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Pompeo declares Hong Kong ‘no longer autonomous’ from China |NationalTribune.com

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has notified the US Congress that the Trump administration no longer regards Hong Kong as autonomous from mainland China. Wednesday’s notification to lawmakers sets the stage for the US to withdraw preferential trade and financial status that the former British colony has enjoyed since it reverted to Chinese…

Pompeo declares Hong Kong ‘no longer autonomous’ from China |NationalTribune.com

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has notified the US Congress that the Trump administration no longer regards Hong Kong as autonomous from mainland China.
Wednesday’s notification to lawmakers sets the stage for the US to withdraw preferential trade and financial status that the former British colony has enjoyed since it reverted to Chinese rule in 1997.
“Hong Kong does not continue to warrant treatment under United States laws in the same manner as US laws were applied to Hong Kong before July 1997,” Pompeo said in a statement.
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Pompeo’s certification to Congress was not accompanied by a revocation of any specific privileges. But it comes at amid calls for the US and others to react against Beijing’s move to impose Chinese national security laws over the territory.
China’s parliament is expected to approve a proposed security law that would reduce Hong Kong’s separate legal status on Thursday. The legislation is aimed at tackling secession, subversion and “terrorist” activities in the city
“Beijing’s disastrous decision is only the latest in a series of actions that fundamentally undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms and China’s own promises to the Hong Kong people,” Pompeo said on Wednesday. He said “no reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China, given facts on the ground.”
Relations between the US and China have worsened over US allegations that Chinese authorities sought to cover up the coronavirus pandemic and pressured the World Health Organization from taking early action to combat it. That has added to long-standing tensions over trade, human rights, religious freedom and the status of Taiwan.
On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump said the US was working on a strong response to China’s planned national security legislation for Hong Kong and it would be announced before the end of the week.
At a White House news briefing, Trump was asked if he planned sanctions against China over Hong Kong and if he intended to put restrictions on visas for students and researchers from China.
“We’re doing something now. I think you’ll find it very interesting … I’ll be talking about it over the next couple of days,” he replied.
Pressed about whether this would include sanctions, he said: “No, it’s something you’re going to be hearing about … before the end of the week, very powerfully I think.”
Trump did not elaborate.

A large group of detainees are seen sitting on the ground as police has set up a police cordon around the area in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong during a protest against a controversial Chinese anthem law and the proposed security law [Miguel Candela/EPA]  

China responded to Trump’s comments with a warning it would retaliate against any new measures.
“We will not accept any foreign interference, and to the wrong actions of outside powers in interfering in Hong Kong, we will take necessary countermeasures to hit back,” foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular briefing.
“The issue … is purely China’s internal affair.”
Chinese authorities and the Beijing-backed government in Hong Kong say there is no threat to the city’s high degree of autonomy and the new security law would be tightly focused.
The proposed law, unveiled in Beijing last week, triggered the first major street unrest in Hong Kong in months on Sunday, with police firing tear gas and water cannon.
Earlier on Wednesday, Hong Kong police fired pepper pellets to disperse protesters as hundreds of people gathered in the centre of the financial hub to oppose a controversial bill on China’s national anthem and the proposed national security law.
‘Big mistake’
Pompeo’s certification to Congress on Wednesday was required by the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support last year. The law requires the US to impose sanctions against officials held responsible human rights abuses in Hong Kong as well as determine whether the city continues to warrant special status.
Trump’s economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, has called Beijing’s latest actions “very disturbing”.
“China is making a big mistake, frankly,” he said.
Kudlow said Washington would welcome back any US companies from Hong Kong or China’s mainland. “We will do what we can for full expensing and pay the cost of moving if they return their supply chains and their production to the United States,” he said.
Trump administration officials and lawmakers have been exploring ways to encourage US firms to move supply chains for critical products back to the US from China amid steadily worsening ties and bitter recriminations over the coronavirus pandemic, which began in China.
Proposals discussed include tax breaks, subsidies including a potential $25bn “reshoring fund” and new local content rules.
The US Chamber of Commerce business lobby urged Beijing to de-escalate the situation, saying it would be “a serious mistake” to jeopardise Hong Kong’s special status.
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DOJ declares New York, Portland and Seattle ‘anarchist jurisdictions,’ moves to cut federal funding

