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Kamis, 31 Oktober 2019

'My heart is broken': Fire nearly destroys historic Japanese castle built 500 years ago - USA TODAY

TOKYO — A fire broke out early Thursday and spread quickly through historic Shuri Castle on Japan's southern island of Okinawa, nearly destroying the UNESCO World Heritage site.

Firefighters battled the blaze for about 12 hours before bringing it under control in the afternoon.

The fire in Naha, the prefectural capital of Okinawa, started from the castle's main structure and quickly jumped to other buildings. Three large halls and four other structures burned down, a fire official said.

No one was injured. The cause was not immediately known.

An annual weeklong castle festival that began Sunday was to run for a week but the remaining events were canceled.

Video on NHK public television showed parts of the castle engulfed in orange flames, then turning into a charred skeleton and collapsing to the ground. Many residents watched from a hillside road and quietly took photos to capture what was left of the castle before it was largely lost. Some people were crying.

Tragedy: Fire on moving train kills 71 passengers in central Pakistan

"I feel as if we have lost our symbol," said Naha Mayor Mikiko Shiroma, who led an emergency response team. "I'm shocked."

Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki cut short a trip to South Korea to return to Naha. "My heart is broken," he said. "But I also feel strongly that we must reconstruct Shuri Castle, a symbol of the Ryukyu Kingdom filled with our history and culture."

The castle is a symbol of Okinawa's cultural heritage from the time of the Ryukyu Kingdom that spanned about 450 years from 1429 until 1879, when the island was annexed by Japan.

It is also a symbol of Okinawa's struggle and efforts to recover from World War II. The castle, built 500 years ago, first burned down in 1945 during the Battle of Okinawa near the war's end, in which about 200,000 lives were lost on the island, many of them civilians.

California wildfires: Easy Fire burns 1,650 acres; fire crews reach 45% containment at Kincade Fire

The castle was largely restored in 1992 as a national park and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000 as part of a group of ancient ruins, castles and sacred sites that "provide mute testimony to the rare survival of an ancient form of religion into the modern age."

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that the central government will do its utmost to reconstruct the castle.

The government dispatched officials from the Agency for Cultural Affairs and other government organizations to join efforts to investigate the cause of the fire and study ways to protect other historical sites from disasters, Suga said.

Kurayoshi Takara, a historian at the University of the Ryukyus who helped reconstruct Shuri Castle, said he was speechless when he saw the fire. He told NHK that the castle reconstruction was a symbolic event for Okinawans to restore their history and Ryukyu heritage lost during the war.

"I still can't accept this as a reality," Takara said. "It has taken more than 30 years and it was a monument to the wisdom and efforts of many people. Shuri Castle is not just about the buildings, but it reconstructed all the details, even including equipment inside."

UNESCO Director General Audrey Azouley expressed her sympathy. "Deep emotion and sincere solidarity with the Japanese people as we see the tragic fire at the beautiful #shuricastle," she wrote on her Twitter account. "This is a loss for all humanity."

Okinawa was under U.S. occupation until 1972, two decades after the rest of Japan regained full independence.

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https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/10/31/japans-shuri-castle-unesco-world-heritage-site-destroyed-in-fire/4107324002/

2019-10-31 11:57:00Z
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Hong Kong's first recession in a decade could be even worse than feared - CNN

