearly half of the East Coast’s fuel supply, and a prolonged shutdown would have caused price increases and shortages to ripple across the industry. This was largely averted when the pipeline came back online within the week, but price increases and shortages happened anyway, largely due to panic rather than supply. Five days after the hack was announced, the national average price for a gallon of regular gas had pushed past $3 for the first time since 2014 (though gas prices were already on an upswing before the pipeline shutdown), with bigger jumps in some states the pipeline serves, including Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp temporarily suspended the state’s gas tax to compensate for the increased prices. Other states put price gouging laws into effect.

“It’s more likely that fuel shortages will be a result of panic buying from consumers watching the headlines unfold, as opposed to shortages directly caused by the attack,” Marty Edwards, former director of industrial control systems for CISA, and vice president of operational technology security for Tenable, told Recode. “This is something we saw with Covid and grocery stores selling out of household items. Regardless, it shows the impact cybersecurity has on our everyday lives.”

“It’s much easier to understand the impact of a cyberattack if it directly impacts your day-to-day life,” he added.

The FBI confirmed DarkSide is responsible for the attacks. DarkSide does not appear to be linked to any nation-states, saying in a statement that “our goal is to make money [not to create] problems for society” and that it is apolitical. DarkSide claimed it was shutting down in the wake of the pipeline attack.

According to cybersecurity company Check Point, however, DarkSide supplies its ransomware services to its partners. “This means we know very little on the real threat actor behind the attack on Colonial, who can be any one of the partners of DarkSide,” Lotem Finkelstein, Check Point’s head of threat intelligence, told Recode. “What we do know is that to take down extensive operations like the Colonial Pipeline reveals a sophisticated and well-designed cyberattack.”

Colonial acknowledged on May 19 that it did indeed pay $4.4 million worth of bitcoin (which is now worth considerably less — even though the DOJ was able to recover 64 bitcoins, they’re only worth $2.3 million now). CEO Joseph Blount told the Wall Street Journal that paying the ransom was a difficult decision, but one that he felt was “the right thing to do for our country.”

Blount added that it will cost Colonial far more — tens of millions of dollars — to completely restore its systems over the next several months.

Ransomware attacks generally use malware to lock companies out of their own systems until a ransom is paid. They’ve surged in the past few years and cost billions of dollars in ransoms paid alone — not counting those that aren’t reported or any associated costs with having systems offline until the ransom is paid. Ransomware attacks have targeted everything from private businesses to the government to hospitals and health care systems. The latter are especially attractive targets, given how urgent it is to get their systems back up as soon as possible.

Energy systems and suppliers have also been a target of ransomware and cyberattacks. The cybersecurity of America’s energy infrastructure has been a particular concern in recent years, with the Trump administration declaring a national emergency in May 2020 meant to secure America’s bulk power system with an executive order that would forbid the acquisition of equipment from countries that pose an “unacceptable risk to national security or the security and safety of American citizens.”

Bloomberg reported about a month after the attack that the company was likely breached through a leaked password to an old account that had access to the virtual private network (VPN) used to remotely access the company’s servers. The account reportedly didn’t have multifactor authentication, so the hackers only needed to know the username and the password to gain access to the largest petroleum pipeline in the country.

The attack underscores two of the Biden administration’s stated priorities: improving American infrastructure and cybersecurity. The large-scale Russian SolarWinds hack, disclosed in December 2020, was shown to have affected several federal government systems. Biden said then that, as president, “my administration will make cybersecurity a top priority at every level of government — and we will make dealing with this breach a top priority from the moment we take office. ... I will not stand idly by in the face of cyber assaults on our nation.”

Biden has also unveiled a $2 trillion infrastructure plan that includes $100 billion to modernize the electrical grid, which cybersecurity experts hoped would include improved cybersecurity measures. Biden also suspended the Trump bulk power system executive order to roll out his own plan.

And Biden has signed an executive order meant to strengthen the federal government’s cybersecurity standards for software and technology services it uses, which a senior administration official described as a fundamental shift in the federal government’s approach to cybersecurity incidents — away from spot responses and toward trying to prevent them from happening in the first place. The order has been in the works since shortly after Biden took office, the official said.

But these measures are more focused on preventing another SolarWinds-like attack. Federal officials told the New York Times they don’t think the order does enough to prevent a sophisticated attack, nor would it apply to a privately held company like Colonial. The oil pipeline attack might strengthen demands for cybersecurity standards for companies that play an important role in Americans’ lives. As it stands, it’s often left up to them which security measures they use to protect critical systems.

“Ransomware is about extortion, and extortion is about pressure,” James Shank, chief architect of community services at cybersecurity company Team Cymru, told Recode. “Impacting fuel distribution gets peoples’ attention right away. ... This emphasizes the need for a coordinated effort that bridges public- and private-sector capabilities to protect our national interests.”

The pipeline was able to get back up and running before a major or prolonged disruption to the fuel supply chain, and customers’ wallets weren’t hit too hard. But the next one — and many cybersecurity experts fear there will be a next one, or several next ones — could be a lot worse if measures aren’t taken at the highest levels to prevent it.

“The shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline by cyber-criminals highlights a massive problem — many of the companies running our critical infrastructure have left their systems vulnerable to hackers through dangerously negligent cybersecurity,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said in a statement. “Congress must take action to hold critical infrastructure companies accountable and force them to secure their computer systems.”

- Jerusalem Demsas
Democratic voters are divided on whether Biden should crack down on Israel
A protester holds up a sign that reads, “Defund Israel.” Hundreds of people in New York City gather at the to protest Israeli attacks on Gaza on May 31. | Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Biden’s position toward Israel hasn’t changed, but the Democratic Party has.

The split in the Democratic Party on US policy toward Israel and Palestine isn’t just among politicians — it’s among their voters as well.

In a new poll with Vox and Data for Progress, Democratic voters are divided on whether President Joe Biden’s administration should be harsher toward the Israeli government. The poll, which had a 3 percent margin of error, was conducted from May 19 to 21 among 1,319 likely voters. In it, after being given a short summary of how Biden responded to the crisis last month, 32 percent of Democrats say they believe “the administration should condemn Israel’s actions.” Meanwhile, 39 percent agreed “the administration has the right approach to Israel.” Only 11 percent of Democrats believe that the administration should be more supportive of Israel.

By the time the poll was being fielded, the New York Times reported that more than 200 people had died in the latest round of fighting, “the vast majority of them Palestinians killed by Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip.” The conflict heightened after Israel worked to evict Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem. The Biden administration quietly advocated for a ceasefire, but not forcefully enough, some critics said; the White House condemned violence by Hamas but said it did not find Israel’s attacks disproportionate.

Republican responses to some of the questions are more uniform. For instance, more than 60 percent believe that “Biden is not supportive enough of Israel,” and 60 percent agree that the administration should condemn Hamas further.

As Vox’s Alex Ward has explained, there is a growing divide on US policy toward Israel within the Democratic Party that became more visible in the last month. That’s partly because former President Donald Trump’s posture toward Israel was remarkably conciliatory, which can help explain why a once bipartisan approach has become more complicated among Democrats:

As president, Trump gave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nearly everything he wanted, including recognition of Israeli sovereignty over disputed territory like the Golan Heights, moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and a “peace plan” that fulfilled nearly all of the premier’s wish list. Meanwhile, Trump closed a Palestinian political office in Washington, DC, stopped aid to the West Bank and Gaza, and effectively cut ties with top Palestinian officials.

Some of the party’s younger, more diverse, and more progressive lawmakers have also elevated questions about support for Israel and pointed to the plight of the Palestinian people.

Biden, however, seems not to have moved along with his party. Just last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “We have a long and abiding relationship — strategic relationship — with Israel, and that will continue to be the case no matter who is leading the country,” reported the Washington Post.

A plurality of Democratic voters, though, want that relationship to shift: The poll found 45 percent want the US to decrease the $3.8 billion in military aid it sends to Israel.

- Brittany Gibson
China extends reach in Hong Kong over Tiananmen Square vigil
A man holds a burning candle as part of the small protests by Hong Kong people during the Tiananmen Square anniversary. Small protests still occurred around Hong Kong after police blocked access to Victoria Park. | Tang Yan/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Turnout for the vigil was down, though some protesters defied orders.

In the face of a new national security law and the arrests of political activists, people in Hong Kong still took to the streets on June 4 to commemorate the 32nd anniversary of the massacre at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China.

Victoria Park, in northern Hong Kong, usually draws thousands of people waving candles to memorialize the still-unknown number of people who died during the Chinese government’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989. But this year, Hongkongers who dared to show up in person were met with signs from police warning of their possible prosecution, and Victoria Park was barricaded shut.

Officially, 2021’s Tiananmen Square remembrance was canceled by the local government because of the coronavirus pandemic, as it was last year. But activists told the BBC that they see this year’s intervention as a step to silence dissent on the island, one of the few places in China where the 1989 Tiananmen Square activists have been allowed to be commemorated.

Last year, when police closed Victoria Park to the Tiananmen Square commemoration, demonstrators knocked down the barricades and continued their candlelight vigil. It was the first time the Hong Kong government had tried to stop the demonstration in 30 years. But since then, the Chinese government passed a new security law, which makes it easier to punish protesters and gives the mainland more control over Hong Kong.

A new law, to which Hong Kong officials weren’t privy

The morning of June 4, the vice chair for the pro-democracy group Hong Kong Alliance, Chow Hang Tung, was arrested for posting about the remembrance online. Among other posts promoting the memory of Tiananmen Square, Chow called for people to “turn on lights everywhere, mobile phone lights, candles, electronic candles…” on her Facebook page the day before her arrest. Chow, who is also a lawyer, predicted that she would be arrested in an interview before June 4. She was arrested for promoting an unauthorized assembly and was released from custody on Saturday.

 Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images Political activist Chow Hang Tung speaks to the media after being arrested in Hong Kong on June 5.

When the Chinese government passed the national security law for Hong Kong in June of 2020, the full text of the legislation was kept secret — even from Chief Executive Carrie Lam, the top public official in Hong Kong. The law’s 66 articles criminalize acts that fall into four categories: secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion. Critics of the bill, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have called the text a threat to free speech and overly broad.

As Vox’s Jen Kirby wrote in 2020 after the passage of the law:

Under each of these activities are some specific offenses. For example, damaging government buildings could qualify as “subversion,” a serious offense that could result in life imprisonment. On July 1, 2019, Hongkongers stormed and defaced the Hong Kong Legislative Council to protest the extradition bill, making this provision look very much like a response to previous protest tactics.

Another example: Under the “colluding with foreign forces” provision, the law says Hongkongers could be arrested and prosecuted if they lobby or work with foreign entities against the Chinese government, including “enacting laws and policies that cause serious obstruction or serious consequences to Hong Kong or China,” according to the Hong Kong Free Press.

This could implicate human rights groups, or even individuals who have called for sanctions or increased pressure on China to stop its intervention in Hong Kong. The Chinese government has blamed outsiders, specifically those in the West, for fomenting opposition against its rule in Hong Kong, and this looks to be a way to silence its critics.

Of course, these expansive definitions are kind of the point.

Activists in Hong Kong have asked foreign governments to intervene in disputes with China, including during the recent extradition bill protests, where it was not uncommon to see American and British flags among protesters. This direct lobbying done by activists like Joshua Wong, a recently imprisoned former secretary-general of the pro-democracy party Demosisto, could now be considered illegal collusion.

The law also extends Chinese authorities’ presence in Hong Kong. Beijing now has its own security office on the island, the mainland capital will have the authority to interpret the law, and people suspected of breaking the law can be wiretapped or surveilled by these security forces (including non-permanent residents).

“Effectively, they are imposing the People’s Republic of China’s criminal system onto the Hong Kong common law system, leaving them with complete discretion to decide who should fall into which system,” Johannes Chan, a legal scholar at the University of Hong Kong, told the BBC.

More than 100 organizers have been arrested in the last year

Even before June 4, activists in Hong Kong were suffering the effects of the national security law. Chow became the face of the Hong Kong Alliance, in part, because so many of her fellow organizers have been arrested. More than 100 arrests have been made under the national security law since last June. Naturally, an increase in the number of people arrested for protesting, political dissent, or other anti-government efforts could be seen as a deterrent to others who may want to demonstrate.

Of those arrested, as of March of this year, 56 have been charged. This includes those arrested in a 1,000-officer raid in January that apprehended more than 50 pro-democracy activists for their involvement in an unofficial primary election, which government officials said was an attempt to “overthrow the government.” Forty-seven people were eventually charged with “conspiracy to commit subversion.”

Under the national security law, legal scholar and former Hong Kong university professor Benny Tai, as well as former lawmakers James To, Helena Wong, Lam Cheuk-ting, and Claudia Mo, were all arrested in January.

They join pro-democracy activist Wong, who was previously sentenced to 13 months in prison, along with dozens of other pro-democracy protesters and organizers on the list of those victimized by Beijing’s law.

The national security law also allows the government to retroactively charge people. Media mogul Jimmy Lai was arrested and sentenced in April under the new security law for his participation in pro-democracy protests in 2019. Lai, 72, was one of the few charged and sentenced for his role in the protests who was not also an elected legislator.

Remembering Tiananmen Square

In contrast to mainland China, where censorship and freedom of expression controls are strictly maintained, Hong Kong’s freedom of speech, press, and publication were written into its governing constitution and bill of rights when the “one country, two systems” policy was established. Hong Kong’s multi-party political system also inherently adds to the possibilities for political expression in comparison to the mainland’s one-party rule.

Hong Kong’s capacity and tolerance for dissent and freedom of speech were also cited as reasons why NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden chose the territory to share his trove of documents with journalists in 2013. “[The people of Hong Kong] have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent,” Snowden told journalists.

However, the erosion of Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous governance has sparked questions about the future of free speech there, and how people will keep alive the memory of the movement at Tiananmen Square.

