Hong Kong descends into chaos again as protesters defy ban
A protester sets fire to a Bank of China branch in Hong
Kong, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. Hong Kong protesters again flooded streets on
Sunday, ignoring a police ban on the rally and demanding the government meet
their demands for accountability and political rights. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
A protester prepares to throw a Molotov cocktail at a
police station in Hong Kong, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Police arrive to chase away protestors in Hong Kong,
Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
By KELVIN CHAN
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong streets
descended into chaotic scenes following an unauthorized pro-democracy rally
Sunday as protesters set up roadblocks and torched businesses and police
responded with tear gas and a water cannon.
Protesters tossed firebombs and took
their anger out on shops with mainland Chinese ties as they skirmished late
into the evening with riot police, who unleashed numerous tear gas rounds on
short notice, angering residents and passers-by.
Police had beefed up security
measures ahead of the rally, for which they refused to give permission, the
latest chapter in the unrest that has disrupted life in the financial hub
since early June.
Some 24 people were hurt and treated
at hospitals, including six with serious injuries, the Hospital Authority
Police did not give an arrest
figure. One person was seen being handcuffed and taken away to a police van.
As the rally march set off, protest
leaders carried a black banner that read, "Five main demands, not one less,"
as they pressed their calls for police accountability and political rights
in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
Supporters sang the protest
movement's anthem, waved colonial and U.S. flags, and held up placards
depicting the Chinese flag as a Nazi swastika.
Many protesters wore masks in
defiance of a recently introduced ban on face coverings at public
gatherings, and volunteers handed more out to the crowd.
Matthew Lee, a university student,
said he was determined to keep protesting even after more than four months.
"I can see some people want to give
up, but I don't want to do this because Hong Kong is my home, we want to
protect this place, protect Hong Kong," he said. "You can't give up because
Hong Kong is your home."
Some front-line protesters
barricaded streets at multiple locations in Kowloon, where the city's subway
operator restricted passenger access.
They tore up stones from the
sidewalk and scattered them on the road, commandeered plastic safety
barriers and unscrewed metal railings to form makeshift roadblocks.
A water cannon truck and armored car
led a column of dozens of police vans up and down Nathan Road, a major
artery lined with shops, to spray a stinging blue-dyed liquid as police
moved to clear the road of protesters and barricades.
At one point, the water cannon
sprayed a handful of people standing outside a mosque. Local broadcaster
RTHK reported that the people hit were guarding the mosque and few
protesters were nearby. The Hong Kong police force said it was an
"unintended impact" of its operation to disperse protesters and later sent a
representative to meet the mosque's imam.
As night fell, protesters returned
to the streets, setting trash on fire at intersections.
Residents jeered at riot police,
cursing at them and telling them to leave. The officers, in turn, warned
people that they were part of an illegal assembly and told them to leave,
and unleashed tear gas to disperse the crowds.
Along the way, protesters trashed
discount grocery shops and a restaurant chain because of what they say is
the pro-Beijing ownership of the companies. They also set fire to ATMs and
branches of mainland Chinese banks, setting off sprinklers in at least two,
as well as a shop selling products from Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi.
The police used a bomb disposal
robot to blow up a cardboard box with protruding wires that they suspected
was a bomb.
Organizers said ahead of the march
that they wanted to use their right to protest as guaranteed by Hong Kong's
constitution despite the risk of arrest.
"We're using peaceful, rational,
nonviolent ways to voice our demands," Figo Chan, vice convener of the Civil
Human Rights Front, told reporters. "We're not afraid of being arrested.
What I'm most scared of is everyone giving up on our principles."
The group has organized some of the
movement's biggest protest marches. One of its leaders, Jimmy Sham, was
attacked on Wednesday by assailants wielding hammers.
On Saturday, Hong Kong police
arrested a 22-year-old man on suspicion of stabbing a teenage activist who
was distributing leaflets near a wall plastered with pro-democracy messages.
A witness told RTHK that the assailant shouted afterward that Hong Kong is
"a part of China" and other pro-Beijing messages.
The protest movement sprang out of
opposition to a government proposal for an extradition bill that would have
sent suspects to mainland China to stand trial, and then ballooned into
broader demands for full democracy and an inquiry into alleged police
Milan seeks US apology for WWII bomb that killed children
Flowers lie in front of a bronze ossuary monument
entitled 'Ecco La Guerra', (Here is War) dedicated to the 'Little Martyrs of
Gorla', in memory of a World War II bombing raid on Oct. 20 1944 is pictured
in Milan, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
MILAN (AP) — Milan's
mayor appealed Sunday to U.S. authorities to apologize for a World War II
bombing raid that killed 184 elementary school children.
Mayor Giuseppe Sala made the request
following a Mass marking the 75th anniversary of the Gorla massacre, named
for the quarter in the city that was struck, the news agency ANSA reported.
"I think it's necessary that the
American government apologizes, knowing that we are here to forgive," Sala
said, adding that he would formalize the request with the U.S. consul in
Milan this week.
The air raid on Oct. 20, 1944,
targeted an industrial complex near the city, but a second wave of bombers
went off course and released their bombs southeast of the target to lighten
their loads as they returned to base.
One bomb struck the Francesco Crispi
elementary school as children raced for shelter.
"It was a very serious error
resulting, as history tells us, from an incredible superficiality and
inexperience," Sala said.
Caught up in Trump impeachment, US diplomats fight back
Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch,
arrives on Capitol Hill, Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, in Washington, as she is
scheduled to testify before congressional lawmakers on Friday as part of the
House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/J. Scott
By MATTHEW LEE
WASHINGTON (AP) — Three years of
simmering frustration inside the State Department is boiling over on Capitol
Hill as a parade of current and former diplomats testify to their concerns
about the Trump administration's unorthodox policy toward Ukraine.
Over White House objections, the
diplomats are appearing before impeachment investigators looking into
President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine and they're recounting
stories of possible impropriety, misconduct and mistreatment by their
To Trump and his allies, the
diplomats are evidence of a "deep state" within the government that has been
out to get him from the start. But to the employees of a department
demoralized by the administration's repeated attempts to slash its budget
and staff, cooperating with the inquiry is seen as a moment of catharsis, an
opportunity to reassert the foreign policy norms they believe Trump has
"It's taken a while to understand
just how weird the policy process has become but it was inevitable," said
Ronald Neumann, president of the American Academy of Diplomacy. The group
wrote a letter last month calling for the administration to support career
diplomats and protect them from politicization.
The State Department officials
parading through Capitol Hill include high-ranking diplomats with decades of
experience serving both Republican and Democratic administrations. Among
them: Kurt Volker , who resigned as the administration's special envoy to
Ukraine after being named in the whistleblower complaint that jumpstarted
the impeachment inquiry.
Others who have testified behind
closed doors include Marie Yovanovitch , the former ambassador to Ukraine
who was pushed out of the post after a concerted campaign by Trump's
personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani; Michael McKinley , who resigned after 37
years in the foreign service in part over treatment of Yovanovitch; and
Fiona Hill , a National Security Council staffer who worked closely with the
former Ukrainian ambassador.
Volker told investigators he did not
believe there was anything improper in his dealings in Ukraine. But the
others have all spoken of their unease and concern about Trump's approach to
Ukraine and their testimony has largely corroborated the whistleblower's
complaint, which centered on a July phone call between Trump and Ukraine's
leader, as well as Giuliani's dealings in the former Soviet republic.
Yovanovitch, who remains a State
Department employee, said she was "incredulous" at being recalled early from
her post despite having been told she did nothing wrong. She lamented that
her experience is evidence that American diplomats can no longer count on
support from their government if they are attacked by foreign interests.
