Month: September 2019

Brexit news: Brexiteers rage at ‘propping up’ EU | UK | News

Brexit news: Brexiteers rage at ‘propping up’ EU | UK | News

Express.co.uk spoke to Brexiteers attending the Brexit Party conference rally in central London on Friday night about what Brexit means to them and whether they believe Britain will leave the EU on October 31, or if at all. Passionate Leave voters told us how Brexit was about “democracy” and Britain finally being free from the shackles of the EU and “propping up” the Brussels bloc.
Related articles Brexit poll: Would a second EU referendum change the result? VOTE HERE Ann Widdecombe reveals biggest DANGER if Brexit is not delivered Keith Hawker, from Dudley in the West Midlands, told Express.co.uk he feared the EU wanted to become an “empire” and Britain has had enough after 40 years under their reign.
He said: “Brexit is democracy right now, it used to be Leave or Remain before but for a long time now, it has to be about democracy.
“We want to have our country back, with our own laws.
“There has been too much talk about what’s going on in Europe, what their intentions are, an empire, just to Quote: that one word frightened the life out of me.
Brexit news: Keith Hawker said Brexit was about ‘democracy’ (Image: EXPRESS)
Brexit news: John Cronin said Britain didn’t fight two world wars to be shackled to the EU (Image: EXPRESS) “We’ve had them for 40 years and if everybody keeps complaining about how bad the police are, or short staffed, how bad our NHS are, how bad the roads are, how bad the schools are – we ain’t done very well for 40 years of investment in the EU have we?”
Mr Hawker said the EU were keen to entice the UK to become a member of the Union because the nation was “thriving”.
Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath took the UK into the European Economic Area in January 1973.
He said: “I can remember back in the 50s, we were thriving… boats used to queue up at our docks for our industry cars, our sports cars, America couldn’t take enough.
READ MORE: Carrie Symonds arm in arm with Boris as he arrives for fight of life
Brexit news: Lisa Lux called for Britain to no deal Brexit (Image: EXPRESS) Related articles Farage reveals how Boris could crush Remainer bid to block Brexit Carrie Symonds arm in arm with Boris as he arrives for fight of life “We were a brilliant country then, we had places to go – they knew it and they collared us in to the common market with just two or three countries.
“Now there’s 27 and we support all of them.”
Brexiteer John Cronin said he voted Brexit because the UK would gain “independence” and “make our own laws”.
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Ann Widdecombe reveals biggest DANGER if Brexit is not delivered [VIDEO]
Brexit poll: Would a second EU referendum change the result? VOTE HERE [POLL]
Farage reveals how Boris could crush Remainer bid to block Brexit [INSIGHT]
Brexit news: Keith Hawker held his Brexit Party flag in the crowd (Image: GETTY )
Brexit news: Passionate Leave supporters gathered at the Brexit Party conference (Image: GETTY ) He fumed that Britain was “propping up” the other 27 countries in the EU.
He said: “Brexit means us respecting democracy, it means us being free of the EU Union and we can make our own laws and be independent. Independence is what is important to us.
“We didn’t fight two world wars to be shackled to the EU. When we joined the EU, it was only about six or seven countries – now its 27, it’s expanded.
Brexit news: Britain is due to leave the EU on October 31 (Image: EXPRESS) “What seems to have happened in recent years is that we seem to be contributing our share of the money, what we are meant to, and other countries aren’t.
“We are basically propping these countries up. So we need to leave and encourage other countries to do the same and become independent.”
Mr Cronin said he believed Britain would be out of the EU “by default” on October 31 because the EU have “grown tired” and “lost patience”.
Brexit news: Brexit Party supporters gather in central London for the party’s conference (Image: GETTY ) Trending Brexit supporter and musician Lisa Lux told Express.co.uk Prime Minister Boris Johnson must be “prepared to walk away” from the EU without a deal.
She said: “If there’s a no deal – fair enough.. if you go in to a negotiation you have to be prepared to walk away from a business deal.
“So if the deal isn’t good on the table, I hope he will walk away and say no deal.”
On the prospect of a second referneudm, she added: “If we have another referendum, I think it’ll be a majority more so to leave, so what are they going to do then? So let’s get on with it. “

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The Latest: Ex-tenants say building confused them, too
Fri, September 27, 2019 04:25 EDT
DALLAS (AP) — The Latest on the trial of a former Dallas police officer charged in the shooting death of her neighbor inside his apartment (all times local):
3:25 p.m.
Former tenants of a Dallas apartment building where an off-duty police officer shot and killed a neighbor in his own home last year say they, too, got confused by how similar the floors looked.
The former building residents testified Friday after the now-former officer, Amber Guyger, took the stand in her own defense.
Guyger is charged with murder in the fatal shooting of 26-year-old Botham Jean last September. She says she mistook his fourth-floor unit for her own, which was right below Jean’s, and thought he was a burglar when she stepped inside the dark room.
Prosecutors have questioned how Guyger could have missed numerous signs that she was in the wrong place and have suggested that she was distracted by sexually explicit text messages with her police partner.
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12:15 p.m.
Prosecutors have asked a Dallas police officer who fatally shot her unarmed neighbor why she didn’t back away and use her police radio to call for help when she thought someone was in her apartment.
Amber Guyger explained Friday while testifying at her murder trial for the killing of Botham Jean that entering the home “was the only option that went through my head.”
Guyger shot and killed Jean last September in his apartment, which was directly above hers. She says she mistook his unit for her own.
The 31-year-old Guyger, who was fired after the shooting, says it was dark in the apartment and that she shot the silhouetted person inside after he began approaching her and she couldn’t see his hands.
Guyger says she intended to kill Jean when she fired, believing he was a threat.
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11 a.m.
A former Dallas police officer says she was “scared to death” when she opened what she thought was her apartment door last year and saw a silhouetted figure standing in the darkness inside.
Amber Guyger testified Friday in her murder trial in the killing last September of Botham Jean, who was in his own home when Guyger shot him.
Guyger, whose apartment was directly below Jean’s, was off duty but in uniform at the time of the shooting.
She testified that as she put her key in the apartment lock, the door opened because it hadn’t been fully closed. She says she drew her service weapon because she thought someone was in her home, and then she told the silhouetted figure inside: “Let me see your hands! Let me see your hands!”
Guyger said she couldn’t see the person’s hands and that he began coming toward her at a “fast-paced” walk. She said he yelled, “Hey, hey, hey,” and that she then fired at him.
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10 a.m.
The former Dallas police officer who fatally shot her unarmed black neighbor in his apartment began crying and shaking on the witness stand as she started describing entering his home that night.
Amber Guyger, who is white, took the stand Friday in her murder trial in the fatal shooting last year of Botham Jean, whose apartment she said she mistook for her own.
Guyger’s lips quivered and she started to cry as her lawyer questioned her about approaching Jean’s door. The judge then called for a short break in the proceedings.
Guyger’s attorneys have said she fired in self-defense after mistaking the 26-year-old Jean for a burglar. Prosecutors have questioned how Guyger could have missed numerous signs that she was at the wrong apartment.
Gugyer, who was off duty but in uniform at the time, was later fired.
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9 a.m.
A white former Dallas police officer has taken the witness stand in her murder trial for shooting her unarmed, black neighbor in his apartment.
Amber Guyger’s testimony Friday will mark the first time the public has heard directly from the 31-year-old since she shot Botham Jean last September.
Guyger’s attorneys have called Jean’s killing a “tragic, but innocent” mistake. They say she fired in self-defense after confusing his apartment with her own and mistaking the 26-year-old accountant from the Caribbean nation of St. Lucia for a burglar.
Prosecutors have questioned how Guyger could have missed numerous signs that she was at the wrong apartment, and suggested she was distracted by sexually explicit phone messages with her police partner.
Gugyer, who was off duty but in uniform at the time, was later fired from the force.

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Garden honors woman whose family saved Jews in World War II
By MICHAEL CASEY | Fri, September 27, 2019 12:05 EDT
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — After immigrating to the United States, Wilhelmina Wiegman rarely talked about how her family in the Netherlands sheltered a Jewish couple and their daughter fleeing Nazi persecution during World War II.
But descendants of the couple, Georg Froehlich and Edith Froehlich, wanted to do something to recognize her family’s heroic action. They decided to honor the memory of Wiegman, whose family is Catholic, by dedicating a memorial garden at a church in Somersworth, New Hampshire where she was a long-time parishioner.
Volunteers on Saturday will plant 1,200 tulip and daffodil bulbs that have been imported from Netherlands, near the town of Bovenkarspel where the Froehlichs and later their daughter, Sabine, were sheltered from the summer of 1944 until the war ended in 1945.
The company importing the flowers, Colorblends Wholesale Flowerbulbs in Connecticut, is owned by descendants of the couple. Sabine married a member of the Dutch underground, Cornelius Schipper, who after the war started importing Dutch bulbs into the United States.
“It is a way to celebrate their lives and what they did for us and our family,” Chris Schipper, one of their five children, said of the garden. “When you’re survivors of the Holocaust, you are very fortunate. It’s something you don’t easily forget and this is something to celebrate in the darkness of war and the Holocaust.”
His mother, Sabine, died two years ago in New Jersey at age 90. Her husband died last year, aged 102.
Wilhelmina Wiegman was only a teenager when her father, Jan Elders, who was the mayor of German-occupied Bovenkarspel, chose to shelter the Froehlichs in an upstairs bedroom. Sabine would join the family a few months later, after the Wiegmans had arranged for her to visit her parents from a nearby farm. The family also sheltered some Allied airmen whose planes were shot down and other refugees.
In the coming months, the Froehlichs were nearly arrested several times by German soldiers who came to the family’s house for wood and food — both in short supply during a harsh winter, said Wiegman’s son, Leo Wiegman. Once, Sabine was questioned by a German soldier as she chopped wood outside; another time the Froehlichs were stopped near the house by German soldiers who checked their forged identity cards but let them go. Their 19-year-old son, Andreas, had been arrested in Amsterdam a few years earlier and died in a Nazi concentration camp.
Wiegman and her seven siblings would also run errands for the Dutch underground, often transporting food, fuel and letters by bicycle to German Jews and other refugees who were sheltered in a network of farmhouses in the countryside. Once, she was picked up by the Germans for violating curfew and spent a night in jail.
“I don’t think she thought of herself as a hero,” Leo Wiegman, who owns a solar energy company and is the former mayor of Croton-on-Hudson in New York state, said of his mother, who died this year. “She thought of herself as fulfilling a duty to help people who needed help.”
The experience of surviving the war and helping the Froehlichs would lead to a lifetime of public service for Wilhelmina Wiegman. She was active in her church, taught English classes and volunteered at a regional hospital. It also forged a tight bond between the two families in the United States and instilled a sense of empathy and understanding among her children as they grew older.
“Our parents never really talked about what happened during the war even though we knew terrible things happened,” Leo Wiegman said. “Among my generation, it led to a certain awareness and certain sensitivity around issues of persecution, prejudice and the need for immigration and avoiding violence.”
Relatives of families will attend the ceremony as well as members of the local Jewish community, Catholic war veterans and parishioners from the church. Along with the bulbs being planted, a plaque will be placed in the garden in honor of Wiegman. The date was chosen because this was the best time to plant the bulbs but it also coincides with Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana, which begins Sunday.
“For us as a community of faith, it’s an important reminder that even in the darkest times of history that people of faith brought the life of Christ and the light of hope to the world,” said the pastor at Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish, Rev. Andrew Nelson. “We think it’s important to tell the stories of people living out their faith and living out the life and choosing good, the way of hope.”

