👋 Сайн уу*
Welcome to Monday, where Iran carries out a second execution over anti-government protests, EU officials are arrested in a major Qatar bribery probe, and Orion is back from its Moon trip. Meanwhile, Shuhua Zheng in Chinese-language media The Initium reports on the dire conditions and stereotypes surrounding Hong Kong’s male sex workers, a.k.a. “brother boys.”
[*Sain uu - Mongolian]
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• Ukraine reports strikes on Wagner Group HQ, occupied city of Melitopol: Ukrainian officials have reported two notable strikes in the past 24 hours. The governor-in-exile of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine says Kyiv forces have struck a headquarters of Russia's Wagner mercenary group. Meanwhile, a Ukrainian long-range missile for the first time hit a target in the occupied city of Melitopol.
• Iran carries new protest-related execution: Iran announced it has carried out a second execution linked to the nationwide anti-government protests that have rocked the country for nearly three months. The 23-year-old man was convicted of “enmity against God” for reportedly stabbing to death two security officials last month, and was publicly hung from a crane.
• Four people charged in EU parliament corruption case: A Belgian judge has charged four people with money laundering and corruption on Sunday for allegedly receiving money and gifts from a Gulf state, said to be Qatar, to influence decisions in the European Parliament. While no suspects have been publicly named, several Belgian newspapers have named Vice President Eva Kaili, a center-left former television news anchor from Greece, as one of those indicted.
• Peru mulls early elections after protests turn deadly: A 15-year-old and an 18-year-old were killed in clashes with police on Sunday in the Andean city of Andahuaylas, Peru, during nationwide protests following the ousting of President Pedro Castillo over his attempt to dissolve Congress. The country’s new President Dina Boluarte announced she would ask Congress to move forward the next scheduled general election by two years, to April 2024.
• Lockerbie bombmaker in U.S. custody 33 years later: U.S. authorities have detained a Libyan man accused of helping to make the bomb that blew up Pan Am Flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in December 1988. The attack, long blamed on the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi, killed all 259 aboard the London-to-New York flight, and 11 people on the ground.
• Microsoft to buy stake in London Stock Exchange: Microsoft is set to buy a 4% stake in the London Stock Exchange Group. The $2-billion investment is the latest deal to raise regulator concern about Big Tech and financial firms teaming up.
• NASA’s Orion is back on Earth: The Orion capsule has successfully splashed down in the Pacific Ocean after a near-26-day mission to orbit the Moon, concluding a test flight that should clear the way for astronauts for the next lunar trip.
“Three women killed, shock in Rome,” titles Italian daily La Repubblica after a man opened fire in a cafe in Italy’s capital city on Sunday during a meeting of a residents’ association. The motive appears to be linked to a housing dispute. One of the victims was a friend of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. The 57-year-old suspected shooter is in custody.
Twitter has restarted its paid-for verification feature on Monday after it was paused last month when its launch saw the social media swamped by impersonators. But iPhone users, beware: The monthly “blue tick” service will cost you $11 instead of $8, because of Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk’s current feud with Apple over its 30% commission for in-app purchased subscriptions.
Brother boys, the real lives of Hong Kong's male sex workers
Hong Kong only decriminalized homosexuality in 1991, but there had long been an underground LGBTQ+ culture, including male sex workers. They have learned to survive in difficult conditions, but their experiences are far from how they're portrayed in films, reports Shuhua Zheng in Chinese-language media The Initium.
🇭🇰 In Hong Kong, male sex workers are usually referred as "brother boy", and they usually work individually in separate building units, which are close to residential areas. They can also be seen in massage parlors, or go on paid dates. Different from the general female sex workers in Hong Kong, male sex workers will not be visibly looking for clients on the streets, but would use dating websites or apps and online forums to find customers.
🏳️🌈 Due to the legal limitations, homosexual identities had to be concealed in Hong Kong, but LGBTQ+ and sex culture have been actively shifting over the past centuries. Due to the conservative cultures of the past and the lack of formal social areas, public toilets had been secret gay meeting places. There were underground gay magazines and adverts by male sex workers on newspapers. With the decriminalization in the 90s, gay bars and nightclubs began to flourish with the rise of the service industry.
💰 Zihao entered the industry to serve gay and Hong Kong customers as a masseur. He is quite frank to admit that he had picked up the profession for the sake of “earning money.” He felt that there is no difference between sex work and mainstream works. “We are all just using our own things to make profits. What is wrong with this kind of profession?” Living in an international metropolitan like Hong Kong, Zihao has had clients from both east and west. He said that sex is a universal body language that is common everywhere.
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We will try for a million times to preserve peace.
— As tensions remain high in northern Kosovo, between the authorities in Kosovo's capital Pristina and ethnic Serbs, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić has vowed to maintain peace following a meeting of Serbia's National Security Council. Speaking with Serbia's national television channel RTS, Vučić announced that the army is ready to protect minority Serbs living in neighboring Kosovo, saying: “I have issued orders and the National Security Council has accepted them. I am very proud of our soldiers and policemen. Before they receive orders […] we will try for a million times to preserve peace.”
• Despair, Love, Betrayal — Then Death: A Ukrainian War Diary — LIVY BEREG
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