(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)
We’re covering how China’s security apparatus is expanding to Hong Kong, rising domestic violence in Britain and locals enjoying a tourist-free Venice.
Hong Kong: China’s security forces moving into the open
For years, China’s sprawling security apparatus worked in the shadows to stop threats to the ruling Communist Party.
That may change with a new national security law that allows China to openly station security officials in Hong Kong to subdue opposition. And it will operate beyond the scrutiny of local laws and courts.
The open yet untouchable nature of these forces signals a drastic shift for a territory that has prided itself on its rule of law, writes our correspondent.
Quotable: “We used to think of ‘secret police’ as something abstract,” said Nathan Law, a prominent Hong Kong protest leader who later said he had fled the city. “Now it is a very real fear.”
Details: Chinese agents in Hong Kong, who once operated covertly, can now investigate cases, collect intelligence and help enforce rules across schools, news outlets and social organizations.
U.K. asylum: Britain has granted the status to Simon Cheng, a former employee of the British Consulate in Hong Kong who said he was tortured by the authorities in mainland China during the protests last year.
U.K. domestic abuse soared despite warnings
Domestic abuse shot up in Britain during the coronavirus lockdown, and the British government did not heed early warnings of the danger.
At least 26 women and girls died in suspected domestic homicides between late March and the end of May. The oldest of them was 82 years old. The youngest, killed alongside her mother and 4-year-old sister, was 2.
The government did not prioritize the issue and is still struggling to respond more than four months later, according to interviews with more than 50 officials, academic experts, front-line support workers and abuse survivors.
By contrast, New Zealand included domestic-abuse preparations in its lockdown planning from the start, and Germany pledged open-ended funding of shelters and other crucial services.
In other news:
The Times is providing free access to much of our coronavirus coverage, and our Coronavirus Briefing newsletter — like all of our newsletters — is free. Please consider supporting our journalism with a subscription.
Police hack network used by criminal organizations
The police in Europe said Thursday that they had arrested hundreds of people suspected of drug trafficking and other crimes by hacking into EncroChat, an encrypted phone network used by organized criminals around the world.
It meant they could monitor criminal activity and communication live, allowing them to stop drug deals and even to prevent murder — an insight Europol called unprecedented.
The network shut down after it warned users that it had been “infiltrated,” but the authorities obtained over two months of data, which they said was expected to lead to hundreds of new investigations.
What it means: In Britain, the information has led to 750 arrests and the seizure of $67 million in cash, and over two tons of drugs. Authorities also made arrests in Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands.
Details: EncroChat provided specially altered phones — no camera, microphone or GPS — for about $1,100 and allowed users to immediately erase compromising messages.
Cook: These spicy deviled eggs are amped up with chipotle chiles, lime juice and jalapeño. Serve them for lunch — they are more than just party food.
Watch: Revisit epic cinematic car chases with Justin Lin, the director of five “Fast & Furious” films.
Do: Hydrangeas used to come in just two white-flowered varieties. Here’s a look at some uncommon ones you may not have considered, including the mountain hydrangea, which has risen to a cultlike status in Japan.
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 …
A reversal for working mothers
Women have always shouldered more of the child care and housework than men. But with schools, day care centers and camps closed, the pandemic has exacerbated that disparity.
Patricia Cohen and Tiffany Hsu, who cover business and economics for The Times, reported recently that the impact on working mothers will very likely last beyond the pandemic. The reporters spoke to Times Insider about their article.
Experts have predicted the pandemic will have long-lasting effects on female representation in the workplace. What does that mean in practice?
Patricia: Economic downturns can have long-lasting effects way beyond the duration of the downturn itself. For instance, when new graduates come out of college during a downturn, they may have a harder time finding a job or they may have to take a lower position than they had hoped to, and that can have impacts that will last over the course of their careers.
It’s the same thing with working mothers: With schools closed and day care options limited, a lot of mothers may either drop out of the work force or have to work part time.
Why did the Covid-19 pandemic put those gender inequities “on steroids,” as the economist Claudia Goldin put it?
Tiffany: Because so many companies started to ask their employees to work from home, you had this situation where mothers were having to juggle work and care for their children simultaneously. And on top of that, they have housework. They have their own personal health to worry about. We heard stories of women who are waking up at 3 a.m. and working until 8 a.m., and then they’re taking a chunk of their child care duties for the day.
And there are women who are unemployed and are trying to file for jobless benefits and look for new jobs while juggling child care.
What else did you learn?
Patricia: People in the United States are often very reluctant to look at models from other countries that could be applied here. But the reality is that there are policies that are a part of the normal work experience elsewhere — paid time off, sick leave, day care, parental care. I think there should be more efforts to look and compare internationally.
Tiffany: I had several women mention to me that the pandemic has underscored the importance of networks for them. That includes parents who can help watch the kids, nanny shares, women who swap child care shifts. But the pandemic has made it very clear that the networks women rely on to have satisfying, lucrative careers are actually built on very fragile foundations.
That’s it for this briefing. Have a lovely weekend (and Fourth of July, if you’re celebrating.)
To Melissa Clark for the recipe, and to Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about what went wrong in Brazil’s coronavirus response.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: Monkey business? (three letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The latest edition of The New York Times Magazine features, as its cover story, an excerpt from Isabel Wilkerson’s new book “Caste” — timed to the Fourth of July.