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Iran releases seized UK-flagged tanker
By NASSER KARIMI 12:07 EDT
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran on Friday released a British-flagged oil tanker it had seized in July, while the country’s president, returning from an annual United Nations meeting, said he had been told the United States had offered to lift sanctions if Tehran returned to the negotiating table over its nuclear program.
The British-flagged Stena Impero left the port of Bandar Abbas on Friday morning, heading to Dubai where its crew would disembark, the vessel’s Swedish-based ship-owning company Stena Bulk said.
Iran seized the tanker on July 19 in the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which 20% of all oil passes. The raid saw commandos rappel down onto the vessel from a helicopter carrying assault rifles in dramatic images later replayed on state television.
The raid came after authorities in Gibraltar, a British overseas territory, seized an Iranian supertanker carrying $130 million in crude oil on suspicion it was breaking European Union sanctions by taking the oil to Syria. Gibraltar later released the tanker, then called the Grace 1, after it said Iran promised the ship wouldn’t go to Syria.
That ship, renamed the Adrian Darya 1, later sat off the Syrian coast, angering Britain. Iran hasn’t said who purchased its 2.1 million barrels of crude oil.
Britain responded to Iran’s release of the Stena Impero on Friday by accusing Tehran of trying to disrupt freedom of navigation.
U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the ship “was unlawfully seized by Iran” and that the action was “part of a pattern of attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation. We are working with our international partners to protect shipping and uphold the international rule of law.”
The ship seizures come after months of heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf, sparked by President Donald Trump’s decision over a year ago to unilaterally pull out of a nuclear deal with Iran. The U.S. has imposed sanctions that have kept Iran from selling its oil abroad and have crippled its economy. Iran has since begun breaking terms of the deal.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, returning to Tehran after attending the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York, said Friday that U.S. sanctions were ineffective and a barrier to dialogue. “Otherwise Iran does not fear negotiation,” he said.
Rouhani said the leaders of Germany, France and Britain had told him the U.S. was prepared to lift the sanctions if Tehran agreed to negotiations on the nuclear deal.
“Germany’s chancellor, Britain’s prime minister and France’s president were there. They all insisted on a meeting. … They said America was saying it would lift the sanctions,” the president said.
But he said Iran could not accept negotiation before the sanctions were lifted.
However, Trump had a different take on events, tweeting that “Iran wanted me to lift the sanctions imposed on them in order to meet. I said, of course, NO!”
There have been a series of attacks across the Middle East that the U.S. blames on Iran. They reached their height on Sept. 14, with a missile and drone attack on the world’s largest oil processor in Saudi Arabia and an oil field, which caused oil prices to spike by the biggest percentage since the 1991 Gulf War. While Yemen’s Iranian-allied Houthi rebels claimed the assault, Saudi Arabia says it was “unquestionably sponsored by Iran.”
Iran denies being responsible and has warned any retaliatory attack targeting it will result in an “all-out war.”
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Jon Gambrell and Elena Becatoros in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark and Jill Lawless in London contributed.

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Germany shuts down illegal data center in former NATO bunker
By GEIR MOULSON | 07:58 EDT
BERLIN (AP) — German investigators said Friday they have shut down a data processing center installed in a former NATO bunker that hosted sites dealing in drugs and other illegal activities. Seven people were arrested.
The main suspect in the long-running investigation that led to raids on Thursday is a 59-year-old Dutchman who authorities believe acquired the former military bunker in Traben-Trarbach, a picturesque town on the Mosel River in western Germany, in 2013, prosecutor Juergen Bauer told reporters.
He then turned it into a very large and heavily secured data processing center “in order to make it available to clients, according to our investigations, exclusively for illegal purposes,” Bauer added. Regional criminal police chief Johannes Kunz said that authorities believe he had “links to organized crime,” and that he appears to have spent most of his time in the area although he was registered as having moved to Singapore.
Thirteen people aged 20 to 59 are under investigation in all, including three German and seven Dutch citizens, Brauer said.
Authorities arrested seven of them, citing the danger of flight and collusion. They are suspected of membership in a criminal organization because of a tax offense, as well as being accessories to hundreds of thousands of offenses involving drugs, counterfeit money and forged documents, and accessories to the distribution of child pornography. Authorities didn’t name any of the suspects.
The data center was set up as what investigators described as a “bulletproof hoster,” meant to conceal illicit activities from authorities’ eyes.
Investigators say the platforms it hosted included “Cannabis Road,” a drug-dealing portal; the “Wall Street Market,” which was one of the world’s largest online criminal marketplaces for drugs, hacking tools and financial-theft wares until it was taken down earlier this year; and sites such as “Orange Chemicals” that dealt in synthetic drugs. A botnet attack on German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom in late 2016 that knocked out about 1 million customers’ routers also appears to have come from the data center in Traben-Trarbach, Brauer said.
The arrests took place at a restaurant in the town and in Schwalbach, outside Frankfurt. Alongside the raids in Germany, there were searches in the Netherlands, Poland and Luxembourg.
“I think it’s a huge success … that we were able at all to get police forces into the bunker complex, which is still secured at the highest military level,” Kunz said. “We had to overcome not only real, or analog, protections; we also cracked the digital protections of the data center.”

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Paul George on meeting with Kobe Bryant, fishing with Kawhi Leonard | 2019 NBA Media Day

Paul George speaks with Ramona Shelburne about loving the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers while growing up, spending some one-on-one time with Kobe Bryant and his recovery process ahead of the NBA season. George (1:46) discusses his relationship with Kawhi Leonard, adding that the two should’ve been paired up with the Indiana Pacers and a story about a team fishing trip.

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The Latest: Austrian exit polls: Kurz leads in election
Sun, September 29, 2019 11:17 EDT
VIENNA (AP) — The Latest on Austria’s election (all times local):
5:15 p.m.
Exit polls released by Austrian public broadcaster ORF show conservative ex-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz leading a snap election called after his coalition government with the far-right Freedom Party collapsed in May.
According to the exit polls released after voting ended at 5 p.m. (1500 GMT) Sunday, Kurz’s Austrian People’s Party is projected to get 37.2%, a gain of 5.7 percentage points.
The Freedom Party is forecast to lose 10 percentage points compared to 2017 and get 16%, while the center-left Social Democrats loses 4.9 percentage points with 22%.
The Alpine nation of 8.8 million has been run by a non-partisan interim administration appointed in June, after the publication of a video showing Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache appearing to offer favors to a purported Russian investor triggered the Kurz government’s collapse.
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9:30 a.m.
Austrians are electing a new Parliament, four months after a corruption scandal brought down ex-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s coalition government with the far-right Freedom Party.
Some 6.4 million voters aged 16 and up are eligible to cast ballots for Sunday’s election.
The Alpine country of 8.8 million has been run by a non-partisan interim administration appointed in June, after the publication of a video showing Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache appearing to offer favors to a purported Russian investor triggered the Kurz government’s collapse.
Kurz, whose center-right People’s Party was leading recent opinion polls, will likely have to choose whether to form a fresh coalition with a chastened Freedom Party or team up with the center-left Social Democrats.
First exit polls will be released after voting ends at 5 p.m. (1500 GMT).

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NYPD officer shot and killed during struggle with suspect
Sun, September 29, 2019 10:01 EDT
NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City police officer grappling with an armed man died early Sunday in the Bronx after being shot three times, possibly with his own gun.
The 27-year-old suspect also died after five officers fired at him, police officials said. He has not been publicly identified yet.
The NYPD identified the slain officer as 33-year-old Brian Mulkeen.
“We lost a hero this evening,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference outside Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx.
Mulkeen was patrolling the streets around a city apartment complex at around 12:30 a.m. as part of a unit investigating potential gang activity, Chief of Department Terence Monahan said.
Mulkeen and his partner tried to apprehend a man who had fled questioning, and a struggle on the ground ensued, Monahan said.
As the men wrestled, Mulkeen’s body camera recorded him saying, “He’s reaching for it! He’s reaching for it!”
“Officer Mulkeen’s gun fired five times,” Monahan said. “At this point, it is not clear who fired Officer Mulkeen’s gun.”
A .32-caliber revolver that police say belonged to the man was recovered. It had not been fired, Monahan said.
Monahan said the suspect was on probation until 2022 for a narcotics-related arrest last year and had several prior arrests, including a burglary conviction in Rockland County.
Mulkeen had served nearly seven years with the department and worked out of the 47th precinct. He lived with his girlfriend, an NYPD police officer in the Bronx’s 44th precinct.
Monahan called the officer “brave,” and said he was “doing the job we asked him to do, a job that New Yorkers needed him to do.”
The track and field program at Fordham University in the Bronx posted that Mulkeen was an alumnus, and had recently become a volunteer coach. The program said that as a student, he was part of the 2008 team that won the Metropolitan Outdoor Track & Field Championship, a first for the program.
“He was a remarkable human being. Everybody loved him,” the slain officer’s father, also Brian Mulkeen, told the New York Post.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, at an unrelated event, said Mulkeen “made the greatest sacrifice. He put his life on the line and he lost it in service to the people of this city.”
The NYPD has had a difficult year, with a number of tragic deaths.
Mulkeen is the second NYPD officer killed in the line of duty, following Detective Brian Simonsen, who was accidentally shot by fellow officers in February while confronting a robbery suspect.
“We’ve been here too often. We know the directions to get here,” Pat Lynch, the president of New York City’s Police Benevolent Association, said at the press conference. “It has to stop.”
Mulkeen’s death comes as the NYPD has declared a mental health emergency amid a spate of suicides by police officers. Nine NYPD officers have taken their own lives this year, a disturbing trend that is also happening throughout the country.

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The Latest: UK PM Johnson denies favors for US businesswoman
Sun, September 29, 2019 06:04 EDT
LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Britain’s departure from the European Union and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (all times local):
11 a.m.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he has “no interest to declare” in his links to an American businesswoman who allegedly received favorable treatment because of their friendship during his time as mayor of London.
Johnson was asked during a BBC interview on Sunday about his ties to Jennifer Arcuri after the Greater London Authority on Friday announced it was referring a “conduct matter” involving Johnson to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
The case arose from a Sunday Times report saying Arcuri was given money and privileged access while on trade missions that Johnson led as mayor of London. Johnson says “everything was done with full propriety.”
The independent office, which oversees police complaints in England, was asked to consider if there were grounds to investigate him for misconduct in public office.
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10 a.m.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged calm as tempers flare in the debate over Britain’s departure from the European Union, even though tempers are flaring over what he said.
A defiant Johnson told the BBC on Sunday that the “best thing for the country and for people’s overall psychological health would be to get Brexit done.”
Johnson admitted that tensions were high as lawmakers discussed the prospect of Britain leaving the EU by Oct. 31. But he defended the use of words such as “surrender” act to describe an opposition law ordering a Brexit delay and claimed he’s been a “model of restraint” in speaking about Brexit.
Johnson headed Sunday to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, where the party was expected to endorse government plans to spend more on the country’s National Health Service.

