China’s crackdown on tutoring leaves parents with new problems

Public largely sceptical about effectiveness of move last month aimed at reducing pressure in hyper-competitive education field

In 2018, Ms Hu spent a third of her annual income sending her child to summer school in Shanghai. In the following year, the cost went up. Still, she and her partner paid the fees, such is the competitiveness in Chinese children’s education.

“My son started to learn English at age five. I feared he would be left behind if we don’t do so,” she said.

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Taliban on brink of taking key Afghan city as residents told to flee

Officials confirm all but one district of Lashkar Gah is under hardline Islamists’ control after fierce fighting

Taliban fighters appeared to be on the brink of overrunning the key Afghan provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, as officials confirmed all but one district of the city was under the hardline Islamists’ control and residents were ordered to evacuate.

Majid Akhund, the deputy chairman of the Helmand provincial council, said the Taliban had taken control of nine Lashkar Gah districts, as the Afghan government and US aircraft pounded their positions with strikes.

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Pakistan must take concrete steps to protect women from violence | Letter

Victim blaming is institutionalised, says Mariam Khan, and justice is often sacrificed on the altar of patriarchal influence

Your article (Pakistan reckons with its ‘gender terrorism epidemic’ after murder of Noor Mukadam, 2 August) ends with contact numbers for national domestic violence helplines. Unfortunately, in Pakistan, we don’t have any such functional support system. The way crimes against women are treated by society in general, including by those who are supposed to protect women, such as the law enforcement agencies and the justice system, requires serious re-examination.

A few years ago, you also covered the story of Khadija Siddiqi, who was stabbed more than 20 times in broad daylight in Lahore. Recently, the man who assaulted her was released from prison early based on “good conduct”, which included blood donation, completion of a degree and learning the Qur’an. Khadija’s case highlights how victim blaming is institutionalised in our country, and justice often sacrificed on the altar of patriarchal influence. Instead of treating violence against women as a crime, the general narrative revolves around how the woman must have brought it on herself. We need to change this narrative, strengthen the law and take concrete steps to build a system of support to protect women against violence.
Mariam Khan
Lahore, Pakistan

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Coronavirus live: England and Wales deaths at three-month high; row in Germany over jabbing children

Covid deaths in England and Wales in week ending 23 July up 50%; doctors, scientists and the government disagree over vaccinating children in Germany

New York City is to require proof of vaccination for indoor activities including entering restaurants, going to gyms and attending performances, mayor Bill de Blasio has said.

The announcement, which is likely to arouse serious controversy in some quarters, is the latest in a string of initiatives aimed at encouraging vaccination. It is reportedly though to be a first-of-its-kind measure in the US. Last week de Blasio offered a $100 each to those who get vaccinated in the city.

Gaps on supermarket shelves are likely to continue for several months unless the UK government does more to tackle the labour crisis hitting haulage firms, suppliers have warned.

Logistics and hauliers’ organisations said August would be a pinch point in the shortage as workers take summer breaks, while firms offering bonuses and sign-on fees to recruit drivers were not helping matters.

Related: Call for action as UK driver shortage hits supermarket shelves

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China authorities to test all Wuhan’s 11 million residents amid new Covid cases

Eight cases reported in city where coronavirus first emerged in 2019

Chinese officials have ordered all 11 million residents of Wuhan to be tested for Covid-19, after new cases emerged in the city for the first time in more than a year.

On Tuesday the national health commission reported eight cases in Wuhan, the city where Covid-19 was first detected in late 2019, before spreading around the world.

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Macaques at Japan reserve get first alpha female in 70-year history

Yakei took top spot after roughing up Sanchu, the alpha male who had been leader of ‘troop B’ on the island of Kyushu for five years

In a rarely seen phenomenon in the simian world, a nine-year-old female known as Yakei has become the boss of a 677-strong troop of Japanese macaque monkeys at a nature reserve on the island of Kyushu in Japan.

Yakei’s path to the top began in April when she beat up her own mother to become the alpha female of the troop at the Takasakiyama natural zoological garden in Oita city. While that would have been the pinnacle for most female monkeys, Yakei decided to throw her 10kg weight around among the males.

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New Zealand reserve bank to toughen mortgage-lending rules in bid to tackle housing crisis

Measures include reducing number of loans to borrowers with small deposits and potential debt-to-income restrictions

New Zealand’s reserve bank has announced plans to tighten up mortgage-lending, as the country struggles to tackle its housing crisis.

One measure, which would come into force from 1 October after consultations, will involve reducing the portion of loans banks can make to owner occupiers with less than 20% of their deposit.

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Covid restrictions and screens linked to myopia in children, study shows

Hong Kong research suggests less time outdoors and more doing ‘near work’ accelerates short-sightedness

Spending more time indoors and on screens because of Covid restrictions may be linked to an increased rate of short-sightedness in children, researchers say.

The study, which looked at two groups of children aged six to eight in Hong Kong, is the latest to suggest that lockdowns and other restrictions may have taken a toll on eyesight: data from more than 120,000 children of a similar age in China, published earlier this year, suggested a threefold increase in the prevalence of shortsightedness, or myopia, in 2020.

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Australia trained Indonesian police officer accused of West Papua violence

‘We will chop them up’: an Indonesian police chief implicated in alleged human rights abuses against a group of West Papuan activists was trained by Australian Federal Police

Charles Sraun was chatting with five friends at a house in Merauke, the easternmost city of the disputed Indonesian territory of West Papua, when police stormed the building.

The 39-year-old health worker says he and his friends, all members of a pro-independence organisation called the National Committee for West Papua, were beaten with batons, made to lie face down and some forced to undress, before being cable-tied and bundled into the back of a vehicle belonging to the Indonesian paramilitary police unit, Brimob.

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