"That basic understanding no longer
holds true," she said according to the text of her opening statement to
lawmakers. "Today, we see the State Department attacked and hollowed out
McKinley said he was "disturbed by
the implication that foreign governments were being approached to procure
negative information on political opponents."
Trump has long cast career
government officials as part of the "deep state" out to undermine him,
associating the officials' service under Democratic administrations as signs
of their political leanings. That's despite the fact that most longtime
career officials have served under both Republicans and Democrats.
Mick Mulvaney, the acting White
House chief of staff, argued last week that the diplomats were disparaging
Trump because they were upset that he was imposing his political priorities
on their work. He singled out in particular McKinley, who entered the
foreign service while Republican Ronald Reagan was in the White House and
had served under both presidents of both parties.
"Elections have consequences and
foreign policy is going to change from the Obama administration to the Trump
administration," Mulvaney said. "And what you're seeing now, I believe, is a
group of mostly career bureaucrats who are saying, 'You know what? I don't
like President Trump's politics, so I'm going to participate in this witch
hunt that they're undertaking on the Hill'."
Former Deputy Secretary of State
William Burns called Mulvaney's assertion "offensive."
"For them to be dismissed unfairly
and accused of acting out of some political motive I think is just wrong,"
said Burns, who is now president of the Carnegie Endowment for International
"They are demonstrating that they
are responsible, decent public servants and that they have an obligation to
tell the truth even when it isn't convenient for the administration," he
said. "It gives a lie to the deep state caricature. These aren't people
plotting behind anyone's back. They are stepping up to do their jobs."
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in
an interview Sunday with ABC's "This Week," joked, "I think Bill Burns must
be auditioning to be Elizabeth Warren's secretary of state." Warren, a
Massachusetts senator, is a Democratic presidential candidate.
The White House has insisted the
administration, including career officials, would not participate in the
impeachment investigation. Democrats have compelled the testimony of most of
the officials through subpoenas and the State Department has so far not
retaliated against those who have appeared.
Neumann, the American Academy of
Diplomacy president, urged Pompeo to back up his staff if there are calls
for them to be punished.
"So far, Pompeo has failed to show
loyalty to the people who work for him," he said. "But, he has another test.
Does anything happen to those who testify? If nothing happens, I would give
Pompeo credit for having blocked it."
Pompeo has not spoken frequently
about the inquiry except to say it is unfair to the people who work for him
because they are not allowed to bring State Department lawyers with them to
"My view is that each of us has a
solemn responsibility to defend the Constitution and to speak the truth. ...
I hope those officers who go to Capitol Hill will speak truthfully, that
they'll speak completely," he said Sunday.
Two more diplomats get their turn to
talk this week: William Taylor, currently the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine,
and Philip Reeker, the acting assistant secretary of state for Europe.
Pakistanis hoist miles-long Kashmir flag in solidarity march
a five kilometer, or about three mile, long representation of a Kashmiri
flag during a rally to express solidarity with Indian Kashmiris, in
Islamabad, Pakistan, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. Tensions between Pakistan and
India, two nuclear-armed countries, has increased since Aug. 5, when India
downgraded the autonomy of its side of Kashmir and imposed tighter controls
on the area. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
ISLAMABAD (AP) — A
giant Kashmiri flag has been unfurled by thousands of Pakistani
demonstrators, stretching five kilometers (three miles) through the streets
of Pakistan's capital, Islamabad.
The solidarity protest is meant to
draw attention to Kashmir, a disputed Himalayan region that remains divided
between India and Pakistan but is claimed by both in its entirety.
Sunday's demonstration drew around
3,000 people. They chanted slogans in support of Kashmiris facing an ongoing
lockdown by India, which stripped the region of its semi-autonomy in early
The Pakistani religious party
Jamaat-e-Islami also organized a pro-Kashmir rally in the garrison city of
Abbottabad, which was attended by thousands.
India and Pakistan have fought two
wars over Kashmir since gaining independence from British colonial rule in
World's 1st female spacewalking team makes history
photo provided by NASA, astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir exit the
International Space Station on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. The world’s first
female spacewalking team is making history high above Earth. This is the
first time in a half-century of spacewalking that a woman floated out
without a male crewmate. Their job is to fix a broken part of the station’s
solar power network. (NASA via AP)
photo released by NASA on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, U.S. astronauts Jessica
Meir, left, and Christina Koch pose for a photo in the International Space
Station. (NASA via AP)
by Marcia Dunn
Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP) — The world's first
female spacewalking team made history high above Earth on Friday, floating
out of the International Space Station to fix a broken part of the power
As NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir
emerged one by one, it marked the first time in a half-century of
spacewalking that a woman floated out without a male crewmate.
America's first female spacewalker from 35 years ago,
Kathy Sullivan, was delighted. She said it's good to finally have enough
women in the astronaut corps and trained for spacewalking for this to
NASA leaders — along with women and others around the
world — cheered Koch and Meir on. At the same time, many noted that this
will hopefully become routine in the future.
"We've got qualified women running the control, running
space centers, commanding the station, commanding spaceships and doing
spacewalks," Sullivan told The Associated Press earlier this
week. "And golly, gee whiz, every now and then there's more than one woman
in the same place."
Tracy Caldwell Dyson, a three-time spacewalker who
watched from Mission Control, added: "Hopefully, this will now be considered
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine watched the big
event unfold from NASA headquarters in Washington.
"We have the right people doing the right job at the
right time," he said. "They are an inspiration to people all over the world
including me. And we're very excited to get this mission underway."
NASA originally wanted to conduct an all-female
spacewalk last spring, but did not have enough medium-size suits ready to
go. Koch and Meir were supposed to install more new batteries in a spacewalk
next week, but had to venture out three days earlier to deal with an
equipment failure that occurred over the weekend. They need to replace an
old battery charger for one of the three new batteries that was installed
last week by Koch and Andrew Morgan.
"Jessica and Christina, we are so proud of you. You're
going to do great today," Morgan radioed from inside as the women exited the
Meir, making her spacewalking debut, became the 228th
person in the world to conduct a spacewalk and the 15th woman.
It was the fourth spacewalk for Koch, who is seven
months into an 11-month mission that will be the longest ever by a woman.
Mexican president defends retreat in face of cartel violence
Smoke from burning cars
rises due in Culiacan, Mexico, Thursday, Oct. 17. An intense gunfight with
heavy weapons and burning vehicles blocking roads raged in the capital of
Mexico’s Sinaloa state Thursday after security forces located one of Joaquín
“El Chapo” Guzmán’s sons who is wanted in the U.S. on drug trafficking
charges. (AP Photo/Hector Parra)
In this Feb. 22, 2014 file
photo, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the head of Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel, is
escorted to a helicopter in Mexico City following his capture in the beach
resort town of Mazatlan, Mexico. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo, File)
People take cover during a
shoutout in Culiacan, Mexico, Thursday, Oct. 17. (AP Photo/Augusto Zurita)
A car's rearview window is pierced with bullet
holes amid a gunfight in Culiacan, Mexico, Thursday, Oct. 17. (AP
Unidentified gunmen block
a street in Culiacan, Mexico, Thursday, Oct. 17. (AP Photo/Augusto Zurita)
by Andrés Villarreal & María Verza
Culiacan, Mexico (AP) — Mexican authorities say
they backed off an attempt to capture a son of drug trafficker Joaquin "El
Chapo" Guzman after cartel gunmen unleashed a gunfight with heavy weapons
and burning vehicles that paralyzed the capital of Mexico's Sinaloa state —
apparently outgunning lawmen.