Hong Kong plunged into recession in the third quarter, according to official data released Thursday. The economy shrank 3.2% during the three months to September, compared to the previous quarter. That's a sharp slowdown from the 0.5% contraction recorded in the second quarter, and much worse than economists had expected.
With no immediate resolution to the city's political crisis on the cards, Hong Kong's first recession in a decade could extend into the new year. Compared to the previous year, the economy shrank 2.9% in the third quarter.
"Frankly, there is no room for optimism," embattled Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said at a business event on Thursday, ahead of the preliminary growth figures. Hong Kong will release revised GDP figures next month.
As a major trading hub, Hong Kong was already hurting from the US-China trade war and China's slowing growth. Five months of mass demonstrations is now pushing the city toward an economic crisis.
As violence and vandalism escalate in Hong Kong, some protest supporters have had enough
A government spokesperson said Thursday that Hong Kong's economic growth had been on an upward trend since last year amid a slowing global economy and US-China trade tensions, but "the situation showed an abrupt deterioration recently due to the severe impacts of the local social incidents."
"Much of the pressure is now coming from the political unrest. The trade war itself would cause Hong Kong's GDP growth to slow but not a contraction, while the political unrest could," said Tommy Wu, a Hong Kong-based economist with Oxford Economics.
Economists are now predicting that for the whole year, Hong Kong will miss its earlier target of between 0% and 1% growth, and the pain could continue into next year.
Hong Kong's GDP "is quite likely to fall into negative growth in 2019 and also 2020 [...] I can't see how the protests could end," said Iris Pang, economist for Greater China at ING.
Wu expects Hong Kong's economy to contract 0.1% in 2019 and "only to grow at a meager 0.6% in 2020."
"The downside risk to the forecast is significant. If the political unrest prolongs beyond this year, I would expect next year's GDP to contract as well," he said.
Mass demonstrations have decimated the city's tourism industry. Visitor numbers plunged 37% year on year for the third quarter.
Hotels are on average only two-thirds full, a drop of 28% compared to the same period a year earlier. InterContinental Hotels Group said in an earnings report earlier this month that revenue per room in Greater China fell 36% last quarter, citing "ongoing unrest in Hong Kong." The company operates several luxury hotels located in areas frequently targeted by protesters.
HSBC and other big banks call for a peaceful end to Hong Kong's protests
Retail figures are also taking a beating as several shops have been forced to close early or shut down for a full day several times over the last few months.
Some protesters have targeted shops, restaurants and banks viewed as unsympathetic to their cause, smashing in windows, vandalizing storefronts with graffiti and even setting fire to some properties.
Last week, the city's Financial Secretary Paul Chan announced a new round of economic measures to support businesses affected by the ongoing unrest, including slashing rents in half at properties leased by the Hong Kong government, providing fuel subsidies for taxi drivers and fee subsidies for local ferries. Those plans follow on earlier initiatives, including the allocation of 2 billion Hong Kong dollars ($255 million) to support small companies and a 19 billion Hong Kong dollar ($2.4 billion) stimulus package to help safeguard jobs and provide relief to "people's financial burden."
Hong Kong's political crisis isn't a deal breaker for investors right now
Despite the troubled Hong Kong economy, the city's financial markets are largely holding up. The Hang Seng Index (HSI) is still up 4% for the year, and the political crisis hasn't been a deal breaker for investors yet, many of whom still see the city as an important gateway to Asia.
The IPO market is also proving resilient: In September Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) listed its Asia business on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKXCF) raising $5 billion in the second biggest IPO of the year after Uber (UBER).
That deal pushed the amount of funding raised on the Hong Kong exchange to the third highest in the world this year after the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq, according to Deloitte.

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https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/31/business/hong-kong-economy/index.html

2019-10-31 11:10:00Z
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North Korea fired 2 unidentified projectiles, South Korea says - CNN

It is unclear what exactly was launched, but South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the military "is maintaining its readiness by monitoring relevant movements in preparation for further launches."
Japan's Coast Guard said in a statement "it appears that North Korea has launched a missile" and advised ships to avoid the area.
If confirmed as a missile test, it would be the first by Pyongyang in nearly a month and the 12th since May. The country said it tested a new type of submarine-launched ballistic missile on October 2. Experts voiced concern over that event because it was the first missile test by North Korea in some time that didn't involve a shorter-range weapon.
The US and North Korea held working-level nuclear talks a few days later, but those concluded without an agreement. Both sides offered a very different picture of events -- Pyongyang accusing Washington of lacking flexibility, but the State Department said the US "brought creative ideas and had good discussion with its DPRK counterparts," using the formal acronym for North Korea.
Despite their differences, US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have continued to speak positively of their personal relationship.
Kim was quoted last week as saying his relationship with Trump is "special" and the two leaders maintain "trust in each other."
However, Pyongyang has been particularly critical of Trump's advisers and the diplomats around him. And the clock on striking an agreement may be ticking.
Kim said in an important policy speech in April that he would give the Trump administration until the end of the year to change its negotiating strategy. Since then, North Korea resumed test-firing missiles and has reiterated in state media that Pyongyang is giving the US until the end of the year to solve the issue. It's unclear how serious that deadline is.
This week also marked the first time Kim has communicated with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in weeks.
Kim sent a letter to Moon to offer condolences to the South Korean leader after his father died, according to Moon's office.
The letter was delivered Wednesday and handed over at Panmunjom, the joint security area in the demilitarized zone that divides North and South Korea.

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https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/31/asia/north-korea-projectile-intl-hnk/index.html

2019-10-31 10:00:00Z
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70 dead after gas cylinder explosion sparks fire on Pakistan train - CNN

The train was passing through the Punjab city of Rahim Yar Khan on Thursday morning when the cylinder exploded, causing a fire which spread through the train, according to local police officer Amir Taimoor.
Seventy people are dead and another 30 are injured, said Nadeem Zia, the medical supervisor of District Headquarters Hospital in Liaquatpur, a city in Rahim Yar Khan district.
Earlier, Taimoor said that around a dozen people are critically injured. Army troops, paramedics, and an army aviation helicopter are currently on site.
Although gas cylinders are banned on trains, passengers were using gas-powered cookers to prepare breakfast inside the train carriage when the explosion occurred, Taimoor added.
He added that many of the people on board the train were heading to a protest in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, about 800 kilometers (500 miles) from Rahim Yar Khan.
The train was running on the Tezgam line, a daily service that goes from the coastal city of Karachi to the northern city of Rawalpindi.

