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Hong Kong sees biggest protests since controversial bill dropped as demonstrators find their anthem

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 13:31

After three months of chaos in Hong Kong, tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets with a new “protest anthem” on Sunday, despite the formal withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill. Protesters gathered outside a department store in the afternoon for a pro-democracy rally took place, despite being banned by police. Some protesters threw bricks at police outside the Chinese People's Liberation Army base in the city's Admiralty district, and tore down and set fire to a red banner proclaiming the 70th anniversary on Oct 1 of the founding of the People's Republic of China, in a direct challenge to Beijing.  The illegal march marks the biggest protest since the withdrawal of the bill, which would have allowed the extradition of fugitives to mainland China.  However, protesters are urging the government to instate direct elections and an independent commission into police brutality. They are also calling for unconditional release of those detained, and an end to the authorities describing the protests as riots. Armed Riot police officers on patrol during an anti-government rally  Credit: JEROME FAVRE/EPA-EFE/REX “We are not even talking about being independent, as long as the government meets our demands, we will go home,” said James Wong, 25. “I guess this is not happening now because of the political circumstances. But I will continue to protest because this is our society, our generation. If we don’t speak out, we could be the next Xinjiang, we have to stay strong.” Protesters repeatedly sang Glory to Hong Kong, a song that has gained traction over the last few days and been dubbed the “unofficial national anthem”. The song, reportedly recently composed by a musician in his mid-20s and set to an orchestral backing, has been widely spread on social media.  Protesters sang in Cantonese: “Our flesh, our blood shall write this song. Free this land, stand with Hong Kong.” Police spray anti-government protesters with coloured water Credit: REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha Mostly in black t-shirts, protesters held signs saying: “I thought freedom was a basic human right” and “Guard our future”.  Riot police fired rounds of tear gas, and hundreds of protesters surrounded the Legislative Council building showed no signs of leaving, throwing bricks and petrol bombs towards the government offices. Police later deployed water cannon with blue and white dye, protesters and reporters changed clothes and washed off the dye on nearby overpass, and bystanders received first aid treatment with saline solution after rounds of tear gas. Since the protests kicked off, police have arrested more than 1300 protesters, aged between 12 and 76. “Hong Kong people have been living under white terror for three months, we are used to it,” said Anthony Chau, 22. “We won’t give up and I will continue to attend protests.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar defends her controversial World Trade Center remarks: '9/11 was an attack on all Americans'

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 13:25

Rep. Ilhan Omar responded to criticism from a 9/11 victim’s son, who, during a memorial reading of victims’ names at Ground Zero last week, called out the freshman congresswoman for past remarks she made about the terrorist attacks.

Black transgender woman found 'burned beyond recognition' in Florida, officials say

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 12:53

Bee Love Slater was found badly burned in a car in Florida earlier this month. Advocates believe she is the 18th transgender person killed this year.

A look at the corruption scandals facing Israel's Netanyahu

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 12:38

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to hold on to power in Tuesday's historic repeat election as the shadow of various corruption charges loom over his future. Israel's attorney general has recommended pressing criminal charges against him in three separate corruption cases, pending a long delayed pre-trial hearing scheduled for early October — just three weeks after the election.

Man who dragged shark to death from speedboat and poured alcohol down throats of fish is jailed

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 11:56

A Florida man who dragged a shark to its death from a high-speed boat has been jailed for 10 days.Robert Benac III will pay a $2,500 fine, perform 250 hours of service at an animal shelter and lose his fishing licence for three years after pleading guilty to misdemeanour of animal cruelty.

Trump defends Brett Kavanaugh amid new sexual misconduct allegations, says 'the lies being told about him are unbelievable'

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 11:41

President Trump defended Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh against a new report of sexual misconduct and accused the media of trying to “scare him into turning Liberal.”

