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Key Officials Hold Meeting at Lam's Residence: Hong Kong Update

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 11:34

(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong officials and Chinese state media warned of consequences if violence continued, as a third day of protests disrupted traffic across the city and the government announced for the first time that it would close public schools.The city remained confident in its ability to contain the chaos, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung -- Hong Kong’s No. 2 official -- told reporters. Demonstrators returned to the Chinese University of Hong Kong and further rallies took place in the financial hub into the evening.The protests, which have been raging for five months in pursuit of greater democracy in the former British colony, intensified Friday after a student died of injuries sustained near a protest. Chief Executive Carrie Lam -- with a fresh nod of support from Communist Party leaders in Beijing -- has vowed not to give in to violent demonstrations.Key developments:City suspends all public school classes on Thursday.Lam reportedly meeting with senior officials Wednesday nightSecurity chief warns of “unthinkable” consequences if violence continues.Local stocks fell, with the benchmark Hang Seng index closing down 1.8%.Oxfam cancels popular Trailwalker event due to unrest.Here’s the latest (all times local):Key officials holding late night meeting (11:24 p.m.)Local broadcaster RTHK reported government officials arrived at Lam’s official residence around 10 p.m. local time. It gave no further details.RTHK separately reported that several black-clad protesters had gathered outside the People’s Liberation Army barracks in the city, where they argued with Chinese military officers who warned them to disperse. 70-year-old man in critical condition (10:08 p.m.)The Hospital Authority confirmed it’s admitted a 70-year-old man in critical condition. He was hit by a brick-shaped hard object during scuffles outside Sheung Shui station in the city’s New Territories, according to local newspaper Ming Pao.Separately, the High Court dismissed an application for an injunction to halt police from entering the campus of Chinese University, Radio Television Hong Kong reported. Counsel for the students had argued there was no rioting within the university and that it was the entry of police that sparked clashes, according to RTHK; counsel for the government said that was not true and that students and protesters were throwing petrol bombs and bricks.Riot police move into business district (8:07 p.m.)In Central, Hong Kong’s business and retail center, riot police moved in on roads to clear out protesters in the early evening. Several people were seen being subdued by the police, while others reported pepper spray being used. Officers with helmets, face masks, batons and shields were seen guarding the streets at around 8 p.m. Very few pedestrians were seen in the normally busy area.The “unpredictability of the situation in Hong Kong” also led to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. to cancel the 63rd Assembly of Presidents event scheduled to take place next week in the city, the companies said in a joint statement.HKU cancels classes for the week (5:51 p.m.)The University of Hong Kong, one of the city’s premier academic institutions, said it would suspend classes for the remainder of the school week from Nov. 14-16. It cited uncertainties with the transportation system and time needed to repair damage to facilities across its campus, and said offices would remain open.Taiwan offers to evacuate its CUHK students (5:41 p.m.)Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council has arranged buses and flights back to the democratically run island for 85 Taiwanese students who attend the Chinese University of Hong Kong, council spokesman Chiu Chui-cheng said. He said 197 students, including those who arranged their own travel, were expected to return to Taiwan from Hong Kong Wednesday and that the government would continue to monitor the situation in the city and provide necessary assistance.There are 1,021 Taiwanese students currently enrolled in universities in neighboring Hong Kong. CUHK was the site of fierce clashes between protesters and police Tuesday.Police fired 1,600 tear gas rounds Tuesday (5 p.m.)Police officials said Wednesday that 1,567 rounds of tear gas were fired and 142 people arrested Tuesday, a day marked by fierce clashes between protesters and officers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The school’s campus “is not a place out of the law,” said Chief Superintendent for Public Relations Tse Chun-chung.Police said they had no choice but to use force and set up cordon lines at a footbridge on the campus Tuesday night, and that they fired the gas when “rioters” didn’t stop throwing bricks at their cordon. The university contacted the police force several times Tuesday to ask the officers to leave, police added. They said they agreed to on condition protesters stopped throwing objects including bricks and fire bombs at them, but the demonstrators persisted.China condemns U.S. bill (3:30 p.m.)Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang condemned U.S. legislation designed to support Hong Kong protesters, urging Washington to immediately stop interfering in the country’s affairs. Geng promised resolute measures to safeguard China’s interests if the bill passes.Protest violence has pushed Hong Kong into an extremely dangerous situation situation, Geng said, reiterating Beijing’s support for the city’s police force.Classes suspended Thursday (2:24 p.m.)Hong Kong’s Education Bureau announced that all kindergartens, primary and secondary schools and special-needs schools would suspend classes on Thursday for safety reasons. Classes at some local campuses had already been canceled Wednesday, the day after violent clashes raged between police and protesters at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.Oxfam cancels race (2:08 p.m.)Oxfam Hong Kong said it was canceling its 100 kilometer (62 mile) Trailwalker race, citing unforeseeable developments in recent social events and the ongoing traffic situation. The organization said it had made the “difficult decision” after careful consideration as it prioritized the safety of participants and volunteers. It had been scheduled for Friday through Sunday. About 5,000 walkers participate in the event annually.China ratchets up rhetoric (1:31 p.m.)Chinese state media responded to the escalating street violence in Hong Kong with harshly-worded commentaries, condemning some politicians and teachers for emboldening the demonstrators as social media users called protesters “cockroaches” and “thugs.” From late Tuesday to Wednesday morning, major state-owned news outlets including the Communist Party’s Global Times, People’s Daily and Xinhua News Agency ran stories on Hong Kong highlighting destructive behavior by pro-democracy protesters. The Global Times repeated a warning that Beijing could intervene militarily.\--With assistance from Dominic Lau, Gregor Stuart Hunter, Iain Marlow, Dandan Li, Fion Li, Bei Hu, Venus Feng, Shirley Zhao and Hannah Dormido.To contact the reporters on this story: Natalie Lung in Hong Kong at;Aaron Mc Nicholas in Hong Kong at;Stephen Engle in Beijing at sengle1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at, Chris Kay, Colin KeatingeFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