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https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/31/asia/train-blast-pakistan-intl-hnk/index.html

2019-10-31 10:06:00Z
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US releases footage, provides more detail on al-Baghdadi raid - Al Jazeera English

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSvNyZEidC0

2019-10-31 05:13:00Z
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70 dead after gas cylinder explosion sparks fire on Pakistan train - CNN

The train was passing through the Punjab city of Rahim Yar Khan on Thursday morning when the cylinder exploded, causing a fire which spread through the train, according to local police officer Amir Taimoor.
Seventy people are dead and another 30 are injured, said Nadeem Zia, the medical supervisor of District Headquarters Hospital in Liaquatpur, a city in Rahim Yar Khan district.
Earlier, Taimoor said that around a dozen people are critically injured. Army troops, paramedics, and an army aviation helicopter are currently on site.
Although gas cylinders are banned on trains, passengers were using gas-powered cookers to prepare breakfast inside the train carriage when the explosion occurred, Taimoor added.
He added that many of the people on board the train were heading to a protest in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, about 800 kilometers (500 miles) from Rahim Yar Khan.
The train was running on the Tezgam line, a daily service that goes from the coastal city of Karachi to the northern city of Rawalpindi.

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https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/31/asia/train-blast-pakistan-intl-hnk/index.html

2019-10-31 09:04:49Z
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Rabu, 30 Oktober 2019

Greta Thunberg turns down award, says climate movement doesn't need 'more prizes' - NBC News

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has inspired millions across the world to stage protests urging leaders to better tackle global warming, has declined an environmental prize, saying "the climate movement does not need any more prizes."

Two fellow climate activists spoke on Thunberg's behalf at an award ceremony Tuesday in Stockholm for the regional inter-parliamentary Nordic Council's prizes, reading a statement thanking the group for the honor. Thunberg, 16, is currently in California.

But Sofia and Isabella Axelsson quoted Thunberg as saying that "what we need is for our rulers and politicians to listen to the research."

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The Nordic Council hands out annual prizes for literature, youth literature, film, music and the environment, each worth 350,000 Danish kroner ($52,000).

It was not the first prize that the climate activist has won or been nominated for.

Three Norwegian lawmakers nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize this year because they believe "the massive movement Greta has set in motion is a very important peace contribution."

Last year, about three months into her school climate strike campaign, Thunberg declined another award — the Children's Climate Prize, which is awarded by a Swedish electricity company — because many of the finalists had to fly to Stockholm for the ceremony.

Thunberg notes that flights contribute to global warming, so she sailed across the Atlantic Ocean for two weeks on a zero-emissions sailboat to reach New York. There the Swede scolded a U.N. climate conference in September, repeatedly asking, "How dare you?"

"We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and yet all you can talk about is money. You are failing us," she said.

Weeks later, Thunberg won the 2019 Right Livelihood Award — known as the "Alternative Nobel" — "for inspiring and amplifying political demands for urgent climate action reflecting scientific facts."

In May 2019, she was featured on the cover of Time magazine, which named her a "next generation leader."

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https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/greta-thunberg-turns-down-award-says-climate-movement-doesn-t-n1073781

2019-10-30 10:53:00Z
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Body found after live-streamer falls climbing Japan's Mount Fuji - CNN

The video -- taken from the hiker's point of view -- shows what appears to be a scene near the top of Japan's iconic mountain, above the clouds. The ground is covered in heavy snow, and the man tells his viewers that it is slippery and dangerous along the route.
"Am I on the right track? So much of the route is covered with snow," he says as he climbs upward.
"I'm slipping," the man shouts, as he then appears to fall.
Trekkers swarm Mount Fuji on first day of season
Authorities were alerted to the incident after receiving calls from people watching the live stream of the climb up the mountain, Aiko Kishibata, a press officer with Shizuoka prefectural police, told CNN earlier Wednesday.
Rescue workers from Shizuoka and Yamanashi, the two prefectures that Mount Fuji straddles, have been searching for the climber since early Tuesday morning, she added.
Officials found a body Wednesday afternoon, and are working to identify it, said Masahiro Haruta, a spokesman for the Shizuoka Prefectural Police. The body was found at an altitude of around 3,000 meters (9,800 feet). Haruta said it was too early to say if the person who died was in fact the live-streamer.
A snow-covered Mount Fuji is seen behind Tokyo in this file photo from 2014.
Kishibata said earlier that the accident appeared to have taken place near the summit.
Mount Fuji has been closed for hiking since September, and local police advise people not to climb there because it is especially dangerous when covered in snow, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

