Your Friday Briefing

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Good morning. We’re covering booster shots in France, Peng Shuai’s piercing accusations in China and the Pakistani madrasa that has educated many Taliban leaders. A French rush for boosters Thousands rushed to book appointments for coronavirus booster shots on Thursday after the French government said that health passes would soon no longer be valid without them. Amid a surge in new cases and rising hospitalizations, the government made all adults eligible for booster shots starting this weekend. The health minister, Olivier Véran, said that over 400,000 vaccination appointments had been…

Is Peter Dutton picking a fight with China?

As military tensions heat up between Taiwan and China, defence minister Peter Dutton says it would be ‘inconceivable’ that Australia would not join military action if the US defended Taiwan. Labor has accused the Coalition of warmongering ahead of an upcoming election. Gabrielle Jackson talks to Lenore Taylor and Daniel Hurst about the threat of war, and the trouble with politicising foreign policy How to listen to podcasts: everything you need to know The Guardian

China’s globetrotting students are getting back on the road

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Nov 25th 2021 QIN YIBO is half way through a science degree at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. But she has not been in the country since early 2020 when it closed its borders to prevent the spread of covid-19 (she was back in China at the time). Instead the university has arranged for Ms Qin and other stranded students in China to take up residence on campuses in their own country while they continue their studies remotely. Ms Qin has thought about transferring permanently to a Chinese…

Beijing has lots of birds, but few birdwatchers

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Nov 25th 2021 BEIJING AMONG THE capitals of big economies, Beijing enjoys a surprising distinction. Despite its sometimes harsh weather and chronically polluted air, it hosts more species of birds than any other such city apart from Brasília. Remarkably, however, birdwatching remains uncommon. Listen to this story Your browser does not support the <audio> element. Enjoy more audio and podcasts on iOS or Android. In many countries, birders play an important role in spotting changes in bird populations and avian behaviour. A British enthusiast in Beijing, Terry Townshend, has recently…

China’s nominee wins Interpol seat despite concerns of human rights groups

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Dahlin said that Hu represented a Chinese ministry that was committing crimes against humanity through systematic use of disappearances, and worked specifically in the department responsible for chasing down alleged fugitives and repatriating them to China. Advertisement “He has no place at the table and China’s [candidate’s] election will strengthen its ability to misuse Interpol and erode trust in the organisation itself,” Dahlin said. Hu’s election comes three years after former Interpol president Meng Hongwei – who was also a colleague of Hu’s at the ministry – disappeared on a…

Solomon Islands: Why Are People Protesting?

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Protests rocked the capital of the Solomon Islands on Thursday for the second straight day as people clashed with the police and demanded that Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare resign. Some set buildings ablaze and looted stores. Protesters were met by police tear gas and rubber bullets on Wednesday after they stormed the national Parliament in the capital, Honiara, and set a police station and buildings in Chinatown on fire, the authorities said. On Thursday, more buildings went up in flames. Outnumbered, the police set up a heavily…

Peng Shuai’s Accusation Pierced the Privileged Citadel of Chinese Politics

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Before Zhang Gaoli was engulfed in accusations that he had sexually assaulted a tennis champion, he seemed to embody the qualities that the Chinese Communist Party prizes in officials: austere, disciplined, and impeccably loyal to the leader of the day. He had climbed steadily from running an oil refinery to a succession of leadership posts along China’s fast-growing coast, avoiding the scandals and controversy that felled other, flashily ambitious politicians. He became known, if for anything, for his monotone impersonality. On entering China’s top leadership, he invited people to search…

Do Sports Still Need China?

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Ultimately, the affair showed how even the most conscientious organizations could find their plans undermined by Chinese politics, how any business could unwillingly become a vessel for an international spat. “If you’re angering both sides, it means there is no middle ground, which I think was significant,” said Dreyer, the Beijing-based sports analyst. Like other observers, Dreyer suggested the WTA’s stance was potentially game-changing. But he noted, too, that it was possibly easier for the WTA to defy China than it had been for, say, the N.B.A., for two reasons.…

China seeks to spin Peng Shuai’s #MeToo allegation into an ideological dispute

Despite endless speculation from international press in recent weeks, there has been barely a mention of tennis star Peng Shuai’s bombshell allegation against Zhang Gaoli, the country’s former vice-premier, in domestic news coverage. Outside the country, the event was initially referred to by the editor of the official nationalist tabloid Global Times, Hu Xijin, only as “the thing people talked about”. “For some years now, China has responded to negative global attention either by giving an unconvincing explanation, or by stoically pretending the criticism isn’t there,” Zhang Ming, a retired…

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