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In The News

Lysychansk Falls, Copenhagen Mall Shooting, Formula One Scare

👋 Olá!*

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.

[*Portuguese]

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Odessa Missile Strike, Hong Kong Anniversary, Record Japan Heat

👋 Салом!*

Welcome to Friday, where at least 19 die as Odessa is hit by Russian missiles overnight, Israel gets a new (interim) prime minister and the world’s most famous cycling race kicks off in Denmark. And in French daily Les Echos, Clara Le Fort reports on the surprising trend of using clay as a building material in modern architecture.

[*Salom - Uzbek]

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John Lee And The "Mainlandizing" Of Hong Kong

The 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. The weather forecast predicted a typhoon, just as it had in 1997 when the sovereignty of the island city was officially transferred to Beijing, ending the era of being a British colony that had begun in 1842. But there were other storms brewing.

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 visit outside mainland China since the 2020 Covid outbreak, and 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 behind their respective white masks with a red "25" on the side.

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Putin Reacts To Finland And Sweden, Marcos Sworn In, Record Bangladesh Flood

👋 Zdravo!*

Welcome to Thursday, where Putin plays good-cop/bad-cop with NATO, dictator Marcos’ son is sworn in as Philippines president and a rare portrait by Francis Bacon goes under the hammer. We also look at anti-abortion movements around the world celebrating — and mobilizing — following the historic Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.

[*Slovenian]

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In The News
Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Ukraine-EU, U.S. Gun Law Battles, Big Bacteria

👋 Halo!*

Welcome to Friday, where Kyiv gets EU candidate status in Brussels, while Ukrainian forces retreat from Severodonetsk, there’s good and bad news in the U.S. for gun control advocates, and scientists discover one big bacterium. Meanwhile, Persian-language news website Kayhan-London looks at the reasons behind the harsher tone the West has adopted toward Iran in recent weeks.

[*Sundanese, Indonesia]

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Geopolitics
Hye-kwan Lee and Stanley Leung

A Bitter Road Back For Hong Kong Students Arrested During 2019 Protests

Thousands of students and young people were detained during Hong Kong's democracy protests in 2019. Now with criminal records, many are struggling to re-integrating into a changed society

HONG KONG — Shortly after his release from the Detention Center, Ah Tao received a phone call from his secondary school headmaster. The headmaster told the Hong Kong teenager that it might not be a good idea for him to continue his studies, and that there were some barista courses outside school he might as well try.

Tao did not respond to the suggestion, and hung up after a few pleasantries.

Back when he was arrested on the street in 2019, Tao had completed his third year, and the school promised to hold his place. However, they stated that if he committed any offenses again, he could be expelled. Tao was already prepared for such a phone call. At that moment, he felt strongly that he was just a young person who had broken the law, and even his school did not want him anymore.

In 2019, the Hong Kong government proposed an amendment bill on extradition that would allow the transfer of fugitives from between Mainland China and Hong Kong. The bill received widespread criticism, with fears it would hamper political dissent in Hong Kong and led to large-scale protests.

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In The News
Lila Paulou, McKenna Johnson, Joel Silvestri and Lisa Berdet

"Catastrophic Destruction” In Ukraine, Japan Upholds Same-Sex Marriage Ban, HK Restaurant Sinks

👋 Avuxeni!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where “catastrophic destruction” is reported in eastern Ukraine, Japan upholds a same-sex marriage ban and an iconic Hong Kong restaurant is now feeding the fish. Meanwhile, an English Professor reflects in The Conversation on the linguistic implications of the Ukraine war and censorship on speech and silence.

[*Tsonga, South Africa and Mozambique]

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In The News

Le Weekend ➡️ Trial By Social Media: Trying (And Failing) To Scroll Past Depp v. Heard

June 4-5

  • The Balkans, next on Putin’s list?
  • Double standard for a trans soldier in Germany
  • La crème de la Mona Lisa
  • … and much more.
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Coronavirus
Liang Yue and Yuan Huiyan.

Hong Kong's Strict COVID Rules  Are Sparking An Exodus Of Foreigners

Enduring COVID restrictions are the final straw for many expats in Hong Kong. They're leaving by the thousands, threatening the city's reputation as a financial hub.

HONG KONG — “It's not the policy itself, but the lack of any rationale behind it that's made me choose to leave...” Steven (not his real name), an American senior executive of a strategic consulting firm who had been working in Hong Kong for seven years until April of this year.

More than two years on since the COVID-19 outbreak, the Hong Kong administration has been closely following mainland China's “Dynamic Clearing Policy”. The particularly strict social restrictions, vaccination policy and business operation limits, as well as the two to three weeks of quarantine imposed on arrival in the city, have pushed both local and international business circles to request the Hong Kong government to review the intangible and tangible economic costs behind the COVID-zero strategy.

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In The News
Emma Albright, Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Anne-Sophie Goninet.

Zelensky Pleads For Mariupol Ceasefire, Otoniel Extradited, Maradona’s Jersey

👋 Bonghjornu!*

Welcome to Thursday, where the Ukrainian President asks for a truce to evacuate civilians from Mariupol as Russia intensifies its assault on the Azovstal plant, Colombia extradites the world’s most dangerous drug trafficker and Diego Maradona's “Hand of God” jersey sets a record. Meanwhile, Buenos Aires-based daily Clarin looks at how the trend in dieting changes and diversification reflect inequalities in Argentine society.

[*Corsican]

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In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

Mariupol Defies Russia’s Surrender Ultimatum

👋 Sawubona!*

Welcome to Monday, where Mariupol refuses to surrender, Biden will travel to Poland (but not Ukraine), and all passengers are feared dead in a plane crash in southern China. Meanwhile, scientists discover what they say is a new kind of ice.

[*Zulu - South Africa]

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Geopolitics
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

Games Of The Absurd: Beijing’s Olympics Of Politics And Pandemic

With both fans and diplomatic dignitaries missing, it’s an Olympics that recalls politically combustible Games of the past. COVID-19, like it did for the Summer Games in Tokyo, will also help haunt the premises. The good news is that the athletes will most likely take over our attention as soon as they hit the ice and snow.

-Analysis-

The Olympic script includes the invoking of the spirit of friendly competition as a respite from geopolitics.

Yet the global sporting event has long struggled to separate itself from the biggest social and political events of the day: from the 1936 Berlin Games during Hitler's rise to power to the Black Power salute at the 1968 Mexico City Games to the PLO killings of Israeli athletes in Munich in 1972. There were also major tit-for-tat U.S. and Soviet boycotts of the 1980 Moscow and 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games.

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