More victims, more damage found in Japan typhoon aftermath
Utility workers survey damages in a neighborhood
devastated by Typhoon Hagibis Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, in Nagano, Japan. (AP
Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A man surveys damages at an apple orchard
devastated by Typhoon Hagibis in Nagano. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Yoshiki Yoshimura, 17, cleans up mud at his home
after Typhoon Hagibis passed through the neighborhood. (AP Photo/Jae C.
A man surveys a home damaged by Typhoon Hagibis
Tuesday in Nagano. More victims and more damage have been found in
typhoon-hit areas of central and northern Japan, where rescue crews are
searching for people still missing. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
residential area is flooded after an embankment of the Chikuma River broke
due to Typhoon Hagibis, in Nagano, central Japan. (Kyodo News via AP)
By Haruka Nuga & Mari Yamaguchi
Nagano, Japan (AP) — The toll of death and
destruction from a typhoon that tore through central and northern Japan
climbed Tuesday, as the government said it was considering approving a
special budget for the disaster response and eventual reconstruction.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a parliamentary session
that the number of deaths tied to Typhoon Hagibis had climbed to 53 and was
expected to rise, as at least another nine people are presumed dead. Japan's
Kyodo News agency, citing its own tally, put the death toll at 69.
Abe pledged to do the utmost for the safety and rescue
of those missing or those who had to evacuate.
"We put the people's lives first," he said.
Hagibis hit Japan's main island on Saturday with strong
winds and historic rainfall that caused more than 200 rivers to overflow,
leaving thousands of homes flooded, damaged or without power. Rescue crews
on Tuesday were still searching for those missing, thought to number about
Some 34,000 homes were without power and 110,000 lacked
running water. More than 30,000 people were still at shelters as of late
Monday, according to the Cabinet Office's latest tally.
Business appeared nearly back to normal in central
Tokyo, and residents in areas where floodwater subsided started cleaning up.
Lives, however, remained paralyzed in Nagano, Fukushima and other hard-hit
areas that were still inundated.
Some residents in Nagano returned to their homes, only
to find they may not be habitable.
Retired carpenter Toshitaka Yoshimura, who grew up in
the Tsuno district of Nagano, was stunned when he returned to his home after
staying at an evacuation center during the storm. His house was a mess.
Doors were knocked out, his handmade furniture was tossed around and
damaged, and everything from a futon to electronics were broken and covered
"I put a lot of effort in this house. I made all the
furniture with my wife. Now look what happened in one day," he said, with
his voice trembling with emotion. "Now this makes me want to cry."
At least some of his memorable photos with his family
and relatives were intact, along with toys and games that his younger
relatives played when they gathered at his house.
"I'm glad they survived at least," said his nephew
Kazuki Yoshimura. "Perhaps we can still do something about the house, but
nothing can be more precious than life."
In Fukushima, 11 bags containing possibly radioactive
soil and debris removed as part of decontamination efforts from the 2011
meltdown of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant were washed from two
outdoor temporary storage sites and found downstream, the Environment
Ministry said. Most of the remaining 5,000 bags stacked up at the two sites
— one in Tamura city and another in Iitate — remained in place.
There was no risk to the environment because the
waterproof bags were intact and hadn't leaked, the ministry said. It said,
however, officials will take preventive measures ahead of future rainstorms.
A massive number of such bags are still being kept at
760 similar sites across Fukushima. Their transfer to a longer-term storage
facility near the plant is expected to be completed by March 2022.
Speaking in parliament, Abe said there are concerns of
lasting effects of the storm in hard-hit areas. He pledged speedy support
Abe said the government is funding the disaster
response from the 500 billion yen ($4.6 billion) special reserve from the
fiscal 2019 budget and may compile a supplementary budget if needed.
East Japan Railway Co. said its Hokuriku Shinkansen
bullet train services connecting Tokyo and Kanazawa were reduced because of
flooding of six trains at its railyard in Nagano. The trains sat in a pool
of muddy water that was up to their windows.
Questions have been raised about the site of the
railyard, which sits in an area noted on a prefectural hazard map as a flood
area. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the operator's
preparedness should be investigated later but the priority is to get the
trains out of the water. Some water has been pumped out, but more than half
of the railyard is still underwater.
Yamaguchi reported from Tokyo. Follow her on Twitter
EU: Brexit deal still possible this week, UK must act now
European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel
Barnier speaks with the media as he arrives for a meeting of EU General
Affairs ministers, Article 50, at the European Convention Center in
Luxembourg, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019. European Union chief Brexit negotiator
Michel Barnier is in Luxembourg on Tuesday to brief ministers on the state
of play for Brexit. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
By Raf Casert
Luxembourg (AP) — A Brexit divorce deal is still
possible ahead of Thursday's European Union summit but the British
government needs to move ahead with more compromises to seal an agreement in
the next few hours, the bloc said Tuesday.
Even though many open questions remain, diplomats made
it clear that both sides were for the first time within touching distance
since an earlier EU-U.K. Brexit withdrawal plan fell apart in the British
House of Commons in March.
EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said at a meeting
of EU ministers that the main challenge now is to turn the new British
proposals on the complex Irish border issue into something binding. EU
member Ireland has a land border with the U.K.'s Northern Ireland and both
want to keep that border invisible, for economic and peace treaty reasons.
But once Britain leaves the bloc, that Irish border turns into an external
EU border that the bloc wants to keep secure.
Barnier said it's "high time to turn good intentions
into a legal text." He wants a clear answer by Wednesday morning to tell EU
capitals what should be decided once the bloc's two-day summit kicks off on
"Even if an agreement will be difficult — more and more
difficult, we think — it is still possible this week," Barnier said.
To further boost the momentum, British Prime Minister
Boris Johnson called French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss where more
movement could be found.
Britain is scheduled to leave the EU on Oct. 31, and
the EU summit this week was long considered one of the last possible chances
to approve a divorce agreement to accommodate that deadline. Johnson insists
his country will leave at the end of the month with or without a divorce
deal, but British lawmakers have been adamant on avoiding a no-deal Brexit.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, who had a long,
intense talk with Barnier early Tuesday, said the EU believes "this is
difficult, but it is doable." He said Barnier addressed EU ministers and
"did point to progress in the last number of days where the gaps have been
A senior German official wouldn't rule out a Brexit
agreement in principle by Wednesday afternoon, but stressed the importance
of time-consuming specifications.
"The basis for our decisions are legal texts in which
the details are settled," the official, who briefed reporters on condition
of anonymity in line with department rules, said in Berlin. "But there has
been progress, and as always in these negotiations the biggest progress
happens over the final meters."
Late Monday, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said the
British proposals to keep the Irish border protected from smuggling and
fraud once it leaves the bloc were insufficient.
"The U.K. proposal contained some steps forward but not
enough to guarantee that the internal market will be protected," Blok said.
One EU diplomat said for things to work, technical
negotiators would need to finish their text and make it available by 10 a.m.
Wednesday so European governments have time to assess them.
EU ministers insisted it was time for Johnson to make
the next move — and he seemed to be listening. Besides the call with Macron,
Johnson shifted Britain's weekly Cabinet meeting from Tuesday to Wednesday
so he could give his ministers a better idea of Brexit progress.
If talks fail or stumble ahead of the EU summit, there
could always be an extraordinary meeting just ahead of the Oct. 31 Brexit
departure — or the Brexit deadline could be extended again.
"There will be progress tomorrow, the question is how
big this progress will be," the German official said. "Is this progress so
great that work is still needed, but this work can be done in the next few
days? Or is the progress such that two more months' work is needed?"
Brexit negotiators, politicians and ordinary Europeans
were all waiting for the answers to those questions.
Geir Moulson in Berlin and Sylvie Corbet in Paris
Turkish, Kurdish forces battle for key Syrian border town
In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the
border between Turkey and Syria, in Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province,
southeastern Turkey, smoke and dust billows from targets in Ras al-Ayn,
Syria, caused by bombardment by Turkish forces, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019.
Turkish artillery on Tuesday pounded suspected Syrian Kurdish positions near
the town in northeast Syria amid reports that Kurdish fighters had retaken
the town as Turkey pressed ahead with a military incursion that has drawn
widespread condemnation. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
By Lefteris Pitarakis & Bassem Mroue
Ceylanpinar, Turkey (AP) — Turkey defied growing
condemnation from its NATO allies to press ahead with its invasion of
northern Syria on Tuesday, shelling suspected Kurdish positions near the
border amid reports that Syrian Kurds had retaken a key town.
Targeting Turkey's economy, U.S. President Donald Trump
on Monday announced sanctions aimed at restraining the Turks' assault
against Kurdish fighters and civilians in Syria — an assault Turkey began
after Trump announced he was moving U.S. troops out of the way.
The United States also called on Turkey to stop the
offensive and declare a cease-fire, while European Union countries moved to
broaden an arms sale embargo against their easternmost ally.
Now in its seventh day, Turkey's offensive has sowed
fear and chaos in an already war-weary region — and upended alliances amid
Syria's eight-year conflict.
An Associated Press journalist reported heavy
bombardment of targets in the countryside of Ras al-Ayn early on Tuesday,
days after Turkey announced that it had captured the border town. Turkish
jets also carried out at least one airstrike.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war
monitoring group, reported that Syrian Kurdish fighters had retaken the
Turkish media reports said Turkey's military was
responding to attempts by the Kurdish fighters to infiltrate Ras al-Ayn.
The renewed battle for the border town follows the
deployment of Syria's army near the Turkish border, after Syrian Kurdish
forces — saying they had been abandoned by their U.S. ally — reached a deal
with President Bashar Assad's government to help them fend off Turkey's
Assad's return to the region his troops abandoned in
2012 at the height of the Syrian civil war is a turning point in the
conflict, giving yet another major boost to his government and its Russian
backers and is like to endanger, if not altogether crush, the brief
experiment in self-rule set up by Syria's Kurds since the conflict began.
Washington said Trump was sending Vice President Mike
Pence and national security adviser Robert O'Brien to Ankara as soon as
possible in an attempt to begin negotiations over a stop to the fighting.
Pence said Trump spoke directly to Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who
promised not to attack the border town of Kobani, which in 2015 witnessed
the Islamic State group's first defeat in a battle by U.S.-backed Kurdish
A Turkish military official, meanwhile denied reports
that Turkey had begun an assault on the Kurdish-held town of Manbij, without
giving further detail.
The Manbij region is home to U.S. outposts that were
set up in 2017 to patrol the tense frontiers between Turkish-controlled
areas and the Kurdish-held side of northern Syria. A U.S. official said
troops are still in the town, preparing to leave.
On Monday Syrian fighters backed by Turkey had said
they had started an offensive to capture Manbij, which is on the western
flank of the Euphrates River, broadening their campaign east of the river.
Erdogan for his part defended Turkey's offensive in an
op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, calling on the international
community to support Turkey's effort to create what it calls a resettlement
"safe zone" for refugees in northeast Syria, or "begin admitting refugees."
"Turkey reached its limit," Erdogan wrote in reference
to 3.6 million Syrian refugees in his country. He said Turkey's warnings
that it would not be able to stop refugee floods into the West without
international support "fell on deaf ears."
Mroue reported from Beirut. Associated Press writer
Suzan Fraser contributed from Ankara, Turkey.
Legendary Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov buried in Russia
In this Tuesday, July 20, 2010 file photo,
former Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov speaks to the media before a
reception at the U.S. Ambassador's Spaso House residence in Moscow, Russia.
Russia's space agency says Alexei Leonov, the first human to walk in space
54 years ago, has died in Moscow. He was 85. Roscosmos says in a statement
on its website that Leonov died on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. (AP
Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)
Mytishchi, Russia (AP) — Alexei Leonov, the
first person to walk in space, has been laid to rest at a memorial cemetery
outside the Russian capital of Moscow.
The legendary cosmonaut, who died Friday at 85, was
buried Tuesday in a lavish ceremony, attended by hundreds of well-wishers
and other celebrated cosmonauts.
Leonov staked his place in history on March 18, 1965,
when he exited his space capsule to spend 12 minutes in outer space.
Ten years later, he was the commander of the Soviet
section at the Apollo-Soyuz flight, the first joint Soviet-U.S. space
Tom Stafford, commander of the U.S. section in the
Apollo-Soyuz mission, came to the cemetery Tuesday to pay his last respects
to Leonov, calling him a "colleague and friend."
Japan looks for missing after typhoon kills dozens
Typhoon-damaged cars sit
on the street covered with mud Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Hoyasu, Japan.
Rescue crews in Japan dug through mudslides and searched near swollen
rivers Monday as they looked for those missing from typhoon Hagibis that
left as many as 36 dead and caused serious damage in central and
northern Japan. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Two vehicles are submerged
in floodwaters Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Hoyasu, Japan. (AP Photo/Jae C.
Search and rescue team
members wade through floodwaters Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Hoyasu,
Japan. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Residents are rescued in
Marumori town, Miyagi prefecture, Japan Monday, Oct. 14, 2019 following
Typhoon Hagibis. (Kyodo News via AP)
Residents clean a house damaged by Typhoon Hagibis, in Marumori town,
Miyagi prefecture, Japan Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. (Kyodo News via AP)
By Jae C. Hong & Yuri Kageyama
Nagano, Japan (AP) — Rescue crews dug
through mudslides and searched near swollen rivers Monday as they looked
for those missing from a typhoon that left dozens dead and caused
serious damage in central and northern Japan.
Typhoon Hagibis unleashed torrents of rain and
strong winds Saturday, leaving thousands of homes on Japan's main island
flooded, damaged or without power.
A riverside section of Nagano, northwest of Tokyo,
was covered with mud, its apple orchards completely flooded and homes
still without electricity.
Japan's Kyodo News agency reported that 48 people
died from the typhoon, 17 were missing and some 100 were injured.
The government's Fire and Disaster Management
Agency, which is generally more conservative in assessing its numbers,
said 24 people were dead and nine were missing.
Experts said it would take time to accurately
assess the extent of damage, and the casualty count has been growing
Hagibis dropped record amounts of rain for a period
in some spots, according to meteorological officials, causing more than
20 rivers to overflow. In Kanagawa prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, 100
centimeters (39 inches) of rain was recorded over 48 hours.
Some of the muddy waters in streets, fields and
residential areas have subsided. But many places remained flooded
Monday, with homes and surrounding roads covered in mud and littered
with broken wooden pieces and debris. Some places normally dry still
looked like giant rivers.
Some who lined up for morning soup at evacuation
shelters, which are housing 30,000 people, expressed concern about the
homes they left behind. Survivors and rescuers will also face colder
weather, with northern Japan turning chilly this week.
Soldiers and firefighters from throughout Japan
were deployed to assist with rescue efforts. Helicopters could be seen
plucking some of the stranded from higher floors and rooftops of
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government would
set up a special disaster team, including officials from various
ministries, to deal with the fallout from the typhoon, including helping
those in evacuation centers and boosting efforts to restore water and
electricity to homes.
"Our response must be rapid and appropriate," Abe
said, stressing that many people remained missing and damage was
Damage was especially serious in Nagano prefecture,
where an embankment of the Chikuma River broke.
In one area, a few vehicles in used car lots were
flipped over by the waters that had gushed in, covering everything with
mud. Apples swept from the flooded orchards lay scattered in the mud.
Areas in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures in
northern Japan were also badly flooded.
In such places, rescue crew paddled in boats to
reach half-submerged homes, calling out to anyone left stranded.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said 35,100 homes were
still without electricity early Monday evening in Tokyo and nearby
prefectures that the utility serves. That was down from nearly 57,000
earlier in the day.
East Japan Railway Co. said Hokuriku bullet trains
were running Monday but were reduced in frequency and limited to the
Nagano city and Tokyo routes.
Mimori Domoto, who works at Nagano craft beer-maker
Yoho Brewing Co., said all 40 employees at her company were confirmed
safe, though deliveries were halted.
"My heart aches when I think of the damage that
happened in Nagano. Who would have thought it would get this bad?" she
Tama River in Tokyo overflowed, but the damage was
not as great in the capital as in other areas. Areas surrounding Tokyo,
such as Tochigi, also suffered damage.
Much of life in Tokyo returned to normal on Monday.
People were out and about in the city, trains were running, and store
shelves left bare when people were stockpiling were replenished.
Kageyama reported from Tokyo.
Pomp in London, talks in Brussels as Brexit deadline looms
Queen Elizabeth II, with Prince Charles, delivers the Queen's Speech at the
official State Opening of Parliament in London, Monday Oct. 14, 2019.
(Victoria Jones/Pool via AP)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II travels in a
carriage to parliament for the official State Opening of Parliament in
London, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
the House of Lords attend the official State Opening of Parliament in
London, Monday Oct. 14, 2019. (Toby Melville/Pool via AP)
By Jill Lawless & Raf Casert
London (AP) — Britain and the European Union
said Monday that divorce talks were making slow progress, as the U.K.
government tried to look beyond Brexit with a wide-ranging policy platform
read by Queen Elizabeth II in a pomp-filled ceremony.
In terms of historical importance, the painstaking
paragraph-by-paragraph talks at the EU's glass-and-steel Berlaymont
headquarters outweighed the regal ritual in which an ermine-draped monarch
delivered a speech on the priorities of a Conservative government that could
be out of office within weeks.
But the spectacle, complete with horse-drawn coaches,
lords in scarlet robes and a diamond-studded crown, did provide a diversion
from the long Brexit grind.
Britain is scheduled to leave the EU on Oct. 31, and an
EU summit on Thursday or Friday is considered one of the last possible
chances to approve a divorce agreement to accommodate that timeframe.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson insists the country will
leave at the end of the month with or without a deal.
"My government's priority has always been to secure the
United Kingdom's departure from the European Union on the 31st of October,"
the queen said in a speech to Parliament, written for her by the government.
It remains to be seen whether Johnson will achieve that
Brexit negotiations have intensified over recent days
after the British and Irish leaders said they could see a "pathway" to a
deal. Technical teams from Britain and the EU worked through the weekend,
but both sides said Monday that significant gaps remained between their
Johnson's spokesman, James Slack, said "the talks
remain constructive but there is still a lot of work to do."
Discussions centered on the difficult issue of the
future border arrangements between EU member Ireland and Northern Ireland,
which is part of the U.K. Johnson has put forward a complex proposal to
eliminate the need for customs checks, but EU officials say more work is
An EU diplomat familiar with the talks said there would
likely need to be a three-month extension to Brexit to turn the proposals
into a legally binding deal.
"There are big problems remaining to counter smuggling
and fraud because the British outlines are still that vague," said the
diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are ongoing.
"There is momentum but there is still little movement."
Arriving for a meeting of EU ministers in Luxembourg,
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said "a deal is possible, and it is
possible this month. May be possible this week. But we are not there yet."
In London, the queen delivered a speech outlining an
ambitious — and critics say undeliverable — legislative program for
The 10-minute speech, read by the 93-year-old monarch
from a gilded throne in the House of Lords, included more than 20 bills,
including a law to implement an EU withdrawal agreement, should one be
It also contained plans for post-Brexit reforms to
agriculture, fishing and immigration that will include the ending of the
automatic right of EU citizens to live and work in Britain in 2021. The
speech also included a long list of domestic policies, from longer sentences
for violent criminals to no-fault divorce, tougher air pollution rules and
new building-safety rules.
The government's critics called the speech a stunt,
because Johnson's Conservative administration lacks a majority in Parliament
and an election looks likely within the next few months, whether or not
Britain leaves the EU as scheduled on Oct. 31.
"The Queen's Speech was an election broadcast for the
Tory Party more than anything else," tweeted Scottish National Party leader
in Parliament Ian Blackford.
The speech was part of the State Opening of Parliament,
a ceremony steeped in centuries-old symbolism of the power struggle between
Parliament and the British monarchy. Lawmakers are summoned to listen to the
queen by a security official named Black Rod — but only comply after
slamming the House of Commons door in their face to symbolize the chamber's
independence from the monarch.
The state opening is usually an annual event, but amid
the country's Brexit chaos there has been no queen's speech for more than
two years — the longest gap for more than three centuries.
Lawmakers will hold several days of debate on the
speech, culminating in a vote, which the government could well lose. That
would heap even more pressure on Johnson's embattled administration.
The speech forms part of the run-up to the summit of EU
leaders, including Johnson, in Brussels Thursday and Friday to see whether a
Brexit deal is possible before Oct. 31.
The challenge of maintaining an invisible border on the
island of Ireland — something that underpins both the local economy and the
region's peace deal — has dominated Brexit discussions for three years since
U.K. voters chose in 2016 to leave the EU.
Britain's Parliament is due to hold a Saturday sitting
this week, for the first time since the Falklands War of 1982, to decide on
the next steps after the summit.
If a Brexit deal is reached, it still needs to be
approved by both the British and European parliaments. Many British
lawmakers — on both pro-Brexit and pro-EU sides of the debate — remain
Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said
Sunday that his party was unlikely to support any deal agreed upon by
Whether or not he secures a deal, Johnson is likely to
face a move by parliament to hold a new referendum on whether to leave the
bloc or remain. If there is no deal, lawmakers will try to ensure that the
government seeks a delay to Brexit rather than crash out without an
agreement on Oct. 31.
Casert reported from Luxembourg.
