Hong Kong Protesters and Police Face Off in Fresh University Clashes

HONG KONG—Fresh violence erupted around a besieged Hong Kong university campus on Nov. 17 morning, as protesters braced for a possible final police push to clear them after fiery clashes overnight.

Huge fires had lit up the night sky at Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Kowloon district hours earlier as protesters hurled petrol bombs, some by catapult, and police fired volleys of tear gas to force them up onto the podium of the red-brick campus.

After a few quiet hours as protesters slept on lawns and in the university library, police fired fresh rounds of teargas shortly after 10 a.m. local time. Activists hurled petrol bombs in return, some igniting trees outside the campus.

On Saturday, squads of Chinese soldiers dressed in shorts and T-shirts, some carrying red plastic buckets or brooms, emerged from their barracks in a rare public appearance to clear debris blocking key roads.

Parts of the campus looked more like a fortress on Sunday morning, with barricades and black-clad protesters manning the ramparts with improvised weapons like bricks, crates of fire bombs, and bows and arrows at the ready.

“We don’t want to attack the police, we just want to safeguard our campus….and we want to safeguard Hong Kong,” said Chan, 20, a year-three student at the university who did not want to provide her full name.

The campus is the last of five universities to be occupied, with activists using it as a base to continue to block the city’s central cross-harbor road tunnel.

The presence of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers on the streets, even to clean up streets, could stoke further controversy over Hong Kong‘s autonomous status at a time when many fear Beijing is tightening its grip on the city.

Hong Kong did not request assistance from the PLA and the military initiated the operation as a “voluntary community activity,” a spokesman for the city’s government said.

The Asian financial hub has been rocked by months of demonstrations, with many people angry at the Chinese Communist Party’s meddling in the former British colony, which was guaranteed its freedoms when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Clashes between protesters and police have become increasingly violent as the city grapples with its biggest political crisis in decades.

Efforts on Saturday to clear blocked roads followed some of the worst violence seen this year after a police operation against protesters at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on Tuesday.

The authorities have since largely stayed away from at least five university campuses that had been barricaded by thousands of students and activists stockpiling makeshift weapons.

Many protesters appeared to have left the campuses by late Saturday but Hong Kong‘s Cross-Harbor Tunnel was still blocked by protesters occupying Polytechnic University.

By Jessie Pang and Kate Lamb

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Author: Reuters

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Dem Gov. John Bel Edwards Wins Tight Governor’s Race in Louisiana

Democratic incumbent John Bel Edwards is projected to win a second term as Louisiana governor after early AP polling results show him narrowly defeating Republican opponent, businessman Eddie Rispone.

Edwards was up by over 19,300 votes out of 1.45 million cast, with 96 percent of precincts counted on Saturday night, according to AP.

Louisiana was the third and final state to vote on its governor after Edwards missed winning re-election in the October primary, triggering a run-off. Edwards had won 47 percent of the primary vote, followed by Rispone on 27 percent, and fellow Republican Ralph Abraham in 24 percent.

A West Point graduate, Edwards campaigned to voters as a Louisiana Democrat with political views that sometimes don’t match his party’s leaders.

“They talk about I’m some sort of a radical liberal. The people of Louisiana know better than that. I am squarely in the middle of the political spectrum,” Edwards said. “That hasn’t changed, and that’s the way we’ve been governing.”

He was elected to the Louisiana House in 2011 and first won the governor’s in 2015, defeating former Senator and Republican David Vitter by a 55 to 44 percent margin.

The defeat was due in part to Vitter’s 2007 prostitution scandal, in which a prostitute in Washington D.C. identified him as a client. It was also reported that he had had fraught relationships with several Republicans in the state. The vote subsequently went down as one of the biggest political upsets in history.

Once in office, Edwards demonstrated his opposition to gun restrictions, signed one of the nation’s strictest abortion bans, and has recently dismissed the impeachment effort as a distraction.

Rispone, a 70-year-old owner of a Baton Rouge industrial contracting company, had little name recognition before introducing himself as a candidate in adverts declaring his support for President Donald Trump.