In mainland China, Tiananmen Square and other words and phrases related to the pro-democracy movement, as well as articles and Wikipedia pages associated with the events of 1989, have been censored.

Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989 CNN/Getty Images The famous image of a lone protester standing in front of tanks, in Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989.

This year, Microsoft came under fire when its Bing search engine failed to return results for the popular image search “Tank Man,” which is the nickname of the iconic photo by Stuart Franklin of one protester blocking the path of three tanks in the middle of Tiananmen Square. Tank Man has long been a symbol of resilience for the pro-democracy movement. In the US, UK, and Singapore, the image vanished from Bing; Microsoft blamed “human error.”

Part of the significance of the Tiananmen Square commemoration in Victoria Park each year is its defiance against censorship and control by the mainland. “Hongkongers are still on our side and want to fight for democracy,” Chow said to the BBC. “Hong Kong allows political expression,” she added. “Are we letting them [the Chinese government] use their ‘red lines’ to change our basic principle?”

In neighboring Taiwan, the Tiananmen Square anniversary is also used as an opportunity to show defiance against China. Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen posted on Facebook, “We will also not forget about the young people who sacrificed themselves on Tiananmen Square on this day 32 years ago, and that year after year, friends in Hong Kong who always mourn June 4 with candlelight.” In previous years, people have also commemorated the anniversary with demonstrations in Taiwan in solidarity with the people of Hong Kong.

Critics of China’s national security law in Hong Kong and of the arrests in the last year fear that censorship norms from mainland China will transform the culture and freedoms on the island. However, activists have shown themselves to be unrelenting and undaunted by the new authorities, and pro-democracy organizers, in Hong Kong and in exile, continue to post online and share their dissenting views.

“Many ask if the vigil will disappear. But I think we have been persisting for more than 30 years,” Chow said. “It is more or less in Hong Kong people’s DNA now.”

- Jen Kirby
Jair Bolsonaro is facing a political reckoning in Brazil. How far will it go?
Anti-government protest in Sao Paulo Demonstrators gather during a protest against the government’s Covid-19 response on Avenida Paulista in Sao Paulo on May 29, 2021. | Photo by Cristina Szucinski/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Brazil saw big protests last week, and an inquiry is showing just how deeply Bolsonaro botched the pandemic response.

The panelaços — the banging of pots and pans — became a socially distanced way for Brazilians to protest President Jair Bolsonaro during the pandemic. But last weekend, a year into a prolonged coronavirus crisis, hundreds of thousands marched in more than 200 cities across Brazil to demand Bolsonaro’s impeachment.

Signs bore slogans, such as “fora Bolsonaro” (“Bolsonaro out”) and “genocida,” a reference to Bolsonaro’s mismanagement of the pandemic, which has left more than 460,000 Brazilians dead, one of the worst death rates in the world.

Protesters blame Bolsonaro for it. Their case is now being backed up by a formal Senate inquiry into Bolsonaro’s handling of the pandemic. The hearings have become a public accounting of Bolsonaro’s negligence — including testimony from a Pfizer executive who said the pharmaceutical company reached out to Brazil about procuring doses last year, and Bolsonaro’s government didn’t respond for two months.

These hearings are taking place as Brazil still averages around 2,000 coronavirus deaths daily, with many bracing for third wave, and the public-health system is battered to the point of near-collapse. Brazil’s vaccination campaign is chaos, and what is working is largely happening in spite of Bolsonaro. A little more than 10 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Opinion polls suggest support for impeachment is growing: 57 percent are now in favor, up 11 percentage points from three months ago.

All of this would suggest Bolsonaro’s year-long pandemic blunder is finally catching up to him along with plenty of other scandals, from those involving his family to his environmental minister who was allegedly smuggling illegal timber.

Whether this is a real reckoning for Bolsonaro — one that could truly push him from power — is the larger question. The anger and frustration are real, at the handling of the pandemic, at the economic situation, and plenty of other issues.

But experts said many of the groups mobilizing against him — including women, students, and labor groups — already largely opposed the president. Bolsonaro himself has remained defiant, drawing on the unwavering support of his base. And impeachment is a tricky question, in part because Bolsonaro is up for reelection in just over a year.

“I think this is a kind of catharsis movement, you know — ‘I cannot stay at home seeing this anymore. So I prefer to take some risk and go to the streets,’” said Arthur Ituassu, a professor of political communication at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica in Rio de Janeiro.

“But if this will have political consequences,” he added, “I don’t know.”

The growing push to impeach Bolsonaro, explained

Brazil’s coronavirus situation is dire, but it’s not surprising given that Bolsonaro downplayed the pandemic from the beginning.

He called it the “little flu.” He shrugged at the country’s mounting death toll by saying “we’ll all die one day.” He undermined governors’ attempts to enforce social distancing and other measures, insisting economies reopen. He used a homophobic slur to refer to those who wore masks. He has continued to tout the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and other unproven drugs as coronavirus cures.

When it comes to Covid-19 vaccinations, Bolsonaro has sowed misinformation and doubt. In December, he said of possible side effects on the Pfizer vaccine, “If you turn into a crocodile, it’s your problem.” He strongly criticized Chinese-made vaccines, including bashing his own government’s deal to acquire the CoronaVac vaccine. “The Brazilian people WON’T BE ANYONE’S GUINEA PIG,” he wrote on social media last year. Ultimately, Bolsonaro had to backtrack early this year and thank China for fast-tracking the vaccine, as Brazil faced a deadly wave of the pandemic, with few vaccines available.

João Nunes, senior lecturer of international relations at the University of York, said Bolsonaro’s “denialist approach” to the pandemic contributed to its severity, which led to disarray and lack of coordination. “Denialism, botching the vaccination program, continuing to support this myth of precocious treatment based on hydroxychloroquine, denying and going against regulations of the public health authorities promoting social gatherings without masks,” Nunes said, enumerating Bolsonaro’s misdeeds.

Just how serious these misdeeds are is being examined by a parliamentary inquiry in Brazil’s Senate. The investigation is broadly looking into the government’s failures during the pandemic. It is also examining the government’s blunders in its vaccination strategy, including procurement.

The committee has existed for about a month. The testimony has been damning, essentially showing that Bolsonaro planned to pursue a policy of herd immunity, a strategy that not only prolonged the crisis in Brazil but likely gave rise to new variants.

Luiz Henrique Mandetta, Brazil’s former health minister who had backed social distancing and so found himself quickly fired by Bolsonaro last year, told the committee that the government had no communication plan. “There was no way to do a campaign, they didn’t want to do it,” he said. Mandetta provided a letter, dated March 28, 2020, urging Bolsonaro to follow the scientific recommendations of the health ministry, which the president largely ignored.

Bolsonaro’s former communications director, Fábio Wajngarten, testified that letters from Pfizer offering to make deals with Brazil on vaccine doses went unanswered for months in the fall of 2020. The president of Pfizer for Latin America, Carlos Murillo, also testified that the company had begun outreach to the Brazilian government in May 2020, with two formal offers made in August — both of which went unanswered.

The company sent another request directly to Bolsonaro and the health minister, which languished until at least December. Murillo said that if Bolsonaro had struck a deal in August 2020, Pfizer could have delivered 18.5 million doses to the country by June 2021. Instead, Brazil and Pfizer didn’t strike a deal until March of this year; as it stands now, Brazil has received fewer than 6 million doses from Pfizer.

The hearings are a political spectacle, with senators accusing Bolsonaro’s allies of lying and trying to shield him. Bolsonaro’s defenders, meanwhile, are accusing the hearing of being politically motivated; though on this, they’re not totally wrong. With Brazil’s elections approaching, this public record of Bolsonaro’s dereliction is a potent tool for the opposition.

But it is also a legitimate, and some argue necessary, fact-finding mission. If the outcome is incriminating for Bolsonaro, it is largely because the evidence is bearing that out.

Many of these revelations are not exactly earth-shattering or even all that new, having already leaked out in news reports. And Bolsonaro’s public record alone makes apparent how he trivialized the pandemic.

But the difference, experts say, is that it is all happening in one place. Witnesses are also under oath. Even those who are trying to defend Bolsonaro are mostly just succeeding in contradicting themselves or highlighting the ineptitude of the government.

“I think it’s really laid naked what a lot of people suspected, what a lot of reports have said; they are now seeing the actors who were involved, who were in the room,” said Colin Snider, assistant professor of Latin American history at the University of Texas at Tyler.

Bolsonaro’s mishandling of the pandemic has created ripple effects in other areas, including the economy and public health care system, all of it increasing the public’s frustration and dissatisfaction. And as some of his critics have pointed out, his mismanagement of the vaccination campaign has made it all but impossible for Brazil to emerge swiftly from this Covid-19 crisis, an irony for a guy who claimed he didn’t want to shut down the economy.

“The record that is being put together of incompetence, negligence, bad faith, [and] political opportunism in the Bolsonaro administration dealing with the pandemic is overwhelming,” Paulo Barrozo, an associate law professor at Boston College, said.

“But I don’t think that is going to lead to an impeachment Congres,” Barrozo added. “I think there is a record that is being built for historical purposes and also to be used in the next presidential election.”

Bolsonaro’s coronavirus record is damning. But maybe don’t expect impeachment just yet.

Bolsonaro has about 130 impeachment petitions against him. Some predate the pandemic and cover all kinds of offenses. But the pandemic and Bolsonaro’s handling of it have galvanized the public.

“I do think we are now maybe in the worst moment of Bolsonaro’s government,” Pontifícia Universidade Católica’s Ituassu said.

But it might not be enough for impeachment — at least not yet. The big thing right now is timing: Impeachment could be a long, drawn-out affair, and Brazil’s elections are just over a year away. If Bolsonaro continues to do nothing about the coronavirus and the crisis continues, voters may kick him out of the job anyway.

Bolsonaro is doing what he always does in the face of criticism: doubling down. Just this week, Bolsonaro offered to host the Copa America tournament, after the original hosts, Argentina and Colombia, pulled out, because of a coronavirus surge and unrest, respectively. “Since the beginning of the pandemic I have been saying, I regret the deaths, but we have to live,” Bolsonaro said at the announcement. Brazil is still seeing about 60,000 Covid-19 cases a day and around 2,000 deaths.

The attraction for Bolsonaro supporters is partly the doubling down. Bolsonaro is often compared to Donald Trump, and like Trump, Bolsonaro has a steady and unflaggingly loyal base that is, give or take, somewhere around a third of the voting population. The more Bolsonaro feels under attack by the political establishment or the media or his critics, the more he goes after those institutions and the more that fires up his supporters.

“He’s lost support. But what has remained is very loyal,” Barrozo said. “So in a way, he is solidifying, crystallizing, [and] firming his bases by doubling down.”

And the thing about impeachment is that it can be easily sold to his base as, to borrow a phrase from a Bolsonaro pal, “the greatest witch-hunt in the history of our country” — which is exactly what Bolsonaro and his backers feed off.

Another big factor, experts say, is that Bolsonaro still retains support in Brazil’s Senate and Chamber of Deputies (kind of like the House of Representatives). They are the bodies that are ultimately going to have to take up impeachment. This isn’t ideological or even about party loyalty; in fact, Bolsonaro doesn’t even have a party affiliation right now. Instead, it’s about perks.

The thing standing in the way is the Centrão (Big Center), a bloc of centrist voting parties in Brazil’s Congress. Bolsonaro has basically had to build alliances with these members of Congress, who agree to work with Bolsonaro in exchange for the president basically giving them what they want.

“Bolsonaro has actually gotten pretty good at handing out goodies — like pork-barrel projects — for the members of Congress to bring home the bacon and show their voters that they’re doing their job,” said David Samuels, distinguished McKnight University professor of political science at the University of Minnesota. “And so they’re also happy to see Bolsonaro twist in the wind as long as he keeps the spigots of money going.”

Experts said it’s going to take a lot for them to basically turn their back on those goodies — whether they’re cushy jobs or beneficial projects. An investigation by the Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo found that Bolsonaro’s government set aside about 20 billion reais ($3.9 billion) for what are basically pork projects.

“The question for impeachment becomes this: Does popular will and senatorial and deputy outrage turn to the point where enough are willing to abandon that sort of legislative sway over the national political agenda for the sake of impeachment?” Snider of the University of Texas said.

Right now, the answer looks like a big “no.”

As experts said, because these alliances aren’t born from any real loyalty, they can shift pretty quickly. But politicians also want to know exactly which way the wind is blowing before they abandon Bolsonaro.

So while Bolsonaro is unpopular, he may need to get even more unpopular. The street protests matter, but they must grow even more massive and consistent. The anti-Bolsonaro coalition on the streets may need to widen to include more centrist and center-right people — folks who may have backed Bolsonaro before but now unequivocally reject him.

Otherwise, lawmakers are content to just let Bolsonaro self-destruct. “I do think they prefer a weak Bolsonaro more than anything else,” Ituassu said.

That includes a weak Bolsonaro in the October 2022 election, who could very likely be facing off against former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who just got the clear from courts to be able to run again after corruption charges had barred him from running. Early polls suggest if Lula and Bolsonaro were to face off in a runoff — both polarizing populists in their own way — Lula would win handily. (If Bolsonaro, sigh, accepts the results — but that’s a crisis for another day.)

So there is a sense of just riding this out until the election. That comes with its own risks for the country, as it continues to battle the pandemic, and those who want to see Bolsonaro defeated. Bolsonaro is not going to change — no one expects him to suddenly become a deft manager of the pandemic — but circumstances around him might. The economy could bounce back, and the vaccination campaign could gain momentum. If that happens, Bolsonaro’s coronavirus record might not be as potent a force in October 2022.

Pressure against Bolsonaro is building. But so far, nothing Bolsonaro has done has really threatened his position or destroyed his loyal base of support. The question may not be whether a reckoning is coming for Bolsonaro but whether it will actually be enough.

“This is one more element in place that could lead to Bolsonaro’s downfall,” Jessica Rich, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin, said. “I don’t think they are yet all in place. But this is a real escalation of the threat against him.”