Ecuador indigenous, president strike deal to end protests
leaders attend negotiations with President Lenin Moreno in Quito, Ecuador,
Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. The government and indigenous protesters started
negotiations aimed at defusing more than a week of demonstrations that have
paralyzed the nation's economy. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
President Lenin Moreno, left, speaks during negotiations with
anti-government protesters as Arnaud Peral Resident Coordinator of the
United Nations System and UNDP Representative in Ecuador, right, listen in
Quito, Ecuador, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
Anti-government protesters stand behind their
burning roadblock as they face off with police near the National Assembly
during a military curfew in Quito, Ecuador, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. (AP
walk among the debris of barricades set by anti-government protesters in
Quito, Ecuador, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. President Lenin Moreno ordered the
army onto the streets of Ecuador's capital Saturday after a week and a half
of protests over fuel prices devolved into violent incidents. (AP
By Michael Weissenstein & Gonzalo Solano
Quito, Ecuador (AP) — President Lenín Moreno and
leaders of Ecuador's indigenous peoples struck a deal late Sunday to cancel
a disputed austerity package and end nearly two weeks of protests that have
paralyzed the economy and left seven dead.
Under the agreement announced just before 10 p.m.,
Moreno will withdraw the International Monetary Fund-backed package known as
Decree 883 that included a sharp rise in fuels. Indigenous leaders, in turn,
will call on their followers to end protests and street blockades.
"Comrades, a deal is compromise on both sides," Moreno
said. "The indigenous mobilization will end and Decree 883 will be lifted."
The two sides will work together to develop a new
package of measures to cut government spending, increase revenues and reduce
Ecuador's unsustainable budget deficits and public debt.
"The moment of peace, of agreement, has come for
Ecuador," said Arnaud Peral, the United Nations' resident coordinator in
Ecuador and one of the mediators of the nationally televised talks, which
started about 6 p.m. "This deal is an extraordinary step."
Wearing the feathered headdress and face paint of the
Achuar people of the Amazon rain forest, the president of the Confederation
of Indigenous Nations, Jaime Vargas, thanked Moreno and demanded improved
long-term conditions for indigenous Ecuadorians.
"We want peace for our brothers and sisters in this
country," Vargas said. "We don't want more repression."
Protests over the austerity package have blocked roads,
shuttered businesses from dairies to flower farms and halved Ecuador's oil
production, forcing a temporary halt to the country's most important export.
In a shift from the heated language of the last 10 days
of protests, each side at the negotiations praised the other's willingness
to talk as they outlined their positions in the first hour before a short
Other indigenous demands included higher taxes on the
wealthy and the firing of the interior and defense ministers over their
handling of the protests.
"From our heart, we declare that we, the peoples and
nations, have risen up in search of liberty," Vargas said. "We recognize the
bravery of the men and women who rose up."
Earlier in the day, hundreds of black-clad riot police
drove protesters out of north-central Quito's Arbolito Park, the epicenter
of the protests, and into surrounding streets.
The park had filled Friday with mostly peaceful
protesters chanting against the government. But by Sunday afternoon the air
was white with smoke from burning tires and tear gas after more than 24
hours of clashes between police and hard-core protesters armed with
sharpened sticks and shields improvised out of satellite dishes or plywood.
Adjoining streets were piled high with burned tires, tree branches and
Volunteer medics from the fire department and medical
schools waved white sheets on poles as they led downcast protesters out of
the area to safety. Young men from Ecuador's indigenous minority and mixed
race, or mestizo, majority, milled about on streets under the watch of
police and a few dozen soldiers.
The public ombudsman's office said Sunday that seven
people had died in the protests, 1,340 had been hurt and 1,152 arrested. The
government loosened a 24-hour curfew imposed Saturday, allowing people to
move freely around the capital between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.
The protests have drawn thousands of Ecuadorians from
outside the indigenous minority.
Michael Limaico, an unemployed sign-maker, stood on a
corner in the Carcelen neighborhood Saturday near a line of burned tires
that blocked one of the Quito's main thoroughfares. Limaico said that he and
his wife had struggled for years to feed and house their three children,
ages 9 to 15, with their earnings of about $600 a month from odd jobs around
Then, prices of food and other basic goods rose sharply
after Moreno removed fuel subsidies Oct. 2. Limaico said it had become
impossible to make ends meet, and he had been protesting for days with
neighbors who have blocked Diego de Vazquez Avenue as it passes through
"This isn't a protest of thieves, of gangsters," he
said. "This is the people, and we're fed up."
Moreno said the masked protesters had nothing to do
with the thousands of indigenous Ecuadorians who have protested for more
than a week over the sudden rise in fuel prices, following on the heels of
demonstrations by transport workers. Moreno blamed the violence on drug
traffickers, organized crime and followers of former President Rafael
Correa, who has denied allegations that he is trying to topple Moreno's
Moreno served Correa as vice president before he become
president and the two men went through a bitter split as Moreno pushed to
curb public debt amassed on Correa's watch.
Foreign Minister José Valencia told The Associated
Press on Sunday that the Moreno administration believed Correa, Venezuelan
President Nicolas Maduro and Colombia's far-left FARC and ELN guerrillas are
working to destabilize Ecuador. He offered no proof beyond the fact that a
handful of Correa loyalists and some Venezuelan nationals had been detained
during the protests.
"They have a political agenda and the violence and
chaos that they sowed yesterday in the city, a coordinated chaos, lets us
see this political agenda," Valencia said.
Correa and Maduro have denied involvement in the
Ecuador, a former OPEC member, was left deeply in debt
by a decade of high spending by Correa's government and the international
decline in oil prices. Moreno is raising taxes, liberalizing labor laws and
cutting public spending in order to get more than $4 billion in emergency
financing from the IMF.
As part of that plan, Moreno's elimination of subsidies
drove the most popular variety of gasoline from $1.85 to $2.39 a gallon and
diesel from $1.03 to $2.30. Panic and speculation sent prices soaring, with
costs of some products doubling or more.
In the country's Amazon oil fields, protests at
installations, described by some government officials as attacks, have
halted or slowed production.
Ecuador had been producing 430,000 barrels a day, but
that had dropped to 176,029 barrels by Sunday, said an official at state oil
producer Petroamazonas, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they
were not authorized to release the information. The drop in output has led
to a loss of about $14 million a day, the official said.
Associated Press writer Raisa Avila contributed to
Protests erupt as Spain convicts leading Catalan separatists
Young people hold up signs
in Catalan reading "Everybody to the airport" during protests in Barcelona,
Spain, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. Spain's Supreme Court on Monday convicted 12
former Catalan politicians and activists for their roles in a secession bid
in 2017, a ruling that immediately inflamed independence supporters in the
wealthy northeastern region. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
policemen clash with protestors outside El Prat airport in Barcelona, Spain,
Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
By Aritz Parra & Ciaran Giles
Madrid (AP) — Riot police charged at protesters
outside Barcelona's airport Monday after the Supreme Court sentenced 12
prominent Catalan separatists to lengthy prison terms for their roles in a
2017 push for the wealthy Spanish region's independence.
Police used batons against the protesters who converged
on El Prat airport after a call by the grassroots group Democratic Tsunami,
which supports Catalan secession. An Associated Press reporter at the scene
saw police fire projectiles. Spanish media said police had used foam-type
A dozen people were treated for minor injuries at the
scene, Catalan emergency service SEM said.
Spain's airport operator, AENA, said at least 67
flights were canceled.
The heavy prison sentences rallied the separatist
cause, which is going through its most difficult period in years as its most
charismatic leaders are behind bars or abroad, before Spain's Nov. 10
The Catalan separatist movement's two main political
parties have been at odds over strategy, and the grassroots organizations
that have driven the movement have voiced criticism about the lack of
Spain's caretaker prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, said
he hoped the sentence would mark a watershed in the long standoff between
national authorities in Madrid and separatists in the Catalan capital
Barcelona. Sánchez said the court's verdict proved the 2017 secession
attempt had become "a shipwreck."
He urged people to "set aside extremist positions" and
"embark on a new phase" for Catalonia.
But secessionists were defiant and took to the streets
in a show of force.
Protesters also halted some Catalan train services by
placing burning tires and wood on tracks. They also blocked some roads in
the region. Further marches and protests were scheduled for Monday evening.
The convicted Catalan leaders — jailed for nearly two
years while their case was heard — have grown into powerful symbols for the
separatists. Many sympathizers wear yellow ribbons pinned to their clothes
as a sign of protest.
Separatist politicians said they would give no ground.
Catalan regional president Quim Torra described the
court's verdict as "an act of vengeance." He said it "will not stop us from
acting on our determination to build an independent state."
Ex-Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who with several
others fled to Belgium in October 2017 when they were summoned to appear in
court, said the general election is an opportunity to show "a massive
response of rejection, as well as dignity and firmness" of Catalan
His comments came hours after a Spanish Supreme Court
judge issued an international warrant for his arrest.
Andrew Dowling, an expert on contemporary Spanish
politics at Cardiff University in Wales, said the sentences are "very harsh"
and are "going to make a bad situation worse."
"It's going to create a terrible wound in Catalan
society until these people are released," he said by telephone. "I think
it's going to be the single most important issue for Catalans for the
Catalan identity is a passionate issue in the
northeastern region bordering France, but elsewhere it has failed to capture
the public imagination and, crucially, lacked international support.
At the center of the prosecutors' case was the Oct. 1,
2017 independence referendum that the Catalan government held even though
the country's highest court had disallowed it.
The "Yes" vote won, but because it was an illegal
ballot most voters didn't turn out and the vote count was considered of
dubious value. The Catalan Parliament, however, unilaterally declared
independence three weeks later, triggering Spain's worst political crisis in
The Spanish government stepped in and fired the Catalan
regional government, with prosecutors later bringing charges.
Nine of the Catalans on trial for their efforts to
achieve independence received between nine and 13 years in prison for
sedition. Four of them were additionally convicted for misuse of public
funds, and three more were fined for disobedience. The Spanish Constitution
says the country can't be divided.
All of them were barred from holding public office.
"Today, they have violated all their rights. It is
horrible that Europe doesn't act," 60-year-old civil servant Beni Saball
said at a Barcelona street protest, referring to those convicted.
But retired 73-year-old bank clerk Jordi Casares said
he wasn't surprised by the verdict.
"It is fair because they went outside the law," he
said, walking out of his home on a Barcelona street. "I hope that after a
few days of tumult by the separatists the situation can improve."
Spain's caretaker foreign minister Josep Borrell, soon
due to become the European Union's top diplomat, urged an effort at
political and social healing because the independence effort is doomed.
"There is no single constitution of Europe that
provides the possibility of creating unilaterally the independence of a part
of the territory," he told The Associated Press.
In their ruling, the seven Supreme Court judges wrote
that what the Catalan leaders presented as a legitimate exercise of the
right to decide was in fact "bait" to mobilize citizens and place pressure
on the Spanish government to grant a referendum on independence.
The trial featured more than 500 witnesses, including
former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, and 50 nationally televised hearings.
Defense lawyers argued that the leaders of the
secessionist movement were carrying out the will of roughly half of the 7.5
million residents of Catalonia who, opinion polls indicate, would like the
region to be a separate country.
Associated Press writers Joseph Wilson and Renata
Brito in Barcelona and Barry Hatton in Lisbon contributed to this report.
Brexit divorce talks between UK and EU go down to the wire
Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he participates in an art class
with Scarlet Fickling aged 4, in at St Mary's and All Saints Primary School
in Beaconsfield, England, Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant,
By Jill Lawless
London (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris
Johnson was to brief his Cabinet Sunday on the progress of last-minute
Brexit talks with the European Union, amid signs of progress but also
deep-seated skepticism about the chances of a deal.
Britain is due to leave the 28-nation bloc on Oct. 31,
and attempts to find a deal have foundered over plans for keeping an open
border between EU member Ireland and the U.K.'s Northern Ireland.
The challenge of maintaining an invisible border —
something that underpinned both the local economy and the region's peace
deal — has dominated Brexit discussions for three years, ever since U.K.
voters chose in 2016 to leave the EU.
But negotiations intensified last week after Johnson
and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said they could see a "pathway" to a
divorce agreement that avoids a no-deal Brexit, something economists say
would hurt both the U.K. and EU economies.
Both sides say substantial gaps remain and it's unclear
whether they can be bridged in time for an orderly British departure at the
end of this month. A crucial EU summit, the last scheduled chance to strike
a deal, begins Thursday.
If a Brexit deal is reached, it still needs to be
approved by both British and European parliaments. Many British lawmakers —
on both pro-Brexit and pro-EU sides of the debate — remain unconvinced.
Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said
Sunday that his party was unlikely to support any deal agreed upon by
Lawmaker Nigel Dodds of Northern Ireland's Democratic
Unionist Party — which props up Johnson's Conservative minority government —
has rejected one suggested compromise, in which Northern Ireland stayed in a
customs partnership with the EU in order to remove the need for border
checks. The DUP strongly opposes any measures that would treat Northern
Ireland differently than the rest of the U.K.
But other Brexit supporters signaled they could back
such a deal. House of Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, a strong Brexiteer,
said a "compromise will inevitably be needed, something even the staunchest
Leavers recognize, albeit unwillingly."
Rees-Mogg told Sky News that the chances of a Brexit
agreement were rising.
"I think it's always difficult to put specific odds on
things, but it certainly looks a lot more positive this week than it did
last week," he said.
IS supporters escape as Turkish troops near key Syrian town
stands across from a building damaged by a mortar fired from inside Syria,
in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019.
Incoming shells fired from northeastern Syria hit the house earlier on
Sunday. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, smoke billows from fires
on targets in Tel Abyad, Syria, caused by bombardment by Turkish forces,
Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. The United Nations says at least 130,000 people have
been displaced by the fighting in northeastern Syria with many more likely
on the move as a Turkish offensive in the area enters its fifth day. (AP
Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019 photo, Turkey-backed Syrian fighters enter Ras al-Yan,
Syria. Turkey's military says it has captured a key Syrian border town Ras
al-Ayn under heavy bombardment in its most significant gain as its offensive
against Kurdish fighters presses into its fourth day. (AP Photo)
inspects the damage on a building hit by a mortar fired from inside Syria,
in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019.
Two residents were at the house and were evacuated. (AP Photo/Lefteris
By Lefteris Pitarakis & Sarah El
Akcakale, Turkey (AP) — Turkish forces
approached a key Kurdish-held town in northern Syria on Sunday, setting off
clashes that allowed hundreds of Islamic State supporters to escape from a
camp for displaced people and prompted U.S. soldiers to withdraw from a
A U.S. military official said the situation across
northeastern Syria was "deteriorating rapidly" and that American forces were
cut off from the Syrian Kurdish fighters they had previously partnered with.
The official, who was not authorized to disclose operational details and
spoke on condition of anonymity, said U.S. troops on the ground are at risk
of being "isolated" and cannot travel overland without a "high risk" of
armed confrontation with Turkey-backed forces.
The camp in Ein Eissa, some 35 kilometers (20 miles)
south of the border, is home to some 12,000 people, including 1,000 wives
and widows of Islamic State fighters and their children. The Kurdish-led
administration in northern Syria said in a statement that 950 IS supporters
escaped after attacking guards and storming the gates. It was not
immediately possible to confirm that figure.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
said Turkish warplanes struck villages near the camp on Sunday. It said camp
residents fled as clashes broke out between Turkey-backed Syrian fighters
and Kurdish forces, without providing an exact number.
Jelal Ayaf, a senior official at the camp, told local
media that 859 people successfully escaped from the section housing
foreigners. He said a few were recaptured but that supporters inside the
other section of the camp also escaped and were carrying out attacks. He
described the situation as "very volatile."
The U.S. official said a "small group" of American
troops withdrew from a base in the town because of the threat posed by
Syrian fighters allied with Turkey, but that U.S. forces were still present
in larger bases nearby.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces were a key
U.S. ally in the war against the Islamic State group and drove the
extremists from most of the territory they once held in northeastern Syria.
The force swept up thousands of Islamic State fighters and their family
members in the campaign, and has warned it may not be able to maintain its
various detention centers as it struggles to repel the Turkish advance.
NATO member Turkey views the Kurdish fighters as
terrorists because of their links to the insurgency in its southeast and has
vowed to carve out a "safe zone" along the border. It launched the operation
earlier this week after President Donald Trump moved U.S. forces aside,
saying he was committed to getting out of America's "endless" wars.
The United Nations says more than 130,000 Syrians have
fled since the operation began five days ago, including many who had taken
refuge from previous rounds of fighting in the country's eight-year civil
war. The fighting reached the main highway that runs between Hassakeh, a
major town and logistical hub, and Ein Eissa, the administrative center of
the Kurdish-held areas.
Heavy fighting was also underway Sunday in the town of
Suluk, northeast of Ein Eissa. Turkey's official news agency said Syrian
fighters allied with Ankara had captured the town, while Kurdish officials
said they were still battling to hold onto it. The Anadolu news agency said
Turkey-backed forces had cleared the town center of Suluk, which is located
at a strategic crossroads about 10 kilometers (six miles) south of the
Turkish troops and their Syrian allies have made steady
gains since launching the operation, capturing several northern villages in
fighting and bombardment that has killed and wounded dozens of people. The
military said it captured the center of the sizable town of Ras al-Ayn
Saturday. Turkey continued shelling around the town and sporadic clashes
could be heard.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says 440 Kurdish
fighters have been killed since the operation began Wednesday. The SDF says
56 of its fighters have been killed since the operation began. It was not
immediately possible to reconcile the two accounts. Turkey says four of its
soldiers and 16 allied Syrian fighters have been killed since the operation
The clashes have spilled across the border, with shells
fired from Syria hitting the Turkish border towns of Akcakale and Suruc.
Anadolu says one person was wounded in Suruc on Sunday. Cross-border fire
has killed 18 civilians in Turkey since the operation began.
Heavy outgoing shelling could be heard in Akcakale
early Sunday and at least one incoming projectile hit a house, leaving a
gaping hole in the exterior wall and rubble inside. It was not immediately
clear if anyone was wounded. Police collected evidence as a crowd gathered
The U.N. meanwhile said a pumping station in the town
of Hassakeh was damaged by shelling, affecting the water supply for 400,000
people, including 82,000 residents of camps for displaced people.
El Deeb reported from Beirut. Associated Press
writer Zeynep Bilginsoy in Istanbul contributed.
'Be water:' Police swoop as Hong Kong protests shift tactics
anti-government protester is detained by police at Tseun Wan, Hong Kong,
Sunday, Oct.13, 2019. The semi-autonomous Chinese city is in its fifth month
of a movement that initially began in response to a now-withdrawn
extradition bill that would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be tried for
crimes in mainland China. The protests have since ballooned to encompass
broader demands for electoral reforms and an inquiry into alleged police
abuse. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
By John Leicester
Hong Kong (AP) — Tearing a page out of ancient
Chinese military philosophy, black-clad protesters in Hong Kong changed
tactics and wreaked havoc by popping up in small groups in multiple
locations across the city Sunday, pursued by but also often eluding police
who made scores of muscular arrests.
Violence spiraled as protests stretched from Sunday
afternoon into the night, with police struggling to restore order.
A savage beating after dark by a group of masked
protesters left a man bleeding profusely. Police said an officer was
attacked from behind with a sharp weapon earlier in the day and was left
with a bleeding neck wound.
Video broadcast on Hong Kong television also showed a
masked, black-clad protester dropping a riot officer with a flying high
kick, followed by two other protesters who beat the officer on the ground
and tried unsuccessfully to snatch his gun.
The guerrilla-like tactics sought to maximize the
disruption and visibility of protests at a time when anti-government
demonstrations have, as a whole, been showing signs of flagging as they
stretch into a fifth month. Pressure from a government ban on the face masks
worn by many protesters and extreme violence earlier this month appear to
have cooled the ardor of some demonstrators and whittled down protest
Online calls for gatherings to start at 2 p.m. in
dozens of malls, parks, sports grounds and other locations triggered an
afternoon of mayhem and marked a shift from earlier more concentrated
rallies in fewer spots.
"We're going to be more fluid and flexible," said
Amanda Sin, 23, an office worker who joined a peaceful protest outside
police headquarters in central Hong Kong. "We are interchanging different
Roaming clumps of hardcore protesters — too numerous,
elusive and fast-moving to be policed — popped up out of nowhere,
vandalizing stores, blocking traffic with makeshift barricades and spraying
protest graffiti, often holding up umbrellas to shield their activities from
Masked protesters wielding hammers wrecked a Huawei
store that was apparently targeted because of the brand's links to mainland
China. On another store broken into and trashed, protesters sprayed, "We are
not stealing." The words "black heart" were sprayed in black inside a
vandalized Starbucks, another frequent target of the anti-government and
anti-China protests that have gripped the semi-autonomous Chinese territory
Changing strategies to adapt to shifting circumstances
is a notion deeply engrained in Chinese thinking, notably detailed in the
ancient military treatise "The Art of War," and inspiring Mao Zedong's
Communist revolutionaries on their route to seizing power in China in 1949.
In Hong Kong, protesters speak of being "like water,"
fluid and adaptable.
"It's a guerilla-kind of demonstration," said Edmund
Tang, 59, who slept overnight at the rally outside police headquarters that
started Saturday and was still going strong Sunday with about 200 people,
many of them retirees.
He said the week-old ban that makes the wearing of
masks at rallies punishable by one year in jail dissuaded some demonstrators
who had taken part in larger previous demonstrations.
"It's no longer possible to get 100,000 people to come
out," he said. The idea of protesting in small, diffuse groups was in part
aimed at complicating policing efforts, Tang added.
"Keep the hunt dogs running everywhere, getting crazier
and crazier, without catching the prey. That's best," he said.
Police adapted, too, fanning out in multiple locations
and quickly making arrests. Speeding police vans were on the scene within
minutes after black-clad protesters set up a makeshift roadblock in a
shopping district in Kowloon. One van rammed through a barricade of piled-up
bamboo poles and officers sprinted off in pursuit of suspects.
