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As impeachment looms, GOP revolts against Trump on Syria   

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A chief Trump loyalist in Congress called the move "unnerving to the core." An influential figure in conservative media condemned it as "a disaster." And Trump's former top NATO envoy said it was "a big mistake" that would threaten the lives of Kurdish fighters who had fought alongside American troops for years.

          

McConnell splits with Trump on Syria pullout   

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is opposing President Donald Trump's plan to pull U.S. troops from northern Syria, a rare policy split between the Senate's top Republican and Trump.

          

John Stuart Mill on the "atrocities" committed by Governor Eyre and his troops in putting down the Jamaica rebellion (1866)   

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John Stuart Mill on the “atrocities” committed by Governor Eyre and his troops in putting down the Jamaica rebellion (1866)


          

BRAŞOV. Generous sponsors, doubled gifts   

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The sixteenth edition of the charitable event “A hot meal for everyone” organized by  “Transylvania Express”, with the support of Brasov City Hall, the 2nd Brigade Mountain Troops “Sarmizegetusa”, the Association of Christian Holy Great Martyr George – Protector of the poor, attached to the 2nd Brigade VM military chapel, was a success. Although we  […]

Articolul BRAŞOV. Generous sponsors, doubled gifts publicat pe bepco.


          

U.S. Republicans join Democrats to blast Trump's Syria withdrawal   

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In a rare show of bipartisanship, the top lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate on Monday condemned President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria, which could open the way for a Turkish strike on Kurdish-led fighters in the area.

          

Iran's Zarif opposes military action in call with Turkish counterpart - Iranian state media   

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Iran's foreign minister on Monday backed Syrian sovereignty and opposed military action in a phone call with his Turkish counterpart, state media said, after a U.S. pull-back of troops in northeast Syria appeared to open the way to a Turkish attack.

          

Trump's Syria withdrawal announcement draws GOP condemnation   

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's sudden decision to pull back U.S. troops from northern Syria drew quick, strong criticism Monday from some of his closest allies in Congress. It was condemned ... - Source: www.arkansasonline.com

          

US troops start pullout from along Turkey's border in Syria   

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BEIRUT -- Syria's Kurds accused the U.S. of turning its back on its allies and risking gains made in the fight against the Islamic State group as American troops began pulling back on Monday from ... - Source: www.nwaonline.com

          

US pulls troops out of Northern Syria, exposing Kurds to potential attack   

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The Trump administration announced it was pulling troops out of Northern Syria, which exposes Kurdish fighters, many of whom fought with U.S. soldiers against ISIS, to a potential attack from Turkey.

          

Trump Boasts of His 'Great and Unmatched Wisdom,' Threatens to Obliterate Turkey   

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After the White House announced Sunday night that U.S. troops would leave northern Syria and that Turkey would launch an invasion in the region, a move that appears to give Turkey the green-light to massacre U.S.-allied Kurds, President Donald Trump posted this tweet believing it would address concerns: "As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I've done before!)."

          

Major Policy Shift in Syria   

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American troops are departing the Turkey-Syria border, and the Syrian Kurdish forces there are accusing the US of abandoning the fighters who bore the brunt of the US-led ground campaign against the Islamic State.

          

Inside the abandoned Soviet base the Cold War left behind   

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Hundreds of thousands of Soviet troops were stationed in the complex in former East Germany.

          

U.S. Troops Have Begun Pulling Out Of Northern Syria As Turkey Launches Offensive    

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NPR's Mary Louise Kelly speaks with Gayle Lemmon of the Council on Foreign Relations, about the U.S. standing aside while Turkey launches an offensive in northern Syria, and what that means for ISIS.

          

(De-)Constructing the Enemy in Early Modern Dance   

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The war against the Ottoman Empire was one of the most important political issues in the German-speaking lands throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. However, the idea of an imminent threat from the Turks dates back to the fourteenth century and was since then a vital element in the propaganda of the political and spiritual elites. Although the Ottoman troops posed a real threat, especially to the South-East of the Holy Roman Empire, the exaggerated depiction of the size of the Turkish army was a vital element of the propagandistic literature. This phenomenon has received some attention from various scholars inside and outside of musicology. Reviewing some key sources from the mid-sixteenth century, the first part of my paper will underline the role of music in the construction of an omnipresent anti-Turkish ideology.