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https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/30/asia/mount-fuji-live-stream-body-intl-hnk-scli/index.html

2019-10-30 12:43:49Z
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Body found after live-streamer falls climbing Japan's Mount Fuji - CNN

The video -- taken from the hiker's point of view -- shows what appears to be a scene near the top of the Japan's iconic mountain, above the clouds. The ground is covered in heavy snow, and the man tells his viewers that it is slippery and dangerous along the route.
"Am I on the right track? So much of the route is covered with snow," he says as he climbs upward.
"I'm slipping," the man shouts, as he then appears to fall.
Trekkers swarm Mount Fuji on first day of season
Authorities were alerted to the incident after receiving calls from people watching the live stream of the climb up the iconic mountain, Aiko Kishibata, a press officer with Shizuoka prefectural police, told CNN earlier Wednesday.
Rescue workers from Shizuoka and Yamanashi, the two prefectures that Mount Fuji straddles, have been searching for the climber since early Tuesday morning, she added.
Officials found a body Wednesday afternoon, and are working to identify it, said Masahiro Haruta, a spokesman for the Shizuoka Prefectural Police. The body was found at an altitude of around 3,000 meters (9,800 feet). Haruta said it was too early to say if the person who died was in fact the live-streamer.
A snow-covered Mount Fuji is seen behind Tokyo in this file photo from 2014.
Kishibata said earlier that the accident appeared to have taken place near the summit.
Mount Fuji has been closed for hiking since September, and local police advise people not to climb there because it is especially dangerous when covered in snow, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

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https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/30/asia/mount-fuji-live-stream-body-intl-hnk-scli/

2019-10-30 10:37:00Z
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Boris Johnson's first election PMQs | LIVE - The Sun

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TtULSCLmUw

2019-10-30 10:00:41Z
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PM Johnson gambles on a snap election to break Brexit deadlock - Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will hold its first December election in almost a century after Prime Minister Boris Johnson finally won parliamentary approval for a gamble on a snap ballot that he hopes will break the deadlock over Brexit.

Just two days before the third Brexit deadline of Oct. 31 will be missed despite Johnson’s “do or die” promise to deliver on the divorce on that date, his bid to hold an election before the end of this year was approved by 438 to 20 votes in the House of Commons.

The first Christmas-season election in Britain since 1923 will be hard to call.

Brexit has variously fatigued and enraged swathes of voters while eroding traditional loyalties to the two major parties, Johnson’s Conservatives and Labour.

“It’s time to unite the country and get Brexit done,” Johnson told a meeting of Conservative lawmakers late on Tuesday shortly after securing an election to cheers from a parliament he said had stopped him delivering Brexit.

Johnson, 55, hopes to win a majority to push through the last-minute Brexit deal he struck this month with the European Union while his main opponent, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, is pitching a radical socialist government and another EU referendum.

The election result will be announced on Friday Dec. 13. If no party wins conclusively, the future of Brexit will be thrown up in the air again with options ranging from a tumultuous no-deal exit to another referendum that could scupper the whole divorce.

Corbyn cast the election as a chance for real change. He frames Labour as a socialist alternative to the inequality and close relations with U.S. President Donald Trump that he says characterise Johnson’s premiership.

“A Labour government will be on your side, while Boris Johnson’s Conservatives – who think they’re born to rule – will only look after the privileged few,” Corbyn, 70, said.

He promised to nationalise rail, water and energy companies while taxing high earners to fund public services.

Conservative lawmaker Robert Halfon said that beside Brexit, domestic issues would play large.

Johnson told lawmakers he was going “to take the argument to Corbyn on One nation policies - spending on schools and hospitals and police... It wasn’t just about Brexit,” Halfon said.

When Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, bet on an early election in 2017, she lost her slender majority - a failure that ultimately prevented her from ratifying her Brexit deal in parliament and sank her political career.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain October 29, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Johnson’s Conservatives are ahead of Labour by an average of about 10 percentage points in polls this month, though pollsters underestimated the support for Brexit in 2016 and admit that the models they use are wilting beside the Brexit furnace.

Both major parties will have to fight on at least three fronts: against each other while the Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage seeks to poach Brexit voters and the Liberal Democrats seeks to win over opponents of Brexit.

“At last the deadlock in parliament is broken. Brexit now has a chance to succeed,” Farage said.

Additional reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; ; editing by John Stonestreet

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https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu/pm-johnson-gambles-on-a-snap-election-to-break-brexit-deadlock-idUSKBN1X90NX

2019-10-30 07:31:00Z
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Attacks and celebration as Lebanon PM resigns - BBC News

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri has announced his resignation after 13 days of protests over political corruption and economic turmoil.