An Air India flight was delayed nearly 12 hours after a stowaway rat was spotted in the cabin

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 11:30

"The rat was located and trapped. Then the aircraft was fumigated," a representative from Air India said, according to Indian local media.

Asylum-seekers in Greece, Italy face years of limbo: EU audit

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 11:07

Asylum-seekers crowded into "hotspots" in Greece and Italy face limbo that can drag on for years because of legal bottlenecks and poorly performing EU schemes, a report said Wednesday. The document, by the EU's European Court of Auditors, also found that two agencies meant to assist the two countries with their overflowing camps and caseloads were failing in their missions, partly because of insufficient support from member states. The audit looked at EU projects meant to alleviate the pressure on the so-called hotspots -- camps on Greek islands and in Italy, where migrants' asylum claims were examined and designated refugees were meant to be vetted for relocation to other EU states.

Cows swept off island during Hurricane Dorian found after swimming for miles

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 11:06

Cows missing for two months were located on North Carolina’s Outer Banks after ‘mini tsunami’ carried wildlife awayCows are recognized as adept swimmers comfortable with covering a few hundred yards – but swimming miles of open water in a hurricane is outside their general range. Photograph: Dawn Damico/AlamyThree cows swept off an island during the raging storm of Hurricane Dorian have been located on North Carolina’s Outer Banks after apparently swimming four miles during the storm.The extraordinary swimming bovines were grazing on their home of Cedar Island when the giant storm hit on 6 September, generating an 8ft “mini tsunami” that swept away wildlife, including 28 wild horses and about 17 cows from the island’s herd.They were presumed dead, but Cape Lookout National Seashore staff spotted one of the cows on another barrier island a month after the storm. That sighting was followed by two more, apparently grazing peaceably. A picture of the rangy-looking trio is now on Facebook.Cows are recognized as adept swimmers comfortable with covering a few hundred yards. But swimming miles of open water in a hurricane is outside their general range of expertise.Cape Lookout Park spokesman BG Horvat said the animals were lucky not to have been swept out into the Atlantic.“I’ll say it’s about four miles across Core Sound,” Horvat told McClatchy news service. “Remember, the cows and all the horses were swept away with the water surging back. Who knows exactly, but the cows certainly have a gripping story to share.”Locals are now working on a plan to recover the animals – presumably without making them swim.

Poland seizes two for plotting Breivik-style attacks on Muslims

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 10:56

Polish agents arrested two people accused of planning attacks against Muslims inspired by Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik and suspected white supremacist Brenton Tarrant in New Zealand, the security service said on Wednesday. The arrests follow a spate of attacks involving white supremacists targeting ethnic and religious minorities across the globe. Far-right groups have grown in strength in Poland, the largest of the European Union's post-communist states.

