TIME Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Is Proposing to Return a Select Number of Farms to White Landowners

Dup Muller, 59, a commercial farmer in Headlands,
AARON UFUMELI—AFP/Getty Images In this file photo from 2002, Dup Muller, 59, a commercial farmer in Headlands, 110 kilometers, (70 miles) East of Harare, stands in the burned out ruins of his farm house, which was attacked by war veterans enforcing a government order for whites to leave their farms.

The decision comes 15 years after the state encouraged violent seizures of white-owned properties

A decade and a half after the Zimbabwean government seized large swaths of land from white farmers in the country, President Robert Mugabe has tentatively declared that he will return certain properties to their original owners.

Under the suggested policy, the leaders of the country’s 10 provinces will draft a list of farms in their respective districts that they deem to be “of strategic economic importance,” the Zimbabwe Mail reports. The government will also establish a European Union–backed commission to evaluate the landgrab practices commenced in 2000, which were frequently violent.

The property-seizure policy, which sent the country into economic crisis and left a number of civilian landowners dead, was both an exercise in kleptocracy and an attempt to wrest the country from its fraught colonial legacy. Many of the 4,000 white-owned farms taken by Mugabe’s government had been operated by the same families for decades — families that had come to the British colony of Rhodesia to make their fortunes in a system built on racial hierarchy.

At present, only 300 white farmers remain on their original properties; meanwhile, a number of the farms seized in the past 15 years have ceased operations, requiring Zimbabwe — the erstwhile “Breadbasket of Africa” — to import food to stave off a hunger crisis.

In spite of his government’s failure to sustain agricultural success on the reclaimed lands, Mugabe obstinately continues to defend his original decision.

“Don’t be too kind to white farmers,” Mugabe said at a recent meeting of the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front, the country’s ruling nationalist party, the Mail reports. “They can own industries and companies or stay in apartments in our towns, but they cannot own land. They must leave the land to blacks.”

TIME health

Hardly Any Women Regret Having an Abortion, a New Study Finds

The conclusion comes after a three-year research period involving nearly 670 women of all social backgrounds

Ninety-five percent of women who have had abortions do not regret the decision to terminate their pregnancies, according to a study published last week in the multidisciplinary academic journal PLOS ONE.

The study was carried out by researchers from the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at UC San Francisco’s School of Medicine, and from the university’s division of biostatistics.

Its conclusions come after a three-year research period in which nearly 670 women were regularly surveyed on the subject of their abortions. The sample group was diverse with regard to standard social metrics (race, education, and employment) and on the matter of what the study calls pregnancy and abortion circumstances. Financial considerations were given as the reasons for an abortion by 40 percent of women; 36 percent had decided it was “not the right time;” 26 percent of women found the decision very or somewhat easy; 53 percent found it very or somewhat difficult.

The authors of the study concluded that the “overwhelming majority” of the women participating in the study felt that abortion had been the right decision “both in the short-term and over three years.”

These results offer a statistical retort to the claim that women who have abortions suffer emotionally as a result, as anti-abortion campaigners claim. Previous studies cited in support of this claim, researchers said, “suffer from shortcomings, leaving the question of women’s post-abortion emotions unresolved.”

The new study is careful to avoid generalities. It discerns between having lingering emotions after an abortion and regretting the abortion altogether — two distinct responses that pro-lifers tend to conflate — and concludes that post-abortion emotional reactions are normal, but almost inevitably taper over time, and that ultimately, very few women altogether regret terminating their pregnancies.

“Certainly, experiencing feelings of guilt or regret in the short-term after an abortion is not a mental health problem; in fact, such emotions are a normal part of making a life decision that many women in this study found to be difficult,” the study reads. “Our results of declining emotional intensity… [find] steady or improving levels of self-esteem, life satisfaction, stress, social support, stress, substance use, and symptoms of depression and anxiety over time post-abortion.”

TIME China

China Arrested More Than 100 Human-Rights Lawyers and Activists Over the Weekend

State media framed the move as a crackdown on a "major criminal gang"

Chinese law-enforcement officials detained more than a hundred lawyers and political activists over the weekend in what appears to be a state crackdown on amplifying public dissent in the country.

State media outlets have framed the mass arrests as an effort to “smash a major criminal gang” that had supposedly manipulated a Beijing law firm to “draw attention to sensitive cases, seriously disturbing social order,” the South China Morning Post reported on Monday morning local time.

One of the first lawyers arrested was Wang Yu, a prominent Beijing civil rights attorney. She went missing early Thursday morning after she returned home from dropping her family at the airport to find her electricity and wi-fi shut off.

