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Chinese army warns Hong Kong protesters



The head of China’s military garrison in Hong Kong has reportedly condemned anti-government protesters and warned that violence will not be tolerated.

In his earlier comments on the demonstrations that have rocked the city since June, Chen Daoxiang told a reception in Hong Kong late Wednesday that there had recently been “a series of extremely violent incidents,” according to the South China Morning Post.

The reception was to mark the 70th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

“This has damaged the prosperity and stability of the city, and challenged the rule of law and social order,” Mr Chen was quoted as saying.

“The incidents have seriously threatened the life and safety of Hong Kong citizens.

“This should not be tolerated and we express our strong condemnation.”

Mass protests began in Hong Kong, a former British colony which is now a semi-autonomous part of China, on June 9 against a legislative bill that would have allowed for criminal extradition to mainland China.

In recent weeks they have spiralled into a greater protest against Hong Kong’s government as well as police brutality.

According to the South China Morning Post, the garrison also released a three-minute video on Wednesday showing troops taking part in anti-riot drills.

The video shows several montages of soldiers and military vehicles moving through the empty streets and hills of what appears to be Hong Kong and firing machine guns at unseen targets.

In one scene, a soldier shouts, “All consequences are at your own risk,” while in later scenes soldiers can be seen escorting handcuffed civilians.

The video was released amid concerns about the increased military presence on the border.

The Post reported that 190,000 police officers had gathered in Guangdong Province, which borders Hong Kong, for drills ahead of the PLA anniversary.

While it is not uncommon for the PLA to carry out exercises near the border, the increased numbers raised some alarm outside the city due to recent unrest and Beijing’s limited tolerance for political dissent.

White House National Security Advisor John Bolton told FOX News that he had “heard rumours from friends in the region” that the PLA was amassing forces.

Mr Bolton said he was concerned that Hong Kong could descend into a similar scenario seen in 1989 at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, in which democracy protests ended with a military crackdown believed to have killed hundreds or thousands, depending on estimates.

“I would just say, I hope that people who remember what happened after Tiananmen Square in June 1989 take that into account,” he said.


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Foreign News

63 killed in Afghanistan wedding explosion



At least 63 people were killed after a bomb exploded at a wedding party in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Saturday evening.

The explosion occurred in a Shiite neighbourhood as people gathered to celebrate a wedding in the Dubai City wedding hall. The victims included women and children, an official said.

The Associated Press quoted a witness, Gul Mohammad, as saying the blast occurred near the stage where musicians were and “all the youths, children and all the people who were there were killed.”

The Shiites are a minority in Afghanistan and have been repeatedly targeted by the Taliban and other Sunni armed groups in the country.

The Taliban, which has carried out attacks in several parts of Afghanistan, however, denied responsibility for Saturday’s incident and condemned it.

The Taliban governed Afghanistan before a U.S.-led attack following a September 11, 2001, terrorist attack in the U.S. The group is currently negotiating with the Americans for a withdrawal of the latter’s forces from Afghanistan. The U.S. wants a commitment from the Taliban to stop further attacks and to negotiate a peace and governance deal with the U.S.-backed Afghanistan government.

Afghanistan President, Ashraf Ghani, who condemned the attack, however, said the Taliban cannot “absolve themselves of blame, for they provide platform for terrorists”.

Ghani shared his view on his official Twitter handle, @ashrafghani

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Foreign News

Five U.S. states sue Trump over new immigration policy



Five Attorney-Generals of U.S. states and city have filed a lawsuit against a new immigration policy by President Donald Trump administration to deny possible permanent residency to immigrants who receive some federal benefits.

California is leading the coalition, and its Attorney General (AG), Xavier Becerra, was joined by his counterparts from the states of Maine, Oregon, and Pennsylvania, as well as the District of Columbia, to challenge Trump’s policy to restrict immigrants’ access to legal status if they use food or medical benefits offered by the federal government

The new policy, also known as the “Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Public Charge Rule,” is targeting working immigrants and their families by creating unnecessary new barriers to lawful admission to the U.S., Becerra said in the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

“The Rule discourages hardworking eligible immigrants and their families from accessing critical health, nutrition, and housing programs that supplement their modest wages and help them make ends meet,” he said.

He asserted the “cruel policy” would force working parents and families across the nation to forgo those basic necessities out of fear, which is “simply unacceptable”.

“The Rule will disproportionately block admission of non-white, non-European immigrants from Asia, Latin America, and Africa,” and create more obstacles for them in the path to U.S. citizenship, Mr Becerra added.

California Governor Gavin Newsom also slammed the move by the Trump administration as demonizing immigrants and creating fear in immigrant families, “which is cruel and threatens our public health”.

“We’re standing up to the Trump administration in court to protect our economy, our families, and our most sacred values,” he said.

According to Becerra’s office, California is home to more than 10 million immigrants and half of all children in the state have at least one immigrant parent.

Two California counties joined an earlier lawsuit filed this week by 13 states, including the Washington state, to challenge Trump’s public charge rule set to take effect in October.


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Foreign News

23 sustain injuries as Russian passenger plane makes emergency landing



Russian passenger plane , Thursday carrying 233 people made an emergency landing in a corn field on the outskirts of Moscow after striking a flock of birds shortly after take-off.

The Ministry of Health, following the unfortunate development said 23 people had suffered injuries, but that nobody had been killed when the Ural Airlines Airbus 321 came down in a field southeast of Moscow after striking a flock of gulls, disrupting its engines.

State television said the maneuver was being dubbed the “miracle over Ramensk”, a reference to the district of Moscow region where the plane came down more than 1 km (0.62 miles) from Zhukovsky International Airport.

The Interfax news agency cited a source as saying one person had suffered serious injuries.

The Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid lauded pilot Damir Yusupov as a “hero,” saying he had saved 233 lives, “having masterfully landed a plane without its landing gear with a failing engine right in a corn field.”

Some drew comparisons with US Airways Flight 1549 which performed a landing on the Hudson River in 2009 after striking a flock of geese.

The engines were turned off when it made the emergency landing and it also had its landing gear up, said Elena Mikheyeva, a spokeswoman for Russia’s civil aviation authority.

An unnamed passenger interviewed by state television said the plane had started to shake violently shortly after take-off.

“Five seconds later, the lights on the right side of the plane started flashing and there was a smell of burning. Then we landed and everyone ran away,” he said.

The plane was due to fly to Simferopol in Crimea, the peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.

Safety concerns have plagued Russia’s airline industry since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, though standards are widely recognized to have sharply risen on international routes in particular in recent years.


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