Teachers in Chicago inch closer to possible strike

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 09:43

Teachers in the nation's third-largest school district are inching closer to a strike that could happen as early as next month. After rejecting the district's latest offer, Chicago educators are back at the bargaining table negotiating issues including pay, staffing shortages and class size. Chicago's last major teachers strike was seven years ago, but the tone, issues and financial backdrop this time around are totally different.

Rep. Meadows says Democrats' impeachment investigation already has 'made up conclusions'

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 09:05

North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows calls the Democrats' impeachment push 'political theater.'

'It's really terrifying': Trump administration allows US hunter to import lion he killed in Africa

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 08:11

A hobby hunter from Florida has been given permission to can import a lion trophy from Tanzania – the first time the US has allowed such an import since it ruled the species should receive special protection three years ago.Carl Atkinson shot the animal dead during an £80,000, 21-day safari in 2016.

Afghan, U.S. forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 06:54

Afghan forces backed by U.S. forces killed two senior Taliban leaders and at least 38 fighters of the hardline insurgent group in joint air strikes conducted in northern and western regions of Afghanistan, officials said on Sunday. The operations, launched on Saturday night, were aimed at foiling attacks planned by the Taliban on Afghan forces, said a senior security official in capital Kabul, adding that clashes have escalated following the collapse of diplomatic talks between the U.S. and the Taliban. The defence ministry in a statement said that the Taliban's designate governor for northern Samangan province, Mawlavi Nooruddin, was killed along with four fighters in an air strike in Dara-e-Soof Payeen district.

Iran's Submarines: Could They Sink the U.S. Navy in a War?

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 06:30

Key Point: Though the new Iranian boats may remain far from the cutting edge of submarine design, they could still prove dangerous adversaries in the confined and shallow waters of the Persian Gulf.