His televised address came soon after violence broke out on the streets, when supporters of two Shia groups attacked protest camps and roadblocks in Beirut.

They set tents on fire and beat anti-government demonstrators. Some chanted in support of Nasrallah, the leader for Hezbollah - a powerful force in the coalition government - and the Shia political party Amal.

Riot police and troops responded with tear gas, and by the end of the day, anti-government protesters were back on the streets celebrating Mr Hariri's announcement.

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https://www.bbc.com/news/av/50228800/attacks-and-celebration-as-lebanon-pm-resigns

2019-10-30 07:25:55Z
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Attacks and triumph as Lebanon PM says he will quit - BBC News

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri has announced his resignation after 13 days of protests over political corruption and economic turmoil.

His televised address came soon after violence broke out on the streets, when supporters of two Shia groups attacked protest camps and roadblocks in Beirut.

They set tents on fire and beat anti-government demonstrators. Some chanted in support of Nasrallah, the leader for Hezbollah - a powerful force in the coalition government - and the Shia political party Amal.

Riot police and troops responded with tear gas, and by the end of the day, anti-government protesters were back on the streets celebrating Mr Hariri's announcement.

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https://www.bbc.com/news/av/50228800/attacks-and-celebration-as-lebanon-pm-says-he-will-quit

2019-10-30 05:55:15Z
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Selasa, 29 Oktober 2019

Lebanon's Hariri resigns after nearly two weeks of nationwide protests - CNN

The three-time prime minister has led a national unity government, which included some of his political adversaries, for less than two years. In recent months, the country saw rapid economic deterioration, ballooning debt and rising prices.
On October 17, the government proposed imposing a tax on Whatsapp calls, along with other austerity measures, sparking nationwide protests that paralyzed the country.
Lebanon has been under lock-down since the protests began. Banks and schools have been closed for 12 days, while protesters blocked major routes throughout the tiny eastern Mediterranean nation.
Lebanon 'days' away from economic collapse if no political solution to protests found, says central bank governor
"I can't hide this from you. I have reached a dead-end," Hariri said in his resignation speech.
"To all my political peers, our responsibility today is how to protect Lebanon and to uplift the economy," he added. "Today, there is a serious opportunity and we should not waste it."
Scores of protesters in downtown Beirut cheered as Hariri announced his departure. At their peak, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to protest government corruption on Sunday.
Over the last week, protests have dwindled in number, concentrating on road closures on the country's main routes as the economic crisis has deepened.

Chaos in downtown Beirut

Hariri's announcement came hours after chaos broke out in downtown Beirut when a mob stormed into the capital's main protest site, setting parts of it alight and tearing up tents on Tuesday afternoon.
Shouting "Shia, Shia" and singing chants in support of Hezbollah and Amal -- another Lebanese political party -- hundreds of men wielding sticks poured into the site, breaking up protest road closures and attacking demonstrators. Police fired dozens of rounds of tear gas to disperse the crowds.
Clashes in downtown Beirut on Tuesday
The military was deployed to the streets of downtown Beirut on Tuesday, and many anti-government protesters have cleared the site. Earlier, female protesters tried to form a human chain trying to separate the demonstrators from the mobs.
Hezbollah's media office could not be reached for comment.
Calls had grown in recent days for Hariri and his government to resign. The Prime Minister's cabinet includes his political adversaries, including Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese militant and political group.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah last week said the protests were part of an international conspiracy aimed at toppling the group.

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https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/29/middleeast/lebanon-saad-hariri-resigns-intl/index.html

2019-10-29 14:42:11Z
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Britain looks set for an early election in attempt to break Brexit deadlock - NBC News

LONDON — The United Kingdom looks to be heading for an early general election days before Christmas, the latest attempt to break the country's Brexit deadlock.

The House of Commons is set to vote Tuesday night on whether to hold an early ballot in mid-December — which would be the country's first general election in that month in almost 100 years.

Leading in the polls, Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants an early election but does not have enough parliamentary power to sign off on this alone.

Hours before the pivotal vote in Parliament, the opposition Labour Party said it would be supporting the bill, meaning it looks very likely to pass.

Oct. 28, 201902:46

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"We will now launch the most ambitious and radical campaign for real change our country has ever seen," Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told a meeting of senior lawmakers, according to a party statement.

Whether an election will be enough to break the paralysis, chaos and uncertainty that is gripping British politics remains to be seen. What's clear is the central campaign issue will be Brexit.

The prime minister says he wants to leave the E.U. as soon as possible and has negotiated his own divorce deal with European negotiators. However many people — including some within his own party — fear his plan is too hard-line.

He was forced to make a major concession this week after failing to pass his deal in Parliament. This meant he broke his promise to leave the E.U. by the deadline of Oct. 31, instead having to ask for an extension of three months.