Police pinned detainees to the floor and hauled them
away. They held aloft blue banners ordering people to disperse. In one
incident, officers fired tear gas rounds from a van before speeding away.
Other patrols pointed riot-control guns and cans of pepper spray to keep
crowds at bay and hammered on their plastic riot shields as they cleared
streets. Bystanders responded with torrents of abuse.
As police hared after suspects in one area, protesters
sprang up in others like the "Whac-A-Mole" arcade game, overwhelming the
spread-out policing effort.
One of the largest gatherings brought several hundred
people together in a shopping mall in Shatin. A masked protester played the
saxophone. On the closed metal shutters of a subway station, another
protester dressed head-to-toe in black sprayed, "When dictatorship is a
fact, revolution becomes our duty."
Before dawn Sunday, protesters also clambered up a peak
and erected a 4-meter- (13-foot-) tall white statue of a demonstrator in a
gas mask, dubbed "The Lady Liberty of Hong Kong," that gazed over the
The protests gripping the international business hub
began in response to a now-withdrawn extradition bill that would have
allowed criminal suspects to be sent for trial in Communist Party-controlled
courts in mainland China. The movement then ballooned to encompass broader
clamors for universal suffrage, an independent inquiry of the policing
methods used against protesters and other demands.
Associated Press writer Yanan Wang in Beijing
contributed to this report.
President orders army onto streets of Ecuadorian capital
Anti-government demonstrators clash with police
in Quito, Ecuador, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
Protests, which began when
President Lenin Moreno's decision to cut subsidies led to a sharp increase
in fuel prices, have persisted for days. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
By Michael Weissenstein & Gonzalo Solano
Quito, Ecuador (AP) — 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
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,"
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
"We'll negotiate with those who have decided to do so,"
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 stable countries in the region, the day's violence was a terrifying
"Quito had a very hard day, of much tension and fear
for its citizens," Interior Minister María Paula Romo said. "What we saw
today we haven't seen before."
About two hours after the comptroller's office was
attacked, a group of several dozen masked men swarmed the offices of the
private Teleamazonas television station in northern Quito, set fires on the
grounds and tried to break into the building where about 20 employees were
The offices of the newspaper El Comercio in
southern Quito were also attacked, with the building's security guards
seized and briefly bound before police arrived and drove off the assailants.
Following hours of chaos, Moreno appeared on national
television alongside his vice president and defense minister to announce
that he was ordering people indoors and the army onto the streets.
Moreno said the masked protesters had nothing to do
with the thousands of indigenous Ecuadorians who have protested for more
than a week over a sudden rise in fuel prices as part of an International
Monetary Fund-backed austerity package. He blamed the violence on drug
traffickers, organized crime and followers of former President Rafael
Correa, who has denied allegations he is trying to topple Moreno's
Moreno served Correa as vice president before he become
president and the two men went through a bitter split as Moreno pushed to
curb public debt amassed on Correa's watch.
The violence and military deployment closely followed
the announcement of a possible softening of Ecuador's 10-day standoff.
Indigenous leaders of the fuel price protests that have paralyzed Ecuador's
economy said they were willing to negotiate with Moreno.
The Confederation of Indigenous Nations of Ecuador said
it would negotiate with the government but also protest in the streets.
Leonidas Iza, a Quechua leader from mountainous Cotopaxi province, appeared
to back Moreno's curfew, asking the armed forces to "guarantee peace and
bring back the constitutional order."
Iza said the indigenous movement rejected "certain
groups' intentions to take advantage of the Ecuadorian indigenous people's
movement." He did not offer details.
Romo, the interior minister, said 30 people were
arrested in the attack on the auditor's office. Firefighters said they
extinguished the blaze in the building, which houses evidence in corruption
By nightfall, Quito residents were hanging out their
windows and banging pots and pans, in what many said was a protest against
the day's chaos and a call for stability.
In an unexplained episode, opposition legislator
Gabriela Rivadeneira, a close ally of Correa, entered the Mexican embassy,
which said it had provided her "safety and protection."
Ecuadorian officials said she had no pending charges or
reason to seek political asylum.
Ecuador, a former OPEC member, was left deeply in debt
by a decade of high-spending governance and the oil price drop. Moreno is
raising taxes, liberalizing labor laws and cutting public spending in order
to win more than $4 billion in emergency financing from the IMF.
As part of that plan, Moreno eliminated a subsidy on
the price of fuel on Oct. 2, driving the most popular variety of gasoline
from $1.85 to $2.39 a gallon and diesel from $1.03 to $2.30. Panic and
speculation sent prices soaring, with costs of some products doubling or
Ecuador's indigenous people, poor and underserved by
government programs, were infuriated. Over the last week, thousands of
streamed into Quito from the Amazon rainforest and the Ecuadorian Andes.
The standoff halted Ecuador's oil production, blocked
highways and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in loss to industries
such as flower-growing to dairy farming.
An indigenous leader and four other people have died
during the unrest, according to the public defender's office. The
president's office has reported two deaths.
Correspondent Raisa Ávila contributed to this
2 dead in attack targeting German synagogue on Yom Kippur
officers cross a wall at a crime scene in Halle, Germany, Wednesday, Oct. 9,
2019 after a shooting incident. A gunman fired several shots on Wednesday in
the German city of Halle. Police say a person has been arrested after a
shooting that left two people dead. (Sebastian Willnow/dpa via AP)
By Geir Moulson & Jens Meyer
Halle, Germany (AP) — A heavily armed assailant
ranting about Jews tried to force his way into a synagogue in Germany on Yom
Kippur, Judaism's holiest day, then shot two people to death nearby in an
attack Wednesday that was livestreamed on a popular gaming site.
The attacker shot at the door of the synagogue in the
eastern city of Halle but did not get in as 70 to 80 people inside were
observing the holy day.
The gunman shouted that Jews were "the root" of
"problems" such as feminism and "mass immigration," according to a group
that tracks online extremism. It said a roughly 36-minute video posted
online featured the assailant, who spoke a combination of English and
German, denying the Holocaust before he shot a woman in the street after
failing to enter the synagogue. He then entered a nearby kebab shop and
killed another person before fleeing.
Germany's top security official, Interior Minister
Horst Seehofer, said authorities must assume that it was an anti-Semitic
attack, and said prosecutors believe there may be a right-wing extremist
motive. He said several people were hurt.
The attack "strikes the Jewish community, Jewish people
not just in Germany but particularly in Germany, to the core," said the
country's main Jewish leader, Josef Schuster. "It was, I think, only lucky
circumstances that prevented a bigger massacre."
The filming of Wednesday's attack echoed another
horrific shooting halfway around the world when a far-right white
supremacist in March killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New
Zealand and livestreamed much of the attack on Facebook. That massacre drew
strong criticism of social media giants for not immediately finding and
blocking such a violent video.
Wednesday's assault followed attacks in the United
States over the past year on synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway, California.
The head of Halle's Jewish community, Max Privorozki,
told news magazine Der Spiegel that a surveillance camera at the entrance of
the synagogue showed a person trying to break into the building.
"The assailant shot several times at the door and also
threw several Molotov cocktails, firecrackers or grenades to force his way
in," he said. "But the door remained closed — God protected us. The whole
thing lasted perhaps five to 10 minutes."
A video clip shown on regional public broadcaster MDR
showed a man in a helmet and an olive-colored top getting out of a car and
firing four shots from behind the vehicle from a long-barreled gun.
Conrad Roessler said he was in the kebab shop when a
man with a helmet and a military jacket threw something that looked like a
grenade, which bounced off the doorframe. He said the man then shot into the
"All the customers next to me ran, of course I did too.
I think there were five or six of us in there," Roessler told n-tv
television. "The man behind me probably died."
"I hid in the toilet," he added. "The others looked for
the back entrance. I didn't know if there was one. I locked myself quietly
in this toilet, and wrote to my family that I love them, and waited for
something to happen."
Police then came into the shop, he said.
Schuster offered his condolences to the relatives of
"the two completely uninvolved people" who were killed and his sympathy to
those were wounded. German authorities didn't give any details on the
The SITE Intelligence Group said the video on
livestreaming site Twitch started with the assailant saying "my name is Anon
and I think the Holocaust never happened." He mentioned feminism and "mass
immigration" and said that "the root of all these problems is the Jew."
The video, which apparently was filmed with a
head-mounted camera, showed the perpetrator driving up to the synagogue in a
car packed with ammunition and what appeared to be home-made explosives.
He tried two doors and placed a device at the bottom of
a gate, then fired at a woman trying to walk past his parked car. The
assailant then fired rounds into the synagogue's door, which didn't open. He
drove a short distance to park opposite the kebab shop. He fired at what
appeared to be an employee, while customers scrambled away.
Twitch said it was "shocked and saddened" by the
attack. "We worked with urgency to remove this content and will permanently
suspend any accounts found to be posting or reposting content of this
abhorrent act," it said in an emailed response to a query about Wednesday's
events. It wasn't immediately able to confirm who streamed the footage.
Twitch, owned by e-commerce giant Amazon, is best known
as a site for watching others play video games, sometimes with commentary
and tips for viewers. Wednesday's attack appeared to be the first real-world
violence livestreamed on Twitch, said Hannah Bloch-Wehba, a law professor at
Drexel University. She said it was hard to guess why Twitch was chosen,
although she noted that recent attempts by Facebook and Twitter to crack
down on such material may be forcing attackers to look for new outlets.
Federal prosecutors, who in Germany handle cases
involving suspected terrorism or national security, took over the
investigation into the attack in Halle.
Authorities said shortly after the shooting that a
person had been arrested, but advised residents to stay indoors for several
hours as they worked to determine whether there were other assailants. They
gave no information on the suspect but Der Spiegel and dpa, which cited
unidentified security sources, said the suspect is a 27-year-old German
citizen from Saxony-Anhalt state, where Halle is located. They identified
him only as Stephan B.
Synagogues are often protected by police in Germany and
have been for many years amid concerns over far-right and Islamic extremism,
but Schuster said that there was no police presence outside the Halle
synagogue on Wednesday.
"I am convinced that if there had been police
protection there, in all probability the assailant would not have been able
to attack a second site," he said.
Security was stepped up at synagogues in other cities
after the shooting in Halle.
German officials rushed to condemn the attack.
Chancellor Angela Merkel visited a synagogue in Berlin on Wednesday evening
in a show of solidarity.
"Shots being fired at a synagogue on Yom Kippur, the
festival of reconciliation, hits us in the heart," German Foreign Minister
Heiko Maas said on Twitter. "We must all act against anti-Semitism in our
Anti-Semitism is a top concern in Germany, where
reports of anti-Semitic incidents rose 10% last year, according to Tel Aviv
University's Kantor Center and where Merkel's government earlier this year
reaffirmed its commitment to protecting Jews who wear skullcaps from
Wednesday's attack drew renewed calls from Jewish
groups in the U.S. to step up cooperation in combating anti-Semitism. "We
have been saying for several years that anti-Semitism is real, it's
resurgent, it's lethal and it's multi-sourced," American Jewish Committee
CEO David Harris said.
Noting that the attack in Halle comes on the heels of
the one-year anniversary of an anti-Semitic shooting that killed 11
worshippers at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue, he said such attacks
"should be triggering alarm bells. The question is whether they are."
Knife-wielding man wounds Indonesia's security minister
medics wheel Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security
Wiranto on a stretcher to an ambulance to be evacuated to Jakarta, at a
hospital in Pandeglang, Banten province, Indonesia, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019.
Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, file photo, Indonesian Coordinating Minister for
Politics, Law and Security Wiranto gestures as he speaks during a press
conference in Jakarta, Indonesia. Indonesian police officials say Wiranto
and two other people, including a local police chief, have been wounded by a
knife-wielding man and taken to a hospital during a visit to a western
province. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim, File)
By Jim Gomez
Jakarta, Indonesia (AP) — A knife-wielding man
suspected of belonging to a radical Islamic group wounded Indonesia's
security minister, a local police chief and another person in an attack in
western Indonesia on Thursday, officials said.
President Joko Widodo called the suspect a terrorist
and urged people to help combat radicalism following the stabbing of
security minister Wiranto in Banten province, where authorities say Muslim
militants have a presence.
The attack came just over a week before Widodo's
inauguration for his second five-year term in office.
"He is now being treated and undergoing surgery,"
Widodo said after visiting Wiranto, a former armed forces chief. Police said
he was in stable condition and conscious after the attack.
National police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said Wiranto
was stabbed in the abdomen. Local news reports cited a hospital doctor as
saying he was stabbed at least twice.
Wiranto, 72, who uses one name, was airlifted to the
capital, Jakarta. Videos showed him being carried on a stretcher, the left
side of his abdomen covered with bandages and an oxygen mask strapped to his
Wiranto had just stepped out of his car and was being
welcomed by the police chief in Pandeglang town when the attacker dashed
toward them, wounding both along with a third man. Bodyguards wrestled the
attacker to the ground and tied his hands behind his back while others
helped Wiranto, who stumbled to the ground.
The motive for the attack was not immediately clear. As
coordinating minister for politics, legal, and security affairs, Wiranto
supervises several ministries and agencies, including the national police
and defense, which have been in charge of the government's counterinsurgency
Police identified the suspect as Syahril Alamsyah and
said they also arrested his wife, Fitri Andriana.
Prasetyo told reporters they may have been radicalized
by the Islamic State group's ideology.
Investigators were trying to determine whether the
attackers belonged to Jemaah Ansharuf Daulah, a Muslim militant network in
Indonesia aligned with the Islamic State group which security officials
believe has followers in Banten. The group has been blamed for past bomb
attacks in Indonesia.
Sidney Jones, director of the Jakarta-based Institute
for Policy Analysis of Conflict, which closely monitors Muslim militant
groups, said the attack shows that supporters of the Islamic State group in
Indonesia have not been deterred by its loss of territory in the Middle
"While very serious, this attempt should not be over
dramatized. No one was killed, the perpetrators were caught alive and can be
questioned and Indonesia remains completely stable," she said.
As chief of the armed forces from 1998 to 1999, when
the national police force was still under military control, Wiranto oversaw
security and defense at a time when student protests erupted nationwide and
eventually led to the fall of strongman President Suharto.
In 2003, Wiranto, then already retired from the
military, and seven other former military officials were indicted by a U.N.
panel for alleged crimes against humanity for atrocities in East Timor after
the region voted for independence from Indonesia in a 1999 referendum. He
denied the allegations.
Wiranto ran unsuccessfully for president in 2004 and
for vice president in 2009. He led a political party in 2014 which threw its
support behind Widodo's successful presidential campaign, bringing the
retired general back to an influential role in the world's largest
Muslim-majority nation with a history of deadly militant attacks.
Turkey makes small advances in 2nd day of Syria invasion
photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in
Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, smoke billows from
targets inside Syria during bombardment by Turkish forces Thursday, Oct. 10,
2019. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
By Lefteris Pitarakis & Mehmet
Akcakale, Turkey (AP) — Turkish ground forces
seized at least one village from Kurdish fighters in northern Syria as they
pressed ahead with their assault for a second day Thursday, pounding towns
and villages along with border with airstrikes and artillery.
Residents of border areas within Syria scrambled in
panic as they tried to get out on foot and in cars, pick-up trucks and
motorcycle rickshaws piled with mattresses and belongings. More than a dozen
columns of heavy black smoke, apparently from fires caused by shelling, rose
above one border town.
It was wrenchingly familiar for the many who only a few
years ago, had fled the advances on their towns and villages by the Islamic
The Turkish invasion was launched three days after U.S.
President Donald Trump opened the way by pulling American troops from their
positions near the border alongside their Kurdish allies. At a time when
Trump faces an impeachment inquiry, the move drew swift criticism from
Republicans and Democrats in Congress, along with many national defense
experts, who say the move has placed U.S. credibility as well as the Kurds
and regional stability at great risk. The Syrian Kurdish militia was the
U.S.'s only ally on the ground in the years-long campaign that brought down
the Islamic State group in Syria.
After ordering the pull-back, Trump warned Turkey to be
moderate in its assault into northern Syria. But the opening barrage showed
little sign of holding back: The Turkish Defense Military said its jets and
artillery had struck 181 targets so far.
A Kurdish-led group and Syrian activists claimed
Thursday that despite the bombardment, Turkish troops had not made much
progress on several fronts they had opened over the past hours. But their
claims could not be independently verified, and the situation on the ground
was difficult to assess.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that so
far 109 "terrorists" were killed in the offensive, a reference to the
U.S.-allied Syrian Kurdish fighters who for the past years were the main
force fighting the Islamic State group in Syria.
He did not elaborate, and the reports on the ground did
not indicate anything remotely close to such a large number of casualties.
Erdogan also warned the European Union not to call
Ankara's incursion into Syria an "invasion," and threatened, as he has in
the past, to "open the gates" and let Syrian refugees flood Europe.
Meanwhile, the Kurdish forces on Thursday halted all
operations against IS in order to focus on fighting Turkish troops, Kurdish
and U.S. officials said.
The Syrian Kurdish fighters along with U.S. troops have
been involved in mopping-up operations against IS fighters still holed up in
the desert after their territorial hold was toppled earlier this year.
Turkey considers the Kurdish militia "terrorists"
because of their links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK,
which has led an insurgency against Turkey for 35 years, killing tens of
thousands. The U.S. and other Western countries consider the PKK a terror
group as well.
Turkey considers its operations against the Kurdish
militia in Syria a matter of its own survival, and it also insists it won't
tolerate the virtual self-rule that the Kurds succeeded in carving out in
northern Syria along the border.
The Turkish assault aims to carve out a zone of control
the length of the border — a so-called "safe zone" — clearing out the
Kurdish militia. Such a zone would end the Kurds' autonomy in the area and
put much of their population under Turkish control. Ankara has said it aims
to settle some 2 million Syrian refugees, who are mainly Arabs, in the zone.
Turkey began its offensive in northern Syria on
Wednesday with airstrikes and artillery shelling, and then ground troops
began crossing the border later in the day.
The Observatory, a war monitor that has activists
throughout the country, said that since Turkey began its operation, seven
civilians have been killed.
Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian
Democratic Forces, said their fighters have repelled Turkish forces ground
"No advance as of now," he tweeted Thursday.
But Maj. Youssef Hammoud, a spokesman for
Turkish-backed opposition fighters participating in the operation, said the
fighters captured the village of Yabisa, near the one of the main initial
targets of the assault, the town of Tal Abyad, a spokesman for the fighters.
In a tweet, he called it "the first village to win freedom."
Turkey's state-run news agency said the allied Syrian
fighters had also cleared and entered a second village, Tel Fander. It did
not provide details. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
said Turkish commandos entered the village of Beir Asheq.
Trump's decision to have American troops step aside in
northeastern Syria was a major shift in U.S. policy and drew opposition from
all sides at home. It also marked a stark change in rhetoric by Trump, who
during a press conference in New York last year vowed to stand by the Kurds,
who have been America's only allies in Syria fighting IS.
Trump said at the time that the Kurds "fought with us"
and "died with us," and insisted that America would never forget.
After Erdogan announced the offensive, Trump called the
operation "a bad idea." Later Wednesday, he said he didn't want to be
involved in "endless, senseless wars."
Turkey's campaign — in which a NATO member rained down
bombs on an area where hundreds of U.S. troops had been stationed — drew
immediate criticism and calls for restraint from Europe.
Australia on Thursday expressed concerns the Turkish
incursion could galvanize a resurgence of the Islamic State group and
refused to endorse the close ally U.S. for pulling back its troops from the
area. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had been in contact with the
Turkish and U.S. governments overnight and admitted to being worried about
In Washington, officials said Wednesday that two
British militants believed to be part of an Islamic State cell that beheaded
hostages had been moved out of a detention center in Syria and were in U.S.
The two, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Amon Kotey,
along with other British jihadis allegedly made up the IS cell nicknamed
"The Beatles" by surviving captives because of their English accents. In
2014 and 2015, the militants held more than 20 Western hostages in Syria and
tortured many of them.
The group beheaded seven American, British and Japanese
journalists and aid workers and a group of Syrian soldiers, boasting of the
butchery in videos released to the world.
Ukraine president: 'No blackmail' in conversation with Trump
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during talks with journalists in Kyiv,
Ukraine, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. The Ukrainian President held an all-day
"media marathon" in a Kyiv food court amid growing questions about his
actions as president. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
By Yuras Karmanau
Kyiv, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's president
insisted Thursday that he faced "no blackmail" from President Donald Trump
in their phone call that helped spark an impeachment inquiry, distancing
himself from the U.S. political drama and trying to claw back his own
Volodymyr Zelenskiy said for the first time that his
country will "happily" investigate the conspiracy theory pushed by Trump
that it was Ukrainians, not Russians, who interfered in the 2016 U.S.
presidential election. And he encouraged U.S. and Ukrainian prosecutors to
discuss investigating a gas company linked to the son of Trump's Democratic
rival Joe Biden.
But Zelenskiy insisted he's not Trump's puppet and his
moves appeared to be an attempt to put an end to questions dogging the
Ukrainian president since details of his July 25 call with Trump emerged. He
said U.S. officials have presented zero evidence of Ukraine's interference
in 2016, but it's in his country's interests to find out once and for all
In an all-day "media marathon" held in a Kyiv food
court, Ukraine's president played down suggestions that Trump pressured him
in exchange for U.S. military aid to help Ukraine battle Russian-backed
separatists. Congressional Democrats believe Trump was holding up the aid to
use as leverage to pressure Ukraine and advance his domestic political
Responding to questions from The Associated Press,
Zelenskiy said he only learned after their phone call that the U.S. had
blocked hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine.
