Thursday, May 23, 2024

Global oil prices jumped yesterday after the energy giant BP said it had stopped sending tankers through the Red Sea. The route has become increasingly dangerous since the Houthi armed group began attacking ships with drones and missiles.

The Houthis, which control much of northern Yemen, have said that they intend to prevent Israeli ships from sailing the Red Sea until Israel stops its war on Hamas. Both the Houthis and Hamas are backed by Iran.

Over the weekend, military forces from the U.S. and other countries said they had shot down more than a dozen drones in the area.

In recent days, major shipping companies — including Evergreen, Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping — have said they would temporarily stop sending vessels through areas of the Red Sea. BP’s announcement raised fears of further disruption to shipments through the Suez Canal, a major conduit for both crude and refined oil products.

The trial of Jimmy Lai, which began yesterday in Hong Kong, is the most high-profile test so far of Beijing’s national security law, imposed after the pro-democracy protests in 2019. Lai faces life in prison if convicted.

Human rights activists as well as the U.S. and British governments have denounced the charges against Lai, who published Apple Daily, an antigovernment newspaper, calling them spurious and politically motivated. His trial is expected to last 80 days.

Context: The authorities have used the national security law to silence dissent across the city. Their investigations have forced independent media to shut down, and dozens of opposition figures have been put behind bars. China says the law is needed to eradicate threats to Beijing’s sovereignty, but activists and scholars have said the law will erode the city’s judicial independence.

Details: The charges against Lai are based in part on posts he made on social media and in articles published in Apple Daily, urging Western governments to impose sanctions on Hong Kong and China.


Pope Francis has taken one of the most concrete steps yet in his efforts to make the Roman Catholic Church more welcoming to L.G.B.T.Q. Catholics by allowing priests to bless couples in same-sex relationships, the Vatican announced yesterday.

The pope clearly upheld the church position that marriage could exist only between a man and a woman, but he said that priests should exercise “pastoral charity” when it came to requests for blessings.

For decades, after-church lunches have been pivotal spaces for Korean immigrants as they establish themselves in the U.S., and these meals continue to flourish as hubs of community.

But in a rapidly evolving world where Korean pop music, food, film, culture and community can be found virtually anywhere, younger Korean people are finding less need for them.

LG, a $10 billion South Korean corporate empire, is governed by the principle of male primogeniture. Succession was effectively settled when the chairman and his wife adopted their eldest nephew, Koo Kwang-mo.

But when the former chairman died in 2018 without a will, it kicked off a power struggle within the family and LG over his inheritance. Now, five years later, the former chairman’s widow and two daughters are suing Koo, accusing him and other LG executives of deception to steal their rightful inheritance. The lawsuit pits the matriarch of one of South Korea’s wealthiest families and her daughters against the adopted male heir. It also challenges LG’s patriarchal tradition, which treats female family members like afterthoughts.

Powerful families: South Korea’s economy is dominated by a handful of family-run conglomerates. Here’s what to know about them.

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