Russia-Ukraine: Two years of war
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A woman outside the damaged house of her son, who was killed the day before by shelling in Donetsk, Russian-controlled Ukraine.

REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

Hard Numbers: Deadly shelling, drug kingpin's jail security, Lai sighting, Sweden soccer semi, twin takeover

7: Shelling in the southern Ukrainian province of Kherson Ukraine on Sunday killed seven people, including a 23-day-old baby girl. The attack followed denials by Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar that Ukrainian forces had engaged in Russian-occupied territory in the region.

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A parade participant in a Winnie the Pooh costume waves a Chinese flag before the Lunar New Year parade in the Chinatown neighborhood of New York, U.S., February 12, 2023.

REUTERS/Bing Guan/File Photo

Hard Numbers: HK cancels Winnie the Pooh, French torch Bordeaux town hall, Indigenous voice for Oz, Darién Gap crossings soar, CAR hearts China/Russia

0: That's how many Hong Kongers can watch the in-theaters-only slasher film “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey,” after the movie’s distributors pulled it from cinemas. The honey-loving bear has been in the crosshairs of Chinese censors since this photo of Xi Jinping and Barack Obama went viral almost a decade ago.

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British pound banknote is displayed on US Dollar banknotes.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Hard Numbers: Cheaper British pound, India’s Congress Party march, Chilean damage control, convictions of Hong Kong children’s authors

37: Markets are responding negatively to new British PM Liz Truss, with the British pound falling this week to its lowest level against the US dollar in 37 years. Truss is taking the helm this week as the UK grapples with cost-of-living and inflation crises that dwarf those in the EU and the US.

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Pedestrians cross the street under flags of the China and Hong Kong.

Miguel Candela / SOPA Images/Sip via Reuters Connect

China's Hong Kong turns 25

On Friday, President Xi Jinping will leave mainland China for the first time in more than two years to mark the 25th anniversary of the UK's handover of Hong Kong to the People's Republic. It's the halfway mark for the "one country, two systems" deal with the Brits for the territory to enjoy (limited) democracy for 50 years. We asked Eurasia Group analyst Neil Thomas to shed some light on why this date is such a big deal for Xi and the future of Hong Kong.

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How long can China's zero-COVID policy last?
How Long Can China's Zero-COVID Policy Last? | GZERO World

How long can China's zero-COVID policy last?

China's tough pandemic response likely saved a million deaths, but former CDC chief Tom Frieden believes the Chinese have two big problems now.

First, their vaccines don't work, he tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World. And second, hesitancy rates — especially among the elderly — remain high.

So, what should China do now? Get better vaccines to the most vulnerable, and accept "almost" zero-COVID, like Singapore.

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Police detain a man on the 33rd anniversary of the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations at Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989, in Hong Kong, China.

REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Hard Numbers: Hong Kongers arrested, British cucumber shortage, Japan’s dwindling population, deadly blaze in Bangladesh

6:Six Hong Kongers were arrested over the weekend for publicly marking the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Beijing bans commemorating the event on the mainland, but Hong Kong was, until recently, one of a few Chinese territories where it was allowed. That changed in 2020, when Beijing imposed a draconian national security law on the city.

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Jean Luc Melenchon poster at French leftist movement La France Insoumise's (LFI) headquarters in Paris.

Reuters

What We're Watching: Macron has a left problem, Japan's nuclear option, the election no one cares about

Japan embraces nuclear to wean itself off Russian energy

Russia's war in Ukraine is pushing notoriously slow-moving Japan to make unusually swift policy shifts. In mid-March, Tokyo gave up its decades-long effort to negotiate with Russia over the return of the disputed Kuril Islands. Now, it's ready to ditch Russian energy, which resource-poor Japan needs to keep the lights on. (Tokyo joined Western sanctions against Russia but has not yet banned imports of Russian oil and natural gas.) PM Fumio Kishida announced Thursday that Japan will restart its mothballed nuclear reactors — a big deal because nuclear power is a highly sensitive topic in the only nation to suffer an attack with atomic weapons. Also, a tsunami caused in 2011 the Fukushima disaster, the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. That led Japanese public opinion to sour on nuclear, but now a majority support Kishida's plans, which also aim to help the country become carbon-neutral by 2050. Interestingly, the announcement comes just days after a top Japanese investor confirmed a $21 billion natural gas project in Siberia despite uncertainty over Russian sanctions and fears that Russia will cut off Japan first.

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A police officer in PPE keeps watch at an entrance to a tunnel under COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai, China.

REUTERS/Aly Song

Will China pass its biggest COVID test?

COVID-19 case numbers in mainland China have surged to their highest levels since the disease first appeared, posing the biggest test yet for Beijing’s stringent containment policies. Shanghai, the country's largest city, is now under the biggest urban lockdown since early 2020. Also, a recent outbreak that spiraled out of control in Hong Kong, with its scenes of COVID-19 patients on gurneys in hospital parking lots, highlights the stakes for mainland authorities. The timing couldn’t be worse for Xi Jinping, who is preparing to seek a norm-breaking third term as China’s president later this year. We spoke with Eurasia Group expert Allison Sherlock to get a better understanding of how the situation is likely to play out.

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