Twenty-one people were wounded, state public security
secretary Cristóbal Castañeda said late Thursday, and 27 inmates escaped a
Mexican security secretary Alfonso Durazo said 30
members of the National Guard and army were patrolling in Culiacan when they
were fired on from a house Thursday. They repelled the attack and inside the
house found Ovidio Guzmán López, son of the convicted Sinaloa cartel boss.
The house was then surrounded by heavily armed gunmen
who had "a greater force" and authorities decided to suspend the operation,
Durazo said. He did not say if Ovidio Guzmán had been arrested or went free,
but Durazo told Televisa late at night that security forces entered the
house but left without him.
"With the goal of safeguarding the well-being and
tranquility of Culiacan society, officials in the security cabinet decided
to suspend the actions," Durazo said.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Friday that
he backed the decisions of his security officials, and added that the army
operation was based on an arrest warrant.
"The capture of one criminal cannot be worth more than
the lives of people," López Obrador said, calling the response to the
operation "very violent" and saying many lives were put at risk.
"This decision was made to protect citizens. ... You
cannot fight fire with fire," he added. "We do not want deaths. We do not
José Luis González Meza, a lawyer for "El Chapo's"
family, told The Associated Press that Guzmán's family has said "Ovidio
is alive and free" but that he had no more details about what had happened.
Ovidio was not one of the jailed Mexican drug lord's
best-known sons — Iván Archivaldo Guzmán and Jesús Alfredo Guzmán are known
as "los Chapitos," or "the little Chapos," and are believed to currently run
their father's Sinaloa Cartel together with Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada.
But Ovidio Guzmán was indicted in 2018 by a grand jury
in Washington, along with a fourth brother, for the alleged trafficking of
cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana.
Following Thursday's localization of Ovidio Guzmán,
Culiacan exploded in violence with armed civilians in trucks roaring through
the city's center shooting what appeared to be .50-caliber sniper rifles and
Videos published on social media showed a scene
resembling a war zone, with gunmen, some wearing black ski masks over their
faces, riding in the back of trucks firing mounted machine guns as vehicles
burned. People could be seen running for cover as machine gun fire rattled
around them. Drivers drove in reverse frantically to get away from the
"Nothing is working," said Ricardo González, a worker
in the state's congress who shut himself up in his house after picking up
his 15-year-old son from school. "There is a psychosis. No one knows what is
going on but everyone is afraid and they have told us to not come in to work
Sinaloa public safety director Cristóbal Castañeda told
Milenio television that there were people wounded but did not provide a
casualty figure. He did not rule out that there were deaths.
Castañeda said gunmen blocked streets with burning
vehicles, a common tactic to make it difficult for security forces to
maneuver. Simultaneously, some 20 to 30 prisoners escaped though some were
quickly recaptured, he said.
State officials asked residents to avoid going out in
parts of city.
Sinaloa's soccer club Dorados announced that it had
cancelled its game Thursday due to security concerns.
Gov. Quirino Ordaz confirmed that school classes had
been suspended but that businesses would open on Friday.
González, however, doubted this.
"There is no public transportation, no taxis, people
outside the city remain blocked outside and tomorrow will be the same," he
said, adding that Culiacan had not seen such a scene for almost a decade,
when the Sinaloa Cartel was experiencing an internal war.
Sinaloa is home to the cartel by the same name, which
was led by "El Chapo" Guzmán. Guzmán was sentenced to life in prison in the
United States in July. He has many children.
After Guzmán's third arrest in 2016, an internal battle
for succession began playing out. The battle was resolved with the arrest of
Damaso López Nunez and his son Dámaso López Serrano, who led a rival
Maria Verza reported from Mexico City.
Lebanon paralyzed by nationwide protests over proposed taxes
riot police fire tear gas during a protest against government's plans to
impose new taxes in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassan
erupted in protests Thursday over the government's plans to impose new taxes
amid a severe economic crisis, taking their anger on politicians they accuse
of widespread corruption and decades of mismanagement. (AP Photo/Hassan
Anti-government protesters set fire to tires to block a road during a
protest in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, Oct. 18. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
anti-government protester makes victory sign, as he holds a Lebanese
national flag and walks amid the fire of tires that sits to block a road
during a protest against government's plans to impose new taxes in Beirut.
(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
by Zeina Karam
Beirut (AP) — Nationwide protests paralyzed
Lebanon on Friday as demonstrators blocked major roads in a second day of
rallies against the government's handling of a severe economic crisis and
the entire country's political class.
The protests were the largest since 2015 and could
further destabilize a country whose economy is already on the verge of
collapse and with one of the highest debt loads in the world.
The protests could plunge Lebanon into a political
crisis with unpredictable repercussions for the economy, which has been in
steady decline for the past few years. Some of the protesters said they
would stay in the streets until the government resigns.
Time and again, the protesters shouted "Revolution!"
and "The people want to bring down the regime," echoing a refrain chanted by
demonstrators during Arab Spring uprisings that swept the region in 2011.
"We are here today to ask for our rights. The country
is corrupt, the garbage is all over the streets and we are fed up with all
this," said Loris Obeid, a protester in downtown Beirut.
Schools, banks and businesses shut down as the protests
escalated and widened in scope to reach almost every city and province.
Hundreds of people burned tires on highways and intersections in suburbs of
the capital, Beirut, and in northern and southern cities, sending up clouds
of black smoke in scattered protests. The road to Beirut's international
airport was blocked by protesters, stranding passengers who in some cases
were seen dragging suitcases on foot to reach the airport.
"We are here for the future of our kids. There's no
future for us, no jobs at all and this is not acceptable any more. We have
shut up for a long time and now it is time to talk," Obeid added.
The tension has been building for months, as the
government searched for new ways to levy taxes to manage the country's
economic crisis and soaring debt.
The trigger, in the end, was the news Thursday that the
government was planning, among other measures, to impose a tax on Whatsapp
calls — a decision it later withdrew as people began taking to the streets.
In some cases the demonstrations evolved into riots, as
protesters set fire to buildings and smashed window fronts, taking their
anger out on politicians they accuse of corruption and decades of
Two Syrian workers died Thursday when they were trapped
in a shop that was set on fire by rioters. Dozens of people were injured.
Some protesters threw stones, shoes and water bottles
at security forces and scuffled with police. Security forces said at least
60 of its members were injured in the clashes. Protesters were also injured.
The government is discussing the 2020 budget, and new
taxes have been proposed, including on tobacco, gasoline and some social
media communication software such as WhatsApp.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri canceled a cabinet meeting
scheduled for Friday to resume discussions. He was expected to address the
nation later in the day.
Interior Minister Raya al-Hassan insisted Hariri would
not resign, saying that could spark a national crisis more dangerous than
the current economic crisis.
Years of regional turmoil — worsened by an influx of
1.5 million Syrian refugees since 2011 — are catching up with Lebanon. The
small Arab country on the Mediterranean has the third-highest debt level in
the world, currently standing at about $86 billion, or 150% of its gross
International donors have been demanding that Lebanon
implement economic changes in order to get loans and grants pledged at the
CEDRE economic conference in Paris in April 2018. International donors
pledged $11 billion for Lebanon but they sought to ensure the money is well
spent in the corruption-plagued country.
Despite tens of billions of dollars spent since the
15-year civil war ended in 1990, Lebanon still has crumbling infrastructure
including daily electricity cuts, trash piles in the streets and often
sporadic, limited water supplies from the state-owned water company.
