February 8, 2023

Money News PH

The Premier Blog Where Money Talks

Your Tuesday briefing – The New York Times

Hundreds of minors in Iran have been beaten and jailed for joining the protests demanding social freedom and political change that have rocked the country over the past two months, and at least 50 have died in the crackdown, according to Iranian lawyers and human rights activists. Iranian officials said the average age of the protesters was 15.

The targeting of young people comes amid a broader crackdown on protesters that has seen 14,000 people arrested. According to estimates by UN lawyers and human rights activists, there are between 500 and 1,000 minors being detained, without it being clear how many are being held in adult prisons.

According to lawyers and rights activists, children in juvenile detention centers have been forced to undergo behavioral therapy under the supervision of a clergyman and a psychologist, who tell the children they have committed sins and must accept their wrongdoing. They were sometimes prescribed psychiatric drugs after resisting behavioral treatment, lawyers said.

Analysis: “What makes these protests different is that children have a much more visible presence, showing a brave determination to defy the establishment and demand a better future for themselves,” said Amnesty International’s Diana Eltahawy. “And they’re using every repressive tool at their disposal to crack down on them.”

President Biden and Xi Jinping, China’s supreme leader, met for the first time in person as national leaders yesterday in a tone of mutual commitment that acknowledged both their countries faced challenges from global conflicts and economic headwinds. Despite mounting tensions, both took a warmer approach and greeted each other like old friends.

In talks, the two agreed that neither wanted the competition between the two superpowers to erupt in conflict, and they pledged more efforts to mend a strained relationship. But none of this hid their deeply differing views on issues like Taiwan’s future, military rivalry, technological restraints and China’s mass arrests of its citizens.

Both had traveled to Bali in moments of political success for the G20 summit that opens today: Biden with better-than-expected results for his party in the midterm elections; Xi after securing a third term as leader of the Communist Party. Nevertheless, the national interests of both countries are threatened by the pandemic, climate change, the war in Ukraine and the economic crisis.

Quotable: “We will compete vigorously, but I do not seek conflict,” Biden said. “I want to run this competition responsibly.”

Pandemic: Hun Sen, Cambodia’s prime minister, has cut short his trip to Bali after testing positive for Covid-19. He had met with more than a dozen leaders over the past three days, including Biden, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi.

Plans: Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, intends to travel to China for a follow-up meeting next year.

As Cherson celebrates its liberation after eight months of Russian occupation, disturbing reports of torture and ill-treatment by Russian soldiers surface, with people finally being able to speak freely. Residents also reported enforced disappearances and killings, consistent with war crimes allegations documented in other Ukrainian cities.

One woman described how Russian soldiers threatened her with violence, including electric shocks, before a plastic bag was thrown over her head and she was dragged to a car. In an underground prison, she was interrogated and beaten, and heard screams from other cells, she said.

Other residents reported being taken to underground torture chambers, sometimes just for publishing patriotic poems, or witnessing violent outbreaks as Russian soldiers slapped young men in the face and took them to the hospital. People suspected of belonging to a partisan underground group are particularly at risk, local residents said.

Details: Ukrainian officials have said the Russians have kidnapped more than 600 people and many are still missing.

Morale rising: Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine, visited the recaptured city. “This is the beginning of the end of the war,” he told a crowd of hundreds, some wrapped in Ukrainian flags.

In 1972, to compensate for changes in the rate of the Earth’s rotation, metrologists began occasionally adding an extra second—a leap second—at the end of an atomic day.

Now the world’s time connoisseurs are making a bold proposal: abandon the leap second by 2035. Civilization would fully embrace atomic time, and the difference between atomic time and earth time would remain undetermined until the timekeepers had a better plan for timing the two.

Ronaldo’s endgame is clear: the Manchester United star has claimed to feel “betrayed” and has made it clear he sees Old Trafford as a five-star prison. He wants out.

Germany debut of the NFL: Tom Brady described Sunday’s game in Munich as one of his best football experiences. Cheered on by nearly 70,000 fans, performances of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and “Sweet Caroline” added exclamation point to the experience.

From The Times: With the opening games of the World Cup just days away, officials in Qatar have called for beer tents in stadiums to be moved to less visible locations.

Liberté, égalité, millinery: the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris have unveiled the mascots, and they are hats.

When David Yaffe-Bellany, a reporter for The Times, spoke to Ramnik Arora, then an executive at FTX, in April, he was treated to wild stories of how Sam Bankman-Fried, the cryptocurrency exchange’s founder, had failed to make his formatting slide sets and had delivered presentations while playing video games. “When I spoke to Arora in April, it was all presented to me like this: Our founder is a genius!” said David.

In a matter of days, Bankman-Fried went from industry loner to industry villain; has lost most of his wealth; and has seen his $32 billion company, once the second largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, collapse and become the target of US government investigations. (The company’s investors are also being scrutinized.)

The stock market collapsed last week after a rush for deposits left it with an $8 billion deficit. The damage has spread across the industry, destabilizing other crypto companies and instilling widespread distrust of the technology.

Important questions remain, such as whether FTX misused billions of dollars in client funds to shore up Alameda Research, a trading firm that Bankman-Fried also founded.

In an interview with David on Sunday, Bankman-Fried sounded surprisingly calm. “You would have thought that I’m not getting any sleep now, and instead I’m getting some,” the FTX founder said. “It could be worse.”

That’s it for today’s briefing. Thank you for joining me. – Natasha

PS “Drop Everything”: How Times reporters describe public figures who die unexpectedly.

The Daily looks at Covid learning challenges.

Send feedback, thoughts, and anything else to Natasha and the team at briefing@nytimes.com.