Trump threw his support behind Rispone in the run-off, posting to Twitter on Saturday: “Good morning Louisiana! Polls are open at 7AM. Get out and VOTE for @EddieRispone to be your next Gov! He will get your taxes and auto insurance (highest in Country!) way down. Loves our Military & Vets. Will protect your 2A,” along with a link to locations of polling stations.

Trump was eager to see Rispone gain the governorship in the run up to the 2020 election, particularly in the wake of Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin being defeated by Democrat Andy Beshear earlier this month.

Both parties spent millions on adverts on top of at least $36 million spent by candidates, according to AP.

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Author: Katabella Roberts

‘The Talk’ Show Host Marie Osmond Reflects on Son’s Suicide 10 Years Later

Prolific country music singer Marie Osmond’s 18-year-old son Michael Blosil jumped off the eighth-floor balcony of his downtown Los Angeles apartment and died on Feb. 26, 2010. Embarking on a new chapter in her career almost a decade later, Osmond takes pause to reflect upon the tragic loss that still impacts her life today.

Osmond attends the 4th Annual National Believe Day at Macy’s Pasadena in California on Dec. 14, 2012. (©Getty Images | Jason Merritt)

Osmond had spoken to Michael just a day before his death. “The hardest thing,” she told Oprah Winfrey a year after Michael’s passing, “I told him, I said, ‘Mike, I’m going to be there Monday and it’s going to be okay.’ But depression doesn’t wait until Monday.”

Michael was one of five children that Osmond and her ex-husband, Brian Blosil, adopted before separating in 2007. One year after the divorce, Osmond and her eight children left Utah for a new life in Las Vegas and a new direction for Osmond on “Dancing with the Stars.”

My Michael, Happy Birthday. I love you my son… tell Grandma Happy Birthday too. Till we meet again 👼🏻 #AngelsInHeaven

اس پر ‏‎Marie Osmond‎‏ نے شائع کیا ہفتہ، 4 مئی، 2019

After a stint in rehab for substance abuse in 2007, it was also a chance to start over for Michael. However, despite battling with poor mental health and addiction, Michael was thriving at high school and was a talented musician, much like his estranged biological father.

His death left the family reeling. Michael wrote a suicide note explaining that he had intended to end his life after a lengthy, insurmountable battle with depression; he felt as though he had no friends and could never fit in.

Happy Birthday to my angel son Michael you are so loved!!! I chose to remarry my husband on Michael’s birthday so he…

اس پر ‏‎Marie Osmond‎‏ نے شائع کیا بدھ، 4 مئی، 2016

Osmond’s “Dancing with the Stars” partner Jonathan Roberts spoke to People after Michael’s death, recalling how Osmond had visited her son in rehab. “We’d stop our lessons so she could call,” Roberts said. “She would always make time for her kids. She is such a good mother.”

As of October 2019, Osmond, 60, is the newest co-host of CBS’s “The Talk” show, while simultaneously wrapping up her Las Vegas residency with brother Donny Osmond.

Flowers placed in front of the building on South Flower Street in Los Angeles, where Michael committed suicide on Feb. 28, 2010 (©Getty Images | Toby Canham)

Osmond, approaching the 10-year anniversary of Michael’s death, opened up to her co-hosts on “The Talk” in early October 2019. “I haven’t spoken about this before, but my son, who died, he was bullied. He was bullied very heavily right up until the time that he committed suicide,” she said.

Three teens had targeted Michael and teased him about his sobriety, Osmond explained. “I’ve got the texts,” she told her co-hosts. “They’re horrendous, and I never took action against it, but I can tell you honestly that I believe that was a high component in him just feeling overwhelmed and that he didn’t fit in.”

The grief of losing her son, Osmond said, follows her wherever she goes. “You know, I don’t think you’re ever through it,” Osmond admitted to CBS.

“I think God gives you respites,” she added, “and then all of a sudden it will hit you like the day it did. The ripple effect is so huge, what you leave behind.”

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A post shared by Marie Osmond (@marieosmond) on

Osmond has channeled her heartbreak into maintaining an open discussion on mental health ever since losing Michael.

