An emergency landing went horribly wrong Sunday night as a plane crashed in San Antonio, Texas, the US, leaving three dead, CNN reported.
Hong Kong office workers begin week of lunchtime protests
Hundreds of office workers in Hong Kong’s business district gathered on Monday for the first in a week of lunchtime protests backing the pro-democracy movement after its resounding victory in district polls last month in the Chinese-ruled city.
A day earlier police again fired tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters as they marched past the city’s Kowloon waterfront, after first going to the US Consulate on Hong Kong island to show gratitude for Washington’s support, Reuters reported.
China summoned US Ambassador Terry Branstad to demand that the United States stop interfering with their internal affairs after US President Donald Trump signed two bills in support of protesters, heraldsun.com reported.
There was no such confrontation at the two-hour rally in the central business district on Monday, as some people went back to their offices after their demonstration of solidarity. Others said they would be striking for the full five days.
The gathering in Chater Garden probably drew Hong Kong’s best-dressed protesters, and organizers have called on them to come out every day this week.
Protests over the last six months have drawn a wide swathe of Hong Kong society – from students to pensioners. Even white-collar professionals, like those in Chater park, have sometimes blocked roads in recent weeks, leading to face-offs with police.
Monday’s rally appeared aimed specifically at bringing in more workers from advertising agencies to help build publicity.
Fred, a 24-year-old advertising professional, said he and his colleagues had helped create promotional materials in their own time for the so-called “yellow economy”, the businesses seen as supporting the pro-democracy movement.
Many pro-democracy protesters have adopted the color yellow and yellow balloons have been seen at rallies.
“From the advertising perspective, we can help promote the brands that speak out for Hong Kong,” said Fred.
Another protester in the park said his advertising agency had closed for the week in solidarity, and hoped other agencies would do likewise.
“We are trying to come out and be the first industry to come out and stop working for five days,” said 28-year-old Ryan.
“We are just stopping work for companies. But the advertising talent will keep advertising for the movement, designing posters and leaflets.”
During Sunday’s protest police fired tear gas to disperse thousands of anti-government protesters, some of whom chanted “revolution of our time” and “liberate Hong Kong”. That followed a period of relative calm after Nov. 24 district elections delivered an overwhelming victory to pro-democracy candidates.
Police on Sunday used tear gas after protesters threw bricks and glass bottles, and ignored warnings, Kwok Ka-chuen, a senior police official, told a news conference.
Fifty-eight people were arrested over the weekend, bring the total number of arrests since early June to 5,947, police said.
The protest in the busy shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui followed a “Thanksgiving” march by hundreds to the US Consulate.
The protesters’ demands include an end to Beijing’s alleged meddling in the freedoms promised to the former British colony when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997, universal suffrage and an inquiry into police use of force.
The unrest since June has at times forced the closure of government offices, businesses, schools and the international airport, helping drive the city into recession for the first time in a decade in the third quarter.
Trump will not participate in impeachment hearing, White House says
The White House said US President Donald Trump and his lawyers will not attend an impeachment hearing on Wednesday, citing a lack of “fairness.”
The hearing by the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee marks the next stage of the probe, with legal experts giving testimony that could lead to a vote of impeachment, BBC reported.
It is alleged the president pressured Ukraine to conduct two investigations for his own political gain.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
After weeks of closed-door witness interviews and public hearings, the process will now focus on possible charges of misconduct, which could lead to an impeachment vote in the House and trial in the Republican-led Senate.
The Democratic-led inquiry centers on a phone call in July between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Trump has dismissed the process as a “witch hunt.”
Last Wednesday, Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, invited Trump to attend this week’s hearing, “directly or through a counsel,” saying it would be an opportunity to discuss the historical and constitutional basis for impeachment.
But in a letter to the committee, White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, accused the committee of a “complete lack of due process and fundamental fairness,” saying the invitation would fail to give the White House adequate time to prepare and did not give information about the witnesses.
