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Hong Kong has announced its first arrests under a new security law - detaining six people for publishing social media posts which "incited hatred" against Beijing.

Five women and one man - including activist Chow Hang Tung - were arrested on Tuesday, it was announced.

Officials said the group were posting messages targeting a "sensitive date" - reported locally as the Tiananmen Square anniversary on 4 June.

If found guilty, the group could face up to seven years in prison under the harsher penalties brought in by the new law, known as Article 23.

The law, which was fast-tracked through Hong Kong's pro-Beijing parliament in March, covers treason, sedition and state secrets, and allows for trials to be held behind closed doors.

It expands on the national security law, imposed by Beijing in 2020.

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Joint military drills this month suggest the ties between China and Cambodia are growing stronger. Experts argue Beijing will use Cambodia as a conduit to further its strategic interests in the South China Sea.

China and Cambodia are capping off 15 days of military exercises on Thursday, which have included over 2,000 military personnel from both countries carrying out drills on land and at sea.

This year's annual "Golden Dragon" exercises come after China has significantly helped upgrade Cambodian military facilities, including the Ream Naval Base, while providing new equipment.

When the exercises kicked off on May 16 at a Cambodian military base northwest of Phnom Penh, the Cambodian army's commander in chief, Vong Pisen, publicly thanked China for the upgrade and equipment.

Mark S. Cogan, an associate professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Japan's Kansai Gaidai University, told DW the drills "reinforce pre-existing notions about the growing influence of China, particularly in matters of security."

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“The Pope never intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms, and he extends his apologies to those who felt offended by the use of a term, as reported by others,” the Vatican said in a Tuesday statement.

“As he (Pope Francis) has said on several occasions, ‘in the Church there is room for everyone, everyone! No one is useless, no one is superfluous, there is room for everyone. Just as we are, everyone.’”

Seems like they’re playing it off as “grandpa had a woopsie”.

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Twelve people have been injured due to turbulence on a flight from Doha to Dublin.

The Boeing 787-9 dreamliner experienced turbulence while airborne over Turkey, Dublin Airport's operator DAA said.

Upon landing shortly before 13:00 local time, Qatar Airways flight QR017 was met by emergency services including airport police, ambulance and fire officers.

Six passengers and six crew members reported injuries - of these, eight people have been taken to hospital.

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Takeshi Fukumoto, from Nara prefecture, obtained a working holiday visa in November and moved to Toronto, where he works at a restaurant kitchen.

He makes 22 Canadian dollars ($16) an hour and averages 40 hours a week. "Despite my short hours, I earn a lot," he said. "Including tips, my monthly income is over 400,000 yen."

He said he keeps living costs down by cooking for himself and has saved more than 1 million yen.

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Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Alexander De Croo sign new security pact.

Ukraine and Belgium have signed a security agreement which includes the delivery of 30 U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets, in a move to bolster Kyiv's defense capabilities against Russian President Vladimir Putin's ongoing invasion. 

Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo agreed on a plan that “includes at least €977 million in Belgian military aid to Ukraine this year,” the Ukranian  president announced Tuesday, during a visit to Belgium.

De Croo had already announced last year that Belgium would send F-16s to Ukraine in 2025 — without saying how many. Crucially, he also said at the time that the main condition would be whether the next government also agrees to do so, as Belgium is headed toward an election in June.

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Children have picked ingredients used by suppliers to two major beauty companies, the BBC can reveal.

A BBC investigation into last summer's perfume supply chains found jasmine used by Lancôme and Aerin Beauty's suppliers was picked by minors. 

All the luxury perfume brands claim to have zero tolerance on child labour. 

L'Oréal, Lancôme's owner, said it was committed to respecting human rights. Estée Lauder, Aerin Beauty's owner, said it had contacted its suppliers. 

The jasmine used in Lancôme Idôle L'Intense - and Ikat Jasmine and Limone Di Sicilia for Aerin Beauty - comes from Egypt, which produces about half the world's supply of jasmine flowers - a key perfume ingredient.

Industry insiders told us the handful of companies that own many luxury brands are squeezing budgets, resulting in very low pay. Egyptian jasmine pickers say this forces them to involve their children.

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Italian media has said that the pope used a highly derogatory slur against LGBTQ+ people at a bishops conference. The remark may sour attempts by the pope to make the church more welcoming.