"There was no blackmail," he said.
"We are not servants. We are an independent country."
Zelenskiy invited U.S. and Ukrainian prosecutors to
cooperate on an eventual investigation into the Bidens, but insisted he
would not interfere.
"I don't want to be pulled into this because I
understand that my words could impact the elections of the American people,"
Trump has said the United States has an "absolute
right" to ask foreign leaders to investigate corruption cases, though no one
has produced evidence of criminal wrongdoing by the former U.S. vice
president or his son.
Trump also has pushed a long-discredited theory about
Ukrainian interference in support of the Democrats in 2016, an attempt to
cast doubt on Russia's role in the 2016 hacking of the Democratic National
Committee. The theory contends, without evidence, that the DNC hack was
based on fabricated computer records and designed to cast blame on Russia
but was initiated from Ukraine.
Zelenskiy said Thursday that Ukraine would investigate
the theory because otherwise we "can't say yes or no" as to whether there
was any such interference.
During his July 25 call with Zelenskiy, Trump mentioned
CrowdStrike, a security firm hired by the DNC that detected the hack.
CrowdStrike has also worked for the Republicans. Trump has claimed the
company was based in Ukraine, but it is based in the U.S. and company
co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch is a Russian-born U.S. citizen.
The July call is central to the impeachment inquiry,
and embarrassed Zelenskiy because it showed him as eager to please Trump and
critical of European partners whose support he needs to strengthen Ukraine's
economy and to end the conflict with Russia.
Zelenskiy said it was "wrong" of the White House to
publish a rough transcript of the call — and said he will not publish the
Ukrainian transcript. He said he "didn't even check" whether the Ukrainian
transcript of the July call is the same as that of the White House, but says
"I think they match."
Zelenskiy appears to be playing to both U.S. political
camps to ensure Ukraine has continued support no matter who wins the
presidential election next year.
Zelenskiy said he thought the call would lead to an
in-person meeting with Trump, and wanted the American leader to come to
Ukraine. Zelenskiy said the "key question" for him was to try to persuade
the White House to "change its rhetoric" about Ukraine as a corrupt and
Trump said the military aid was frozen because of
concerns about corruption in Ukraine, but the move prompted congressional
outcry and the money was released in September.
Asked what Ukraine did to persuade the U.S. to release
the aid, Zelenskiy said: "We have many diplomatic contacts. And in case we
need to find a solution to questions of this level, questions about our
country's security, we use all our powerful possibilities." He didn't
A TV and film comedian, Zelenskiy overwhelmingly won
the presidency in April on promises to fight corruption and end the
five-year conflict with Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. He's
treading carefully to ensure continued support from the U.S. while trying to
make peace with powerful neighbor Russia.
Most of the questions at Thursday's unusual media event
related to the Russia conflict or Ukraine's economic troubles.
Zelenskiy also joked about Trump's Twitter missives,
saying he doesn't expect a change in U.S.-Ukrainian relations in the future,
"but if there is, we'll learn about it on Twitter."
Irish border residents worry about future if no-deal Brexit
ferry sails across the calm waters of Carlingford Lough connecting Northern
Ireland with the Republic of Ireland, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019. (AP
pilots a small ferry across the calm waters of Carlingford Lough connecting
Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019. The
ferry service has run for over two years, as another sign that the border is
all but invisible 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. (AP Photo/David Keyton)
village in the UK, Northern Ireland nestles on the banks of Carlingford
Lough with its ferry that connects Northern Ireland, left of photo, with the
Republic of Ireland, right. The island of Ireland border issue has been the
most intractable issue in the Brexit negotiations. (AP Photo/David Keyton)
By David Keyton
Greenore, Ireland (AP) — 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
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
"We don't know what to expect," said Paul O'Sullivan,
the ferry company's managing director. "Brexit has resulted in chaos for our
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 three weeks to go before the
scheduled Brexit date of Oct. 31, the two sides have failed to agree on a
plan to ensure the border remains open, without the checkpoints that were
magnets for violence during three decades of conflict. More than 3,500
people died during "The Troubles."
"People in their 40s and 50s and older, we remember The
Troubles very well," said 51-year-old Patrick Robinson, a member of Border
Communities Against Brexit. "What started off as border troubles exactly
like what is going to happen now escalated into what became known
effectively as the civil war in Northern Ireland."
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the
U.K. as a whole, including Northern Ireland which voted to remain in the EU
during the referendum, has to leave on the scheduled Brexit date — with or
without a deal. Not doing so, he says, would undermine faith in democracy.
That stance has raised concerns that a physical border
will return and threaten the fragile peace process in Northern Ireland and
the economic opportunities it has created.
No one really knows what will happen even though
political leaders on all sides keep insisting the border will stay open.
People are worried about the long-term impact of the potential changes.
Like many businesses, the Carlingford Lough Ferry has
received little guidance: Will farmers carrying hay from the south need to
declare their goods? Will there be forms? Customs officers with clipboards?
And then there's the question of whether the ferry will be allowed to
operate at all.
Back in the days of hard borders, trade between North
and South was impeded. It took truck drivers hours to get cleared and cross
to the other side. Lush rolling hills were marred by guard towers, soldiers
and checkpoints. Crisscrossing the border several times a day was
The inability to no longer move freely is likely to
hurt the smallest operators the most.
"The economic shock will be so great that there is no
way to mitigate against the risk," warned Daniel Donnelly, a spokesman in
Northern Ireland for the Federation of Small Businesses.
Even low tariffs in the event of a no-deal could wipe
out the profits that small businesses with low margins make, he added.
People here just don't see any point in going back to
the past. Piloting the ferry across Carlingford Lough, 31-year-old Shane
Horner remembered the border checks and troops that were deployed along the
border when he was a child. Crossing was slow and intimidating, he said, but
"once that stopped it was grand, you could come and go as you pleased."
Today, farmers from the Republic take the new ferry
service to sell silage and hay from the lush fields of County Louth to
customers north of the border. Wedding parties from the North use it to
cross for events in the medieval Carlingford.
It's a bus service on the water — not a stronghold
"There is a cross-community dimension," said
O'Sullivan, who remembers meeting some northerners taking the ferry on their
first journey across the border. "If there is a hard Brexit, it almost
certainly will have an adverse impact."
China criticizes Apple for app that tracks Hong Kong police
Supporters of Hong Kong activist Edward Leung
gather outside the High Court in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019. Apple
became the latest company targeted for Chinese pressure over protests in
Hong Kong after the ruling Communist Party's main newspaper criticized the
tech giant Wednesday for a smartphone app that allows activists to report
police movements. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Hong Kong (AP) — Apple became the latest company
targeted for Chinese pressure over protests in Hong Kong after the ruling
Communist Party's main newspaper criticized the tech giant Wednesday for a
smartphone app that allows activists to report police movements.
HKmap.live, designed by an outside supplier and
available on Apple Inc.'s online store, "facilitates illegal behavior," the
People's Daily said in a commentary.
"Is Apple guiding Hong Kong thugs?" the newspaper said.
Beijing has pressed companies including Hong Kong's
Cathay Pacific Airways to take the government's side against the protests,
which are in their fourth month.
Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for
The demonstrations began over a proposed extradition
law and expanded to include other grievances and demands for greater
HKmap.live allows users to report police locations, use
of tear gas and other details that are added to a regularly updated map. A
version is also available for smartphones that use the Android operating
The criticism of Apple followed government attacks
starting last weekend on the National Basketball Association over a comment
by the general manager of the Houston Rockets in support of the protesters.
State TV has canceled broadcasts of NBA games.
"Apple jumped into this on its own and mixed together
business with politics and commercial activity with illegal activities," the
People's Daily said.
The newspaper warned Apple might be damaging its
reputation with Chinese consumers.
Brands targeted in the past by Beijing have been
subjected to campaigns by the entirely state-controlled press to drive away
consumers or disruptive investigations by tax and other regulators.
"This recklessness will cause much trouble for Apple,"
the People's Daily said. "Apple needs to think deeply."
China's Xi to visit India this week, meet with Modi
Oct. 16, 2016, file photo, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, talks
with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the signing ceremony by foreign
ministers during the BRICS summit in Goa, India. India’s Ministry of
External Affairs said Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, that Xi and Modi would meet
for a second informal summit in the southern coast city of Chennai on Oct.
11 and 12 to “exchange views on deepening” the two countries’ development.
(AP Photo/Manish Swarup, File)
By Emily Schmall & Krithika Varagur
New Delhi (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping is
going to India to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, just
weeks after China supported Pakistan in raising the issue of India's recent
actions in disputed Kashmir at the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New
India stripped Kashmir's semi-autonomous status in
August, deploying thousands of troops and cutting off internet connectivity
to prevent protests. Thousands of people, including mainstream political
leaders and young people, have also been detained.
The Himalayan region of Kashmir is claimed by both
Pakistan and India and split between them.
At the U.N., China said India should not act
unilaterally on Kashmir, a portion of which China also controls, and where
there have been occasional border skirmishes between India and China.
On Oct. 31, New Delhi will take direct control of
Ladakh, the border region famous for its sparsely populated and stunning
landscapes, Buddhist monks in mountaintop monasteries and elusive snow
leopards prowling rugged terrain.
India's Ministry of External Affairs said Wednesday
that Xi and Modi will meet in the southern coastal city of Chennai on Friday
and Saturday to "exchange views on deepening" the two countries'
They also will visit the nearby temple town of
Xi and Modi last met one-on-one at a resort in Wuhan,
China, in April 2018.
Indian security forces have detained 10 Tibetan
activists, including noted novelist and poet Tenzin Tsundue, near Chennai to
stifle any protests during Xi's visit, the Press Trust of India news agency
Regional police in the southern state of Tamil Nadu
also have asked more than a dozen Tibetan students to sign statements
promising not to engage in activities that may "commit breach of peace or
disturb the public tranquility," according to a photo of the document
provided by the Tibetan Students' Association of Madras. Two leaders of the
student association were among those detained on Sunday.
Dr. Tenzin Norbu, an English lecturer at Hindustan
College in suburban Chennai, was also arrested on Tuesday and remains in
Tenzin Dakpa, a leader of Students for a Free Tibet,
said a Tibetan lawyer from Dharamsala, home of the spiritual leader the
Dalai Lama and site of the Tibetan government-in-exile, has gone to Chennai
to see if the detentions can be contested.
Pre-emptive detentions are not uncommon in India.
South Korean protesters call for ouster of justice minister
demonstrators gather during a rally in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Oct.
9, 2019, for the second consecutive week to call for the ouster of President
Moon Jae-in's hand-picked justice minister, whose family is at the center of
an investigation into allegations of financial crimes and academic favors.
(Kim Seung-doo/Yonhap via AP)
By Kim Tong-Hyung
Seoul, South Korea (AP) — Thousands of
protesters rallied Wednesday in South Korea's capital for the second
consecutive week to call for the ouster of President Moon Jae-in's
hand-picked justice minister, whose family is at the center of an
investigation into allegations of financial crimes and academic favors.
The protest near the presidential palace in Seoul
followed a weekend demonstration in which a huge crowd of pro-government
supporters occupied streets in front of the state prosecutors' offices to
show their support for the beleaguered minister, Cho Kuk, whose appointment
last month has deepened the nation's political divide.
The city's streets are now divided between pro-Cho and
anti-Cho protesters, who for weeks have alternated with protests and
counter-protests in areas separated by the Han River that flows through the
Wednesday's protest came amid a highly-publicized
investigation of Cho's university professor wife and other relatives over
allegations of shady financial investments and fraudulent activities related
to his daughter's admission to a top university in Seoul and a medical
school in Busan.
Cho, who previously served as Moon's senior secretary
for civil affairs, has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to push ahead with
plans to reform the country's justice system, including curbing the powers
of mighty state prosecutors, even as they conduct a criminal probe into his
Carrying the South Korean flag and banners and signs
that read "Arrest criminal Cho Kuk," the protesters poured onto a major
boulevard near Gwanghwamun gate, the same streets where millions marched for
months three years ago in unified anger against Moon's conservative
predecessor Park Geun-hye, who was removed from office in March 2017 and is
currently serving a decades-long prison term over bribery and abuse of
"We need to fight and avenge against a government that
has ripped the country in two," Shin Hye-sik, a conservative activist, told
the crowd from a stage. "Let's fight! Let's win!"
Hwang Kyo-ahn, leader of the conservative opposition
Liberty Korea Party, participated in the protest along with members of the
party's leadership, but did not make a comment on the stage.
Police did not release an estimate on the size of
Wednesday's crowd, which appeared to be in the tens of thousands. It was
clearly a smaller than the previous anti-Cho gathering on Oct. 3, which
experts said may have drawn hundreds of thousands.
Cho's supporters are planning to hold another rally on
Lawmakers from Moon's Minjoo Party, who have been
encouraging the government supporters rallying in streets, claim prosecutors
are pushing an excessive probe in a possible attempt to resist Cho's planned
reforms. They have accused prosecutors of leaking investigative secrets to
their conservative opponents, who have aired detailed allegations against
Cho's family in public.
The conservatives say the ruling liberals are
pressuring a legitimate probe on a key member of their government, and that
the investigation itself is proof of prosecutors' neutrality and
independence from political influence.
"To be honest, there were many moments each day that
were painful and difficult," Cho said Tuesday during a news conference to
announce his planned reforms, apparently referring to the controversy
surrounding his family. "But I have been enduring every day thanks to the
strength of our people who have given me courage and wisdom to push through
and complete the reform of the prosecution."
Cho's plans include reducing the number of criminal
investigations directly initiated by prosecutors, who by law have exclusive
authority to indict and seek warrants for suspects and exercise control over
police investigative activities. Critics say South Korean prosecutors have
too much power and this has prompted past governments to use them as a
political tool to suppress opponents.
The intense wrangling over Cho has tarnished Moon's
reformist image and sank his popularity to the lowest levels since he took
office in May 2017, according to recent surveys. Moon also faces pressure
over a weakening job market, a messy trade war with Japan and a lack of
progress in diplomacy with nuclear-armed North Korea.
A plunge in popularity could be damaging for the
liberals ahead of crucial parliamentary elections due in April.
At least 9 dead in migrant boat capsizing off Italian island
Coast Guard officers carry a coffin with the body of a migrant, in the
Lampedusa harbor, Italy, early Monday, Oct. 7, 2019. The Italian Coast Guard
says at least nine people have died when a migrant boat capsized near the
island of Lampedusa as they were about to be rescued. Twenty-two people were
saved. (Pasquale Claudio Montana Lampo/ANSA via AP)
By Colleen Barry
Milan (AP) — At least nine people died when an
overloaded migrant boat capsized near the island of Lampedusa, the Italian
Coast Guard said Monday. Twenty-two people were rescued from the sea.
The smugglers' boat overturned as a patrol boat was
preparing to take migrants on board in rough seas some 6 miles (10
kilometers) off Lampedusa just after midnight, the Coast Guard said in a
Twenty-two migrants were rescued from the sea, and nine
bodies were recovered — two immediately, and seven during a subsequent
search operation. Italian Coast Guard helicopters and vessels were
searching for more of the missing.
Doctors Without Borders says the Ocean Viking ship it
operates has been asked by Italian authorities to join the operation.
Initial reports by authorities in Sicily who received
the distress call put the number of migrants on board at around 50.
Non-governmental organizations say as many as 30 migrants, including eight
children, could be missing. The Coast Guard had no additional information on
how many might be missing.
The U.N. refugee agency said the deadly shipwreck
"highlights once again that urgent action is needed to address the situation
on the Mediterranean."
UNHCR spokesman Charlie Yaxley in Geneva called for the
EU to resume its search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Sea, where
more than 1,000 migrants have died so far this year, most of them on the
dangerous crossing from Libya.
In the absence of an EU search and rescue operation,
the job of rescuing migrants has largely been left to humanitarian rescue
ships, which both Italy and Malta have consistently refused to allow into
Meanwhile, the Spanish aid group Open Arms said Monday
it rescued 44 people, including one toddler and a months-old baby, on a
wooden boat trying to reach European shores.
Gerard Canals, chief of mission of the Open Arms rescue
boat, says the boat was found late on Sunday in Malta's rescue zone, about
50 miles (80 kilometers) from the Italian island of Lampedusa.
Canals says that Malta's rescue coordination center
told the group not to offer the migrants any assistance. But Open Arms
decided to rescue them anyway because the boat wouldn't have made it to land
In video remarks distributed by the aid group, Canals
says that all 44 rescued — 38 men, 4 women, a 4-year-old boy, and a baby
around 6 to 9 months old — are in good condition.
London police arrest 21 climate activists; protests heat up
Environmental protestors gather around the head of a statue confiscated by
police on Lambeth Bridge in central London Monday, Oct. 7, 2019.
Environmental activists blocked roads leading to Britain's Parliament in an
attempt to disrupt the heart of government. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
London (AP) — London Police say they've arrested
21 climate change activists over the past few days as the Extinction
Rebellion group attempts to draw attention to global warming.
The capital's Metropolitan Police say the arrests on
suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance took place Saturday and
The arrests come as protesters in Berlin and Amsterdam
blocked roads ahead of what is being described as widespread demonstrations.
Further protests took place Monday in London.
The group's protesters have succeeded before in
disrupting life in London in hopes of gaining attention to their cause.
In April, members of the group blocked several London
roads and bridges during 10 days of action designed to alert the public and
politicians to the "climate emergency."
Extinction Rebellion wants to achieve net zero carbon
emissions by 2025.
Recent developments surrounding the South China Sea
Nov. 21, 2018, file photo, the U.S. Navy's USS Ronald Reagan aircraft
carrier is anchored in Hong Kong. The U.S. 7th Fleet said Sunday the ships
and aircraft from the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and the Boxer
Amphibious Ready Group staged joint, “high-end warfighting exercises” in the
South China Sea. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)
By Christopher Bodeen
Beijing (AP) — A look at recent developments in
the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in
multiple territorial disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons. The
waters are a major shipping route for global commerce and are rich in fish
and possible oil and gas reserves.
US Navy in joint operations in S.
The U.S. 7th Fleet said Sunday the ships and aircraft
from the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and the Boxer Amphibious Ready
Group staged joint, "high-end warfighting exercises" in the South China Sea.
"Our operations in the Indo-Pacific are focused on
maintaining regional stability and security," Rear Adm. George Wikoff,
commander of Task Force 70, was quoted as saying in a news release from the
"Our presence reflects our commitment to the values we
share with the many partners and allies in the region, and we stand prepared
to deter those who challenge these mutual values with the overwhelming force
of our combined carrier and amphibious strike groups," Wikoff said.
The release said exercises included maritime strike
operations, search and rescue operations, fast attack craft defense,
maritime interdiction operations, small arms and crew-served weapons
live-fire drills, air defense and anti-submarine warfare operations.
The USS Ronald Reagan's strike group includes Carrier
Air Wing Five, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers, and Arleigh
Burke-class guided-missile destroyers from Destroyer Squadron FIFTEEN.
The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group includes a San
Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship, a Harpers Ferry-class dock
landing ship and the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
Philippines protests Chinese ships'
presence near shoal
The Philippines ordered a diplomatic protest against
China last week after Chinese coast guard ships reportedly neared a
Philippine-occupied shoal in the South China Sea.
Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., who was
accompanying Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on a visit to Russia,
issued the normally confidential order on Twitter to officials at the
Department of Foreign Affairs.
Relations between the Philippines and China have vastly
improved under Duterte, but territorial rifts have remained a thorny issue.
The Philippine military chief and other officials have
reported new activities by Chinese coast guard vessels at Second Thomas
Shoal, where Filipino marines keep watch aboard a long-grounded navy ship.
Locsin tweeted: "Do I have to fly home to file the
goddamned diplomatic protest myself? That's the military speaking. Not some
friggin' civilian media outlet. File now!!!"
There was no immediate comment from Chinese Embassy
officials in Manila. In the past they have claimed Chinese sovereignty over
Under Duterte, Chinese and Philippine officials have
held talks to avoid dangerous encounters, which have eased but continue to
occur from time to time. A Philippine official told The Associated Press
that a Philippine resupply vessel was blocked by a Chinese ship at
Second Thomas Shoal in May.
US, Japan, India navies hold
The Los Angeles-class submarine USS Oklahoma City
joined forces Sept. 30 with ships, aircraft and personnel from the U.S.,
Japanese and Indian navies.
The Malabar 2019 exercise hosted by Japan brings
together China's chief rivals in the region in what Beijing likely views as
an attempt to stifle its expanding influence and assertions of its
It is the latest in a series of annual maritime drills
started in 1992, with Japan a regular participant since 2015. This year's
exercise, which started late last month, aims to improve interoperability
between Indian, Japanese and U.S. maritime forces and provide an opportunity
to conduct engagement highlighting U.S. cooperation with allies and partners
in the Indo-Pacific, the 7th Fleet said.
Oklahoma City took part in the at-sea phase, which
included multiple anti-submarine warfare drills, communication exercises,
maneuvering exercises, submarine familiarization, a tracking exercise and a
photo exercise, the fleet said.
In addition, the Los Angeles-class fast attack
submarine USS Key West joined in the bilateral exercise Pacific Griffin with
Singapore's navy on Sept. 24 to Oct. 10 near Guam.
The biennial exercise is designed to "enhance combined
warfighting skills and tactical execution," the 7th Fleet said.