Associated Press writers Fadi Tawil, Hassan Ammar
and Bassam Hatoum in Beirut contributed reporting.
Pakistan avoids terror financing blacklist - for now
Action Task Force (FATF) President Xiangmin Liu speaks during a media
conference at the OECD headquarters in Paris, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. FATF an
international monitoring agency has given Pakistan four months to prove it
is fighting terrorism financing and money laundering or it could be put on a
damaging global blacklist. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
by Angela Charlton & Asim Taveer
Paris (AP) — An international monitoring agency
has given Pakistan four months to prove it is fighting terrorism financing
and money laundering — or it could be put on a damaging global blacklist.
The Financial Action Task Force also threatened Iran,
which is already blacklisted, with even tougher restrictions on its
international financial activity.
Pakistan's government on Friday hailed the FATF's
decision, which offers a reprieve to Prime Minister Imran Khan as he works
to shore up his country's faltering economy and attract foreign investment
"Thank God, we have been successful," Pakistan's
foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, told The Associated Press.
But the agency's assessment remained grim, expressing
"serious concerns with the overall lack of progress by Pakistan" to stop
In a statement after meetings this week at its Paris
headquarters, the FATF said Pakistan has addressed only five of 27 measures
required to avoid being blacklisted.
If Pakistan doesn't act by February, FATF president
Xiangmin Lui said the agency could put the country on its blacklist, which
currently includes only Iran and North Korea.
Experts say the move means every international
financial transaction with Pakistan will be closely scrutinized and doing
business in Pakistan will become costly and cumbersome. International
agencies could place restrictions on lending money to Pakistan, including
key creditors such as the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development
Bank and the World Bank.
"Pakistan has not done enough," Xiangmin told a news
Pakistan should do more to track money transfers and
investigate and prosecute terrorism financiers, among other steps, the FATF
Qureshi insisted that Pakistan has "taken maximum steps
against terror financing."
"We will continue to take all the required steps, and
all conspiracies against us have failed," he told The AP.
Meanwhile, the watchdog expressed "disappointment" that
Iran isn't taking the necessary steps to be removed from the blacklist, and
said it's asking all member countries to tighten scrutiny of any financial
transactions involving Iran.
Virtual currencies such as bitcoin and Facebook's Libra
are also prompting concern from the FATF, which warned of "new risks" from
such products. It said they're being "closely monitored" to ensure they're
not used to finance terrorism or launder money.
Taveer reported from Islamabad. Kathy Gannon and
Munir Ahmed in Islamabad also contributed.
UK, EU reach tentative Brexit deal; still needs ratification
Britain's Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay,
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, European Commission President
Jean-Claude Juncker and European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel
Barnier, from left, pose for a photo during a press point at EU headquarters
in Brussels, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019. Britain and the European Union reached
a new tentative Brexit deal on Thursday, hoping to finally escape the
acrimony, divisions and frustration of their three-year divorce battle. (AP
by Raf Casert & Jill Lawless
Brussels (AP) — Britain and the European Union
finally reached a new tentative Brexit deal on Thursday, hoping to escape
the acrimony, divisions and frustration of their three-year divorce battle.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson now faces the Herculean task of selling
the accord to his recalcitrant parliament — including his allies in Northern
Only hours before Brussels hosted a summit of the
bloc's 28 national leaders, European Commission President Jean-Claude
Juncker tweeted: "We have one! It's a fair and balanced agreement for the EU
and the UK and it is testament to our commitment to find solutions."
Johnson tweeted that the two sides had struck a "great
new deal" and urged U.K. lawmakers to ratify it in a special session being
held Saturday — only the first time since 1982 that British lawmakers have
been at work on that day.
"This is a deal which allows us to get Brexit done and
leave the EU in two weeks' time," Johnson tweeted.
The pound hit a five-month high against the U.S. dollar
on the news.
Yet immediately complicating matters was Johnson's
Northern Irish government allies, which didn't waste a minute before
announcing they could not back the tentative Brexit deal because of the way
it handled the Irish border.
Johnson, however, needs all the support he can get to
push any Brexit deal past a deeply divided Parliament and that knowledge
tempered jubilation at the EU summit. The U.K. Parliament already rejected a
previous Brexit deal crafted by former British Prime Minister Theresa May
EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has been through
this scenario before.
"We have this history. That is why my mountaineering
temperament keeps me careful and cautious," said Barnier, who hails from the
French Alps and organized the 1992 Olympic Winter Games there.
Barnier was in the room when the leaders called each
other and said Johnson "told President Juncker this morning that he believed
he was able to get the deal approved," adding Johnson said he was "confident
about his capacity to convince a majority."
The agreement must still be formally approved by the
bloc and ratified by the European Parliament.
The key hurdle to a Brexit deal was finding a way to
keep goods and people flowing freely across the border between EU member
Ireland and the U.K.'s Northern Ireland after Brexit. That invisible, open
border has underpinned the region's peace accord and allowed the economies
of both Ireland and Northern Ireland to grow.
Johnson insists that all of the U.K. — including
Northern Ireland — must leave the bloc's customs union, which would seem to
make border checks and tariffs inevitable.
But Barnier said the deal "squares this circle" by
leaving Northern Ireland inside the EU single market for goods — so border
checks are not needed — and also eliminating customs checks at the Irish
border. Instead, customs checks will be carried out and tariffs levied on
goods entering Northern Ireland that are destined for the EU.
That effectively means a customs border in the Irish
Sea — something the British government long said it would not allow and
something Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party vehemently opposes.
DUP leader Arlene Foster and the party's parliamentary
chief Nigel Dodds said they "could not support what is being suggested on
customs and consent issues," referring to a say the Northern Irish
authorities might have in future developments on the border.
The party said their position was unchanged after the
announcement of the provisional deal.
But the EU has compromised, too, by allowing Northern
Ireland special access to its single market. And the deal gives Northern
Ireland a say over the rules, something that was missing from May's previous
rejected agreement. After four years, the Northern Ireland Assembly will
vote on whether to continue the arrangement or end it.
Johnson — who took office in July vowing that Britain
would finally leave the EU on Oct. 31 with or without a deal — on Wednesday
likened Brexit to climbing Mount Everest.
Legislator Bim Afolami quoted the prime minister as
saying "the summit is in sight, but it is shrouded in cloud. But we can get
Lorne Cook and Sam Petrequin contributed from
Brussels and Mike Corder from London
US delegation seeking a cease-fire with Turkey and Kurds
Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo arrive at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019,
as they depart en route to Turkey. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
by Zeke Miller & Robert Burns
Ankara, Turkey (AP) — A senior U.S. delegation
faces the herculean task of pressuring Turkey to accept a cease-fire in
Northern Syria, hours after President Donald Trump declared the U.S. has no
stake in defending Kurdish fighters who died by the thousands as America's
partners against Islamic State extremists.
Vice President Mike Pence, heading a U.S. delegation
that includes Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House national
security adviser Robert O'Brien, arrived in Turkey on Thursday, a day after
Trump dismissed the very crisis he sent his aides on an emergency mission to
Trump suggested Wednesday that a Kurdish group was a
greater terror threat than the Islamic State group, and he welcomed the
efforts of Russia and the Assad government to fill the void left after he
ordered the removal of nearly all U.S. troops from Syria amid a Turkish
assault on the Kurds.
"Syria may have some help with Russia, and that's
fine," Trump said. "They've got a lot of sand over there. So, there's a lot
of sand that they can play with."
He added: "Let them fight their own wars."
