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Ecuador, Lenín Moreno - News Today

Ecuador’s army took to the streets after President Lenín Moreno ordered the first 24-hour curfew in decades in response to a day of attacks on government buildings and media offices. By Saturday night, soldiers had retaken control of the park and streets leading to the National Assembly and the national comptroller’s office, which had been broken into by protesters who lit fires inside the building. Moreno said the military would enforce the round the clock curfew in Quito and around critical infrastructure like power stations and hospitals in response to the day’s violence. It was the first such action imposed since a series of coups in the 1960s and ’70s. “We are going to restore order in all of Ecuador,” Lenín Moreno said. Late Saturday night, Moreno announced some possible concessions in an economic package that was opposed by many Ecuadorians. But he didn’t retract his decision to remove fuel subsidies, a step that triggered the nationwide protests and clashes. Moreno said his government would address some concerns of protesters, studying ways to ensure resources reach rural areas and offering compensation for those who lost earnings because of the recent upheaval. “We’ll negotiate with those who have decided to do so,” Lenín Moreno said in remarks broadcast on radio and television. “The process is moving forward and I hope to give you good news soon, because different organizations and sectors have confirmed their willingness to talk.” For many in Ecuador, which had become one of the safest and most stableContinue reading

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Boris Johnson - UK Political News Today

The European Union agreed on Friday to enter intense talks with Britain to try to break the deadlock over Brexit, lifting financial markets with a sign that a deal could be done before the Halloween deadline. A flurry of activity has brought the fraught bargaining process to a new level as Britain’s scheduled departure date of Oct. 31 grows ever closer, but it is still uncertain whether the two sides can make a breakthrough before then. The move came at the end of a tumultuous week which started with a public row between London and Brussels. By Thursday British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar said they had found “a pathway” to a possible deal, and by Friday some officials were expressing guarded optimism. “I think both of us can see a pathway to a deal, but that doesn’t mean it’s a done deal,” Boris Johnson said on Friday. “There’s a way to go, it’s important now our negotiators on both sides get into proper talks about how to sort this thing out.” Ireland is crucial if a deal is to be done to avert a potentially disorderly Brexit that would hurt global growth, roil financial markets and could even split the United Kingdom. Dublin will have to consent to any solution to the toughest problem of all: how to prevent the British province of Northern Ireland from becoming a backdoor into the EU’s markets without having border controls. A diplomat and an EU official saidContinue reading

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Israeli police clash with Palestinian worshipers at al-Aqsa Mosque

In the week since three men were killed in a midday shootout in an Arab town in northern Israel, the country has seen mass protests, complaints of police negligence and a public debate about violence in Arab communities that has veered into racist generalizations. A recent spike in killings within Arab towns has exposed the longstanding mistrust between the marginalized community and Israeli authorities, with each side accusing the other of neglecting the problem. Arab citizens, who suffer from widespread discrimination, say Israel’s vaunted security forces are suspiciously powerless when it comes to combatting violence in their communities. Police say local leaders and residents must do more to help them impose law and order. The debate was reignited last week by the shootout in the northern town of Majd al-Krum, which killed two brothers, Ahmed and Khalil Manaa, and a third man, Mohammed Sabea. Another Manaa brother was wounded and remains in hospital, and a fifth man is said to be on the run. The police have opened an investigation but refuse to provide any details. “They loved everyone and everyone loved them,” Aisha Manaa said as she sobbed and held a picture of her two slain sons, one of whom is survived by a wife and two small children. “How can something like this happen?” Israel’s Arab citizens make up just 20% of the population but account for more than half of all murder victims nationwide. At least 71 Arabs have been killed so far this year, nearly asContinue reading

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Abiy Ahmed - Ethiopia Politics News