Japan: China using coercion to change
Japan's 2019 Defense White Paper says China has
maintained heavy spending on its armed forces "without transparency," while
focusing on its nuclear, missile, naval and air forces.
The annual report released late last month said that in
the South China Sea, China is "moving forward with militarization, as well
as expanding and intensifying its activities in the maritime and aerial
domains by deploying aircraft."
"China continues unilateral efforts to change the
status quo by coercion to create a fait accompli," said the report,
reflecting views held by other U.S. treaty allies such as Australia and the
The report said that in the East China Sea, where China
claims seas and islands controlled by Japan, China's navy and air force have
"expanded and intensified their activities in the surrounding sea areas and
airspace of Japan, including the area surrounding the Senkaku Islands,"
known in Chinese as Diaoyu.
China is "likely planning to make such activities
routine," while it "continues to improve the quality of its activities, and
efforts can be seen to build practical joint operational capabilities."
Tensions over China's East China Sea claims have flared
into anti-Japanese violence in China in recent years, and Beijing has
angrily demanded that Japan's navy steer clear of the South China Sea,
something it has refused to do.
UK leader presses for US diplomat's wife to face charges
London (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris
Johnson says he will speak with the U.S. ambassador to the U.K. about a case
involving an American diplomat's wife who left the country after reportedly
becoming a suspect in a fatal crash.
Johnson said Monday he doesn't think it is right to
"use the process of diplomatic immunity for this type of purpose." The prime
minister says he will raise the issue with the White House if necessary.
Johnson urged the woman to return to the U.K. to face
The crash on Aug. 27 killed 19-year-old Harry Dunn
after his motorcycle collided with a car near RAF Croughton, a British
military base near Oxford. The base is home to a signals intelligence
station operated by the U.S. Air Force.
Protests, clashes as bid to block Hong Kong mask ban fails
Police detain protestors in Hong Kong, Sunday,
Oct. 6, 2019. Shouting "Wearing mask is not a crime," tens of thousands of
protesters braved the rain Sunday to march in central Hong Kong as a court
rejected a second legal attempt to block a mask ban aimed at quashing
violence during four months of pro-democracy rallies. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
By Eileen Ng & John Leicester
Hong Kong (AP) — Shouting "Wearing a mask is not
a crime," tens of thousands of protesters marched in central Hong Kong on
Sunday, as a court rejected a second attempt to block a ban on masks aimed
at quashing violence at pro-democracy rallies.
The ban, which took effect Saturday, triggered chaos
for a third straight day in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. Police
fired tear gas in several areas as demonstrators lobbed bricks and gasoline
bombs in confrontations that have become a regular occurrence during the
4-month-old protest movement.
Lawmaker Dennis Kwok said the High Court refused to
grant an injunction on the mask ban but agreed to hear later this month an
application by 24 legislators against Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam's use of
emergency powers to impose the rule by circumventing the legislature.
The embattled leader has said the ban on masks, which
allows radical protesters to conceal their identity, was needed to stop
widespread violence that has "semi-paralyzed" Hong Kong. It is also the
biggest challenge for Chinese President Xi Jinping since the former British
colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
Many malls, shops and the entire MTR network of subways
and trains were shut Saturday following an overnight rampage. About half of
the city's 94 subway stations reopened Sunday, but some quickly shut again
after protesters vandalized stations, set street fires and thrashed shops
and banks linked to China.
Many malls also remained shuttered as streets downtown
turned into a sea of umbrellas, with protesters chanting "Hong Kong people,
resist." The rally disbanded after police deployed tear gas to break up
violence and detained over a dozen young protesters. Tear gas was also used
in the city's Mong Kok district.
Critics fear the use of the Emergency Regulations
Ordinance that gives Lam broad powers to implement any measures she deems
necessary in an emergency could pave the way for more draconian moves. The
law was enacted by British colonial rulers in 1922 to quell a seamen's
strike and was last used in 1967 to crush riots.
Lam has not ruled out further measures if violence
"This emergency law is so ancient and draconian. Carrie
Lam is using it as some sort of weapon of mass destruction to nuke Hong
Kong," said legislator Claudia Mo.
Even though the court rejected the legal challenge,
Kwok and Mo welcomed the decision to expedite the hearing. The court didn't
set a hearing date but indicated it would be at the end of October.
"This is a constitutional case. The court has
acknowledged there is controversy involving the use of the emergency law,"
Lam has said she will seek the backing of the
legislature when it resumes Oct. 16. Mo called it a sham because only Lam
has the power to repeal the mask ban under the emergency law.
Many protesters who wore masks Sunday said the ban
curtailed their freedom of expression. The ban applies to both illegal and
police-approved gatherings, and carries a penalty of up to a year in jail
and a fine.
"Carrie Lam is not the god of Hong Kong. She can't do
anything she likes," said retiree Patricia Anyeung, who wore a mask while
marching with her sister, Rebecca.
A police official who spoke on condition of anonymity
because he was not authorized to speak to the media said some arrests were
made Sunday for violating the ban, but he couldn't give any numbers.
Enforcement proves tricky in a city where masks have
often been used since a deadly respiratory disease outbreak in 2003. The
government said Saturday that it won't prohibit the public from wearing
masks for health reasons amid the current flu season.
"They can't arrest us all. There are thousands of us,"
said Anyeung. "There is no going back — we are at the point of no return."
Anyeung, who holds a British passport, said she may leave Hong Kong if the
city's freedoms are extinguished.
Some protesters spray-painted the word "resist" along a
"I'm thinking of my kid's future. For the sake of our
freedom, there's nothing we're afraid of," Feng Yiucheng said through his
black mask as he handed out bottles of water to marchers from his van,
accompanied by his wife and 2-year-old son.
The protests were sparked in early June by a bill that
would have sent criminal suspects to stand trial in mainland China, but have
since snowballed into an anti-China movement. Many peaceful demonstrators
say violence is the only way for young protesters to force the government to
bend to clamors for greater democratic rights and other demands.
The shooting of a 14-year-old boy Friday night — the
second protest victim of police gunfire — stoked fears of more bloody
confrontations. An 18-year-old protester was shot at close range by a riot
officer on Tuesday. He was charged with rioting and assaulting police, while
the younger teen was arrested.
Ginger Baker, Cream's volatile drummer, dies at 80
Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008 file photo, British musician Ginger Baker performs at
the 'Zildjian Drummers Achievement Awards' at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in
London. The family of drummer Ginger Baker, the volatile and propulsive
British musician who was best known for his time with the power trio Cream,
says he died, Sunday Oct. 6, 2019. He was 80. (AP Photo/MJ Kim, File)
By Hillel Italie
London (AP) — Ginger Baker, the volatile and
propulsive British musician who was best known for his time with the power
trio Cream, died Sunday at age 80, his family said.
Baker wielded his blues power and jazz technique to
help break open popular music and become one of the world's most admired and
With blazing eyes, orange-red hair and a temperament to
match, the London native ranked with The Who's Keith Moon and Led Zeppelin's
John Bonham as the embodiment of musical and personal fury. Using twin bass
drums, Baker fashioned a pounding, poly-rhythmic style uncommonly swift and
heavy that inspired and intimidated countless musicians. But every beat
seemed to mirror an offstage eruption — whether his violent dislike of Cream
bandmate Jack Bruce or his on-camera assault of a documentary maker, Jay
Bulger, whom he smashed in the nose with his walking stick.
Bulger would call the film, released in 2012, "Beware
of Mr. Baker."
Baker's family said on Twitter that he died Sunday: "We
are very sad to say that Ginger has passed away peacefully in hospital this
His daughter Nettie confirmed that Baker died in
Britain but gave no other details. The family had said on Sept. 25 that
Baker was critically ill in the hospital.
While Rolling Stone magazine once ranked him the
third-greatest rock drummer of all time, behind Moon and Bonham, Baker had
contempt for Moon and others he dismissed as "bashers" without style or
background. Baker and his many admirers saw him as a rounded, sophisticated
musician — an arranger, composer and student of the craft, absorbing sounds
from around the world. He had been playing jazz since he was a teenager and
spent years in Africa in the 1970s, forming a close friendship with the
Nigerian musician-activist Fela Kuti.
"He was so unique and had such a distinctive
personality," Stewart Copeland of the Police told www.musicradar.com in
2013. "Nobody else followed in his footsteps. Everybody tried to be John
Bonham and copy his licks, but it's rare that you hear anybody doing the
Ginger Baker thing."
But many fans thought of Baker as a rock star, who
teamed with Eric Clapton and Bruce in the mid-1960s to become Cream — one of
the first supergroups and first power trios. All three were known
individually in the London blues scene and together they helped make rock
history by elevating instrumental prowess above the songs themselves, even
as they had hits with "Sunshine of Your Love," ''I Feel Free" and "White
Cream was among the most successful acts of its time,
selling more than 10 million records. But by 1968 Baker and Bruce had worn
each other out and even Clapton had tired of their deafening, marathon jams,
including the Baker showcase "Toad," one of rock's first extended drum
solos. Cream split up at the end of the year, departing with two sold-out
shows at London's Albert Hall. When told by Bulger that he was a founding
father of heavy metal, Baker snarled that the genre "should have been
To the surprise of many, especially Clapton, he and
Baker were soon part of another super group, Blind Faith, which also
featured singer-keyboardist Stevie Winwood and bassist Ric Grech.
As Clapton would recall, he and Winwood had been
playing informally when Baker turned up (Baker would allege that Clapton
invited him). Named Blind Faith by a rueful Clapton, the band was
overwhelmed by expectations from the moment it debuted in June 1969 before
some 100,000 at a concert in London's Hyde Park. It split up after
completing just one, self-titled album, as notable for its cover photo of a
topless young girl as for its music. A highlight from the record: Baker's
cymbal splashes on Winwood's lyrical ballad "Can't Find My Way Home."
From the 1970s on, Baker was ever more unpredictable.
He moved to Nigeria, took up polo, drove a Land Rover across the Sahara,
lived on a ranch in South Africa, divorced his first wife and married three
He recorded with Kuti and other Nigerians, jammed with
Art Blakey, Elvin Jones and other jazz drummers and played with John Lydon's
Public Image Ltd. He founded Ginger Baker's Air Force, which cost a fortune
and imploded after two albums. He endured his old enemy, Bruce, when Cream
was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 and for Cream
reunion concerts a decade later. Bruce died in 2014.
Baker continued to perform regularly in his 70s despite
arthritis, heart trouble, hearing loss dating from his years with Cream and
lung disease from smoking. No strangers to vices and not a fan of modesty,
he called his memoir "Hellraiser: The Autobiography of the World's Greatest
"John Bonham once made a statement that there were only
two drummers in British rock 'n' roll; himself and Ginger Baker," Baker
wrote in his book. "My reaction to this was, 'You cheeky little bastard!'"
Born in 1939, Peter Edward Baker was the son of a
bricklayer killed during World War II when Ginger was just 4. His father
left behind a letter that Ginger Baker would quote from: "Use your fists;
they're your best pals so often."
Baker was a drummer from early on, even rapping out
rhythms on his school desk as he mimicked the big band music he loved and
didn't let the occasional caning from a teacher deter him. As a teenager, he
was playing in local groups and was mentored by percussionist Phil Seamen.
"At this party, there was a little band and all the
kids chanted at me, 'Play the drums!''', Baker told The Independent in 2009.
"I'd never sat behind a kit before, but I sat down — and I could play! One
of the musicians turned round and said, 'Bloody hell, we've got a drummer',
and I thought, 'Bloody hell, I'm a drummer.'"
Baker came of age just as London was learning the
blues, with such future superstars as Clapton, Mick Jagger and Jimmy Page
among the pioneers. Baker joined Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated, where
he met (and soon disliked, for allegedly playing too loud) the Scottish-born
bassist Jack Bruce, with whom he was thrown together again as members of the
popular British group the Graham Bond Organization.
Clapton, meanwhile, was London's hottest guitarist,
thanks to his work with the Yardbirds and John Mayall's Blues Breakers, his
extraordinary speed and agility inspiring "Clapton is God" graffiti.
Clapton, Baker and Bruce would call their band Cream because they considered
themselves the best musicians around.
"Oh for god's sake, I've never played rock," Baker told
the blog JazzWax in 2013. "Cream was two jazz players and a blues guitarist
playing improvised music. We never played the same thing two nights running.
Jack and I had been in jazz bands for years. All that stuff I did on the
drums in Cream didn't come from drugs, either. It was from me. It was jazz."
Austrian police: Man kills 5 in Alpine resort of Kitzbuehel
investigator works on a balcony of a house in Kitzbuehl, Austria, Sunday,
Oct. 6, 2019. Austrian police say a 25-year-old man's in custody after
allegedly killing his ex-girlfriend, her family, and her new boyfriend in
the Alpine resort town of Kitzbuehel. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
Berlin (AP) — A 25-year-old man
turned himself in to Austrian police Sunday after allegedly killing his
ex-girlfriend, her family and her new boyfriend in the Alpine resort town of
The Austrian news agency APA reported that the
25-year-old suspect, whose name hasn't been released, admitted to the five
slayings after turning himself in to police in the town east of Innsbruck,
best known for hosting a famous downhill ski race.
Austria's Kurier newspaper said the suspect had
broken up with his girlfriend two months ago. He had bumped into her and her
new boyfriend while out late Saturday night or early Sunday and had gotten
into an argument.
At about 4 a.m. Sunday, he showed up at his
ex-girlfriend's family home. After her father opened the door, the suspect's
ex-girlfriend joined him and exchanged words with the suspect before he
The suspect then went home, retrieved his brother's
pistol and returned, according to police.
Police allege he shot the father as he opened the door,
then shot his ex-girlfriend's 25-year-old brother in his bedroom. After
killing her mother, he found the door to his ex-girlfriend's separate
apartment, attached to the single-family home, locked.
He then went outside and climbed over a balcony into
his ex-girlfriend's room and killed the 19-year-old and her 24-year-old
boyfriend, police said.
Saudi Arabia eases restrictions on women taking hotel rooms
this Oct. 24, 2018 file photo, participants attending a conference take a
break in the Ritz Carlton Hotel, in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Saudi
Arabia's tourism authority has issued new guidelines allowing women to rent
hotel rooms without a male guardian's presence and foreign men and women to
share a room without proof of marriage. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)
March 9, 2018, file photo, an aerial view of Riyadh city is seen from
Mamlaka tower, a 99-story skyscraper, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Amr
By Elena Becatoros
Dubai, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia
has lifted some restrictions on women traveling in the ultraconservative
Muslim kingdom, its tourism authority said Sunday, with new guidelines
allowing women to rent hotel rooms without a male guardian's presence, and
foreign men and women to share a room without proof of marriage.
The easing of stringent regulations governing social
interactions comes after Riyadh launched its first tourist visa scheme, as
part of efforts to open up the country to foreign visitors and diversify its
The Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage
posted the new requirements on Twitter Sunday, confirming a Friday report by
the Saudi daily Okaz.
The commission said women will be allowed to rent hotel
rooms with proof of identity — an ID card for Saudi women, residency card
for foreign residents living in the kingdom or passport for tourists. The
same would be required of foreign couples, without the need for them to
present a marriage certificate. Previously women needed permission from a
male guardian to rent a hotel room.
Women will also be allowed to rent hotel rooms without
any form of identification if they have a male guardian present who does
have proof of identity, it said.
The move comes amid deep reforms over the past year by
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman which has lifted a ban on movie theaters in
the kingdom and the world's only ban on women driving.
Critics note there are limits to the reforms, and point
to last year's killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi
consulate in Istanbul and the reported torture of several detained women's
Saudi announced the new tourist visa scheme last week,
saying it was aiming to increase tourism to contribute up to 10% of gross
domestic product compared to 3% currently. For the launch of its new visa,
the country was highlighting five UNESCO World Heritage sites, contemporary
art sites and natural sites including the Red Sea, desert and mountains.
Previously visitor visas were issued only for specific
reasons such as for Muslim religious pilgrimages, to visit family or for
The one-year, multiple-entry visa scheme allows for
stays of up to 90 days at a time and marks the first time the country is
allowing foreigners to visit solely for the purpose of tourism. Citizens of
49 eligible countries can apply online or on arrival, while those from other
countries will have to apply at their nearest Saudi embassy or consulate.
As part of the drive to attract foreign visitors, the
kingdom is easing strict dress codes for tourist women, requiring shoulders
and knees to be covered in public but not demanding they wear the full-body
abaya, according to guidelines posted on its visa information website.
More Brexit questions than answers as Oct. 31 deadline nears
file photo dated Tuesday, March, 12, 2019, a Motorist crosses the Irish
border in Middletown, Northern Ireland. The hope of Britain's Brexit split
from the European Union depends on finding a political solution to avoid
having a hard border across the peaceful green fields that span the seamless
border dividing Britain's Northern Ireland from Europe's Republic of
Ireland. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison, FILE)
By Raf Casert & Gregory Katz
London (AP) — Well over three years after
Britain announced it would split from the European Union, everything
regarding Brexit is still in limbo and early hopes of an amicable split have
turned into the reality of a bitter, battling divorce.
Britain is scheduled to leave on Oct. 31, but much is
still uncertain, especially in Ireland.
Here are some of the unresolved questions about Brexit
as Britain’s political drama heads into its possible final weeks:
If Britain wants to split so bad why
is it taking so long?
The impending divorce has actually split the U.K. to
the core, making for vitriolic debates from household dinner tables to the
House of Commons. That’s hardly an ideal situation for British negotiators
facing an unusually united front among the 27 remaining EU nations. When
previous British Prime Minister Theresa May finally came home with a Brexit
compromise divorce deal, it was rejected, not once, but three times by the
So, the EU basically has a Brexit deal it respects but
one that Britain has failed to pass.
How has Britain’s new leader affected
the Brexit talks?
To untangle the knot, in walks new Prime Minister Boris
Johnson, using his tempestuous personality to try to change in days what
Brexit negotiators have been working on for years. The changes that he is
demanding are fundamental, especially on the relationship between the U.K’s
Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland. Reactions on the continent to
Johnson’s proposals are increasingly negative, especially on Thursday.
What can still be done in four weeks?
Johnson says more than enough. The EU says not much.
On an issue like the border of Ireland, Johnson sought
to wipe the slate clean and start afresh. Even if, unlikely as it is,
progress is made to meet Johnson’s demands over the coming days, it would be
next to impossible to produce it in legally binding texts in time. So on the
continent, the most optimistic view is that Britain will need another Brexit
extension past Oct. 31 to iron out those details. That, however, goes
against Johnson’s promise to take the U.K. out of the EU by that date “do or
What is so difficult about the Irish
The border between Ireland and Northern Ireland is as
big a stumbling block as one can find.
Neither side wants a hard border. The absence of border
checks has been a prime accomplishment of the Good Friday peace agreement
that in 1998 helped curtail decades of violence, and the unfettered border
between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland has helped business
development on both sides.
The problem comes when Britain leaves the EU, because
Brexit will mean the currently wide-open border on the island of Ireland
marks a new dividing line between the EU and the U.K. And the U.K. will no
longer abide by EU trading rules, so new ones will be needed.
What is Boris Johnson’s plan to
Britain’s new Brexit proposal, given to the EU on
Wednesday, calls for Northern Ireland to leave the EU Customs Union, which
would mean it would be in a separate customs territory to Ireland.
This means customs checks and customs declarations for
trucks crossing the border, for example - which sounds a lot like a physical
border. But the British government proposal calls for customs declarations
to be made electronically and for only a very small number of physical
checks on goods, which would not be made at the border but at warehouses or
other designated locations.
Britain says both sides would agree not to make checks
at the actual border.
How will this invisible border work?
There would have to be a new system of customs
declarations and checks, with the British government hoping technological
solutions can be found to streamline the paperwork. The EU has already
poured very cold water on this. The new plan also calls on Northern Ireland
to keep following the EU’s single market rules, which will no longer apply
to the rest of the UK. As a result, there will have to be a new system of
checks on goods being transported between Northern Ireland and the British
Voters in Northern Ireland wanted to
stay in the EU. Do they get any say?
Johnson is proposing that the Northern Ireland Assembly
be given a chance to approve or reject the Brexit border arrangement, and
then have a chance to extend it every four years. This plan depends on
Northern Ireland’s power-sharing assembly, which was set up by the Good
Friday peace accord, being brought back to life. Power-sharing collapsed two
years ago and has not been revived.
This proposal is something the EU, and Ireland in
particular, disagrees with, since it gives a regional legislature in a non-EU
nation outsized impact on the policies of the EU’s 27 remaining nations.
NZ bishop resigns over ‘unacceptable’ sexual relationship
Pope Francis attends a feast of St. Francis of
Assisi, the patron saint of ecology, at the Vatican, Friday, Oct. 4, 2019.
Pope Francis on Friday accepted the resignation of New Zealand Palmerston
North Bishop Charles Drennan over what church officials said was his
“completely unacceptable” sexual behavior with a young woman. (AP
By Nicole Winfield
Vatican City (AP) — Pope Francis on Friday
accepted the resignation of a New Zealand bishop over what church officials
said was his “completely unacceptable” sexual behavior with a young woman.
Palmerston North Bishop Charles Drennan, 59, had
offered to resign following an independent investigation into the woman’s
complaint, according to a statement from Cardinal John Dew, head of the
church in New Zealand.