- Jariel Arvin
The far right is weaponizing climate change to argue against immigration
Arizona Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich is suing the Biden administration, stating that its immigration policies are adversely impacting the state’s environment. | Ross D. Franklin/AP

The right-wing solution to environmental problems: more borders and exclusion.

As the impacts of human-induced climate change become harder and harder to ignore, some on the right have moved away from denying it exists and toward a new strategy: blaming immigrants for contributing to the problem.

An April 12 lawsuit brought by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich against the Department of Homeland Security alleges that the Biden administration’s policies on immigration have impacted the state’s environment by increasing demand for “housing, infrastructure, hospitals, and schools.”

The lawsuit alleges that immigrants “drive cars, purchase goods, and use public parks and other facilities. Their actions also directly result in the release of pollutants, carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which directly affects air quality.”

Some advocates are worried that the Arizona case, which uses climate change as a weapon against immigrants, communities of color, and poor people, could become a more common means of attack for the right.

This idea has deep roots in right-wing environmentalism. But it also has disturbing echoes of a far-right ideology known as “ecofascism.”

Ecofascism refers to “groups and ideologies that offer authoritarian, hierarchical, and racist analyses and solutions to environmental problems,” Blair Taylor, program director at the Institute for Social Ecology, told me.

The solution to those problems, ecofascists believe, is “the same as the right’s answers to many other issues: more walls, more borders, more exclusion, and more justification of hierarchy and elite rule,” said Taylor, author of “Alt-Right Ecology: Ecofascism and far-right environmentalism in the United States.”

Two mass shootings brought ecofascism into the mainstream. In March 2019, an assailant targeted two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, leaving more than 50 Muslim worshippers dead and at least another 50 injured. The shooter left behind a nearly 80-page manifesto detailing a white nationalist ideology and blaming immigrants and overpopulation for environmental problems.

Then in August of that year, a shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, left 23 dead. The shooter told reporters that he intentionally targeted Hispanics in the attack and made a statement blaming them for plastic and water pollution.

 Mario Tama/Getty Images On August 2, 2020, people embrace at a one-year commemoration of the victims of the 2019 Walmart shooting that left 23 people dead in a racist attack targeting Latinos in El Paso, Texas.

But although these far-right environmentalists blame immigrants for environmental problems, the science indicates otherwise. It’s the world’s richest who are driving the climate emergency.

A September 2020 report by Oxfam found that from 1990 to 2015 — a critical 25-year period during which humans doubled the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere — the wealthiest 1 percent of the world’s population accounted for more than twice as much carbon pollution as the 3.1 billion people who made up the poorest half of humanity.

To find out more about the roots of right-wing environmentalism and ecofascism, I called Blair Taylor. He explained why the motivation behind the Arizona case fits more closely with right-wing environmentalism than it does with ecofascist ideology.

Our conversation, edited for length and clarity, is below.

Jariel Arvin

How can readers identify ecofascism?

Blair Taylor

A basic definition is the groups and ideologies that offer authoritarian, hierarchical, and racist analyses and solutions to environmental problems. Ecofascists think modern life is too complicated and declining culturally, environmentally, intellectually. So they argue for a big reset. “We need to reject modernity,” as one of their slogans goes.

Jariel Arvin

What do ecofascists hope to achieve through the return to nature?

Blair Taylor

Many ecofascists are preparing for a violent collapse and arguing for a kind of racialized tribalism in what they view as an effort to restore the natural balance. This imminent collapse is nature “getting revenge” for human hubris, essentially weeding out the weak. Ecofascists want this all to happen in line with the current rules of the game, meaning the poor and people of color will suffer while the wealthy are far better positioned to survive.

When ecofascism takes an explicitly racialized form, it overlaps with the general far-right discourse of the “Great Replacement” or white genocide. According to this thinking, white people are a persecuted minority that’s on its way out unless they defend themselves. They use the view of whites as an endangered species to justify the need for separate communities.

For ecofascists, the answer to environmental problems is the same as the right’s answers to many other issues: more walls, more borders, more exclusion, and more justification of hierarchy and elite rule.

Jariel Arvin

Was the media correct in linking the 2019 Christchurch shooting to ecofascism?

Blair Taylor

Absolutely. The Christchurch shooting was a mobilizing and popularizing force for ecofascist ideology. It then inspired the El Paso shooting. Although the former targeted Muslims and the latter targeted Latinos, both the Christchurch and El Paso shooters provided very similar arguments for what they did: white replacement theory.

It’s tough to identify the danger level or how much of a threat it is because right-wing environmentalism is primarily a set of ideas rather than a set of organizations. Organizations might get infiltrated and taken down, but the ideas are still out there.

When events like the Christchurch or El Paso shootings happen, they bring right-wing ideas out of the ether. This reflects the decentralized nature of social movements where now it’s a hashtag. It’s a few websites. It’s a Signal chat. It’s very decentralized, so it’s hard to cut off the head.

The right can’t deny environmental problems as quickly as they once could. And you have a younger generation who’s grown up in a world that takes environmentalism for granted, so they have to give that a right-wing slant or analysis. The other factor that they like is the environmental movement is very white and historically has been. It’s starting to change now.

Jariel Arvin

How big of a threat would you say ecofascism is? Is there any way of knowing how widespread the movement is or whether it’s currently gaining momentum?

Blair Taylor

It’s hard to say because, especially now, I think a lot of this far-right activism has gone underground. The glory days of the alt-right — the Charlottesville event — caused much internal strife and fractionalization and the fallout over Trump. Then now, with the pandemic especially, it’s been tough to track.

The danger is that their views of modern life as alienating or stressful have a critical orientation that in many ways can be true. But the answers ecofascists offer — a simplistic “great reset” — overlook the complexity of the problems to blame humanity or people of color instead of looking at more targeted, reasonable explanations for those problems.

Jariel Arvin

That makes me think of the case where the state of Arizona is suing the Department of Homeland Security and other US government entities, blaming climate change on immigrants. A few media reports have suggested that the case has echoes of ecofascism. Is it ecofascist?

Blair Taylor

I wouldn’t say this is an ecofascist case, partly because I don’t think these people care about the environment. It seems pretty clear that it’s an anti-immigrant argument justified in environmental terms. I would say this is a case of right-wing environmentalism.

They want to offer “environmental solutions” that are right-wing answers to environmental problems. The science shows that immigration is not driving environmental degradation and is not driving climate change. So these aren’t very scientifically serious arguments, but they can have a popular allure.

That’s the perennial allure of overpopulation — it obliterates all the social issues and makes everything a pure numbers game. It’s a convenient way to let wealthy, primarily white people off the hook and redirect blame.

This issue has not just been restricted to the right either. Much of the older guard of environmentalism tended not to be humanists. They were naturalists, and they were scientists. They were very concerned with preserving capital in nature but they created a strong dichotomy between nature and humanity. They tended to view humanity not as a part of nature — it was a threat to nature.

When we created some of the amazing national parks we have in the United States, we kicked out the Indigenous inhabitants seen as a threat. That’s a dynamic that we’ve seen over and over in environmental movements, pitting humanity and nature against one another.

Jariel Arvin

So how did the far right become associated with environmentalism? It’s not the first association that I think comes to mind for most people.

Blair Taylor

A colleague of mine, Peter Staudenmaier, co-wrote a book with Janet Biehl called Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience. It described the very strong ecological dimension to National Socialism previously unknown by many people outside of Germany.

Ernst Haeckel, a German naturalist, coined the word “ecology” itself. Haeckel was also a nationalist cited as a precursor to National Socialism. The idea of nature as a hierarchical place bound by natural laws, and which therefore must be protected, has a long history. And the right has a reasonably strong claim to this history. It wasn’t until the 1960s and ’70s that environmentalism became understood as an issue of the left.

The classic conservation movement was a very patrician movement of mostly upper-class white European and American males who wanted to defend their hunting lands and their pristine landscapes from all kinds of things. In many cases, this was very explicitly worded to protect the wild from the poor, migrants, or the “savages” who were not properly utilizing it. So it is a very recent and modern development to think of environmentalism as a left or liberal issue.

Murray Bookchin was central to helping that change come about. He wrote a piece called Ecology and Revolutionary Thought in 1964, one of the first texts arguing that left-wing politics should incorporate ecology. It just took time for the ideas to take root.

Jariel Arvin

Do you think there are any traces of environmentalism in Donald Trump’s politics?

Blair Taylor

No. That’s precisely one of those lines between Trump and far-right environmentalists — these far-right actors do actually believe in protecting the environment. But they have a very racist, authoritarian, hierarchical analysis of the nature of those environmental problems. In contrast, Trump strikes me as an old-school plutocrat. The goal is to get his buddies in the oil and other industries rich.

Jariel Arvin

What does ecofascism look like in Europe versus in the United States?

Blair Taylor

In Europe, you see examples like France’s Marine Le Pen of the National Rally, starting to have this almost blood and soil ideology, the idea of “France for the French” and that white French people are custodians of nature.

In general, European political parties have taken on more of the ecofascist discourse. It might be because, in Europe, there’s been perhaps more openness to climate change as a reality rather than climate denialism. Although that’s changing on the American right, too, partly just because of demographic factors and because it’s just increasingly impossible to ignore that climate change is happening.

So rather than deny it (which many still do), the American right seeks to blame the usual enemies: immigrants, people of color, and the poor.

Jariel Arvin

So how do you think the openness to accepting climate change in Europe as opposed to denialism that we see in America creates more favorable conditions for ecofascism?

Blair Taylor

On the one hand, the openness of the parliamentary political systems allows more entry to fringe groups. On the other, there’s arguably also less of an anti-science perspective. There seems to be more of a general acceptance that climate change is happening in Europe, so they’re able to channel that into a kind of right-wing worldview. This Arizona bill shows that this is happening in the US, but they’ve been doing similar things more successfully in Europe for 10 to 15 years.

Jariel Arvin

So what’s the solution? How do we counter ecofascist thinking and ideology? Is the Justice Department responsible for monitoring ecofascism? Who’s responsible?

Blair Taylor

There’s a joke inside the far right that if you swing a cat, you’ll hit an undercover FBI agent. So the FBI, finally, after years of ignoring it and focusing on left-wing and Muslim domestic terrorism, they’re taking far-right terrorism seriously. So, the FBI is paying attention. I’m sure the Justice Department is as well.

Then, of course, there’s a network of far-right monitoring groups from the Anti-Defamation League to the Western States’ center with Eric Ward. There’s a network of anti-fascist researchers, people like Spencer Sunshine and Shane Burley, and others closely monitoring these groups.

And, of course, the rise of antifa is another thing. People focus on antifa as a street organization that’s countering far-right movements in the streets. But much of it is behind-the-scenes research work where they infiltrate their local Proud Boys and identify which Proud Boys are police or army or teachers. This is all happening. The state is usually behind the curve and forced to intervene by events. In contrast, these monitoring groups often are equally embedded and typically have a better analysis.

To recognize [and counter] ecofascism requires understanding the tropes and the longer history of environmentalism’s racist, classist, and sexist components. The environmental movement must offer an articulation of environmental concerns that is emancipatory and social and doesn’t fall into the traps it has fallen into in the past. Avoiding those mistakes means having a bit of sensitivity and understanding that ideas can point us in better and worse directions politically.

This is why I’ve argued for a social ecology — not just looking at numbers and population growth but looking at how different groups and systems are disproportionately to blame and face disproportionate impacts. This is largely the kind of work we do at the Institute for Social Ecology, offering democratic and emancipatory answers to environmental and social problems.

- Alex Ward
What Kim Jong Un’s regime shake-up says about his leadership
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the township of Samjiyon County on December 2, 2019. | KCNA/Handout/Xinhua via Getty Images

The North Korean leader appointed a new “representative” to the ruling party, indicating the dictator’s willingness to delegate.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is rewiring his nation’s government to operate less like a dictator’s playground and more like an organization that can handle multiple crises at once.

According to reports this week from CNN, Reuters, and other media outlets, Kim appointed a de facto second-in-command back in January to help lead the country’s ruling Workers’ Party of Korea. As “first secretary,” a title Kim himself held from 2012 to 2016 (he assumed the grander role of “general secretary” in January 2021), this as-yet-unknown person will serve as the despot’s “representative” to the WPK.

Experts were quick to say this person won’t actually be North Korea’s second-in-command. It’s at best a kind of executive secretary role, someone who has the authority to handle day-to-day party operations but not the power to make key decisions without the boss’s say-so.

“It means no change to [Kim’s] status as the supreme leader of North Korea, but it will mean a change in his leadership style,” said Rachel Minyoung Lee, a Seoul-based fellow at the Stimson Center think tank in Washington, DC. In fact, “Kim technically always has had a ‘second-in-command’ in every party, state, and military institution,” she added.

The new and unprecedented role, then, isn’t really about some already prominent North Korean official gaining more authority. Rather, it’s Kim’s latest reform to ensure his regime can handle all affairs of state without his consistent, direct input.

“It should suggest to us that Kim is doing things internally,” said Ken Gause, director of the adversary analytics program at the CNA, a Virginia-based think tank. “He’s changing this regime and making it a more normalized organization.”

Why Kim is reforming his government

Kim has made big changes to North Korea’s leadership before, experts said, including moves to rein in influential regime bodies, namely those in the security apparatus and the shadowy Organization and Guidance Department.

Previously, when Kim’s grandfather and father ran North Korea, those in uniform and other high-level officials influenced the country’s direction. The ruling family, at times, worried that some of them were plotting coups or taking too much power for themselves, occasionally leading to their brutal executions.

So, making changes to North Korea’s leadership structure isn’t necessarily new for Kim. But few are certain as to why he authorized a new first secretary now, though analysts have some ideas.

The first is that North Korea faces many crises, from a devastating coronavirus outbreak to a crushing economic collapse. To handle just those two problems, let alone all the challenges facing the country, Kim can’t follow the old playbook of making every single policy decision. It now seems he wants to set the strategic direction for the nation by letting his aide know exactly what he wants and trusting them to carry out the tactical decisions.