“Everyone knows that they have detained Wang Yu because she is an outstanding example of … a human-rights lawyer in China,” attorney Chen Jianggang told Radio Free Asia.

Wang is an attorney at Beijing Fengrui law firm, which appears to be the focal target of the police. Also among the detained is Fengrui lawyer Zhou Shifeng, former counsel to the journalist Zhang Miao, who was imprisoned for nearly nine months after covering Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement for Die Zeit.

The Post reports that as of Monday morning, police had released 82 of the 106 detainees, though several attorneys were rearrested.

TIME China

Chinese Markets Continue to Recover, but Uncertainty Remains

China Stock Market
Pan Yulong—Xinhua Press/Corbis An investor walks at a securities firm in Shenyang, northeast China, on July 10, 2015.

Analysts are in disagreement about both the causes and implications of the surge

After nearly spending nearly a month in an unprecedented tumble, China’s stock markets enjoyed a second consecutive day on the rebound on Friday, at least temporarily assuaging fears of an impending economic crisis.

The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 4.54 percent to sit at 3,877.8 points, its highest value in a week. By midday, sixty companies had resumed trading their shares in the Shanghai and Shenzhen markets, though 1,340 — 48% of the markets at large — remain voluntarily suspended.

“#ChinaStocks declines over? Joy time in the air,” China Xinhua News, state-owned media outlet, tweeted as the markets closed, accompanied by a photo of hot air balloons against a blue sky.

Still, the jury is out on what the end-of-week surge indicates — if it indicates anything at all. Those analysts who suggest the panic could be over are keen to cite Beijing’s interventions in the markets as the catalyst for the recovery; others are more reticent.

“Short and powerful rallies during bear markets are normal,” Tom Elliott, an international investment analyst at the financial consultancy deVere Group, told TIME on Thursday. “It was possibly triggered by government-encouraged buying by state-controlled companies, but in the absence of dramatic and substantial intervention by the authorities I wouldn’t read too much into it.”

State intervention, Elliott noted, may have in fact contributed to the market’s plummet over the past few weeks. The panic came only after three months of rampant growth, spurred by an epidemic of margin spending — essentially spending on a loan — that came to a screeching halt in June, when state regulators suddenly tightened policies on margin financing in June. Those Chinese investors who found themselves in dire straits had little choice but to sell their shares as a means of staying solvent.

In the weeks since, Beijing has desperately attempted to curb the sell-off it triggered, enacting a litany of interventionist measures ranging from cutting interest rates to banning major shareholders from disposing of their stocks.

“The Beijing authorities are determined to demonstrate that they can control this slide in prices,” Elliott said. “Chinese and global policymakers are only too aware how a market collapse could damage Chinese banks and household savings.”

TIME China

Volatile Chinese Markets Climb on Thursday Afternoon

State media was quick to celebrate the day's gains

Chinese stock markets surged on Thursday after state regulators enacted further drastic measures to offset an economic crisis.

When the markets closed at 3 p.m. local time, the Shanghai Composite Index sat at 3,709.33 points, up from 3,432 at market open. The lion’s share of the 5.76% jump came in the afternoon, following the announcement that the state would ban major shareholders — those with shares of more than 5% — from selling their stocks for the next six months.

State media was quick to celebrate the day’s gains. Xinhua News Agency tweeted that the jump was “long awaited” following “repeated supportive measures,” likely referring to Beijing’s recent efforts to stymie the massive sell-off in the markets of Shanghai and Shenzhen.

The recent volatility, however, suggests that Thursday’s triumphs could be temporary — one oscillation in a rapidly fluctuating system.

“Short and powerful rallies during bear markets are normal,” Tom Elliott, an international investment analyst at the financial consultancy deVere Group, tells TIME. “It was possibly triggered by government-encouraged buying by state controlled companies, but in the absence of dramatic and substantial intervention by the authorities I wouldn’t read too much into it.”

Elliott says that state interventions might eventually stabilize the market, but in the meantime, the current situation “absolutely” qualifies as a crisis. In spite of Thursday’s jumps, confidence in the market appears to remain sparse. The South China Morning Post reports that 128 additional companies suspended the trading of their shares in China’s two stock markets, bringing the total number of suspended companies to 1,400 — half of all companies listed on these markets.

Read next: Why China’s Stock-Market Meltdown Could Hurt Us All

TIME Military

U.S. Army Plans to Cut Troop Numbers to Pre–World War II Levels

The decision has prompted the ire of conservative lawmakers

The U.S. Army has announced plans to cut 40,000 troops and 17,000 civilian employees over the next two and a half years in accordance with Pentagon budget reductions.