The entertainer also focuses on the joy that remains in her life, including her remarriage to first husband Stephen Craig and the couple’s growing brood of grandchildren.

Thinking of the teenage son who may be gone but is not forgotten, Osmond reflected, “I know I’ll see him again. I know I will.”

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, seek support from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255.

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Author: Louise Bevan

Baby Girl Rescued As Police Catch Family Digging Grave to Bury Her Alive in India

Shocking mobile phone footage depicts Indian police officers confronting a man holding a swaddled baby while an accomplice hastily digs a hole in the ground nearby in which to bury her.

Police quickly ascertained that the man holding the infant was her grandfather. He and his accomplice, the baby’s uncle, were attempting to dispose of the baby girl on a patch of wasteland in Hyderabad on the morning of Oct. 31, 2019.

The footage has since gone viral on social media, horrifying netizens worldwide.

Monstrous. They were trying to bury her on a wasteland 😡

اس پر ‏‎Daily Mail‎‏ نے شائع کیا جمعہ، 1 نومبر، 2019

“This morning, an auto driver at the Jubilee bus stand ground noticed two persons with a bag in their hand,” one of the police officers, remaining unidentified, told NDTV. “They were digging a pit in the ground,” he said. “The auto driver immediately reported the incident to police.”

The Jubilee bus stand, described as “quite a crowded area” by Indian news anchors, was the site of a bus strike that day. The two men had chosen the location for its relative seclusion but were spotted nonetheless.

“After it came to our notice, we immediately went to the location and found a baby in the bag,” Constable S. Venkata Ramakrishna told India Today.

The two men, both from the Karimnagar district of Telangana, claimed that the baby had died and that they were instructed by other family members not to bring the body home from the hospital.

The baby’s body would not be allowed on public transport, they explained, so they decided to bury her on the wasteland. When the police officers arrived, the baby girl’s uncle was shifting the dirt with his bare hands.

The baby, wrapped tightly in a pink-and-orange blanket, was still and quiet enough not to arouse suspicion as the officers approached. It wasn’t long, however, that the police noticed the newborn infant moving beneath the blanket and proceeded to detain the two men for questioning.

It later transpired that the baby girl had a bladder disorder that required surgery, as per NDTV. It was speculated that the family was perhaps either unwilling or unable to seek the necessary treatment.

The baby girl was taken to Gandhi Hospital by the authorities for immediate assessment and medical care. The grandfather and uncle were questioned but later released.

Illustration – Shutterstock | SumanBhaumik

This case is the latest in an alarming succession of female babies and children whose infanticide, or attempted infanticide, represents India’s overwhelming preference for sons over daughters. The number of females in India has been declining for decades.

An Indian government survey released in July 2019 showed that the number of females per 1,000 males in India at large was 896 in the period of 2015 to 2017. Comparatively, there were 943 females per 1,000 males in the last census of 2011.

Illustration – Shutterstock | ESB Professional

The killing of baby girls is most prominent in Gujarat and the north Indian states, which have the lowest recorded rates of female infants.

Baby girls have long been viewed by some in India as a financial burden. The dowry tradition requires the family of a bride to gift a large sum of money, or valuable goods, to the groom and his family. The Dowry Prohibition Act formally outlawed the practice in 1961, but it continues to be deeply rooted in Indian culture.

An update from The Indian Express on Nov. 7, 2019, explained that the baby girl rescued from a devastating fate in Hyderabad was “dehydrated, but doing well at the hospital.” It is unclear whether or not her grandfather and uncle have been further questioned or charged for their alleged attempt to bury her alive.

The police officers who saved the baby girl in the nick of time said they were “just happy” that she was rescued.

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Author: Louise Bevan

2019 Kia Stinger GT2 RWD

The top-of-line GT2 trim of the Stinger family offers more tech plus advanced performance and assistance. The GT models sprints faster than the base 2.0L and Premium models thanks to the 3.3L Twin Turbo GDI gasoline V6, which is good for 365 horsepower and 376 lb.-ft. of torque.

