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Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying. Photo: Artyom Ivanov\TASS via Getty Images

China's foreign ministry on Thursday announced new restrictions on American officials traveling to Hong Kong in retaliation for sanctions imposed by the Trump administration, the AP reports.

Why it matters: The move is the latest escalation in a series of tit-for-tat measures between the U.S. and China over Hong Kong, which began when Beijing imposed a draconian national security law on the once semi-autonomous region in June.

  • U.S. diplomats going to Hong Kong and nearby Macau will no longer have visa-free tourist privileges.
  • American administration officials, congressional staffers, employees of non-governmental organizations and immediate family members will be subject to "reciprocal sanctions," said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying.

What they're saying: “China once again urges the U.S. side to immediately stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, and not go further down the wrong and dangerous path,” Hua said.

Background: China's new restrictions come days after the U.S. imposed sanctions on 14 high-level Chinese officials after the arrests of a number of pro-democracy figures in Hong Kong.

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Updated Jan 23, 2021 - Health

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Hong Kong has placed tens of thousands of residents on lockdown to contain a new coronavirus outbreak.

Why it matters: It’s the first time Hong Kong has imposed a lockdown since the pandemic began. The restrictions are expected to last 48 hours.

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In its annual update on Wednesday morning, scientists announced the Doomsday Clock would be kept at 100 seconds to midnight.

Why it matters: The decision to keep the clock hands steady — tied for the closest it has ever been to midnight in the clock's 74-year history — reflects a picture of progress on climate change and politics undercut by growing threats from infectious disease and disruptive technologies.

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Driving the news: One move will freeze issuance of new oil-and-gas leases on public lands and waters "to the extent possible," per a White House summary.