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We’re covering a dangerous time for migrant workers in the Middle East, Facebook’s decision to pause cooperation with Hong Kong authorities and what a cashless economy could look like.
Abuse risk rises for domestic workers in Arab countries
Families in many Arab countries rely on millions of low-paid workers from Asia and Africa to help run their households under conditions that rights groups say often lead to exploitation and abuse.
Now, the pandemic has exacerbated those dangers. Many families will not let their housekeepers leave the house, fearing they will bring back the virus, while requiring them to work more since entire families are staying home, workers’ advocates say.
Other workers have been laid off, deprived of wages and left stranded far from home with nowhere to turn for help. Women are the most vulnerable.
Details: After nine Kenyan and Ugandan women lost their jobs as housekeepers in Saudi Arabia, the agency that recruited them locked them in a room. The women receive food once a day and their passports have been withheld.
Voices: “Everybody is fearing,” one of the women, Apisaki, from Kenya, said via WhatsApp. “The environment here is not good. No one will listen to our voice.”
In other developments:
Officials in India postponed the reopening of the Taj Mahal this week. The country has 700,000 confirmed infections and nearly 20,000 deaths as of Monday.
The outlook is worsening in the U.S., with more than 250,000 new cases announced nationwide in July.
About 270,000 people in Spain’s northwestern Galicia region and in Catalonia, around the city of Lleida, have re-entered lockdown.
Israel closed bars, gyms and pools and curtailed gatherings as positive test results reached new heights.
New up-and-coming coronavirus tests, like the gene-editing tool Crispr, can spot the virus in less than an hour. But it will most likely be months before these tests hit clinics.
Facebook won’t turn over Hong Kong user data
Facebook and its messaging service WhatsApp will temporarily stop processing Hong Kong government requests for user data while it reviews the national security law imposed by Beijing.
The company said it would consult human rights experts to assess the law. The decision is a rare questioning of Chinese policy by an American internet company, and it gets at the question of how the security law will apply online.
Telegram, a messaging app popular with Hong Kong’s protesters, said on Sunday that it would refuse requests from Hong Kong authorities for user data until an international consensus was reached on the changes in the city.
What’s next: Facebook’s move puts pressure on other tech giants like Apple, Google and Twitter, to clarify how they will deal with the Hong Kong security law.
Related: Xu Zhangrun, who has taught law at the prestigious Tsinghua University, was arrested on Monday in Beijing — one of the few academics in China who have harshly criticized the ruling Communist Party.
ICC asked to investigate crimes against Uighurs
Uighur exiles urged the International Criminal Court on Monday to investigate Beijing for genocide and crimes against humanity, the first attempt to use international law to hold China accountable for its crackdown on the Muslim minority.
A team of London-based lawyers representing two Uighur activist groups filed a complaint against Beijing for pursuing the repatriation of thousands of Uighurs through unlawful arrests in or deportation from Cambodia and Tajikistan.
The case could bring greater international scrutiny of the Chinese state’s power to impose its will beyond its borders.
Context: Though China is not part of the court, lawyers say that because the case focuses on claims of unlawful acts by China in two member countries, the case could move ahead.
If you have 6 minutes, this is worth it
Moving away from cash
The coronavirus is accelerating the shift to cashless transactions. Governments in India, Kenya, Sweden and other countries, as well as the United Nations, are promoting digital payments, such as those using apps, for public health reasons.
Snapshot: Above, a conductor on the Tshiuetin line in rural Quebec, the first railroad in North America owned and operated by First Nations people. Named after the Innu word for “wind of the north,” it is a symbol of reclamation and defiance.
What we’re listening to: The “Floodlines” podcast from The Atlantic about Hurricane Katrina. It “traces the racism-driven response to the Big One with the clarity of 15 years of hindsight,” writes Shaila Dewan, a national reporter and editor covering criminal justice issues.
Now, a break from the news
Cook: This mayo-marinated chicken with chimichurri is perfect for cooking on the grill or in a cast-iron skillet indoors.
Watch: “Grand Designs” is a bit like “The Great British Baking Show,” but in this series, the goal is to build dream homes, not frangipani and iced buns. It’s also deeply human.
Read: “Too Much and Never Enough,” an exposé about President Trump by his niece, and a memoir from the poet Natasha Trethewey are among the 16 books to watch for in July.
Staying safe at home is easier when you have plenty of things to read, cook, watch and do. At Home has our full collection of ideas.
And now for the Back Story on …
Teaching about racism
Jane Elliott, now 87, came up with a lesson in 1968 to force children to experience prejudice firsthand. She split up her class into two groups based on an arbitrary characteristic: eye color. Those with blue eyes were superior to those with brown eyes, and were entitled to perks, like more recess time and access to the water fountain. Quickly, the children turned on one another. She reversed the roles and saw the same thing.
The anti-racism educator spoke with our In Her Words newsletter about how things have evolved, and not, since 1968.
For the past few decades, you’ve been doing anti-racism lectures and workshops around the country. Have you noticed a shift in how they have been received?
I’ve been doing the exercise with adults for about 35 years. But in the last few years, I’ve only been doing speeches about it because we now live in a situation where people turn off immediately if they think they’re going to learn something counter to their beliefs, and I don’t want to be threatened with death anymore. I’m tired of receiving death threats.
Where did you grow up, and when did you come to truly understand the problem of racism in this country?
I was raised on a farm in northeast Iowa. When I went to school, I started to learn the standard elementary curriculum, which is that white men did all the inventing and discovering and civilizing.
Then I went to college, and in my first social studies education class, the white professor stood up in front of that group of students and said, “When you get into the classroom, you must not teach in opposition to local mores.”
A lot of white people are trying to reassess their own biases. Based on the work you’ve done, what can white people do to actually help in this moment?
First of all, you have to realize what I do isn’t hard work. What Black people do is hard work. I get paid for the work that I do.
And second, white people need to stop referring to themselves as “allies” — as if we can make it all right. They need to educate away the ignorance that was poured into them when they were in school and realize that they are the reason everyone is so angry.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
Carole Landry helped write this briefing. Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about new insights on how the virus takes hold in the body.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Sound made with two fingers (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Kim Perry, who has worked on major digital initiatives in the Times newsroom, has been named director for International strategy and operations.