The split-screen foreign policy moment proved difficult
to reconcile and came during perhaps the darkest moment for the modern
U.S.-Turkey relationship and a time of trial for Trump and his Republican
Party allies. Severe condemnation of Trump's failure to deter Turkish
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's assault on the Kurds, and his subsequent
embrace of Turkish talking points about the former U.S. allies, sparked
bipartisan outrage in the U.S. and calls for swift punishment for the NATO
Republicans and Democrats in the House, bitterly
divided over the Trump impeachment inquiry, banded together for an
overwhelming 354-60 denunciation of the U.S. troop withdrawal. Many
lawmakers expressed worry that the withdrawal may lead to revival of the
Islamic State group as well as Russian presence and influence in the area,
besides the slaughter of many Kurds.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., publicly
broke with Trump to call the U.S. relationship with the Kurds "a great
"I'm sorry that we are where we are. I hope the vice
president and the secretary of state can somehow repair the damage,"
McConnell said Wednesday.
Even among top administration officials, there were
concerns that the trip lacked achievable goals and had been undermined by
Trump even before it began. While Erdogan faces global condemnation for the
invasion, he also sees renewed nationalistic fervor at home, and any pathway
to de-escalation likely would need to delicately avoid embarrassing Erdogan
domestically. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss
The White House disclosed that Trump had both cajoled
and threatened Erdogan in an unusual letter last week, urging him to act
only in "the right and humane way" in Syria. The letter was sent the day
Erdogan launched the major offensive against the Kurds.
Trump started on a positive note by suggesting they
"work out a good deal," but then talked about crippling economic sanctions
and concluded that the world "will look upon you forever as the devil if
good things don't happen. Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool!"
Trump did place some sanctions on Turkey for the
offensive. But he appeared to undercut his delegation's negotiating stance,
saying the U.S. has no business in the region — and not to worry about the
"If Turkey goes onto Syria, that's between Turkey and
Syria, it's not between Turkey and the United States," Trump said during an
Oval Office meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
As he seeks to push Erdogan to agree to a cease-fire,
Pence will confront doubts about American credibility and his own, as an
emissary of an inconsistent president.
"Given how erratic President Trump's decision-making
process and style has been, it's just hard to imagine any country on the
receiving end of another interlocutor really being confident that what Pence
and Pompeo are delivering reflects Trump's thinking at the moment or what it
will be in the future," said Jeffrey Prescott, the Obama administration's
senior director for Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Gulf states on the National
Security Council and a former deputy national security adviser to former
Vice President Joe Biden.
The withdrawal is the worst decision of Trump's
presidency, said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who meets often with the
president and is one of his strongest and most important supporters in
"To those who think the Mideast doesn't matter to
America, remember 9/11 — we had that same attitude on 9/10/2001," Graham
Even before Trump's comments, Erdogan had publicly
stated that he will be undeterred by the sanctions and resisted calls for a
cease-fire Wednesday, saying the fighting would end only if Kurdish fighters
abandoned their weapons and retreated from positions near the Turkish
border. If Pence can persuade Turkey to agree to a cease-fire, which few
U.S. officials believed was likely, experts warn it will not erase the
signal Trump's action sent to American allies across the globe or the
opening already being exploited by Russia in the region.
"Deterring an action that hasn't yet been taken is
almost always easier than trying to coerce someone to reverse an action that
they've already committed blood, treasure and honor to," said John Hannah,
former national security adviser for former Vice President Dick Cheney and a
senior counselor for Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
In public appearances, Trump said he was fulfilling a
campaign promise to bring U.S. troops home from "endless wars" in the Middle
East — casting aside criticism that a sudden U.S. withdrawal from Syria
betrays the Kurdish fighters, stains U.S. credibility around the world and
opens an important region to Russia.
"We have a situation where Turkey is taking land from
Syria. Syria's not happy about it. Let them work it out," Trump said. "They
have a problem at a border. It's not our border. We shouldn't be losing
lives over it."
Turkish troops and Turkish-backed Syrian fighters
launched their offensive against Kurdish forces in northern Syria a week
ago, two days after Trump suddenly announced he was withdrawing the U.S.
from the area. Erdogan has said he wants to create a "safe zone" 30
kilometers (20 miles) deep in Syria.
Ankara has long argued the Kurdish fighters are nothing
more than an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which has
waged a guerrilla campaign inside Turkey since the 1980s and which Turkey,
as well as the U.S. and European Union, designate as a terrorist
Burns reported from Washington. Associated Press
writers Alan Fram, Darlene Superville, Jill Colvin, Kevin Freking and Ellen
Knickmeyer contributed to this report.
Former Nazi SS guard, 93, goes on trial in Hamburg
The 93-year-old former SS guard in the Stutthof
concentration camp near Danzig, Bruno Dey is sitting in the regional court
in Hamburg, Germany, Oct. 17, 2019. The prosecution accuses the 93-year-old
man of aiding and abetting the murder of 5230 people. The defendant was only
17 or 18 years old at the time of the crime. That's why the trial takes
place in front of a juvenile delinquency chamber. About 25 survivors of the
concentration camp appear as joint plaintiffs. (Daniel Bockwoldt/dpa via AP)
by David Rising
Hamburg, Germany (AP) — From his post as a
teenage SS private in a watchtower in Nazi Germany's Stutthof concentration
camp, Bruno Dey could hear the screams of Jews dying in the gas chamber.
And, Dey later told investigators, the carting of their lifeless bodies to
the camp's crematorium was a daily sight.
More than seven decades later, Dey went on trial
Thursday on 5,230 counts of accessory to murder in Hamburg state court.
Pushed into the courtroom in a wheelchair, accompanied by one of his
daughters, the 93-year-old wore a wide-brimmed hat and held a red folder in
front of his face to shield it from the cameras.
After they had gone, he dropped the cover to reveal a
full head of neatly combed white hair and a mustache. He answered basic
questions from Presiding Judge Anne Meier-Goering, such as his date and
place of birth.
As prosecutor Lars Mahnke then detailed how Jews were
gassed, shot and starved to death as part of the "systematic killing" in the
camp where he stood guard 75 years ago, he showed little expression but
appeared to be listening attentively.
While there is no evidence of Dey's direct involvement
in a killing in Stutthof, prosecutors argue that as a camp guard from August
1944 to April 1945 he aided in all the killings that took place during that
period as a "small wheel in the machinery of murder."
"The accused was no ardent worshipper of Nazi
ideology," prosecutors argue in the indictment. "But there is also no doubt
that he never actively challenged the persecutions of the Nazi regime."
Dey, a baker by training, does not deny being a guard
at Stutthof. He gave wide-ranging statements to investigators about his
service, saying that he was deemed unfit for combat in the regular army in
1944 at age 17, so was drafted into an SS guard detachment and sent to
Stutthof, not far from his hometown near Danzig, which is today the Polish
city of Gdansk.
In deference to his age, trial sessions are being
limited to two hours a day, and are scheduled to be held only twice a week.
Because Dey was 17 when he started serving at Stutthof,
he is being tried in juvenile court and faces a possible six months to 10
years in prison if convicted. In Germany there are no consecutive sentences.
Dey's attorney, Stefan Waterkamp, questioned why his
client was being prosecuted now, saying that before a recent change in
German legal reasoning, "nobody was interested in the simple guards."
"Where does responsibility end?" he asked the court in
his opening statement. "That is the question this trial must answer."
