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Four Chinese activists shave heads to protest ‘persecution’ of husbands

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The wives of four of China’s most prominent rights lawyers and activists shaved their heads on Monday in protest over what they called the “persecution” of their husbands by the government.

Since taking office in 2012, Chinese President Xi Jinping has overseen a crackdown on dissent, with hundreds of rights lawyers and activists being detained, arrested and jailed.

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Four wives of lawyers detained during a July 2015 sweep known as the 709 crackdown gathered in the central park of a sleepy Beijing apartment complex and cut off their hair in front of neighbors and a small group of invited foreign journalists.

The women took turns shaving each other’s heads, placing the hair in see-through plastic boxes alongside pictures of them with their husbands, before heading to China’s Supreme People’s Court to petition over their husbands’ treatment.

Li Wenzu, who says she has been unable to visit her husband, rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang, since he went missing in the 2015 crackdown, told reporters that the act was to protest against the way her husband’s case was being handled.

Li said judges in Wang’s trial had unlawfully delayed proceedings and prevented her from appointing a lawyer of her choosing.

Wang is being held in Tianjin on suspicion of subverting state power, but both Li and seven lawyers she has appointed to try and represent Wang have been unable to visit him, she said.

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“We can go hairless, but you cannot be lawless,” they announced at the end of the ceremony, a pun in Chinese, as the words for “hair” and “law” sound similar.

Requests for comment faxed to China’s Supreme People’s Court and the Tianjin Number 2 Intermediate People’s Court, where Wang’s case is set to be heard at an unknown date, went unanswered.

Li, Wang and other family members of rights lawyers and activists who have been detained or jailed have in recent years taken up their loved ones’ causes and attempting to keep pressuring the government into allowing their release.

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The authorities have responded using “soft” detention measures, such as house arrest, to keep family members from getting their message out, rights activists have said.

Reporting by Christian Shepherd; Editing by Tony Munroe and Nick Macfie

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Trump’s attorneys flopped because they live in a ‘Fox News bubble’: MSNBC’s Morning Joe

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough couldn't believe how unprepared President Donald Trump's defense team was for the impeachment trial, and he blames the "Fox News bubble."

The "Morning Joe" host agreed with contributor Elise Jordan, who said the president's defense team seemed to be focused on delivering "Fox News hits" instead of substantial legal arguments.

"I'm glad you brought up that, the Fox News bubble that these people live in," Scarborough said. "Because I remember growing up, and I remember reading an article about John Roberts, and I think it was Grover Norquist who explained the reason he was such a good student and so good on his feet in those hearings was, he said, when you were a conservative at Harvard Law School, if you opened your mouth you knew you were going to get your head knocked off by the other students, so you had to have all of your arguments together."

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China’s recent history of deadly epidemics

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China has been the origin of several major viral epidemics over recent decades, with the current outbreak of a new deadly coronavirus emerging in the central city of Wuhan.

A recap of the main epidemics:

- 2003: SARS -

The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome emerged in November 2002 in the southern Guangdong province.

Believed to be from bats, it was apparently transmitted to humans via civet cats sold for meat in wildlife markets.

Also a "coronavirus", so-named because of its crown-like appearance when seen under an electron microscope, SARS was highly contagious and caused acute and sometimes fatal pneumonia.

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The IRS decided to get tough against Microsoft. Microsoft got tougher.

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For years, the company has moved billions in profits to Puerto Rico to avoid taxes. When the IRS pushed it to pay, Microsoft protested that the agency wasn’t being nice. Then it aggressively fought back in court, lobbied Congress and changed the law.

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published.

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