During a high-level meeting at Ethiopia’s foreign ministry in July, officials were shocked by social media reports that their prime minister was visiting Eritrea. No one in the room had been informed of Abiy Ahmed’s trip, his second since clinching a peace deal last year that ended two decades of hostility between the two neighbours. “The foreign office was not in the loop,” said a senior official who was present. “We learned of it from the Eritrean media, on Facebook and Twitter.” The surprise visit is typical of Abiy, who both fans and critics say often relies on bold personal initiatives and charisma to drive change instead of working through government institutions. Nebiat Getachew, the foreign ministry spokesman, said policy was well co-ordinated but he did not confirm that Abiy had made the July trip without informing the ministry. The deal with Eritrea won Abiy international plaudits. Abiy Ahmed is the bookmakers’ favourite to win a Nobel Peace Prize on Friday after climate activist Greta Thunberg. But Abiy’s unpredictable style annoys some Ethiopians. It is unclear how much of the fractious ruling coalition — some form of which has been in power since 1991 — backs his reforms, or how durable those reforms would be without his leadership. He has already survived one assassination attempt: a grenade thrown at a rally last year. Lasting change cannot be built through a “cult of personality”, said Comfort Ero, Africa programme director at the International Crisis Group think tank. “None of Abiy’s promisedContinue reading

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Hong Kong Secret Volunteer Medics

As riot police fought anti-government demonstrators on the streets of Hong Kong over the weekend, two photos popped into the encrypted inbox of a group of volunteer medics who call themselves the “Hidden Clinic.” The images showed the nastily swollen left arm of a 22-year-old protester who had been beaten and were accompanied by a message from the sender that said, “I suspect his bone is broken.” After exchanges through the night via the Telegram messaging app that arranged an off-the-books X-ray, the protester was diagnosed with a displaced fracture of the ulnar bone. With Hong Kong’s summer of protests now stretching into the fall and clashes becoming increasingly ferocious, medical professionals have quietly banded together to form the Hidden Clinic and other networks to secretly treat the injuries of many young demonstrators who fear arrest if they go to government hospitals. The person who messaged the network on the injured protester’s behalf later explained the youth’s wariness by saying, “Many of his friends have been detained when seeing doctors.” The Hong Kong Hidden Clinic says it has clandestinely treated 300-400 protesters with an array of injuries: broken and dislocated bones, gaping wounds and exposure to tear gas so prolonged that they were coughing up blood. It also says the severity of the injuries has increased sharply in the past week, with hard-core protesters and police increasingly tough on each other. A practitioner who specializes in traditional Chinese medicine and is not affiliated with Hidden Clinic says she alone hasContinue reading

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Northern Ireland, Irish Republic, No-Deal Brexit, Border

The small ferry moves gently across the calm waters of Carlingford Lough, connecting the picturesque hamlet of Greencastle in Northern Ireland with the village of Greenore, a mile and a half away in the Republic of Ireland. It began sailing a little more than two years ago, saving farmers, commuters and tourists an hour-long drive inland to the nearest bridge. The service is another sign that the border has all but vanished since the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998, ending decades of sectarian violence and creating a quiet sense of normality that older generations cherish and younger people may take for granted. But if the U.K. leaves the European Union on Oct. 31 without a Brexit divorce deal, this local boat could find itself plying an international border. “We don’t know what to expect,” said Paul O’Sullivan, the ferry company’s managing director. “Brexit has resulted in chaos for our company.” With both in the EU, the border barely resonates. As members, both the U.K. and Ireland have to abide by the rules of the club — the free movement of goods, services, capital and people. In a no-deal Brexit, that all goes and the border — the only land border between the U.K. and the EU — will resonate once again. Little wonder then that it’s been the most intractable issue in the Brexit negotiations over the past three or so years since the U.K. voted to leave the EU in June 2016. With little more than threeContinue reading

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Elizabeth Warren - US Politics News Today

When Elizabeth Warren campaigned in Nevada in February, Abbie Peters was there. Energy and enthusiasm for the Massachusetts senator was not. “It was early, and she wasn’t as popular,” said Peters. Nearly eight months later, Peters, a retiree from California, was back again to see Warren. The message hadn’t changed. But she felt like she was watching a different messenger. The crowd swelled with enthusiastic supporters, and Warren’s status near the top of the Democratic presidential field was affirmed. “She gave pretty much the same speech, but it’s a good one and it’s authentic,” Peters said. Still, Warren is quickly finding that her rapid ascent is accompanied by heightened scrutiny and criticism, from President Donald Trump and her Democratic opponents. Her political allies and foes alike say Warren has appropriately sharp elbows and isn’t afraid to throw them — something she’ll likely increasingly have to do during the Democratic primary and in Twitter combat with Trump. The latest examples came this week, when Warren was forced to defend a critical portion of the biographical story she tells on the campaign trail and a top Democratic challenger said that her health care plan would potentially alienate half the nation’s population. With less than four months until the first votes in the Democratic nominating process are cast, Warren can anticipate that those criticisms will sharpen and accelerate. “It’s a new phase for her, but if you’re the front-runner, all that means is everybody’s behind you and they want to be in frontContinue reading

