Dark week for journalism as four reporters killed around the world

Ten days before she was assassinated outside a Mexican convenience store, Yesenia Mollinedo noticed two mysterious stalkers following her on a motorbike. “We know where you live, bitch,” one of them warned the journalist, the director of an online news outlet called El Veraz (The Truthful One) whose motto is “Journalism with Humanity”. For more than a year, Mollinedo, 45, had been trying to shrug off what she hoped were empty threats designed to silence the stories she published about crime in the coastal town of Cosoleacaque. She repeatedly changed…

Hong Kong Police Arrest Former Bishop in National Security Case

HONG KONG — The Hong Kong police arrested three prominent activists on Wednesday, including a retired bishop and a pop star who were leaders of a legal aid organization now under investigation for suspected violations of the city’s strict national security law, a lawyer for the group said. The arrests are the latest in a sweeping crackdown that followed widespread antigovernment protests in 2019 and the imposition of the security law on the territory a year later. More than 170 people have been arrested under the law since it was…

Your Monday Briefing: Russia’s Pre-Holiday Push

Good morning. We’re covering Russia’s nationalist holiday, Hong Kong’s new leader and a Taliban decree targeting women. Lee, the top architect of the crackdown on Hong Kong’s antigovernment protests in 2019, plans to push through laws on treason, secession, sedition and subversion, and to root out critics in the civil service. He inherits a city that has been tamed and cowed: Sweeping national security laws imposed two years ago have quashed dissent, gutted the free press and put critics behind bars or sent them into exile. He will also face…

EU voices concerns as former Hong Kong security chief made new leader

The European Union has condemned the appointment of Hong Kong’s former security tsar, who oversaw the crackdown on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, as the Chinese territory’s new chief executive with 99% of the vote in a secret ballot on Sunday. Josep Borrell, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, said the selection process that led to John Lee being elected is yet “another step in the dismantling of the ‘one country, two systems’ principle”. The EU “calls on Chinese and Hong Kong authorities to abide by their national and international commitments, notably…

John Lee Wins Hong Kong’s Rubber-Stamp Election

HONG KONG — John Lee “will make Hong Kongers and international investors feel relaxed, at ease and full of confidence,” a pro-Beijing newspaper declared. He will help the city “start anew to achieve greater glories,” the state-run China Daily wrote, in one of a series of articles praising him. His rise to the top leadership position is “a concentrated embodiment of public opinion,” said China’s official arm in Hong Kong, though only 1,424 members of a government-vetted committee voted for him on Sunday, in an uncontested race controlled by Beijing.…

As tensions rise between east and west, will HSBC be torn apart?

When Mark Tucker arrived as HSBC’s new chairman on a cloudy London day in October 2017, he was prepared for a challenge. The former insurance boss was the first outsider to lead the now 157-year-old bank, which was in the middle of a period of intense upheaval. HSBC was slimming down its investment bank, selling poorly performing businesses and slashing thousands of jobs as it tried to adapt to the post-financial-crisis era. While Tucker was well equipped to guide the lender through that period of turmoil, he must now wrestle…

From India’s highs to Thailand’s lows, Asia’s weather is hitting extremes

The final days of April saw further unbearable temperatures recorded in India and Pakistan. Temperatures peaked at 49C in Jacobabad, Pakistan on 30 April, with a high of 47.2C observed in Banda, India. The Indian Meteorological Department confirmed that average temperatures in April were the highest for northern and central parts of the country since records began over 100 years ago. Heatwaves are a common occurrence at this time of year in India and Pakistan, but scientists believe the intensity, duration and arrival time of the conditions witnessed so far…

In Hong Kong Election, John Lee Is Running Uncontested

HONG KONG — When hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong residents took to the streets in 2019 to protest a proposed extradition bill, John Lee, the security secretary at the time, went before the city’s Legislative Council to defend the government’s position. During the session, Mr. Lee, a former police officer, was questioned about the excessive use of force and tear gas on protesters by the police. Combative lawmakers shouted “down with John Lee!” One accused him of trying to “sell out Hong Kong for personal gains” in his dogged…

Your Wednesday Briefing: Beijing’s Mass Testing Plan

Good morning. We’re covering Beijing’s scramble to quash the Omicron variant, Germany’s pivot to supplying Ukraine with heavy weaponry and a brownface controversy roiling Hong Kong. Mass testing in Beijing Faced with a growing number of coronavirus infections across Beijing, city officials are trying to test most of the Chinese capital’s 22 million residents in the hope of avoiding the pain of imposing a citywide lockdown like in Shanghai. Beijing is ordering mass testing across the city more quickly than in Shanghai, where officials started testing on a similar scale…

Shanghai’s Low Covid Death Toll Revives Questions About China’s Numbers

This month, a prominent Shanghai physician, Miao Xiaohui, estimated that the number of excess diabetes deaths could reach nearly 1,000 by the end of his city’s lockdown. His estimate was based on the Wuhan excess mortality study, which, in addition to tracking Covid deaths, also showed that deaths from noncommunicable diseases, including heart disease and diabetes, were 21 percent higher than expected during that city’s lockdown. “Why can’t we consider a middle road” between zero Covid and living with the virus, Dr. Miao wrote in a blog post. The post…

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