The old Hong Kong is gone. For decades the city has held massive commemorations each June 4 to mark the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Today, in another death knell to the city’s democratic rights, there was a high police presence on the streets and the leader of the group that organizes the annual candlelight vigil was arrested. A 20-year-old was also detained for sharing social media posts. The event has been banned for two years now, with authorities blaming the coronavirus pandemic. Tens of thousands of Hong Kongers defied last year’s ban, but this year is the first since a new national security law was passed.
2. Detained Belarusian Journalist Weeps on State TV
In a chilling interview aired on Belarusian TV yesterday, detained journalist Roman Protasevich broke down in tears, confessing to his role in anti-government protests and saying he never wanted to be involved in politics again. Protasevich, whose parents believe he has been tortured, also praised strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko for having “balls of steel.” Lukashenko, known as Europe’s last dictator, garnered international condemnation when he forced the plane carrying self-exiled Protasevich, 26, to land on Belarusian soil, with the West calling it a “state-sponsored hijacking.” The journalist’s father told media: “He would never say such things …They broke him.” Protasevich could face the death penalty.
3. US Sending Extra Vaccines Overseas With No Conditions
It’s not a case of the carrot and the stick, or rather the vaccine and the stick. In announcing where the U.S. is sending its initial batch of 25 million surplus COVID-19 shots, the White House said it wasn’t expecting favors from receiving nations. For example, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the U.S. was sending some of the initial doses to the Palestinians but is “not asking anything of the people of Gaza and West Bank.” Some 7 million doses are going to Asia, 6 million doses to Latin America and 5 million to Africa, Sullivan said. The U.S. plans to share 80 million doses globally by the end of June.
4. Biden Offers Republicans Tax Compromise on New Bill
U.S. President Joe Biden has said he is prepared to make tax concessions on his massive infrastructure package, telling key Republicans he would refrain from raising corporate tax. The president had previously proposed boosting the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% to pay for his $1 trillion infrastructure bill. Biden is now focusing on a different part of his proposal, which would see a minimum corporate tax of 15% for America’s largest companies. Biden isn’t abandoning his push to raise corporate taxes however, and the White House said he’d to push the measure outside of the infrastructure debate or in the case that bipartisan talks collapse.
Many Palestinians are skeptical that the proposed replacement of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by fellow right-winger Naftali Bennett would make much difference to relations. President Biden has signed an executive order that bans American entities from investing in 59 Chinese companies including Huawei. And a leftist teacher is facing off against a former dictator's daughter in Sunday’s runoff election in Peru.
Coronavirus Update: Africais facing the threat of a third COVID-19 wave the World Health Organization has announced, with South Africa the worst affected. As an incentive aimed at getting more Hong Kong residents vaccinated, people who’ve had their shots can enter a lottery to win a $1.4 million apartment.
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Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’: He’s been billed as one of the rising stars of the Republican Party ... by none other than former President Trump. Rep. Byron Donalds is now one of just two Black GOP representatives in the House, and has a lot to say about the former president’s comments record on race, the need for police reform — and why he thinks Congresspeople should all be friendlier to one another. Could he join DeSantis and Rubio as another Floridian Republican heavyweight? Watch now to find out.
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A Texan teen has gone viral after she went off script to talk about abortion. Paxton Smith said: “I cannot give up this platform to promote complacency and peace when there is a war on my body,” referring to a new law in Texas banning abortion from as early as six weeks. She added, “I am terrified that if my contraceptives fail me, that if I’m raped, then my hopes and aspirations … will no longer matter.” The speech has been widely praised by Texan Democrat Beto O'Rourke and others. But the school district says it is reviewing student speech protocols for future ceremonies.
2. Facebook to Crack Down on Dangerous Speech by Politicians
No more special treatment. That’s what Facebook is telling politicians, weeks after it doubled down on its ban on former President Donald Trump. Until now most politicians have been shielded from the content moderation rules most other users face, but the company’s independent oversight board recently criticized the concession. The tech giant will also be more transparent about how it makes suspension decisions, sending notes to users when they’ve received a strike for breaking rules. Previously the company has argued it shouldn’t police speech by politicians because of its newsworthiness. The new move could be announced as early as today.
3. Despite Upgraded Indian ‘Period Huts,’ Stigma Still a Problem
Now when their families banish them for menstruating each month, some rural Indian women will have running water and electricity in their “period huts.” This is thanks to a Mumbai-based charity which is replacing dilapidated and dirty huts where some tribal women in the Western state of Maharashtra are forced to spend a week each month. The practice is also common in neighboring Nepal, and women and girls sometimes die in the bad conditions. But critics say the charity, Kherwadi Social Welfare Association, is missing the point and more needs to be done to combat the stigma around periods.
4. Don’t Airbrush ‘Belly Bulge’ Kate Winslet Tells Director
Most Hollywood stars don’t mind a bit of airbrushing. Not so British actor Kate Winslet, who said she fought to keep a “bulgy bit of belly” in her new hit murder mystery show Mare of Easttown. Winslet, 45, said she wanted the protagonist to be realistic, saying: “I loved her marks and her scars and her faults.” When director Craig Zobel offered to cut the belly fat in a sex scene, the Titanic star responded “don’t you dare.” And there’s hope for fans of the series, which had its finale last weekend, with Winslet saying she’d be keen to return for a second season.
5. NFL Ditches Racial Bias Element in Compensation Claims
It’s 2021, but it seems the NFL is still back in the 1800s and the days of eugenics. The organization said it will be ditching “race-norming” as a method of calculating which injured ex-players are entitled to compensation. In a billion-dollar 2017 settlement for players who suffered traumatic brain injuries, the league used so-called racial cognitive norms to figure out how much compensation a player would get. The NFL basically held that Black players started off with a lower cognitive level thus impairment was harder to prove and they were given less money than their white counterparts. The organization apologized on making the announcement this week.
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