Welcome to Monday, where most of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region is now under Russian control, three die in a Copenhagen mall shooting, and botanists make a big surprise discovery. Meanwhile, we focus on John Lee, who embodies the change afoot in Hong Kong as it marks 25 years since the UK handover.
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• More Russian progress in Donbas: Russian forces continue to progress in eastern Ukraine and have seized most of the Donbas region after the capture of the strategic city of Lysychansk. Meanwhile, Ukrainians had to withdraw “from their occupied positions and lines,” said an army general staff.
• Denmark shooting, searching for motive: A gunman opened fire on the crowd in a shopping mall in Copenhagen, Denmark on Sunday, leaving at least three dead and four wounded. According to the police, a 22-year-old Danish suspect has been arrested but there is not evidence the shooting was terror-related.
• Jayland Walker shooting’s protests: Hundreds of people demonstrated in Akron, Ohio after police released a video that shows police officers shooting more than 60 times at Jayland Walker, a 25-year-old Black man who was killed on June 27 while trying to flee police.
• Chile constitution: The new Chilean Constitution has been finalized and the draft will be handed over to Chile’s President Gabriel Boric. It is set to replace the former constitution, written under Augusto Pinochet dictatorship, and it will then be put to an obligatory referendum on September 4.
• Sanctions on Mali lifted: Economic and financial sanctions on Mali have been lifted by the Leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), six months after they were implemented. This comes after military rulers ensured a transition towards democracy.
• Italian glacier collapses, killing six: At least six people died and nine were injured after the collapse of a Mormolada glacier in the northern Italian Alps. Rescuers resume search for victims as 16 people are still reportedly missing. This happened one day after abnormally high temperatures for the season were recorded on top of the summit.
• New giant water lily discovered: A new species of giant water lily has been discovered in the Royal Botanic Garden after being mistakenly identified as another species for years. Victoria Boliviana can grow up to three meters in the wild, and is identified as the largest giant water lily in the world.
Today’s frontpage of Danish daily Politiken shows police officers leading frightened shoppers to safety during the shooting at Field’s shopping mall in Copenhagen on Sunday afternoon. The shooter, a 22-year-old Danish man whose motives remain unknown, killed three people and critically injured four others.
Turkey’s inflation rate has increased by 175.55% in the last 12 months, according to ENAG, an independent group of Turkish economists. The group estimates that the inflation rate increased by 8.31% in June alone, contradicting reports from the Turkish government. Inflation is showing no signs of slowing down as the country faces continued economic pressure from the war in Ukraine, high energy and food prices, and the devaluation of the lira.
John Lee and the “mainlandizing” of Hong Kong
The recent festivities to mark 25 years since the British handover to China of Hong Kong also marked the official arrival of the new leader of Hong Kong, John Lee, who will move things even faster and closer to Beijing.
🇭🇰 The scene was set well Friday as Hong Kong marked 25 years of being back under Chinese rule. Streets flooded with Chinese and Hong Kong flags, cheering crowds, history lessons and speeches — and at the center was President Xi Jinping, who arrived on Thursday, for his first visit to Hong Kong since 2017. But the other face to keep track of for Hong Kong’s 25th Handover anniversary looked a bit more tense than Xi's. That is the face of John Lee, who was inaugurated to take over the chair of Chief Executive from Carrie Lam, to be the effective leader of Hong Kong.
👮 The new chief executive is not, in fact, a new face. Lee was Hong Kong's security chief during the 2019-2020 protests, and was the key figure in pushing through the National Security Law. He now becomes Hong Kong's first ever chief executive to rise from the police forces. Lee had gained a reputation as a security hawk without a human touch, but after being hand-picked by Beijing, has been repackaged around his “success story” biography. The public relations pros have given him as an example of a new kind of “Hong Kong elite,” who rose from the grassroots.
🇨🇳⏱️ Of course, the current celebration is itself a reminder that Hong Kong was in fact a British colony. Hong Kong 25 is a watershed, as it is halfway towards 2047, the “expiry date” for the existing legal and political framework for Hong Kong’s future. With the clock ticking, the “New Hong Kong” future is now in the hands of John Lee — with Xi Jingping looking over his shoulder. It is obvious that, under Lee's leadership, pro-establishment forces are taking control of Hong Kong's future, based on the mainland model of development and stability.
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They didn’t tell me anything.
— In an interview with Reuters, Pope Francis dismissed rumors that he might soon retire, and that he had been diagnosed with cancer. He said a routine operation last year “was a great success," adding with a laugh that "they didn't tell me anything" about the rumored cancer, which he dismissed as "court gossip."
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