Reports suggested witnesses were “apparently all academics” and would include “no fact witnesses,” Cipollone said. A fact witness testifies their personal knowledge of events while an expert witness assists the judge by offering an opinion.
Cipollone also said the committee had called three witnesses but allowed Republicans to call just one, and lambasted Nadler’s claim that the process was “consistent” with historical impeachment inquiries, arguing that President Bill Clinton had a fairer hearing in 1998.
In order for Trump to be represented in further hearings, the president’s counsel said, Nadler would need to ensure “that due process rights are protected” and that the process was “fair and just.”
He did not say whether Trump would attend a second hearing, which does not yet have a date, but added that a response would be given by Friday.
Senior Palestinian figure blames US for Israeli settlement expansion
A senior Palestinian figure slammed a newly-announced Israeli settlement plan in the West Bank city of Al-Khalil (Hebron) as being a result of Washington’s recent decision to recognize Israeli settlements in the occupied territory.
“Israel’s decision to build a new illegal settlement in occupied Hebron is the first tangible result of the US decision to legitimize colonization,” said Palestine Liberation Organization Secretary-General Saeb Erekat in a tweet on Sunday, Press TV wrote.
“This cannot be taken out of the context [of] annexation,” he said, adding that “Concrete measures, including sanctions against settlements are an international responsibility.”
The remarks came hours after Israel announced a controversial plan to construct a new settlement in the heart of the West Bank city.
The planned project will “double” the number of Israeli settlers in the city, Tel Aviv said.
Despite being home to about 200,000 Palestinians, significant parts of the city’s center are already occupied by about 800 Israeli settlers.
The settlers are guarded by hundreds of Israeli soldiers.
Erekat’s Sunday remarks highlighted that the Israeli announcement came after Washington effectively granted Israel a green light to proceed with plans to further occupy the West Bank.
Israeli settlement expansion was “not per se inconsistent with international law,” said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the announcement that drew widespread international condemnation last month.
The policy shift effectively reversed Washington’s four-decade position regarding the illegal status of Israeli settlements.
Currently, more than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Al-Quds.
The Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and have been condemned almost unanimously by the international community.
France slams US for forcing own weapons on NATO allies
France’s defense chief blasted the US for trying to force its NATO allies into purchasing American arms and equipment above anything else, days after President Emmanuel Macron held Washington to blame for the Western military bloc’s “brain death.”
In remarks to French weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche published on Sunday, Florence Parly renewed her criticism of US attempts to force the Lockheed-Martin F-35 fighter jet — the most advanced and expensive aircraft in America’s arsenal — on its NATO partners, Press TV reported.
The defense minister said the NATO charter includes Article 5 — which obliges member states to defend each other — rather than “Article F-35,” under which members would be required to buy US military products.
A number of US partners in NATO, including Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom are already in possession of F-35s, while Washington is considering selling the fighter jets to Greece, Romania, Spain, and Poland.
Turkey was, however, kicked out of NATO’s F-35 joint strike fighter program after it resisted US pressure and bought S-400 missile defense systems from Washington’s rival, Russia.
The French minister further criticized the Europeans for relying too much on US-led NATO, saying the military bloc cannot guarantee the sovereignty of the European states.
“Today, Europe does not yet have the military tools to live up to what it is as an economic and political power. NATO will never be the tool of our sovereignty. It is up to the Europeans to build their own sovereignty. It will not happen in a snap of fingers,” she told the newspaper.
Parly said that NATO allies should not choose between NATO and Europe, but the two must rather complement each other.
The minister had in March slammed Washington for pressing NATO members to “buy American.”
Her new criticism followed Macron’s sharp rebuke of what he views as the US’s waning commitment to NATO.
Macron said there were clear signs that the US under President Donald Trump was “turning its back on us” and that NATO was suffering “brain death.”
The president had earlier called for a new “strategic relationship” with Russia.
Macron had also called for a “real European army,” saying Europe had to defend itself in a “more sovereign way” and without depending “only on the United States.”