The plan will decrease the size of the army to 450,000 troops — the lowest it has been since 1940, the year before the U.S. entered World War II. Prior to the Sept. 11 attacks, there were around 480,000 active-duty service members, USA Today reports.

Some of the cuts are the anticipated deflation of the troop surge witnessed in 2012, when the armed conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan were at their peaks. The remainder reflects an ongoing shrinking of the military budget in the wake of two expensive wars.

Conservative pundits and politicians have openly disparaged the plan, citing mounting tensions in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

“One person who’s going to be very pleased with this is Vladimir Putin,” said Senator Dan Sullivan, a Republican from Alaska.

On Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama remarked that his administration has no current plans to escalate the military presence in areas of ongoing conflict. There are currently 3,500 stationed in Iraq, a point of frustration for those who view Washington’s response to militant Islamic group ISIS as lukewarm.

TIME tennis

Australian Sporting Icon Tells the Country’s Top Two Tennis Players to ‘Go Back to Where Their Parents Came From’

Former Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser smiles during a Reuters interview in Sydney
© Daniel Munoz / Reuters—REUTERS Former Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser smiles during a Reuters interview in Sydney April 7, 2011.

"We don't need them here in this country to act like that," says veteran Olympian Dawn Fraser

Legendary Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser has apologized for the inflammatory remarks she made about Nick Kyrgios, the Australian tennis player who is being accused of throwing his fourth-round match at Wimbledon against Richard Gasquet.

On Tuesday, the morning after Kyrgios’ controversial defeat, Fraser appeared on Australia’s Today Show to decry his behavior on the court as “absolutely disgusting,” and to advise him and fellow Australian tennis player Bernard Tomic to “go back to where their parents came from.”

“We don’t need them here in this country to act like that,” she said.

Kyrgios was born in Canberra but is of Malaysian and Greek heritage; Tomic was born in Germany but moved to Australia in 1996, when he was 3 years old.

After Fraser’s remarks, Kyrgios posted a message to Facebook calling her a bigot and denouncing what he saw as a double standard.

“Throwing a racket, brat. Debating the rules, disrespectful. Frustrated when competing, spoilt. Showing emotion, arrogant. Blatant racist, Australian legend,” he wrote.

Fraser apologized shortly thereafter in a public statement, though she did not redact her chief complaint — that Kyrgios, who currently faces a possible $20,000 in fines for his behavior at Wimbledon, acted unbecomingly.

“Australians have a rich sporting heritage made up of individuals from a variety of different countries of origin,” she said. “Nick’s representing Australia, and I want to see him representing Australian tennis in the best possible light … Not only do you represent yourself, your team, your fans and your family but you are representing the heritage of the competition and acting as a role model for young Australians.”

Fraser, who is 77, earned eight Olympic swimming medals for Australia between 1956 and 1964. She attracted some national controversy at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, when authorities accused her of swimming across the moat surrounding Emperor Hirohito’s palace to steal an Olympic flag.

TIME China

Hillary Clinton Says China Is ‘Trying to Hack Into Everything That Doesn’t Move’

Former United States Secretary of State and Democratic candidate for president Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters during a campaign event in Glen
Dominick Reuter—Reuters Former U.S. Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters during a campaign event in Glen, N.H., on July 4, 2015

The remarks come three months after the U.S. government learned of a “massive breach” of federal databases

At a campaign function in New Hampshire over the weekend, Hillary Clinton called China’s rise to global eminence “the story of the 21st century” — a backhanded compliment of sorts, given that she went onto accuse the country of cyberwarfare against the U.S.

“They’re trying to hack into everything that doesn’t move in America — stealing commercial secrets, blueprints from defense contractors, stealing huge amounts of government information — all looking for an advantage,” she said. “Make no mistake: they know they’re in a competition, and they’re going to do everything they can to win it.”

Clinton’s remarks come three months after the U.S. government learned of a “massive breach” of federal databases that compromised the personal records of millions of federal employees. State officials believe the hackers were operating out of China, an allegation Beijing has called “irresponsible and unscientific.” A year ago, the New York Times reported that U.S. security agencies traced a similar incident last March to China, though it remains unclear if those hackers were state mercenaries or acting alone.

The specter of cyberwarfare and China’s territorial aggressions in the South China Sea have been the two most recent thorns in the side of Sino-U.S. relations, which Clinton struggled to thaw during her early years as President Obama’s first Secretary of State. The assertiveness she displayed at Saturday’s event is an obvious departure from those attempts at diplomatic cooperation, which were “interpreted as a sign of weakness,” as Aaron Friedberg, a professor of international affairs and former adviser to Dick Cheney and Mitt Romney, wrote in a recent op-ed for Politico.