The Vatican said Friday that the pope had accepted the
The removal is significant since the Catholic Church
has long considered sexual relationships between clerics and adult women to
be sinful and inappropriate, but not criminal or necessarily worthy of
However, the #MeToo movement and the scandal over
ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, an American defrocked by Francis for sexual
misconduct, have forced a reckoning about the imbalance of power in
relationships between clerics and lay adults, nuns and seminarians - and
whether such relationships can ever be consensual.
Drennan was a member of the New Zealand church team of
priests and sisters selected to respond to the country’s Royal Commission
inquiry into sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults in state and
faith-based care between 1950 & 1999. His status on the team wasn’t
Drennan is well under the normal retirement age of 75
for bishops. Ordained a priest in 1996, he worked for seven years in the
Vatican’s secretariat of state before being made a bishop in 2011. He took
over as the head of the Palmerston North diocese a year later.
More recently, he was elected secretary of the New
Zealand bishops’ conference and was a delegate at a 2015 meeting of the
world’s bishops on the family.
Dew said the woman made a complaint, and the New
Zealand church’s investigative body contracted an outside investigator to
evaluate her claim. Both Drennan and the woman participated in the
Details of their relationship were not released. The
woman asked for information from the complaint to remain private, Dew said.
He added, however, that “In the eyes of the Catholic Church, Bishop
Drennan’s behavior was completely unacceptable.”
Dew praised the woman for coming forward, said she had
been told of Drennan’s resignation and is continuing to receive support from
the church as well as her family. He urged others to bring reports of clergy
misconduct to the church, police or other organizations.
“The Catholic Church has no tolerance for any
inappropriate behavior by any of its members,” Dew said.
Thousands protest mask ban as HK leader toughens stance
Protesters wear masks and hold up their hands to
represent their five demands in Hong Kong Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Hong Kong
pro-democracy protesters marched in the city center Friday ahead of plans by
the city’s embattled leader to deploy emergency powers to ban people from
wearing masks in a bid to quash four months of anti-government
demonstrations. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
By John Leicester & Eileen Ng
Hong Kong (AP) — Thousands of defiant masked
protesters streamed into Hong Kong streets Friday after the city’s embattled
leader invoked rarely used emergency powers to ban masks at rallies in a
hardening of the government’s stance after four months of anti-government
Challenging the ban set to take effect Saturday,
protesters crammed streets in the central business district and other areas,
shouting “Hong Kong people, resist.”
Lam said at an afternoon news conference that the mask
ban, imposed under a colonial-era Emergency Ordinance that was last used
over half a decade ago, targets violent protesters and rioters and “will be
an effective deterrent to radical behavior.”
The ban applies to all public gatherings, both
unauthorized and those approved by police.
Lam stressed it doesn’t mean the semi-autonomous
Chinese territory is in a state of emergency. She said she would go to the
legislature later to get legal backing for the rule.
“We must save Hong Kong, the present Hong Kong and the
future Hong Kong,” she said. “We must stop the violence ... we can’t just
leave the situation to get worse and worse.”
Two activists immediately filed legal challenges in
court on grounds that the mask ban will instill fear and curtail freedom of
speech and assembly.
The ban makes the wearing of full or partial face
coverings, including face paint, at public gatherings punishable by one year
in jail. A six-month jail term could be imposed on people who refuse a
police officer’s order to remove a face covering for identification.
Masks will be permitted for “legitimate need,” when
their wearers can prove that they need them for work, health or religious
"Will they arrest 100,000 people on the street? The
government is trying to intimidate us but at this moment, I don't think the
people will be scared," said a protester who gave his surname as Lui.
Lam wouldn’t rule out a further toughening of measures
if violence continues. She said she would not resign because “stepping down
is not something that will help the situation” when Hong Kong is in “a very
critical state of public danger.”
Thousands of masked protesters began marching in the
city’s business district and other areas before Lam spoke. The rally grew in
the evening as protesters vowed they wouldn’t be intimidated. Some used
metal railings to block roads downtown, vandalized two subway stations and
set street fires, including burning a Chinese flag.
“The Hong Kong police are also wearing their masks when
they're doing their job. And they don't show their pass and their number,”
said protester Ernest Ho. “So I will still keep my mask on everywhere."
Face masks have become a hallmark of protesters in Hong
Kong, even at peaceful marches, amid fears of retribution at work or of
being denied access to schooling, public housing and other government-funded
services. Some young protesters also wear full gas masks and goggles to
protect against police tear gas.
Many also are concerned their identities could be
shared with the massive state-security apparatus that helps keep the
Communist Party in power across the border in Mainland China, where
high-tech surveillance including facial recognition technology is
Analysts said the use of the Emergency Ordinance set a
dangerous precedent. The law, a relic of British rule enacted in 1922 to
quell a seamen’s strike and last used to crush riots in 1967, gives broad
powers to the city’s chief executive to implement regulations in an
“It is a dangerous first step. If the anti-mask
legislation proves to be ineffective, it could lead the way to more
draconian measures such as a curfew and other infringement of civil
liberties,” said Willy Lam, adjunct professor at the Chinese University.
Lam bristled at a suggestion that the ban nudges Hong
Kong closer to the authoritarian rule imposed by the Communist Party across
the rest of China. She insisted she was not acting under orders from the
central government in Beijing, which she visited this week when Communist
Party leaders celebrated 70 years in power on Tuesday.
The ban followed widespread violence in the city
Tuesday that marred China’s National Day and included a police officer
shooting a protester, the first victim of gunfire since the protests started
in June over a now-shelved extradition bill. The wounded teenager was
charged with attacking police and rioting.
The movement has snowballed into an anti-China campaign
amid anger over what many view as Beijing’s interference in Hong Kong’s
autonomy. More than 1,750 people have been detained so far.
Activists and many legislators have warned the mask ban
could be counterproductive, impractical and difficult to enforce in a city
bubbling with anger and where tens of thousands have often defied police
bans on rallies.
The government last month withdrew the extradition
bill, widely slammed as an example of the erosion of Hong Kong’s freedom,
but protesters have widened their demands to include direct elections of the
city’s leaders, an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, the
unconditional release of protesters and not characterizing the protests as
“Five demands, not one less!” many protesters shouted
during Friday’s rallies as they held up five fingers.
What’s in a fatberg? Scientists answer the question
released Friday Oct. 4, 2019, by University of Exeter, shows a fatberg in a
sewer beneath Sidmouth, England, in January 2019, during scientific analysis
conducted by the university to find out exactly what the fatberg was made
of. (University of Exeter via AP)
London (AP) — A fatberg, while
not terribly pleasant and a big headache for sanitation workers, is not a
health or environmental hazard, scientists have found.
An analysis of a giant fatberg longer than the height
of the Tower of Pisa found in sewers in western England reveals it to have
been comprised of cooking fats, hygiene products and a few random items
including false teeth.
University of Exeter scientists said Friday there were
no detectible levels of toxic chemicals in the fatberg, which filled 36
tanker loads when it was removed from underneath the seaside town of
Professor John Love said the team was “rather surprised
to find that this Sidmouth fatberg was simply a lump of fat aggregated with
wet wipes, sanitary towels and other household products that really should
be put in the bin and not down the toilet.”
Employee kills 4 officers in knife attack at Paris police HQ
Police officers stand guard outside the Paris
police headquarters, Thursday, Oct.3, 2019 in Paris. An employee armed with
a knife attacked officers inside Paris police headquarters Thursday, killing
at least four before he was fatally shot, a French police union official
said. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)
By Sylvie Corbet & Lori Hinnant
Paris (AP) — An administrator armed with a knife
attacked officers inside Paris police headquarters Thursday, killing at
least four before he was fatally shot, officials said.
Police union official Loic Travers told reporters the
attack appeared to have started in an office and continued elsewhere in the
large police compound across the street from Notre Dame Cathedral.
The number of people injured was not immediately clear.
Travers said the motive is unknown, but that the
20-year police employee allegedly responsible for the attack worked in the
intelligence unit and had not posed known problems until Thursday.
He said he could not remember an attack of this
magnitude against officers.
Emery Siamandi, who works at police headquarters, said
he was in the stairwell leading to the chief’s office when he heard
stand behind a police tape as they are evacuated nearby the police
headquarters after an incident in Paris, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. An employee
armed with a knife attacked officers inside Paris police headquarters
Thursday, killing at least four before he was fatally shot, a French police
union official said. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)
“I told myself, this isn’t right,” Siamandi said.
“Moments later, I saw three policewomen crying. I couldn’t help them in any
way, and their colleagues were crying, too, so I figured it must be
He said he saw one officer on his knees in tears.
"It's the worst scenario possible, an internal attack
with colleagues working together," said Philippe Capon of the UNSA police
Capon cautioned against jumping to conclusions on the
motive and said, "Nothing can be ruled out, including a personal issue."
French media reported a department employee carried out
the attack with a ceramic knife in a part of the headquarters building that
is not open to the public.
The attack came a day after thousands of officers
marched in Paris to protest low wages, long hours and increasing suicides in
France’s prime minister, interior minister and the
Paris prosecutor were at police headquarters but the government had not
issued a statement more than three hours after the rampage. French President
Emmanuel Macron stopped by to show solidarity with officers and department
employees, his office said.
The neighborhood where the police compound is located,
a busy tourist destination, was locked down, the Cite metro stop was closed
and the bridge between Notre Dame and the headquarters building was blocked
“Paris weeps for its own this afternoon after this
terrifying attack in the police headquarters. The toll is heavy, several
officers lost their lives,” Mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted.
Extremists have repeatedly targeted French police in
France in recent years. In 2017, a gunman opened fire on the Champs-Elysees
boulevard, killing one officer before he was shot to death.
In 2016, an attack inspired by the Islamic State group
killed a police officer and his companion, an administrator, at their home
in front of their child.
Shot teen charged as Hong Kong considers ban on masks
fold paper origami cranes on a poster that reads, "Liberate Hong Kong.
Revolution of our times," as they march to the Chinese University to show
support to those students who were arrested by police in Hong Kong,
Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
march to the Chinese University to show support to those students who were
arrested by police in Hong Kong, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent
By Eileen Ng
Hong Kong (AP) — The teenager who was the first
victim of police gunfire in Hong Kong’s months-long pro-democracy protests
was charged Thursday with rioting and attacking police, as calls grew for
the government to ban the wearing of masks to subdue rising violence in the
semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
The shooting of the 18-year-old Tuesday during
widespread clashes marred China’s National Day celebration and marked an
alarming escalation in violence in the unrest that has rocked one of the
world’s top financial hubs since June.
Local media reported that Chief Executive Carrie Lam
will hold a special Executive Council meeting on Friday to discuss a ban on
masks, which have helped protesters conceal their identities, and other
tough measures under a colonial-era emergency law.
Lam’s office said it had no comment. Pro-Beijing
legislator Michael Tien confirmed the meeting. Activists and some lawmakers
warned that such harsh measures would only further alienate the people and
could prompt a more ferocious backlash.
Anger against the government has built up since Tsang
Chi-kin was shot at close range after he struck a police officer with a rod.
Tsang was among seven people charged Thursday with
rioting, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. He also faces
two additional counts of attacking two police officers, punishable by up to
six months in prison.
Tsang and two others who were hospitalized did not
appear in court. The government said Tsang’s condition is stable. Dozens of
supporters, many in black, sat outside the courthouse.
Thousands of people rallied in several areas Thursday
night for a second straight day to demand police accountability for the
shooting. Dozens stuck anti-police posters and well-wishes for Tsang on
fencing outside his school in Tsuen Wan district in the north.
In the Taikoo Shing area, riot police fired volleys of
tear gas after some protesters set up road barriers and smashed a
surveillance camera at a subway exit. Hundreds of people earlier shouted
abuse at riot police, who used pepper spray and detained at least two
Earlier Thursday, over 1,000 students marched Thursday
at the Chinese University. Many people felt that firing at Tsang's chest,
close to his heart, was an attempt to kill him.
Police defended the shooting as “reasonable and lawful”
because the officer had feared for his life and those of his colleagues.
Videos on social media of the shooting showed a group
of black-clad protesters with bars and umbrellas clashing with police. They
closed in on a lone officer, who opened fire as Tsang came at him with a
rod. Just as another protester rushed in to try to drag Tsang away but was
tackled by an officer, a gasoline bomb landed in the middle of the group of
officers in an explosion of flames.
The protests that started in June over a now-shelved
extradition bill have since snowballed into an anti-China campaign amid
anger over what many view as Beijing’s interference in Hong Kong’s autonomy
that was granted when the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in
1997. More than 1,750 people have been detained so far.
Police associations and some pro-Beijing groups have
called for tougher measures.
The Junior Police Officers Association, representing
front-line officers, said the force has been stretched thin. In a statement
Wednesday, it urged the government to impose a curfew and other emergency
measures to maintain public order.
A pro-government group, including lawmakers and
lawyers, said Thursday that authorities should use the example of a Canadian
law that imposes a jail sentence of up to 10 years on anyone wearing a mask
during a riot or unlawful assembly.
Lawmaker Elizabeth Quat said the ban would specifically
target rioters and wouldn’t curb citizens’ freedom of assembly. While it
wouldn’t bring protests to a halt, she said it would help reduce the
violence that has wracked the territory.
But Ip Kin-yuen, a legislator representing the
education sector, warned it would be akin to “adding oil to the fire” and
could further weaken the government in dealing with the crisis.
Legislator Tien said protesters could challenge a mask
ban and any curfew order, just as tens of thousands of people have defied
police bans on rallies and taken to the streets in the past months.
But he said it could work if the government also
responds to at least the key demand of the protesters, which is to hold an
independent inquiry into alleged police brutality.
“They need to use carrot and stick at the same time,”
Israel swears in new parliament amid political deadlock
attorney general Avichai Mandelblit arrives at the Ministry of Justice in
Jerusalem for the second day of pre-indictment hearing in the corruption
case of Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019.
(AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
By Aron Heller
Jerusalem (AP) — Israel swore in its newly
elected parliament on Thursday for what could be a very short term after the
country’s second inconclusive election of the year left it with no new
government on the horizon.
The typically festive event was marked mostly by
uncertainty, as the two main candidates for prime minister sniped at each
other over who should lead the country.
It also came in parallel to Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu’s high-profile pre-indictment hearing on corruption charges, which
have threatened to end his political career and contributed to the current
paralysis of the country’s political system.
Neither Netanyahu nor his chief rival Benny Gantz has
been able to build a parliamentary majority with their natural allies. They
now depend on each other for a unity government as the only likely
alternative to an unprecedented third election in less than a year.
Talks between the two sides appear to have stalled,
though, with Netanyahu insisting on remaining prime minister and holding on
to his ultra-Orthodox and nationalist partners. Gantz’s centrist Blue and
White party is sticking to its election campaign vow not to sit with
Netanyahu because of his perilous legal standing.
“The right thing for the citizens of Israel, especially
at this time, is for the prime minister to be busy working for them and not
preoccupied with indictments,” Gantz said at his party faction meeting. “I
call upon Netanyahu: Do not barricade yourself in your position. We will
take the reins from here and lead the country for the good of the citizens.”
For the sake of unity, Gantz’s deputy, Yair Lapid,
announced he was forgoing a previous arrangement to share the premiership
should they come to power.
“It’s far more important to me that there’s unity in
the country. That there won’t be another election. That this country begins
a healing process,” he said.
At his party faction, Netanyahu said he had no
intention of stepping down and it was the “will of the people” to form a
unity government with him. He accused Gantz of subverting that will.
“We need to go together,” he said. “This is what the
voters decided upon and this is what is right at this time.”
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has recommended
that Netanyahu be indicted on fraud, breach of trust and bribery charges in
three separate cases. Under Israeli law, Netanyahu is entitled to plead his
case at a hearing in a last-ditch attempt to persuade prosecutors to drop
For a second day in a row, Netanyahu’s team of lawyers
held a marathon session at the Justice Ministry in Jerusalem trying to get
the looming charges nixed. The first two days so far have focused on the
most damaging case against Netanyahu: suspicions that he promoted regulation
worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Israel's Bezeq telecom company in
return for favorable coverage in Bezeq's subsidiary news site, Walla.
The other cases include suspicions that he accepted
hundreds of thousands of dollars of champagne and cigars from billionaire
friends and offered a critical publisher legislation that would weaken his
paper's main rival in return for softer treatment.
Netanyahu has long promised he’d clear his name in the
hearing, and his lawyers say they will prove that no quid pro quo was
involved. If formal charges are filed, Netanyahu, who denies any wrongdoing,
could come under heavy pressure to step down.
In the meantime, Netanyahu is desperately trying to
stay in power. He’s headed a caretaker government for much of the year after
failing to build a coalition government following the initial elections in
The previous Israeli parliament had the shortest stint
in history, lasting just over four months before it was dissolved. There’s
no guarantee the current one will be any longer.
The repeat vote last month left Netanyahu even more
weakened, with Gantz’s Blue and White finishing first with 33 seats in the
120-seat parliament, just ahead of Netanyahu's Likud with 32 seats. However,
Netanyahu edged Gantz 55-54 in the number of lawmakers who recommend him as
prime minister and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin therefore tasked him
first with trying to form a coalition. A prime minister needs the support of
61 lawmakers to form a government.
Netanyahu has up to six weeks to do so, but he has
indicated he will give up before then if he feels he can’t reach a deal with
Gantz. The former military chief would then likely be given a chance to try
so himself, though his odds of success appear equally slim. After that,
Rivlin can either task an alternative lawmaker or, more likely, call new
Both Netanyahu and Gantz have both expressed general
support for a unity government between their parties as a way out of the
deadlock but they remain far apart on who should lead it and what smaller
parties would join them.
Netanyahu still maintains strong support within his
Likud party despite his legal woes. His office suggested he was considering
calling a quick internal Likud party primary to solidify his leadership amid
opposition calls that he be ousted. In a first sign of potential discord,
though, his top Likud rival Gideon Saar said he would be “ready” for such a
Jumping the shark? Kiss will play for them in the ocean
Aug. 29, 2019 file photo, KISS performs at the Riverbend Music Center in
Cincinnati. In front from left are Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer and Paul
Stanley. Eric Singer is in the back on drums. The rock group will play a
Nov. 2019 show in Australia for sharks and eight fans in a small submarine.
They will listen through underwater speakers as the band remains above board
on a boat. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP, File)
By Wayne Parry
Atlantic City, N.J. (AP) — Having played nearly
every corner of the Earth in a nearly 50-year career, the rock band Kiss is
taking its show to a new place — under the sea, where they will perform for
great white sharks and eight fans separated from them by a small submarine.
As part of a promotion by Airbnb, the fans and Kiss
will travel Nov. 18 in separate boats off the coast of southern Australia.
While Kiss stays above board on one vessel, the fans will be lowered beneath
the surface of the water from a second boat into the viewing sub in an area
known for shark activity.
Using underwater speakers, Kiss will begin playing, and
the sound will be audible to the submerged fans and the sharks.
“I was a little taken aback by it, but they explained
that sharks are attracted to low frequencies and so they’re attracted to
rock ‘n’ roll,” singer and guitarist Paul Stanley told The Associated
Press. “Since we’re going to be in Australia, it gives a whole new
meaning to doing a concert down under.”
The first-come, first-served event costs $50, which is
half the price of Kiss tickets in even the worst nosebleed seats in the last
row at Madison Square Garden. Proceeds will go to charity, the company said.
Reservations can be made starting at 6 p.m. EDT on airbnb.com/KISS on Oct.
The event will take place in the Indian Ocean off Port
Lincoln, South Australia. Kiss will be in full makeup and costumes for the
performance, which will be at least four songs.
“I’m not sure how much of us the sharks can take,”
Stanley said. “I’m hoping they know ‘Rock And Roll All Nite.’”
Stanley said Kiss bassist Gene Simmons has recovered
after having some kidney stones removed recently, and should be ready to
perform well before the shark show.
“I tend to think he just ate gravel,” Stanley joked.
The event is part of Airbnb Animal Experiences, and is
designed to have people entertain animals instead of the other way around,
the company said in a news release.
As strange as it sounds, underwater concerts are not
new. The Underwater Music Festival has been held for the past 35 years in
the Florida Keys.
The shark show has untapped potential if they want to
do it again sometime. After all, what other concert could potentially bring
together Great White and Air Supply?
Hong Kong police slammed as 'trigger-happy' after teen shot
make a mural depicting a teenage demonstrator shot at close range in the
chest by a police officer, in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019. (AP
raises a cardboard drawing featuring a protester shot in the chest by police
during a strike in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
holds a printout featuring a protester being shot in the chest by police
during a strike in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
holds an arm across her chest below her left shoulder — the location of
Tsang's gunshot wound. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
of Tsuen Wan gather at an open air stadium to protest a teenage demonstrator
shot at close range in the chest by a police officer in Hong Kong. (AP
By Eileen Ng & John Leicester
Hong Kong (AP) — Holding up posters saying
"Don't shoot our kids," Hong Kong residents and schoolmates of a teenage
demonstrator shot in the chest by a police officer rallied Wednesday to
condemn police actions and demand accountability.
The shooting Tuesday during widespread anti-government
demonstrations on China's National Day was a fearsome escalation of Hong
Kong's protest violence. The 18-year-old is the first known victim of police
gunfire since the protests began in June. He was hospitalized and the
government said his condition was stable.
The officer fired as the teen, Tsang Chi-kin, struck
him with a metal rod. The officer's use of lethal weaponry inflamed already
widespread public anger against police, who have been condemned as being
heavy-handed in quelling the unrest.
"The Hong Kong police have gone trigger-happy and
nuts," pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo said.
Mo, who said she repeatedly watched videos of the
shooting, echoed what many people expressed.