Johnson's Conservative Party leads the polls by as much as 16 percentage points.

The Labour Party says it wants to negotiate its own deal and put this back to the people in a second referendum. Corbyn had previously resisted calls for an early election because he said it would allow Johnson to leave Europe without a deal — an extreme scenario that could trigger severe economic pain. The extension scenario means this "no deal" Brexit can't happen until next year at least.

Others such as the Liberal Democrats and Scottish Nationalist Party want to cancel Brexit altogether.

If the Conservatives or Labour were to secure a decisive enough victory, this would in theory give them the green light to push ahead with their agenda on Brexit and other issues. However, another possibility is that the election would return a Parliament just as deadlocked as this one.

If no party wins more than 50 percent of seats, this is known as a "hung Parliament." It's what happened in 2017 and 2010 and usually means parties have to form coalitions in order to govern.

British elections are usually held every five years and in the spring. If approved, this election would be the second inside three years, and the first held in December since 1923.

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https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/britain-looks-set-early-election-attempt-break-brexit-deadlock-n1073201

2019-10-29 12:28:00Z
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Britain looks set for an early election in attempt to break Brexit deadlock - NBC News

LONDON — The United Kingdom looks to be heading for an early general election days before Christmas, the latest attempt to break the country's Brexit deadlock.

The House of Commons is set to vote Tuesday night on whether to hold an early ballot in mid-December — which would be the country's first general election in that month in almost 100 years.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants an early election but does not have enough parliamentary power to sign off on this alone. Hours before the pivotal vote in Parliament, the the opposition Labour Party said it would be supporting the bill, meaning it looks very likely to pass.

Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.

Oct. 28, 201902:46

"We will now launch the most ambitious and radical campaign for real change our country has ever seen," Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told a meeting of senior lawmakers, according to a party statement.

Whether an election will be enough to break the paralysis, chaos and uncertainty that is gripping British politics remains to be seen. What's clear is the central campaign issue will be Brexit.

The prime minister says he wants to leave the E.U. as soon as possible and has negotiated his own divorce deal with European negotiators. However many lawmakers — including some within his own party — fear his plan is too hardline.

He was forced into a major concession this week after failing to pass his deal in Parliament by Oct. 31. He was forced to ask for an extension to the deadline, which has now been pushed back three months.

Johnson's Conservative Party leads the polls by as much as 16 percentage points.

The Labour Party says it wants to negotiate its own deal and put this back to the people in a second referendum. Others such as the Liberal Democrats and Scottish Nationalist Party want to cancel Brexit altogether.

British elections are usually held every five years and in the spring. If approved this election would be the second inside three years, and the first held in December since 1923.

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https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/britain-looks-set-early-election-attempt-break-brexit-deadlock-n1073201

2019-10-29 11:29:00Z
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Trump and Adam Schiff get in heated exchange over raid - AOL

President Donald Trump and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) exchanged some sharp words online Monday regarding the recent raid that resulted in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Trump poked fun at the California Democrat’s recent comments on the danger of not informing Congress of the U.S. military raid over the weekend. The president announced Sunday morning that Baghdadi died in northwestern Syria after troops chased him and three of his children into a dead-end tunnel, where the extremist leader detonated a suicide vest.

“Can you believe that Shifty Adam Schiff, the biggest leaker in D.C., and a corrupt politician, is upset that we didn’t inform him before we raided and killed the #1 terrorist in the WORLD!?” Trump tweeted Monday, adding that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Democrats impeached him over not informing Congress of the planned raid.