Pope Francis allegedly used a highly offensive term to refer to LGBTQ+ people during a closed-door meeting with Italian bishops, Italian media reported on Tuesday.

The major Italian daily newspapers La Repubblica and Corriere della Sera both cited anonymous sources as saying that the pope had made the remark while reiterating his position against gay people becoming priests.

The 87-year-old pontiff was reported as saying that the Catholic seminaries were already too full of "frociaggine" — a highly derogatory term in Italian.

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A large number of EU resolutions on Ukraine are being blocked by Hungary, said Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis.

Hungary is digging in and refusing to wave through billions in military aid for Ukraine, prompting growing dismay among other EU countries. 

"I have to calm myself [when] I talk about this issue, because it’s getting really ridiculous now,” a senior EU diplomat said of the standoff with Hungary, speaking before Monday's meeting of EU foreign ministers. “What’s happening is outrageous.” 

Diplomats had hoped to have a new €6.6 billion package ready ahead of this week's meetings of foreign and defense ministers in Brussels. The deal included €860 million for arms procurement, reported by POLITICO last week.

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The U.S. has imposed sanctions over the controversial legislation, while Brussels warns it will sink the country’s efforts to join the EU.

Despite weeks of widespread protests and international condemnation, Georgia is set to pass a law on Tuesday that would designate Western NGOs as “foreign agents” — likely incurring U.S. sanctions and destroying Tbilisi’s hopes of joining the EU.

Georgian Dream insists the measures are needed to prevent influence in the country’s affairs from abroad, and has alleged that NGOs are conspiring to overthrow the government. According to Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze, these groups are trying to “enter politics,” and are “promoting religious extremism” and “LGBT propaganda.”

However, civil society leaders, Western politicians and much of the Georgian opposition say the bill is part of a push to silence voices critical of the government ahead of elections in October. The Council of Europe’s top constitutional affairs body last week published an assessment of the law, which it said was open to being abused by authorities to punish groups they don’t like, both financially and by stigmatizing them with the foreign agent label. The legislation, said the report, is similar to rules used by neighboring Russia to shutter NGOs and persecute activists.

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Emergency workers told NBC News that the death toll was likely to rise, as many people had been trapped in the encampment as it was engulfed in flames.

NBC reported that the strike took place less than a mile away from a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical facility, where at least 180 injured people arrived on Sunday.

Jewish Voice for Peace said in a statement, “We will never forget the images emerging from Rafah tonight. Human beings, including babies, were burned alive and torn apart. This genocide must end, it must end now.”

“The U.S. government has facilitated this genocide by continuously sending weapons and funding to the Israeli military, despite mass opposition from the American people,” the group added. “We hold the U.S. government, in addition to the Israeli government, responsible for the slaughter of over 36,000 Palestinians, for the siege and starvation of Palestinians in Gaza, and for mass destruction of infrastructure and land. We demand an end to all U.S. funding to the Israeli military now. People of conscience throughout the world are calling for an end to genocide.”

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A North Korean rocket carrying its second spy satellite exploded midair on Monday, state media reported, after its neighbors strongly rebuked its planned launch.

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Spain will provide Ukraine with €1bn in military aid this year after the Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, and Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, met in Madrid to sign an “enormously important”, decade-long defence and security deal.

. . .

The bilateral deal was agreed two days after Russia’s onslaught in the north-eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv killed 18 people, and as EU leaders grow increasingly exasperated with Hungary’s efforts to block aid to Ukraine.

“[This deal] will allow Ukraine to boost its capabilities, including its essential air defence systems to protect its civilians, cities and infrastructure, which are still suffering indiscriminate attacks as seen this weekend in Kharkiv,” Sánchez told a press conference after the signing.

MBFC
Archive

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YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — Protesters demanding the resignation of Armenia’s prime minister on Monday blocked main streets in the capital city and other parts of the country, sporadically clashing with police. 

Police said 196 people have been detained in Yerevan. Protests have roiled the country for weeks, sparked by the government’s return of four border villages to Azerbaijan.

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  • Mexico City could run out of drinking water by June 26, an event locals call "Day Zero."
  • Three years of low rainfall and high temperatures have worsened the city's water crisis.
  • The Cutzamala water system, which provides water to millions, operates now at 28% capacity.
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