In recent years, prosecutors have successfully
convicted former death camp guards using the argument that by helping to
operate camps like Auschwitz and Sobibor, they were accessories to the
The 2015 conviction of former Auschwitz guard Oskar
Groening on such reasoning was upheld by a German federal court, solidifying
In Dey's case, the reasoning is being applied to a
concentration camp rather than a death camp. Prosecutors have expressed
confidence it still pertains, since tens of thousands of people were killed
in Stutthof even though — unlike at the death camps — the site's sole
purpose wasn't murder.
Even in concentration camps, "it was almost a certain
death sentence," said Efraim Zuroff, the head Nazi hunter at the Simon
Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem who attended the opening of the trial.
Zuroff, who helped locate nearly two dozen Stutthof
survivors for the case, rejected Waterkamp's suggestion that Dey should not
be prosecuted because higher-ranking Nazis were never brought to trial.
"Just because more senior criminals got away with a
crime doesn't mean that the more minor criminals are not guilty," he said.
Stutthof was established by Nazi Germany in 1939 east
of Danzig and was initially used as the main collection point for Jews and
non-Jewish Poles removed from the city.
From about 1940, it was used as a so-called "work
education camp" where forced laborers, primarily Polish and Soviet citizens,
were sent to serve sentences and often died. Others incarcerated there
included criminals, political prisoners, homosexuals and Jehovah's
From mid-1944, when Dey was posted there, it was filled
with tens of thousands of Jews from ghettos being cleared by the Nazis in
the Baltics as well as from Auschwitz, and thousands of Polish civilians
swept up in the brutal suppression of the Warsaw uprising.
In the end, more than 60,000 people were killed there
by being given lethal injections of gasoline or phenol directly to their
hearts, shot or starved. Others were forced outside in winter without
clothes until they died of exposure, or were put to death in a gas chamber.
About three dozen survivors and their relatives have
joined the trial as co-plaintiffs, as allowed under German law, including
New York filmmaker Ben Cohen, whose grandmother survived Stutthof but whose
great-grandmother died in the camp's gas chamber during the time Dey served
as a camp guard.
Attending the opening, Cohen said there could never be
full justice for his family, but just the fact that German authorities are
pursuing the case is an important signal.
He said his grandmother, Judy Meisel, who was taken to
Stutthof at age 15, hoped Dey would testify to help shine some light on how
something like the Holocaust could occur. Meisel, 90, now lives in
Minneapolis and will not be able to attend the trial herself, Cohen said.
"These were people who were convinced they should
murder every Jew. How does a person do that?" Cohen said. "We don't hold him
accountable for everything that happened at Stutthof but he could do a lot
by talking about what went on there as a guard."
Dey himself told prosecutors his SS comrades talked of
the "extermination of the Jews" and said he had "done people wrong" by
"I did not know why they were there," Dey told
prosecutors. "I knew well that they were Jews who had committed no crime,
that they were only there because they were Jews. And they have the same
right to live and to work like any other person. But it was just that Hitler
or his party ... had something against the Jews."
Riots darken Catalan separatist dream of peaceful secession
catches fire next to a burning barricade during clashes between protestors
and police in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. Spain's government
said Wednesday it would do whatever it takes to stamp out violence in
Catalonia, where clashes between regional independence supporters and police
have injured more than 200 people in two days. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
make barricades in the street during clashes with police in Barcelona. (AP
Policemen run as a police van drives over a
burning barricade during clashes between protestors and police. (AP Photo/Bernat
Firefighters try to put out fires on the street in Barcelona, Wednesday,
Oct. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
by Aritz Parra
Madrid (AP) — Catalonia's separatist leader
vowed Thursday to hold a new vote to secede from Spain in less than two
years as the embattled northeastern region grapples with a wave of violence
that has tarnished a movement proud of its peaceful activism.
"We can't remain in this cage that keeps adding bars,"
Quim Torra told lawmakers. "If we have been condemned to 100 years in prison
for putting out the ballot boxes, the response is clear: we'll have to put
the ballot boxes out again for self-determination."
Lengthy prison sentences and fines for a dozen leaders
that Spain's Supreme Court blames for orchestrating the wealthy region's
latest drive for independence have led this week to some of the darkest
episodes in a decade of swelling separatist sentiment.
Riots have made central areas of Barcelona, a leading
European tourist destination, a no-go zone. On Thursday, cleaning brigades
worked to clear charred cars and hundreds of burned trash bins used as
improvised barricades from the streets of the regional capital, where
confrontations between rioting youths and police the night before led to
scenes of panic.
Authorities said 80 people were injured, including 46
police officers, and that 33 people were arrested amid destruction and fires
that raged also in other Catalan towns.
Police said the protesters hurled gasoline bombs,
stones, firecrackers and bottles at them. Fireworks hit a police helicopter,
although no major damage was caused. Regional and national police responded
with foam bullets and batons.
Authorities also said that a 17-year-old was recovering
from a head injury after online footage showed how he had been caught in
front of a trash container that was charged by a speeding police van in the
city of Tarragona.
The rioting has put the spotlight again on the
self-appointed Committees for the Defense of the Republic, or CDRs, and a
new shadowy, leaderless online platform, Tsunami Democratic, that uses
encrypted messaging apps to advocate for "peaceful civil disobedience."
The groups, often following the blueprints of
pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong and elsewhere, have become popular
among technology-savvy young Catalans since the October 2017 banned
referendum that eventually led to the separatist leaders' convictions. That
vote was held amid heavy violence from police toward voters refusing to move
from polling stations.
Spain has cracked down on the CDRs, jailing some
members as it probes them for possible terrorism offenses, while Spain's
Interior Minister said Wednesday that its investigation is close to finding
out who is behind the Tsunami Democratic.
The new approach has overshadowed the traditional
demonstrations that for years had been overwhelmingly peaceful, often
organized by ANC and Omnium, two pro-independence civil society groups long
rooted in Catalan society.
Under fire for holding back over rejecting the street
violence, Torra appeared on television late on Wednesday, blaming the
rioting on provocateurs.
On Thursday, at the regional parliament, he used
stronger words to reject the riots, specifying that he was against violence
coming from "everywhere," including police.
Torra also called the conviction of a dozen fellow
separatists "the biggest blow to democracy" in the four decades following
Gen. Francisco Franco's regime, and said the sentence was a reason to hold a
new vote on independence before his term ends in 2021.
Spain's post-dictatorship 1978 Constitution states that
the country's territorial unity is indivisible, and courts have banned
previous attempts to hold referendums.
Pedro Sánchez, Spain's Socialist leader who is facing a
Nov. 10 election, has blamed "organized groups of extremists" for the
rioting in Catalonia, but has ruled out taking drastic measures, despite
calls by rival parties to do so. On Thursday he was presiding over a meeting
with intelligence officials and security experts to analyze the situation in
the northeastern region.
New road and railway blockades were in place on
Thursday, including on a main highway leading to France.
Thousands of people have also been marching peacefully
since Wednesday toward the regional capital, Barcelona. Students are on
strike, and trade unions are planning to join them on Friday.
Brexit ignites fears of renewed violence in Northern Ireland
photo dated Monday Oct. 14, 2019 a man walks past an Irish Republican mural
depicting scenes of the Battle of the Bogside area of Derry in August 1969.
(AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Belfast, Northern Ireland (AP) — Kate Nash says
the time known as "The Troubles" never really ended in Northern Ireland.
While the 1998 Good Friday Agreement brought an era of
relative peace and prosperity to the U.K. region, paramilitary groups still
exist and lower levels of violence continue to plague the community, says
the 70-year-old grandmother who lost a brother in the 1972 Bloody Sunday
Brexit may cause the smoldering conflict to flare up
once again, she fears, especially if there are renewed customs and passport
controls along the now-invisible border between EU member Ireland and the
U.K.'s Northern Ireland after Britain leaves the European Union.