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AP Photos: Beijing preps to mark 70 years of communist rule
Sat, September 28, 2019 10:03 EDT
BEIJING (AP) — Patriotic banners, elaborate flower displays and tightened security are all on tap as the Chinese capital prepares to mark the 70th anniversary of Communist Party rule on Tuesday.
Several downtown buildings are illuminated at night by red lights — the color of the national flag — flashing the number “70” and the words “I love you China.” Passersby stop to pose for photos in front of a dozen flower installations along Chang’an Avenue, each with a different theme to showcase China’s achievements and prosperity.
The grand celebration on Oct. 1 will include a military parade and a mass pageant with about 100,000 citizen-performers. During rehearsals for the parade, roads were locked down, subway stations closed and access to buildings along the route shut as authorities tried to keep preparations out of public view.
Internet control has been stepped up. On Sept. 18, Hu Xijin, chief editor of the nationalist tabloid Global Times, wrote in a post that he later deleted from his Weibo short-messaging account that it was extremely difficult to view foreign websites, which affected the newspaper’s work. He said he deleted the post because it was going viral, and he wants discussion to be rational and smooth, and not get out of hand.
The message the party wants China’s citizenry to embrace is all about patriotism. Am sl
In trendy Sanlitun, a red heart shape with the words “I love China” in large yellow letters stands out in this hub of popular bars and high-end fashion outlets.

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Terrorism charge against SUV driver in suburban Chicago mall
Sun, September 29, 2019 05:11 EDT
SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (AP) — A man accused of driving an SUV through a suburban Chicago shopping mall was charged Sunday with a state terrorism and ordered held without bond.
Police in Schaumburg said the Cook County state’s attorney had authorized the charge against Javier Garcia, 22, of Palatine, Illinois. Garcia also was charged with felony criminal damage to property.
Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Annalee McGlone said during the bond hearing that on Sept. 20, Garcia drove his SUV through a Sears entrance into the common area of Woodfield Mall, weaving in and out of kiosks as shoppers ran for cover. No one was struck by the vehicle.
“Chaos ensued among the patrons of the mall. Hysterical patrons were running and jumping in attempts to evade the vehicle’s path. Stores were locking their gates and sheltering people in the rear of stores for safety purposes,” McGlone said.
Under Illinois law, the Class X felony of terrorism can apply if the suspect is believed to have caused more than $100,000 in damage to any building containing five or more businesses, according to a statement issued by Schaumburg Police Sgt. Karen McCarthy. No federal charges have been brought against Garcia.
Investigators said in a statement that they “believe Garcia acted alone, no motive has been determined.” He was released to police custody on Friday from the AMITA Health Behavioral Institute.
Defense attorney Amil Alkass said Garcia has no criminal history. He also noted his client takes psychiatric medications and is being treated for bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia.
“He’s definitely not a terrorist,” Alkass told the Chicago Sun-Times. “There was nobody targeted.”

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Lawyers fight for everyday women bringing #MeToo complaints
By DAVID CRARY | Sun, September 29, 2019 07:19 EDT
Jaribu Hill didn’t opt for law school until her early 40s. She’d been a singer, actress, teacher and labor organizer before learning a college classmate had become head of a group for black female judges. “I can do that, too,” she thought.
Hill has since become a leading civil rights and workers’ rights lawyer in Mississippi and now, at 70, she’s part of a nationwide network of attorneys helping women without much money pursue often-costly sexual misconduct cases.
“We’re looking for opportunities to lift up women who’ve never been lifted up,” Hill said.
She is among 721 attorneys inspired by the #MeToo movement who have signed up with the Times Up Legal Defense Fund since it launched last year. While the movement burst into the spotlight in October 2017 with celebrities and others accusing powerful men of sexual misconduct, the fund is reaching everyday working women who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford to take their complaints to court.
The Times Up fund, administered by the National Women’s Law Center, has received more than 3,670 requests for assistance and has funded 160 cases thanks to $24 million in donations.
The lawyers in its network hail from big law firms and small practices in 45 states. One is a Harvard Law School graduate who has represented truck drivers and laundry workers. Another is a Washington, D.C., attorney whose approach to discrimination cases evolved after losing his vision a decade ago.
The law center’s president, Fatima Goss Graves, praised their commitment.
“Workers who experience sexual harassment and retaliation across all industries now know there are attorneys who have their back,” she said.
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Hill was the first lawyer in Mississippi to receive support from the Times Up fund. The money helped her with a lawsuit from a black woman in her mid-50s who says she was sexually harassed by a co-worker at a regional bus line, then fired after complaining to her superiors.
Hill said the case will go to trial in February unless the bus company offers a “meaningful settlement.”
The plaintiff, Sandra Norman, “has always been a victim of the system,” Hill said. “But we should never assume just because someone’s been beaten down, they don’t have the courage to tell their story.”
Hill grew up in Ohio and chose the City University of New York for law school before founding the Mississippi Worker’s Center for Human Rights to advocate for low-wage workers.
The fund has enabled Hill to recruit investigators and law students to help her.
“We’re telling young lawyers: ‘If you’re brave enough and skilled enough to take these cases, there’s help out there,'” she said.
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Based in Washington, David Shaffer has challenged several federal law enforcement agencies — including the Secret Service — in civil rights class-action lawsuits from employees.
With help from the Time’s Up fund, he’s working on perhaps his highest-profile case: representing 16 female FBI recruits who allege gender discrimination. They sued in May over sexual harassment and unfair performance evaluations.
The case will extend into next year — perhaps longer — and Shaffer isn’t sure whether the FBI would consider a settlement.
Shaffer, 61, has considered himself a strong civil-rights advocate throughout his career, but his perspective evolved as he lost his vision over a two-year period starting when he was 49.
“That provided me a lot more insight into the world of people with disabilities,” he said. “I realized how much of the world was inaccessible to the blind and was in position to do something about it.”
He now juggles his practice with a job at Washington’s public transit agency, where he tries to make the metro system more accessible to vision-impaired riders.
Shaffer also is trying to mentor young blind lawyers and law students. His message to them: “You can do it.”
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Childhood memories of inequality stuck with Kathryn Youker as she started representing victims of racial and gender discrimination.
As a white child in the majority Hispanic city of Harlingen, Texas, “I saw inequality in a very stark and racist way,” she said. “I always questioned why I had opportunities available to me that my classmates and friends didn’t have.”
Now based in Brownsville — a twin city of Harlingen on the Mexican border — Youker, 44, coordinates labor and employment cases for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, which provides free services to thousands of low-income residents and migrant workers.
Many of her cases have involved workplace sexual harassment. One of her clients, Carmen Garza, won about a year’s pay in a March settlement after suing her employers for failing to protect her from sexual harassment while working as home care aide.
Youker is coordinating a Times Up grant to help Texas RioGrande expand community outreach on sexual harassment.
“We’re talking about how it’s happening here — in restaurants, in private homes,” she said. “It’s a very intimate discussion.”
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Philadelphia attorney Robert Vance, who has specialized in employment discrimination cases for four decades, says the fund is allowing him to help harassment victims who never could have paid legal bills on their own.
Vance represented Malin DeVoue, an African American woman who was fired as head cook at a Philadelphia hotel after complaining to managers that the hotel’s chief engineer was sexually harassing her.
The case was settled in June. The amount DeVoue received hasn’t been made public, but Vance said she is happy with the money and relieved to avoid a trial.
“Sexual harassment cases are difficult to do, because clients often have been fired and have no financial resources,” Vance said. “The fund is wonderful because you can devote as much time as the case requires.”
As an African American man, Vance finds it rewarding to represent minority women and help them gain confidence that their allegations will be believed.
“I’m motivated to represent them as zealously and successfully as I can because I know what my family’s female members go through,” he said.
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Eve Cervantez enrolled in Harvard Law School anticipating a career in international law. After campus activism changed her outlook, she’s spent more than 25 years championing workers who have faced mistreatment and discrimination.
Working for the San Francisco-based public interest law firm Altshuler Berzon, Cervantez’s clients in class-action lawsuits have included pizza delivery drivers, auto mechanics and bank tellers.
With Times Up’s support, she’s handling sexual harassment complaints that several dozen McDonald’s workers in numerous cities filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The women alleged groping, propositions for sex, indecent exposure and lewd comments by supervisors. They say they were ignored or mocked, and in some cases faced retaliation, after making their allegations.
Cervantez’s team has asked the federal agency to consolidate the complaints and investigate whether McDonald’s has systemic harassment problems.
“The goal is not just about money,” said Cervantez, 55. “It’s about changing practices going forward so employers treat people fairly.”
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Crary reported from New York.

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Spanish island of Tenerife suffers massive power outage
Sun, September 29, 2019 04:16 EDT
MADRID (AP) — A major power outage in Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands left nearly 1 million people without electricity, authorities said Sunday.
The local government said that the outage had affected “the entire island,” but that emergency generators were working for basic services such as hospitals. Within hours, Spain’s electrical network said 65% of power had been restored.
Emergency services said crews had responded to over 700 incidents related to the blackout by evening. Officials said the calls mostly involved people trapped in elevators, alarms that were triggered, and doors that had to be forced open.
Patricia Hernández, the mayor of Tenerife’s capital, told Cadena SER that authorities were investigating the cause of the outage.
Tenerife is part of the Spain’s Canary Islands archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean off the northwestern coast of Africa. A key tourist destination, the islands have over 900,000 residents in addition to hosting tens of thousands of tourists and dozens of cruise ships each year.