Climate Activists Don’t Know How to Talk to Christians

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 04:56

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photo GettyThis story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 220 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.  Religious Christians are the key to America taking action on global warming. And yet, the way climate activists frame the issue often alienates the very people they most need to persuade. First, the math. Seventy percent of Americans say they want the government to take action to combat global warming. But the Republican Party has, in the last two decades, gone from accommodating a wide range of perspectives on climate change to marching lock-step to the energy industry’s climate denial tune.Most Republicans, however, don’t work for the energy industry. Over half of Republican voters identify as conservative Christians—either evangelicals, Catholics, or others. These voters may be right-wing on social issues, right-wing on immigration, and right-wing on ‘big government.’ But they’re not necessarily right-wing on allowing the Earth’s climate to be radically disrupted—and if they move, the Republican Party will have to move too.But according to two new studies conducted by the Yale Program for Climate Communication and published in the journal Science Communication, most religious Christians understand global warming in very different terms from others.The first study “found that ‘protect God’s creation’ is one of the most important motivations that Christians report for wanting to mitigate global warming.” Resonant messages included “God made humans responsible for taking care of His creation”; “We can use nature for our benefit, but it is not OK to destroy God’s garden that He entrusted to us”; and the language of “stewardship” over the Earth.And the second study found that framing the issue of global warming in moral and religious terms was crucial for Christians to care about it, because it suggested that “people like themselves” care about the issue.“People derive values, a sense of self, and social norms from the groups to which they belong,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program and a co-author of the two studies. “Messages that resonate with group identities may be especially effective in influencing people’s attitudes.”In other words, we think the way our group thinks. If we believe that no one in our group cares about a certain issue, we’re less likely to care about it. If we believe that our core values have nothing to do with a certain issue, we’re less likely to care about it.Unfortunately, when one turns to how the issue is framed in public, these messaging frames are conspicuously absent.For example, the introduction to next week’s U.N. Climate Action Summit reads, in part:> Global emissions are reaching record levels and show no sign of peaking. The last four years were the four hottest on record, and winter temperatures in the Arctic have risen by 3°C since 1990. Sea levels are rising, coral reefs are dying, and we are starting to see the life-threatening impact of climate change on health, through air pollution, heatwaves and risks to food security.> > The impacts of climate change are being felt everywhere and are having very real consequences on people’s lives. Climate change is disrupting national economies, costing us dearly today and even more tomorrow. But there is a growing recognition that affordable, scalable solutions are available now that will enable us all to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies.If you’re like me—highly educated, privileged, urban-dwelling, and liberal—that language is probably pretty effective. But according to the new Yale studies, it will probably ring hollow for the constituency that’s most central to changing the United States’ current intransigence on climate science and climate action.Indeed, the U.N. language doesn’t even include the “most important reason to reduce global warming” chosen by both Christians and non-Christians in the Yale studies, namely: “Provide a better life for our children and grandchildren.” Instead, it provides a bunch of ecological verbiage about coral reefs and food security.Nor, of course, is the problem confined to the United Nations.The Environmental Defense Fund—one of the more centrist and mainstream of American environmental organizations—likewise only mentions the environmental impacts of global warming on its page “why fighting change is so urgent”: “extreme weather events… chunks of ice in the Antarctic have broken apart… wildfire seasons are months longer… coral reefs have been bleached of their colors… mosquitoes are expanding their territory, able to spread disease.” And yet it doesn’t provide the primary reasons given by people in general (leaving a better world for our children) or Christians in particular (protecting God’s creation). Of course, these omissions make sense in some ways. First, obviously, plenty of atheists, Jews, Muslims, and people of other religious backgrounds care about climate change. Especially anyone with kids or grandkids.But it’s also unlikely that the people writing copy for climate change websites are religious Christians themselves, and are using language that “preaches to the choir,” which in this case means other secular environmentalists. But if no one speaks in terms that Christians, especially conservative Christians, care about, then climate activists are only going to be talking to themselves.Which is exactly what’s happened. Levels of understanding and concern about climate change have more or less plateaued in the last few years. On the political level, nothing is happening. Thirty-four percent of Americans still do not “believe” that global warming is being caused by humans, and only 44 percent of Americans say they “worry a great deal” about it. Another recent Yale study found that voters rank it just 17th among issues of concern.Given the extreme likelihood of an unprecedented refugee crisis brought on by rising seas and changing crop patterns, mass extinctions, and global food shortages, all of those numbers are shocking. According to the World Health Organization, 250,000 people will die each year from 2030-2050 because of increased rates of malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and heat stress. Climate denial, meanwhile, is now a billion-dollar industry, with energy-funded think tanks, pseudoscience, lobbying, and media campaigns. The energy industry is using the most persuasive, most effective methods to persuade people about global warming. Why isn’t the environmental movement?Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

Scores of tigers rescued from infamous Thai temple have died: media

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 04:47

More than half of the tigers that Thai authorities confiscated in 2016 from an infamous Tiger Temple tourist attraction have died from a viral disease because their immune systems were weakened by inbreeding, media reported. The Buddhist temple west of Bangkok was a tourist destination where visitors took selfies with tigers and bottle-fed cubs until authorities removed its nearly 150 tigers in 2016 in response to global pressure over wildlife trafficking.

UAW-represented janitors at some GM plants go on strike; impact on auto production unclear

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 01:14

The United Auto Workers had told GM that autoworkers would report for their shifts Sunday even though the union's contract expired at midnight.

Is Texas, long a Republican stronghold, really in play for the Democrats in 2020?

