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Hong Kong readies for more protests as Trump and others seek peaceful resolution

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong braced on Thursday for more mass demonstrations through the weekend, with the weeks-long crisis escalating after pro-democracy protests forced the cancellation of nearly 1,000 flights this week and world leaders urging calm. Police patrol the departure hall of the airport in Hong Kong after previous night’s clashes with protesters,…

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Hong Kong readies for more protests as Trump and others seek peaceful resolution

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong braced on Thursday for more mass demonstrations through the weekend, with the weeks-long crisis escalating after pro-democracy protests forced the cancellation of nearly 1,000 flights this week and world leaders urging calm. Police patrol the departure hall of the airport in Hong Kong after previous night’s clashes with protesters, China August 14, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas PeterChina reiterated on Wednesday that Hong Kong’s protest resembled terrorism and more street clashes followed ugly and chaotic scenes at the airport two days ago, when protesters set upon two men they suspected of being government sympathizers. Police and protesters faced off again on the streets of the financial hub overnight, with riot officers quickly firing tear gas as their response to demonstrators hardens. Ten weeks of increasingly violent confrontations between police and protesters have plunged Hong Kong into its worst crisis since it reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997. The protests represent one of the biggest populist challenges for Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012 and show no immediate signs of abating. U.S. President Donald Trump tied a trade agreement with China to the protests being resolved “humanely”, even suggesting that he was willing to meet Xi to discuss the crisis. “I have ZERO doubt that if President Xi (Jinping) wants to quickly and humanely solve the Hong Kong problem, he can do it. Personal meeting?” Trump said on Twitter. The U.S. State Department said earlier it was deeply concerned about reports that Chinese police forces were gathering near the border with Hong Kong and urged the city’s government to respect freedom of speech. It also issued a travel advisory urging citizens to exercise caution when visiting Hong Kong. China has frequently warned against what it regards as outside interference in an internal issue. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called on Hong Kong authorities on Wednesday to renew talks with protesters to find a peaceful solution, while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged China to handle the protests with tact. The Australian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong also urged all parties to engage in constructive talks to restore the city’s standing as an international business hub. RECESSION FEARS Hong Kong’s Airport Authority said normal flight operations would resume on Thursday but heightened security would remain at the city’s international airport. It said on Wednesday an application for protests to be held in the terminal must be made in advance with a “Letter of No Objection” from police. Protesters have expressed remorse after a peaceful sit-in turned violent at one of the world’s busiest airports earlier this week. It was not yet clear whether the violent clashes had eroded the broad support the movement has so far attracted in Hong Kong. The protests have also hit the city’s faltering economy. Research firm Capital Economics said the protests could push Hong Kong into a recession, with a growing risk of “an even worse outcome if a further escalation triggers capital flight”. Hong Kong’s property market would be hit hard, it said. Business and citizens groups posted full-page advertisements in major newspapers to support the government and denounce the violence. The Chinese Securities Association of Hong Kong said the city’s reputation would be seriously damaged if the violence and unrest were not stopped as soon as possible. The head of Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment (0027.HK), Lui Che-woo, urged talks to rebuild a harmonious Hong Kong. The protests have affected the neighboring Chinese territory of Macau, with some visitors avoiding the world’s biggest gambling hub amid transport disruptions and safety concerns. Several protests were planned across different districts of Hong Kong from Thursday, including a teachers rally, and one organized by animal lovers upset that their pets were being tear-gassed. The Civil Human Rights Front, which organized million-strong marches in June, set another protest for Sunday. Protesters were expected to gather at a government building in the popular Wan Chai bar district later on Thursday. They are still pushing for authorities to listen to their five requests, which include the complete withdrawal of a now-suspended extradition bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be sent for trial in mainland Chinese courts. The protests grew out of opposition to the extradition bill into wider concerns about the erosion of freedoms guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” formula put in place after the return to Chinese rule in 1997. Their other demands include a halt to descriptions of the protests as “rioting”, the dropping of charges against those arrested, an independent inquiry, and the resumption of political reform. Additional reporting by Donny Kwok and Twinnie Siu in Hong Kong, David Brunnstrom and Jonathan Landay in WASHINGTON, Mathieu Rosemain in PARIS, and David Ljunggren in OTTAWA; Writing by Farah Master; Editing by Paul Tait
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Analysis: Mitch McConnell is going to win (again)

