Europe Travel, Hong Kong Law, Russia: Your Wednesday Briefing
Europe Travel, Hong Kong Law, Russia: Your Wednesday Briefing
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We’re covering Europe’s reopening to travelers (but not Americans), China’s sweeping security law for Hong Kong and why Russian internet stars are keeping their distance from Putin.
Europe reopens, but not for U.S., Russia or Brazil
The European Union will open its borders to visitors from 15 countries as of today. Those countries do not include the U.S., Brazil or Russia, where coronavirus caseloads continue to balloon.
The list of approved nations includes Australia, Canada and New Zealand; travelers from China will also be allowed in, if China reciprocates. E.U. countries are desperate to restart tourism while preventing new outbreaks.
The decision came as more than 47,000 cases were reported in the U.S. on Tuesday. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, said the number of new infections could reach 100,000 a day if the surges in many states were not contained.
What it means: E.U. officials tried to appear apolitical in their choices, but leaving the U.S. off the list was a high-profile rebuke of the Trump administration’s handling of the crisis.
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What we know about the Hong Kong security law
China adopted a national security law for Hong Kong on Tuesday that gives the central authorities sweeping powers to crack down on dissent in the city.
The legislation, which had not previously been seen by the public and took effect immediately, provides a blueprint for the authorities and courts to suppress the protest movement that has roiled the city for a year, and for China’s national security apparatus to pervade Hong Kong society.
In ambiguous wording, it lays out new crimes that carry maximum penalties of life imprisonment. Here are some key points:
Activities like damaging government buildings and interrupting public transit are described as acts of subversion and terrorism — a measure directly aimed at antigovernment protesters.
The law allows Beijing to seize broad control in security cases, especially during crises. Suspects in cases could be sent to face trial in mainland China, where the opaque judicial system is controlled by the Communist Party.
Focusing heavily on the perceived role of foreigners in Hong Kong’s unrest, the law will impose harsh penalties on anyone who urges foreign countries to criticize or to impose sanctions on the government.
What it means: At least two groups that have called for Hong Kong to become an independent state said they would stop operating in the city. Activists are also worried that the law will be used against people who peacefully call for autonomy rather than independence.
Police insist killing of a Black man in Denmark was not racist
A young Black man was tortured and killed on a remote island in Denmark by two white men with known far-right affiliations, the police say. But the authorities are refusing to call it a hate crime and are denying that race was a factor.
The man, Phillip Mbuji Johansen, a 28-year-old engineering student of Danish and Tanzanian descent, had gone to a party on Monday and was later invited for a beer in the woods, his mother told a local newspaper. His mutilated body was found at a camp site the next morning.
Two suspects, brothers who have not yet been publicly identified, were arrested on Wednesday on manslaughter charges. One of them has a swastika and the words “white power” tattooed on his leg. The other has expressed support for a Danish extreme right party called Stram Kurs, or Hard Line.
Context: Between 2007 and 2016, racially motivated hate crimes in Denmark more than quadrupled, according to one report. Local activists say the country has a pattern of denial in racially motivated crimes, in some cases because of anti-immigrant attitudes.
Related: King Philippe of Belgium has expressed his “deepest regrets” for his country’s brutal past in a letter to the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the first public acknowledgment from a member of the Belgian royal family of the devastating toll of eight decades of colonization.
Adidas: A top executive resigned on Tuesday after a number of Black employees pushed for her ouster and said the company fostered a racist and discriminatory workplace.
If you have 10 minutes, this is worth it
Russia’s internet stars turn away from Putin
Young Russians — who used to be among President Vladimir Putin’s most avid supporters — have swung hard the other way.
Mr. Putin seems assured of victory today in a referendum that would allow him to amend the Constitution and stay in power until 2036. But he has lost his pop culture cachet, and online celebrities are now reluctant to be associated with the Kremlin. “The public mood has really changed,” one Russian blogger said.
Snapshot: Above, the East Anglia One wind turbine project off Britain’s east coast. The pandemic’s fallout may have rocked the oil and gas industry, but producers of clean energy have charged ahead, complete with measures to protect workers from the virus as they fix turbines.
What we’re listening to: This retro radio station, where it is always the summer of 1997. “The desktop themes and tunes alone will make your day,” says Remy Tumin on the Briefings team.
Now, a break from the news
Cook: Sichuan chile crisp with peanut streusel doesn’t sound like it should work, but it does — especially when paired with a sundae. You can also omit the peanut streusel or replace it with crushed peanuts.
Watch: Cinéma vérité raises fascinating questions about the genre’s capacity to accurately mirror the world. Our reviewer recommends “Crisis” and “Salesman” if you want to become acquainted with a style that tests the boundaries of nonfiction filmmaking.
Do: Bridal boutiques are offering virtual shopping experiences where brides, grooms and members of their wedding parties can try on and buy their attire online. Here are a few options for shopping without having to leave home.
Staying safe at home is easier when you have plenty of things to read, cook, watch and do. At Home has our full collection of ideas.
And now for the Back Story on …
Black with a capital B
The Times announced on Tuesday that it would start using uppercase “Black” to describe people and cultures of African origin, both in the U.S. and elsewhere. Here is what our National editor, Marc Lacey, wrote about the change.
My father was born a Negro. Then he was black. Late in life, much to his discomfort, he became an African-American.
Everyone in this country who traces their ancestors back to Africa has experienced a panoply of racial identifiers over their lives, with some terms imposed and others embraced. In the course of a single day in 2020, I might be called black, African-American or a person of color. I’m also labeled, in a way that makes my brown skin crawl, as diverse, ethnic or a minority.
Amid the nation’s reckoning with racism following the death of George Floyd, another name is being widely adopted: Black with a capital B.
John Eligon, a New York Times national correspondent who writes about race, captures the discussion in an article. As he notes, each name change brings spirited discussion. Isn’t black a color, not a race? If one capitalizes Black, should one also capitalize White? And Brown?
As one who works in words, I would never suggest that word choice does not matter. Words can affect the thinking of both those who write them and those who read them. So I am in favor of pushing the shift key — but I doubt it will be the last time we edit what people like me are called.
[You can sign up for the Race/Related newsletter here.]
That’s it for this briefing. Is working from home working out? See you next time.
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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