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Hong Kong Police

Pale and thin, a teenager wandered the nearly deserted campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University at about 1 a.m. Wednesday. He wrapped his arms around his body — although it was unclear whether it was to ward off the cold or to reassure himself. Only a handful of protesters remain at “Poly U,” which hundreds occupied for several days, fighting pitched battles with police in the surrounding streets. Authorities have cut off the campus and are arresting anyone who comes out, at least 700 since Sunday. The teen, who wouldn’t give his exact age but said he is under 18, is one of the holdouts. He figured he had slept about 10 hours in total since arriving at the campus about five days earlier. He said he had eaten only two biscuits all day because his mind was too distracted, obsessed with one thought: How am I going to get out? The campus takeovers were the latest escalation in an anti-government movement that has divided the city for more than five months. The protesters’ demands include fully democratic elections and an investigation into alleged police brutality in cracking down on the demonstrations. The teen arrived at Polytechnic late last week, heeding a call for support from protesters who were occupying five major universities in Hong Kong. It was Thursday or Friday — the days and nights have become such a blur that he kept asking an interviewer what day it currently was. Like many of the protesters, he spoke onContinue reading

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Donald Trump, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Joe Biden - US News - Ukraine Headline

U.S. State Department officials were informed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was feeling pressure from the Trump administration to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden even before the July phone call that has led to impeachment hearings in Washington, two people with knowledge of the matter told The Associated Press. In early May, officials at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, including then-Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, were told Zelenskiy was seeking advice on how to navigate the difficult position he was in, the two people told the AP. He was concerned President Donald Trump and associates were pressing him to take action that could affect the 2020 U.S. presidential race, the two individuals said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the diplomatic and political sensitivity of the issue. State Department officials in Kyiv and Washington were briefed on Zelenskiy’s concerns at least three times, the two sources said. Notes summarizing his worries were circulated within the department, they said. The briefings and the notes show that U.S. officials knew early that Zelenskiy was feeling pressure to investigate Biden, even though the Ukrainian leader later denied it in a joint news conference with Trump in September. Congressional Republicans have pointed to that public Zelenskiy statement to argue that he felt no pressure to open an investigation, and therefore the Democrats’ allegations that led to the impeachment hearings are misplaced. “Both presidents expressly have stated there was no pressure, no demand, no conditions, no blackmail, no corruption,” one Republican lawmaker, John RatcliffeContinue reading

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Brexit Headline Today

Jules Wilde has never voted for Britain’s Conservatives and would hate to do so at the Dec. 12 election, yet for the first time in his life, the 62-year-old carer is considering backing the governing party because of Brexit. Wrapped up against icy wind in the northwestern English town of Crewe, Wilde is one of thousands of supporters of the main opposition Labour Party who Prime Minister Boris Johnson hopes to win over to secure a parliamentary majority and push through his “great new deal” to leave the European Union. In regions of northern and central England which traditionally back Labour and are known as the “red wall”, Johnson’s team hopes to break the opposition party’s hold on voters, who have, sometimes for generations, rejected his party’s overtures. Crewe and Nantwich constituency, which voted in favour of leaving the EU in a 2016 referendum, has sometimes been described as a bellwether, and anecdotal evidence suggests some diehard Labour supporters are edging towards the Conservatives. Split between the industrial and railway town of Crewe and its more affluent neighbour Nantwich, only 48 more voters backed Labour than the Conservatives in 2017, making it a prime “swing seat” that Johnson’s team hopes to win back. In Wilde’s case, the prime minister’s promise to “get Brexit done” seems to be working. Born of personal experience caring for a friend who struggled to find the right healthcare, Wilde backs Brexit to control the levels of immigration from the EU he suspects is stretching Britain’sContinue reading

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Miguel Diaz-Canel and Vladimir Putin - Russia News - Cuban - Cuba Headline Today

Over the last year Russia has sent Cuba 1,000 minibuses, 50 locomotives, tens of thousands of tourists and a promise to upgrade the island’s power grid with a multi-million dollar improvement plan. Russian-Cuban trade has more than doubled since 2013, to an expected $500 million this year, mostly in Russian exports to Cuba. And a string of high-ranking Russian officials have visited their former ally in the Caribbean, including Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. On Tuesday, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel lands in Moscow for meetings with officials including President Vladimir Putin, with the expectation that they will move forward on deals for more trade and cooperation. Russian-Cuban ties are far from the Cold War era of near-total Cuban dependence on the Soviet bloc, which saw this island as a forward operating base in the Americas then largely abandoned it in the 1990s. But observers of Cuban and Russian foreign policy say there is a significant warming between the former partners prompted in part by the Trump administration’s reversal of President Barack Obama’s opening to Cuba. Cuba and Russia are also heavily supporting Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, whom the U.S. has been trying to overthrow. “We did make huge mistakes in the 1990s while turning our backs on Cuba. That time is definitely over, and I’m absolutely sure that our relations deserve better attention from Russia,” said Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the foreign affairs committee in the upper house of the Russian parliament. “They deserve more investments from Russia both inContinue reading