Polemic literature was not the only way Western musical life encountered Turkish influences. Focusing mainly on dance, the second half of this talk investigates the curiosity of German sixteenth-century aristocracy about the cultural practices of their heathen enemies. This field seems to be somewhat of a blank spot, since musicological literature focused mainly on the seventeenth and eighteenth century concerning the musical interactions between Western Europe and the Ottoman Empire. Thus, this paper is about the tension between the massive promotion of anti-Ottoman stereotypes and the interest in foreign influences in early modern musical life and dance culture.


          

20,000 US troops to go to Europe for 2020 training exercise   

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BERLIN – The U.S. military says it’s preparing a massive exercise early next year in Europe involving 20,000 soldiers from the U.S., the largest deployment across the Atlantic for training in more than 25 years.

U.S. European Command said Monday the “Defender Europe 20” exercise from April to May 2020 will support NATO objectives “to build readiness within the alliance and deter potential adversaries.” Eighteen countries are expected to take part in exercises across 10 countries, including Germany, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Georgia.

It will also involve 9,000 more Americans already stationed in Europe and 8,000 European troops.

The military says the exercise “confirms that the U.S. commitment to NATO and the defense of Europe remains ironclad.”

President Donald Trump has worried many NATO members with comments that the trans-Atlantic alliance is “obsolete.”


          

As impeachment looms, GOP revolts against Trump on Syria   

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WASHINGTON – They may have his back on impeachment, but some of President Donald Trump’s most loyal allies are suddenly revolting against his decision to pull back U.S. troops from northern Syria.

On Monday, one chief Trump loyalist in Congress called the move “unnerving to the core.” An influential figure in conservative media condemned it as “a disaster.” And Trump’s former top NATO envoy said it was “a big mistake” that would threaten the lives of Kurdish fighters who had fought alongside American troops for years.

Trump’s surprise move, which came with no advance warning late Sunday and stunned many in his own government, threatened to undermine what has been near lockstep support among Republicans. It also came against the backdrop of a congressional impeachment inquiry in which the backing of Republicans in the Senate is the president’s bulwark against being removed from office.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who has been among Trump’s most vocal defenders, called the Syria decision “a disaster in the making” that would throw the region into chaos and embolden the Islamic State group.

“I hope I’m making myself clear how short-sighted and irresponsible this decision is,” Graham told Fox News. “I like President Trump. I’ve tried to help him. This, to me, is just unnerving to its core.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who has shrugged off the key allegation in the impeachment inquiry – that Trump pressured foreign powers to investigate a top Democratic rival – tweeted that Trump’s shift on Syria is “a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria.”

And Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who has been more willing than many Republicans to condemn Trump’s calls for foreign intervention in the 2020 election, called the Syria move “a terribly unwise decision” that would “abandon our Kurdish allies, who have been our major partner in the fight against the Islamic State.”

A more frequent Republican Trump critic, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, cast Trump’s announcement as “a betrayal.”

“It says that America is an unreliable ally; it facilitates ISIS resurgence; and it presages another humanitarian disaster,” Romney tweeted.

Nikki Haley, who was Trump’s hand-picked ambassador to the United Nations, also cast the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Iraq as a betrayal of a key ally.

“The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake,” she wrote on Twitter.

Former Rubio aide Alex Conant highlighted the risks ahead for a president whose political future depends on Republican support.

“For Trump to make a very controversial move on Syria at the exact moment when he needs Senate Republicans more than ever is risky politics,” Conant said, noting the significance for many Senate Republicans of the United States’ policy in northern Syria, where Kurds would be particularly vulnerable to a Turkish invasion.