"If they're going to man the border ... that's really
something that will start violence again," she said. "They'll be targets,
you know, for the IRA or whoever."
Fears about a return to the violence that killed more
than 3,500 people over three decades have made Northern Ireland the biggest
hurdle for U.K. and EU officials who are trying to hammer out a Brexit
divorce deal. Besides securing the Irish border from fraud and smuggling,
they must tiptoe around anything that will inflame the tensions between
those who want Northern Ireland to remain part of the U.K. and those who
want it to be reunited with the Republic of Ireland.
"Brexit has been the greatest existential threat to the
peace process in 25 years," said Eamon Phoenix, a historian at Queen's
University Belfast. "The island of Ireland has enjoyed really unbroken peace
for 25 years after violence in which 3,500 people died ... and suddenly in
the last three years, we have the risk to all that."
The EU underpinned the Good Friday peace deal,
negotiated with the help of the U.S., because both Britain and Ireland were
members of the bloc. That meant people and goods could flow freely across
the frontier and allowed authorities to tear down the hated border posts
that were once a flashpoint for violence.
Over the past 20 years, the Irish land border has
vanished, marked only by changing speed limits and signs targeted by vandals
who obscure the word "Northern" with spray paint.
Yet after Brexit — which U.K. Prime Minister Boris
Johnson wants to happen on Oct. 31 — the Irish land border will become an
external EU border. Negotiators are struggling to find a way to regulate
trade without rebuilding checkpoints and destroying the cross-border links
that have spurred economic growth on both sides.
The conflict was born almost a century ago when the
Republic of Ireland, dominated by Catholics, won its independence but
Northern Ireland, which had a Protestant majority, remained part of the U.K.
In the 1960s, divisions over whether Northern Ireland should be part of
Britain or Ireland flared into what became known as The Troubles.
The Good Friday peace deal, which includes a
power-sharing unity government in Northern Ireland, let people identify as
British or Irish or both regardless of where they lived, Phoenix said,
allowing them to cooperate and put aside long-held political aspirations.
But Brexit, driven by English voters, has hardened
those divisions. While 52% of U.K. voters backed leaving the EU in the 2016
referendum, a majority in Northern Ireland — 56% — voted to remain in the
bloc. Phoenix says the Brexit vote unleashed a political Pandora's box.
"Suddenly those aspirations have been sort of
prioritized," Phoenix said. "And that is a factor that is leading to
While the peace deal ended daily mayhem, it didn't
bring about reconciliation in Northern Ireland. Communities remain divided,
and so-called "peace walls" that sometimes glorify gun-wielding masked men
are a backdrop of daily life.
On West Belfast's Shankill Road, the Union flag bunting
crisscrosses the working-class neighborhood. Murals celebrate loyalist
paramilitary fighters, with one proclaiming "We seek nothing but the
elementary right implanted in every man: The right if you are attacked to
People here are worried that Johnson will sacrifice
their interests in hopes of securing a Brexit deal and say anything that
treats Northern Ireland differently than the rest of the U.K. is
"There would be an organic explosion of anger and
people would take to the streets. And obviously any sensible person would be
urging people ... to do so peacefully," said Jamie Bryson, editor of the
Unionist Voice. "But we all have to live in the real world and know that
once mass amounts of people take to the streets, and once something happens
and that genie gets out of the bottle, it's going to be difficult to put it
Others think the genie has already escaped.
Jack Duffin leans on a walking stick as he leads guided
tours through the still battle-scarred neighborhoods of Belfast, the capital
of Northern Ireland. A former member of the Irish Republican Army, Duffin
still wants to reunite the island of Ireland and thinks Brexit may help
achieve that goal.
"We have been trying to put the border to the forefront
of the international community for years," Duffin said. "Brexit has done
that for us."
Some didn't need Brexit to be reminded of these
long-standing issues. In her lap, Kate Nash cradled a picture of her late
brother Willy, a tall, lanky 19-year-old leaning against a wall, guitar in
"He used to strum," his sister says, thinking of 1972,
when Willy played a Marty Robbins album nightly.
"You know 'Out in the West Texas town of El Paso’," she
said, breaking into a tune.
Her brother, a dock worker, went to a demonstration
near his home in Londonderry on Jan. 30, 1972, because it was a local
happening — not because he was involved with the IRA. Thousands had gathered
to protest internment, but things went badly wrong. British soldiers shot 28
unarmed civilians, killing 13.
William Nash was shot dead in the chest near a
barricade. His father saw him and went to help, only to end up being shot
himself. The father lived, but his wife never forgave him for their son's
Kate Nash received some solace in the official inquiry
that found the British soldiers had opened fire without justification at
unarmed civilians and then lied about it for decades.
"The pain of it never really goes away," she said. "You
know only the injustice of it."
Kim rides horse on sacred peak, vows to fight US sanctions
this undated photo provided on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, by the North Korean
government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un rides a white horse to climb
Mount Paektu, North Korea. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service
by Hyung-Jin Kim
Seoul, South Korea (AP) — North Korea released a
series of photos Wednesday showing leader Kim Jong Un riding a white horse
to a sacred mountain he has often climbed before making key decisions. Near
the mountain, Kim reportedly vowed to overcome U.S.-led sanctions that he
said had both pained and infuriated his people.
The images and Kim's rhetoric appeared aimed at
bolstering his leadership at home as the North tries to pressure the United
States into making concessions in nuclear diplomacy.
The photos showed a bespectacled Kim wearing a long,
light-brown coat and riding on horseback up snow-covered Mount Paektu. The
mountain, the highest point on the Korean Peninsula, is sacred to North
Koreans, and both it and the white horse are symbols associated with the Kim
family's dynastic rule.
Kim previously visited Mount Paektu before executing
his powerful uncle in 2013 and entering into diplomacy with South Korea and
the U.S. in 2018.
The photos were released by the North's official Korean
Central News Agency, or KCNA, days after North Korea's first nuclear talks
with the U.S. in more than seven months fell apart.
South Korean media quickly speculated that Kim may be
considering a new strategy in his dealings with the U.S. because he's
previously demanded that Washington come up with new proposals to salvage
the stalemated diplomacy by the end of December.
"He, sitting on the horseback atop Mt Paektu,
recollected with deep emotion the road of arduous struggle he covered for
the great cause of building the most powerful country with faith and will as
firm as Mt Paektu," KCNA said.
North Korean documents say Kim's grandfather and
national founder Kim Il Sung had an anti-Japan guerrilla base on Paektu's
slopes during Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. The
official biography of Kim Jong Un's father, Kim Jong Il, says the
second-generation leader was born on Paektu when a double rainbow filled the
The white horse is also a propaganda symbol for the Kim
family, which has ruled North Korea for seven decades with a strong
personality cult surrounding family members. State media have occasionally
shown Kim, his sister and his father riding white horses. The symbolism goes
back to Kim Il Sung, who according to the North's official narrative rode a
white horse while fighting Japanese colonial rulers.
There have been other horse-riding leaders, including
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was photographed riding a horse
bare-chested, and Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, who took part
in horse races and erected a massive monument featuring his likeness atop a
KCNA said Kim also visited nearby construction sites in
Samjiyon County and complained about U.S.-led U.N. sanctions imposed on his
country because of its nuclear and missile programs.