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Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, USA NEWS

Bernie Sanders insists he feels better than ever less than a month after heart surgery, but his return to the campaign trail this week sparked new questions about the unusually old age of the Democratic Party’s leading 2020 presidential candidates. Both Sanders, 78, and Joe Biden, 76, suggest their age isn’t a major issue, but voters, particularly older voters, aren’t so sure. Gordon Lundberg, a 71-year-old retired Lutheran pastor from Ames, said candidates’ health is a key issue for him because he understands how it feels to age. He’s leaning toward Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts because, even though she’s 70, “she’s the most liberal and she’s not got one foot in the grave yet.” “Bernie’s just too darn old. And so is Biden,” Lundberg said. “They look old, they sound old, they are old. They fall in the shower, and they get heart attacks!” Lundberg is not alone. Polling has suggested that a significant number of Americans believe a candidate in his or her late 70s is too old to be president. If elected, Sanders would take office having already exceeded the average U.S. life expectancy of 78.6 years, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. Biden would be just a few months away. Warren would be the oldest new president in history, eclipsing Trump, who himself eclipsed Ronald Reagan. Biden and Sanders would be older on their first day in office than Reagan, a two-term president, was on hisContinue reading

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan - Donald Trump - Bashar al-Assad - Vladimir Putin - Turkey - US - Syria - Russia - News

President Donald Trump declared success in Syria on Wednesday and created a bumper-sticker moment to illustrate his campaign promise to put a stop to American involvement in “endless wars.” But with his abrupt withdrawal from what he called “bloodstained sand,” the president ceded American influence over a huge swath of the region to rivals and may have spun the Middle East into a new season of uncertainty. In remarks at the White House, Donald Trump made the case that American administrations before him wasted too much money and blood on sectarian and tribal fighting in which the U.S. had no place meddling. “We have spent $8 trillion on wars in the Middle East, never really wanting to win those wars,” Donald Trump said. “But after all that money was spent, and all those lives lost, the young men and women, gravely wounded so many, the Middle East is less safe, less stable and less secure than before these conflicts began.” But analysts and lawmakers said Trump declared victory for a crisis along the border of Turkey and Syria that was arguably of his own making, while underplaying the reality that he has strengthened the hand of Russia. Critics also say the move will roll back advances made by U.S.-led forces in the fight against the Islamic State group. The president also still has work to do to repair the political damage he’s done within his own base among those who say he abandoned the Kurds, longtime U.S. allies who foughtContinue reading

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Elizabeth Warren - US Politics News Today

The question was inevitable. Elizabeth Warren’s answer was the same. And her rivals seized on it. For the second consecutive debate, Warren refused to say whether middle-class Americans would pay higher taxes under her proposed Medicare for All plan. It was a glaring dodge for a candidate who has risen to the top of the Democratic field by unveiling detailed policy proposals and selling them with a folksy flair. And it was one of nearly a half a dozen issues where Warren found herself defending the broad ambition she has laid out to remake the American economy and rebalance the nation’s wealth. More moderate candidates, including Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, cast Warren as both unrealistic and vague. How Warren handles that criticism, which was abundant Tuesday and is likely to escalate in the coming weeks, will be a central test of whether she can maintain her standing. “Warren has done a good job at remaining steady despite the arrows in her direction, but she is still missing answers to core questions about her plans,” said Bill Burton, a Democratic strategist who worked for former President Barack Obama. While Warren has surged into the upper tier of candidates with former Vice President Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, her liberal, government-funded policies have become subject to added scrutiny, prompting concerns about whether her views are out of the mainstream and would imperil Democrats’ chances in the general election against President Donald Trump. Warren’s more moderate Democratic rivals sought toContinue reading

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Syrian Kurds - Syria War News

Turkey considers the YPG as terrorists affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has waged a 35-year-long battle against the Turkish state. Ankara also views the YPG-controlled zone as an “existential threat.”