Twin Turbo GDI V6. (Courtesy of Kia)

Coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, the rear-drive powertrain achieves a fuel economy of 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway for a 20-mpg combined average. Better mileage without giving up power is the number one goal of Kia engineers with the Stinger. I averaged 30 mpg during my weekly test period.

Stinger offers Drive Mode Select System with Eco, Smart, Comfort, Sport, and Custom modes. This allows you to choose the way you want to travel. After doing just a little experimenting with the different selections, I chose Eco as my principal travel mode.

Electronically Controlled Suspension, Brembo Brakes, electronic parking brake, and limited slip differential are great performance and safety components.

Technology, convenience, and comfort all work together to keep the passengers firmly seated in the cabin.

Inside the Stinger. (Courtesy of Kia)

The 8-inch UVO infotainment screen with navigation supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. SiriusXM Satellite Radio provides an endless amount of entertainment. Sound emanates from the Harman Kardon Premium Auto Surround Sound System with 15 speakers.

The 7-inch TFT color display flanked by sport gauges keeps you inform with a wealth of data. However, some readouts were a little hard to read.

Even though the Stinger is loaded with conveniences, it is the way it drives that you notice. The driving stability and cornering are remarkable. In fact, Kia’s literature says the Stinger boasts a 0-60 time of 4.7 seconds.

Once inside, Nappa leather seats are deeply contoured for added security and support. For me, they were a little too tightly fitted. Heating keeps front and rear outboard passengers warm on cold days, while the front occupants also enjoy ventilated cooling. For additional thoughtfulness, the power tilt and telescopic steering wheel ensures optimal driving comfort and keeps a clear sight to the dashboard. Multi-color LED accent lighting subtly illuminates the passenger side dash and front door pockets, and the color can be customized to fit the mood.

Quality leather surfaces. (Courtesy of Kia)

It’s easy and convenient to stow away little things with Under Floor Storage – a small tray hidden under the cargo floor. This tray has partitions for organizing smaller loose items, along with a spare tire.

The 60/40 split-folding rear seats provides added flexibility to accommodate a range of storage needs.

Smart Key can stay hidden in your pocket or purse, and lets the sensors work their magic. The Smart Power Trunk opens the lid when you stand near, opening in three seconds. It closes with a push of the button.

There is an old saying. “Safety never takes a day off.” Kia certainly subscribes to that philosophy, giving the Stinger an advanced sensor system, strategically placed air bags, and a stronger body construction from a break-through in materials and design. Those are just a few of the ways Kia works to keep passengers safe. And yes, I must repeat, Brembo High Performance Brakes add to driver control and passenger safety.

I felt the front bumper sensors were a little sensitive. Even when the objects were several feet away, they still admitted a loud alarm. Sometimes stationary objects a couple feet off the roadway would set off an alarm. If you were stopped at a red light and the car rolled forward just a little, or the driver in front backed up a little, the alarm went off. Then you had to sit there until the light changed listening to the alarm.

The MSRP for Kia Stinger starts at $32,990 for the base 2.0L model, and goes up to $50,500 for the GT2 trim.

Kia Stinger has an impressive spirit. When driving, the Stinger never held back. It sits alertly on 19-inch wheels with summer tires. Stinger is fast and solid, reminding me of the classic GT that I drove in the 1970s.

Kia boasts an industry-leading warranty program:
5-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty
10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty
5-year/100,000-mile limited anti-perforation warranty
5-year/60,000-mile 24-hour roadside assistance

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or dcaussey@sbcglobal.net.

 

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Author: Durhl Caussey

Flood-Hit Venice to Face Another Exceptional High Tide on Sunday

MILAN—Venice will face another exceptional high tide on Sunday, after its worst flooding in 50 years on Tuesday caused more than $1 billion worth of damage and submerged St. Mark’s Square under a meter of water.

A seagull eats a pigeon carcass in St. Mark’s Square after days of severe flooding in Venice, Italy on Nov. 16, 2019. (Manuel Silvestri/Reuters)

The tide could reach 5.25 feet just after midday on Sunday, according to Venice’s center for forecast on tides.

“It will be a tough day tomorrow, but we are ready,” Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said on Saturday during a press conference.

