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Your Thursday Briefing – The New York Times

We cover Australia’s new defense deal with the US and Britain and a key Chinese #MeToo case.

The United States and Britain will share technology to help Australia deploy nuclear-powered submarines that could have reach spanning the Pacific, challenging China’s territorial claims in the region.

The plan could see Australia carry out routine sailing patrols in areas of the South China Sea that Beijing now claims to be its own, and reach as far north as Taiwan.

The announcement is a major step for Australia, which until recent years has been reluctant to push back main Chinese interests directly. But Australia has felt increasingly threatened and, three years ago, was among the first nations to ban Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, from its networks.

US officials have said Australia has pledged never to arm submarines with nuclear weapons; they would almost certainly carry conventional submarine-launched cruise missiles, a military presence that could further shift the balance of power in the region.

Zhou Xiaoxuan said she would continue to fight after a Beijing court ruled that she failed to provide enough evidence in her sexual harassment case against a star TV presenter.

“In the end, the court left us no space to make a statement,” she said in a 10-minute statement that wavered between resignation and challenge. A small crowd applauded Ms. Zhou, some shouting, “Keep going. “

Zhou, a former intern who has become an important voice in China’s #MeToo movement, said a CCTV presenter named Zhu Jun assaulted her in a dressing room four years earlier. Zhu denied this accusation and sued Zhou, and she counterattacked him. Their legal battles have become a central case in China’s growing movement against sexual coercion of women.

The Chinese Communist Party has decided to curb protests and public protests over women’s rights. State media outlets have been ordered not to cover Zhou’s trial, according to three reporters who received the instructions and requested anonymity due to the risk of repercussions.

Five Aleksei Navalny allies staged an election shake up from an undisclosed location outside of Russia that they hope will put dozens of Kremlin critics in parliament.

They want to use the parliamentary elections, which run from Friday to Sunday, to undermine President Vladimir V. Putin’s ruling United Russia party, even though just about all Navalny supporters are banned from voting.

The strategy is based on a “Navalny” smartphone application, which offers to vote for an opposition candidate in each of the country’s 225 electoral constituencies. The odds are slim, but electing even a few dozen opposition MPs “creates turmoil in the system,” a Navalny ally said.

The chances: United Russia is almost certain to retain its majority in the lower house of parliament, the Duma, as half of the 450 seats are distributed by party list. The ruling party is sure to get the most votes, and the Russian election is riddled with fraud.

The team: Navalny’s allies are in exile due to the threat of long prison terms. They looked at data from polls, dozens of regional experts and field reports to determine who was best placed to defeat the United Russia candidate in each district.

Asia News

Our reporter visited rural Afghanistan, where the remnants of war are everywhere: looted outposts and skeletons of burnt police vans. But for the first time in years, filming stopped.

Lives lived: Reverend Cho Yong-gi, founder of one of the world’s largest churches, died in Seoul on Tuesday. He was 85 years old. He is credited with the explosive growth of Christianity in South Korea.

Afghan women who sought refuge in America spoken to in his words. Below is an excerpt.

Farahnaz, 28, arrived in the United States in February

As a television reporter, I went to cover the peace negotiations with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, last October. When I was there, I interviewed Suhail Shaheen, the spokesperson for the Taliban. I spoke to him without covering my hair and he was very uncomfortable – it wasn’t intentional but this meeting became big news.

After the peace talks, the Taliban began targeting and murdering journalists. Some of my colleagues were killed and I was told that I was also on the Taliban target list. The security forces told me to stay home and keep a low profile. These few hidden days in Kabul were the most difficult days of my life. I have never felt fear like this. When it was a bit safer, I went to the French embassy to get a visa and immediately left Kabul.

The day Kabul fell into the hands of the Taliban, I shaved off all my hair. I was at my friend’s house watching the news and I was heartbroken and needed to do Something. I watched the Taliban go to the Tolo TV studio, and I couldn’t help but think that the same people who killed so many of my colleagues were sitting in the same studio where I worked every day with my colleagues. colleagues. Now the Taliban have taken over the streets of Kabul – the same streets where we, my generation, worked, protested, and made music and art.

A woman’s life in Afghanistan has never been easy, not even in the past 20 years. Afghan women do not need your sympathy, they need the world to take responsibility for the mess it has created.