“They’re not just going to send out a couple of tweets and move on,” Conant said. “At the same time, the White House is going to need these guys to carry a lot of water for them.”

While a number of Republicans criticized Trump’s decision, one of their most important leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, was sanguine, offering little concern about Syria or impeachment during an appearance at the University of Kentucky.

“There are a few distractions, as you may have noticed,” McConnell said. “But if you sort of keep your head on straight and remember why you were sent there, there are opportunities to do important things for the country and for the states that we represent.”

After the appearance, McConnell issued a statement warning that Trump’s proposed withdrawal “would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime. And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup.”

“As we learned the hard way during the Obama Administration, American interests are best served by American leadership, not by retreat or withdrawal,” McConnell said.

Outside government, leaders of conservative groups backed Trump.

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., a prominent evangelical leader, said Trump was simply “keeping his promise to keep America out of endless wars.”

He suggested Trump could easily reengage in the region if the decision backfires.

“The president has got to do what’s best for the country, whether it helps him with this phony impeachment inquiry or not,” Falwell said in an interview.

Former Trump campaign aide Barry Bennett noted that the president has been talking about reducing troop levels in the Middle East since before the 2016 election.

“I understand that they don’t like the policy, but none of them should be shocked by the policy,” Bennett said. “He’s only been talking about this for four or five years now. I think he’s with the vast majority of the public.”

Still, the backlash from other Trump loyalists was intense.

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., a member of the House Armed Services and Intelligence committees, called it a “misguided and catastrophic blow to our national security interests.”

And on Fox News, a network where many rank-and-file Trump supporters get their news, host Brian Kilmeade said it was “a disaster.”

“Abandon our allies? That’s a campaign promise? Abandon the people that got the caliphate destroyed?” Kilmeade said on “Fox & Friends.”

Bulent Aliriza, director of the Turkey Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the controversy reminds him of former Defense Secretary James Mattis’ decision to resign late last year after Trump announced plans to withdraw troops from Syria.

“Ultimately, Trump reversed himself,” Aliriza said. “The question is whether he will actually reverse himself again in view of the opposition from Capitol Hill led by several of his closest allies.”


          

Today's Headlines and Commentary   

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The White House announced on Sunday that President Trump has backed a Turkish plan that would clear away U.S.-backed Kurdish forces near the Turkish border in Syria and result in the United States not participating in military activity in the area, reports the New York Times. Turkey views the Kurdish forces, who are part of the Syrian Democratic Forces, as a terrorist insurgency and has long lobbied the United States to cut support for the group. The Washington Post reports that the United States has already begun withdrawing U.S. troops near the border as of Monday morning. An attorney representing the intelligence community whistleblower whose complaint gave rise to the Ukraine scandal confirmed via Twitter that his team now “represent[s] multiple whistleblowers in connection to the underlying August 12, 2019, disclosure to the Intelligence Community Inspector General.” The Washington Post reports that another attorney signaled that a second individual has…

          

Syria's Kurds stand to lose all gains from US pullout   

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BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's Kurds accused the U.S. of turning its back on its allies and risking gains made in the fight against the Islamic State group as American troops began pulling back on Monday from positions in northeastern Syria ahead of an expected Turkish assault.

U.S. President Donald Trump's abrupt decision to stand aside — announced by the White House late Sunday — infuriated Kurds, who stand to lose the autonomy they gained in the course of Syria's civil war.

The Kurdish force pledged to fight back, raising the potential for an eruption of new warfare in Syria. "We will not hesitate for a moment in defending our people" against Turkish troops, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said in a statement, adding that it has lost 11,000 fighters in the war against IS in Syria.

As many as 300,000 people could immediately be driven from their homes in northeast Syria if Turkey launches its offensive, the International Rescue Committee warned Monday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened for months to launch the military operation across the border. He views the Syria Kurdish forces as terrorists and a threat to his country as Ankara has struggled with a Kurdish insurgency within Turkey.