This has the added bonus of signaling to the outside world that Kim is a reformer with modern-day ideas. “We should view this as North Korea’s attempt to make Kim seem more like a ‘normal’ leader who rules through and with the party and not a lone dictator,” said Stimson’s Lee, who also noted that “in recent months, top North Korean party officials other than Kim Jong Un have led some party meetings.”

The second is that Kim has long said he wants to reform North Korea’s economy. But the problem, CNA’s Gause told me, is that any changes Kim makes won’t stick for the long term if the government is incapable of running without his constant input. Having a trusted official to help oversee the moves he makes, then, can help turn Kim’s economic dream into reality. “If they continue the way they had in the past, they will fail,” Gause said of the North Korean regime. “They are maturing and they are changing.”

The third reason may be a long-term play. It’s an open secret that Kim has health problems — he’s overweight, and a smoker. Gause suggested Kim may want to ensure he has a government in place that can continue to function should he die prematurely. That doesn’t mean he’s planning for a North Korea without a Kim family member in charge, but rather that he may envision a regime capable of working even in the temporary absence of a dictator.

In my book "The Great Successor," I wrote that Kim Jong Un's biggest risk factor was his obvious poor health -- and in particular the risk of cardiac problems. Kim Jong Un is five feet, seven inches tall, and weighs about three hundred pounds = BMI of 45, or "extremely obese"

— Anna Fifield (@annafifield) April 21, 2020

As of now, it’s unclear who will assume the first secretary position. Most experts think it will be a confidante of Kim’s and someone who serves on the five-member presidium, a committee made up of top members of the ruling party. Reports suggest Jo Yong Won, who is close to Kim and believed to be in his mid-60s, could get the job or may have it already.

Put together, all of this means two key things: Kim seems to have the future of his nation in mind, and he’s supremely confident in his own leadership. He’s not giving up his power — he’s shoring it up.

- Jen Kirby
The complicated politics of a Beijing 2022 boycott
A Uyghur man watches the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on a big screen in Kashgar in Xinjiang province on August 8, 2008. A Uyghur man watches the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games on a big screen in Kashgar in Xinjiang province. | Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

Human rights groups say China’s treatment of the Uyghur people disqualifies the country from hosting the Winter Olympics next year.

China is slated to host the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing. But a growing chorus of human rights activists is calling for countries to boycott the games over the Chinese government’s human rights abuses, including the persecution of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, which the US State Department has called a “genocide.”

A coalition of around 180 human rights advocacy groups has issued a “call to action” urging all countries and athletes to boycott what they’re now calling the “genocide Olympics.” If Beijing is allowed to host an Olympics-spectacle-as-usual, they say, it amounts to acceptance of the Chinese government’s atrocities against the Uyghurs, its anti-democratic crackdown in Hong Kong, and its other human rights abuses.

“For us, if a genocide is not the red line to boycott the Olympic Games, then nothing is,” said Zumretay Arkin of the World Uyghur Congress, one of the groups backing the campaign.

Some Republican and Democratic politicians in the US, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have also voiced support for some version of a boycott. Pelosi called for a “diplomatic boycott” that would see heads of state refrain from attending while still allowing athletes to compete in the games; Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) proposed an economic boycott and a diplomatic one, urging American spectators not to attend in person to reduce the revenue Beijing makes from their tourism. Lawmakers in other countries have made similar calls.

So far, the Biden administration has said it is not discussing any joint boycott with allies. That may be because pulling off a real and sustained boycott, particularly as an exercise of US foreign policy, is itself an olympic feat.

Olympic boycotts have a complicated and somewhat messy history. The last time the US tried it in earnest — during the 1980 Moscow Olympics, to protest the Soviet Union’s Afghanistan invasion — Moscow registered America’s displeasure, but the effort did little to actually sway policy, while creating controversies at home and denying many athletes their one shot at a medal.

So far, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, which represents American athletes, has strongly rejected the idea of a boycott and instead advocates using the games to showcase American values.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), which runs the games, has said it must stay “neutral on all global political issues,” though that may be more wishful thinking than reality. After all, politics is a big reason countries vie to host the Olympics, seeing it as a way to signal power and prestige to the world. This is why Beijing is aggressively pushing back against any boycott talk.

The cases for and against a Beijing 2022 boycott will likely roil right up until the games. Few experts think that an Olympic boycott will do anything to meaningfully change China’s behavior; if anything, China tends to double down in the face of international criticism. China also learned lessons from its hosting of the 2008 Olympics, making it much more prepared for objections this time around.

This exposes the dilemma at the core of the debate for countries that want to support democracy and human rights: “If you believe in these values, which the US and many other countries do, you can’t ignore [China’s human rights record] and treat it like it’s nothing,” Jacques deLisle, an expert on Chinese law and politics at the University of Pennsylvania, said. “On the other hand, we are not in a position — absent really catastrophic costs — to do a whole lot about it.”

Why the idea of boycotting Beijing is gaining traction

The 2022 Winter Olympics were the games no one wanted. Out of six initial applicants, four dropped out: Krakow, Poland; Lviv, Ukraine; Oslo, Norway; and Stockholm, Sweden. That left two cities standing: Beijing, and Almaty, Kazakhstan — an autocratic country that isn’t exactly a bastion of human rights, either.

Ahead of that vote, activists objected to the IOC’s consideration of Beijing. Choosing the Chinese capital, a petition at the time said, “will endorse a government that blatantly violates human rights. Awarding Beijing the Olympics is a contradiction of the Olympics’ goal of ‘promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.’”

Human rights groups also protested the Beijing Olympics in 2008, with Tibetan rights at the forefront of that opposition. In the years since, under President Xi Jinping, the Chinese government’s stifling of civil liberties and human rights has worsened. Advocates said that once again elevating China would give it license to act with greater impunity.

But the IOC chose Beijing in a close vote in what was arguably the least worst option: Beijing had hosted a successful 2008 Summer Olympics; it had reliable infrastructure and transportation and money to invest in building those things up. “It really is a safe choice,” IOC President Thomas Bach said at the time. “We know China will deliver on its promises.”

That was in 2015. China’s human rights record has become even more troubling since.

The Chinese Communist Party has arbitrarily detained between 1 million and 3 million Uyghur people and other Turkic minorities in Xinjiang in what it calls “reeducation centers,” which are basically internment or concentration camps. Detainees are forced to undergo psychological indoctrination and are subject to waterboarding and other forms of torture. Uyghurs have been forced into what amounts to slave labor, making everything from clothes to face masks. Uyghur women have been subject to forced sterilization.

In one of its last acts, the Trump administration determined that China’s actions against the Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang constitute a “genocide.” Biden’s State Department has backed up that designation, as have others, including the UK and Canadian parliaments.

In recent years, the Chinese Communist Party has also continued its crackdown on dissidents and smothered Hong Kong’s freedoms with a repressive national security law.

The geopolitics has also become much more complicated. The Trump years marked rising tensions between the US and China, which got even messier in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the Trump administration and some GOP politicians blaming China for its mismanagement of the virus outbreak early on.

All of this has helped bolster the idea of a boycott, including among some lawmakers in the US who are eager to push back on China in any way possible.

The idea is pretty simple: Usually, the Olympics are a showcase for the host country. Shunning the Winter Games would send a stinging message to China. And by connecting its treatment of the Uyghurs and its actions in Hong Kong to such a high-profile event, it would raise global awareness of China’s actions and exert a level of pressure that rebukes from the State Department can’t quite accomplish.

But all of that is still pretty hard to execute.

There’s a long history of Olympic boycotts. Whether they work is another story.

When it comes to Olympic boycotts by the US, there are two examples that usually come to mind: the time the US didn’t boycott (in Berlin in 1936), and the time that it did (in Moscow in 1980).

The first example provides the case for participating in the games: By going to the host country, you’re using the platform to promote democratic values.

The second example offers the case against participating: By boycotting, you’re painting the host country as a pariah on the world stage and pressuring it to change course if it wants to get back into the international community’s good graces.

Both courses come with agonizing moral and political calculations that don’t necessarily have satisfying answers.

The first example involved the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin. A movement to boycott the games over the Nazi regime’s persecution of Jews had gained some serious momentum in the US; although some individual athletes refused to attend, the larger boycott movement failed, and the US and dozens of other countries sent their athletes to Berlin.

But these were also the Olympics where Jesse Owens, a Black man, achieved incredible victories in track and field, creating a sticking-it-to-Hitler mythology all its own (though Owens still faced discrimination back home in 1930s America). And the threat of the boycott did resonate. The Nazi regime tamped down its public anti-Semitism, hiding evidence of its policies. But that also allowed Hitler to obscure the reality of what was happening in Germany, sanitizing the regime and giving him a global audience for Nazi propaganda.

“When you look at Berlin in 1936, there is no question Jesse Owens made a mockery of Nazi racial ideology,” John Soares, a professor of history at the University of Notre Dame, said. “But that didn’t convince the Nazis to rethink what they were doing.”

Fast-forward to Moscow 1980, when the US did boycott the Olympics. President Jimmy Carter pushed for the boycott in the wake of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. This wasn’t the only political pressure Carter put on the USSR, but it was seen as one option to publicly undermine Moscow.

For the boycott to work, Carter had to do two things: convince the athletes, and get other countries on board. Both got very messy, though Carter had support from Congress and from the public.

The US Olympic Committee is an independent entity, so Carter had to get them to agree with the plan. Many athletes opposed the boycott, angry at becoming pawns in the Cold War drama. Athletes sued, saying the Carter administration had coerced compliance from the USOC by threatening to revoke their tax-exempt status.

Meanwhile, Carter had trouble convincing other countries to agree. He dispatched boxer Muhammad Ali on a goodwill tour to Africa, only to have Ali change his mind and withdraw support for the boycott entirely. Allies that had seemed eager to go along with the boycott, like Great Britain, ended up sending athletes to Moscow anyway. In total, 65 countries didn’t participate — including West Germany, Japan, and Israel — but 80 did.

In the end, it looked a bit more like the US president strong-arming his country’s athletes and allies than a democratic president standing up to a totalitarian regime.

The USSR went tit-for-tat in 1984: It refused to send its athletes to the games in Los Angeles, claiming the Reagan administration would not guarantee their safety.

There have been other boycotts — some European countries protested the 1956 games because of the USSR’s invasion of Hungary, for example. But Moscow in 1980 was an attempt to really use the Olympics as a pressure point in international politics. While it was symbolic and got attention, that’s pretty much all it accomplished. The Soviets didn’t leave Afghanistan until years later, and that was because it had become a complete quagmire.

“They don’t work,” Nicholas Sarantakes, an associate professor of strategy and policy at the US Naval War College and author of Dropping the Torch: Jimmy Carter, the Olympic Boycott, and the Cold War, said of boycotts. “Generally, because the Olympics — while they get a lot of visibility — they’re fairly minor as far as the activities of a nation-state go.”

“The things that motivate nation-states are far more significant than how many gold medals you win,” Sarantakes added. “It’s been tried several times. And it fails every time.”

And when it fails, the loser isn’t really the governments in question, but the athletes themselves.

In the 1980 boycott, 460 US athletes had to sit out the games, and the Soviets hogged all the medals. Many US athletes never got another chance at Olympic competition. Last year, on the 40th anniversary of the boycott, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee apologized to the 1980 athletes: “It’s abundantly clear in hindsight that the decision to not send a team to Moscow had no impact on the global politics of the era and instead only harmed you.”

Still, regimes with atrocious human rights records have used the Olympics as an “international seal of approval.” And that, of course, is the exact argument that human rights groups are making against the 2022 Beijing Games.

“To get the opportunity to host the Olympic Games and attend the Olympic Games, when the genocide is taking place, can be seen as an endorsement of the Beijing government,” said Teng Biao, a Pozen visiting professor at the University of Chicago who supports the boycott.

Advocates say a boycott is the only way to stand up to China. Athletes want to go. The IOC wants to stay out of it.

Advocates told me they’re not against the Olympics themselves, and they do want the games to take place and for athletes to compete. They’re just against having the games in China. As Arkin put it, “we’re really against the genocide Olympics.”

Human rights groups have continued to lobby the IOC to change its decision on China. In September, dozens of groups sent a letter to the IOC asking for the games to be relocated.

Last fall, the IOC and these groups met to share their concerns. But the IOC’s position did not change, and that is why, activists say, they are calling for a full boycott — no athletes, no corporate sponsors, no media money, no foreign dignitaries.

“We would be more than happy to have a postponement for discussion to happen, or for relocation to happen,” said Pema Doma, campaigns director for Students for a Free Tibet, another organization that is promoting the boycott. “But point-blank, if the IOC fails to postpone or relocate the Olympics, then we believe it’s the responsibility of individual athletes or financial actors — corporations, state governments, to boycott this Olympics.”

Activists have also started to put pressure on sponsors, including Airbnb and the Mars candy company.

But the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee is firmly against any boycott. “We oppose Games boycotts because they have been shown to negatively impact athletes while not effectively addressing global issues,” Jon Mason, spokesperson for the USOPC, told Vox in an emailed statement. “We believe the more effective course of action is for the governments of the world and China to engage directly on human rights and geopolitical issues.”

The USOPC also sent a letter to Congress earlier this month that outlined their disapproval of any such move, pointing to 1980 as evidence for why boycotts don’t work. Instead, the USOPC argued this is a chance to showcase “America’s best.”

The letter noted that Russia had passed anti-LGBTQ legislation ahead of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which the USOPC said became a platform to highlight the contributions of LGBTQ athletes. Indeed, then-President Barack Obama sent LGBTQ athletes to represent the US in its delegation — a nod to the “challenge them on their own turf” approach.

The USOPC suggested that sports — and this moment, after the turmoil of the pandemic — was an opportunity for the world to come together. This is also very much the stance of the IOC, which ultimately has the power to decide where and when the Olympics are held.