On Tuesday the tide peaked at 6.14 feet at 10.50 p.m. GMT, just short of the 6.36 feet record set in 1966. Under normal conditions, tides between 2.62 to 2.95 feet are generally seen as high but manageable.

Italian police officers patrol St. Mark’s Square after days of flooding in Venice, Italy on Nov. 16, 2019. (Manuel Silvestri/Reuters)

Brugnaro, who has been appointed the special commissioner to deal with the emergency, on Saturday said he had received offers of support from the European Union, and that the European Investment Bank (EIB) could grant special loans for repairs.

The mayor confirmed a damage estimate of around $1.1 billion. The government declared a state of emergency for Venice on Thursday, allocating about $22 million to address the immediate damage.

Volunteers save manuscripts from the music conservatory Benedetto Marcello after severe flooding in Venice, Italy on Nov. 16, 2019. (Manuel Silvestri/Reuters)

Speaking at the same press conference, the official supervising art works and historic buildings Emanuela Carpani said half the city’s 120 churches had been flooded with salt water on Tuesday, damaging some mosaic floors.

“Water is a cancer whose damages emerge after months,” Carpani said, adding that the first repairs to these churches could cost more than $3.9 million.

A man clears away damage caused by days of severe flooding in Venice, Italy on Nov. 16, 2019. (Manuel Silvestri/Reuters)

On Tuesday, Saint Mark’s Basilica was flooded for the sixth time in 1,200 years, but the fourth in the last 20.

With three tides above 4.5 feet this week, 2019 will be the worst year for high tides in Venice since 1872, when official tide statistics were first produced.

By Francesca Landini and Riccardo Bastianello

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Author: Reuters

Film Review: ‘Midway,’ a Great War Film

PG-13 | 2h 18min | Action, Drama, History | 8 November 2019

As a military veteran, I was looking forward to a good war movie this Veterans Day weekend. A few of the trailers for director Roland Emmerich’s “Midway” sported some of the most impressive visuals I’ve seen in quite some time, but that wasn’t much of surprise. After all, this is the same man who brought us spectacle-laden films like “Independence Day” (1996) and “The Day After Tomorrow” (2004). However, I was cautiously optimistic. I hoped that it wouldn’t be a cornball fest like Michael Bay’s “Pearl Harbor” (2001) or the original “Midway” effort from 1976. It wasn’t.

The film retells the three primary events that led up to the now epic clash between the United States and Japanese naval fleets at Midway Island: the Japanese ambush at Pearl Harbor (December 1941), the Doolittle bombing raid over Japan (April 1942), and the Battle of the Coral Sea (May 1942). These three primers culminated in the eventual, decisive Battle of Midway (June 1942), when the U.S. Navy used guile and guts to turn back Japan’s aggressive bid for the Pacific theater (and eventually the entire West Coast of North America).

During the film’s 2-hour-and-18-minute runtime, we get to meet various U.S. naval heroes, including Admiral Chester Nimitz (Woody Harrelson) and Vice Admiral William “Bull” Halsey (Dennis Quaid), who is the commander of the USS Enterprise. Whereas the 1957 version of the film had an equally impressive cast, it focused more on these senior officers.

Here, the story is told primarily from the point of view of the lower ranks: namely, the cocky, gum-chewing pilot Lieutenant Dick Best (Ed Skrein), and intelligence operative Lieutenant Commander Edwin Layton (Patrick Wilson). This approach makes the film much more immersive, as you get a more intimate look into the lives of the men who had their feet closer to the ground (or deck, as the case may be).

Luke Evans (L) and Ed Skrein as U.S. flyboys in “Midway.” (Lionsgate)

Fortunately, the perspective on the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy and their legendary military culture is given a fair and balanced portrayal. Although the film touches on the outrageous atrocities carried out by the Japanese, particularly against the Chinese, it does allow for more historical complexity than painting the former with one broad brushstroke.

Emmerich’s (along with writer Wes Tooke) retelling of the Pacific War is candid, without any of the sappy romances or convoluted subplots featured in the 1957 version. Their no-frills approach unabashedly celebrates honor, duty, patriotism, selflessness, and masculinity—straight up.