The Justice Department on Monday declared New York, Portland and Seattle “anarchist jurisdictions,” the first step toward revoking federal funding from those cities. President Trump earlier this month ordered federal agencies to look for ways to cut off federal funding in Democratic-led cities besieged by violence this summer. The Justice Department’s move escalates the criticism…

DOJ declares New York, Portland and Seattle ‘anarchist jurisdictions,’ moves to cut federal funding

The Justice Department on Monday declared New York, Portland and Seattle “anarchist jurisdictions,” the first step toward revoking federal funding from those cities.

President Trump earlier this month ordered federal agencies to look for ways to cut off federal funding in Democratic-led cities besieged by violence this summer. The Justice Department’s move escalates the criticism Mr. Trump has been leveling at Democrat leaders, blaming them for the rising crime and violence.

The list of cities is expected to be updated periodically, the Justice Department said.

Much of the crime and looting plaguing the cities has been on the rise since Memorial Day when George Floyd, a Black man, died while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police.

In a statement, Attorney General William P. Barr said the three cities identified Monday “have permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities.”

“When state and local leaders impede their own law enforcement officers and agencies from doing their jobs, it endangers innocent citizens who deserve to be protected, including those who are trying to peacefully assemble and protest,” Mr. Barr said.

“We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance. It is my hope that the cities identified by the Department of Justice today will reverse course and become serious about performing the basic function of government and start protecting their own citizens,” he said.

New York Attorney General Letita James said she was readying legal action, calling the designation an attempt by Mr. Trump to “scare the country’ into reelecting him.

“The president should be prepared to defend this illegal order in court, which hypocritically lays out the groundwork to defund New York and the very types of law enforcement President Trump pretends to care about,” she said. “We have beat the president and the illegal actions of his DOJ in court before and have no doubt we will beat them again.”

The Justice Department did not detail which federal funds would be cut from the cities. White House Budget Director Russell Vought is expected to issue guidance to federal agencies about withdrawing funds within the coming weeks.

Mr. Barr said a city can be named an “anarchist jurisdiction” if it forbids police from restoring order amid widespread violence; it has withdrawn law enforcement protection from a geographic area or prevented law enforcement from accessing a certain area; if it has defunded or removed power from the police; or refuses to accept assistance of federal law enforcement.

A city can also be added to the list under any other related factors deemed appropriate by the attorney general, he continued.

Representatives of the cities named by Mr. Barr did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Washington Times.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, earlier this month threatened to sue the Trump administration if it followed through with the funding cuts.

“I believe the president is fundamentally a bully, which I’ve said too many times, and I’ve known him very well for a very long period of time. It doesn’t work in New York because you can’t bully New Yorkers,” he said at the time. We just don’t get bullied. We don’t respond well to it, and I want to talk about facts.”

Mr. Cuomo said he is concerned about the rising crime in New York, but the issue is a local one, not a federal matter.

New York made the list because shootings were up 177 percent between July 2019 and July 2020, the Justice Department said. Amid the rising violence, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council agreed to cut $1 billion from the city’s police budget.

Portland was included because of its more than 100 consecutive nights of violence and protests since the Floyd death. Mayor Ted Wheeler has explicitly rejected federal help as the violence increases.

A skirmish between Trump supporters and Antifa activists last month led to the death of Aaron Danielson. A supporter for the right-wing Patriot Payer Group, Danielson was allegedly murdered by Michael Reinoehl, an Antifa activist killed by authorities days later.

The Portland City Council voted in June to slash its police department budget by at least $15 million.

Seattle, meanwhile, was listed because of its “autonomous zone,” a police-free six-block area in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, the Justice Department said.

Seattle voted in August to cut its police budget by roughly $3 million.

Law enforcement was barred from entering the territory where prison-related crime increased by 525 percent in June from the same period last year, according to the Justice Department.

The Justice Department offers funding to support local law enforcement and public safety activities to assist victims of crime, provide technical assistance and training to local police and conduct research.

