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Hong Kong, Coronavirus, Russia Oil Spill: Your Friday Briefing

2020-06-05 03:08:14
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Good morning.

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.


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.

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.

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.

Cook: This pantry pasta with garlicky bread crumbs is sure to be a family favorite. If you like, you can also add a big pinch of red-pepper flakes and some grated lemon zest.

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.

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.


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