Your Monday briefing: Djokovic leaves Australia


Hello. We cover Djokovic’s forced departure from Australia, ongoing tensions between Russia and the West and the Cambodian government’s heightened internet surveillance.

The unvaccinated Serbian tennis superstar left Australia on Sunday night after a court ruled against his bid to stay, costing him a chance to win a 10th Australian Open title and a Record 21st Grand Slam title.

In a unanimous decision, the court ruled that Australia’s immigration minister was within his rights to cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa for the second time on the grounds that the player may pose a risk to public health and order . (Here is an explanation on the case.)

Djokovic could be banned from entering Australia for the next three years under its visa cancellation laws. He could face other challenges with international travel if he doesn’t get vaccinated.

Tennis: The Australian Open kicks off Monday with a void at the top – Djokovic has won his last three men’s singles championships.

Serbia: President Aleksandar Vucic called Australia’s legal process “Orwellian” and said Djokovic would be welcome back home.

Australia: Some legal experts have called for changes to the “godlike” powers of the immigration minister. Djokovic lost out to public outcry and “a government determined to make him a symbol of the right to unvaccinated stardom,” our Sydney bureau chief writes in an analysis.

Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.

In other developments:

Last week’s diplomatic marathon did not defuse the security crisis that Moscow unleashed in Eastern Europe. Ukraine remains surrounded on three sides by 100,000 Russian troops.

And on the sidelines of the talks, Russia has issued more subtle but far-reaching threats.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader, wants to expand Russia’s sphere of influence into Eastern Europe and secure written commitments that NATO will never expand again. Russian officials have hinted that Moscow could take steps such as placing nuclear missiles near US shores, if the West fails to meet its security demands.

US officials threaten to support a Ukrainian insurgency in the event of a Russian invasion. On Friday, the White House accused Moscow of sending saboteurs to stage an incident in Ukraine to create a pretext for the invasion.

Cyberconflict: On Saturday, Microsoft said it detected highly destructive malware in Ukraine that appeared to be waiting to be triggered by an unknown actor. On Friday, hackers took down several Ukrainian government websites.

To analyse: After years of drift, Trumpian ridicule and failure in Afghanistan, NATO is once again united in its longstanding goal of containing Russia.

A new law will allow authorities to monitor the web by forcing all internet traffic – including from abroad – to pass through a government portal.

Even though freedom of expression is enshrined in the Constitution, government surveillance is high in Cambodia. Each ministry monitors the web and reports offensive content to an Internet Crime Unit in the Home Office.

Rights groups say the new law will make surveillance even easier and the crackdown on digital expression is set to get worse. Recently, dozens of people have been jailed for posting jokes, poems, photos, private messages and songs.

To analyse: Cambodia has become the latest country in the region to adopt China’s authoritarian internet surveillance. Critics say the rule will deepen the dispute over the future of the web.


In his latest “Close Read,” our reviewer Jason Farago explores “In Memory of My Feelings — Frank O’Hara,” a 1961 painting by American artist Jasper Johns. “I want to show you my favorite Johns painting,” Jason writes, “one that at first appears as impersonal as any – and slowly delivers a rotunda of passion and pain.”

Maria Abi-Habib, Times bureau chief for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, wrote about the impact of growing up in Lebanon during the country’s civil war. Here is a taste of his moving essay.

When you are a child, how do you go through a war?

Lots of Monopoly, Scrabble, card games, candlelight and windowless bathrooms turned into family bomb shelters.

Some of those same crutches used to get through a conflict-ridden childhood — like endless board games — are now a source of trauma for me and my friends. We grew up during Lebanon’s civil war and are now adults trying to live normal lives, raising our own families as the country crumbles and burns again.

For my generation, emotional minefields can surround the most mundane activities even 32 years after the end of the war.

“I don’t do well in a romantic setting,” said my friend Nadine Rasheed, a 40-year-old product developer who now lives in New York. “Candles give me anxiety. We spent so much time studying by candlelight after school.

The crisis in Lebanon has forced households to stock up on candles and board games again. Reminders of a war past are now staples of present decadence.


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