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More violence grips Hong Kong ahead of China’s National Day
By EILEEN NG 11:40 EDT
HONG KONG (AP) — Protesters and police clashed in Hong Kong for a second straight day on Sunday, throwing the semiautonomous Chinese territory’s business and shopping belt into chaos and sparking fears of more ugly scenes leading up to China’s National Day holiday this week.
Riot police repeatedly fired blue liquid — used to identify protesters — from a water cannon truck and multiple volleys of tear gas after demonstrators hurled Molotov cocktails at officers and targeted the city’s government office complex.
It was a repeat of Saturday’s clashes and part of a familiar cycle since pro-democracy protests began in early June. The protests were sparked by a now-shelved extradition bill and have since snowballed into an anti-China movement.
“We know that in the face of the world’s largest totalitarian regime — to Quote: Captain America, ‘Whatever it takes,'” Justin Leung, a 21-year-old demonstrator who covered his mouth with a black scarf, said of the violent methods deployed by hard-line protesters. “The consensus right now is that everyone’s methods are valid and we all do our part.”
Protesters are planning to march again Tuesday despite a police ban, raising fears of more violent confrontations that would embarrass Chinese President Xi Jinping as his ruling Communist Party marks 70 years since taking power. Posters are calling for Oct. 1 to be marked as “A Day of Grief.”
“So many youngsters feel that they’re going to have no future because of the power of China,” Andy Yeung, 40, said as he pushed his toddler in a stroller. “It’s hopeless for Hong Kong. If we don’t stand up, there will be no hope.”
Hong Kong’s government has already scaled down the city’s National Day celebrations, canceling an annual fireworks display and moving a reception indoors.
Despite security concerns, the government said Sunday that Chief Executive Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s leader, will lead a delegation of over 240 people to Beijing on Monday to participate in National Day festivities.
Sunday’s turmoil started in the early afternoon when police fired tear gas to disperse a large crowd that had amassed in the popular Causeway Bay shopping district. But thousands of people regrouped and defiantly marched along a main thoroughfare toward government offices, crippling traffic.
Protesters, many clad in black with umbrellas and carrying pro-democracy posters and foreign flags, sang songs and chanted “Stand with Hong Kong, fight for freedom.” Some defaced, tore down and burned National Day congratulatory signs, setting off a huge blaze on the street. Others smashed windows and lobbed gasoline bombs into subway exits that had been shuttered.
Police then fired a water cannon and tear gas as the crowd approached the government office complex. Most fled but hundreds returned, hurling objects into the complex.
Members of an elite police squad, commonly known as raptors, then charged out suddenly from behind barricades, taking many protesters by surprise. Several who failed to flee in time were subdued and detained in a scene of chaos.
The raptors, backed by scores of riot police, pursued protesters down roads to nearby areas. Officers continued to fire a water cannon and more tear gas, and the cat-and-mouse clashes lasted late into the night. Streets were left littered with graffiti on walls and debris.
The demonstration was part of global “anti-totalitarianism” rallies to denounce “Chinese tyranny.” Thousands rallied in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, while more than 1,000 took part in a rally in Sydney.
The protracted unrest, approaching four months long, has battered Hong Kong’s economy, with businesses and tourism plunging.
Chief Executive Lam held her first community dialogue with the public on Thursday in a bid to defuse tensions but failed to persuade protesters, who vowed to press on until their demands are met, including direct elections for the city’s leaders and police accountability.
Earlier Sunday, hundreds of pro-Beijing Hong Kong residents sang the Chinese national anthem and waved red flags at the Victoria Peak hilltop and a waterfront cultural center in a show of support for Chinese rule.
“We want to take this time for the people to express our love for our country, China. We want to show the international community that there is another voice to Hong Kong” apart from the protests, said organizer Innes Tang.
Mobs of Beijing supporters have appeared in malls and on the streets in recent weeks to counter pro-democracy protesters, leading to brawls between the rival camps.
Many people view the extradition bill, which would have sent criminal suspects to mainland China for trial, as a glaring example of the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy when the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
China has denied chipping away at Hong Kong’s freedoms and accused the U.S. and other foreign powers of fomenting the unrest to weaken its dominance.
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Associated Press journalists Ken Moritsugu in Beijing and Katie Lam and John Leicester in Hong Kong contributed to this report.

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Austrians boost Kurz’s conservatives, Greens in snap poll
By PHILIPP JENNE and FRANK JORDANS 03:31 EDT
VIENNA (AP) — Austrian ex-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is poised for a return to power, after his conservative People’s Party won a snap election Sunday that was called following the collapse of his government with the far-right Freedom Party in May.
Kurz’s party was expected to get 37.1% of the vote in parliamentary elections, a gain of 5.7 percentage points compared with 2017, according to projections released by public broadcaster ORF.
“Today, the people have voted us back in again,” Kurz, 33, told cheering supporters after the election, even as he refrained from saying which party he would seek to form a new government with.
The environmentalist Greens are one possible option. The party, which failed to enter parliament two years ago, looked set for a big comeback and was projected to get 14% of the vote. Austrians, like voters elsewhere in Europe, have expressed increasing concern over the past year about climate change, the party’s core topic.
The far-right Freedom Party was forecast to lose almost 10 percentage points and come third with 16.1%, a sign that voters were punishing the party for a leaked video that showed its long-time leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, appearing to offer favors to a purported Russian investor. The center-left Social Democrats were projected to come second with 21.7%, a loss of over 5 percentage points compared with 2017.
The Alpine country of 8.8 million has been run by a non-partisan interim administration since June, after Kurz pulled the plug on his coalition with the Freedom Party over the Strache video. The footage, published by German news outlets Der Spiegel and Sueddeutsche Zeitung, showed Strache pandering to a woman claiming to be a Russian tycoon’s niece at a boozy gathering in Ibiza two years ago.
About 6.4 million Austrians aged 16 and older were eligible to vote. The turnout was 75.5%.
Speaking alongside other party leaders late Sunday, Kurz said his 17-month alliance with the Freedom Party had been “very good” until the Ibiza video was published and pledged to hold talks with all parties represented in parliament.
The Freedom Party, whose anti-migrant message failed to resonate so strongly with voters this time, indicated it would prefer a spell in opposition.
“A party needs to learn from the mistakes of the past and rebuild itself,” said the Freedom Party’s new leader, Norbert Hofer.
The Social Democrats, who have led many of post-World War II Austria’s governing coalitions, remain a possible junior partner, having failed to capitalize on the government’s collapse under leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner.
“It’s not what we hoped for. It’s not what we fought for,” she said after the party received its worst result since 1945.
Despite their political proximity, a coalition between Kurz’s party and the pro-business Neos appeared unlikely after the latter received just 7.8% of the vote.
Werner Kogler, heads of the Austrian Greens, acknowledged that his party benefited from the growing emphasis placed on fighting climate change, particularly among young voters.
“We want to be able to look them in the eyes,” he said when asked about the possibility of joining a future government.
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Frank Jordans contributed from Berlin.

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The Latest: Taiwanese march in support of HK protests
Sun, September 29, 2019 06:32 EDT
HONG KONG (AP) — The Latest on protests in Hong Kong (all times local):
6:30 p.m.
Thousands of people have marched in Taiwan in support of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests.
Spurred by anti-China cries from loudspeakers, demonstrators took to the streets of Taipei, the capital, on Sunday despite heavy rain. Most wore black and a few donned gas masks, both symbols of the Hong Kong protests.
Protester Lin Shu-lian, a 50-year-old office worker, said she is saddened that people in Hong Kong have lost their freedom. She added: “I hope Taiwanese can send a signal that we won’t become the next Hong Kong.”
Hong Kong is a former British colony that was returned to China in 1997. The semiautonomous city has more freedoms than mainland China, but protesters feel those freedoms are being eroded.
Taiwan is a self-governing island that split from the mainland in 1949. Government surveys indicate that most Taiwanese oppose unification with China.
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5:20 p.m.
Members of an elite police squad have charged out from behind barricades surrounding the Hong Kong government office complex, after protesters continued to throw objects and attempted to scale the barriers despite police use of a water cannon earlier.
The sudden appearance of the officers, commonly known as raptors, took many protesters by surprise Sunday and a number who failed to flee in time were subdued and detained in a scene of chaos.
Hundreds of protesters had regrouped again after retreating earlier when a water cannon truck sprayed blue water to disperse the crowd. They sprayed graffiti and hurled objects over the barricades.
The police squad, backed by scores of riot officers, suddenly streamed out and pursued protesters down roads to nearby areas. They continued to fire multiple rounds of tear gas in the continuing cat-and-mouse battle.
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4:40 p.m.
Riot police in Hong Kong have fired a water cannon and more rounds of tear gas to block protesters from advancing toward the government office complex in the city’s downtown area.
A march by thousands of people who defied a police ban appeared to have fizzled Sunday after riot police used tear gas to disperse the crowd at several spots as they headed toward government headquarters.
A water cannon truck positioned behind barricades surrounding government buildings sprayed blue liquid used to identify protesters, forcing demonstrators to retreat. The scene was similar to clashes on Saturday, when protesters targeted the government complex.
At another street nearby, dozens of black-clad protesters wearing gas masks used their umbrellas to form a shield as they stayed a few hundred meters away from a police cordon. Some picked up tear gas canisters shot at them and threw them back toward the police officers.
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3:25 p.m.
Thousands of protesters have regrouped after police fired tear gas at them and are marching along a thoroughfare in downtown Hong Kong, defying a police ban.
The protesters, some clad in black and carrying umbrellas and pro-democracy posters, are signing songs and chanting “Stand with Hong Kong, fight for freedom” as they took over a stretch of a road over 1 kilometer (1.6 mile) long and heading toward the government office complex.
Many fled earlier after riot police fired multiple rounds of tear gas to disperse a large crowd that amassed at the Causeway Bay shopping area. But protesters returned and started their march shortly after. Some are carrying American and British flags.
Some of them sprayed graffiti along walls and smashed windows at a subway exit. A police helicopter is hovering above.
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2:25 p.m.
Riot police have thrown tear gas and cordoned off part of a street at Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay shopping belt after a large crowd started to amass for an anti-China rally ahead of Tuesday’s National Day celebrations.
Protesters chanted slogans and heckled police as they were pushed back behind a police line. The atmosphere is tense as police warned the crowd they were taking part in an illegal assembly. Officers fired tear gas canisters after some protesters threw bottles and other objects in their direction.
Police earlier searched some protesters and several people were detained. The crowd has swelled to more than 1,000 people, with many spilling into adjacent streets.
Sunday’s gathering, a continuation of monthslong protests for greater democracy, is part of global “anti-totalitarianism” rallies planned in over 60 cities worldwide to denounce “Chinese tyranny.”
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12:05 p.m.
Hundreds of pro-Beijing supporters in Hong Kong sang the Chinese national anthem and waved red flags ahead of China’s National Day to counter pro-democracy protests viewed as a challenge to Beijing’s rule.
Sunday’s show of support for Beijing comes a day after fresh violence in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory, with police firing tear gas and water cannons after protesters threw bricks and firebombs at government buildings following a massive rally.
The protests began in June over a now-shelved extradition bill but have snowballed into demands for democratic reforms.
Organizer Innes Tang says Sunday’s event is aimed at backing Chinese sovereignty and calling for peaceful celebrations amid plans for a major protest march that could mar Tuesday’s festivities for the 70th anniversary of the Communist Party taking power.

