Mining giant to demolish Indigenous Australian sites
The mining company, BHP, plans to move ahead with an expansion project that will destroy at least 40 ancient Indigenous sites in Western Australia — just days after a national outcry over the razing of another archaeological site.
BHP received approval to destroy the sites in the Pilbara desert in May after it applied to expand an iron ore mine, worth $3.2 billion. The land contains rock shelters that are up to 15,000 years old.
But in the middle of a global reckoning over racism, BHP’s plan has stoked outrage. And it has intensified a debate about the mistreatment of Indigenous peoples, whose heritage has taken a back seat to the country’s largest and most important industry: mining.
Context: In late May, it was revealed that another large mining company, Rio Tinto, had blasted two sacred Indigenous sites in the Pilbara that date to 46,000 years ago.
Livia Albeck-Ripka, our reporter in Melbourne, said the mood across the country was “one of heartbreak, but also of outrage and hope.”
She said: “For context: Australia has a long and brutal history with its Indigenous peoples, who were dispossessed of their land and culture in the relatively recent past, and have suffered that legacy.”
A clue in China points to a bumpy recovery
Xie Yiyi is one of the millions of young people in China left unmoored and shaken by the coronavirus outbreak. After losing her job, Ms. Xie, a 22-year-old Beijing resident who was educated in America, decided to open a barbecue stall, heeding the advice of China’s leaders.
Street vendors are seen by many in China as relics of the past, when the country was emerging from extreme poverty. But Li Keqiang, China’s premier, has pushed the jobless to get back into the “stall economy.”
The drive has raised concerns that the country’s post-pandemic economic recovery is not as smooth as Beijing has claimed. Mr. Li’s comments have diverged from the Communist Party line of continued prosperity.
In other coronavirus news:
There has been a surge in cases in Indonesia. This week, the country has recorded three consecutive days of about 1,000 new infections each day, with a total of 35,295 cases and 2,000 deaths as of Thursday afternoon.
Concerned about tourism and universities, the European Union is recommending that all member countries in the bloc open their borders to one another by Monday.
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Hong Kong officer faces charges in shooting of protester
A judge on Thursday summoned a traffic officer to appear in court over the shooting of a demonstrator last year. The officer is the first member of the Hong Kong police force to face charges over the street clashes that have roiled the city since last summer.
A pro-democracy lawmaker, Ted Hui, filed a suit against the officer in January, using donations to pay for legal expenses. The Department of Justice can choose to intervene —either to prosecute the case or terminate it — and it’s unclear what action it might take.
Hong Kong prosecutors have not pursued any charges against police officers, who have responded to protesters with batons, pepper spray, tear gas and, on a dozen occasions, live rounds. A government panel last month cleared the police of accusations of excessive force, in a report rejected by the protesters and their supporters.
Related: Police violence is coming under close scrutiny in the U.S. and beyond. Our Interpreter column looks at the challenge of remaking policing through the experiences of Northern Ireland, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
If you have 5 minutes, this is worth it
A video game battle in Japan’s courts
The regional government of Kagawa is the first in Japan to limit the amount of time young people spend playing video games or using the internet. But one high school student is fighting back: Wataru, 17, argues families should make that decision. So he enlisted a top lawyer.
If everything goes according to plan, he could become one of the very few people in Japan to have won a constitutional challenge to the nation’s laws. “I thought, rather than waiting for someone to take action on my behalf, if I took action for myself, that could have a powerful impact on society,” he said.
Here’s what else is happening
Tennis: A decision on staging the U.S. Open is expected next week, but some of the game’s leading players, including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep, have expressed doubts about playing under the proposed strict measures.
Norway mosque attack: A 22-year-old man who said he was inspired by far-right attacks, Philip Manshaus, was sentenced to 21 years in prison after he admitted to killing his stepsister and storming a mosque near Oslo last year. He opened fire in the mosque, but was overpowered by two men inside before anyone was shot.
U.S. protests: Gen. Mark A. Milley, the top U.S. military official, has apologized for taking part in President Trump’s walk across a square near the White House for a photo op after federal authorities used tear gas and rubber bullets to clear the area of peaceful protesters.
Trudeau haircut: Barber shops and hair salons are reopening today in Ottawa after months of lockdown, but the question on everyone’s mind is: Will the Canadian prime minister get a haircut?
Snapshot: Above, balloons with leaflets criticizing North Korea set to float over the world’s most heavily guarded border, the DMZ. South Korean activist groups unleash them to pierce censorship, but they are getting pushback as relations sour between the two governments.
What we’re listening to: This Radio Lab episode about an octopus mom settling in to brood her eggs. It sounds simple, but the way octopuses lay eggs is a feat unmatched by other species. “It had me on the edge of my seat the entire time,” says Remy Tumin, on the Briefings team.
Now, a break from the news
Cook: This creamy, eggy polenta works well with corn or any vegetable. You can serve it with a cool, crisp salad on the side.
Watch: The documentary “In My Blood It Runs” follows an Arrernte Aboriginal family in Alice Springs, Australia, as they navigate the education of a 10-year-old boy. In plain vérité style, it exposes how language and school have become bludgeons for a system built by settlers.
Listen: These 15 essential songs by Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. His music spoke of resistance and of long struggles.
Do: What happens to your body when you exercise? Well, a lot. The levels of thousands of substances in your bloodstream rise and drop, and thousands of molecules change, according to an eye-opening new study that could help shape fitness routines.
We may be venturing outside, but with the virus still raging we’re still safest inside. At Home can help make that tolerable, even fun, with ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do.
And now for the Back Story on …
An O.J. Simpson documentary that resonates
The interruption of pro sports has led many desperate fans to watch ESPN documentaries like “The Last Dance” and “Lance.” It turns out that one ESPN documentary also offers a searing look at police brutality: “O.J.: Made in America,” by Ezra Edelman.
The main narrative is about O.J. Simpson and the 1994 murder of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman. But the backdrop to the story, and to the jury’s deep mistrust of the prosecution, is the Los Angeles Police Department’s longtime mistreatment of the city’s black residents, through violence and lies.
As the Times critic A.O. Scott recently explained in our newsletter The Morning: The movie shows “the deep roots of mistrust and resentment that the L.A.P.D. sowed among the city’s black citizens over decades of abuse and contempt. The jury’s verdict — so shocking to so many at the time — is shown as an act with clear historical roots and political meaning.” (His 2016 review of the film compared it to the work of Norman Mailer and Robert Caro.)
The Times’s Wesley Morris says: “It’s one of the most rigorous, most haunting X-rays of this country’s racial crises and racist myths, from law enforcement and criminal justice to sex, sports, and Hertz.” The movie stretches over five episodes and almost eight hours, but, as Wesley says, “You’ve spent far more time with far less superior storytelling.”
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
Carole Landry helped write this briefing. Melissa Clark provided the recipe, and Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh provided the rest of 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 on an election meltdown in Georgia.
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• The Times journalists and “Still Processing” hosts Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris will be hosting a live event to unpack the reckonings of the past few weeks. Join at 4 p.m. Eastern Friday (6 a.m. in Sydney).