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Donald Trump - USA Headlines Story Now

As House Democrats fire off more subpoenas, the White House is finalizing a high-stakes strategy to counter the impeachment threat to President Donald Trump: Stall. Obfuscate. Attack. Repeat. Trump aides are honing their approach after two weeks of what allies have described as a listless and unfocused response to the impeachment probe. One expected step is a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejecting the inquiry because Democrats haven’t held a vote on the matter and moving to all but cease cooperation with Capitol Hill on key oversight matters. The strategy risks further provoking Democrats in the impeachment probe, setting up court challenges and the potential for lawmakers to draw up an article of impeachment accusing Trump of obstructing their investigations. But as lawmakers seek to amass ammunition to be used in an impeachment trial, the White House increasingly believes all-out warfare is its best course of action. “What they did to this country is unthinkable. It’s lucky that I’m the president. A lot of people said very few people could handle it. I sort of thrive on it,” Donald Trump said Monday at the White House. “You can’t impeach a president for doing a great job. This is a scam.” House Democrats, for their part, issued a new round of subpoenas on Monday, this time to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and acting White House budget director Russell Vought. Pelosi’s office also released an open letter signed by 90 former national security officials who served in both Democratic and RepublicanContinue reading

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Gideon Saar, Benjamin Netanyahu, Likud Party, Israeli, Israel News

With a simple tweet, Gideon Saar did what no Israeli politician from the ruling conservative party has done in more than a decade — openly challenge its chief, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The brazen move against the long-serving Israeli leader has solidly positioned the 52-year-old Saar as the Likud party’s leading candidate to replace Netanyahu, who is fighting for his survival amid a pending corruption indictment and post-election political paralysis. A former aide and senior Cabinet minister under Netanyahu, Saar has long been considered a rising star in Likud and one of the lone independent voices in a party that has, in general, blindly followed its leader. But that has begun to change. Netanyahu failed in two elections this year to capture a parliamentary majority, and the possibility of a criminal indictment in the coming weeks has hindered his efforts to head a coalition government. Seeking to solidify his status, the premier last week floated the prospect of a snap internal leadership primary in which he expected Likud to endorse him. But he quickly backed down after a two-word Twitter response from Saar: “I’m ready.” It was a risky maneuver in a party that fiercely values loyalty and has had only had four leaders in its 70-plus-year history. Saar followed it up with a more detailed tweet clarifying that he was not out to topple the prime minister, as Netanyahu has long claimed. Still, Saar left no doubt about his ultimate objective. “No one is denying the prime minister’s roleContinue reading

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Xi Jinping and Carrie Lam - China and Hong Kong News

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam warned Tuesday that the Chinese military could step in if an uprising for democratic reforms that has rocked the city for months “becomes so bad” but reiterated the government still hopes to resolve the crisis itself. Lam urged foreign critics to accept that the four months of protests marked by escalating violence were no longer “a peaceful movement for democracy.” She said seeking Chinese intervention was provided for under Hong Kong’s constitution but that she cannot reveal under what circumstances she will do so. “I still strongly feel that we should find the solutions ourselves. That is also the position of the central government that Hong Kong should tackle the problem on her own but if the situation becomes so bad, then no options could be ruled out if we want Hong Kong to at least have another chance,” she told a news conference. The protests started in June over a now-shelved extradition bill that would have allowed some criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial but have since morphed into a larger anti-government movement. Protesters say the bill is an example of Beijing’s increasing influence over the former British colony, which was promised a high level of autonomy when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997. The unrest had pummeled tourism and hurt businesses in the global financial hub, further bruising the city’s economy as it grapples with effects of the U.S.-China trade war. President Donald Trump on Monday urged ChineseContinue reading