“The Olympic Games are the only event that brings the entire world together in peaceful competition,” the IOC said in a statement to Vox outlining its position. (It’s the same statement it gave to the human rights organizations it met with last year.) “They are the most powerful symbol of unity in all our diversity that the world knows. In our fragile world, the power of sport to bring the whole world together, despite all the existing differences, gives us all hope for a better future.”

The statement said the IOC must “remain neutral on all global political issues” and that just because the IOC selects a city doesn’t mean it endorses the politics of that place. It said it’s outside the IOC’s mandate to change the politics of any given place, though it added that the IOC is committed to making sure principles like nondiscrimination are respected within the context of the games.

But experts and advocates I spoke to basically said: Come on. Claiming neutrality on political issues in an international sporting event where athletes represent their countries and hear their national anthems played when they win a gold medal isn’t fooling anyone. And politics absolutely does influence the IOC’s decision, which is why no one is expecting the IOC to take up a bid from Pyongyang anytime soon.

No games are free from human rights or political concerns, even in liberal democracies. Activists argued that the Tokyo 2020 games — even before the issues with the pandemic — would violate human rights by disrupting transportation and displacing homeless people.

“One of the arguments people will make against a boycott is: if even democratic societies operating under the rule of law are going to be falling short on expectations for organizing Olympics, do you really want to pick on any other regime for its problems that invites closer scrutiny of your problems?” Soares said.

Sarantakes said the IOC sees this as a slippery slope. “Their belief is that they have to have the games, and in essence, they’re right — if they keep putting political litmus tests on things, it might be 20 or 30 years between the Olympic Games,” Sarantakes said. “So their attitude is, ‘The games must go on, and we’re trying to bring the world together.’”

The 2022 Olympics matter to China — but not nearly as much as the 2008 Games did

The Chinese Communist Party sees the Olympics as a tool of its soft power and international prestige. Which is really the only reason to take on the cost and logistics of a massive sporting festival that lasts a few weeks.

But 2008 was China’s “coming-out party,” Thomas Zeiler, professor of history and international affairs at the University of Colorado Boulder, said. “This will be a sort of ‘Now we’re here, we’re docked.’”

Which means the boycott threat, or protests against human rights abuses, just won’t sting as much. “These are nowhere near as important for China as the 2008 games were,” deLisle said. “China is much more secure at this point; they’ve had a big coming-out party.”

China has also experienced pushback on human rights before, during the lead-up to 2008, and has learned its lesson.

“In 2008, they were a little bit taken aback and didn’t fully understand the political lay of the land,” said Susan Brownell, an expert on Chinese sports and the Olympics at the University of Missouri St. Louis. “But this is 13 years later — they’re probably more sophisticated now and understand things better now.”

“A major lesson that the Chinese authorities took away at the time was that there was no way to change foreign threat perceptions of China,” Florian Schneider, director of the Leiden Asia Centre, told me in an email.

That lesson has only solidified for the Chinese Communist Party since then. They anticipate the criticism, and they know how to respond: by spinning it for the domestic audience and pushing back against critics abroad.

Which is exactly what China is doing. For instance, foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Pelosi’s call for a diplomatic boycott was “full of lies and disinformation” and that US politicians were playing “despicable political games” and using “so-called human rights issue as a pretext to smear and slander China.”

Chinese officials have called any boycott “doomed to failure.” The Global Times, China’s state-run media, wrote an op-ed referring to a British politician who called for a 2022 boycott as “hysterical” and “insane.” China has also continued to deny the allegations of genocide against the Uyghurs.

Still, experts said that boycott talk does needle China, in its way. “It pushes their buttons on the issue of impermissible, as they see it, foreign intervention in China’s domestic affairs,” deLisle told me.

“The special thing about an Olympic boycott is that if the discussion of it and the possibility of it gets a lot of attention abroad, it gets more attention at home,” deLisle added. “If China’s sold hosting the Olympics as a big deal and people don’t show up, it makes it a more visible issue in China.”

What a Beijing boycott can — and probably can’t — accomplish

Pro-boycott activists recognize they’re up against long odds. They’re grassroots groups and NGOs, which means they can put pressure on governments and Olympic clubs but can’t sway their decisions. President Biden backing such a move would certainly alter the dynamic, but the State Department has continued to insist that its position on a boycott hasn’t changed.

And even politicians who are backing the idea are trying to thread the needle by suggesting lighter measures, like a diplomatic or economic boycott.

Carter’s experience serves as a lesson in how the optics can really go haywire. If Biden were to get involved, he would need to spend a lot of political capital domestically and internationally to make it meaningful.

Experts said the US government is better off working behind the scenes — pressuring companies on sponsorships, or doing something like sending low-level staffers or no one at all. That might still make a statement, but one that isn’t as risky or politically perilous.

“There are things that the US government can do behind closed doors to make it very clear that they do not want the Olympics to be business as usual,” Sarantakes said. “But I think a boycott is noisy and doomed to fail. And what you’re seeing right now is a lot of empty posturing.”

Relocating the games may have made the most sense, but that timeline is tight, and after the delays and drama around the Tokyo Games, the IOC seems very clear that it wants these Olympics to go forward as scheduled.

Yet advocates said that even the discussion itself is important, and that if they can influence some fans and athletes, that is still a small victory. “We hope at least some athletes can use their influence, their platforms to speak for the Uyghurs, the persecuted people, and to protest,” Teng Biao said.

US skier Mikaela Shiffrin, when asked about the Beijing boycott, said the IOC might have made a mistake in opposing it. “I doubt it’s an easy job, but it feels like there could be more consideration when you’re hosting an event that’s supposed to bring the world together and create hope and peace, in a sense,” she said.

That sentiment may influence the IOC going forward, even if there’s little to be done for 2022. Yet it all goes back to this uncomfortable question of — if not genocide, then where does the red line get drawn?

Santarakes, who recently wrote about why Olympic boycotts have failed, pointed me to a quote from Sam Balter, a member of the US Olympic basketball team that won the gold medal in Berlin in 1936, who was also Jewish. He said it perfectly captured the dilemma of any Olympic boycott.

“I spent a lot of time soul searching, looking for an answer,” Balter told a reporter decades later. “Some told me it was important to compete and show a Jew could win. Others said it was immoral to attend an Olympics in Germany.”

“Even now, after 50 years,” Balter said, “I’m not sure I made the right decision.”

- Rajaa Elidrissi
Why Ethiopia is invading itself

The country’s leader won the Nobel Peace Prize. Then he went to war.

In 2019, after ending Ethiopia’s decades-long war with its neighbor, Eritrea, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. It seemed like a new beginning for Ethiopia. After decades of dictatorships and oppressive regimes, he appeared to finally be setting the country on a new path.

But less than a year later, Abiy launched a military attack — on Tigray, a regional state in his own country. When he became prime minister in 2018, he had largely supplanted Tigray’s main political party, the TPLF, as the country’s center of power. Since then, tensions between Abiy and the TPLF have escalated quickly. The political rivalry led to a dispute over an election, which led to an alleged attack on a military base — and finally to Abiy’s deployment of the military.

Abiy promised to bring peace to Ethiopia; now he’s presiding over a war that escalated from a dispute to devastation in a matter of weeks and has no obvious end in sight. Much of Tigray’s territory has been captured by local armies and militias. Thousands have died or fled their homes. Many Ethiopians are left wondering how Abiy, a leader who promised a break with the past, brought them here instead.

Watch our latest video of the Vox Atlas series. You can find this video and all of Vox’s videos on YouTube. Subscribe for the latest.

- Abraham Riesman
American Jews are taught a very specific Israel narrative. Can that change?
Children wave Israeli flags during the 2019 Celebrate Israel Parade in New York City. | David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Many Jews in the United States are taught a very specific Israel narrative. Can that change?

For decades, American Jewish institutions have made it a priority to teach kids about Israel. Learning about the Jewish state is a key part of the curricula and programming at schools, camps, and community organizations around the country, with Israel often depicted as a miraculous entity locked in righteous battle with irrational Arab foes.

Given that the vast majority of American Jews never end up living, or even spending much time, in Israel, early and incomplete lessons can have a lasting effect on the political positions of the students who soak in them.

Rabbi Jill Jacobs was one such kid, although many of the lessons her instructors tried to instill in her didn’t quite take. She is the executive director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, a group of social justice-minded Jewish clergy who, among other goals, seek better treatment for Palestinians.

As a member of Generation X, she grew up at a time when many Jewish educational establishments treated Palestinians either as nonexistent or — especially during the Palestinian uprising of the late ’80s, known as the First Intifada — as vicious anti-Semites. During her college years, Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization entered the so-called Oslo process, a series of agreements that seemed to bring peace and Palestinian self-determination tantalizingly close. The process was not to last, but Jacobs holds on to the dream of a Jewish state coexisting alongside a Palestinian neighbor-state.

This month’s bloodshed between Israelis and Palestinians has prompted many, Jew and gentile alike, to reconsider the situation and give more credence to the Palestinian cause. Social media has been filled with American Jews denouncing some of the institutions that claim to represent them, often for the imbalanced Israel education they received as children. Vox spoke with Rabbi Jacobs to discuss the past and present of such education, as well as how she’d like to see it change in the future.

What kind of Israel education did you get when you were growing up?

I’m 45, so I graduated from high school in 1993 and from college in ’97, just to situate what was happening when I was a kid. I remember certainly that Israel was a place that could do no wrong. My first trip to Israel was when I was 6, with my family, and I remember coming back with my photo album, and I brought it into Hebrew school to show off.

I remember being a kid during the First Intifada and really not knowing what was going on, but watching it on the news with my parents and being told, “They’re throwing rocks at us because they hate us because we’re Jewish.” I remember in Sunday school during my middle school years asking about Palestinians in our Israel history class, and being told, “There’s no such thing as Palestinians; they’re Jordanians.”

I remember also, I was maybe 12 or 13, and I was just thinking to myself, There’s something wrong with that answer, but I don’t know what it is. I had enough information to know that there was something odd going on, but not enough to actually know what it was.

Some of my real Israel education happened at rabbinical school. I did my rabbinical school year in Israel in 2000, 2001 which was the first year of the Second Intifada [another Palestinian uprising, which lasted until 2005]. During that year, I was balancing both being terrified for my life and the life of my friends — which was a real terror because buses and cafes and restaurants around us were blowing up, people were being killed — and also starting to learn a little bit about what the situation was for Palestinians, hearing about West Bank closures and learning about what occupation actually meant. I don’t remember one a-ha moment when I figured out about occupation, but I knew about it at that point; I was learning.

I came back the next year with the Jewish Theological Seminary, where I studied, and the intifada was continuing. A friend who was a year behind me and I decided that we wanted to offer a day where people who are coming on this mission could see what the situation was for Palestinians.

So we did a day with [Israeli human-rights watchdog] B’Tselem in East Jerusalem. Certainly, it was not the first time I had been in East Jerusalem, but it was the first time that I had spent time in a Palestinian neighborhood. Then, in the next year or so, there was this big rally on the [National] Mall in DC to support Israel and some rabbinical students — it ended up being over 100 — decided to go as Rabbinical Students for a Just Peace, to be able to stand there and say, “Yes, of course we support Israel, and we also support an end to occupation, human rights for Palestinians.” We wrote a letter to major American Jewish institutions and had negative reactions.

One program that we started at T’ruah a few years ago is for rabbinical students and cantorial students spending their year in Israel. We have a year-long program where, once a month, we’ll take them to see something and to talk to people either inside of Israel or in the West Bank or East Jerusalem.

They will go to Hebron with Breaking the Silence [an Israeli veterans group that seeks to educate the public on the occupation], they’ll go and plant trees in a Palestinian village in the South Hebron Hills and talk to leaders there, they’ll meet with Bedouin Israeli citizens and asylum seekers and Palestinian human rights leaders and Israeli human rights leaders and get a really on-the-ground sense of what’s happening there. Then we do a lot of work with them on, “How are you going to use your voice as a rabbinic or cantorial leader to tell these stories?”

It’s definitely been a big shift from when I was in rabbinical school, when, certainly, we never spoke to a Palestinian as part of our Israel education. They certainly never would have taken us to the West Bank or really given us anything besides the rah-rah-Israel voice.

 Hazem Bader/AFP/Getty Images Representatives from the European Union visit the South Hebron Hills with Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem. T’ruah organizes similar trips with these organizations for American rabbinical and cantorial students.

What do you think the state of the union of Israel education is like in America now?

My experience mostly comes from my kids’ Jewish summer camps, that’s the most personal experience. And also, more broadly, talking to rabbis in our network and educators and seeing what people are putting out publicly in terms of the education they’re doing. There’s still a real fear about talking about occupation.

Some things have changed since I was a kid. Of course, there are some that are better than others, but I think, from what I’ve seen, there is acknowledgment of Palestinians. There’s talk about peace. There’s also a desire to bring in voices that show some kind of coexistence or partnership. Very often there’s an attempt to bring in things that are to show off: “Here’s Jewish and Palestinian doctors working together, or the children’s choir.” Those are real, but they don’t necessarily get into the deep issues. There’s particularly sometimes a fear of even just saying the word “occupation.”

Or, God forbid, mentioning the Nakba [Arabic for “catastrophe,” which refers to the 1948 war that uprooted 700,000 Palestinians from their homes].

There’s also a lot of, I would say, substance-less Israel education. One of my favorite examples is my kid coming back from camp, and they had made [the group of Israeli-controlled mountains called] Har Hermon out of marshmallow fluff. She was very excited because she likes marshmallow fluff. What kid wouldn’t be excited, really? But what’s the educational content in that? They were learning about different places in Israel, or learning Israeli music or slang words — some of which come out of Arabic, which could also be an opportunity to talk about that. Just anything but occupation.

I love my kids learning Israeli music, and I love that people are showcasing different people doing these different kinds of great work in Israel, but there is that fear to talk about the real experiences of Palestinians and to really dive into occupation. There’s a sense that I’ve heard from educators and rabbis of, “Well, we have to make sure that kids love Israel and then we can introduce the hard stuff.”