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Chinese parade a glimpse into military ambitions
By JOE McDONALD | Sat, September 28, 2019 10:03 EDT
BEIJING (AP) — A parade Tuesday by China’s secretive military will offer a rare look at its rapidly developing arsenal, including possibly a nuclear-armed missile that could reach the United States in 30 minutes, as Beijing gets closer to matching Washington and other powers in weapons technology.
The Dongfeng 41 is one of a series of new weapons Chinese media say might be unveiled during the parade marking the ruling Communist Party’s 70th anniversary in power. Others include a supersonic drone and a robot submarine.
The parade will highlight Beijing’s ambition to enforce claims to Taiwan, the South China Sea and other disputed territories — and to challenge Washington as the region’s dominant force.
The People’s Liberation Army, the world’s biggest military with 2 million men and women in uniform and the second-highest annual spending after the United States, also is working on fighter planes, the first Chinese-built aircraft carrier and nuclear-powered submarines.
“There are quite a lot of observers, including the U.S. military, who say, ‘This is getting close to what we do,’ and they are starting to worry,” said Siemon Wezeman of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Tuesday’s parade will include 15,000 troops, more than 160 aircraft and 580 pieces of military equipment, according to Ministry of Defense spokesman Maj. Gen. Cai Zhijun.
Many new weapons “will be shown for the first time,” Cai told reporters last week. Asked whether that would include the Dongfeng 41, Cai said, “Please wait and see.”
The ability to project power is increasingly urgent for Chinese leaders who want to control shipping lanes and waters also claimed by Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines and other governments.
“China has developed nuclear, space, cyberspace and other capabilities that can reach potential adversaries across the globe,” the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency said in a report in January.
Last year’s spending on the PLA rose 5% to $250 billion, or about 10 times its 1994 level, according to SIPRI. The United States, with a force of 1.3 million, was far ahead at $650 billion, or more than 2½ times China’s level.
Beijing is regarded, along with the United States, as a leader in drone aircraft, which it sells in the Middle East.
“In unpiloted aerial vehicles, China has made a lot of progress in recent years and has a vast array of systems under development,” said Harry Boyd of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.
No details of the Dongfeng 41 have been released, but the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington says it may have the world’s longest range at 15,000 kilometers (9,400 miles).
Analysts say the DF-41, flying at 25 times the speed of sound, might be able to reach the United States in 30 minutes with up to 10 warheads for separate targets — a technology known as MIRV, or multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles.
China’s current mainstay missile, the Dongfeng 31, has a range of more than 11,200 kilometers (6,990 miles) that puts most of the continental United States within reach.
Photos circulated on Chinese social media of parade preparations show blurry images of a possible attack drone dubbed “Sharp Sword” and another drone, the DR-8 or Wuzhen 8.
The parade also might give more subtle signs of China’s plans, said Wezeman.
Airborne tankers or marines in amphibious vehicles could “indicate the importance of long-range intervention,” he said. Air defense missiles might show Beijing is preparing for war with the United States or another advanced opponent.
Analysts want to know about Chinese software, electronics and wireless control networks, said Wezeman.
“Ten vehicles full of antennas may give an indication that is something that is becoming more important for China,” he said.
If mobile launchers for nuclear missiles are displayed, that might help to shed light on how Beijing sees “the challenge of maintaining credibility with their nuclear deterrent,” Boyd said.
China has about 280 nuclear warheads, compared with 6,450 for the United States and 6,850 for Russia, according to SIPRI. Beijing says it wants a “minimum credible nuclear deterrent” but won’t be the first to use atomic weapons in a conflict.
Mobile launchers “would make it more difficult for any potential enemy to do a first strike,” said Boyd.
Satellite photos show China is increasing the number of launchers for DF-41 and DF-31 missiles from 18 to as many as 36, Boyd said.
That suggests planners believe that minimum nuclear force “needs to be larger,” he said. “It needs to have more advanced systems with MIRV capability to remain credible, in their eyes.”

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Security bristles around Texas police shooting trial
By JAKE BLEIBERG | Fri, September 27, 2019 12:07 EDT
DALLAS (AP) — Four Texas officers carrying handguns wait in the dim early morning light for a petite 31-year-old woman to arrive.
When Amber Guyger emerges from a black SUV, she is guarded by men with dark suits and close-cropped hair. The armed officers join them, forming a perimeter around Guyger as she walks toward a side door of the yet-to open Dallas courthouse.
The tension is palpable in Dallas as the white former police officer is on trial for murder in the fatal shooting last September of her unarmed black neighbor, Botham Jean.
Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata says the intense media attention and controversy around Jean’s death have led to threats that prompted them to pay for additional private security for Guyger and her attorneys. He declined to discuss the threats.
The concern about police safety follows an attack three years ago that left five Dallas officers dead. A man angry over the killing of black men by police across the nation, opened fire at the end of a protest, in the deadliest incident against U.S. law enforcement since 9/11.
As Guyger prepares to testify at her trial, there also is anxiety that if she is acquitted it could spark unrest in Dallas like in Ferguson, Missouri, where no charges were filed against a white policeman who killed Michael Brown in 2014, and protests spawned the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
“There’s definitely that kind of foreboding sense of a storm coming,” said Changa Higgins, a community activist. “If this trial doesn’t get the kind of outcome that people want, and that they really need to have hope, then we may see the same type of reaction that we’ve seen historically around the country when people lose hope, and feel like they have nothing to lose and they can’t look to the justice system to get justice.”
The basic facts of the unusual shooting are not in dispute. Guyger walked up to Jean’s apartment — which was on the fourth floor, directly above hers on the third — and found the door unlocked. She was off duty but still dressed in her police uniform after a long shift when she shot Jean with her service weapon. Guyger was later arrested , fired and charged with murder.
Guyger’s lawyer’s have called the killing a “tragic, but innocent” mistake and say she fired in self-defense after confusing Jean’s apartment with her own and mistaking the 26-year-old accountant from the Caribbean nation of St. Lucia for a burglar. Prosecutors have questioned how she could have missed numerous signs that she was at the wrong apartment.
Dallas police have limited the time off scheduled for officers during the trial, which overlaps the Texas State Fair, but declined to comment further on security preparations. Mayor Eric Johnson said through a spokesman that it would be inappropriate for him to discuss the case while the trial is ongoing. In January, a judge issued a gag order, barring the lawyers involved from speaking about the case in publicly.
A jury will have to decide whether Guyger committed murder, a lesser offense such as manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide, or no crime at all. Even before the jurors were sworn in Monday, the strain of the case was visible.
Inside the courthouse, a crush of people passed through two security screenings before gathering outside the room where the trial is being held. Members of Guyger’s and Jean’s families were allowed in first, but reporters and activists jostled for the few remaining seats, with many being turned away. At various points, a sheriff’s deputy raised his voice to tell people not to push.
The Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, which handles security within the courtroom, has brought on additional officers for the trial. A department spokesman, Raul Reyna, declined to elaborate on their security procedures.
The county Fire Marshals oversee security in the rest of the court building. They are having four officers come in early and four stay late during the trial, said Fire Marshal Robert De Los Santos, who likewise would not give more detail on how the courthouse is secured.
De Los Santos said there have been other cases where his officers have taken similar precautions. But the Dallas Police Association president said Guyger’s trail is the first they’ve had to hire security for their lawyers or an officer.
There have been other police shootings “but it has never reached the level of this,” said Mata.
Threats in court cases with national prominence are not unusual, according to Herman Weisberg, a former New York City Police Department detective and security consultant.
Weisberg got Harvey Weinstein in and out of a New York City court before the movie mogul changed lawyers in his sexual assault trial. He said things are “pretty comfortable” inside court but that coming and going through crowds of protesters and reporters can be dicey for defendants and their lawyers alike.
“I’ve got several cases going where the attorneys might as well have done the alleged act themselves,” Weisberg said.
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Dallas photographer L.M. Otero contributed to this report.
Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Chicago teachers authorize their leaders to call a strike
Associated Press | Fri, September 27, 2019 12:09 EDT
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago teachers have voted to authorize their union leaders to call a strike, setting the stage for a possible work stoppage next month in the nation’s third-largest school district, officials announced Thursday.
Chicago Teachers Union delegates are set to meet next week to set a deadline for a strike, though the earliest one could happen is Oct. 7.
The union and the school district have been negotiating for months over the issues including pay, benefits and staffing shortages. The union argues that years of budget cuts have short-changed schools, resulting in overcrowded classrooms and far fewer nurses and librarians.
After three days of voting, union leaders announced that 94 percent of the votes counted backed giving leaders the authority to call a strike.
“Our school communities are desperately short of nurses, social workers, psychologists, counselors and other support staff, even as our students struggle with high levels of trauma driven by poverty and neighborhood violence,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said in a statement. “This vote represents a true mandate for change.”
Officials with Chicago Public Schools say the district has made improvements in recent years, thanks in part to additional revenue from a property tax hike and the state’s revamped school funding formula. They say they’ve offered general salary raises, but the union disagrees.
The union, which represents roughly 24,000 educators, wants a 15% total percent raise over a three-year contract. The district has offered a 16% total raise over a five-year contract. Other issues include class size, sanctuary protections for students and elementary school prep time.
Chicago’s last major teachers strike was in 2012 and it lasted seven school days. But the tone and issues are far different this time. The mayor then, Rahm Emanuel, had a more contentious relationship with the union than the current mayor, Lori Lightfoot, and the district’s finances were shakier.
The contract dispute is one of Lightfoot’s first major tests as mayor, as she took office earlier this year.
Earlier on Thursday, Lightfoot said representatives should be negotiating 24 hours a day, seven days a week to get a deal.
“Having a strike would be catastrophic for the learning environment for our kids,” Lightfoot said.
After the strike vote was announced, Lightfoot issued a statement saying that the city remained committed to reaching a negotiated settlement.
Other school employee unions, including custodians and bus drivers, are also in contract fights that could lead to simultaneous strikes.
Roughly 400,000 students attend district schools.

