Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Elliot Setzer
Tuesday, May 26, 2020, 12:17 PM

After some relatively quiet months, this weekend saw a wave of new protests in Hong Kong after the government in Beijing on Thursday proposed a new security law that would limit the city’s autonomy, reports the BBC. There were at least 180 arrests. U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien warned the new law, which bans sedition, could cost Hong Kong its preferential U.S. trading status, according to the South China Morning Post. In response, China on Monday threatened countermeasures against the U.S. if it is punished for imposing the law.

China’s planned national security law would block Hong Kong’s foreign judges from handling national security trials, exacerbating concerns about the city’s judicial independence, writes Reuters.

The Taliban unilaterally declared a three-day cease-fire beginning last Sunday, reports NPR. Shortly afterward, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced the government had accepted the truce proposal and would release up to 2,000 Taliban prisoners as a “good will gesture.” The Afghan government today urged the Taliban to extend the ceasefire, which is set to end tonight, and announced it would free 900 members of the insurgent group, according to Reuters.

The Defense Department is actively planning for the possibility that the military will be dealing with the novel coronavirus through 2021, reports the Hill.

The White House yesterday amended the timing on restrictions on travel to the U.S. from Brazil—bringing the start of the ban forward by two days—as the Brazil overtook Russia as the world’s number two coronavirus hotspot after the United States, writes Reuters.The restrictions apply to foreigners traveling to the U.S. if they have been in Brazil in the last two weeks.

The World Health Organization is pausing its study of hydroxychloroquine in a global trial following findings in a large observational study that found increased risk of heart problems and death in COVID-19 patients who used the antimalarial drug, according to Politico.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared Sunday in a Jerusalem courtroom to hear charges of bribery and breach of trust brought against him by prosecutors, writes the Wall Street Journal. The same day, Netanyahu convened his first cabinet meeting of a unity government with his coalition partner Benny Gantz.

Mike Pompeo over the weekend raised the possibility of suspending some forms of information sharing with Australia, an American ally, over the Australian state of Victoria’s possible future involvement with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, reports Reuters. The Secretary of State said America would “simply disconnect” from the country if its telecom services were compromised by Chinese involvement.

A minister in Boris Johnson’s government resigned today over top aide Dominic Cummings’ alleged violation of the U.K.’s lockdown guidelines, saying he could not justify the special advisers’ actions to his constituents, writes Politico. Cummings reportedly took a 260-mile drive in late March.

The first coronavirus contact-tracing app incorporating technology provided by Apple and Google was recently launched in Switzerland, according to the BBC. A Latvian team says it hopes to offer its app, which also incorporates the tech companies’ software tool, to the public as soon as Thursday.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Adam George analyzed China’s failed attempt at “mask diplomacy” in Africa.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast featuring an interview with Steve Teles on his new book, “Never Trump: The Revolt of the Conservative Elites.”

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