"The sensible police response should have been to use a
police baton or pepper spray, etc., to fight back. It wasn't exactly an
extreme situation and the use of a live bullet simply cannot be justified,"
More than 2,000 people chanted "No rioters, only
tyranny" as they filled an open-air stadium near Tsang's school in Tsuen Wan
district in northern Hong Kong on Wednesday night. Many held posters
reading, "Don't shoot our kids" and held an arm across their chest below
their left shoulder — the location of Tsang's gunshot wound.
Several other peaceful rallies were held elsewhere,
with protesters vowing not to give up their fight for more rights including
direct elections for the city's leaders and police accountability.
But pockets of protesters vented their anger.
Black-clad youths smashed ticket machines and vandalized facilities at two
northern subway stations. In Tsuen Wan, hundreds marched along the streets.
Some smashed Bank of China teller machines and others removed metal railings
and dug up bricks from pavements to build barriers, blocking traffic.
Earlier Wednesday, hundreds of people, including
students, sat crossed-legged outside Tsang's school chanting anti-police
slogans. One held a hand-written message condemning "thug police."
Schoolmates said Tsang loves basketball and was
passionate about the pro-democracy cause. A student who wore a Guy Fawkes
mask and declined to be named because of fear of retribution said Tsang was
"like a big brother" to him and other junior students.
"During the protests, we would feel safe if he is
around because he was always the first to charge forward and would protect
us when we were in danger," the student said.
"I vividly remember him saying that he would rather die
than be arrested. What an awful twist of fate that it was he of all people
who was shot by the police."
Many students felt that firing at Tsang's chest, close
to his heart, was an attempt to kill him. Police said Tsang has been
arrested despite being hospitalized and that authorities will decide later
whether to press charges.
More than 1,000 office workers also skipped their lunch
to join an impromptu march in the city's business district against the
shooting, which police have defended as "reasonable and lawful."
Police Commissioner Stephen Lo said late Tuesday the
officer had feared for his life and made "a split-second" decision to fire a
single shot at close range. He denied police had been given permission to
shoot to kill.
Responding to questions about why the officer shot at
Tsang's chest, instead of his limbs, Deputy Police Commissioner Tang Ping-Keung
said Wednesday the officer had fired at an area that could immobilize the
Tang said the officer's action was in line with
international procedures, but that police would conduct an in-depth
investigation into the shooting.
Videos on social media of the shooting showed a dozen
black-clad protesters throwing objects at police and closing in on a lone
officer, who opened fire as the masked Tsang came at him with a metal rod.
Just as another protester rushed in to try to drag Tsang away but was
tackled by an officer, a gasoline bomb landed in the middle of the group of
officers in an explosion of flames.
Riot police fired tear gas and water cannons Tuesday as
usually bustling streets became battlefields. Thumbing their noses at
Chinese President Xi Jinping, protesters ignored a security clampdown and
fanned across the city armed with gasoline bombs, sticks and bricks.
Hong Kong's government said the widespread rioting
Tuesday was orchestrated, echoing Beijing's stance, and called on parents
and teachers to help restrain young protesters.
British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab criticized the
shooting as "disproportionate" and some U.S. lawmakers also joined in the
The Chinese foreign ministry office in Hong Kong
accused British and American politicians of condoning violence and crime. It
called the rioters the "greatest threat to Hong Kong and the common enemy of
the international community."
Boris Johnson: UK is offering Brexit 'compromise' to EU
Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, left, talks to European Union
chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier during a weekly meeting of the
College of Commissioners at EU headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct. 2,
2019. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was due to send to Brussels what
he says is the U.K.'s "final offer" for a Brexit deal, with the date set for
Britain's departure less than a month away. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
By Jill Lawless & Danica Kirka
Manchester, England (AP) — The U.K. offered the
European Union a proposed Brexit deal on Wednesday that it said represents a
compromise for both sides, as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the
bloc to hold "rapid negotiations towards a solution" after years of
In a letter to European Commission President
Jean-Claude Juncker, Johnson said that not reaching a deal by the U.K.'s
scheduled Oct. 31 departure date would be "a failure of statecraft for which
we would all be responsible."
The proposals focus on maintaining an open border
between the U.K.'s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland — the key sticking
point to a Brexit deal. The U.K. proposes to do that by keeping Northern
Ireland closely aligned to EU rules for trade in goods, possibly for an
The submission of formal proposals followed a speech by
Johnson to Conservative Party members at their annual conference, which had
been billed by his office as a take-it-or-leave-it "final offer" to the EU.
Yet as delivered, it was more like a plea to the bloc, and to Britons, to
end more than three years of acrimonious wrangling over the terms of the
U.K.'s exit from the EU.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers his Leader's speech at the
Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, England, Wednesday, Oct. 2,
2019. Britain's ruling Conservative Party is holding their annual party
conference. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
"Let's get Brexit done," was the repeated refrain to
delegates at the conference in Manchester, northwest England.
British voters in 2016 narrowly chose to leave the EU
but the country remains deeply divided over how to do it. In his speech,
Johnson said people who voted for Brexit "are beginning to feel that they
are being taken for fools."
"They are beginning to suspect that there are forces in
this country that simply don't want Brexit delivered at all," he said in the
nationally televised speech. "And if they turn out to be right in that
suspicion, then I believe there will be grave consequences for trust in our
With Britain's delayed departure from the bloc due to
take place on Oct. 31, Johnson said the government was sending "constructive
and reasonable proposals" to the EU.
He said the plan was "a compromise by the U.K. And I
hope very much that our friends understand that and compromise in their
But the plan is likely to face deep skepticism from EU
leaders, who doubt the U.K. has a workable proposal to avoid checks on goods
or people crossing the Irish border.
A Brexit agreement between the EU and Johnson's
predecessor, Theresa May, was rejected three times by the U.K. Parliament,
largely because of opposition to the "backstop," an insurance policy
designed to ensure there is no return to customs posts or other
infrastructure on the Irish border.
An open border underpins both the local economy and
Northern Ireland's peace process. But Johnson and other British Brexit
supporters oppose the backstop because it would keep the U.K. tightly bound
to EU trade rules in order to avoid customs checks — limiting the country's
ability to strike new trade deals around the world.
Johnson insisted that "we will under no circumstances
have checks at or near the border in Northern Ireland."
The British proposal involves "an all-island regulatory
zone on the island of Ireland, covering all goods including agrifood." That
would keep Northern Ireland in a regulatory zone with the EU for food,
agricultural and industrial products, removing the need for checks, but the
EU will carefully study the details.
The status has no time limit though it would have to be
renewed every four years by the Northern Ireland government, Johnson said.
Under the plan there would still need to be customs
checks, but Johnson suggested in his letter that they could be done away
from the border at "other points on the supply chain."
The EU said it would give the British proposal serious
legal vetting before saying whether it is worthy of being a basis for future
talks on the U.K.'s departure.
The European Commission said in a statement that "once
received, we will examine (the U.K. text) objectively and in light of
well-known criteria," which includes whether it prevents a hard border on
the island of Ireland, preserves cooperation between the Republic of Ireland
and Northern Ireland and respects the EU rules on trade across borders.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is to
speak with Johnson in the afternoon and technical talks among both sides are
Johnson has vowed to leave on Oct. 31 with or without a
In Wednesday's speech he repeated his contention that
the U.K. can handle any bumps that come from tumbling out of the bloc
without a deal, which would mean the instant imposition of customs checks
and other barriers between Britain and the EU, its biggest trading partner.
A no-deal Brexit is "not an outcome we want ... (but)
it is an outcome for which we are ready," he said in his speech.
But the U.K. government and businesses both say the
disruptions would be substantial, with the flow of goods coming into Britain
through the major Channel port of Dover cut in half.
Many lawmakers want to prevent a no-deal exit, and have
passed a law that compels the government to seek a delay to Brexit if it
can't get an agreement with the EU by Oct. 19. Johnson says he won't do that
— although he also insists he will obey the law. He has not explained how
doing both those things will be possible.
Johnson, who has had a tumultuous 70 days in office,
delivered a speech that was almost Boris-by numbers, peppered with puns,
grand claims about Britain's greatness and jokes at the expense of his
opponents — chiefly left-wing Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, whom he
dubbed a "communist cosmonaut."
It was also, pointedly, a pre-election speech, with a
grab-bag of promises: more money for hospitals and police, unspecified tax
cuts, greener buses and faster internet access.
The brash Brexit champion is popular with many
Conservative members, who welcome his energy and optimism after three years
of Brexit gridlock under May. Some, though, have qualms about his personal
conduct and his divisive tactics, which include using words like "surrender"
and "betrayal" about opponents of Brexit.
He has been dogged by allegations that he handed out
perks to a female friend's business while he was mayor of London and groped
the thigh of a female journalist at a lunch two decades ago. Johnson denies
impropriety in both cases.
The claims have not dented his popularity among many
"We don't need Saint Boris, thank you," said Jean
Chesworth, a delegate from Newcastle-under-Lyme in central England. "We're
none of us saints. We can all look at the skeletons in our cupboards."
She said the speech was "a synthesis of all Boris is
... dynamic, successful outward-looking, optimistic, positive and achieving.
That's the person he is."
Prince Harry lashes out at UK press for treatment of Meghan
Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of
Sussex visit a Youth Employment Services Hub in Makhulong, Tembisa, a
township near Johannesburg, South Africa, Wednesday Oct. 2, 2019. The royal
couple were on the last of their 10 day Africa tour. (AP Photo/Christiaan
By Gregory Katz
London (AP) — Prince Harry has lashed out at the
British media for its treatment of his wife, Meghan, accusing it of hounding
her the way it did his mother, Princess Diana, who died in a 1997 car crash
while trying to elude paparazzi.
"My deepest fear is history repeating itself. I've seen
what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they are
no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch
my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces," Harry said.
His rebuke of the press, and a lawsuit filed by Meghan,
the Duchess of Sussex, against the Mail on Sunday newspaper for
publishing in February a letter she had written to her estranged father is
overshadowing the final day of his family's tour to southern Africa.
Harry and Meghan — with infant son Archie in tow — are
scheduled to fly home Wednesday evening from South Africa following their
day 10-day trip.
The ginger-haired, bearded prince — often seeming so
light of mood in public — said he could no longer be a "silent witness to
her private suffering."
Releasing what appears to be years of pent-up anger at
the press, he said some newspapers have repeatedly "vilified" Meghan and
published "lie after lie" about her.
Harry and his older brother Prince William have long
had a strained relationship with the press. They grew up in the spotlight
and were young boys when their parents' acrimonious divorce received
In the civil lawsuit, Meghan's lawyers accused the
newspaper of copyright infringement, misuse of public information and
violation of data protection laws.
The Mail on Sunday said it stands by its story
and will fight the case in court.
Harry and Meghan enjoyed almost worshipful attention
from the press when they married in May, 2018, but the tone has changed in
recent months. The couple has been criticized for using taxpayer money to
renovate their home and for traveling on a private jet while calling for
more action on climate change.
They did receive generally positive coverage on their
trip to southern Africa, which also served as a debut in global diplomacy
for four-month-old Archie.
Archie's sole public showing was also a rare public
appearance by ailing Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who
greeted the baby with a gleeful smile and a gentle kiss on the forehead.
Harry and Meghan paid tribute to Diana's legacy
throughout the trip, and he visited the former minefield in Angola where she
had walked 22 years ago. Clad in body armor, he also visited a
partially-cleared minefield, as Diana had done, and set off a controlled
The royal couple was greeted in southern Africa with
interest but nothing like the minute-by-minute coverage that meets them in
some other parts of the Commonwealth.
Meghan was praised for her warmth, her quiet visit to a
makeshift shrine to a university student whose rape and murder set off
national protests over South Africa's high rate of sexual violence, and her
heartfelt statement during her first public event that "I am here with you
as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, as a woman of color and as your sister."
It was unusual for Meghan, whose mother is black and
father white, to talk in public of her racial heritage.
She spoke on many occasions during the tour about the
need for the empowerment of women. The couple also drew kudos for
jettisoning starchy protocol and hugging people with enthusiasm.
Local coverage was not all welcoming, however. The
well-regarded Mail & Guardian weekly in Johannesburg called the
couple's visit "a right royal pain."
In an editorial, the paper criticized the "breathless
coverage" that had surrounded the royals' visit as a leftover from colonial
"South Africa has plenty of kings and queens of its
own, with their kids, without having to import others," the Johannesburg
"Why exactly do we care so much about these people?"
With the Africa trip concluded, the couple plans to
return home to deal with possible fallout from Meghan's lawsuit and Harry's
broader attack on the press.
The Mail on Sunday said it will defend itself
"vigorously" against the suit and said it had done nothing wrong.
"Specifically, we categorically deny that the duchess's
letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning," the tabloid said in
a statement that refuted one of Harry's claims.
Harry had last criticized the press directly in 2016,
before he and Meghan became engaged. He said at the time that the press was
hounding her viciously and that there was a racist tinge so some of the
coverage. The prince said he feared for her safety.
Report: No-deal Brexit could leave UK with medical shortages
Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019 file photo, an employee of Eurotunnel and his dog
check trucks on their way to Britain during a day of test in case of no deal
Brexit, at the exit of the Channel tunnel in Calais, northern France.
Britain’s government watchdog says there is still a “significant amount” of
work to do to ensure Britain has an adequate medicines supply in case of a
no-deal Brexit. (Denis Charlet, Pool via AP, file)
London (AP) — Britain's government
watchdog says there's still a "significant amount" of work to do to make
sure the country has an adequate supply of licensed drugs in case of a
In a report issued Friday, Britain's National Audit
Office said additional shipping capacity chartered by the U.K. for sending
goods across the English Channel might not be operational until the end of
November — one month after the Oct. 31 deadline for Britain to leave the
European Union. Of the more than 12,300 medicines licensed in the U.K.,
about 7,000 arrive from or via the EU, mostly across the Channel.
Meg Hillier, who chairs a committee overseeing the
audit office, called the findings "deeply concerning." She said she had seen
"countless examples" of the British government missing deadlines, but that
this one was particularly striking.
"If the government gets this wrong, it could have the
gravest of consequences," she said.
Alan Boyd of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges said
people with epilepsy were a particular concern in the event of any drug
shortages, noting that "one seizure can have a life-changing impact."
According to the British government's "reasonable
worst-case" scenario, the flow of goods could be cut by half on Day One of a
no-deal Brexit and could take a year to recover. It said time was "extremely
limited" if the shipping issues were to be resolved by the end of October.
Dr. David Nicholl, a neurologist who helped draft the
U.K.'s no-deal Brexit planning and went public with his concerns this month,
said he felt vindicated by the audit office report. He said during his work
consulting for the government, there were fears about adequate supplies for
treatments for conditions including epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, diabetes
and certain cancers including leukemia.
"It's incredibly troubling and reckless," he said. "I
don't think there's any evidence that we're in any better situation than we
Nicholl said British politicians were still refusing to
honestly acknowledge the harm that would be caused to patients in Britain by
a no-deal exit. He predicted there would be a spike in illness and deaths if
Britain does leave Europe without a divorce deal.
In early September, Nicholl publicly raised the issue
of drug shortages on a London radio show when he pointedly asked Jacob Rees-Mogg,
the leader of the House of Commons, what level of excess deaths he would be
willing to accept in a no-deal Brexit. Mogg dismissed Nicholl's warnings and
later compared him to the disgraced researcher Andrew Wakefield, who
published a now-discredited paper linking a childhood vaccine to autism.
Mogg later apologized for the comparison.
Nicholl said he was so disillusioned with the lack of
action to address his concerns that he has decided to enter politics; he
will stand as a candidate for the Liberal Democrats in a district currently
held by Sajid Javid, the Conservative chancellor.
"I do not believe for one minute that anyone who voted
to leave in 2016 voted to harm themselves and other people, and yet that is
where we're heading," he said. "We need some people in Parliament with a
brain who are willing to negotiate with other people."
Britain's department of health said it has taken
measures to prepare for a no-deal departure, including ordering six weeks of
extra medicine stocks and securing specialist courier services to deliver
products with a short shelf life.
But not everyone was convinced by the moves.
"One thing is clear about a no-deal Brexit and that is
that no amount of preparation can fully eradicate the risks it presents to
patient safety," said Donal O'Donoghue of the Royal College of Physicians.
"It is impossible for me and my colleagues to reassure patients that their
health and care won't be negatively impacted by the U.K. leaving the EU
without a deal."
Steve Bates, CEO of U.K.' s Bioindustry Association ,
said that unlike the last Brexit deadline — March 31 — the government has
given companies much less information about alternative routes in case a
no-deal Brexit results in jammed ports.
"Last time, we knew which ferry services had been
commissioned on alternative routes with pharmaceutical companies encouraged
to book space to ship their products," he told reporters last week. "But the
same approach has not been adopted this time."
The audit report released Friday also said there was
"incomplete information" about the levels of medicine stockpiling but that
levels were increasingly daily. As of Sept. 20, suppliers reported that 72%
of medicines had a six-week stockpile.
Boyd said drug shortages already happen every month
even without Brexit and the department of health typically issues a list of
affected medicines and in some cases, suggests possible alternatives. He
said the group was also concerned that a no-deal Brexit would mean that
Britain would be kicked out of a Europe-wide program to identify counterfeit
"The department of health will put its own system in
place, but that will likely take a few years before it's up and running," he
Police shoot protester in Hong Kong day of rage
An injured anti-government protester is attended
to by others during a clash with police in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019.
(AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Anti-government protesters set fire to block traffic in Hong Kong, Tuesday,
Oct. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
By Eileen Ng & John Leicester
Hong Kong (AP) — Hong Kong police shot a
protester at close range, leaving him bleeding from his shoulder and howling
on the ground, in a fearsome escalation of anti-government demonstrations
that spread across the semi-autonomous Chinese territory on Tuesday. Tens of
thousands marched in a day of rage as Communist leaders in Beijing
celebrated 70 years in power.
The protester was shot by an officer who opened fire
with his revolver, a police official said, speaking to The Associated
Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release
information. While officers have previously fired warning shots in the air
on multiple occasions during Hong Kong's months long anti-government
protests, this is the first time a protester is known to have been shot.
Video of the shooting that spread quickly on social
media appeared to show the officer opening fire as the protester came at him
with a baton, striking the officer's shooting arm.
Taken by the City University Student Union, it showed a
dozen black-clad protesters hurling objects at a group of riot police and
closing in on the lone officer who pointed his revolver and opened fire on
the protester who collapsed on the street, bleeding from below his left
As another protester rushed in to try to drag away the
injured protester and was tackled by an officer, a gasoline bomb landed in
the middle of the group of officers in an explosion of flames.
The South China Morning Post reported that the
protester, a 17-year-old student, was taken to a hospital and was undergoing
The shooting marked a dramatic escalation in violence
in a city already on edge which saw fierce clashes between pro-democracy
protesters and police spreading to multiple areas.
Riot police fired numerous volleys of tear gas in at
least six locations and used water cannons in the business district as
protesters turned streets into battlefields to spoil the Oct. 1 anniversary
of Communist rule.
A security clampdown in the city to thwart violence
that would embarrass Chinese President Xi Jinping failed to deter the
protests, including a massive march in the city center.
Organizers said at least 100,000 people marched along a
broad city thoroughfare in defiance of a police ban, chanting anti-China
slogans and some carrying Chinese flags defaced with a black cross. Police
didn't provide an estimate of the turnout.
"They are squeezing our necks so we don't breathe the
air of freedom," said King Chan, a 57-year-old homemaker who came out to
protest with her husband.
Many demonstrators tossed wads of fake "hell" bank
notes usually used at funerals into the air. "The leaders who won't listen
to our voice, this is for them," said marcher Ray Luk.
Thousands of people confronted police in multiple
locations across the city, the largest number of simultaneous protests since
the unrest began in early June over a now-shelved extradition bill that
activists say was an example of how Hong Kong's freedoms and citizen rights
are being eroded.
The movement has since snowballed into an anti-Chinese
campaign with demands for direct elections for the city's leaders and police
The smell of stinging tear gas and smoke from street
fires started by protesters engulfed the Wan Chai, Wong Tai Sin, Sha Tin,
Tuen Mun, Tsuen Wan and Tsim Sha Tsui areas. Protesters hurled gasoline
bombs, bricks and other objects at police, who responded with volleys of
Protesters used umbrellas as shields and threw tear gas
canisters back at police. Police said protesters used corrosive fluid in
Tuen Mun, injuring officers and some reporters.
In Wong Tai Sin, a gasoline bomb that protesters hurled
at police exploded near motorcycles parked along a pavement, creating a
large blaze that was put out by firefighters. Some protesters placed an
emergency water hose down a subway station to try to flood it.
A water cannon truck sprayed blue water, used to
identify protesters, to disperse crowds from advancing to government offices
in the city. Scores of police officers also stood guard near the Beijing's
liaison office as the battles continued across the territory.
"Today we are out to tell the Communist Party that Hong
Kong people have nothing to celebrate," said activist Lee Cheuk-yan as he
led the downtown march. "We are mourning that in 70 years of Communist Party
rule, the democratic rights of people in Hong Kong and China are being
denied. We will continue to fight."
Activists carried banners saying, "End dictatorial
rule, return power to the people."
Dressed in a black T-shirt and dark jeans, 40-year-old
Bob Wong said his clothing expressed "mourning" over "the death of Hong
The popular LIHKG online chat forum used by protesters
was inaccessible on cellphones, a move believed to have been made to prevent
communication by protesters. More than two dozen subway stations and many
shopping malls across the city were shut.