But the actual experience, I think, of kids, is that nobody tells them anything and then they’re not actually prepared when they get to college and hear the hard stuff. Or they’re prepared with, “Here’s the hasbara [Hebrew for “explanation,” but also used colloquially to describe pro-Israel talking points], here are your copies of [Mitchell Bard’s pro-Israel book] Myths and Facts, here’s your answers to questions people will ask.” But that’s not really deep education.

No, definitely not. I remember Myths and Facts being perpetually on display in the main foyer at my childhood synagogue. I flipped through it once when I was maybe 11 or 12 to see what it was about, and even at that young age, I felt like it seemed janky and propagandistic. I don’t remember a ton about the details of my Israel education, to be honest. But we were definitely only told Israel was beautiful and our ancestral homeland. It was pretty cartoonish.

I contrast that with the way that we do US education. When I was growing up, my US history education was terrible because it was, “America is always perfect, and here’s some great men.” Right? That was the story. Then I remember getting to junior year of high school and having this phenomenal AP US history teacher who was the first person to inform us that the US is not always right and every history book has a bias and we should read for it.

I see how my kids are learning US history and — from second grade, even — they know about the genocide of Native Americans and they know about racism. They talk about police violence in school. Thank God. And it doesn’t make them hate America.

I just think that we need to be more sophisticated and understand that kids can feel connected to a place and connected to people from that place and also understand that not everything about that place is perfect, that it is not always easy. My kids are 7 and 11, and, for sure, my 11-year-old could explain occupation to you and also cares a lot about Israel because she has relationships with Israelis and has been there and probably feels about Israel very much how she feels about America. There’s a lot of very bad stuff in both countries.

The other piece that’s really important to understand is that people look at the educators and the rabbis, but there’s serious pushback by the parents and by donors. That’s probably even more serious. A lot of our experiences are that rabbis and educators are maybe more progressive than their communities. This was a number of years ago, but I went to speak at a Jewish day school. I wasn’t actually speaking about Israel, I was speaking about something else, but when Israel came up, I talked really honestly.

One of the kids had just come back from their 11th- or 12th-grade trip to Israel. They gave me their talking points, and I was able to just explain what the situation was. Two things happened. One was, afterward, a girl came up to me and she said, “I’ve been at this school since kindergarten, and you’re the very first person who has ever talked to us who has said anything about Palestinians other than that they’re terrorists.”

I grew up in an ostensibly liberal Chicago suburb, so they just sort of avoided discussing the Palestinians in any way, but I know lots of other Jews who had the lessons she’s talking about.

I think she was really thinking about that. She wasn’t mad. She was definitely working it out in her conversation with me. The other thing that happened is that a couple more right-wing students organized some kind of petition — I didn’t see it until much after the fact — and some parents got mad about the fact that I had been invited in. So there’s definitely a ton, just really a ton of pushback there.

I’ve heard this from camp staff, from other kinds of educators: that they’re willing to push further, but their real fear is that they know the kids can manage, the kids can handle difficult information, but the parents and the donors cannot.

The generational divide in the community is wild.


 David Dee Delgado/Getty Images A family at New York City’s annual Celebrate Israel Parade.

How do you think this sort of circle-the-wagons mentality in Jewish education has shaped Jewish and non-Jewish American attitudes about Israel? Do you see those seeds flowering in later life?

Well, I think that the approach has been disastrous, to be honest. Essentially, what happened is, you teach kids hasbara talking points. Maybe they like falafel and the latest Eurovision song and have some Israeli counselors, but they also have the talking points. And then it’s like a house of cards.

As soon as somebody says almost anything, as soon as there’s a crack, one of two things happens: Either they also circle the wagons and they are not able to question it at all and they just kind of put up a wall, or it all comes crashing down and then they feel like they can’t have any relationship with Israel at all. There are also some people who are placing themselves in the T’ruah, J Street [a center-left American lobbying group that focuses on Israel] kind of camp of human rights for all people, for both Israelis, for both Jews and Palestinians both in Israel and in, God willing, a future state of Palestine.

If the goal is to actually create lasting and strong relationships such that people feel like they actually want to be committed to working for a better future for Israelis and also Palestinians, you end up with a situation where people feel like they have to choose one end of a dichotomy. There’s not a lot of space that’s opened up in between.

There are those who would argue that the time for in-between is over, that you have to pick a side.

There’s a lot of scorn for liberal Zionism out there, and there’s a sense that you have to choose between being an anti-Zionist or a Zionist and that being a Zionist has to mean that you 100 percent agree with Israeli government policy. First, that’s just not true, that you have to pick one or the other. But second, I actually am on the side of saying that we should not be talking about Zionism anymore, at all. Zionism was a movement that created the state of Israel, with all of the footnotes that you need. Yes, the creation of the state of Israel was also the Nakba, and Jews and Palestinians experienced that extremely differently.

But now we’re in a situation where the movement ended; now we have a country. There’s some language on the far left that says Israel isn’t a real place. But Israel is an actual country, it’s a member of the United Nations, whether you like it or not, whether you think it should have been created or not. It’s not an idea, it’s not a movement.

The US is a country that was also birthed in bloodshed, that has 400 years of the sin of slavery in its past, as well as the genocide of Native Americans. I don’t think anybody is seriously suggesting that everybody in the United States who is not Native American or descended from people who were enslaved get up and leave.

I think the question is: What kind of reparations are possible and what kind of reparations are necessary in order to achieve that path? I think that’s the same question we should be asking about Israel: How do we move forward in a way that will guarantee the human rights of everybody in the region, including Jews, including Palestinians? And human rights include citizenship in a country. How does that include reparations? How does Israel come to terms with the Nakba without telling 7 million people to get up and go back to Poland or Iraq or Afghanistan or wherever they came from?

How do we effect change here? What are the best ways to get to a world where, at least within the United States, we have better Israel education?

The major funders of Jewish education are on the center right to far right. That means that major educational institutions and organizations that are producing materials for Israel education are either producing material that is center right to far right or that is trying to avoid politics altogether just by doing culture and things like that. That’s a huge problem. Then you have groups which run these educational programs for high school and college students that inculcate a kind of laissez-faire, right-wing, conservative approach to the world — not only about Israel.

For people who actually care about more progressive politics in general, on Israel, and inside the Jewish community, we need the funders. We need to not have a situation where some major funder is going to threaten to withdraw their money from an educational institution because, God forbid, they bring in an Israeli human rights leader or a Palestinian human rights leader or somebody from T’ruah or J Street.

It’s not about blaming the educators. This is where there’s funding. It’s not like the whole Jewish community got together and voted on how the funding is going to be allocated. There are certain people who have both a laser focus on Israel and also the money to put into it. It’s not that the money isn’t on the left, but the people on the left are not as laser-focused as the people on the right.

- Bevan Shields
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says more work is needed to find out what caused the global “carnage” of the coronavirus pandemic.
The United States is back as a cooperative leader of the free world under President Joe Biden, France’s Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday, illustrating the relief felt by many key US allies that the tumult of Donald Trump’s presidency is over.
Airline bookings have been picking up since February, as more Americans were vaccinated against COVID-19.
Hawking’s personal reference library and his papers are being preserved by Cambridge University Library, which also holds the papers of other scientific giants, such as Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.
“I realised, oh my God, I’m in a whale’s mouth and he’s trying to swallow me,” lobster diver Michael Packard told a Boston TV station. “This is it. I’m gonna die.”
Chow, along with Joshua Wong and Nathan Law, who has since been given asylum in Britain, came to prominence as teenagers during the 2014 protests.
- Bevan Shields
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will debate the fast-tracked vaccine timeline in Carbis Bay this weekend, as world leaders discuss readiness for the next virus.
- Matthew Knott
She is the heir apparent. But after the Vice-President’s difficult week, Democrats are asking if she would be up to the task of running for president in 2024.
Chinese officials have charged 31 people over the deaths of 21 runners in freezing conditions in a 100-kilometre race in the country’s northwest.
- Bevan Shields
As the Prince of Wales called on world leaders to tackle climate change with pandemic-level urgency, the Queen openly rejoiced in her return to the world stage.
Darnella Frazier ushered her niece into a store then went back out to the footpath to begin recording because “it wasn’t right. He was suffering. He was in pain”.
- Bevan Shields
World leaders are being warned their plan to donate 1 billion vaccine does not go far enough and is “taking a gamble” with the economy.
Two passengers who were sharing a room on the ship tested positive for the coronavirus, two days before the cruise was scheduled to end.
The Justice Department under former president Donald Trump secretly seized data from the accounts of at least two Democratic lawmakers in 2018, sources say.
- Bevan Shields
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is one of several key world leaders to have their travel disrupted because the airport has been deemed too dangerous. 
Muslim community advocates have slammed the planned “They Are Us” film to feature Australian Rose Byrne as Jacinda Ardern as distasteful.
People and companies who comply with US and EU rules may be denied entry into China or be expelled. Their assets may be seized or frozen.
- Amelia Lester
Suddenly, it seems, everyone in America has very long hair: men, women, children…Will regular haircuts become a thing of the past?
- Chris Barrett
As the government clamps down on dissent and the COVID-19 crisis deepens, opposition political figures have appealed to the king to lift the state of emergency.
The satellite would allow continuous monitoring of facilities ranging from Persian Gulf oil refineries and Israeli military bases to Iraqi barracks that house US troops. 
The best photos from the international wire agencies as chosen by our picture editors.
There will be no foreign spectators, limited numbers of Japanese fans – and even cheering is banned. Welcome to a Games like no other.
Scientist on UK advisory board says wearing masks should be as routine as wearing seatbelts.
National Geographic announced this week it will recognise the body of water that encircles Antarctica and runs along Australia’s southern coast near Victoria, as the world’s fifth.
- Matthew Knott
Johnson was clearly trying to shed his Trumpian image and develop a bond with the new US President. | Saudi allows 60 000 vaccinated residents on hajj, bars foreigners again
Saudi Arabia announced it will allow 60 000 residents vaccinated against Covid to perform this year's hajj, but Muslims from abroad will be barred for a second straight year. | Syrian hospital hit in artillery attacks on Afrin, at least 13 killed
At least 13 people were killed and several wounded in two separate artillery attacks on the northern Syrian town of Afrin, local medical sources said. | Palestinian woman 'with knife' killed by Israeli forces
Israeli border guards have shot dead a Palestinian woman approaching them with a knife at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank after she ignored orders to stop, police said. | Coronavirus: Latest global developments
Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis: | Blasts on buses in western Kabul kill at least 7 - police
Blasts have hit two buses in western Kabul, killing at least seven people, according to police. | At least 13 people wounded in Austin, Texas shooting
At least 13 people have been wounded in a shooting in downtown Austin, Texas, police said, adding the suspected shooter was still at large. | Scientists have solved the mystery behind India's devastating flood that killed 200 people in February
Four months ago, a massive chunk broke off a glacier in India. The ice melted on impact, causing a deadly flood, a new study says. | Carrie Johnson is renting all her outfits for G7 after Boris Johnson took a 1-hour flight to the summit
Boris Johnson arrived at the G7 summit by taking a 1-hour flight from London to the event, which includes a discussion on the climate crisis. | In the US, teen girls’ hospital visits after suicide attempts spiked during the pandemic
New CDC data reveals hospital visits for suspected suicide attempts increased for teens throughout the pandemic. Girls were most affected in 2021. | Russia's Vladimir Putin hopes US president Joe Biden less impulsive than his predecessor Donald Trump
Russian President Vladimir Putin voiced hope Friday that US President Joe Biden will be less impulsive than his predecessor Donald Trump, ahead of his first summit with the new US leader. | France's Macron offers UK's Johnson a 'reset' if he keeps his word on Brexit divorce deal
French President Emmanuel Macron offered on Saturday to reset relations with Britain as long as Prime Minister Boris Johnson stood by the Brexit divorce deal he signed with the European Union. | Trump surveillance of Democrats sparks abuse of power claims
Democrats erupted in outrage Friday over news that Donald Trump's Justice Department secretly surveilled lawmakers probing possible collusion with Russia, reaping the phone records of top political foes in what they called an unprecedented abuse of power. | G7 summit outlines health pact to stop future pandemics
G7 leaders are on Saturday set to agree a joint declaration aimed at preventing another pandemic, as they resume wide-ranging talks at their first in-person summit in almost two years. | Whale of a tale: US fisherman claims he was swallowed by humpback, then spat out
It sounds like a real-life take on "Pinocchio" -- a US lobster fisherman says he was scooped into the mouth of a humpback whale Friday and yet lived to tell the story. | Pulitzer Board honors teen who took video of George Floyd murder
The Pulitzer Prize Board awarded a "special citation" to the teenager whose video of the murder of George Floyd by a police officer sparked worldwide protests against racial injustice. | US FDA asks J&J to discard millions of Covid-19 vaccine doses
June 11 - The U.S. Food & Drug Administration on Friday said Johnson & Johnson must throw away millions of doses of its COVID-19 vaccine that were manufactured at a problem-plagued Baltimore factory but also cleared millions for use. | McDonald's says hackers breached data in Taiwan, South Korea
Fast food giant McDonald's said hackers breached their servers and accessed data from customers in Taiwan and South Korea. | French army kills an al Qaeda leader in Sahel, minister says
PARIS, June 11 - The French army has killed an al Qaeda leader during an operation in the Sahel region who is believed to be responsible for the kidnapping and killing of two French journalists in 2013, Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said on F | Body of girl snatched by father found off Spanish island
The body of a six-year-old girl has been found off Tenerife island six weeks after she and her sister were snatched by their father in a discovery that has shocked Spain. | G7 leaders gathered for 'family photo' on an English beach, and Biden joked they should jump in the water
Trump had a tendency to aggressively confront US allies on a range of issues, and his abrasive leadership style placed major strains on relations.
- Reuters
Biden to hold solo news conference after Putin summit

By Steve Holland

CARBIS BAY, England (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden will hold a solo news conference after meeting his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin next week, denying the former KGB spy an elevated international platform to castigate the West and sow discord.