Ankara has been demanding a "safe zone" stretching the length of northern Syria along Turkey's southern border to be patrolled by Turkish troops and their allied Syrian forces. That would put a significant portion of Syria's Kurdish population under effective Turkish control.

Erdogan on Monday said American troops have started pulling back following his conversation with Trump the night before. He did not elaborate on the planned Turkish incursion but said Turkey was determined to halt what it perceives as threats from the Syrian Kurdish fighters.

The SDF issued a sharp condemnation of the American move. "The American forces did not abide by their commitments and withdrew their forces along the border with Turkey," it said.

A U.S. official confirmed that American troops were already moving out of the security zone area, which includes the Syrian towns of Ras al-Ayn and Tal Abyad. That official was not authorized to speak for the record and was granted anonymity to comment.

A video posted by a Kurdish news agency showed a convoy of American armored vehicles apparently heading away from the border area of Tal Abyad.

America's rivals, including Iran, Russia and the Syrian government, stand to gain from a U.S. troop withdrawal from the oil-rich region in the north. Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted: "US is an irrelevant occupier in Syria — futile to seek its permission or rely on it for security."

In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow realizes Turkey's need to ensure its security, but noted that "it's necessary to respect Syria's territorial and political integrity." Peskov wouldn't comment on whether the U.S. withdrawal could push the Kurds to seek a dialogue with Damascus.

Russia and Iran have helped Syrian President Bashar Assad reclaim control over most of the country following a devastating eight-year civil war.

Abdulkarim Omar, a senior official in the Kurdish self-rule administration, said they had been expecting the U.S. decision to withdraw and have made preparations for it. He didn't elaborate. But he warned that securing facilities holding IS militants would be jeopardized if an offensive begins because forces would be deployed there.

"We have been flexible even in dealing with Russia, which may play a role in the political resolution. We were flexible even in regards to Damascus," he said. "But what happened today is illogical."

The Kurdish-led SDF has been the main U.S.-backed force in Syria in the fight against IS. In March, the SDF captured the last sliver of land held by the extremists, marking the end of the so-called caliphate that was declared by IS's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2014.

The U.S. and Turkey had been working on a compromise "security mechanism" for the border region that the Kurds had hoped would avert any Turkish offensive. Since August, joint U.S and Turkish aerial and ground patrols had started in a 125-kilometer (78-mile) zone. The SDF had cooperated, removing fortifications from the areas and withdrawing with heavy weapons.

But vital details of the mechanism were still being worked out, and Ankara had repeatedly expressed its impatience, threatening an attack.

Mustafa Bali, the SDF spokesman, tweeted that his group had not been not expecting the U.S. to protect northeastern Syria. "But people here are owed an explanation regarding the security mechanism deal and destruction of fortifications," he said.


          

Abu Walid and Other ISIS Militants Behind Deadly Niger Ambush of US Troops have $5M Bounty Reward   

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The ISIS aligned leader who masterminded a deadly 2017 ambush of the U.S. troops in Niger has five million dollars reward bounty. According to U.S. Department of State, Abu Walid…

          

Trump claims ‘UK is thrilled’ and he ‘consulted with everyone’ in rambling defence of decision to let Turkey invade Syria - The Independent   

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  1. Trump claims ‘UK is thrilled’ and he ‘consulted with everyone’ in rambling defence of decision to let Turkey invade Syria  The Independent
  2. Trump makes way for Turkey operation against Kurds in Syria  BBC News
  3. Turkey-Syria border: Kurds bitter as US troops withdraw  BBC News
  4. The US withdrawal from northern Syria creates the perfect climate for war crimes  The Guardian
  5. Donald Trump risks opening a new front in Syria  Financial Times
  6. View full coverage on Google News

          

Chantal Hébert: With no knockouts, federal leaders’ debate makes a minority government more likely   

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If Monday night’s election debate — the first and last English-language encounter of the current campaign to find its main protagonists on the same stage — results in anything, it may be to have made the possibility of a minority government more probable.

At the very least expectations the debate would break the Liberal/Conservative deadlock in the battle for government will likely not pan out.