Clinton’s remarks are also uncharacteristic of her campaign thus far. In spite of her diplomatic experience, the case she makes for her presidency has trod lightly on matters of foreign policy, trafficking mostly in domestic topics unlikely to prove controversial in a Democratic primary.

Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, who is trailing further and further behind Clinton in the polls, penned an essay for Foreign Policy last month that called for “a new agenda to improve our nation’s cybersecurity,” though he was reticent on the specific matter of China. The Republican camp, meanwhile, is harmonious in its frankness: last month, Chris Christie called for a “military approach” in response to China’s bravado; Mike Huckabee thinks the U.S. should “hack China back.”

TIME

Chinese Stock Markets Are in the Middle of an ‘Unprecedented’ Slide

A man walks past an electronic board showing the benchmark Shanghai and Shenzhen stock indices, on a pedestrian overpass at the Pudong financial district in Shanghai
Aly Song—Reuters A man walks past an electronic board showing the benchmark Shanghai and Shenzhen stock indices, on a pedestrian overpass at the Pudong financial district in Shanghai, China, June 26, 2015.

State monetary policy has failed to fix the situation, and Beijing is growing desperate

In what analysts are describing as an unprecedented economic situation, China’s stock indexes are currently tumbling into a free fall, with panic taking the place of the brash confidence that, until last month, led these markets to rapidly develop into an unsustainable bubble.

That bubble appears to have now burst: by early afternoon local time on Friday, the Shanghai Composite Index had fallen 3.25% to an anemic 3,785.57 points; in the three weeks since it reached a seven-year high, it has lost 30% of its value.

Monetary authorities in Beijing are currently grasping for straws to remedy the situation, but numerous market interventions, including the fourth cut in interest rates since November, have failed to keep investors from frantically selling their Chinese stocks.

The turbulent situation is not yet catastrophic, but it illuminates the greater volatilities of China’s fraught existential dynamic: between an autocratic Communist government and the currents of free-market capitalism. In a country where stock investors now outnumber Communist Party members, if the market heals, it will likely heal itself. Beijing’s economic policies have thus far proven mostly ineffective.

Meanwhile, state authorities are attempting to blame the economic instability on calculated “foreign forces,” the Washington Post reports. State media outlets have alleged that Morgan Stanley or prominent investor George Soros may be purposely interfering in the Chinese markets. Messages making the rounds on WeChat, the country’s preeminent messaging service, allege that “‘international capital’ — or simply capitalism itself — [is] attacking China,” according to the Post.

In the face of this supposed malfeasance, prominent figures are encouraging their fellow countrymen to have faith in their faltering economy.

“Hold stocks with confidence,” was the advice of Fan Shaoxuan, a executive at microblogging service Sina Weibo, according to the Post. “Win glory for the country even if you lose the last penny.”

TIME Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, Thousands March Toward a Political Impasse

Human Rights Front Gather For July 1st Protest
Anthony Kwan—Getty Images Protesters march on a street during a rally as they hold banners and shout slogans on July 1, 2015 in Hong Kong.

On an annual day of protest, marchers call for democratic freedoms that Beijing is unwilling to grant

In the years since Queen Elizabeth relinquished her last major colony to China in 1997, Hong Kong has frequently commemorated July 1 — the anniversary of the “handover,” as it’s known here — as a day of demonstration, with thousands marching through the sweltering metropolis to air their political grievances. It makes sense: after all, under the political agreement between the U.K. and China, Hong Kong would operate as a quasi-democracy under the umbrella of Chinese rule, and in the democratic imaginary, the right to assembly is axiomatic.

Beyond that, though, there are no real reliable axioms when it comes to democracy in Hong Kong, other than that, for this Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, democracy itself may be an illusion. Nine months have passed since the beginning of the Umbrella Revolution, when hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers besieged the city’s busiest districts to push for a greater say in how their leader is chosen. But, 12 days ago, Hong Kong lawmakers vetoed the government’s showpiece electoral bill because it required all candidates for the city’s top job to undergo screening by Beijing. It is now highly unlikely that the central government will consider other reform proposals for some time.

That leaves the pro-democracy movement at an impasse. At last year’s July 1 demonstrations — in hindsight, a prologue to the Umbrella Revolution — Hong Kongers called for political upheaval; today, they gather to sit shivah for the stalemate, but also to contemplate their next move.