The protests contrasted with Beijing's anniversary
festivities marked with a colorful parade and display of new missile
technology. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who is in Beijing for the
ceremony, smiled as a Hong Kong float passed by.
In the morning as the city's government marked the
anniversary with a solemn ceremony, police used pepper spray to break up a
brief scuffle between Beijing supporters and a small group of pro-democracy
Hong Kong Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung told hundreds
of guests at a reception that the city has become "unrecognizable" due to
Cheung said Beijing fully supports the "one country,
two systems" framework that gives Hong Kong freedoms and rights not enjoyed
on the mainland. The system was implemented when the former British colony
returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
North Korea: Nuclear talks with US to resume this weekend
In this June 30, 2019, file photo, U.S.
President Donald Trump, left, meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at
the North Korean side of the border at the village of Panmunjom in
Demilitarized Zone. A senior North Korean diplomat on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019,
says North Korea and the United States have agreed to resume nuclear
negotiations on Oct. 5 following a months-long stalemate over withdrawal of
sanctions in exchange for disarmament. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Seoul, South Korea (AP) — North Korea and the
United States have agreed to resume nuclear negotiations this weekend
following a months-long stalemate over the withdrawal of sanctions in
exchange for disarmament, a senior North Korean diplomat said Tuesday.
Choe Son Hui, North Korea's first vice minister of
foreign affairs, said the two nations will have preliminary contact on
Friday before holding working-level talks on Saturday.
In a statement released by North Korea's official
Korean Central News Agency, Choe expressed optimism over the outcome of the
meeting but did not say where it would take place.
"It is my expectation that the working-level
negotiations would accelerate the positive development of the DPRK-U.S.
relations," Choe said in the statement, using an abbreviation for North
Korea's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Nuclear negotiations have been at a standstill for
months following a February summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
and President Donald Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam. Those talks broke down after
the U.S. rejected North Korean demands for broad sanctions relief in
exchange for partially surrendering its nuclear capabilities.
North Korea followed the summit with belligerent
rhetoric and a slew of short-range weapons tests that were widely seen as an
attempt to gain leverage ahead of a possible resumption of negotiations.
Choe's announcement came after North Korea praised
Trump last month for suggesting that Washington may pursue an unspecified
"new method" in nuclear negotiations with the North. North Korea also has
welcomed Trump's decision to fire hawkish former National Security Adviser
John Bolton, who advocated a "Libya model" of unilateral denuclearization as
a template for North Korea.
The 2004 disarmament of Libya is seen by Pyongyang as a
deeply provocative comparison because Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was
killed following U.S.-supported military action in his country seven years
after giving up a rudimentary nuclear program that was far less advanced
than North Korea's.
The office of South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who
lobbied hard to set up the first summit between Kim and Trump last year in
Singapore, welcomed Choe's announcement and expressed hope that the resumed
talks would result in "substantial progress" in denuclearization and
stabilization of peace.
That's could be a tall order. Under the high-stakes
diplomacy between Trump and Kim, which has been driven chiefly by the
personalities of the leaders rather than an established diplomatic process,
working-level meetings have been useful for fleshing out the logistics of
summits but unproductive in hammering out the details of a nuclear deal that
has eluded the countries for decades.
The stalemate of past months has revealed fundamental
differences between the two sides. North Korea says it will never
unilaterally surrender its nuclear weapons and missiles and insists that
U.S.-led sanctions against it should be lifted first before any progress in
The Trump administration has vowed to maintain robust
economic pressure until the North takes real steps toward fully and
verifiably relinquishing its nuclear program.
Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in
Seoul, said progress in working-level negotiations would depend on several
factors, including whether Kim empowers his officials to negotiate concrete
steps and whether the Trump administration embraces "a phased approach where
summits and sanctions relief must be earned, but denuclearization is not
decided all at once."
There are doubts about whether Kim would ever
voluntarily deal away an arsenal that he may see as his strongest guarantee
In his first public appearance since his departure from
the White House, Bolton on Monday gave a characteristically pessimistic
outlook on the prospects for nuclear negotiations with the North and
challenged Trump's foreign policy without directly mentioning the president.
At a forum in Washington hosted by the Center for
Strategic and International Studies, Bolton said Kim has made a "strategic
decision" to do whatever he can to keep his country's nuclear weapons and
that is an "unacceptable" threat to the world.
"Under current circumstances, he will never give up
nuclear weapons voluntarily," Bolton said. "This is a government that has
essentially violated every international agreement it has ever made."
After their Singapore summit in June 2018, Trump and
Kim issued a vague statement calling for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula
without describing how or when it would occur.
The lack of substance and fruitless working-level talks
set up the failure in Hanoi, which the Americans blamed on what they said
were excessive North Korean demands for sanctions relief in exchange for
dismantling an aging nuclear facility in Yongbyon. Trump and Kim met for the
third time at the inter-Korean border on June 30 and agreed that
working-level talks between the countries should resume.
Tight security as Catalonia marks secession vote date
Pro-independence demonstrators, some of them
holding flares, march as they take part in a demonstration in Girona, Spain,
Tuesday Oct. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
By Emilio Morenatti & Aritz Parra
Girona, Spain (AP) — A few hundred secession
supporters marched early Tuesday in Spain's northeastern city of Girona to
mark two years since a banned independence referendum that shook Spanish
Larger protests were scheduled later in the day amid
heightened security measures across the wealthy Catalonia region of 7.5
million people, where separatist sentiment has been on the rise for nearly a
They are being watched by all sides as a sign of the
independence movement's strength and its capacity to keep troublemakers from
tarnishing its reputation of peaceful struggle.
The sensitive anniversary comes as Spain's Supreme
Court is set to rule on a rebellion and sedition trial against a dozen
Catalan politicians and activists who were key protagonists in Catalonia's
Oct. 1, 2017, independence referendum.
Any ruling that doesn't absolve the defendants will be
considered "unfair," grassroots pro-secession civil society groups announced
Tuesday, calling for protests and "peaceful civil disobedience" if the court
The arrests last week of seven pro-independence
activists who face possible terrorism charges have also angered many in
Catalonia, who liken the crackdown to an attempt by Spanish authorities to
criminalize their political independence movement.
The activists were linked to the grassroots,
self-appointed Committees for the Defense of the Republic, or CDRs, which
have called some of Tuesday's protests.
Although the judicial probe is sealed by Spain's
National Court, which typically has jurisdiction over terrorism-related
cases, details of the interrogations of the activists have been leaked to
They largely paint a picture of a secretive, organized
group who allegedly prepared explosives to wreak havoc in communications and
key infrastructure and planned to occupy the regional Catalan parliament in
Barcelona in response to the upcoming Supreme Court's ruling.
Some of the publications linked the activities of the
CDRs to the region's current and former separatist leaders. Carles
Puigdemont, the ousted Catalan president who Spain considers a fugitive,
denied any links to the activists during an interview Tuesday with Catalan
radio in Belgium, where he fled in 2017 after the failed independence bid.
Puigdemont, who has successfully fought off extradition
requests by Spain to Belgian and German authorities, accused Spanish
authorities of looking for ammunition to make a fresh attempt to arrest him.
"They are trying to push a narrative to accuse me of
terrorism," he said.
Spanish politicians and editorials have criticized
separatist leaders for not condemning the activists' alleged plans. In a
speech Tuesday, Puigdemont's successor Quim Torra, the current regional
president, said his cabinet remained focused on establishing a Catalan
Republic "without excuses," and to do it "democratically and peacefully."
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who has been in a
caretaker capacity since February and faces a repeated general election next
month, delivered a stern warning Tuesday to the separatists. If regional
separatist leaders break Spanish laws again, he told Cadena Ser radio,
central authorities would not hesitate to suspend the region's
self-government and apply direct rule again, like they did two years ago
after the divisive independence attempt.
"That's why I'm asking separatists not to play with
fire, they need to condemn any violent activity," Sánchez said.
Tuesday's referendum anniversary protests took place
amid a strong police presence, especially in train stations and on highways.
In Girona, some activists threw eggs filled with red
paint at riot police and overturned large trash containers. Marchers holding
smoke torches shouted "Out with the occupying forces!" at the gates of the
city's Civil Guard barracks, before moving to the Spanish government's
provincial delegation to stage a sit-in.
A bigger demonstration is expected in the evening in
Barcelona, departing from a central square and touring some of the schools
that were stormed by riot police two years ago when they were turned into
polling stations for the illegal vote.
Polls and recent elections show that the 5.5 million
voters of Catalonia are roughly evenly split on the independence issue.
'You're good-looking': Ukraine's leader woos Tom Cruise
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and
American actor, film director and producer Tom Cruise talk to each other
during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, late Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. Tom
Cruise arrived in Kyiv at the invitation of President of Zelenskiy.
(Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)
Kyiv, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's leader isn't just trying to charm U.S.
President Donald Trump — he's set his sights now on Tom Cruise, too.
Mission impossible? Maybe not — Cruise is studying
possible Ukrainian locations for an upcoming film, according to Ukrainian
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's office.
Zelenskiy tapped his roots as a TV and film comedian
when hosting Cruise in the Ukrainian presidential headquarters Monday night.
As Cruise walked in, he said "You're good-looking!"
according to video excerpts released Tuesday by his office. The Hollywood
star laughed and said "it pays the bills."
Zelenskiy joked about how exhausting it is to be
president, and mentioned the stalled peace process for conflict-ravaged
The video excerpts included no mention of Trump or the
U.S. impeachment inquiry in which Ukraine plays a starring role.
Chirac gets full military honors as France bids him farewell
French President Emmanuel Macron follows the
flag-draped coffin of late French President Jacques Chirac during a military
funeral honors ceremony at the Invalides monument during a national day of
mourning in Paris, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019.( Philippe Wojazer/Pool via AP)
By SAM PETREQUIN and CLAIRE PARKER
PARIS (AP) — France bid a final adieu to Jacques Chirac
on Monday as the former French president received military honors on a
national day of mourning that culminated with a memorial service attended by
dozens of past and current world leaders.
Cutting a solemn figure, French President Emmanuel
Macron presided over the military ceremony on a mild, sunny morning near the
site of Napoleon's tomb in the courtyard of Les Invalides. A military band
played the national anthem, "La Marseillaise," before Macron inspected the
troops. Chirac's casket, covered with a Tricolor flag, was then carried to
the center of the cobbled courtyard.
Macron, who did not speak, later attended the final
service at the Church of Saint-Sulpice in downtown Paris alongside family
members, French politicians and foreign officials, including Russian
President Vladimir Putin, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, former German
Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Jordan's King Abdallah II.
Chirac's coffin was driven to Saint-Sulpice, where
pianist Daniel Barenboim played a Schubert impromptu, as mourners lined the
procession route to his funeral service. When the hearse carrying Chirac
drove by, the crowd broke into applause.
Standing outside of the Invalides, Nathalie Kabongo,
whose husband worked on Chirac's 1995 and 2002 campaigns, said Chirac
reminded her of "a politics closer to the people."
"Apart from being president, he was a man ... a warm
man, a man close to people, smiling and with a heart," she said. "We need
Those assembled took pictures, shed tears and held
signs reading "Thank you for saying no to the war in Iraq" as they watched
the flag-draped coffin onscreen.
Max Mignard, who came to pay his respects, described
Chirac as the "kindest man in politics."
A private family church service for Chirac was
celebrated prior to the military tribute and a private burial took place
later at the Montparnasse cemetery. A minute of silence was held in schools
and public buildings across the country on France's national day of mourning
for its former leader.
Thousands of miles away from Paris, the French rugby
players contesting the rugby World Cup in Japan joined the commemoration
with a moment of silence before their training session.
A mainstay of French politics over four decades, Chirac
served as Paris mayor, a lawmaker, prime minister and France's president
from 1995 to 2007. The last French head of state to complete two terms in
office, Chirac died last week at 86.
Known for championing the nation's sense of its own
grandeur and opposing the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, Chirac is being
remembered fondly despite political failures and a 2011 corruption
conviction from actions during his nearly two decades as mayor of Paris. As
president from 1995-2007, he was a consummate global diplomat but failed to
reform the French economy or defuse tensions between police and minority
youths, which exploded into riots across France in 2005.
Once nicknamed "Super Liar," Chirac's popularity soared
after he left office. Thousands of mourners paid him tribute Sunday at Les
Invalides, where his body lay in state on the eve of the memorial service.
"He was a great man who had an absolute fantastic class
in all circumstances," said Nadine Prevost, who was among the Saint-Sulpice
mourners. "He knew how to speak to everyone with a simplicity and a
grandeur. And that's what made for the richness of his contact."
Austria's Kurz faces tricky choices to form next government
Former Austrian chancellor and top candidate of
the Austrian People's Party, OEVP, Sebastian Kurz waves to his supporters in
Vienna, Austria, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
VIENNA (AP) — A day after winning Austria's early election, former
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz refused Monday to rule out any options for forming
a new government, including courting the far-right Freedom Party that
suffered heavy losses following corruption allegations.
Kurz's conservative People's Party finished first with
37.1% of the vote Sunday and he said he planned to honor his pledge to talk
to all rivals about the possibility of a coalition.
"Of course we will seek talks with all parties and try
to determine which parties there's overlap with, which parties a stable
government can be formed with," he told public broadcaster ORF.
The 33-year-old also bristled at calls from German
commentators for his party to shun a fresh coalition with far-right
"I don't think we need advice from abroad, including
from Germany," he said.
A video showing former Freedom Party leader
Heinz-Christian Strache offering favors to a purported Russian investor
triggered the collapse of Kurz's 17-month government with them in May.
Strache also faces an investigation for suspected breach of trust over the
alleged billing of private expenses to his party, which contributed to its
weak third-place finish Sunday with 16% of the vote.
The Freedom Party has indicated it plans to move into
opposition to rebuild itself, leaving Kurz with only two realistic options:
joining with the second-placed Social Democrats, whose share of the vote
fell to 21.7%, or the environmentalist Greens, who staged a big comeback
after failing to enter parliament in 2017 and received 14% support on
"I fear (coalition talks) will be a little bit more
challenging this time," said Kurz.
Kurz said safeguarding the economy in this Alpine
nation of 8.8 million would be the main task for the coming years, citing a
looming economic downturn in neighboring Germany, the unsolved issue of
Britain's impending departure from the European Union and the bloc's trade
tensions with the United States.
Saudi crown prince takes responsibility for journalist death
FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2019, file photo, Saudi
Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a meeting with U.S.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The crown prince
said in a television interview that aired Sunday, Sept. 29, that he takes
"full responsibility" for the grisly murder of Saudi journalist Jamal
Khashoggi, but denied allegations that he ordered it. (Mandel Ngan/Pool
Photo via AP, File)
NEW YORK (AP) — Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in a
television interview that he takes "full responsibility" for the grisly
killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but he denied allegations that
he ordered it.
"This was a heinous crime," Prince Mohammed, 34, told
"60 Minutes" in an interview that aired Sunday. "But I take full
responsibility as a leader in Saudi Arabia, especially since it was
committed by individuals working for the Saudi government."
Asked if he ordered the killing of Khashoggi, who had
criticized him in columns for The Washington Post, Prince Mohammed replied:
The slaying was "a mistake," he said.
Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Turkey on Oct.
2, 2018, to collect a document that he needed to marry his Turkish fiancee.
Agents of the Saudi government killed Khashoggi inside the consulate and
apparently dismembered his body, which has never been found. Saudi Arabia
has charged 11 people in the slaying and put them on trial, which has been
held in secret. As of yet, no one has been convicted.
A U.N. report asserted that Saudi Arabia bore
responsibility for the killing and said Prince Mohammed's possible role in
it should be investigated. In Washington, Congress has said it believes
Prince Mohammed is "responsible for the murder." Saudi Arabia has long
insisted the crown prince had no involvement in an operation that included
agents who reported directly to him.
"Some think that I should know what 3 million people
working for the Saudi government do daily," the powerful heir told "60
Minutes." ''It's impossible that the 3 million would send their daily
reports to the leader or the second-highest person in the Saudi government."
In an interview Thursday in New York, Khashoggi's
fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, told The Associated Press that responsibility for
Khashoggi's slaying "was not limited to the perpetrators" and said she
wanted Prince Mohammed to tell her: "Why was Jamal killed? Where is his
body? What was the motive for this murder?"
Prince Mohammed also addressed the Sept. 14 missile and
drone attack on Saudi oil facilities. While Yemen's Iranian-allied Houthi
rebels claimed the assault, Saudi Arabia has said it was "unquestionably
sponsored by Iran."
"There is no strategic goal," Prince Mohammed said of
the attack. "Only a fool would attack 5% of global supplies. The only
strategic goal is to prove that they are stupid and that is what they did."
He urged "strong and firm action to deter Iran."
China's Xi renews commitment to Hong Kong amid protests
Chinese President Xi Jinping makes a toast after
delivering his speech at a dinner marking the 70th anniversary of the
founding of the People's Republic of China at the Great Hall of the People
in Beijing, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019.
By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese Communist Party
leader and President Xi Jinping on Monday renewed his government's
commitment to allowing Hong Kong to manage its own affairs amid
continuing anti-government protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese
Xi made his remarks at a reception on the eve of a
massive celebration of the People's Republic's 70th anniversary that
threatens to be marred by clashes between police and anti-government
demonstrators in Hong Kong.
Demonstrators and police clashed for a second
straight day on Sunday in Hong Kong, sparking further chaos in the
city's business and shopping belt and drawing fears of more ugly scenes
during the weeklong National Day holiday.
"We will continue to fully and faithfully implement
the principles of 'One country, two systems' (and) 'Hong Kong people
administering Hong Kong,''' Xi said according to a printed copy of his
China's approach is to ensure that Hong Kong and
its fellow semi-autonomous region of Macao "prosper and progress
alongside the mainland and embrace an even brighter future," Xi said.
Earlier Monday, Xi led other top officials in
paying respects to the founder of the Communist state, Mao Zedong, ahead
of the massive celebrations emphasizing China's rise to global
The unusual move saw Xi bow three times to Mao's
statue at his mausoleum in the center of Beijing's Tiananmen Square and
pay his respects to Mao's embalmed corpse, which has lain in state in
the hulking chamber since soon after his death in 1976. It was believed
to be the first visit to the mausoleum by Xi and other officials since
2013, the 120th anniversary of Mao's birth.
Xi also ascended the nearby Monument to the
People's Heroes to pay further tribute on what has been designated
Martyr's Day, just ahead of Tuesday's National Day festivities, which
will be marked by a massive military parade through the center of the
city of 20 million people.
Along with other top party officials, more than
4,000 Chinese, including elderly military veterans and retired senior
officials, "relatives of martyrs, honorees of national medals and
honorary titles," and members of the party's youth organization visited
the monument to lay flowers and wreaths.
Sept. 30 was designated Martyr's Day by China's
legislature in 2014, a year after Xi became president and began
redoubling propaganda efforts to promote patriotism and glorify the
party, as well as to cultivate a cult of personality surrounding himself
unseen since the time of Mao.
The nationwide celebrations seek to highlight
China's enormous transformation from an impoverished state ravaged by
Japan's World War II invasion and a following civil war into the world's
second-largest economy. China now sits on the cutting edge of
breakthrough technologies such as artificial intelligence and 5G
communications and its growing military and diplomatic clout
increasingly challenges U.S. leadership.
On Tuesday, Xi is expected to preside from atop
iconic Tiananmen Gate over a parade that will display China's rapidly
developing arsenal, possibly including the nuclear-capable Dongfeng 41
missile that could reach the United States in 30 minutes. Plans call for
15,000 troops, more than 160 aircraft and 580 pieces of military
equipment to take part in the event.
The display of military prowess is seen as a way to
underscore Beijing's ambition to enforce claims to self-governing
Taiwan, virtually the entire South China Sea and territory held by
The anniversary comes as China appears more stable
than ever, 30 years after the party used its military to crush a
pro-democracy movement centered on Tiananmen Square. Xi has revived
theatrical expressions of love of party and state that were popular
under Mao and has rallied the nation to his call for the attainment of a
"Chinese Dream" of global prominence, all while cracking down ruthlessly
on any sign of political dissent.
Xi faces no serious political rivals and has
brought the party to heel through a wide-ranging anti-corruption drive.
Last year, he cemented his role as China's most powerful ruler of the
modern era by amending the constitution to remove presidential term
limits, sweeping away years of efforts to systematize leadership
transitions and prevent the concentration of power in any one
At the same time, Xi faces a slowing economy, an
aging population and an ongoing dispute over trade and technology with
the U.S. that has restricted China's access to American technology and
hit its imports with tariffs. Beijing has responded with duties on
American products, and the escalating trade war threatens the global
The protracted unrest in Hong Kong, approaching
four months, has meanwhile battered the city's economy, with tourism
Many people view China as chipping away at the
autonomy and freedoms Hong Kong was promised when the former British
colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997, while Beijing has accused the
U.S. and other foreign powers of fomenting the unrest in a bid to smear
its reputation and weaken its control.
Despite speculation that China may be running out
of patience with the protests, Beijing has yet to take radical steps
such as sending in military forces to quell unrest.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Xi hailed China's
development achievements over the last seven decades, especially its
success in largely wiping out absolute poverty. He attributed those
successes to the party's leadership and called for absolute unity around
the 90 million-member body to write a "more brilliant chapter" toward
realizing the "Chinese Dream."
Xi also touched on the issue of Taiwan, which China
has vowed to annex by force if necessary.
Taiwan's incorporation into China is "an inevitable
trend" and "no one and no force can ever stop it," Xi said.