With six leaders on stage — a record in a Canadian federal election — and almost as many moderators, the opportunities to size up the two men most likely to become prime minister as a result of the Oct. 21 vote were, to put it mildly, too few and far between to really set the stage for a decisive match.

Overall, viewers were treated to a cacophony that saw the various leaders spend more time speaking over each other than articulating coherent ideas. Substance was sacrificed to a cumbersome format.

Given the time constraints they were operating under, all six strove for clean clips liable to endure beyond the evening’s broadcast. They all worked hard to make their rivals’ comments unintelligible by interrupting them every step of the way.

Here are some notes on how each of the main leaders did:

Justin Trudeau: It is a rare debate that sees the incumbent emerge as the hands-down winner and Monday night’s exercise was no exception. The Liberal leader neither dominated the exchanges nor did he spend the evening on the ropes as a result of the sustained attacks of the other leaders.

If the Liberal objective was for Trudeau to avoid walking off the set wounded, it was achieved. But if the goal was to finally put distance between the Liberal leader and the rest of the pack, it probably missed the mark.

Andrew Scheer: To watch the Conservative leader in action over the course of his maiden campaign debates has been to be reminded that he did not get much advance practice at defending policies. Having never served in cabinet under Stephen Harper, Scheer never had to endure opposition fire in question period.

That was obvious last week when the Conservative leader emerged as the consensus loser of the French-language debate hosted by Quebec’s TVA network. He truly had a bad night last Wednesday.

A repeat of that performance in English on Monday would likely have sealed his party’s fate on Oct. 21 and, potentially, ensured the re-election of a majority Liberal government.

But Scheer limited the potential damage by spending much of the evening in his opposition comfort zone, in full-attack mode.

By comparison to last week’s French-language debate, he is unlikely to bleed support as a result of his performance on Monday.

Jagmeet Singh: As in the case of the Maclean’s and the TVA debates, the NDP leader had a good night. He was on message and took the few openings he did get to distinguish his positions from those of his rivals. So far, Singh has benefited from every debate he has participated in and Monday’s will likely be no exception.

It is unlikely to turn what has so far been a two-way battle for government into a three-way fight, but his performance is bound to shore up the morale of his troops and keep them fighting until the votes are counted. That was not a given when the election was called.

A good night for Singh is not necessarily a great night for Green party Leader Elizabeth May. It probably won’t help that while her best hope for bringing more Green MPs to the next Parliament is in B.C., the debate in that province was broadcast, as a result of the time difference with central Canada, in late afternoon — at a time when many voters were still either at work or in traffic.

Monday’s debate also featured People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier’s first appearance on the podium. Many initially questioned the debate commission’s decision to invite him and his contribution to the exchanges is unlikely to have put the doubts to rest.

To sum up: Monday’s debate was one of Scheer’s last best chances to generate the momentum that has so far eluded his Conservative party.

With time running out, he has yet to translate a tie in national voting intentions into winning odds in the seat count.

Absent a clean win, the fact that he was still standing at the end of the debate does not mean he succeeded.

On the heels of last week’s poor debate performance in Quebec, the path to a Conservative victory is increasingly narrow.

Singh on Monday and Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet last week both gave debate performances liable to solidify and expand their respective parties’ support. As a result, with less than two weeks to go, Trudeau’s road to a second majority remains muddy.

Chantal Hébert is a columnist based in Ottawa covering politics. Follow her on Twitter: @ChantalHbert


          

To GIVE and To SERVE: The $6 Billion National Service Boondoggle   

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The House passed the "Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act" -- or the GIVE Act -- last week. The Senate took up the companion SERVE Act Tuesday afternoon. According to a Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Senate bill (S.277), it would cost "$418 million in 2010 and about $5.7 billion over the 2010-2014 period."

Like most federal programs, these would be sure to grow over time. The bills reauthorize the Clinton-era AmeriCorps boondoggle program and the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973.

