Agence France-Presse

Regional News • Asia • China
China's leadership adopts electoral reform for Hong Kong
China's leadership adopts electoral reform for Hong Kong
Credit: unsplash.com / Ruslan Bardash

China continues to expand its influence over Hong Kong. An electoral law reform gives Beijing control over candidate selection in the Special Administrative Region's parliamentary elections, allowing it to exclude candidates who are not considered loyal.

President Xi Jinping ordered the publication of the electoral law change on Tuesday, the Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported. The changes to the Special Administrative Region's electoral system were approved by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Tam Yiu-chung, Hong Kong's sole delegate, told the AFP news agency.

China's People's Congress had launched the amendment to the Special Administrative Region's electoral law in mid-March. It is intended to ensure that Hong Kong can only be run by "patriots". In this way, Beijing wants to gain control over the selection of candidates. Among other things, the Chinese leadership is to be given veto rights to be able to exclude certain candidates.

Regional News • Americas • South America
Facebook freezes Maduro's page for Covid-19 misinformation
Nicolás Maduro
Nicolás Maduro Credit: Presidencia El Salvador (Public Domain)

Facebook has frozen the page of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, a company spokesperson said, after the leader was accused of violating the platform's policies about the spread of Covid-19 misinformation.

A spokesperson for the company also told the AFP news agency that a video from Maduro's page had been removed "for violating our policies against misinformation about Covid-19 that is likely to put people at risk for harm".

Regional News • Africa
Opposition candidate in Congo's election Kolelas dies of Covid-19 a day after elections

Guy Brice Parfait Kolelas, leading opposition presidential candidate in Republic of Congo's election, died on Sunday, a day after the country went to the polls. Kolelas was hospitalized on the eve of the elections and died of Covid-19 as he was being taken to France for treatment, his campaign director Christian Cyr Rodrigue Mayanda told AFP news agency on Monday. A video circulating on social media dated Friday showed Kolelas, 61, wearing an oxygen mask and with a blood pressure cuff on his arm as he lay in a hospital bed.

Regional News • Americas • United States
United States close remaining consulates in Russia
United States close remaining consulates in Russia
Credit: unsplash.com / Kevin Lanceplaine

The administration of outgoing US President Donald Trump wants to close the two remaining US consulates in Russia. As the U.S. State Department confirmed to the AFP news agency, the U.S. representation in Vladivostok is to be closed and the consulate in Yekaterinburg will cease operations for the time being. After that, the embassy in Moscow would be the last U.S. diplomatic representation in Russia.

Regional News • Europe • France
Police violence in Paris: a photographer beaten up during the "March of Liberties"

Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched in Paris and other French cities to protest against the "Global Security" law.

Syrian photographer Ameer al-Halbi, a war correspondent known for his coverage of the fall of Aleppo and winner of a World Press Photo award in 2017, was wounded during a police charge while covering the march on Saturday afternoon, AFP reported.

The "Global Security" law would punish punishes the so-called "malicious" dissemination of the image of police officers, particularly during demonstrations.

Controversy over the law was heightened by the heavy-handed evacuation of a migrant camp in Paris on Monday and the revelation on Thursday of the beating of music producer Michel Zecler by four police officers.

Regional News • Europe
Belarus: Accreditations from western media journalists removed

Journalists working for western media outlets had their accreditations removed on Saturday in Belarus. This comes a day after a German ARD TV crew was arrested in their hotel and later deported. Journalists affected worked for Reuters, Radio Liberty, AFP, AP and BBC, among others.

Regional News • Asia
Pro-democracy owner of Apple Daily media outlet Jimmy Lai arrested by Hong Kong police

The Hong Kong police have arrested Jimmy Lai on grounds of the new national security law in Hong Kong. According to a close aid of his, he has been arrested at 7am and lawyers have been sent to the police station.

The news agency AFP has stated that a police source has stated that Lai had been arrested for the alleged collusion with foreign forces and fraud. His house has been searched by the police, as well as the house of his son. Multiple other members of his group have reportedly been arrested.

Regional News • Asia
Bangladesh: Thousands of Covid-19 tests allegedly with fake results
Mohammad Shahed
Mohammad Shahed Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

The hospital owner Mohammad Shahed has been detained by the Bangladesian police as he tried fleeing to India over allegations that clinics in Uttara and Mirpur issued certificates for negative Covid-19 results without testing the patients.

According to police spokesman Colonel Ashique Billah that had talked to AFP Shahed's "hospitals carried out 10,500 coronavirus tests, out of which 4,200 were genuine and the rest, 6,300 test reports, were given without conducting tests". Over a dozen people have been arrested following the allegations of fake test results.

Regional News • Africa
Gabon lawmakers decriminalize homosexuality
Libreville, Gabon
Libreville, Gabon Credit: Kennedy8kp (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

The National Assembly of the central African country Gabon has adopted an amendment to criminal legislation and removed the prohibition "sexual relations between persons of the same sex".

In total "48 deputies voted in favour of decriminalisation, 24 against and 25 abstained" according to the news agency AFP. The adoption of the Senate into law is still pending.

Regional News • Americas • United States
NYT criticized for extenuated headline regarding White House attack on peaceful protestors
The A1 page of the New York Times, June 2, 2020
The A1 page of the New York Times, June 2, 2020 Credit: New York Times via Tom Jolly on Twitter

Shortly after Tom Jolly, Print Editor of the New York Times, posted an image of the paper's A1 page with the title "As chaos spreads, Trump vows to 'end it now'", many took to Twitter to criticize the paper for its trivialization of the event. Neither the headline nor the sub-header mentioned the attack on peaceful protestors at the foot of the White House to make room for a photo-op of President Trump. Though the story itself painted a harsh and accurate picture of the event, the headline was heavily criticized on Twitter.

Matt Pearce of the LA Times wrote: "They brutalized peaceful protesters for a photo op." Andrew Beatty of AFP News replied with "This one will be taught in journalism schools." Parker Molloy tweeted: "Tom, this is embarrassing. I’d be ashamed to work for a place that put this out." 

In the CNN Business newsletter "Reliable Sources", Oliver Darcy says that "NYT's A1 falls short" and "If you were expecting The New York Times A1 to — in a bold and unflinching way — call out the attack on a peaceful demonstration so President Trump could have a photo-op, prepare to be disappointed."

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil closes down all land borders and restricts entry of Europeans and Pacific Asians

According to AFP News Brazil announced on Thursday they would close down all land borders and prohibit people from European and many Pacific Asian countries who are not citizens of Brazil from entering the country.