Riot police deploy pepper spray as protesters rally against the new national security law in Hong Kong on Wednesday. Photo: Dale De La Rey/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong police announced on Wednesday their first arrest under the new security law as officers used pepper spray to break up a rally by pro-democracy protesters elsewhere in the city, images from the scene show.

Why it matters: The law, passed by Chinese lawmakers Tuesday, is a further encroachment on Hong Kong's independent legal system and the autonomy the territory had retained since the former British colony was returned to China in 1997.

Per Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian and Dave Lawler, the law "defines crimes such as terrorism and sedition broadly, but mandates harsh sentences — in many cases life imprisonment."

  • It'll be enforced without input from the judiciary.

Go deeper

Jul 12, 2020 - World

Hundreds of thousands vote in Hong Kong's opposition primaries

Photo: Isaac Lawrence/AFP via Getty Images

Organizers say more than 500,000 Hong Kong residents have voted in primary elections held by pro-democracy opposition groups on Saturday and Sunday, despite fears of a government crackdown under Beijing's draconian new national security law, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The primaries, which aren't part of the city's official political process, are intended to whittle down the field of pro-democracy candidates in order to avoid splitting the vote against pro-China ruling politicians in September's legislative elections.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court clears way for first federal execution since 2003

Lethal injection facility in San Quentin, California. Photo: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via Getty Images

The Supreme Court ruled early Tuesday that federal executions can resume, reversing a lower court decision and paving the way for the first lethal injection since 2003 to take place at a federal prison in Indiana, AP reports.

The big picture: A lower court had delayed the execution, saying inmates had provided evidence the government's plan to carry out executions using lethal injections "poses an unconstitutionally significant risk of serious pain."

2 hours ago - Health

More Republicans say they're wearing masks

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Nearly two-thirds of Americans — and a noticeably increasing number of Republicans — say they’re wearing a face mask whenever they leave the house, according to the latest installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: A weakening partisan divide over masks, and a broad-based increase in the number of people wearing them, would be a welcome development as most of the country tries to beat back a rapidly growing outbreak.