Thankfully, there is no trace of the hyper-political correctness that plagues modern films these days. Even the slower moments are terse and serve to describe the tremendous training of these brave naval pilots and the crucial intelligence gathering and strategic planning that their superiors engaged in.

Ed Skrein (R) in “Midway.” (Lionsgate)

Of course, one of the main draws of the film is the battle scenes themselves. Instead of the overblown, cheesy silliness (but admitted fun) of “Independence Day,” the CGI effects featured here look much more realistic and give a definite sense of gravitas to the life-and-death struggles unfolding on the silver screen.

Not only are the effects impressive, but the cinematography is outstanding and engenders a sense of both exhilaration and jaw-dropping wonderment. Few war films really give me a sense of being there, but this one did. Especially during the final balls-to-the-walls scenes where Lt. Best and his cohorts go all out in their dive-bombing attempts on Japanese ships.

While Harrelson and Quaid are at their usual best, the rest of the supporting cast is also superb. As mentioned, Wilson is a naval intelligence officer (and code-cracker), who is trying to convince his superiors that a major Japanese attack will happen at Midway Island, and soon.

Other standouts include Mandy Moore as Best’s dutiful wife, Ann, who supports him in his effort to transmute his brashness into focused fury. Also impressive is Nick Jonas as naval machinist Bruno Gaido and Luke Evans as naval flyboy Lieutenant Commander Wade McClusky.

Nick Jonas in “Midway.” (Lionsgate)

“Midway” is even more impressive than expected. It effectively honors the real-life military heroes who served our great country in one of its crucial hours of need—and then some. It is well-paced and avoids much of the unnecessary melodrama that bloats lesser war films. It also isn’t needlessly gory, yet it has enough action to fill out its PG-13 rating. As it stands, this newest “Midway,” decades from now, could be considered a classic war film.

‘Midway
Director: Roland Emmerich
Starring: Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Dennis Quaid
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 18 minutes
Release Date: Nov. 8, 2019
Rated: 5 stars out of 5

Ian Kane is a filmmaker and author based out of Los Angeles. To see more, visit DreamFlightEnt.com or contact him at Twitter.com/ImIanKane

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Author: Ian Kane

Dennis Prager on How Colleges Indoctrinate Students With Contempt for America, ‘No Safe Spaces’ Film

According to Dennis Prager, what exactly are the “safe spaces” found on college campuses across America today?

How have American universities been radicalized?

Why are members of the intellectual elite more likely to embrace radical communist ideology?

And, is the yearning for freedom actually an innate human desire?

This is American Thought Leaders, and I’m Jan Jekielek.

Today we sit down with radio talk show personality Dennis Prager, the founder of Prager University, to discuss the new documentary film “No Safe Spaces.” Directed by Justin Folk, the film features Dennis Prager, Adam Carolla, Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, and Dave Rubin.

American Thought Leaders is an Epoch Times show available on Facebook and YouTube.

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Author: Jan Jekielek

Chinese Soldiers Make First Appearance Amid Hong Kong Protests, Clear Debris From Street

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers in T-shirts and shorts left were seen on the streets of Hong Kong on Nov. 16, helping residents clear debris left by protesters.

The troops’ participation in the clean-up operation marked the first time Chinese soldiers have appeared on the ground during more than five months of demonstrations against the Chinese communist regime’s growing influence on the city.

Chinese state media outlets have portrayed the ongoing protests as “riots,” and have repeatedly threatened that the PLA could be sent in to crush the movement.

Late afternoon, locals were cleaning up bricks and barricades on a road near Hong Kong Baptist University in Kowloon Tong, when around 50 PLA soldiers from the nearby barrack arrived with buckets and brooms to clear the remaining debris, according to Hong Kong Free Press.

A cameraperson, who accompanied the soldiers, filmed the exercise, the outlet reported.

Chinese troops have appeared on Hong Kong streets only once since the 1997 handover to help clear up after a typhoon in 2018.

Pro-democracy lawmakers have condemned the incident, saying the PLA troops’ actions could have violated the city’s laws restricting Chinese military involvement in Hong Kong.