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UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 17: Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, arrives to the Capitol for his deposition as part of the House's impeachment inquiry on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Diplomat added significant ballast to the allegation Trump was trying to extort Ukraine into ginning up bad news about Biden. The impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump has heard some extraordinary testimony over the last month. From the first mention of Trump’s desired “deliverable” from Ukraine, successive layers of witnesses and documents have added to an indictment of the president’s conduct that only gets heavier, as Trump howls his defenses to the wind. On Tuesday, things got even worse for Trump – much worse, as many saw it. For almost 10 hours, William Taylor, a former military officer and career diplomat with the rank of ambassador under the last four presidents, spoke with congressional investigators about how the Trump administration has been conducting a two-track foreign policy in Ukraine, where Taylor is in charge of the US embassy. We don’t yet know most of what was said. The current public record of the closed-door testimony comprises only a copy of Taylor’s 15-page opening statement – and the spectacle of the ashen faces of members of Congress as they filed out from the hearing. “This testimony is a sea change,” congressman Stephen Lynch told reporters. In his testimony, Taylor explained his discovery of an “irregular, informal policy channel” by which the Trump administration was pursuing objectives in Ukraine “running contrary to the goals of longstanding US policy”. What the “informal channel” wanted – and briefly obtained, Taylor said – was for the Ukrainian president to agree to go on CNN to announce an investigation of Joe Biden, whom Trump sees, perhaps mistakenly, as a top 2020 threat. The Trump administration held up “much-needed military assistance” to Ukraine in an effort to extract the Ukrainian statement, Taylor said. “More Ukrainians would undoubtedly die without the US assistance,” he noted. In a process scrambled so far by misleading Trump tweets and relying in part on anonymous witnesses, the testimony of Taylor, a Vietnam veteran respected in both parties with 50 years of public service behind him, landed as a potential game-changer. It was just the kind of testimony that seemed to answer even the most stubborn demands of Trump loyalists such as Senator Lindsey Graham for additional, definitive proof that Trump was turning the broad power of his office to his own narrow devices. “If you could show me that, you know, Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing,” Graham said at the weekend. The senator denied in a Fox News appearance Tuesday that Taylor had delivered such evidence. But Taylor added significant ballast to the allegation that Trump was attempting to extort Ukraine into ginning up bad news about Biden. What Taylor added was a careful stitchwork of detail, describing who was working to extort the Ukrainians, how they were going about it, how their aims clashed with stated US policy, how the Ukrainians responded, and what people said to him about it at the time. Taylor made clear he has the memos and other records to back up his story. And he exposed the slapstick clumsiness of the Trump flunkies working the “informal channel” – notably Gordon Sondland, the hotelier and Trump mega-donor turned ambassador. “Ambassador Sondland tried to explain to me that President Trump is a businessman,” Taylor testified. “When a businessman is about to sign a check to someone who owes him something, he said, the businessman asks that person to pay up before signing the check.” But “the explanation made no sense”, Taylor argued. “The Ukrainians did not ‘owe’ President Trump anything, and holding up security assistance for domestic political gain was ‘crazy’.” Reaction to Taylor’s testimony generally fell between shock and dumbfoundedness. “I cannot overstate how damaging this Ambassador Taylor testimony is to Trump,” tweeted Neal Katyal, the former acting solicitor general. “Taylor’s statement is a completely devastating document,” wrote Susan Hennessey, the executive director of the Lawfare site. “I know they will find a way but it’s just impossible to imagine how Republicans in Congress will be able to defend this. It is well beyond what most assumed was the worst-case scenario.” The White House issued a statement Tuesday night impugning Taylor, a Trump appointee, as part of a cadre of “radical unelected bureaucrats waging war on the constitution”. But the taller the evidence against him, the smaller Trump’s protests seemed. Democratic senator Amy Klobuchar, a presidential candidate, challenged Republicans to take a stand. “After Diplomat Taylor’s testimony you can no longer question whether this happened,” she tweeted. “The question is if you choose to follow the law or be part of the cover-up.” Trump huddled Tuesday night with members of his legal team, the Wall Street Journal reported, and he urged congressional Republicans to do more to rebut the impeachment inquiry. But there were reportedly no talking points, and no one knew quite what they were supposed to say, or whom to take that direction from. Notably absent from the meeting of Trump’s advisors was Rudy Giuliani, whom Taylor describes as running the shadow operation in Ukraine. “The official foreign policy of the United States was undercut by the irregular efforts led by Mr Giuliani,” Taylor said. He described a seemingly free hand for Giuliani, whose foreign clients include or have included Ukraine-based antagonists of current and former US officials, to open and close diplomatic channels and to direct US policy as he pleased. One of the weightiest impacts of Taylor’s testimony might have to do with the senior US officials it names. Taylor took his concerns about Trump’s alleged attempt to extort Ukraine, he said, to both national security adviser John Bolton and to secretary of state Mike Pompeo. Bolton, who has since resigned, reacted with outrage and frustration. Pompeo, who is eyeing a US Senate bid in his home state of Kansas, apparently greeted Taylor’s warning with silence. “This is not the story of corruption in Ukraine,” tweeted the political strategist David Axelrod. “It’s the story of corruption at the highest levels of the US government. It’s the story of extortion, with US military aid to a besieged ally held hostage to the president’s personal political project.” Trump’s critics say the story is plain: that the president twisted the immense powers of his office to personal ends, in betrayal of constitution and country. When it comes time to prove it, Taylor’s testimony is likely to be front and center.

