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German chancellor Olaf Scholz heckled by pro-Palestinian protesters at SPD rally

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Scholz also said freedom of speech must be protected at all costs and condemned violence against politicians. Germany’s Federal Criminal Police say there have been 22 assaults on politicians so far this year, compared to 27 incidents in all of 2023.

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Why These Chinese Working Mothers Don’t Want More Babies

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Why These Chinese Working Mothers Don’t Want More Babies

One leads a team at a financial firm and earns more than her husband. Another is pursuing her dream of becoming a civil servant. A third is a budding influencer who aspires to be the family breadwinner.

Each woman is raising one young child and doesn’t want another — no matter what their husbands say, or what incentives the Chinese government, worried about an aging population, is dangling.

Gone are the days of China’s one-child policy. At a recent political forum, President Xi Jinping urged women to take on greater familial responsibilities and “play their unique role in carrying forward the traditional virtues of the Chinese nation.”

These women see a different role for themselves. This generation was born into small families, with many girls growing up as only children — and getting opportunities that used to be given only to boys. Their own mothers, who didn’t have multiple children to care for, typically worked outside the home and set examples for their daughters to do the same.

“I must have my own career.”

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Joyce Zhao, 29, Project manager

Joyce Zhao had worked for three years as a project manager at a small tech company in Beijing and was expecting a promotion. But when she became pregnant with her son, Ming, her prospects dimmed.

Her boss, a woman who had been advocating for her to be given a leadership role, left the team while Ms. Zhao was on a five-month maternity leave. When she returned to work, her new boss told her that she was behind and needed to work harder.

I was drowning in self-doubt, wondering whether having a child at this point in time was the wrong thing to do,” Ms. Zhao said.

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But, she said, she never once thought about quitting her job and staying at home.

“I only have myself to rely on,” Ms. Zhao. “I must have my own career and not give it up for anything.”

A few months after Ming’s first birthday, Ms. Zhao, who is 29, decided to leave her company, and landed a job at one of the biggest tech companies in China.

Her husband would like a second child, but Ms. Zhao is not interested. Her days are already grueling enough. Her four-hour commute to work and long hours mean she gets home way past Ming’s bedtime. She rises at 6:30 a.m. to have one hour to herself to read and exercise, and one hour to play and have breakfast with her son.

After college, Ms. Zhao set aside her dream of becoming a civil servant to pursue a higher-paying job. Now, having checked off marriage and childbearing, she plans to study for the notoriously difficult civil servant exam.

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“I divide my time, energy and money into different parts, saving the biggest part for myself, then the rest go to my parents, husband and son,” Ms. Zhao said. “I can’t let them take all of me.”

“I see no benefits to having two children.”

Guo Chunlei, 32, Influencer

Before Guo Chunlei got married, she worked at a bank in the eastern city of Hangzhou, making about $2,000 a month, decent by Chinese standards. Her parents bought her a small apartment and a car, so she spent most of her paycheck on beauty, fashion and traveling.

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When she decided to have a baby in 2022, her husband and in-laws, who ran a booming family business in construction, encouraged her to switch to a less demanding job to have more time for the child. Ms. Guo agreed and joined a publicly traded company as an accountant. But the work was repetitive and unfulfilling, and she was earning only about a third of what she used to make.

The steep pay cut became a bigger and bigger problem. As her daughter, Tianyi, grew up, expenses began soaring. Early education classes alone ate up a third of her salary.

Seeking extra money, and a sense of purpose, Ms. Guo started a mom-influencer account on the lifestyle app Xiaohongshu last year. A post she composed about planning a traditional Chinese birthday party for her daughter got tens of thousands of views and opened the door to brand collaborations.

She now spends weekday evenings writing captions, editing photos and doing product research. Photo shoots with Tianyi in nearby parks have become a weekend family activity.

Ms. Guo’s account has amassed more than 10,000 followers and brings in more money from product sponsorships than her day job. She’s considering becoming an influencer full time, and would like to take over as her family’s main provider.

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Ms. Guo recalls her own parents sacrificing to provide for her and her younger brother. It made her determined to follow a different path.

“I see no benefits to having two children, for either myself or for Tianyi,” she said.

I want to make something of myself.”

Tang Pingjuan, 36, Financial manager

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Like many working women in China today, Tang Pingjuan, 36, has higher expectations than did many of the women who came before her.

Growing up under the old one-child policy, she got the undivided attention of her father, a train driver, and her mother, a teacher, she recalls. And like many girls in her generation, she was given opportunities that had once been reserved for boys.

When it came time to attend college, Ms. Tang went hundreds of miles away from home to pursue a degree in mathematics, a field dominated by men. (Nearly a third of Chinese women have college degrees now, up from fewer than 1 percent in 1990.)

After graduating, Ms. Tang landed a job in finance and then, at age 25, took a year off and used her savings to travel to more than a dozen countries. Now 36, she leads a team at a private financial company in Guangzhou, the bustling metropolis where she lives with her husband and 4-year-old daughter, Ning.

Ms. Tang earns more than her husband and makes investment decisions for the family.