"The situation of the country is difficult owing to the
ceaseless sanctions and pressure by the hostile forces and there are many
hardships and trials facing us," Kim was quoted as saying. "But our people
grew stronger through the trials and found their own way of development and
learned how to always win in the face of trials."
Kim also said "the pain the U.S.-led anti-(North Korea)
hostile forces inflicted upon the Korean people ... turned into their
anger," according to KCNA. "No matter what persistent efforts the enemy
make, we can live well with our own efforts and pave the avenue to
development and prosperity in our own way."
North Korea has been slapped with 11 rounds of
sanctions since 2006. The sanctions have been toughened since 2016, when Kim
began conducting a series of high-profile nuclear and missile tests, and
they include a full ban on key exports such as coal, textiles and seafood
and a significant curtailing of oil imports.
During his second summit with President Donald Trump in
Vietnam in February, Kim demanded the United States lift the newer and more
biting sanctions in return for dismantling his main nuclear complex, a
limited denuclearization step. Trump rejected that, and the summit collapsed
without reaching any deal. The two leaders held a brief, impromptu meeting
at the Korean border in late June and agreed to resume talks.
Their negotiators met in Sweden earlier this month for
the first time since the Vietnam summit, but the talks broke down again.
North Korea blamed the U.S. for the breakdown and threatened to resume
nuclear and long-range missile tests.
North Korea's lifting of its self-imposed moratorium on
major weapons tests would be a blow to Trump's reelection campaign, as the
president has boasted that the moratorium is a big foreign policy
Some experts say North Korea is not likely to carry out
its threat to restart nuclear and long-range missile tests because that
could scuttle diplomacy with Trump and dim the chances of winning sanctions
Trump has downplayed the significance of North Korea's
recent series of short-range missile tests. But the European members of the
U.N. Security Council earlier this month urged Pyongyang to abandon all
weapons of mass destruction and engage in "meaningful negotiations" with the
Associated Press writer Kim Tong-hyung contributed
to this report.
Pakistan, India trade fire in Kashmir; 4 civilians killed
Supporters of Pakistani religious party
Jamaat-e-Islami rally to express solidarity with Indian Kashmiris, in
Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. Pakistani and Indian troops
traded fire in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir on Wednesday,
killing four civilians and wounding nearly a dozen others, officials from
both sides said, as tensions remain high between the two South Asian
countries. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)
by Roshan Mughal & Aijaz Hussain
Islamabad (AP) — Pakistani and Indian troops
traded fire in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir on Wednesday,
killing four civilians and wounding nearly a dozen others, officials from
both sides said, as tensions remain high between the two South Asian
Kashmir is split between Pakistan and India and claimed
by both countries in its entirety. They have fought two wars over the
India sparked a new round of tensions in August, when
it downgraded the autonomy of its side of Kashmir and imposed tighter
controls on the area.
On Wednesday, Pakistan's foreign ministry said it
summoned an Indian diplomat to lodge its protest over the previous day's
"ceasefire violations" that killed three civilians, including two children
on the Pakistani side of the contested Kashmir border.
In neighboring India, Lt. Col. Devender Anand, an army
spokesman, said Pakistan fired at two dozen Indian army posts along the
highly militarized Poonch sector Monday and Tuesday. He said Pakistani
troops used mortar and machine-guns and targeted several villages as well.
Anand blamed Pakistan for initiating the fire and said
their troops "befittingly" responded to what he called a series of
unprovoked cease-fire violations. Earlier, an Indian civil administrator,
Rahul Yadav, said that a young woman and several cattle were killed due to
Pakistani firing in the Poonch sector Tuesday.
Also Wednesday, Indian police officer Parvaiz Ahmed
said Indian security forces killed three militants in an exchange of gunfire
in southern Kashmir, following intelligence that a group of militants was
hiding in the town Bijbehara town.
Indian-administered Kashmir has experienced unrest and
sporadic anti-government protests since New Delhi revoked its special
Hussain reported rom Srinagar, India
Catalans march on Barcelona after 2 nights of violence
Policemen in riot gear move past a burning
barricade during clashes with protestors in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Oct.
15, 2019. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
by Joseph Wilson
Barcelona, Spain (AP) — Thousands of people
on Wednesday joined five large protest marches across Catalonia that
were set to converge on Barcelona, as the restive region reeled from two
straight days of violent clashes between police and protesters.
The marches set off from several Catalan towns and
aimed to reach the Catalan capital by Friday.
They included families with children, elderly and
young people, and banners reading "Libertat Presos Politics" (Freedom
for political prisoners) — a reference to nine separatist Catalan
leaders given to lengthy prison sentences by the Supreme Court on
Monday, which ignited the protests.
Catalan regional president Quim Torra left
Barcelona, the seat of the regional government, to join one of the
marches, saying he wanted to be next to the people.
"These peaceful marches happening across the
country (Catalonia) are the Catalan people's best response" to the
court's verdict, Torra said.
Torra, one of the leaders of Catalonia's separatist
movement which wants the wealthy northeastern region to be independent
from Spain, didn't criticize the recent street violence, which national
political leaders have condemned.
Peaceful protests turned ugly in Barcelona and
other towns after Monday's verdict. Barcelona's police said 40,000
protesters packed the streets near the office of Spain's government
representative Tuesday evening and a running melee broke out when they
turned over metal barriers and threw objects at police.
The outnumbered police used foam bullets, batons
and shields to battle groups that rained down rocks, firecrackers and
other objects on them.
An organization representing downtown Barcelona
businesses, called Barcelona Abierta, said the violence in the city had
caused "significant losses" and "deeply damaged" its image abroad.
Spain's Interior Ministry said 54 members of
Catalonia's regional police force and 18 National Police officers were
hurt in the protests Tuesday. Health authorities say they treated 125
people, both police and protesters.
Police made 29 arrests in Barcelona, the Catalan
capital. More than 150 barricades in the streets were set ablaze by
protesters, according to the ministry.
Similar protests turned toward violence in other
towns in Catalonia, which has seen a rise in separatist sentiment for
the past decade. Roughly half of the region's 7.5 million residents
support independence, with the other half opposing a breakaway,
according to polls.
Students in the restive region went on strike
Wednesday, with organizers urging them to remain peaceful, like the
majority of separatist rallies have been before this week.
The marches and sporadic street protests continued
to snarl traffic across the wealthy region. Flights and passenger
movements at Barcelona airport have also been disrupted by protests.
Traffic in downtown Barcelona was also slowed by
the massive cleanup effort to remove the debris of burned barricades and
Spanish acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who is
facing a national election on Nov. 10, began to meet with the leaders of
the main opposition parties to discuss the situation in Catalonia.
"(I want to issue) my firmest and complete
condemnation of the violence that is trying to shatter the social
harmony in Catalonia," Sánchez wrote on Twitter. "All support for the
forces of security."
Gabriel Rufián, a leading Catalan separatist and
member of Spain's parliament, and some other high-profile secessionists,
called for calm.
"Nothing can justify violence," Rufián told Cadena
Most impromptu protesters have responded to an
online campaign by Tsunami Democratic, a shadowy grassroots group that
uses encrypted messaging apps to call for peaceful disobedience.
Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska
said authorities were investigating the group.
But on Wednesday, the group issued a statement
appealing for an end to the violence.
The Supreme Court found nine of 12 Catalan
politicians and activists guilty of sedition and gave them prison
sentences of nine to 13 years. Four of them were additionally convicted
of misuse of public funds. The other three were fined for disobeying
Aritz Parra in Madrid, and Barry Hatton in
Lisbon, Portugal, contributed to this report.