Hong Kong steps up measures against a third wave
Hong Kong Disneyland, movie theaters and children’s summer activities will re-close this week following an increase in coronavirus infections in the territory.
Gatherings of more than four people were banned, and dining in restaurants was prohibited after 6 p.m. That represents a disappointing setback for a city that until recently seemed to have a successful strategy to control the virus.
The restrictions may also make it harder for pro-democracy opposition to organize protests against a sweeping national security law, which was imposed on June 30.
Details: Health officials said that the territory’s new spate of cases, including another 52 announced on Monday, was mainly connected to taxi drivers, restaurants and nursing homes.
“I felt defenseless”: The Seoul mayor’s accuser speaks out
The secretary to one of the most powerful political figures in South Korea, Mayor Park Won-soon of Seoul, described suffering years of abuse and sexual harassment in her first public statement on Monday.
“I felt defenseless and weak before the immense power,” the woman said in a statement released through her lawyer.
Mr. Park committed suicide last week after his secretary went to the police with her accusations. Her complaint cited obscene messages and photos and unwanted advances in the office. The mayor’s family has asked the authorities not to publicize the accusations, saying they are one-sided.
What’s next: By law in South Korea, a criminal case is closed if the suspect is dead. But women’s rights groups said the police should disclose what they learn, and asked for an investigation into why Seoul City Hall had dismissed previous complaints.
Russia’s channel to the Taliban
The recent revelation of an American intelligence assessment that Russia had provided the Taliban with bounties to attack U.S. and coalition troops stunned political leaders in Washington. But officials told our reporters that the Kremlin began discreetly reaching out to the insurgents nearly a decade ago.
What began as a diplomatic channel has more recently blossomed into an alliance that has allowed the Kremlin to reassert its influence in the region. The shift coincided with increasing hostility between the United States and Russia over Syria’s civil war and other conflicts, as well as Russia’s frustration with rising instability in Afghanistan and the slow pace of the U.S. pullout.
Both Russia and the Taliban have rejected claims that any bounties were paid.
Quotable: “We did the same,” said Marc Polymeropoulos, a former C.I.A. field officer in Afghanistan who retired last year as the agency’s acting chief of operations in Europe and Eurasia. “We turned the heat up as the Russians were leaving Afghanistan.”
If you have 10 minutes, this is worth it
A threat to Latin American equality
Over the past two decades, inequality in Latin America had fallen to the lowest point in its recorded history. But now, the pandemic threatens to reverse that shift.
Our reporters traveled 1,000 miles across Colombia to document the effects. In Cúcuta, a town pictured above near the Venezuelan border, the economic shutdown has pushed women and girls into sex work. One 17-year-old said she felt she had no other choice after her father lost his job: Somebody had to bring in money, she said, “and it turned to me.”
Here’s what else is happening
China crash: A bus crash in southwest China last week that killed 21 people and injured 15 others was deliberately caused by the driver, according to police, who said he drove the vehicle into a reservoir because he was angry about the demolition of his home.
U.S.-China tensions: Beijing imposed sanctions on three American lawmakers, all Republicans, a largely symbolic tit-for-tat move in response to the Trump administration condemning China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims.
Christchurch shooting: An Australian white supremacist who pleaded guilty to killing 51 worshipers at two mosques in New Zealand last year plans to represent himself at a sentencing hearing in August, a court heard on Monday.
Poland election: President Andrzej Duda was narrowly re-elected in the country’s closest presidential election since the end of communist rule in 1989.
Snapshot: Above, a wild koala at a clinic in Toorbul, Australia. Researchers there are testing a vaccine against chlamydia, the world’s most widespread sexually transmitted infection, on the marsupials. Studying, and saving, koalas may be the key to developing a long-lasting cure for humans.
What we’re reading: This Vulture profile of the writer and actress Michaela Coel, creator of the HBO show “I May Destroy You.” Isabella Kwai, who writes our Europe briefing, calls it “a master class in the celebrity profile,” and one that “does not shy away from the unsavory parts, including her experiences of racism.”
Now, a break from the news
And now for the Back Story on …
In Monday’s edition of The Morning newsletter, David Leonhardt discussed some of the creative ideas that companies, government agencies and other organizations have had to move activities outside, where the coronavirus spreads less easily. Below is what one Texas university is doing this fall.
Rice University, in Houston, is building nine big new classrooms this summer, all of them outdoors.
Five are open-sided circus tents that the university is buying, and another four are semi-permanent structures that workers are building in an open field near dorms, Kevin Kirby, Rice’s vice president for administration, said. Students and professors will decorate the spaces with murals and video projections.
In the fall, the structures will host classes and student activities, while reducing health risks — since the coronavirus spreads less easily outdoors. Mr. Kirby describes the construction project as “a statement to the community.” The statement: “We’re creative. We’re resilient. And what we do matters.”
Across the country, many indoor activities are going to be problematic for the foreseeable future: school, religious services, work meetings, cultural events, restaurant meals, haircuts and more. Mask-wearing reduces the risks, but being outdoors can reduce it even more.
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That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
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