“This is a day when we restart our campaign — when we ask ourselves what we can do next,” Johnson Cheung, who leads the pro-democratic Civil Human Rights Front, says.

The Hong Kong government is also groping for a way forward. As activists burned an SAR flag outside an official ceremony to mark the 18th anniversary of the handover this morning, Leung Chun-ying, the incumbent chief executive (as the highest official in Hong Kong is called) sought relief in pocketbook issues.

“The government needs the support and cooperation of the entire community if we are to boost the economy and improve the livelihood of the people of Hong Kong,” he told assembled dignitaries.

Underscoring the gulf between the city’s democratic and pro-Beijing camps, Leung also appeared to suggest that a freer political system would not be able to solve Hong Kong’s serious social ills — among them appalling income inequality and sluggish social mobility. “As the experience of some European democracies shows,” he said, “democratic systems and procedures are no panacea for economic and livelihood issues.”

In the mid-afternoon, thousands began to assemble at Victoria Park — a rare greensward in this densely packed city, serving as the march’s starting point and as a traditional place of protest. Many demonstrators carried the colonial-era Hong Kong flag, not as a demonstration of loyalty to Britain but as a defiant assertion of the city’s origins as an international entrepot and the emblem of what they believe to have been a better time. In contrast to the almost carnival atmosphere of previous marches, the mood this year appeared subdued and numbers appeared notably fewer than previous years. Organizers blamed political fatigue.

“At this point, there’s not much we can do politically,” said marcher Thomas Yan, vice chairman of the pro-democracy party People Power. “All we can do now, and in the future, is focus on civic education — on informing the people.”

Marcher Maria Chen agreed that Hong Kong needed to reflect on its next move. “I don’t know what’s next for Hong Kong,” she said. “I hope they listen to us, but I think Hong Kong needs to figure it out for itself. Our future should lie in our hands.”

Less than a hundred meters up Hennessy Road, police officers stood between marchers and a group of pro-Beijing demonstrators staging a counter rally. As tensions flared and verbal barbs were traded, the pro-Beijing camp turned up the volume on its loudspeaker and blared the Chinese national anthem — a melody that Hong Kong soccer supporters have recently taken to jeering at international matches.

“After the democrats vetoed the [government’s electoral bill], we realized we needed a new direction,” Agnes Chow, a senior member of the student activist group Scholarism, told TIME earlier. “We’re in a very passive position politically, because any attempt at constitutional reform is going to be led by the central government in Beijing.”

Passive is an interesting choice of word, coming from someone who was at the forefront of the Umbrella Revolution — the largest and most violent political demonstration in China since the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989. Chow is uncertain what will come next, but is keen to note that tensions continue to mount.

It isn’t just rhetoric. Late Sunday night, Joshua Wong, the outspoken 18-year-old activist who has emerged as a figurehead of Hong Kong’s democratic zeitgeist, was leaving a movie with his girlfriend when an unknown assailant “grabbed [his] neck, and punched [his] left eye,” he tells TIME. Earlier that evening and mere blocks away, a group of “localists” — those in favor of far greater Hong Kong autonomy, even complete independence, from China — staged a rally to protest the politically and culturally provocative presence of street musicians from mainland China. Violence quickly erupted between the localists and members of pro-China groups, who turned up to support the musicians.

“My own view is that this is predictable,” David Zweig, a professor of social sciences at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, tells TIME. “We can see a shift from civil disobedience and towards more violence. People are becoming more frustrated with the fact that Beijing has made no concessions.”

Those on the march appeared to understand this political reality. “So long as the Beijing government is insisting we don’t have a way out, legislative reform can hardly happen,” Ken Wu, a 27-year-old social worker, told TIME.

The SAR government is not in a conciliatory mood either. During his address at today’s official ceremony, Chief Executive Leung spoke of the “serious threats to social order and the rule of law” posed by last year’s Umbrella Revolution, and warned that the city’s development would be seriously impeded if democratic legislators continued to block the government’s legislative agenda.

“All we ask is for the citizens of Hong Kong to respect the system,” Po Chun-chung, of the pro-Beijing Defend Hong Kong Campaign, said, as the march went by. Many demonstrators, tired of what they see as the mainland’s encroachment on the city’s autonomy, and its reneging on promises of genuine democracy, would like to ask Beijing to do the same.

“The [mainland] Chinese have gotten dirtier and dirtier,” said Eric, a 32-year-old protester. “They get their hands into our lives and we don’t have any way to fight back. This is the only way.”

—With reporting by Joanna Plucinska and Alissa Greenberg/Hong Kong

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