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Donald Trump - USA Politics News Headlines

A second whistleblower has come forward with information about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, adding to the impeachment peril engulfing the White House and potentially providing new leads to Democrats in their unfurling investigation of Trump’s conduct. Attorney Mark Zaid, who represents both whistleblowers, said in a text message to The Associated Press that the second person has spoken to the intelligence community’s internal watchdog and can corroborate information in the original whistleblower complaint. That document alleged that Trump pushed Ukraine’s president to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s family, prompting a White House cover-up. Crucially, the new whistleblower works in the intelligence field and has “firsthand knowledge” of key events, Zaid said. The emergence of the second whistleblower threatened to undermine arguments from Trump and his allies to discredit the original complaint. They have called it politically motivated, claimed it was filed improperly and dismissed it as unreliable because it was based on secondhand or thirdhand information. A rough transcript of Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, released by the White House, has already corroborated the complaint’s central claim that Trump sought to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. The push came even though there was no evidence of wrongdoing by the former vice president or his son Hunter, who served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. Text messages from State Department officials revealed other details, including that Ukraine was promised a visit with Trump if the government would agree to investigate the 2016 electionContinue reading

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North Korea Flag - USA Flag

“The negotiation failed to live up to our expectations and broke down,” Kim Myong Gil, the chief North Korea negotiator, told reporters after the two sides met for more than eight hours in Stockholm.

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Carrie Lam vs Protesters Face Masks, Hong Kong News

"We believe that the new law will create a deterrent effect against masked violent protesters and rioters, and will assist the police in its law enforcement," Carrie Lam said.

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

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, wrote: “Heard from White House — Assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate / “get to the bottom of what happened” in 2016, we will nail down date for visit to Washington.”

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Rudy Giuliani - US News Today

At one end of Pennsylvania Avenue, the president raged about treason. At the other, the methodical march toward impeachment proceeded apace. Democrats on Monday subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer who was at the heart of Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden’s family. That was after one of Trump’s staunchest defenders, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said he would have “no choice” but to consider articles of impeachment if the House approved them. With Congress out of session for observance of the Jewish holidays, Democrats moved aggressively against Rudy Giuliani, requesting by Oct. 15 “text messages, phone records and other communications” that they referred to as possible evidence. They also requested documents and depositions from three of his business associates. Meanwhile, the circle of officials with knowledge of Trump’s phone call to Ukraine’s president widened with the revelation that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listened in on the July 25 conversation. Pompeo’s presence on the Ukraine call, confirmed by two officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an internal matter, provided the first confirmation that a Cabinet official heard Trump press President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Hunter Biden’s membership on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. It is that call, and the circumstances surrounding it, that are fueling the new Democratic drive for impeachment. McConnell, a steadfast Trump defender, nonetheless swatted down talk that that the GOP-controlled Senate could dodge the matter of impeachment if the House approved charges againstContinue reading

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Donald Trump - Nancy Pelosi - USA Politics Today

Nancy Pelosi told MSNBC, “I’m concerned about some of the president’s comments about the whistleblower.”

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Boris Johnson - UK Politics Headline News

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday cautioned that there would be no Brexit breakthrough at talks with European leaders in New York as gaps remained but said significant progress had been made on striking a deal. Three years after Britons voted to leave the EU, hopes of a breakthrough were stoked last week when Johnson said the shape of a deal on Britain’s departure from the European Union was emerging, and European Commission President Juncker said agreement was possible. But the two sides are split over London’s desire to remove the Irish border “backstop” from the divorce deal struck by Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May. EU diplomats say no acceptable alternative has been proposed yet by London. Johnson, who has vowed to deliver Brexit on Oct. 31 with or without a deal, will meet EU leaders on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York including Germany’s Angela Merkel and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. He will also discuss progress on reaching a Brexit deal with European Council President Donald Tusk. “I would caution you all not to think that this is going to be the moment,” Johnson told reporters on the plane to New York. “I don’t wish to elevate excessively the belief that there will be a New York breakthrough.” Johnson said that while a “great deal” of progress had been made since he took office in July as EU leaders now acknowledged the Withdrawal Agreement reached with his predecessor needed to be changed, thereContinue reading

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