Chinese President Xi Jinping is shown wearing a dark suit and walking past several rows of men all applauding him.

Delegates applaud as Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for the Chinese National People's Conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 4, 2021.

Credit:

Andy Wong/AP

Top of The World — our morning news roundup written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

China’s ceremonial National People’s Congress (NPC) opened Friday, taking up several issues including Hong Kong’s electoral system. In a move to tighten Beijing’s grip over Hong Kong, the top lawmaking body in the country unveiled a plan specifying only "patriots" can govern the city — prompting warnings from the European Union.

The NPC’s plan, which would prevent locally elected district counselors from taking part in governing, follows a controversial national security law imposed on the former British colony last year.

The NPC also released moderate plans to reduce carbon emissions over the next five years by 18%. China remains the world's biggest emitter of dangerous global-warming greenhouse gases. The announcements Friday gave little sign that the country plans to make drastic moves to swiftly combat climate change.

What The World is following

The US Supreme Court has dismissed several cases related to “sanctuary cities.” The move comes after the Biden administration’s urging, jointly with state and city governments in New York and California. The Trump administration pushed to limit cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities by withholding grants for cities that refused to cooperate with the Homeland Security Department — known as sanctuary cities.

Also in immigration news, the Biden administration is moving to speed up asylum cases by transitioning some detention centers in Texas to processing facilities. The plan, already underway along the US southern border with Mexico in Texas, would release parents and children within 72 hours of their arrival in the US to avoid shortages of bed space and personnel. It's a stark contrast to former President Donald Trump’s vow to end the so-called “catch-and-release” policies from previous administrations.

From The World

Pope Francis' historic trip to Iraq embraced by many as a welcome boost

Pope Francis’ three-day trip marks the first-ever papal visit to Iraq. His itinerary includes meetings with political and religious leaders plus visits to historical sites. The pope described the journey as a means of forging unity and a way to strengthen ties between different faiths.

“I come as a pilgrim,” he said, addressing the people of Iraq, asking for prayers for a successful trip.

Danish window company confronts its historic carbon emissions through forest conservation

U Saw Mhue Dee, U Saw Benjamin and Daw Naw Lay Lay explain the process of growing elephant foot yam, sheltered from the afternoon heat under a stilt house in Paungdawgyi Village. 

U Saw Mhue Dee, U Saw Benjamin and Daw Naw Lay Lay explain the process of growing elephant foot yam, sheltered from the afternoon heat under a stilt house in Paungdawgyi Village. 

Credit:

Courtesy of WWF Denmark 

The multibillion-dollar Danish company Velux is pledging to address its legacy emissions dating back to 1941 through forest conservation projects in places like Myanmar.

Global hit

For decades, Norwegian composer Terje Isungset has been making "ice music" using instruments made out of ice (🎧). His annual Ice Music Festival Norway, scheduled for this past weekend, was canceled due to the coronavirus, but Isungset will host a virtual performance later this month.

Watch the ice instruments played in this video

In case you missed it

Listen: Deadly Myanmar crackdown becomes test for the West

A large group of protesters are shown running from a cloud of tear gas in the foreground with several people wearing construction hard hats.

Anti-coup protesters run from tear gas and charging riot police and soldiers in Mandalay, Myanmar, March 3, 2021.

Credit:

AP

The deadly crackdowns by Myanmar security forces on demonstrators protesting a military coup are raising alarm in the West. How the US responds to calls for action on Myanmar is becoming a test of President Biden's foreign policy team. And, Pope Francis travels to Iraq on Friday for a three-day visit, despite the pandemic and escalating violence. Also, a team of multidisciplinary researchers has “virtually unfolded” a sealed letter, never opened, from the 17th century.

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