The two main Justice Department grant agencies are the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and the Office of Justice Programs, which are dedicated to bolstering local law enforcement resources.

It is not clear how much funding from those programs goes to the cities on Mr. Barr’s hit list or if other Justice Department funding programs, such as the Office on Violence Against Women, which doles out funds to combat domestic violence, could be impacted.

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Mauritius declares emergency over oil spill from grounded ship |NationalTribune.com

Anxious residents of the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius have stuffed fabric sacks with sugar cane leaves to create makeshift oil spill barriers as tonnes of fuel leaking from a grounded ship put endangered wildlife in further peril. The government on Saturday declared an environmental emergency as satellite images showed a dark slick spreading…

Mauritius declares emergency over oil spill from grounded ship |NationalTribune.com

Anxious residents of the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius have stuffed fabric sacks with sugar cane leaves to create makeshift oil spill barriers as tonnes of fuel leaking from a grounded ship put endangered wildlife in further peril.
The government on Saturday declared an environmental emergency as satellite images showed a dark slick spreading in the turquoise waters near wetlands that the government called “very sensitive”.
Wildlife workers and volunteers ferried dozens of baby tortoises and rare plants from an island near the spill, Ile aux Aigrettes, to the mainland as fears grew that worsening weather on Sunday could tear the Japanese-owned ship apart along its cracked hull.
Residents and environmentalists alike wondered why authorities did not act more quickly after the ship, the MV Wakashio, struck the reef on the southeast coast of the Indian Ocean island on July 25.
Mauritius says the ship was carrying nearly 4,000 tonnes of fuel.

Could a green recovery create jobs and reduce extreme poverty? | Counting the Cost

“That’s the big question,” Jean Hugues Gardenne of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation told The Associated Press news agency. “Why that ship has been sitting for long on that coral reef and nothing being done.”
This is the country’s first oil spill, he said, adding that perhaps no one expected the ship to break apart. For days, residents peered out at the precariously tilted ship as a salvage team arrived and began to work, but ocean waves kept battering the carrier.
“They just hit and hit and hit,” Gardenne said.
Cracks in the hull were detected a few days ago and the salvage team was quickly evacuated. Some 400 sea booms were deployed to contain the spill, but they were not enough.
Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth says the spill “represents a danger” for the country of 1.3 million people that relies heavily on tourism and has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our country doesn’t have the skills and expertise to refloat stranded ships,” he said on Friday. “I worry what could happen on Sunday when the weather deteriorates.”
France to send help
French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Saturday his country was sending help from the neighbouring island of Reunion, a French overseas territory.
A military aircraft from Reunion carrying pollution-control equipment would make two flights over the spill site, while a naval vessel carrying booms and absorbents would also set sail, authorities in Reunion said.
“When biodiversity is in danger, there is an urgent need to act,” Macron said. “You can count on our support.”

Greenpeace said the fuel and oil leak into nearby lagoons threatened the survival of thousands of species which were at “risk of drowning in a sea of pollution”.
The spill near Pointe d’Esny was likely “one of the most terrible ecological crises ever seen on the small island country,” the environmental group said in a statement.
“Thousands of species around the pristine lagoons of Blue Bay, Pointe d’Esny and Mahebourg are at risk of drowning in a sea of pollution, with dire consequences for Mauritius’s economy, food security and health,” said Greenpeace’s climate and energy manager, Happy Khambule.
The country also has appealed to the United Nations for urgent aid, including experts in containing oil spills and environmental protection.
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Bowman declares victory over Rep. Eliot Engel in New York primary

Far-left Democrats hardened their grip on New York City politics in the primaries this week, while President Trump’s influence in the Republican Party was called into question after his preferred pick was blown out in a race for a vacant U.S. House seat in North Carolina. The wave of liberal activism that rose up against…

Bowman declares victory over Rep. Eliot Engel in New York primary

Far-left Democrats hardened their grip on New York City politics in the primaries this week, while President Trump’s influence in the Republican Party was called into question after his preferred pick was blown out in a race for a vacant U.S. House seat in North Carolina.

