Russia has paved the way for Putin to be president for life

Russian President Vladimir Putin just got what he’s wanted from a recent vote: the veneer of a popular mandate on a plan that allows him to stay in power far beyond his current term limit — and could essentially make him president for life.

On July 1, Russia tallied the results of a week-long national vote on a slew of constitutional reforms, including a constitutional amendment that allows Putin to nix term limits and remain president until 2036. Such an outcome was expected, and largely predetermined, given Russia’s long track record of electoral fraud. This latest vote …

Hong Kong’s future under China’s new security law, explained

July 1 in Hong Kong has always been a day of protest. It marks the anniversary of the territory’s handover from Britain to China in 1997. This year, 23 years later, Hongkongers protested again — but this time, there was far more at stake than at perhaps any other time since.

That’s because July 1, 2020, was the first full day that China’s new national security law, which gives Beijing broad powers to crack down on political dissent against the Chinese Communist Party, was in full effect in Hong Kong.

The full details of the legislation weren’t known …

The Trump administration is targeting homeless trans people in the middle of a pandemic

The Housing and Urban Development Agency announced a proposed rule Wednesday that would allow homeless shelters that receive federal funding to discriminate against transgender people.

Though the text of the proposed rule is not yet available and the rule has not been posted on the Federal Register, the agency issued a press release announcing it, explaining that while shelters are barred from excluding people based on their transgender status, they are also allowed to ignore a person’s gender identity and house them according to their assigned sex at birth or their legal sex. In other words, a trans woman can’t …

How to go out and not spread coronavirus this summer

As the coronavirus pandemic drags on, many of us are feeling desperate to see friends and family in person, keep kids busy, and get the heck out of town. And with the July Fourth weekend before us, it’s extremely tempting to shed our crusty quarantine skins of spring and seize a glorious, social summer.

But should we?

It can be difficult to know since the situation across the US varies so much, as this map of county-level risk based on the number of new daily cases, from Harvard’s Global Health Institute and Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, shows:


China’s new national security law is already chilling free speech in Hong Kong

At 11pm local time on Tuesday, Hong Kong’s government unveiled the text of a draconian new national security law that gives the Chinese government vast new powers to crackdown on free speech and dissent in Hong Kong.

Drafted in secrecy by top Chinese officials in Beijing — and not seen by the public until that very moment — the law criminalizes “secession, subversion, organization and perpetration of terrorist activities, and collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security.”

Those who commit such acts — which experts say are vaguely defined in the law, and thus …