ARCHIVO - En esta foto de archivo del 30 de noviembre de 2018, la entonces embajadora de EEUU en Ucrania, Marie L. Yovanovitch, habla en Kiev. Yovanovich declara el viernes 11 de octubre de 2019 ante las comisiones del Congreso que investigan al presidente Donald Trump antes de posiblemente iniciarle juicio polĂ­tico. (AP Foto/Efrem Lukatsky)

WASHINGTON, DC - October 22: The acting Ambassador to Ukraine, William B. Taylor, Jr., departs after meeting with the House Intelligence committee for their impeachment inquiry, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Ambassador William Taylor is escorted by U.S. Capitol Police as he arrives to testify before House committees as part of the Democrats' impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Former White House advisor on Russia, Fiona Hill, center, leaves Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, after testifying before congressional lawmakers as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, center, 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 Applewhite)

FILE - In this March 6, 2019 file photo, then U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, center, sits during her meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev, Ukraine. (Mikhail Palinchak, Presidential Press Service Pool Photo via AP)

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about the House impeachment investigation during a formal signing ceremony for the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement at the White House in Washington, October 7, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Adam Schiff (D-CA), Chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence Committee speaks to the media before a closed-door meeting regarding the ongoing impeachment inquiry against US President Donald Trump at the US Capitol October 8, 2019 in Washington,DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben McAdams, of Utah, addresses the media at Midvale Senior Citizens Center Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, in Midvale, Utah. McAdams is changing his position to support the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. He said Friday he has not made a decision on whether the president should be impeached, but he supports investigating what he calls serious allegations. McAdams was previously one of a small handful of undecided House Democrats. He says he changed his mind because the Trump administration is unlikely to cooperate with an investigation unless it's conducted as an impeachment inquiry. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Staunch Trump ally Sen. Chuck Grassley pushes back against calls to out whistleblower

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., listens as Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., and other House Democrats discuss H.R. 1, the For the People Act, which passed in the House but is being held up in the Senate, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks to reporters after the Trump administration blocked U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland from giving testimony in the House of Representatives' impeachment investigation of Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., October 8, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 01: Tourists make photographs inside the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol on October 01, 2019 in Washington, DC. Under the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the House of Representatives has opened an impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump following revelation that a whistleblower filed a complaint that Trump was seeking damaging information about a political opponent from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 30 : President Donald J. Trump talks to reporters about the whistleblower after participating in a ceremonial Swearing-In of the Secretary of Labor Gene Scalia in the Oval Office at the White House on Monday, Sept 30, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

KIEV, UKRAINE - OCTOBER 01: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks to the media on October 1, 2019 in Kiev, Ukraine. Ukraine has been at the core of a political storm in U.S. politics since the release of a whistleblower's complaint suggesting U.S. President Donald Trump, at the expense of U.S. foreign policy, pressured Ukraine to investigate Trump's rival, Joe Biden, and Biden's son, Hunter. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on September 24, 2019 shows US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, on September 24, 2019 and US President Donald Trump in Washington, DC, September 20, 2019. - Amid mounting allegations of abuse of power by the US President, Pelosi announced the start of a formal impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives, the first step in a process that could ultimately lead to Trump's removal from office. (Photos by Mandel NGAN and SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN,SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., reads a statement announcing a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., steps away from a podium after reading a statement announcing a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

U.S. President Donald Trump reacts to audience applause after his address to the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

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Members of the White House press corps - holding in the Trump Bar at Trump Tower - watch U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) live on television as she announces an impeachment investigation of U.S. President Donald Trump in New York City, New York, U.S. September 24, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) walks through a House corridor following an Impeachment Proceeding announcement, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., September 24, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

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The mission ended the yearslong search for Baghdadi, but Schiff expressed concern over the fact that Trump never gave the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” group of top congressional leaders and ranking intelligence committee members — including Schiff, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) —a heads-up before the raid.

“I’m grateful to our armed forces and intelligence professionals who did such a brilliant job of eliminating this brutal terrorist from the battlefield, and focused on the continuing fight against ISIS,” Schiff responded in a tweet. “I would encourage you to do the same.”

On Sunday, Schiff told ABC’s “This Week” that while the raid was “a success,” it’s important to communicate developments with lawmakers in case plans run into any hurdles.

“Had this escalated, had something gone wrong, had we gotten into a firefight with the Russians, it’s to the administration’s advantage to be able to say, ‘We informed Congress,’” he said.

Pelosi echoed Schiff’s sentiments, stressing Sunday that U.S. “military and allies deserve strong, smart and strategic leadership from Washington.”

“The House must be briefed on this raid, which the Russians but not top Congressional leadership were notified of in advance, and on the Administration’s overall strategy in the region,” Pelosi said in a statement.

Trump later said Sunday that he only let “some” congressional leaders know of the planned raid because he wanted to keep it secret, saying “Washington leaks like I’ve never seen before.”

Trump is already at odds with Pelosi and Schiff as the two House members lead an impeachment inquiry into his conduct.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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https://www.aol.com/article/news/2019/10/29/trump-and-adam-schiff-get-in-heated-exchange-over-al-baghdadi-raid/23848731/

2019-10-29 10:29:48Z
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