From the US Supreme Court abortion law leak to Hong Kong’s further easing of COVID rules – Here is your May 4 news briefing

From the US Supreme Court abortion law leak to Hong Kong’s further easing of COVID rules – Here is your May 4 news briefing
FILE PHOTO: The sun sets at the U.S. Supreme Court building the week that the court is expected to hear arguments in a Mississippi case that challenges Roe v. Wade in Washington, U.S., November 29, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

Why the Supreme Court leak matters

On Monday, Politico released a leaked US Supreme Court draft that suggested the court was planning on overturning nearly five decades of precedent in abortion protection, essentially giving individual states the ability to make abortion legislation as strict as they like.

The opinion itself isn’t a huge shock, but it’s the fact that it’s happening this quickly since many people thought the change by the conservative court might happen more slowly. Even more shocking, though, is the fact that there was a leak at all. The Supreme Court notoriously holds its cards close to the vest, and the fact that someone leaked this is what many have called an “unforgivable sin.”

Ukraine-Russia update

Ukraine Russia
A woman sits with children as evacuees, including civilians who left the area near Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, arrive at a temporary accommodation centre during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the village of Bezimenne in the Donetsk Region, Ukraine May 1, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

President Zelenskiy said that Ukraine’s forces are not retreating from the fight and they’re even gaining back some ground in some regions. On the other hand, Russia is targeting western sections of Ukraine again with its missile strikes after it wasn’t so effective the last time.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron asked Vladimir Putin to allow evacuation from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, which is one of the only places where citizens of the Ukrainian city have been able to go. This came right after the news that Russia was storming the plant.

Alibaba’s 24-hour fall and recovery

The logo of Alibaba Group is lit up at its office building in Beijing, China August 9, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

After Chinese state media CCTV reported the arrest of an individual surnamed “Ma” for subverting national security laws, Alibaba shares fell around 9.4% in Hong Kong, dropping the company’s market value by around US$26 billion, as skittish investors suspected it to be Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma.

In 2020, Ma stopped making public appearances after Chinese regulators stopped the IPO of his fintech company Ant Group. So even though none of the recent reports had been confirmed, accumulated fear was enough to spook investors into unloading their shares.

It turns out it wasn’t him – just someone with a similar name. Once CCTV made a correction and investors realized that, they mostly reinvested their money, and Alibaba shares made a swift recovery.

Hong Kong COVID rules for May

Hong Kong COVID
FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians wearing face masks following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak cross a street near a mall at Causeway Bay district in Hong Kong, China February 9, 2022. REUTERS/Joyce Zhou/File Photo

In light of daily COVID infections finally falling below 300 recently, Hong Kong is going forward with the second stage of social-distancing relaxations initially set to launch on May 19. But, Chief Executive Carrie Lam has also decided to ease some restrictions even earlier. Here is a summary of the relaxations announced on Tuesday:

From Thursday:

  • Restaurants can now take up to eight diners per table.
  • Swimming pools, beaches and water playgrounds will re-open.
  • People can take their masks off at outdoor venues, such as basketball and tennis courts.

From May 19:

  • Previously-closed venues will re-open, including bars (until 2 a.m.), party rooms, karaoke lounges, mahjong parlors, nightclubs and cruises.
  • Restaurant service hours will be extended to midnight.
  • Banquets will allow 120 people.
  • Cinemas will increase from 50% to an 85% capacity limit, and eating and drinking will be allowed.

In other news …

🇦🇺Australia raised its rates for the first time since 2010 to fight against inflation.

🇷🇺Citigroup is actively looking to sell its Russian banking operations.

🇪🇺Europe’s inflation is expected to exceed the US’ for the first time in a decade, with the war driving up energy costs in the region.

🇭🇰According to the Hong Kong government, local GDP contracted 4% from a year earlier.

⚽️UEFA banned Russia from the European Championships and from qualifying for the women’s World Cup next year.

👩‍💻Instagram is looking to TikTok for inspo again and reportedly testing full, vertical home feed screens.

🛩Airbnb beat revenue expectations by 70% as travel rebounds, reporting that around 102.1 million nights and experiences were booked in the first quarter, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

Written and put together by Jake Shropshire, Christine Dulion, Julianna Barcela and Krystal Lai