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We’re covering a vigil at a tense turning point in Hong Kong, a grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic and the first theater performance in France since lockdown.
At Victoria Park, people hopped over fences and barriers to take part in a loosely organized memorial. They held lit candles and played songs that were used by the democracy movement in China that was crushed in 1989.
In defiance of a police ban on the vigil, the public displays of anger and grief took on greater meaning this year. They come amid a Chinese push to limit Hong Kong’s liberties with a new national security law. Hours before the vigil, the city made mocking China’s anthem a crime.
Quotable: “We have a responsibility to remember and to grieve,” said Clara Tam, 51, who took part in a vigil.
Coronavirus cases are growing faster than ever
The pandemic is ebbing in some of the countries that were hit hard early on, but the number of new cases is growing faster than ever worldwide, with more than 100,000 reported each day.
The increase has been driven by emerging hot spots in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, according to Times data. More than a quarter of the 380,000 deaths worldwide so far have been in the United States, but the geography of the pandemic is changing quickly.
In Brazil, the death toll passed 30,000 on Tuesday when officials reported 1,262 deaths, the country’s highest one-day total.
Egypt seemed to avoid the worst in the early days of the pandemic, but recently the number of cases there has been rising significantly and has reached more than 28,000, according to the Times data. Bangladesh now has 55,000 known cases and its troubles were compounded last month when Cyclone Amphan tore through communities under lockdown.
Here’s a breakdown of cases by country.
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Duterte critics could be labeled terrorists
President Rodrigo Duterte is preparing to sign a new antiterrorism bill that is so broadly written it would allow people in the Philippines to be arrested without a warrant and without charge for criticizing the government.
The measure was passed by the House of Representatives on Wednesday after winning approval in the Senate four months ago. The move came as the United Nations released a scathing report detailing serious human rights violations, including the killing of at least 8,000 people in Mr. Duterte’s brutal war on drugs.
Details: The new legislation would create an antiterrorism council handpicked by Mr. Duterte with the authority to designate individuals and organizations as terrorists. Anyone labeled a terrorist or suspected of belonging to a designated group could be detained without a warrant.
Quotable: “People who disagree with government policies and criticize them, including in international forums, should not be vilified as terrorist sympathizers,” said Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. human rights chief.
If you have 7 minutes, this is worth it
The videos that rocked America
“The most urgent filmmaking anybody’s doing in this country right now is by black people with camera phones,” wrote our critic-at-large Wesley Morris.
The videos of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and of an encounter between a white woman and a black birder in Central Park are part of the “ghastly visual mosaic of mistreatment” in America, he wrote after examining the footage that captures “ancestral false alarms and overreactions, centuries-old hatreds, miserable inequalities.”
Here’s what else is happening
North Korea: The government lashed out at both Seoul and Washington on Thursday, threatening to scrap key parts of agreements with South Korea and comparing the U.S. to a setting sun being eclipsed by China.
U.S.-Iran: Michael R. White, a Navy veteran held in Iran for nearly two years was on his way home on Thursday, his mother said, a day after an Iranian scientist held in the U.S. had returned to Iran.
Russia oil spill: President Vladimir Putin has declared a state of emergency in a region of northern Siberia after a huge oil spill turned a river crimson and threatened to significantly damage the Arctic environment. The leak of more than 20,000 tons of diesel is said to be one of Russia’s worst-ever accidents.
Snapshot: Above, the cast of “Cabaret Under the Balconies” perform at a nursing home in eastern France. It was the first professional theater performance in France since its theaters went dark in March. Except for one real-life couple, who were allowed to kiss, none of the performers touched.
What we’re reading: This BBC review of “The Machine Stops,” a novella written in 1909 by EM Forster. “It brings out of the dust an old dystopian novella that has some prescient, eerie connections to our lockdown life,” says Steven Erlanger, our chief diplomatic correspondent in Europe.
Now, a break from the news
Watch: Catch these 15 great films and television shows on Netflix before they end their run. Or, gain some insights from “On the Record,” a documentary about sexual assault allegations against a U.S. music mogul. It also seeks to address criticism that black women have been overlooked in the conversation about sexual assault and power.
Read: With the U.S. protests against police violence in the headlines, a lot of family conversations are centered on race. Here are some books to help explain racism and protest to your kids.
Do: In February and March, 112 people were infected with the coronavirus in South Korea because of Zumba classes. Here’s a look at the risks of virus infection during exercise class and what you can do to minimize those.
At Home has our full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying safe at home.
And now for the Back Story on …
Hugging during a pandemic
Tara Parker-Pope, our Well columnist, has heard from readers who are anguished about not being able to visit and touch family members. It’s particularly painful for grandparents, who often live alone. So, she wrote a guide to safer hugging. Here’s an excerpt.
Not only do we miss hugs, we need them. Physical affection reduces stress by calming our sympathetic nervous system, which during times of worry releases damaging stress hormones into our bodies. In one series of studies, just holding hands with a loved one reduced the distress of an electric shock.
If you need a hug, take precautions. Wear a mask. Hug outdoors. Try to avoid touching the other person’s body or clothes with your face and your mask. Don’t hug someone who is coughing or has other symptoms.
Point your faces in opposite directions — the position of your face matters most. Don’t talk or cough while you’re hugging. Approach each other and briefly embrace. When you are done, don’t linger. Back away quickly so you don’t breathe into each other’s faces. Wash your hands afterward.
Do let children hug you around the knees or waist. And for grandparents, kissing a grandchild on the back of the head is a good idea.
While some of the precautions may sound like a lot of effort for a simple hug, people need options given that the pandemic will be with us for a while.
In general, we should still limit our hugs. As one scientist said, “I would take the Marie Kondo approach — the hug has to spark joy.”
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
— Melina and Carole
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 protected].
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