German air force rejects delivery of two Airbus planes

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 10:08

Germany's air force said Wednesday it had refused delivery of two Airbus A400M transport planes over technical faults, saying bolts holding the propellers on some already operational aircraft were loose. Repeated technical problems have dogged the A400M programme, a turboprop transport aircraft developed jointly for Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey.

Atlanta college student Alexis Crawford was choked to death, dumped in park, police say

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 09:18

Authorities say Alexis Crawford and her roommate Jordyn Jones had a physical altercation and Jones' boyfriend intervened and choked Crawford to death.

Twelve killed in Slovakia bus crash

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 08:57

A lorry carrying gravel collided with a passenger bus, killing 12 people in western Slovakia on Wednesday, the country's deadliest road accident in a decade, police said. The truck was probably overloaded and wobbled, causing it to strike the bus on its side, Interior Minister Denisa Sakova told reporters as she headed to the site of the accident. Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini said in a statement he would end an official visit to Cyprus a day early to return to Slovakia and visit the site of the accident as well as the injured in nearby hospitals.

The US is being hit by a frigid, early cold snap that has killed at least 6 people and could break 100 temperature records

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 06:50

The National Weather Service said the unseasonal cold air, which spread from Kansas to Minnesota to Kentucky to New York, has brought an early winter.

The Man to Put Sanchez Back in Power Is Sitting in Catalan Jail

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 06:13

(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.Pedro Sanchez faces an unusual obstacle in his efforts to negotiate a governing majority in Spain: The guy whose support he needs most is in prison.Catalan separatist leader Oriol Junqueras is serving 13 years in jail for his role in an illegal independence referendum, but he still has the ultimate word on how his party’s lawmakers will vote when Sanchez tries to win the confidence of the Spanish Parliament. Given that Junqueras is limited to just a few minutes of phone calls each day, it’s going to be some time before he can to thrash out the terms of any deal, according to a senior party official, and there’s no guarantee that they’ll get there.Despite Sanchez’s efforts to get past the Catalan question, it’s become the central issue in his efforts to secure a second term in office. Spain has seen one prime minister toppled since the Catalan Parliament’s abortive declaration of independence of October 2017 and no one in Madrid has managed to forge a solid majority since. Parties are divided over whether to crack down on separatists or seek a settlement with them.Sanchez, a 47-year-old Socialist, was backed by pro-independence parties when he ousted the conservative People’s Party with a no-confidence vote in 2018. But since then the relationship has become more twisted as Sanchez sought to keep a lid on the separatist movement. After Spain’s Supreme Court last month jailed nine separatist leaders, including Junqueras, the region has been hit by a series of protests that have at times tipped into violence.Junqueras has been in jail since November 2017 when the Supreme Court began investigating the referendum campaign but he’s maintained his control of his party, Esquerra Republicana, and even seen his moral authority increase.The 50-year-old professor of Catalan history was vice president in the regional administration that organized the illegal vote two years ago after coming to prominence in his party as the push for independence gained momentum. In the lobby of his party offices in downtown Barcelona, he had a map of the “Catalan Lands” that included not just the region itself but neighboring Valencia, the Balearic Islands and parts of southern France.Above his desk he had a modernist-style portrait of Lluis Companys, a former Esquerra leader and Catalan president who declared a Catalan state in 1934 and was later executed under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.From his jail cell northwest of Barcelona, Junqueras has relied mainly on hand-written letters to communicate with senior officials in his party. To prevent the Spanish authorities accessing his correspondence, he has them carried out of Lledoners Prison near Manresa by a trusted associate who is allowed limited visits. More urgent issues can be addressed through the short telephone calls he’s allowed each day with his wife.Whether or not to support Sanchez is now the major dilemma for Junqueras and Esquerra.Sanchez had toughened his line on Catalonia in the run-up to Sunday’s general election, angering many separatists as he tried to shore up support in the rest of Spain. But on Tuesday he signed an outline coalition agreement with the anti-establishment party Podemos, which is in favor of allowing the region a referendum on independence.The Socialists and Podemos have 155 lawmakers between them. They can probably tack on another 13 votes from smaller regional parties. But to win a confidence vote in the 350-strong Parliament, Sanchez almost certainly needs help from the 13 lawmakers in Junqueras’s party.Traditional PartnersEsquerra, which means “Left” in Catalan, has traditionally been close to the Socialists on social and economic policy and ran Catalonia in coalition until 2010. Indeed, the party repeatedly voiced its support for Sanchez during the first part of the year and Gabriel Rufian, leader of its delegation in the national parliament, scolded the prime minister and Podemos in July for their failure to reach an agreement that would have prevented this month’s election.Allowing him to fail now would open the door to yet another election with right-wing parties gaining momentum with their calls for a further crackdown on the separatists.But since Junqueras’s conviction last month, the grassroots separatist movement has been radicalized all over again and so Esquerra risks a backlash if it reaches an agreement with Sanchez. The acting prime minister added fuel to the fire during the election campaign with threats to suspend Catalonia’s regional government again to restore order.During the election campaign, Rufian himself, an outspoken secessionist, was heckled by activists on the streets of Barcelona, who called him a traitor for being to close to the Socialists.Pere Aragones, an Esquerra official and deputy president of Catalonia, said Wednesday that the party won’t support Sanchez unless he agrees to discuss a referendum on independence.To contact the reporter on this story: Rodrigo Orihuela in Madrid at rorihuela@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at, Charles PentyFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Korean survivor says Japan's no-show at 'comfort women' case in Seoul lacks honor