The programs have already been allocated $1.1 billion for fiscal year 2009, including $200 million from the porkulus package signed into law last month. In addition to recruiting up to 250,000 enrollees in AmeriCorps, the GIVE/SERVE bills would create new little armies of government volunteers, including a Clean Energy Corps, Education Corps, Healthy Futures Corps, Veterans Service Corps, and an expanded National Civilian Community Corps for disaster relief and energy conservation.

But that's not all. Spending would include new funds for:

-- Foster Grandparent Program ($115 million);

-- Learn and Serve America ($97 million);

-- Retired and Senior Volunteer Program ($70 million);

-- Senior Companion Program ($55 million);

-- $12 million for each of fiscal years 2010 through 2014 for "the Silver Scholarships and Encore Fellowships programs";

-- $10 million a year from 2010 through 2014 for a new "Volunteers for Prosperity" program at USAID to "award grants to fund opportunities for volunteering internationally in coordination with eligible organizations"; and

-- Social Innovation Fund and Volunteer Generation Fund -- $50 million in 2010; $60 million in 2011; $70 million in 2012; $80 million in 2013; and $100 million in 2014.

Social Innovation Fund? If that sounds familiar, it should. I reported last fall on the Democratic Party platform's push to fund a "Social Investment Fund Network" that would reward "social entrepreneurs and leading nonprofit organizations" and "support results-oriented innovators." It is essentially a special taxpayer-funded pipeline for radical liberal groups backed by billionaire George Soros that masquerade as public-interest do-gooders.

Especially troublesome to parents' groups concerned about compulsory volunteerism requirements is a provision in the House version directing Congress to explore "whether a workable, fair and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed, and how such a requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the Nation and overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic and educational backgrounds."

Those who have watched AmeriCorps from its inception are all too familiar with how government volunteerism programs have been used for propaganda and political purposes. AmeriCorps "volunteers" have been put to work lobbying against the voter-approved three-strikes anti-crime initiative in California and protesting Republican political events while working for the already heavily tax-subsidized liberal advocacy group ACORN.

D.C. watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste also documented national service volunteers lobbying for rent control, expanded federal housing subsidies and enrollment of more women in the Women, Infants and Children welfare program. AmeriCorps volunteers have also been paid to shuffle paper at the Department of Justice, the Department of Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Legal Services Corporation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

(Now, imagine Obama's troops being sent overseas -- out of sight and unaccountable -- as part of that $10 million a year USAID/Volunteers for Prosperity program. Egad.)

One vigilant House member, GOP Rep. Virginia Foxx, successfully attached an amendment to the GIVE Act to bar National Service participants from engaging in political lobbying; endorsing or opposing legislation; organizing petitions, protests, boycotts or strikes; providing or promoting abortions or referrals; or influencing union organizing.

Supporters of GIVE/SERVE are now fighting those restrictions tooth and nail, screaming censorship and demanding the provisions be dropped -- which tells you everything you need to know about the true nature of this boondoggle. Taxpayers GIVE their money to SERVE a big government agenda under the guise of helping their fellow man. It's charity at the point of a gun.


          