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Democrats in South’s governor races hit hurdle: Impeachment
By BRUCE SCHREINER, MELINDA DESLATTE and EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS | Sat, September 28, 2019 02:13 EDT
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — On Thursday, as President Donald Trump mused about a possible “spy” in the White House, Democrats alleged a “cover-up” and Washington fired up the gears of impeachment, the Democratic candidate for governor in Kentucky, Andy Beshear, was politely shaking hands at a senior center.
He vowed to crack down on robocalls that target the elderly and talked about combating the cost of prescription drugs. For a few minutes, in a corner of this center, it was a Trump-free zone.
Beshear and other Southern Democrats running for governor this fall want to keep it that way.
While Democrats in Washington charge ahead with an impeachment inquiry, their party’s candidates for governor in Kentucky, Mississippi and Louisiana are doing all they can to steer the conversation away from Trump and toward safer ground back home. As red-state Democrats, their best chance at winning is to sell their platforms and personalities — not their partisan affiliation — and keep their distance from the turmoil in Washington.
House Democrats’ decision to launch an impeachment inquiry has undoubtedly made that harder. The ugly debate suddenly threatens to turn their races into the first test of the unpredictable politics of the impeachment, a gauge on how effectively Democrats can focus voters on issues amid partisan warfare.
For Republicans who’ve been working to nationalize their races all along, the impeachment news couldn’t have come at a better time. In Kentucky, Beshear is locked in a close race with Gov. Matt Bevin, a Trump loyalist with a slash-and-burn style similar to the president’s.
“Republicans are circling the wagons, and Bevin is helping lead that charge,” longtime Kentucky political commentator Al Cross said in an interview. “He’s likely to benefit, at least at the start. But nobody knows how this thing is going to play out.”
Trump, who easily carried Kentucky in 2016, remains a commanding presence in the bluegrass state. His appearance at a mid-October rally for an endangered Republican congressman was seen as crucial in the Kentucky incumbent’s reelection in 2018. Bevin often plays up his ties to the president in campaign ads, tweets and speeches.
The state Republican Party quickly challenged Beshear to “stop hiding” and take a stand on whether he supports impeaching Trump.
Beshear, a state attorney general whose affable demeanor cuts a contrast to Bevin’s bombast, wouldn’t bite.
“As Kentucky’s top prosecutor, I make my decisions based on facts and evidence. And all I have right now are news stories,” he said in an interview, making no reference to the two public documents fueling charges that Trump abused his power by asking a foreign leader to investigate a political rival. The White House has released a loose transcript of a phone call in which Trump pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Joe Biden. The call is part of a whistleblower’s complaint, which is also public.
“My hope, if they choose to proceed, is that they set it up in a non-partisan way that is focused on getting to the truth and evidence, and not scoring political points,” Beshear said.
Asked if he thinks Trump committed impeachable offenses, Beshear said he didn’t “have evidence or facts to make that conclusion.”
In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards was directly critical of his party’s move toward impeachment. He said the probe makes it harder for Congress to work across party lines to deal with the nation’s business.
“This is at least a distraction that’s going to keep the federal government from actually governing, and you know it’s hard enough for them to do that anyway,” Edwards said Wednesday in an interview.
Edwards, who leads in the polls, faces two major Republican opponents in the Oct. 12 primary. Under Louisiana’s election rules, all candidates, regardless of party, run on the same ballot. If no candidate tops 50% of the vote, the governor’s race will be decided in a November runoff between the top two vote-getters.
Mississippi Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Hood, the state attorney general, took a similar approach, using the moment to contrast the partisan discord in Washington with his efforts to work with Republicans.
“I’m focused on our race for governor and on the local issues affecting Mississippi such as education, roads and bridges and health care,” Hood said in a statement provided by his campaign after The Associated Press requested an interview on the matter. “All of the craziness and gridlock in Washington has created a positive response here in Mississippi, where moderates in both parties are coming together to move our state forward.”
The focus on bipartisanship is political necessity. Hood is Mississippi’s only Democrat elected statewide, and Republicans control both chambers of the legislature. Trump won the state by nearly 19 percentage points. Trump ran even stronger in Kentucky — winning by 30 percentage points. Republicans hold both U.S. Senate seats, all but one of the House seats, the governorship and both chambers of the legislature.
The partisan hurdles aside, Beshear says his focus is on “kitchen table issues” that matter most to voters in the bluegrass state — public education, health care, jobs and pension security.
“That’s what this race is going to be decided on,” Beshear said, after his remarks at the senior center. “Kentucky voters are smart enough to know that a governor has nothing to do with whether an impeachment proceeding moves forward or not.”
Tommy Evans, a driver at the facility, may prove Beshear’s case. He sees political motivations behind the Democratic-led inquiry of the Republican president.
“I just think they’ve been trying to get rid of him ever since he got in,” he said.
But Evans didn’t blame Beshear. He said he hasn’t picked a candidate, and he mentioned a Kentucky-specific issue — Bevin’s feud with some public education groups — as something he’ll weigh when deciding who to support.
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Deslatte reported from Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Wagster Pettus reported from Jackson, Mississippi.

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Nature group: 58% of Europe’s native trees are threatened
Fri, September 27, 2019 06:32 EDT
GENEVA (AP) — An international conservation group is warning that more than half of the trees in Europe that exist nowhere else in the world are threatened with extinction.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature says in their latest assessment of Europe’s biodiversity that 58% of the 454 trees species native to the continent are threatened, and 15% are “critically endangered” — one step away from extinction.
IUCN, a 71-year-old organization perhaps best known for its “Red List” classification of threatened species, said that “invasive and problematic” species are the top threat to European trees. It cited urban development and “unsustainable logging” as other factors.
IUCN Europe director Luc Bas said “human-led activities” were resulting in population declines of important tree species. More than 150 experts contributed to the project.

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Here's Robert De Niro firing F-bombs at Fox News, live on CNN

Here’s Robert De Niro firing F-bombs at Fox News, live on CNN

We can always count on Robert De Niro to drop some F-bombs on live television. The actor appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources Sunday morning to discuss backlash he’s received from Fox News for speaking out against Donald Trump. (In particular, the network took …

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Elon Musk brought little news but lots of hype for the SpaceX Starship

SpaceX’s much-heralded Starship reveal on Saturday night was undone somewhat by the fact that it’s hard to maintain secrecy with a 165-foot vehicle. The Elon Musk-hosted evening presentation in Boca Chica, Texas gave viewers on the ground and watching from ho…

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Find Out Where Your Local Rep Stands on Impeachment

In case you’ve missed the news this week—and avoided social media entirely—on Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump. This announcement comes in response to Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president a…

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How to Hide Memojis in iOS 13 and iPadOS 13

Memojis have been added to the iPad and iPhone keyboard in iPad and iOS 13, which is great news if you’re a fan of oddly creepy, personalized lookalikes. If you’re not one of those people, then you may find this inclusion a bit annoying—they take up a surpris…

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Enjoy This Peach-Mint Cocktail for No Particular Reason

What a week it has been. A lot going on. I don’t know how you like to relax, but if your weekend plans involve catching up on the news and political discourse, might I suggest you make yourself this delicious peach-mint cocktail before logging on. Read more…

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EarthLink – News

EarthLink – News

At UN, a world stage for disputes often out of the spotlight
By JENNIFER PELTZ | Sat, September 28, 2019 09:29 EDT
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Middle East. Trade tensions. Iran’s nuclear program. Venezuela’s power struggle. Civil wars in Syria and Yemen. Familiar flash points such as these got plenty of airtime at the U.N. General Assembly’s big annual gathering this week.
But some leaders used their time on the world stage to highlight international conflicts and disputes that don’t usually command the same global attention.
A look at some of the less-discussed controversies trying to be heard:
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NAGORNO-KARABAKH
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan landed one of the coveted first few speaking slots, and he devoted a bit of his wide-ranging speech to a clash in the Caucasus: a standoff between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The mountainous, ethnic Armenian area of about 150,000 people is recognized as part of Azerbaijan in U.N. Security Council resolutions dating to the 1990s. But Nagorno-Karabakh and some neighboring districts have been under the control of local ethnic Armenian forces, backed by Armenia, since a six-year separatist war ended in 1994.
Both Azerbaijan and Turkey have closed their borders with Armenia because of the conflict, cutting trade and leaving Armenia with direct land access only to Georgia and Iran.
Russia, the U.S. and France have co-chaired the so-called Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, attempting to broker an end to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
At the General Assembly, Armenia and Azerbaijan accused one another of obstructing the path toward a peaceful settlement.
“No progress has been achieved” in the past year, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said Saturday, blaming “the apparent lack of genuine interest” on the Armenian side.
Days earlier, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian complained that Azerbaijan’s leaders “don’t want to seek any compromise.”
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NORTH MACEDONIA
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ “state of the world” address was largely a grim one , but he pointed to a few matters moving “in promising directions” — among them relations between Greece and the new Republic of North Macedonia.
Greece and what the U.N. cumbersomely used to call the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” sparred for nearly three decades over the latter’s name. It was adopted when the nation, which has a current population of about 2.1 million, declared independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991.
Greece said the use of “Macedonia” implied territorial claims on its own northern province of the same name and its ancient Greek heritage, not least as the birthplace of ancient warrior king Alexander the Great. Athens blocked its Balkan neighbor’s path to NATO and EU membership over the nomenclature clash.
It became “infamous as a difficult and irresolvable problem,” in the words of now-North Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.
Repeated rounds of U.N.-mediated negotiations proved fruitless until June 2018, when the Skopje government agreed to change the country’s name to North Macedonia. The switch took effect this February.
European Council President Donald Tusk said this month that North Macedonia is now ready to start EU membership talks. It expects to become the 30th NATO member soon.
The deal has been contentious within both countries, though, with critics accusing their governments of giving up too much. Regardless, North Macedonia’s prime minister highlighted it with pride from the world’s premier diplomatic podium.
“We can see nothing but benefits from settling the difference,” Zaev said, calling it “an example for overcoming difficult deadlocks worldwide.”
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis didn’t dilate on the deal, saying only that his country supports EU bids by all the western Balkan countries if they respect their obligations to the EU and their neighbors.
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WESTERN SAHARA
A mostly desert expanse along the northwest coast of Africa, Western Sahara has been a center of friction between Morocco and Algeria for almost half a century.
Morocco annexed the phosphate- and fishing-rich former Spanish colony in 1975, then fought the Algerian-backed Polisario Front independence movement until 1991, when the U.N. brokered a cease-fire and established a peacekeeping mission to monitor the truce and facilitate a referendum on the territory’s future.
The vote has never happened. Morocco has proposed wide-ranging autonomy for Western Sahara, while the Polisario Front insists that Western Sahara’s Sahrawi people — a population the independence movement estimates at 350,000 to 500,000 — have the right to a referendum.
Last year, the U.N. Security Council called for stepping up efforts to reach a solution to the dispute.
A U.N. envoy brought representatives of Morocco, the Polisario Front, Algeria and neighboring Mauritania together last December for the first time in six years, followed by a second meeting in March. But the issue of how to provide for self-determination remains a key sticking point.
The envoy, former German President Horst Kohler, resigned in May for health reasons.
At the General Assembly, Moroccan Prime Minister Saad-Eddine El Othmani said his country’s autonomy proposal “is the solution,” while Algerian Foreign Minister Sabri Boukadoum reiterated hopes for Western Sahara residents “to be able to exercise their legitimate right to self-determination.”
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CYPRUS
A U.N.-controlled buffer zone that cuts across the city of Nicosia evinces a fraught distinction: Cyprus is the last European country to have a divided capital.
After 45 years, could that finally change? There’s “a glimmer of hope,” Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades told to the assembly.
The eastern Mediterranean island has been split into an internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south and a breakaway Turkish Cypriot north since 1974, when Turkey invaded following a coup by supporters of uniting the island with Greece. Turkey continues to maintain more than 35,000 troops in the northern third of the island, which only Turkey recognizes as an independent state. The U.N. also has a peacekeeping force in Cyprus.
Tensions have ticked up lately, particularly over natural gas exploration in waters in the internationally recognized state’s exclusive economic zone. Turkey is also drilling there, saying it’s defending Turkish Cypriots’ rights to energy reserves.
On-and-off talks about reunification have spanned decades.
Greek Cypriots have rejected Turkish Cypriots’ demands for a permanent Turkish troop presence and veto power in government decisions in a future federated Cyprus. Turkish Cypriots, meanwhile, want parity in federal decision-making, believing they would otherwise be relegated to junior partners to the majority Greek Cypriots.
A U.N. envoy made a shuttle-diplomacy effort in recent weeks in hopes of paving the way for formal talks, and Anastasiades suggested in his General Assembly speech there was some agreement on starting points for potential discussion. But he also complained that Turkey’s drilling and other activities “severely undermine” the prospect of negotiations.
Turkey’s Erdogan, meanwhile, complained about “the uncompromising position” of the Greek Cypriots.
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BELIZE-GUATEMALA
It’s been a big year in a centuries-old argument between Belize and Guatemala.
Guatemala claims more than 4,000 square miles (10,350 square kilometers) of terrain administered by Belize — essentially the southern half of Belize. It’s an area of nature reserves, scattered farming villages and fishing towns, and some Caribbean beach tourism destinations.
The dispute’s roots stretch to the 19th century, when Britain controlled Belize and Spain ruled Guatemala.
Guatemala, which became independent in 1821, argues that it inherited a Spanish claim on the territory. Belize considers Guatemala’s claim unfounded and says the borders were defined by an 1859 agreement between Guatemala and Britain (Belize remained a British colony until 1981).
The land spat has strained diplomatic relations and at times even affected air travel between the two Central American countries.
Belize and Guatemala agreed in 2008 to ask the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, for a binding ruling. Guatemalans voters gave their assent to the plan in a referendum last year, and Belizeans gave their approval this May.
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales celebrated the developments in his General Assembly speech.
“This is a milestone for Guatemala, for Central America and for the world,” he said, emphasizing the peaceful process toward resolving the disagreement. “Currently, bilateral relations between Guatemala and Belize are the best they’ve ever been.”
Belizean Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington told the assembly Saturday that his country also looked forward to resolving “an age-old, atavistic claim that has hindered Belize’s development” and undercut friendship between the countries.
“We in Belize certainly have the most fervent wish to live side by side with the government and people of Guatemala in peace, harmony and close cooperation,” Elrington said.
But he said Belize remains concerned about various alleged activities by Guatemalan troops and citizens — drawing a bristling reply from Guatemala, which rejects those claims and said they belong in the court, not the big-picture U.N. gathering.
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Jennifer Peltz is covering the U.N. General Assembly for The Associated Press. Follow her on Twitter at @jennpeltz.