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Six months after Ning was born, Ms. Tang returned to her office, leaving the baby in the care of a grandmother. On weekends, the family likes splurging on “staycations” at luxury hotels.

Lately, she has been considering a promising job opportunity in the nearby city of Shenzhen, which could mean being separated from her family. Her husband and in-laws oppose the move, but Ms. Tang doesn’t want to be held back. She has not ruled out a second child altogether, she said, but it is not something she is considering now.

“I feel selfish for putting myself before my family, but life is long and I want to make something of myself,” she said.

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Greece denies report alleging coast guard's widespread abuse of migrants

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Greece denies report alleging coast guard's widespread abuse of migrants

Greece on Monday denied a new report that accused its coast guard of brutally preventing migrants from reaching Greek shores, which also alleged that the practice had resulted in dozens of deaths.

A BBC report said it had been ascertained that 43 migrants drowned — including nine who were thrown into the water — in 15 incidents off Greece’s eastern Aegean Sea islands in 2020-2023. It cited interviews with eyewitnesses, following reports from media, charities and the Turkish coast guard.

Greek government spokesman Pavlos Marinakis insisted that there was no evidence to support the allegations.

64 MISSING, AT LEAST 11 DEAD, AFTER 2 SHIPWRECKS OFF ITALIAN COAST

“Our understanding is that what is reported is not proved,” he told a regular press briefing when asked about the claims. “Every complaint is looked into, and in the end, the relevant findings are made public.”

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Greece is a major gateway for migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia seeking a better life in the affluent European Union. Thousands slip into the country every year, mostly in small boats from neighboring Turkey. Relations with Turkey are often tense, and the two countries’ coast guards have repeatedly traded accusations of mistreating migrants.

The Greek flag is photographed cast against a clear sky. (Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Migrant charities and human rights groups have repeatedly accused Greece’s coast guard and police of illegally preventing arriving migrants from seeking asylum by surreptitiously returning them to Turkish waters. Greece has angrily denied that, arguing its border forces have saved hundreds of thousands of migrants from sinking boats.

The country’s reputation took a further knock in June 2023, when a battered fishing vessel with an estimated 750 people on board sank off southwestern Greece. Only 104 people survived, despite the Greek coast guard having shadowed the vessel for hours, and survivors claimed the trawler sank after a botched attempt by the coast guard to tow it. Greek authorities again denied these allegations.

The new BBC report included a claim by a Cameroonian man that he and two other migrants were picked up by masked men, including policemen, just after landing on the island of Samos.

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The man claimed all three were put in a coast guard boat and thrown into the sea, and that the other two men drowned as a result.

The report also quoted a Syrian man who said he was part of a group picked up at sea by the Greek coast guard off Rhodes. He said the survivors were put in life rafts and left adrift in Turkish waters, where several died after one life raft sank before the Turkish coast guard came to pick them up.

Marinakis said “it is wrong to target” the Greek coast guard. “In any case, we monitor every report and investigation, but I repeat: What is mentioned (in the BBC report) is in no case backed up by evidence,” he said.

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Concentration camp museum director joins campaign to ban AfD

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Concentration camp museum director joins campaign to ban AfD

The German far-right party AfD finished well in the European elections, but has also suffered serious legal setbacks.

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The director of the Buchenwald concentration camp memorial has warned that the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD) is too dangerous to be allowed to continue in German politics, citing lessons from the rise of the Nazi Party as a warning.

“AfD repeats the terminology of Nazis,” German historian Jens-Christian Wagner said on Monday during a press conference calling for a ban on far-right party.

“The party, i.e. the AfD and its officials and functionaries, represent positions against human dignity,” said Wagner. “They repeatedly make ideological and terminological use of the programmes and practices of historical National Socialism.”

His remarks came after the AfD finished second in the European Parliament elections in early June with around 15.9% of the vote. That put the party ahead of Germany’s ruling Social Democrats, who reached just 13.9% — their worst post-World War II result in a nationwide vote.

“The fact that the Nazis were able to come to power at all was due to the Weimar Republic allowing them to abuse democracy in order to bring down democracy according to their own rules,” Wagner explained. “Anti-constitutional parties must be deprived of the opportunity to use the means of democracy to abolish it.”

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While the AfD’s strong performance in the European elections has alarmed its opponents, the party has also faced major setbacks over its alleged links to the extreme right. Regional leader Björn Höcke was recently fined for using a Nazi slogan at a party event, while a court upheld the party’s designation as a “suspected extremist organisation“.

The AfD was also ejected from its European Parliament group, Identity and Democracy, after former candidate Maximilian Krah told an Italian newspaper that not all members of Hitler’s SS were war criminals.

“The warnings, demonstrations and actions against the AfD have not helped so far,” said Julia Dück, a campaigner from the group AfD Ban Now. “That’s why we need an AfD ban procedure that hinders and stops this party.

“We are at a turning point that could tip authoritarian. Once the AfD has reached a position where it can translate its inhuman goals into state policy, it will no longer be so easy to turn it around. In other words, time is pressing. That means we have to act now,” she said.

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