(CNN)We won’t even know who President Donald Trump’s pick to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court will be until late this week, but we know now for (almost) certain that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has the votes to confirm the pick to the court.The last 72 hours have made…

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Analysis: Mitch McConnell is going to win (again)

(CNN)We won’t even know who President Donald Trump’s pick to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court will be until late this week, but we know now for (almost) certain that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has the votes to confirm the pick to the court.The last 72 hours have made that much clear. On Tuesday morning, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney announced that he supports a vote on Trump’s nominee. “I intend to follow the Constitution and precedent in considering the President’s nominee,” he said in a statement. “If the nominee reaches the Senate floor, I intend to vote based upon their qualifications.”Romney’s decision comes two days after retiring Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander announced that he supported a vote on Trump’s eventual nominee before the election, eliminating perhaps the single most likely GOPer to join Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine in opposition to confirming a Supreme Court justice this close to a presidential election. Then, on Monday, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who is an underdog for a second term this November, said that he too backed a vote before the election. As did Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa who had, in the past, expressed significant reservations about trying to confirm a justice in the waning days of an election.And with those critical dominoes, any experienced vote-counter can see the writing on the wall: This nomination is going to go through — and McConnell is going to win.Here’s why. McConnell can afford to lose three Republican senators and still have the 50 votes he needs to end debate on the eventual nominee (aka invoke cloture) and confirm the person to the court. (The change in filibuster rules, which was begun by then-Senate Majority Harry Reid in 2013 for appeals court judges, opened this Pandora’s box.)Murkowski and Collins are two. McConnell actually could have afforded to lose Romney’s vote and still get the nominee through. Now that he has Romney in the fold, McConnell has even more wiggle room — although he’s not likely to need it.Yes, it’s never over until it’s over. And yes, there is a group of senators who haven’t announced their positions on the confirmation vote — most notably retiring Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts. Roberts, like Alexander, is a seen as part of the Republican old guard and someone who might worry about the precedent being set by trying to push a nominee through so close to an election. And without a reelection race ever again to worry about, Roberts can act on his conscience.But with Romney and Alexander now backing McConnell, it’s extremely hard to believe that Roberts would come out in opposition to the vote — knowing that it wouldn’t change anything. A Roberts “no” on the eventual nominee still would leave McConnell with 50 “yes” votes — and the nominee would be confirmed. Why charge at that windmill if you are Roberts, a lifelong conservative with little interest in making news at the end of his career?Like him or hate him, you have to hand it to McConnell. He has, again, proven that he commands the almost total loyalty of his GOP conference. As McConnell did with the contentious Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, who was confirmed by a 50-48 vote, he has demonstrated that when the pressure is on, he is able to line up votes like very few leaders before him.Barring some sort of major development to derail the process — if, say, Trump went off script and picked someone seen as far too extreme — McConnell is going to have played the critical role in confirming three Supreme Court justices over the last four years and fundamentally altering the ideological makeup of the court for decades to come. And that’s not even considering the hundreds — literally — of federal judges below the Supreme Court level that Trump has nominated and McConnell has confirmed through the Senate.”You know what Mitch’s biggest thing is in the whole world? His judges,” Trump told Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward in December 2019. “He will absolutely ask me, please let’s get the judge approved instead of 10 ambassadors.”And now, with the near-certain confirmation of fully one third of the court over the last four years, McConnell’s legacy is complete. He will go down as one of the most consequential Senate leaders in modern history, overseeing a massive ideological overhaul of the judiciary branch from the bottom all the way to the top. And there’s not a damn thing Democrats can do about it.
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Amy Coney Barrett has emerged as Trump’s favorite

(CNN)Judge Amy Coney Barrett has emerged as President Donald Trump’s overwhelming favorite to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, according to several people familiar with the deliberations, who say the President’s view was solidified during a lengthy meeting at the White House on Monday.Trump has not finalized his decision, and with days…

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Amy Coney Barrett has emerged as Trump’s favorite