In a statement, they cited Article 14 of the Garrison Law, which states that the PLA “shall not interfere in the local affairs” of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong government may ask the garrison to assist in “the maintenance of public order or disaster relief.”

A city spokesman said the Hong Kong government did not request assistance from the PLA, but the military initiated the operation as a “voluntary community activity.”

The PLA garrison in Hong Kong said that when some residents began cleaning, some troops “helped clear the road in front of the garrison gate.”

Demosistō, a pro-democracy organization, said the clean-up operation could set a “grave precedent” for the government to invite the PLA to deal with internal problems.

The pro-democracy lawmakers added that Hong Kong authorities and the garrison have “cooperated to create excuses,” and ignored the laws restricting the PLA’s activities in Hong Kong.

“They want the Hong Kong people to get used to the PLA’s public activities in Hong Kong and gradually rationalize the PLA’s operations in Hong Kong under boiling frog effect,” they said.

In August, Beijing moved thousands of troops across the border into Hong Kong in what state news agency Xinhua described as a routine rotation. Foreign envoys and security analysts estimate up to 12,000 troops are now based across Hong Kong—more than double the usual garrison number.

Saturday’s clean-up came after some of the worst violence since the movement began in June, with police besieging the Chinese University of Hong Kong on Tuesday.

Protesters and students had since barricaded at least five university campuses, but appear to have left the campuses by late Saturday.

Clashes between police and protesters erupted at Polytechnic University campus in Hung Hom on late Saturday, as police deployed tear gas in response to protesters throwing petrol bombs from a rooftop, South China Morning Post reported.

Reuters contributed to this report. 

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Author: Cathy He

Kavanaugh Cites Litany of Friends as Source of Strength During ‘Ugly’ Confirmation Process

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh says that he never felt alone during the tense confirmation battle last year, citing his faith and slew of friends as sources of strength during the process.

On the cusp of being confirmed, Kavanaugh’s nomination was derailed by multiple women accusing him of sexually assaulting them while he was in high school or college. Several accusers later recanted their allegations and the others lacked corroboration.

Kavanaugh was ultimately confirmed by a narrow vote in October 2018.

In his first public speech since becoming a justice, Kavanaugh told a crowd at Union Station in Washington: “I never felt alone.”

“I signed up for what I knew would be an ugly process—maybe not that ugly—but my friends did not,” he said on Thursday, reported USA Today. “And yet in the midst of it all, they stood up, and they stood by me.”

Kavanaugh thanked Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, who were in the audience, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) before speaking of the other justices on the court, including saying he was inspired by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Nominated by President Bill Clinton, Ginsburg, 86, is the oldest justice on the court.

A view of the Supreme Court in Washington on Nov. 11, 2019. (Susan Walsh/AP Photo)
Demonstrators carry signs as they protest out the venue where U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh addressed the annual meeting of the Federalist Society at Washington’s Union Station on Nov. 14, 2019, in this still image from video obtained via social media. (Kevin Althaus via Reuters)

Kavanaugh said that “thanks to” Alito, “we are all originalists now. We are all textualists now.” Alito, 69, nominated by President George W. Bush, is part of the consistent conservative portion of the court.

Kavanaugh also said he is “optimistic about the future of America and our independent judiciary.”

After the talk, Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the Federalist Society, said: “I think he’s teaching this audience a lesson—that in today’s culture, when you stand for certain principles, you’re going to be attacked, and you need to have the courage to see it through.”

The appearance drew protesters, some of whom stood outside dressed as handmaids from the television series “A Handmaid’s Tale” in a reference to fears by some Democratic activists that Roe v. Wade could be struck down by the Supreme Court with its conservative majority.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) was among those criticizing Kavanaugh’s appearance at the Federalist Society’s gala, claiming it would violate the ethical code that governs all federal judges except for those on the nation’s highest court.

“A private organization funded by anonymous donors having an improper role in the selection of judges and justices is bad enough. A Supreme Court Justice returning favors to that organization is even worse. The Court needs an ethics code,” he said in a statement.

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Author: Zachary Stieber