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We’re covering Britain’s new sanctions on human rights abuses, discrimination against Europe’s Roma and a revival of Italy’s pawnshops.
They are the first sanctions that Britain has imposed since leaving the European Union in January — a move officials hope will cast the country as a human rights defender.
Among the 47 people who face travel bans and frozen assets in Britain: Russians accused of having involvement in the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, and Saudis accused of assassinating the Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi. The list did not include any Chinese officials.
What it means: Being blacklisted will probably not change the lives of those named and many are already blacklisted by the U.S. But sanctions are a weapon that Britain could use in the future on Chinese officials who are involved in Uighur internment or the crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
Officials cite medical risks. But for many Roma, the lockdown exemplifies a centuries-old bigotry that has deepened in parts of Europe during the pandemic. Other places with similar caseloads in Bulgaria, they say, have not had such restrictions.
Quote of note: “It’s pure prejudice,” said Angel Iliev who tried to collect water at a spring beyond a checkpoint but was turned away by the police. “The discrimination was already bad, but now it’s even worse because of the pandemic.”
In other coronavirus news:
The U.S. is still in the pandemic’s first wave, its top infectious disease expert warned on Monday, with more than 250,000 new cases announced nationwide in the first five days of July alone. Deaths have surpassed 130,000.
Jair Bolsonaro, the Brazilian president and noted coronavirus skeptic, said Monday that he would take a new test for the virus after developing symptoms of Covid-19.
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.
For millions of low-paid workers from Asia and Africa running Arab households, the pandemic has exacerbated the dangers of conditions that rights groups say can lead to exploitation and abuse.
The coronavirus is accelerating the shift to cashless transactions, with governments in India, Kenya, Sweden and other countries promoting digital payment for public health reasons.
Here are the latest coronavirus updates and maps of the outbreaks.
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 China.
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 targets the question of how the security law will apply online.
Telegram, another popular messaging app, said on Sunday that it would refuse requests from the Hong Kong authorities for user data until an international consensus was reached on the new law.
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, a Chinese professor 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.
Russia: A Russian military court on Monday convicted a freelance journalist on charges of “justifying terrorism” in a 2018 text critical of the security services. It tightened the screws on free speech, and even the Kremlin’s human rights council denounced the charges.
If you have 8 minutes, this is worth it
A pawnshop revival in Italy
Italians are turning to a safety net they have relied on for centuries through plagues, sieges, wars and downturns: putting up their valuables as collateral for loans. Pawnshops, above, an official part of the Italian banking system, saw activity increase from 20 to 30 percent immediately after the country’s lockdown because of the coronavirus.
“When things are going well, you can buy your stuff back,” said Claudio Lorenzo, who had pawned his and his wife’s wedding rings. “When things are going bad, you can’t.”
Snapshot: Above, a conductor on the Tshiuetin line, the first railroad in North America owned and operated by First Nations people, that runs through rural Quebec. Named after the Innu word for “wind of the north,” it is a symbol of reclamation.
Gentrification fight: When a developer tried to evict Nour Cash & Carry, a beloved grocer in south London, customers organized to save the store, saying its fate symbolized broader changes in the lower-income neighborhood.
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
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 written 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 and have not evolved since 1968.
For the past few decades, you’ve been giving 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. Tips I needed for keeping good habits post-lockdown. See you tomorrow.
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 today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: Guacamole ingredient (five 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.