(CNN)Judge Amy Coney Barrett has emerged as President Donald Trump’s overwhelming favorite to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, according to several people familiar with the deliberations, who say the President’s view was solidified during a lengthy meeting at the White House on Monday.Trump has not finalized his decision, and with days to go until he announces his pick on Saturday, his thinking could change. But for now, Barrett — currently sitting on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago — is his clear front-runner and is viewed inside the White House as the likely nominee.The President announced Tuesday morning that he will announce the pick Saturday at the White House. Officials said Trump seemed very enthusiastic about Barrett after their meeting, which lasted for several hours. He told people afterward he believes Barrett will be very well received by “his people,” one official said. While no one close to the process would go so far as to say Barrett is the pick, Trump is giving people the impression he is completely sold on her.A source familiar with Trump’s private conversations told CNN that one of his confidants on this issue told him that this pick is so important to not only his legacy but his re-election bid that she will effectively “be your new running mate.” Judge Barbara Lagoa remains on the list but multiple people familiar with the matter told CNN that Trump is fading on the idea of picking her. While Trump was initially enthused at the prospect of nominating a Cuban-American from Florida, a critical electoral battleground, Lagoa hasn’t been previously vetted for the Supreme Court and some advisers suggested it would be a heavy lift to clear a new name quickly. The White House may still schedule a meeting with Lagoa, but two sources said her chances have dimmed significantly since the weekend.On Monday, Trump initially said he was considering five names for the high court vacancy before adding he was really focused only on “one or two” names. Others on the list — including federal appeals court judges Joan Larsen and Allison Jones Rushing, and deputy White House counsel Kate Todd — are not considered serious contenders, particularly after it was learned inside the White House that Larsen volunteered for Joe Biden’s 1987 presidential campaign.Trump has said the end-of-week timing for the pick was meant to show respect for Ginsburg, who will lie in repose at the Supreme Court on Wednesday and Thursday before a private interment at Arlington National Cemetery next week.But the President is also keen on extending the dramatics of his selection, likening it to his version of a running mate selection during an election year, according to one adviser.Trump plans to make his announcement during a prominent prime time address, as he did for Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh earlier in his term, according to the adviser.In the past, the President has reveled in the drama of the moment — including orchestrating an attempt to convince the media he had selected Thomas Hardiman instead of Gorsuch in 2018 by having Hardiman leave his house and drive toward Washington.This time, Trump has been clearer about who is on his list and how many names he is taking seriously.He praised Lagoa during an interview on Fox News, but even some of her supporters — of which there are many, including in Florida Republican circles and among Trump’s political advisers — acknowledge that Barrett is now the leading contender.Trump said Monday he may meet with Lagoa when he visits Miami at the end of the week. But those plans have yet to be solidified.And while Cuban-Americans are an important part of Trump’s re-election coalition, Lagoa presents a problem for some conservatives focused on the courts: her ties to the Bush family, which one source said is viewed skeptically by some court-focused Republicans because of President George H.W. Bush’s appointment of Supreme Court Justice David Souter, who was expected to be a conservative but came to vote with the liberal wing.Another factor weighing on Trump’s decision, at least in some capacity, is Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, who has said his support for a Supreme Court justice is contingent on whether the nominee believes Roe v Wade is “wrongly decided.”Hawley said on Monday that Barrett “meets that standard.” But he said he is less certain with the abortion views espoused by Lagoa and it’s something he is still reviewing.”I don’t know the answer to that,” Hawley said.Hawley said he spoke with the White House about his views over the weekend.Now that GOP Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah has signaled that he is on board with moving ahead with a vote ahead of the election it all but ensures any nominee put forward will be confirmed barring any potential missteps by the nominee during the confirmation process.CNN’s Dana Bash and Kristen Holmes contributed to this report.
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CDC reverts previous guidance on airborne Covid-19 spread – CNN Video

The CDC on Monday abruptly reverted to its previous guidance about how coronavirus is transmitted, removing language about airborne transmission it had posted just days earlier. CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen tells us more.

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CDC reverts previous guidance on airborne Covid-19 spread – CNN Video

The CDC on Monday abruptly reverted to its previous guidance about how coronavirus is transmitted, removing language about airborne transmission it had posted just days earlier. CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen tells us more.
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