Putin's bravura performance at a 2018 news conference with Donald Trump led to shock when the then U.S. president cast doubt on the findings of his own intelligence agencies and flattered the Russian leader.

Talking about the summit alone will also spare Biden, 78, from open jousting with Putin, 68, before the world's media after what is certain to be a combative encounter.

"We expect this meeting to be candid and straightforward," a White House official said.

"A solo press conference is the appropriate format to clearly communicate with the free press the topics that were raised in the meeting — both in terms of areas where we may agree and in areas where we have significant concerns."

Biden will meet Putin on June 16 in Geneva for a summit that will cover strategic nuclear stability and the deteriorating relationship between the Kremlin and the West.

Putin, who has served as Russia's paramount leader since Boris Yeltsin resigned on the last day of 1999, said ahead of the meeting that relations with the United States were at their lowest point in years.

Asked about Biden calling him a killer in an interview in March, Putin said he had heard dozens of such accusations.

"This is not something I worry about in the least," Putin said, according to an NBC translation of excerpts of an interview broadcast on Friday.

The White House has said Biden will bring up ransomware attacks emanating from Russia, Moscow's aggression against Ukraine, the jailing of dissidents and other issues that have irritated the relationship.

Biden has said that the United States is not seeking a conflict with Russia, but that Washington will respond in a robust way if Moscow engages in harmful activities.

Russia says the West is gripped by anti-Russian hysteria and that it will defend its interests in any way it see fit.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is hosting G7 leaders including Biden at a summit in southwestern England, told CNN that Biden would be giving Putin some "pretty tough messages, and that's something I'd only approve of".

(Reporting by Steve HollandWriting by Guy Faulconbridge and Michael HoldenEditing by Frances Kerry)

EU to Johnson: Britain has to honour Northern Ireland agreement
G7 Summit in England - UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson (C) holds a bilateral meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel, on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Cornwall, which is held from 11 to 13 June. - Peter Nicholls/PA Wire/dpa

Top EU officials and French President Emmanuel Macron called on London to stand by its promises to Europe and respect relevant treaties during meetings with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday.

"We negotiated a Protocol that preserves this, signed and ratified by Britain and the EU," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council chief Charles Michel said in identical tweets.

The two presidents met Johnson on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Cornwall in south-western England on Saturday.

"Both sides must implement what we agreed on," they said, adding that there was "complete EU unity" on this.

Macron echoed the assessments, reiterating that Britain had to stand by the agreements, according to a statement by the Elysee Palace.

In a slightly more positive tone, Macron said in his own meeting with the British premier that he wants to reset Franco-British relations.

The comments come at a sensitive time: just a few weeks earlier, a fishing dispute between London and Paris escalated off the Channel Island of Jersey, which is a British crown dependency but not part of the United Kingdom.

While tensions have ebbed since then, disagreements remain between Britain and the European Union over Northern Ireland, with neither side satisfied with the implementation of trade arrangements in Northern Ireland since Britain's departure from the bloc.

Brussels complains London is yet to put in place a number of checks on goods agreed by both sides as part of Britain's withdrawal from the EU, while London accuses the bloc of inflexibility as it grapples with a major transition.

An EU official hinted at heated debates. The "rhetoric [needs] to be toned down and we need to actively look for the solutions which are in the protocol," the official said on Saturday after the meetings.

According to the EU official, the EU did "understand the need for solutions," while insisting that the agreements had to be implemented.

But Johnson's official spokesman said a different approach was necessary, saying that the premier wanted to find "radical changes and pragmatic solutions."

"We keep all options on the table," he was quoted by Britain's Press Association (PA) as saying.

"Currently as implemented, the protocol is having a damaging impact on the people of Northern Ireland. We need to find urgent and innovative solutions," he said.

The G7 comprises the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Canada. The EU is also joining the meetings, which are due to continue through to Sunday.

G7 plans infrastructure initiative to counter China's 'New Silk Road'
G7 Summit in England - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, European Council President Charles Michel, US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, French President Emmanuel Macron, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend the G7 summit in Cornwall. - Filippo Attili/Italian Government/dpa

The Group of Seven (G7) economic powers are planning a massive infrastructure initiative in poorer countries, in a bid to provide a counterweight to China's multitrillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative dubbed the "New Silk Road."

US officials announced the initiative on Saturday, on the sidelines of the three-day G7 summit held in an English seaside village.

There is an estimated 40-trillion-dollar infrastructure gap in parts of the world that this would be intended to help other countries fill, the officials said.

The initiative, called Build Back Better for the World, is expected to be included in the leaders' final communique on Sunday.

While no concrete financial commitments were made, the officials said the US, G7 partners, the private sector and other stakeholders would "soon" collectively mobilize hundreds of billions for infrastructure investments in low and middle-income countries.

The infrastructure development would be carried out in a "transparent and sustainable manner — financially, environmentally, and socially" and offer recipient countries and communities "a positive vision and a sustainable, transparent source of financing to meet their infrastructure needs," a statement said.

"This is not about making countries choose between us and China; this is about offering an affirmative, alternative vision and approach that they would want to choose," the official said.

It contrasts "sharply with the way some other countries are handling infrastructure efforts," he said.

The official accused Beijing of lacking transparency, poor environmental and labour standards and an approach that left many countries worse off in the end.

- Tom Boggioni
Paul Gosar's insurrection support is blowing up in his face among his colleagues: fellow lawmaker

Writing for Business Insider, Rep Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) revealed that fellow Arizona House member Paul Gosar (R) is paying a political price in the House over his defense of the Capitol 6th insurrectionists that could impact him with voters back home.

As the Democrat from Arizona recalled, "Rep. Gosar had challenged the certification of Arizona's electoral votes during a joint session of Congress, receiving a standing ovation of nearly 30 seconds from his House and Senate Republican colleagues for his efforts. That morning, he led a crowd of Trump supporters in chants of 'Stop the steal' at the now-infamous rally near the Capitol, and tweeted a demand that Biden concede the race, concluding ominously, 'Don't make me come over there.'"

Gosar's words and actions have come back to haunt him when he attempted to attach his name to a bill that will help his constituents and would have been a bragging point when he runs for re-election in 2022.

Writing, "... like all extremists, he should be prepared to accept the consequences of his actions, and now that his colleagues are starting to impose those consequences, he is deflecting and making excuses rather than confronting them honestly," the Democrat said Gosar has already received a taste of how he will be dealt with in the Democratic-majority House.

"This came to a head on May 24, when a panel of the Natural Resources Committee, which I chair, held a hearing on a politically uncontroversial bill called the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act. As the name suggests, the bill - sponsored by Democratic Rep. Mike Levin - creates incentives and eliminates barriers to develop clean energy projects on certain federally managed lands. It has been a popular and bipartisan piece of legislation for years," Grijalva wrote. "Rep. Gosar knows the bill would benefit his own constituents tremendously, and he had been its leading Republican cosponsor in previous sessions of Congress. Unfortunately, his name carries negative weight among his Democratic colleagues, and having him play a leadership role in this Congress would hurt the bill's chances of passage. As a result, Rep. Levin informed Rep. Gosar in mid-May that he could not serve as lead cosponsor of the bill this year and made it clear that this was a consequence of his role in the insurrection."

The Democratic lawmaker wrote that an unhappy Gosar created his own bill, issued a press release about it, and then watched it be summarily dismissed with mention by the panel.

Grijalva then used what happened to Gosar to serve as a warning to other Republicans who are trying to whitewash the Jan 6th riot, writing, "

"It's time for him - and his like-minded colleagues who are similarly avoiding responsibility - to start telling the truth, not least of all to themselves. Their actions are unpopular, and with Democrats in the majority in Congress, there will continue to be consequences<" he advised.

You can read more here.

- Tom Boggioni
Business guru Donald Trump's financial mismanagement cost him $40 million dollars on his overseas golf courses: report

According to a report from Insider, Donald Trump's bumbling mismanagement on the financing of his Scottish golf courses likely cost the former president $40 million due to how he took out his loans.

While there have already been reports that the Trump's golf resort properties have been money-losers for the Trump family, the new report states that he is taking an all-together different financial hit.

Insider reports that Trump properties Turnberry near Glasgow and Trump Golf Links International in Aberdeenshire are "dependent on loans from Trump and US-owned entities to stay afloat," and that some of those loans are problematic due to currency fluctuations.

"Turnberry's parent company Golf Recreation Scotland owes Trump, through various US-registered entities, a total of £113,425,000 (around $160,000,000), according to UK Companies House accounts filed in December." the report states. "Trump International Golf Club Scotland Limited, which owns his Aberdeenshire course, owes Trump £44,400,049, also issued in the form of interest-free loans, according to Companies House accounts."

"The problem is that Trump appears to have created those loans in British pound sterling — as evidenced by the fact they are all displayed as sterling loans on Companies House," Insider's Thomas Colson reported, adding, "Unfortunately for Trump, the British pound has declined significantly in value against the dollar in the period since Trump started issuing loans to his golf courses."

Due to the decline in value of the British pound, Trump's loans, when repaid, " Trump in his native dollar currency, they are going to be worth considerably less than when he issued them."

According to Stephen Clapham, an investment analyst and founder of financial website Behind the Balance Sheet, Trump has been taking a major hit dating back to last year.

"The pound was worth $1.27 made those calculations, and it has since risen to $1.42 (as of June 9), meaning some of those losses will have been mitigated — but the current figure would still represent a loss amounting to tens of millions of dollars," the report continues. "Those losses, said Clapham, appear to have been the result of Trump's failure to 'hedge' the loans he created. In simple terms, hedging is a common business practice that offsets the risk of price movements like a drop in the value of a currency by fixing the repayment rate for a loan when it is created."

According to Clapham, "The most likely explanation is that Trump has made this loan and incurred a significant loss. It's the simplest explanation and probably the most likely."

The report notes that questions about the loans were not answered by Trump Org officials.

You can read more here.

- Tom Boggioni
European allies relieved they don't have to deal with Trump anymore -- but fears still linger

According to a report from Politico, European leaders -- and their aides -- who are meeting with President Joe Biden at the G-7 conference in England are expressing open relief and joy that Donald Trump has been replaced but are also concerned that Trump may return one day due to the volatility of U.S. politics.

As Politico's Anita Kumar wrote, "Biden's predecessor spent four years disparaging world leaders — in public and on Twitter— accusing their countries of freeloading off the United States. He pulled out of international agreements, refused to sign others and scoffed at the trans-Atlantic alliances that served as a bedrock of U.S. foreign policy in the post-WWII era," before adding, "So many leaders at the latest G-7 meeting, including those from Germany, France and Canada, seemed simply eager to move past Trump this week; so much so that they greeted Biden like an old friend even when he wasn't."

Case in point, upon her arrival on Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel took a not-too-subtle jab at Trump, telling reporters, "Being able to meet Joe Biden is obviously important because he stands for the commitment to multilateralism, which we were missing in recent years."

With British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, considered to closer to Trump than the other, calling Biden "a breath of fresh air," one U.S. diplomat explained that the sense of relief is palpable.

"There's no way of describing our friends' relief at the change of administration. And not just because it isn't Donald Trump anymore," admitted Stephen Sestanovich, a former National Security Council advisor. "It's that the alliance has a backlog of real problems to address. The Biden administration wants to talk about how to develop cooperative responses to them in a way that the Trump administration couldn't ever be serious about."

However, there is some unease among European leaders about political instability in the U.S. where attempts are being made to not only overturn the 2020 presidential election but also create doubt about future elections.

Explaining the underlying worries, Alexander Vershbow, former deputy secretary of NATO remarked, "The allies do have lingering doubts about the forces that produced Trump's election in 2016 and are wondering whether those forces are gone for good, or that possibility that the US could shift back to a more contentious, more transactional approach to NATO in 2022, or 20 2024. I think this concern is real that, you know, the Trumpian trend tendencies in the U.S. could return full bore. And in the midterms, or in the next presidential election."

You can read more here.

- Agence France-Presse
'Space pups': Mouse sperm stored on ISS produces healthy young

Turns out the comic books were wrong.

Japanese researchers found mouse sperm exposed to high levels of cosmic radiation for nearly six years produced a large brood of healthy, unremarkable "space pups."

Their study was published Friday in Science Advances -- which noted no signs so far of Mousezillas or rodent Hulks.

The sperm was stored in the International Space Station in freeze-dried form. Once brought back to Earth and rehydrated, it resulted in the birth of 168 young, free of genetic defects.

Developmental biologist and lead author Teruhiko Wakayama told AFP on Thursday that there was little difference between mice fertilized by space sperm and sperm that had remained confined to our planet.

"All pups had normal appearance," he said, and when researchers examined their genes "no abnormalities were found."

In 2013, Wakayama and colleagues at the University of Yamanashi in Japan launched three boxes, each containing 48 ampoules of freeze-dried sperm, to the ISS for the long-term study.

They wanted to determine whether long term exposure to radiation in space would damage DNA in reproductive cells or pass mutations along to offspring.

That could be a problem for our own species in future space exploration and colonization missions.

Batches were returned to Earth for fertilization after the first nine months, then after two years, and finally after six years, leading to hundreds of births.

Freeze-dried sperm was selected for the experiment because it can be preserved at room temperature, rather than needing a freezer.

The ampoules were also small and very light, about the size of a small pencil, further cutting launch costs.

When the space mice reached adulthood, they were randomly mated and the next generation appeared normal as well.

Space colonies

Wakayama, now director for Advanced Biotechnology Center at the University of Yamanashi, told AFP he had been inspired by the science fiction of Heinlein and Asimov and once wanted to be an astronaut.

Though he settled on becoming a scientist, the sense of wonder and whimsy about space exploration never left him.

