Six In The Morning Friday 26 July 2019


How vulnerable are the undersea cables that power the global internet?

Updated 0505 GMT (1305 HKT) July 26, 2019

On July 29, 1858, two steam-powered battleships met in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. There, they connected two ends of a 4,000 kilometer (2,500 mile) long, 1.5 centimeter (0.6 inch) wide cable, linking for the first time the European and North American continents by telegraph.

Just over two weeks later, the UK’s Queen Victoria sent a congratulatory message to then US President James Buchanan, which was followed by a parade through the streets of New York, featuring a replica of a ship which helped lay the cable and fireworks over City Hall.
In their inaugural cables, Queen Victoria hailed the “great international work” by the two countries, the culmination of almost two decades of effort, while Buchanan lauded a “triumph more glorious, because far more useful to mankind, than was ever won by conqueror on the field of battle.

‘So surreal’: Hong Kongers take up self-defence classes in wake of thug attacks

Free lessons teach how to stop punches and stick attacks after violence instills deep concern in community

If you see attackers, you must be armed with basic skills to save your own lives,” Henry Chong, a sports therapist and karate expert, told his first self-defence class.

The class, which took place two days after the attack on unarmed commuters in the rural town of Yuen Long , was attended by mostly women aged 20-60.

Hong Kong, reputed as one of the world’s safest cities, has been reeling from the attack at Yuen Long on Sunday evening, when men dressed in white rushed into an out-of-town station and used canes and wooden rods to indiscriminately beat passengers, among them protesters returning from a mass protest on Hong Kong island. At least 45 were injured.

Fridays for Future in MoscowTeen Challenges Putin’s Climate Inactivity

Russian activist Arshak Makichyan has been protesting on Fridays against Putin’s climate policy for more than 17 weeks now. Advocates of environmental and climate protection are uncomfortable critics for the government — and Moscow tries to keep them at bay.

By Susanne Götze

In Germany, thousands of school children and university students gather each week for the Greta Thunberg-inspired Fridays for Future protests to stop climate change. In Moscow, though, there’s just one protester. For more than three months now, a lone climate activist has been raising attention for the cause. Rain or shine, Arshak Makichyan, 25, stands with a cardboard sign in front of Moscow’s Pushkin monument every Friday. “Climate collapse is coming — war, hunger, death,” his sign reads in Cyrillic letters.

Makichyan is the only Fridays for Future demonstrator who has dared to take to the streets in downtown Moscow in the past 17 weeks. This is partly because Russia’s restrictive Assembly Act comes into force as soon as two or more people attend an event. At that point, a protest must be registered with the authorities, who have so far refused to approve Fridays for Future a permit for rallies at the site. In May, Makichyan received occasional support at the Pushkin monument, and in March the authorities even authorized a demonstration in a park — albeit on the outskirts of Moscow, as far away from the city center as possible.

Swimming’s image hurt by Sun protests, FINA warns after rule change

Heated podium protests targeting Olympic star Sun Yang had hurt swimming’s image, the chief of the sport’s world body told AFP, prompting tighter rules that could see athletes repeating them stripped of medals.

As doping allegations swirled in Gwangju, South Korea, Australian Mack Horton and Briton Duncan Scott refused to shake Sun’s hand on the podium after losing to him moments earlier.

“We want to be involved in sport, not politics,” Cornel Marculescu told AFP, after the body this week rushed out updated guidelines that will cover all athletes swimming at FINA meets.

US government death penalty move draws sharp criticism

The US federal government’s move to resume executions after a 16-year hiatus has drawn sharp criticism from rights groups and leading Democrats.

Several candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination called for the death penalty to be abolished.

On Thursday Attorney General William Barr said five inmates would be executed.

They had been convicted of murders or rapes of children or the elderly, he said.

The executions have been scheduled for December 2019 and January 2020.

2020 Olympic organizers test heat countermeasures in sweltering Tokyo

By Jack Tarrant and Yoko Kono

With temperatures rising to 35 degrees Celsius and humidity of 75% on Thursday, Tokyo 2020 organizers had the perfect weather to try out their heat countermeasures and preparedness for next year’s Olympics at the beach volleyball test event.

Although it has been less hot this year, a record heatwave in July, 2018, killed over a dozen people in Tokyo with monthly average temperatures transcending 30 degrees for the first time in 20 years.

Tokyo 2020 organizers will employ wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) measuring devices at all venues as a step in their readiness for high temperatures.