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 01:00

The state has long eluded Democrats, but significant gains in the 2018 midterms and a series of GOP congressional retirements have raised hopes for changeSupporters of Julián Castro gather near the site of the Democratic presidential primary debates on 12 September 2019 in Houston, Texas. Photograph: Eric Gay/APAt a party after the Democratic presidential debate in Houston on Thursday, Texas Democrats reveled in their state’s new status as a “battleground”.There was little effort to conceal their pride in native sons Julián Castro and Beto O’Rourke, who are competing alongside top contenders Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination.Animated post-debate analysis unfolded in Spanish, English and Spanglish, their conversations strained over the pulse of Selena’s Baila Esta Cumbia and Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello singing Señorita. There were women in cowboy boots and men in bolo ties. As if there was any doubt, posters papered the walls: “We’re Texas Democrats, y’all.”The Lone Star State has long eluded Democrats. But significant gains in the 2018 midterms and a series of Republican congressional retirements – a phenomenon Democrats have gleefully branded a “Texodus” – have raised hopes that 2020 will be a year of sweeping political change.“In my 35 years or 40 years of working for the Democratic party, this has never happened in the state of Texas,” Gilberto Hinojosa, chair of the state party, boomed over the music. “Texas is now the biggest battleground state in the country.”> Beto O’ Rourke lost by 200,000 votes. There were 3.5 million voters last year, Latinos, who did not vote> > Tom PerezIt was John Steinbeck who said: “Texas is a state of mind. Texas is an obsession. Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word.” More recently, New Yorker writer and Austin resident Lawrence Wright, author of God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State, wrote: “Texans see themselves as a distillation of the best qualities of America: friendly, confident, hardworking, patriotic, neurosis-free.”Though Texas as a Republican stronghold is fixed in the popular imagination, significant demographic and cultural shifts – a growing Hispanic population and an influx of newcomers to the cities – are loosening the GOP’s grip. Given the importance of the state in the election of president, accounting for 38 electoral votes and 7% of the electoral college in 2016, this has huge national significance.Suddenly, everyone from House speaker Nancy Pelosi to Republican senator Ted Cruz believes Texas is up for grabs. It was O’Rourke’s spirited Senate run last year, against Cruz, that led many here to believe that the political sands may be shifting.“Texas is going to be hotly contested in 2020,” Cruz said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast last week. He was confident that Trump would win, but said the result “will be closer than last time”.Tom Perez, the Democratic National Committee chair, said his organization chose Houston for the third debate because the state is “in play up and down the ballot”. He said there are millions of Latinos eligible to vote in Texas but who sat out in 2018 and could make a difference in 2020.“Beto O’ Rourke lost by 200,000 votes,” he said at a “Cafecito con Politics” event in Houston on Friday. “There were 3.5 million voters last year – Latinos – who did not vote and could have voted.”Texas has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1976. Donald Trump continued the streak in 2016, but by a far slimmer margin than past nominees.Democrats believe Trump’s unpopularity with suburban women and Hispanic voters could accelerate the political upheaval. ‘1,000 new Texans a day’Texas is often portrayed in popular culture as emblematic of the frontier spirt, populated by God-fearing, gun-loving, rock-ribbed conservatives. The reality is more nuanced. As Wright pointed out, “Texans are hardly monolithic. The state is as politically divided as the rest of the nation. One can drive across it and be in two different states at the same time: FM Texas and AM Texas. FM Texas is the silky voice of city dwellers, the kingdom of National Public Radio. It is progressive, reasonable, secular – almost like California. AM Texas speaks to the suburbs and the rural areas: Trumpland.”Since 2010, 3.5 million new residents have moved to the state. Jobs and affordable housing continue to lure young, college-educated workers to Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio, said Lila Valencia, a senior demographer at the Texas Demographic Center.These newcomers, many of them diverse and liberal, are reshaping the political landscape in once-reliably conservative suburban districts. In recent weeks, five Texas Republicans have announced their retirement from Congress, including three who won in 2018 by less than 5%.Among them is Will Hurd, the only black Republican in the House, who beat Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones by less than 1% in 