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Boris Johnson and Donald Tusk - EU News - UK

Britain’s latest proposal for an agreement on the terms of its divorce from the European Union has been widely rebuffed in Brussels because it does not meet the objectives of the so-called Irish border backstop. Below is an explanation of the backstop Britain agreed with Brussels in 2018, the new plan proposed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and why EU officials think it falls short: WHAT’S THE BACKSTOP? Now, there are no border checks or infrastructure between the UK province of Northern Ireland and Ireland as both are in the EU’s single market customs and regulatory arrangements. The backstop in the 2018 Brexit deal was designed to prevent a hard border being introduced on the island of Ireland when Britain leaves the EU – whatever trade deal was eventually agreed between London and Brussels. It envisaged that the United Kingdom would remain bound by some EU rules if no other way is found to keep the border between the British province and Ireland invisible. Maintaining a frictionless border was a key part of the 1998 Good Friday agreement between London and Dublin to end 30 years of violence in Northern Ireland. WHY DIDN’T THAT WORK? Pro-Brexit lawmakers objected to the 2018 deal, saying the backstop would tie Britain to the EU come what may, leaving the country overseen by EU judges and preventing it from striking trade deals around the world. Parliament’s rejection of the deal forced then-Prime Minister Theresa May from office. WHAT’S THE NEW PLAN? Johnson’s new proposalContinue reading

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Bernie Sanders - USA Politics Today

“If I were just 80 years old … I don’t believe I could undertake the duties,” Jimmy Carter said, pointing specifically to responsibilities surrounding foreign affairs.

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Donald Trump USA Headlines News Today

If House Democrats press ahead with impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, their case will rest in large part on the claim that he sought a foreign government’s help, with hundreds of millions of dollars in aid in the balance, to dig up dirt on a political opponent to boost his reelection campaign. But, if true, would that be a crime? The answer might not matter. It doesn’t take a criminal act to impeach a president. The Constitution’s standard of “high crimes and misdemeanors” for impeachment is vague and open-ended to encompass abuses of power even if they aren’t, strictly speaking, illegal, legal scholars say. The controversy centers on a summertime phone call in which Trump asked the president of Ukraine to help investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden, according to a transcript the White House provided on Wednesday. A whistleblower’s complaint released Thursday alleged a concerted White House effort to suppress the transcript of the call and described a shadow campaign of diplomacy by Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. The Justice Department doesn’t think Trump violated any laws in his July 25 conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida said, “I think we ought to go through the process. I mean, no one has shown me what law has been broken.” But the House Intelligence Committee chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., described several potential crimes that could have been committed if Trump withheld “authorized funding of Congress to use as leverage, if the presidentContinue reading

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Bernie Sanders - USA Politics News Today

Bernie Sanders: “What we need to do is to look at somebody who four years ago had the courage to break new ground in this. We’re continuing to break new ground today.”

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US Democrats

As Democrats try to win control of the White House and the Senate in 2020, they face a geographical puzzle — the path to the presidency may conflict with the one to a Senate majority. Democrats’ best shot at the White House is to win back their old turf — the Rust Belt states heavy with working-class white voters who have become increasingly difficult to hold in the party’s tent. But the path to winning the Senate travels through what many believe is the Democrats’ territory of the future. College-educated suburbanites, young people and minorities make up the winning coalition in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia and North Carolina, the states where Democrats will need to pick up seats to wrest control of the Senate from the GOP. The tensions between the two contests — the two paths to two different victories — highlight the geographic concerns that have long bedeviled Democrats. The party has successfully built support in the growing West and Sun Belt states, but not yet enough to put the fight over the Rust Belt in the rearview mirror. “They’re kind of stuck between their past and their future,” said William Frey, a demographer at the nonpartisan Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. “It’s an interesting conundrum.” For Democrats wrestling with picking their nominee, it’s more than just a head-scratcher. Senate races and presidential races are linked — Senate candidates rarely win when their party’s presidential candidate loses their state. If the party wants to win the White House andContinue reading

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Robert Mugabe - Zimbabwe News Today

Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe was feted as an African liberation hero and champion of racial reconciliation when he first came to power in a nation divided by nearly a century of white colonial rule. Nearly four decades later, many at home and abroad denounced him as a power-obsessed autocrat willing to unleash death squads, rig elections and trash the economy in the relentless pursuit of control. Mugabe was ultimately ousted by his own armed forces in November 2017. He demonstrated his tenacity — some might say stubbornness — to the last, refusing to accept his expulsion from his own ZANU-PF party and clinging on for a week until Parliament started to impeach him after the de facto coup. His resignation triggered wild celebrations across the country of 13 million. For Mugabe, it was an “unconstitutional and humiliating” act of betrayal by his party and people, and left him a broken man. Confined for the remaining years of his life between Singapore, where he was receiving medical treatment, and his sprawling “Blue Roof” mansion in Harare, an ailing Mugabe could only observe from afar the political stage where he once strode tall. The Twitter account of Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Friday that Mugabe had died at age 95. “It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe’s founding father and former President, Cde Robert Mugabe,” a post said. It gave no details. In November, Mnangagwa said Mugabe was no longer able to walk when he wasContinue reading

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War, Israel, Iran, Middle East

The long shadow war between Israel and Iran has burst into the open in recent days, with Israel allegedly striking Iran-linked targets as far away as Iraq and crash-landing two drones in Hezbollah-dominated southern Beirut. These incidents, along with an air raid in Syria that Israel says thwarted an imminent Iranian drone attack, have raised tensions at a particularly fraught time. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is looking to project strength three weeks before national elections, while Iran has taken a series of provocative actions in recent months aimed at pressuring European nations to provide relief from crippling U.S. sanctions. Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Iran-backed Hezbollah, vowed to retaliate after a drone crashed on the militant group’s Beirut media office and another exploded midair early Sunday. Israeli forces along the border with Lebanon are on high alert, raising fears of a repeat of the 2006 war. Netanyahu has warned Nasrallah to “relax,” saying Israel “knows how to defend itself and how to pay back its enemies.” The Israeli leader has also addressed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds Force and the architect of its regional entrenchment, telling him to “be careful with your words and be even more careful with your actions.” Israel said Soleimani masterminded the alleged drone attack. Another commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Mohsen Rezaei, dismissed the Israeli allegations as a “lie.” Israel has also blamed Iran for recent rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, and on Monday struck a Palestinian base inContinue reading

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Donald Trump Now Campaigns - USA News Headlines

About 6 in 10 Americans disapprove of President Donald Trump’s overall job performance, according to a new poll released Thursday by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, which finds some support for the president’s handling of the U.S. economy but gives him weak marks on other major issues. Just 36% of Americans approve of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as president; 62% disapprove. The numbers may be ugly for a first-term president facing reelection in 14 months, but they are remarkably consistent. Trump’s approval rating has never dipped below 32% or risen above 42% in AP-NORC polls since he took office. No other president has stayed within so narrow a band. Since Gallup began measuring presidential approval, Trump is the only president whose rating has never been above 50%. Still, several — Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — logged ratings worse than Trump’s lowest rating so far at some point during their time in office. Trump’s poor grades in the AP-NORC poll extend to his handling of several key issues: immigration, health care, foreign policy and guns. Views of the Republican president’s handling of the economy remain a relative bright spot despite fears of a potential recession, but at least 60% of Americans disapprove of his performance on other issues. The consistency suggests the president’s weak standing with the American people is calcified after two years of near-constant political crises and divisive rhetoric at the White House.Continue reading

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UK Colonialism Legacies

We are still reminded of the consequences of British colonialism with the ongoing volatile situations in places such as Indian-controlled Kashmir and Hong Kong. Hong Kong and Kashmir share the same legacy, that of imperialism in Asia, and the locals are still paying for the mess that the British left behind during its days of unbridled colonialism. Unlike Hong Kong, India – including Kashmir – went from being a colonial subject to an independent country. Following independence, the unique cultural region of Kashmir turned out to be a very difficult problem for India and its policy of assimilation. So, New Delhi resorted to the same conceptual tactics perpetrated against them while under British rule: military occupation and limitations on free speech. Hence, earlier this month, a presidential decree revoked Article 370 of India’s constitution, which guaranteed special rights to the Muslim-majority Kashmir region, including the right to its own constitution and autonomy to make laws on all matters, except defense, communications and foreign affairs. Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan, in return, censured India’s ‘illegal’ Kashmir move, vowing to fight the decision, including at the UN Security Council. Khan said the move was in breach of international law, adding that he feared ethnic cleansing by India. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has merely expressed “concern” about India’s decision to strip Kashmir of its special status, which was guaranteed by Article 370 of the Indian constitution. Meanwhile, heading into 11 weeks of demonstrations in Hong Kong, Britain has consistently supported anti-ChinaContinue reading

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