Carrie Lam Vows to Stop ‘Limitless and Lawless’ Violence in Hong Kong   

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Carrie Lam Vows to Stop ‘Limitless and Lawless’ Violence in Hong Kong(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said her government could handle growing violence without intervention by Beijing, but didn’t rule out seeking China’s help or invoking further emergency measures.“I still strongly feel that we should find the solution ourselves,” Lam told reporters Tuesday before a meeting of the city’s Executive Council. “That’s also the position of the central government that Hong Kong should tackle the problem on our own. But if the situation becomes so bad, then no option should be ruled out if we want Hong Kong to at least have another chance.”Lam said that her visit to Beijing for China’s National Day parade on Oct. 1 had been brief and didn’t include any business meetings with central government officials.Lam condemned protesters’ violence and attacks on businesses, after demonstrators vandalized shops and paralyzed the city’s transit system in some of the worst unrest of the past four months. She said authorities would offer support to industries affected by the movement and called for developers and store owners to provide relief measures.“This kind of violence has become limitless and lawless,” she said. The city government “will use its greatest determination to halt these violent acts,” she said.Stressing the impact to Hong Kong’s economy after four months of pro-democracy protests, she said that visitor arrivals to the Asian financial hub had dropped by more than 50% year on year during the Oct. 1-6 National Day holiday period, when the city is usually packed with tourists.The fierce clashes -- and the specter of Beijing deploying its People’s Liberation Army troops in the city -- have drawn condemnation and concern from officials from the U.S., the U.K. and others.On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump warned Beijing that trade talks between the two sides could suffer if the country does anything “bad” to try and end protests in Hong Kong. “They have to do that in a peaceful manner,” he told reporters at the White House.The weekend’s unrest followed Lam’s decision to ban protesters from wearing masks under a colonial-era law that could also be used to detain and arrest protesters and censor publications. She didn’t rule out the possibility of further measures under the Emergency Regulations Ordinance, which was last used more than a half century ago to put down leftist riots.“We are faced with such a changing situation,” Lam said. “What I can assure you is the government will take a very serious view and very careful assessment before the ERO is to be invoked again.”The city’s subway network shut down over the weekend as radical protesters clashed with police, throwing Molotov cocktails and bricks at police officers and vandalizing banks and train stations. Many businesses shut down, and video footage showed a taxi driver dragged out and beaten by demonstrators after accusations he’d driven into a crowd of protesters.The dramatic scenes -- including the shooting of a second protester -- were the latest in four months of anti-China demonstrations opposing since-scrapped extradition legislation that have morphed into the most serious challenge to Beijing’s rule since Hong Kong returned to Chinese control in 1997.Lam has previously took the blame for the “entire unrest,” after withdrawing her ill-fated proposal to allow extraditions to mainland China. Last week, she condemned radical protesters and saying mask ban was required in the face of unending violence.“It is too early to say that the anti-mask law is not effective. For any new policy or new legislation, it will take time for it to be effectively implemented,” Lam said Tuesday. “If a piece of legislation has been enacted, but people refuse to abide by the law, then of course we have a problem at hand.”To contact the reporters on this story: Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.net;Shawna Kwan in Hong Kong at wkwan35@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Karen LeighFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



          

Kurdish general anticipates Turkish assault in Syria, says watching ISIS prisoners is no longer top priority   

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Kurdish general anticipates Turkish assault in Syria, says watching ISIS prisoners is no longer top priorityWith the Syrian Democratic Forces preparing for attacks by Turkish troops in northern Syria, fighters are being moved to the border, leaving a limited number of guards to keep watch over thousands of Islamic State prisoners, a commander told NBC News.The Syrian Democratic Forces are the United States' Kurdish allies in the region, and General Mazloum Kobani Abdi told NBC News that the ISIS prisoners are now a "second priority," due to the White House's Sunday announcement that U.S. troops will "no longer be in the immediate area," paving the way for a Turkish operation. Mazloum said this is a "very big problem," as there are about 12,000 prisoners -- 10,000 from Syria and Iraq, and 2,000 from other countries.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan considers Kurdish forces to be terrorists. Despite being the opposition, Mazloum told NBC News "one of the options that we have on the table" is to partner with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to fight against Turkey. He is hopeful that the American public will call on Trump to reverse course, so it doesn't have to come to this, saying, "The people who fought with you against international terrorism, against ISIS, are under risk right now and they are facing a big battle alone."



          

Trump's shock Syria retreat reverberates as Turkish troops mass   

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Officials scramble to understand implications of US move as Kurds face prospect of invasion alone

Kurdish forces in Syria have said the fate of tens of thousands of suspected Islamic State fighters and their families is uncertain, after US forces began a sudden withdrawal from the Turkish-Syrian border, leaving their Kurdish allies to face the prospect of a Turkish invasion alone.

The effects of the shock retreat continued to reverberate through the region on Monday as Turkish forces massed near the border with the Kurdish stronghold of north-eastern Syria.

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