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TOPIC: hong kong

In The News

Putin’s Hypersonic Missiles, Pope Benedict’s Funeral, Will & Harry’s Brawl

👋 ¡Ola!*

Welcome to Thursday, where Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly deploys hypersonic missiles, the funeral for Pope Benedict is held in Rome, and Prince Harry accuses his brother William of a physical attack. Meanwhile, Stephane Frachet in business daily Les Echos has everything you knead to know about France’s baguette battle.

[*Galician, Spain]

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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.

HONG KONG — David's working place is in an old Cantonese style building from the sixties, with a massage bed placed right in the center. There is a TV and a sofa, with walls painted his favorite shade of white. The room is bright and cozy – unlike how certain films would portray the working environment of sex workers.

David entered this profession 20 years ago "as an act of impulse". Now nearly 70 years old, he speaks of his job with a smile on his face. His clients ranges from 18-year-olds who call him "uncle/daddy", to elderly people in their nineties who still have sexual needs to be fulfilled.

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Gorbachev Dies, Taiwan Tensions, Queen Stays In Scotland

👋 Hej!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where the world pays tribute to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev who died at 91, the Taiwan Strait sees renewed tension and the Queen breaks with tradition. Meanwhile, Cynthia Martens unpacks the unraveling of Moscow's intellectual property standards in the wake of international companies leaving Russia.

[*Danish]

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

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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Geopolitics
Dan Wu

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

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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