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 05:47

A South Korean woman who had been forced to work in a Japanese wartime military brothel said Japan lacked honor for failing to attend a South Korean court on Wednesday as it began hearing a civil case brought against its government by a group of victims. "I am a living proof of history," said Lee Yong-soo, the 91-year-old survivor, her voice quaking with emotion as she addressed a news conference held near the courthouse, before proceedings began. Reminders of Japan's 1910-45 colonization of the Korean peninsula are inflammatory for both sides.

'Blossom everywhere': Hong Kong protesters evolve tactics

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 05:47

From "be water" to "blossom everywhere", Hong Kong's black-clad pro-democracy protesters' tactics have evolved this week in their bid to overwhelm police by creating flashpoints in as many areas as possible. The campaign of massive disruption has seen small groups of protesters emerge all across the city of 7.5 million people from Monday to block intersections, vandalise shops, clash with police and damage the vital train network. "We must blossom everywhere to divert the police force," read an anonymous post on Wednesday morning on an internet message board popular with protesters, echoing other calls online.

‘Watchmen’ brings 1921 Tulsa massacre to the fore: Three questions

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 05:31

The massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was largely forgotten, even by those living in the state. But as many as 300 black people died.

Bolivian senator declares herself president in Evo Morales’ absence

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 05:27

Bolivian opposition senator Jeanine Anez has declared herself interim president after Evo Morales resigned from office before fleeing to Mexico.Bolivia has been plunged into a state of crisis after Morales, who was first elected in 2006, was forced to stand down following weeks of protests and violence over a disputed presidential election result.

Venezuela ex-intel chief missing in Spain ahead of US extradition: police

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 04:46

Venezuela's former military intelligence chief has gone missing in Spain just days after a court approved a request for his extradition to the United States on drug trafficking charges, police said Wednesday. "They are currently looking for him," said a spokeswoman for Spain's national police, referring to General Hugo Armando Carvajal. Judicial sources said police had gone to his house in Madrid after Friday's court decision but could not find him.

Officer: Miranda failure for Iowa murder suspect a mistake

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 00:01

A police officer who obtained a confession from a suspect in the disappearance and death of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts said Wednesday that she made an honest mistake when she failed to read him his complete legal rights. Officer Pamela Romero testified that she tried to read Cristhian Bahena Rivera a Miranda warning during the Aug. 20, 2018, interrogation but didn’t realize until later that she left one part out, failing to tell him that his statements could be used against him in court. After several more hours of questioning, Rivera led officers to a cornfield where they discovered Tibbetts’ body underneath leaves and stalks.

Court rules against warrantless searches of phones, laptops

Tue, 11/12/2019 - 23:10

A federal court in Boston has ruled that warrantless U.S. government searches of the phones and laptops of international travelers at airports and other U.S. ports of entry violate the Fourth Amendment. Tuesday's ruling in U.S. District Court came in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation on behalf of 11 travelers whose smartphones and laptops were searched without individualized suspicion at U.S. ports of entry. ACLU attorney Esha Bhandari said the ruling strengthens the Fourth Amendment protections of international travelers who enter the United States every year.

Rep. Connolly says Democrats already have 'smoking gun' to impeach Trump

Tue, 11/12/2019 - 22:12

A Democratic lawmaker who attended most of the closed-door depositions over the past month said that while public hearings will be instructive for Americans, President Trump has already given Congress all the evidence it needs to impeach him.