Hong Kong, Australia Outbreak, Hagia Sophia: Your Friday Briefing
Hong Kong, Australia Outbreak, Hagia Sophia: Your Friday Briefing
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We’re covering how China’s security apparatus is expanding to Hong Kong, an outbreak in Australia and worries about a holiday weekend in the U.S.
Hong Kong: China’s security forces move into the open
For years, China’s sprawling security apparatus worked in the shadows to stop threats to the ruling Communist Party.
But after a national security law went into effect this week in Hong Kong, state security could become more visible. China will openly station security officials in Hong Kong to subdue opposition. And it will operate beyond the scrutiny of local laws and courts.
The open yet untouchable nature of these forces signals a drastic shift for a territory that has prided itself on its rule of law, writes our correspondent.
Quotable: “We used to think of ‘secret police’ as something abstract,” said Nathan Law, a prominent Hong Kong protest leader. “Now it is a very real fear.”
Details: The law authorizes Chinese agents in Hong Kong, who once operated covertly, to investigate cases, collect intelligence and help enforce rules across schools, news outlets and social organizations. A plethora of new government bodies will take on this task.
Related: Simon Cheng, a former employee of the British Consulate in Hong Kong who said he was tortured by the authorities in mainland China last year, has been given asylum in Britain.
Australia’s unequal outbreak
A spike in infections in Melbourne is driving home the outsize impact of the coronavirus on immigrant and low-income communities.
In these places, people often must venture out for jobs that put them at risk of contracting the virus, and communication by the authorities in residents’ native languages can be patchy.
In the case of Melbourne, the sharing of a cigarette lighter by security guards outside of a hotel where international travelers quarantine could have led to the spread of the virus.
Details: In Victoria, where Melbourne is the state capital, officials reported 77 new cases on Thursday, the most since March. The authorities have locked down 300,000 people.
U.K. domestic abuse soared despite warnings
Domestic abuse shot up in Britain during the coronavirus lockdown. The British government received early warnings of the danger but failed to respond.
At least 26 women and girls died in suspected domestic homicides between late March and the end of May. The oldest of them was 82 years old. The youngest, killed alongside her mother and 4-year-old sister, was 2.
The government is still struggling to respond more than four months later, according to interviews with more than 50 government and law enforcement officials, academic experts, front-line support workers and abuse survivors.
By contrast, New Zealand included domestic abuse preparations in its broader lockdown planning from the start. Germany made an open-ended pledge to fund shelters and other crucial services.
If you have 5 minutes, this is worth it
In Japan, anti-racism does not hit home
As images of protests rolled across television screens, like above in Osaka, some in Japan tried to open up a conversation about racism but quickly faced a backlash. Racism is perceived as a faraway problem and that, activists say, is what is keeping the country from confronting it.
“In essence, Japanese people don’t have a lot of experience of seeing other races, so they don’t think racism exists,” said Yasumasa Fujinaga, an associate professor of American studies at Japan Women’s University.
Here’s what else is happening
Jeffrey Epstein: Ghislaine Maxwell, the former associate of the disgraced financier, was arrested on Thursday on criminal charges linked to his alleged sex-trafficking operation. She was accused of recruiting and grooming multiple girls for Mr. Epstein, who sexually abused them.
Turkey: Officials are expected to make a decision within two weeks on whether the 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia museum in Istanbul can be reverted into a mosque.
Britain: A judge ruled on Thursday that President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela cannot access over $1 billion in gold in a Bank of England vault, because Britain does not recognize him as the leader of the country.
What we’re reading: This piece in Vanity Fair on the video whiz behind the anti-Trump ads run by the Lincoln Project. It’s a look at how disillusioned Republicans are using Trump’s own language against him in ad spots.
Now, a break from the news
Cook: These spicy deviled eggs are amped up with chipotle chiles, lime juice and jalapeño. Serve them for lunch — they are more than just party food.
Do: Hydrangeas used to come in just two white-flowered varieties. Here’s a look at some uncommon ones you may not have considered, including the mountain hydrangea that has risen to a cultlike status in Japan.
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 …
A reversal for working mothers
Women have always shouldered more of the child care and housework than men. But with schools, day care centers and camps closed, the pandemic has exacerbated that disparity.
Patricia Cohen and Tiffany Hsu, who cover business and economics for The Times, reported recently that the impact on working mothers will very likely last beyond the pandemic. The reporters spoke to Times Insider about their story.
Experts have predicted the pandemic will have long-lasting effects on female representation in the workplace. What does that mean in practice?
Patricia: Economic downturns can have long-lasting effects way beyond the duration of the downturn itself. For instance, when new graduates come out of college during a downturn, they may have a harder time finding a job or they may have to take a lower position than they had hoped to, and that can have impacts that will last over the course of their careers.
It’s the same thing with working mothers: With schools closed and day care options limited, a lot of mothers may either drop out of the work force or have to work part time.
Why did the Covid-19 pandemic put those gender inequities “on steroids,” as the economist Claudia Goldin put it?
Tiffany: Because so many companies started to ask their employees to work from home, you had this situation where mothers were having to juggle work and care for their children simultaneously. And on top of that, they have housework. They have their own personal health to worry about. We heard stories of women who are waking up at 3 a.m. and working until 8 a.m., and then they’re taking a chunk of their child care duties for the day.
And there are women who are unemployed and are trying to file for jobless benefits and look for new jobs while juggling child care.
What else did you learn?
Patricia: People in the United States are often very reluctant to look at models from other countries that could be applied here. But the reality is that there are policies that are a part of the normal work experience elsewhere — paid time off, sick leave, day care, parental care. I think there should be more efforts to look and compare internationally.
Tiffany: I had several women mention to me that the pandemic has underscored the importance of networks for them. That includes parents who can help watch the kids, nanny shares, women who swap child care shifts. But the pandemic has made it very clear that the networks women rely on to have satisfying, lucrative careers are actually built on very fragile foundations.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Melissa Clark for the recipe, and to Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about what went wrong in Brazil’s coronavirus response.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Dog with short legs and a long body (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The latest edition of The New York Times Magazine features, as its cover story, an excerpt from Isabel Wilkerson’s new book “Caste” — timed to the Fourth of July.