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EarthLink – News

Syria demands withdrawal of all American, Turkish forces
By AYA BATRAWY and EDITH M. LEDERER | Sat, September 28, 2019 02:58 EDT
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Syria’s top diplomat on Saturday demanded the immediate withdrawal of American and Turkish forces from the country and said his government reserves the right to defend its territory in any way necessary if they remain.
Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem’s remarks to the United Nations General Assembly were made as Turkey and the United States press ahead with a deal to create a safe zone along Syria’s border with Turkey.
On the political front, he reaffirmed the government’s support for the recently agreed committee to draft a new constitution for the country. As has been the government’s tone since the start of the 2011 uprising in Syria, the foreign minister took a hard line, stressing there must be no interference from any country or timeline imposed on the process.
Al-Moallem’s speech highlighted the enormous challenges to achieve reconciliation in Syria, where over 400,000 people have been killed during the conflict and millions more have fled.
The more than eight-year conflict has also drawn numerous foreign militaries and thousands of foreign fighters to Syria, many to support the now-defeated Islamic State extremist group and others still there backing the opposition and battling government forces.
“The United States and Turkey maintain an illegal military presence in northern Syria,” al-Moallem said. “Any foreign forces operating in our territories without our authorization are occupying forces and should withdraw immediately.”
If they refuse, he said, “we have the right to take any and all countermeasures authorized under international law.”
There are around 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria on a mission to combat Islamic State militants. The United States also backs and supports Kurdish groups in the northeast that are opposed to the Syrian government and have fought against Sunni extremist groups.
U.S. President Donald Trump had said he wants to bring the troops home, but military officials have advocated a phased approach.
Al-Moallem described Turkey and the United States as “arrogant to the point of holding discussions and reaching agreements on the creation of a so-called ‘safe zone’ inside Syria” as if it was on their own soil. He said any agreement without the consent of the Syrian government is rejected.
The deal between the U.S. and Turkey keeps U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish fighters, considered terrorists by Turkey, away from Syria’s northeastern border with Turkey. It involves an area five to 14 kilometers deep (three to eight miles), as well as the removal of heavy weapons from a 20-kilometer-deep zone (12 miles). The length of the zone has not yet been agreed to by both parties but will likely stretch hundreds of kilometers.
Most of Syria is now under the control of the Syrian government, which is backed by Russia and Iran. However, Syrian rebels and extremists still hold Idlib in the northwest, and U.S-backed Kurdish groups hold parts of the oil-rich northeast.
The Syrian government maintains that Idlib remains a hotbed for “terrorists” and al-Moallem vowed that its “war against terrorism” will continue “until rooting out the last remaining terrorist.”
In a breakthrough on the political front, earlier this week U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres announced the formation of the committee that would draft Syria’s new constitution, which he said could be an important step toward ending the war.
The U.N. chief announced Saturday that the committee will meet for the first time in Geneva on Oct. 30. Its rules state that a new constitution will be followed by “free and fair elections under United Nations supervision.”
The committee was authorized at a Russian-hosted Syrian peace conference in January 2018, but it took nearly 20 months for the sides to agree on the 150 members — particularly on a 50-member civil society of experts, independents, tribal leaders and women to serve alongside 50 members from the government and 50 members from the opposition. The U.N. was authorized to put together the civil society list but the choices faced objections, mainly from the Syrian government.
Under the newly announced terms, the “Syrian-led and Syrian-owned” committee, with U.N. envoy Geir Pedersen as facilitator, will amend the current 2012 constitution or draft a new one.
Al-Moallem stressed that the committee will operate without preconditions, its recommendations must be made independently, and “no deadlines or timetables must be imposed on the committee.”
On another long-simmering dispute, al-Moallem accused Israel of starting “another phase of escalation” through its repeated attacks on Syrian territory and the territory of other neighboring countries.
He stressed that “it is a delusion” to think that the Syrian conflict would force the government to forfeit its “inalienable right” to recover the Golan Heights which Israel captured during the June 1967 war. The annexation is not recognized under international law.
The Trump administration in March signed a proclamation recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, reversing more than a half-century of U.S. policy in the Middle East. He also moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem in recognition of Israel’s claims of the city as its capital.
“It is a delusion,” al-Moallem stressed, “to think that the decisions of the U.S. administration on the sovereignty over the Golan would alter historical and geographical facts or the provisions of international law.”
“The Golan has been and will forever be part of Syria,” he said.

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EarthLink – News

Greta: Grown-ups mock children because world view threatened
By ROB GILLIES and FRANK JORDANS 08:04 EDT
TORONTO (AP) — Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg said Friday she doesn’t understand why grown-ups and world leaders would mock children and teens for acting on science, responding to attacks on her campaign as students conducted a second wave of global protests demanding action on climate change.
When asked about U.S. President Donald Trump and others who have mocked her, the 16-year-old activist said they likely feel their world view and interests are being threatened by climate activism.
“We’ve become too loud for people to handle so people want to silence us,” she said at a rally in Montreal after meeting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “We should also take that as a compliment.”
The youth climate movement has drawn criticism from some who accuse the students of overreacting and say they would be better off going to school. In an apparent sarcastic jibe at Thunberg this week following her haranguing of world leaders, Trump tweeted: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”
Instead of addressing Trump by name, she said Friday that she didn’t “understand why grown-ups would choose to mock children and teenagers for just communicating and acting on the science when they could do something good instead.”
Thousands later chanted “Greta! Greta!” as she spoke at an afternoon rally in Montreal.
“We will do everything in our power to stop this crisis from getting worse even if that means skipping school or work,” she said. “The people have spoken. And we will continue to speak until our leaders listen and act. We are the change and change is coming.”
Her comments came as students in Italy symbolically torched a replica of planet Earth, one of many protests as part of the climate strikes sparked by the Swedish teen. Some participants echoed the anger she expressed this week at a U.N. summit in New York.
“How dare you!” read one banner at a rally in Italy’s financial hub of Milan, where tens of thousands took to the streets and later gathered around a giant globe to watch it go up in flames.
More than 100,000 people also rallied in Rome, where protesters held up signs with slogans such as “Change the system, not the climate” or just the word “Future.”
Fears about the impact of global warming on younger generation s drew fresh protests in India, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands and Bolivia a week after hundreds of thousands rallied worldwide ahead of the U.N. summit.
In New Zealand, students marched on Parliament in Wellington, staging one of the largest protests ever held in that capital.
In Berlin, activists from the Fridays for Future group braved persistent rain to denounce a package of measures that the German government recently agreed on to cut the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Experts say the proposal falls far short of what’s needed if the world’s sixth-biggest emitter is to meet the goals of the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord.
Actor Javier Bardem joined dozens of young people in San Sebastian in one of several rallies held across Spain on Friday morning ahead of evening demonstrations in major cities such as Madrid and Barcelona. Bardem was promoting a documentary he worked on with Greenpeace.
In Austria, organizers said 150,000 people participated, while local APA news agency said the number was 65,000.
In Poland, protesters blocked traffic in downtown Warsaw by chaining themselves to a tent. Police and firefighters tried to negotiate with them.
In Buenos Aires, where school strikes inspired by Thunberg have taken place since March, several thousand people marched from the famed Plaza de Mayo to the Congress. Protests occurred elsewhere in Latin America, including in Chile and Bolivia.
Protesters even rallied on Chile’s Easter Island, known for its massive statues known as moai.
In Canada, Thunberg met Trudeau, who praised her activism on climate change.
“She is the voice of a generation, of young people who are calling on their leaders to do more and do better,” Trudeau said. “And I am listening.”
Trudeau, who is in the middle of an election campaign, announced a plan to plant 2 billion trees over the next decade.
Thunberg, however, indicated that she expects more, even of leaders who welcome the movement. Scientists this week issued new dire warnings about the consequences of rising temperatures on the world’s oceans and cold regions.
Thunberg told a crowd in Montreal it was moving to see people of all generations so passionate for a cause.
“He (Trudeau) is of course obviously not doing enough, but this is just a huge problem, this is a system that is wrong,” she said. “My message to all the politicians is the same: Just listen and act on the science.”
___
Giada Zampano reported from Rome. Rob Gillies in Toronto, Nick Perry in Wellington, New Zealand; Mike Corder in The Hague, Netherlands; Debora Rey in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Eva Vergara in Santiago, Chile; and Ciaran Giles in Madrid contributed to this report.
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Follow AP’s climate coverage at https://www.apnews.com/Climate