The wave of liberal activism that rose up against Mr. Trump when he took office has intensified since the killing of George Floyd and fueled a changing of the guard in New York’s 16th Congressional District.

That was where Jamaal Bowman declared victory Wednesday over Rep. Eliot Engel, who was first elected to Congress in 1988.

“I cannot wait to get to Washington and cause problems for the people maintaining the status quo,” said Mr. Bowman, a 44-year-old former school superintendent.

“I’m a Black man who was raised by a single mother in a housing project. That story doesn’t usually end in Congress,” he said. “But today, that 11-year-old boy who was beaten by police is about to be your next representative.

He claimed the win as tallies showed him with a significant double-digit lead over Mr. Engel, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Four months out from the general election, the results from Tuesday’s primaries, some of which were still unknown, provided a snapshot of the national political landscape that, at least for a night, suggested that the November election will be a clash between an emboldened left wing and a weakened president.

“I think nationally he is in a perilous enough position right now that I definitely would see these as potential warning signs for Trump,” said John Miles Coleman, of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.

In the North Carolina Republican primaries, Lynda Bennett, Mr. Trump’s hand-picked successor to Rep. Mark Meadows, who resigned to become White House chief of staff, was soundly defeated by 24-year-old Madison Cawthorn in the 11th Congressional District.

It marked the second contest of the primary cycle where Mr. Trump landed on the losing side.

Republican insiders dismissed the idea that the result was a black eye for Mr. Trump and said they expect Mr. Cawthorn to align himself with the president.

Mr. Cawthorn, who is paralyzed from the waist down as a result of a car crash, said Mr. Trump called to congratulate him.

“He was talking about how amazing a victory it was,” Mr. Cawthorn said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “He defined it as beautiful.”

Though the final results in New York will not be known until election officials count absentee ballots, liberals were expected to win open seats in the 15th and 17th congressional districts.

Meanwhile, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, New York Democrat and chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, was locked in a tough reelection battle against Suraj Patel, who also ran against her in 2018.

The results were clear in the 14th Congressional District, where far-left ringleader Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez crushed her primary rivals.

It all but guaranteed her a second term in the House and cleared the way for her to consider launching a primary challenge against Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer in 2022.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez shocked the political world in 2018 when she defeated Rep. Joseph Crowley, a top-ranking Democrat in the House.

“Wall Street CEOs, from Goldman Sachs to Blackstone, poured in millions to defeat our grassroots campaign tonight,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said in a post on Twitter. “But their money couldn’t buy a movement.”

The races reinforced New York City’s reputation as a hotbed of liberal activism that is demanding Democratic Party leaders move to the left and embrace sweeping systemic change in health care, policing and other areas.

“I do think if I was a longtime incumbent I would be on edge right now,” Mr. Coleman said.

Mr. Bowman’s race, meanwhile, became the most high-profile intraparty battle between the liberal and centrist forces.

He had the support of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, as well as Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Mr. Engel had the backing of Mr. Schumer, as well as other party establishment figures including Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Hillary Clinton, the party’s 2016 presidential nominee.

Mr. Engel led the House Foreign Affairs Committee for seven years and has long been known for his pro-Israel positions. He also played an influential role in the House impeachment inquiry of President Trump.

He launched repeated oversight efforts of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the department’s foreign policy practices. Most recently, he investigated the circumstances surrounding the firing of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick.

Mr. Bowman, meanwhile, made foreign policy an issue against his challenger.

“You voted against President Obama’s Iran [nuclear] deal. You said on CNN just this past June that you didn’t want to tie Trump’s hands when it came to strikes on Iran,” Mr. Bowman tweeted to the incumbent in January, urging him to support a bill to cut funding for military action against Iran.

“You’ve belatedly come around after being pushed by our communities and the grassroots.”

Despite sharing similar views of a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and ending U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, Mr. Bowman, who has touted himself as liberal on foreign policy, targeted Mr. Engel’s 2015 vote against the Iran nuclear deal and his history of accepting donations from weapons manufacturers.

“He supports a hawkish and costly foreign policy agenda instead of focusing on the communities in our district that have been neglected for far too long,” Mr. Bowman said.

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