"In the future, when the time comes to migrate to other planets, we will need to mantain the diversity of genetic resources, not only for humans but also for pets and domestic animals," Wakayama and colleagues wrote in their paper.

"For cost and safety reasons, it is likely that stored germ cells will be transported by spaceships rather than by living animals."

Getting to other planets means leaving the safety of Earth's protective atmosphere and magnetic field -- which also extends to the ISS, 400 kilometers (250 miles) above the surface.

Deep space is filled with strong radiation from both solar particles and galactic cosmic rays from outside our system.

Solar flares from the surface of the Sun generate particles that can have particularly devastating impacts on human health and penetrate current generation spaceships.

According to Wakayama, the process of freeze drying sperm increases its tolerance compared to fresh sperm, since the former does not contain water inside its cell nuclei and cytoplasms.

According to the team's calculations, freeze-dried sperm could be stored for up to 200 years on board the orbital outpost.

Humanity might also want to spread its genetic resources off planet in case of a disaster on Earth, the paper added.

The study noted it is still necessary to investigate the effects of space radiation on frozen female eggs and fertilized embryos before humans take this next step into the space age.

- Reuters
Eying Russia, Pentagon to send Ukraine counter-drone, electronic warfare equipment

By Phil Stewart

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The Pentagon announced on Friday a new package of $150 million in military assistance for Ukraine that will include counter-artillery radar, electronic warfare equipment and counter-drone technology, bolstering Kyiv amid elevated tensions with Moscow.

Although the funds were already committed by Congress, the Defense Department's announcement details how the U.S. military will allocate assistance earmarked for Ukraine before the end of the U.S. government's fiscal year in September.

The latest tranche of assistance will come in addition to the $125 million that the Pentagon announced on March 1,and%20improve%20interoperability%20with%20NATO, which included armed Mark VI patrol boats.

Moscow annexed Ukraine's Crimea region in 2014 and backed a pro-Russian separatist uprising in eastern Ukraine which triggered a conflict that has killed more than 14,000 people.

Tensions have flared again in recent months after the two countries traded blame for a surge in fighting in Ukraine's Donbass, and Russia, in what it called a defensive exercise, massed troops on its border with Ukraine and in Crimea.

U.S. President Joe Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Monday he will stand up for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity ahead of a meeting between Biden and Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Geneva on June 16.

The Pentagon said the U.S. security assistance included capabilities "to enhance the lethality, command and control and situational awareness of Ukraine's forces".

It would provide counter-artillery radars, counter-drone systems, secure communications gear, electronic warfare and military medical evacuation equipment.

Ukraine's defense minister, Andrii Taran, said in a statement on Saturday the decision to provide the second part of the security package was "timely and reasonable".

The country has received almost $2.5 billion in defense assistance from Washington between 2014 and 2021, Taran added, expressing gratitude "to our American friends for their enormous diplomatic, political and financial support".

The U.S. assistance followed certification by the Pentagon that Ukraine "made sufficient progress on defense reforms this year," as required by U.S. law.

During his term as U.S. president, Donald Trump was impeached by the Democratic-led House of Representatives after it accused him of using U.S. aid as leverage to try to force Kyiv into smearing Biden ahead of the 2020 presidential election. The Republican-led Senate later acquitted Trump.

(Reporting by Phil StewartAdditional reporting by Natalia Zinets in KyivEditing by Jonathan Oatis and Helen Popper)

- Reuters
EU tells Britain's Johnson: Implement the Brexit deal

By Michel Rose and Elizabeth Piper

CARBIS BAY, England (Reuters) - The European Union told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday that he must implement the Brexit deal that he signed to ensure the delicate peace in Northern Ireland and that the 27-member bloc was completely unified on that position.

The United States has expressed grave concern that a dispute between London and Brussels over the implementation of the 2020 Brexit divorce treaty could undermine the 1998 Good Friday peace deal that ended three decades of violence.

After the United Kingdom exited the bloc's orbit on Jan. 1, Johnson has unilaterally delayed the implementation of some provisions of the Northern Ireland Protocol of the deal and his top negotiator has said the protocol is unsustainable.

"The Good Friday Agreement and peace on the island of Ireland are paramount," Ursula von der Leyen said after a meeting with Johnson and European Council President Charles Michel. "Both sides must implement what we agreed on."

"There is complete EU unity on this," she said, adding that the deal had been agreed, signed and ratified by both Johnson's government and the EU.

The 1998 peace deal largely brought an end to the "Troubles" - three decades of conflict between Irish Catholic nationalist militants and pro-British Protestant "loyalist" paramilitaries in which 3,600 people were killed.


Though Brexit was not part of the formal agenda for the Group of Seven summit in the English seaside resort of Carbis Bay, it was raised in meetings between Johnson and EU leaders.

French President Emmanuel Macron offered to reset relations with Britain as long as Johnson stands by the Brexit deal.. Johnson also met German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Brexit has strained the situation in Northern Ireland: The EU wants to protect its markets but an effective border in the Irish Sea created by the Northern Ireland Protocol cuts off the British province from the rest of the United Kingdom.

The protocol aims to keep the province, which borders EU member Ireland, in both the United Kingdom's customs territory and the EU's single market.

London says the protocol is unsustainable in its current form because of the disruption it has caused to supplies of everyday goods to Northern Ireland.

The pro-British "unionist" community in Northern Ireland province say they are now split off from the rest of the United Kingdom and that the Brexit deal that Johnson signed therefore breaches the 1998 peace deal. But the open border between the province and Ireland was a key principle of Good Friday deal.

U.S. President Joe Biden, who is proud of his Irish heritage, has made clear that any steps that imperilled the 1998 peace agreement would not be welcomed by Washington.

(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Macron: Britain should stand by commitments, respect Brexit treaty
G7 Summit in England - UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) receives French President Emmanuel Macron for a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Cornwall, which held from 11 to 13 June. - Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/dpa

French President Emmanuel Macron called on London to stand by its promises to Europe and respect treaties with the EU, in a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday, according to a statement by the Elysee Palace.

Macron wants to reset Franco-British relations, he said in the meeting on the sidelines of a G7 summit in Cornwall in south-western England.

Macron's comments come weeks after a fishing dispute between London and Paris escalated off the Channel Island of Jersey, which is a British crown dependency but not part of the United Kingdom.

While tensions have ebbed since then, disagreements remain between Britain and the European Union over Northern Ireland, with neither side satisfied with the implementation of trade arrangements in Northern Ireland since Britain's departure from the bloc.

Brussels complains London is yet to put in place a number of checks on goods agreed by both sides as part of Britain's withdrawal from the EU, while London accuses the bloc of inflexibility as it grapples with a major transition.

In his talks with Johnson, Macron emphasized that France and Britain shared a vision and interests on important global issues, and also take a united approach to issues such as arms control.

The G7 comprises the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Canada. The EU is also joining the meetings, which are due to continue through to Sunday.

- Reuters
Peru's Castillo on verge of being named President after last-minute vote wrangling

By Marcelo Rochabrun and Marco Aquino

LIMA (Reuters) -Peru's presidential election front-runner Pedro Castillo was poised for victory on Friday night, despite legal wrangles over the ultra-close vote count that had ignited tensions in the Andean nation.

"We call on the Peruvian people to stay alert," Castillo told supporters in the middle of last-minute legal disputes over the tight vote count.

According to local media, electoral authorities had considered changing rules to allow right-wing rival Keiko Fujimori to challenge the validity of some 200,000 votes but ultimately declined to make the changes in the afternoon, following intense pressure from Castillo's camp.

Castillo is ahead of Fujimori by 60,000 votes with 99.6% of votes counted.

Castillo, an elementary school teacher who has fired up support from poorer, rural Peruvians, had raised concerns about plans by the opposition to nullify votes in underserved areas where he had majority support and sought clarity from the electoral body over the process.

The comments underscored rising tensions in the copper-rich nation that has been on tenterhooks since the Sunday vote. Castillo has 50.2% of the ballots, narrowly ahead of Fujimori, who has made unsubstantiated allegations of fraud.

Peru's electoral jury has not commented during the day on the media reports that said it was considering changing the rules.

Vladimir Cerron, head of Castillo's Free Peru party, was even more strident, saying on Twitter that "the people must rise up" in defense of the vote. He had earlier claimed victory for Castillo in the knife-edge election.

The country's electoral authority has yet to confirm a winner, but most observers and some regional leftist leaders, including from Argentina and Bolivia, have congratulated Castillo as the victor, prompting protests from Peru's government.

"Several presidents in the world are congratulating the victory of Pedro Castillo, in other words, he has solid international legitimacy," Cerron wrote.


Fujimori has yet to concede the election and her supporters have called for protests against the result.

The daughter of jailed former President Alberto Fujimori, she has doubled down on unsubstantiated allegations of fraud, and members of her party have said they will not concede until all votes and appeals are counted, which could still take days.

Castillo himself has also stopped short of proclaiming himself the winner.

The election has bitterly divided Peruvians among class lines, with higher-income citizens supporting Fujimori while many low-income Peruvians supported Castillo, including in key mining regions of the country, the world's no. 2 copper producer.

Castillo was not a member of the Free Peru party before his presidency run. It is still unclear whether he would adopt its far-leftist stance for the economy if in power.

In recent days, he has recruited Pedro Francke, a moderate left economist as his adviser.

(Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun and Marco AquinoEditing by Alistair Bell and Aurora Ellis)

Balsonaro tells critics to travel 'by donkey' after getting jeered as 'genocidal maniac' on airplane

They say Brazil is polarized under far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, but the divide was literal Friday, when he boarded a commercial plane to greet supporters in the front -- as opponents booed him at the top of their lungs from the back.

Visiting the southeastern state of Espirito Santo to inaugurate a public works project, Bolsonaro took a moment at the airport to briefly enter a departing plane and say hello.

It was all smiles in the roomier, more-expensive front of the plane, as seen in a video he posted on Twitter of himself snapping selfies with passengers and crew.

But videos from the back of coach posted on social media show a riotous scene as passengers waved the middle finger and hurled protest slogans at the president, including "Get out, Bolsonaro!" and "Genocidal maniac!"

That is a reference to the president's widely questioned handling of Covid-19, which has claimed more than 480,000 lives in Brazil, second only to the United States.

Responding to the boos, Bolsonaro removed his face mask to joke, "Those people saying 'Get out, Bolsonaro' should be traveling by donkey."

Brazilian media reports said he had also removed his mask in the airport, in violation of regulations in place to contain the pandemic.

The president's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bolsonaro has frequently criticized face masks, lockdowns and vaccines to fight the pandemic, instead touting the medication chloroquine despite studies showing it is ineffective against Covid-19.

The plane episode turned into a top trending topic on Twitter in Brazil, under the tag "ForaBolsonaro" (Get out, Bolsonaro).

The president's disapproval rating has risen sharply along with the death toll from Covid-19, and opponents are increasingly ready to take to the streets in protest despite the pandemic.

They have called for new demonstrations Sunday, on the opening day of the Copa America, the South American football championships.

Bolsonaro controversially defied warnings from epidemiologists to bring the tournament to Brazil when original hosts Argentina and Colombia fell through because of surging Covid-19 caseloads and social unrest.

- Miami Herald
COVID-19 outbreak reported on Celebrity Millennium ship during first cruise in the Caribbean

Just five days in to the first cruise in the Caribbean in seven months, two passengers aboard the Celebrity Millennium ship tested positive for COVID-19. Like almost all passengers aboard, the cabin-mates were vaccinated and reportedly asymptomatic. Millennium passenger Colleen McDaniel, editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic, said the captain’s public announcement about the cases was received calmly, without the panic of the early pandemic days. The ship left from St. Maarten on June 5 for a seven-night cruise visiting Aruba, Curacao and Barbados, carrying around 600 passengers and 700 crew members...

- Sky Palma
'Slap on the face of the former guy’: Trump mocked after Boris Johnson hails Biden as a ‘breath of fresh air’

After meeting President Biden for the first time ahead of the G7 Summit, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the U.S. President is a "breath of fresh air" while speaking to reporters.

"It's new, it's interesting and we're working very hard together. We went on for about an hour and 20 or so. It was a long, long, good session. We covered a huge range of subjects," Johnson said, according to reports.

"It's wonderful to listen to the Biden administration and to Joe Biden, because there's so much they want to do together with us, from security, NATO, to climate change." he added.

Boris Johnson has described Joe Biden as a 'breath of fresh air' after meeting on Thursday. CNN's International Di…

— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) 1623389678.0

The comments caught some off guard, since Johnson was known to be an ally of former President Donald Trump.

@AnaCabrera This is a slap on the face of the former guy 🤣🤣

— Marianablack18 (@mausefalle18564) 1623422988.0

— Pumpkin Spice Anarchist Jurisdiction (@Viror12) 1623362414.0

Even Boris is happy that trump is gone, lol

— ColoradoMom (@kaitynjojomom) 1623425108.0

So nice to see America not being a laughing stock anymore.

— Shupette (@Shupette) 1623424571.0

Bet Boris is glad a certain puce fathead is no longer on twitter.

— Helen Kennedy (@HelenKennedy) 1623366440.0

@AnaCabrera I can hear the screaming all the way from Florida.

— em is back in town (@emisbackintown7) 1623424988.0

Translation: I’m so happy not to deal with the stable genius anymore.

— Doug Heye (@DougHeye) 1623423222.0
- Agence France-Presse
EU's new top graft fighter to probe 'powerful and dangerous'

Europe's new top graft fighting body will probe the "powerful", "rich" and "dangerous", its head warned Friday on her first visit to an EU member since taking up her post.

The Luxembourg-based European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO), headed by Laura Codruta Kovesi, a former Romanian anti-corruption chief, started work this month.

The independent outfit has the job of cracking down on fraudulent use of EU funds and fight cross-border VAT fraud, money laundering, and corruption.

"We will investigate all those who commit crimes that fall under our jurisdiction. Because we have to prove that the law is equal for everybody," Kovesi told reporters in the Bulgarian capi