2018. Jones is running again. If she wins, and barring any incumbent losses, the entire 2,000-mile US-Mexico border will be represented by Democrats.After flipping two districts in 2018, Democrats are targeting half a dozen Republican seats in 2020. For their part, Republicans will aim to win back both seats next year. > We have magic in the air right now, so much excitement from all communities but especially the Latino community> > Lina Hidalgo“We have magic in the air right now, so much excitement from all communities but especially the Latino community,” Lina Hidalgo, a 28-year-old Colombian immigrant who beat an incumbent Republican for judge in Harris county, said at an event in Houston. During a later panel, Latina ​organizers and activists ​warned that politicians ​cannot sweep into their communities, “say a few words in Spanish” and expect their vote. The outreach must be sincere - and nuanced. As several speakers stressed, the Hispanic electorate in Texas is not a monolith and immigration is not their only priority.“Every cycle ​[pundits] will start to say ‘Latinos are not going to turn out,’” said Michelle Tremillo, the executive director of the Texas Organizing Project. “It’s infuriating because we know that​ if they have a reason to turn out, they will turn out.”Yet demographic changes​ ​– or anger at Trump – will not transform Texas politics, saids Monica Gomez, the political director of Annie’s List, a progressive group dedicated to electing Democratic women in Texas. She said Democrats must invest heavily in voter registration and mobilization efforts to turn out these new, eligible voters. “We’re going to turn out more Texans than ever in 2020,” she said. “We gain 1,000 new Texans a day. By 2022 there will be more people who are Hispanic than white in the state, so we are really seeing trends that are younger and more diverse.”Despite growing political clout in Texas and around the country, many Hispanic voters say Trump’s nativist, anti-immigrant rhetoric makes them feel unsafe.In August, a mass shooting in El Paso left 22 people, many of them Latino, dead. The deadliest attack on Latinos in modern US history, it forced a conversation on immigration, guns and white nationalism. In a Univision Poll released last week, 71% of Texas Latinos said they believed the gunman was a “racist who was influenced by anti-immigrant and anti-Mexican statements made by President Trump”. ‘Keep Texas red’Ahead of the debate, the Texas Democratic party launched an initiative to register 2.6 million new voters, with an emphasis on Hispanics and people under 35. In contrast, Republicans increasingly rely on white, rural voters. The state GOP has duly launched its own effort to “keep Texas red”.In Houston on Thursday, a plane flew above \ the debate venue trailing a banner that read: “Socialism will kill Houston’s economy! Vote Trump 2020!”Amid all the Democratic optimism, some observers say it should be remembered that it has been 25 years since Texas last elected a Democrat to statewide office. And though the state’s electoral votes are a tempting prize, some warn that chasing them will be a waste of time. The party, such critics believe, should focus on winning back traditionally Democratic states in the rust belt, such as Wisconsin and Michigan.In the state itself, Democrats believe the party should absolutely mess with Texas.“Republicans in Texas want us to believe that there was some kind of ‘Beto miracle’ in 2018, that it was a one-time thing and that Democrats are never going to get that close again,” said Tara Pohlmeyer of the liberal advocacy group Progress Texas.“But from everything we’re seeing on the ground it’s clear his campaign was not an outlier. It was just the beginning.”

Saddam Hussein Thought He Knew How to Sink U.S. Battleships

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 00:00

Could it have worked?

Your History Book Lies: Imperial Japan Was Crushed at Pearl Harbor

Sat, 09/14/2019 - 23:42

A major strategic blunder.

Decks collapse during firefighter event; at least 22 injured

Sat, 09/14/2019 - 22:16

A home's multilevel deck collapsed Saturday evening at the Jersey Shore during an event weekend, trapping people and injuring at least 22, including some children, officials said. It was unclear how many people were on or under the decks at the time, or how many were firefighters, but authorities said those who were trapped were quickly removed. The annual convention attracts thousands of current and former firefighters to the resort town.

UK PM claims huge progress in Brexit talks

Sat, 09/14/2019 - 20:35

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Saturday he was making a "huge amount of progress" towards a Brexit deal with the EU, in an interview in which he compared Britain to the Incredible Hulk. "It's going to take a lot of work between now and October 17" when EU leaders gather for their final summit before Britain's scheduled exit from the bloc, he told the Mail on Sunday newspaper. In an odd analogy, Johnson compared Britain to the comic book character Hulk.