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Prince Harry walks through Angola mine field, echoing Diana
By CARA ANNA | 09:50 EDT
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A body armor-wearing Prince Harry on Friday followed in the footsteps of his late mother, Princess Diana, whose walk through an active mine field in Angola years ago helped to lead to a global ban on the deadly weapons.
The prince walked through a dusty mine field marked with skull-and-crossbones warning signs, and was visiting the spot where Diana was famously photographed on a similar walk during her own Africa visit in 1997. That field in Huambo is now a busy street. The southern African nation is now years past a grinding civil war and hopes to be land mine-free by 2025, a goal of scores of countries around the world.
“Land mines are an unhealed scar of war,” Harry said in the town of Dirico. “By clearing the land mines we can help this community find peace, and with peace comes opportunity.” He said retracing his mother’s path was “quite emotional.”
Diana’s visit is still very much discussed today in Huambo after people were struck by her warmth and willingness to acknowledge their country’s devastating 27-year conflict, the Angola country director for mine-clearing organization The HALO Trust said.
“The main impact of Diana’s walk in 1997 was the level of global exposure it provided for land mines not only in Angola but the world,” Ralph Legg said. She was a great advocate for a land mine ban, and “her willingness to visit an actual mine field, to place herself right in that context, provided great impetus and gave it a great boost.”
The international ban on anti-personnel mines was signed that year and entered into force two years later. So far 164 countries have signed on. “More than 48 million stockpiled mines have been destroyed and 31 countries have been completely cleared of land mines,” The HALO Trust said, while production of the weapons has almost dried up.
Harry on his visit also remotely detonated a decades-old mine, met with mine-clearing teams and was visiting the orthopedic hospital his mother visited for her meetings with mine victims.
“I think that will be a very poignant moment of coming full circle,” Legg said. “Very striking once people compare those images from the two visits to see how far Angola has come.”
The world, however, is hardly free of mines, and the prince said Angola itself still has more than 1,000 mine fields left to clear, 22 years after his mother’s visit.
“I wonder if she was still alive whether that would still be the case,” Harry said. “I’m pretty sure she would have seen it through.”
Other countries that remain heavily mined include Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen, and Afghanistan led the world with at least 2,300 casualties in 2017, according to the Landmine Monitor 2018 report.
“Myanmar was the only known instance of government forces actively planting the weapons” in the year-long period between October 2017 and 2018, the report said.
“A staggering 60 million people around the world still live in fear and risk of land mines. We cannot turn our backs on them and leave a job half done,” Harry said.
Angola, which has committed a new $60 million for mine clearance, now hopes to turn some of its mine-free areas into sites for wildlife conservation and ecotourism. The prince was unveiling a project meant to protect wildlife corridors near the sprawling Okavango Delta, a rare inland delta in neighboring Botswana that doesn’t flow into a sea or ocean and is home to several endangered species.
Harry called on for international effort to help clear mines from the Okavango watershed in Angola. “Everyone who recognizes the priceless importance of safeguarding Africa’s most intact natural landscape should commit fully to this mission,” he said.
His first official family tour with his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and their baby, Archie, will continue with stops in Malawi and further events in South Africa with a focus on issues including mental health and women’s empowerment.
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Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP_Africa

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EarthLink – News

Large chunk of border wall funding diverted from tiny Guam
By AUDREY McAVOY | Sat, September 28, 2019 09:08 EDT
HONOLULU (AP) — President Donald Trump is raising a large chunk of the money for his border wall with Mexico by deferring several military construction projects slated for Guam, a strategic hub for U.S. forces in the Pacific.
This may disrupt plans to move Marines to Guam from Japan and to modernize munitions storage for the Air Force.
About 7% of the funds for the $3.6 billion wall are being diverted from eight projects in the U.S. territory, a key spot in the U.S. military’s efforts to deter North Korea and counter China’s growing military.
The administration has vowed it’s only delaying the spending, not canceling it. But Democrats in Congress, outraged over Trump’s use of an emergency order for the wall, have promised they won’t approve money to revive the projects.
“The fact is, by literally taking that money after it had been put in place and using it for something else, you now put those projects in jeopardy,” said Carl Baker, executive director of Pacific Forum, a Honolulu-based foreign policy think tank.
The Senate on Wednesday passed a measure blocking Trump from raiding the military construction budget for the wall. The Democratic-controlled House passed the bill on Friday, but Trump is expected to veto it as he did with an identical measure in March.
The tiny island of Guam holds a naval base with fast attack submarines and an Air Force base with bombers that rotate in from the mainland.
The U.S. currently plans to start moving 5,000 Marines there from Okinawa in southern Japan around 2025. This is part of a decades-long effort by Tokyo and Washington to relieve the congested Japanese island’s burden of hosting half the U.S. forces stationed in Japan. The total cost of relocating the Marines is $8.7 billion, of which Japan is paying $3.1 billion.
The projects put on hold by the border wall are a small share of this total, yet critical to the relocation.
There’s $56 million to build a well system that will supply most of the water to be used by a new Marine base. The area’s existing water supply is inadequate to meet the needs of the transferred troops.
There’s also a $50 million live-fire training range and a $52 million munitions storage facility. Documents about the projects the military provided to Congress say the Marines won’t leave Okinawa until replacement facilities in Guam are ready. The documents say failure to complete these two projects could delay or prevent the Marines from moving.
Guam activists opposed to the live-fire range said the delay will give them time to study ancient settlements found in the area. They said it would be irresponsible to move forward on projects that would destroy cultural sites and cause irreversible environmental damage when there’s so much uncertainty about the relocation.
“Our organization is conflicted about the means in which the pause was achieved because these are two instances of colonial injustice, one impacting the other,” the group Prutehi Litekyan: Save Ritidian said in a statement.
The U.S. reassured Japan immediately after the announcement that it would stick to the existing timeline.
“We have received explanation from the U.S. side about the shifting of the budget that it will not affect the planned movement of Marines on Okinawa to Guam, and that the U.S. government commitment to the realignment plan is unchanged,” then-Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya told reporters earlier this month.
Discussions to reduce the U.S. presence on Okinawa began in the mid-1990s after the rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan girl by three U.S. servicemen sparked mass demonstrations. The allies in 2006 said they would send Marines to Guam by 2014, a deadline that slipped as they revised plans.
Although Okinawa makes up less than 1 percent of Japan’s land space, it hosts about half of the 54,000 American troops stationed in Japan and is home to 64 percent of the land used by the U.S. bases in the country under a bilateral security treaty.
Jeffrey Hornung, a researcher at the RAND Corporation, a public policy research institute, said even before the latest development, some Okinawa residents were frustrated with the lack of progress in moving the Marines.
“The fact is, the longer that the projects on Guam are delayed, that means the longer that there’s not going to be any forward movement on some aspects of moving the Marines off Okinawa,” Hornung said. “And this all comes from taking money to build a border wall.”
Diverted spending also will affect the Air Force, including $45.1 million for two projects to update 70-year-old munitions storage.
The Air Force has been rotating bombers — the B-2 stealth bomber as well as the B-1 and B-52 — through Guam since in 2004 to compensate for U.S. forces sent from the Asia-Pacific region to fight in the Middle East. In 2017, the U.S. dispatched a B-1 bomber from Guam to the Korean peninsula as a show of force after North Korea accelerated its efforts to test intercontinental ballistic missiles and expand its nuclear weapons program.
Project documents say existing facilities won’t adequately support the mission of the 36th Munitions Squadron on Guam. They say upgrades are needed to correct a faulty door design, address earth cover lost during typhoons and house new long-range air-to-ground precision missiles.
U.S. Rep. Ed Case, a Democrat from Hawaii who sits on the House appropriations subcommittee for military construction, said he’s concerned the administration diverted so much from Guam, given the island is key to the nation’s defense posture in the Pacific.
But he said rewarding these funds in another budget would set an “incredibly dangerous precedent.”
“That is a very difficult situation because these are priority projects. However, if we simply said yes to this president on that basis, which he is very much hoping that we will do, then we have essentially said to him and any future president that Congress’ role as the responsible branch of government for appropriations no longer counts,” Case said.
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Associated Press writer Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.

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BREAKING NEWS: Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani willing to testify in impeachment inquiry

Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani says he wants to testify to Congress over impeachment allegations facing the president.

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Head of UN nuclear test ban group: Teach your children well
By EDITH M. LEDERER | Sat, September 28, 2019 04:51 EDT
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The head of the U.N.’s nuclear test ban treaty organization says that in his “wild dreams,” very young children around the world will be taught that nuclear testing isn’t good — and that the world should be free of nuclear weapons.
In an interview on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly, Lassina Zerbo said he started a nine-member youth group three years ago with that aim. It has grown to 780 today, and they come from all over.
“Fortunately, we started before Greta Thunberg,” he said, laughing, referring to the 16-year-old Swedish activist who has become the world’s best-known campaigner against climate change. He said even very young children should be brought into the anti-nuclear campaign.
“In my wild dreams,” Zerbo said Thursday, “we have to take kids when they start talking and then put in their mouth, in their brain, that nuclear testing isn’t good, and that we want a world free of nuclear weapons.”
Zerbo said more “innovative ways” are also needed to get the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, or CTBT, to enter into force.
The General Assembly adopted the treaty in 1996. It has been signed by 184 countries and ratified by 168. But it cannot enter into force until it is ratified by eight countries that had nuclear-power reactors or research reactors in 1996 — the United States, China, Iran, Israel, Egypt, India, Pakistan and North Korea.
Zerbo expressed hope for “a conclusive outcome” to talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Any agreement, he said, “should include their signature and ratification” of the comprehensive test-ban treaty. “Because if they agree to a moratorium on nuclear testing, that could be the first step” toward implementation.
But at the moment, Zerbo said, asking North Korea to be an observer to the treaty could be a step to building trust to bring them to the negotiating table.
While Pakistan hasn’t signed the treaty, Zerbo said, it is an observer at the organization. That’s “a small step,” he says, “but it’s an important step in the overall framework for us to reach the entry into force.”
India, Pakistan’s neighbor and nuclear-armed rival, isn’t an observer, though the treaty organization is working on it.
While waiting for the treaty to take effect, the organization has spent more than $1 billion on a sophisticated international monitoring system that can detect nuclear tests.
It uses four technologies: seismic stations to pick up shock waves from any underground explosion; “hydro-acoustic” monitoring to pick up anything that happens underwater; “infrasound” stations to detect low-frequency waves in the atmosphere that can travel long distances; and “radionuclide” stations to sample the air for radiation.
The monitoring stations have detected all of North Korea’s nuclear tests as well as earthquakes, tsunamis, air contamination, the movement of whales, the trajectory of space launches and meteors. The treaty organization also detected the location where an Argentine submarine that disappeared in 2017 was found almost a year later, Zerbo said.
There are now over 300 monitoring stations, he said, and “it is our hope that India will consider hosting a station.” This would automatically give India observer status at the treaty organization.
Zerbo, a candidate to head the International Atomic Energy Agency, was at the United Nations to speak at an event on the sidelines of the General Assembly on the entry into force of the test ban treaty. He said there is growing frustration that 23 years after the treaty was adopted, it still hasn’t taken effect despite wide support.
“And people feel that if we can’t secure this low-hanging fruit,” he said, “it will be more and more difficult for us to move in any other agreement in arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament.”
He said one of the big challenges today is to “bridge the gap” among international organizations to get the message across that they all have one goal — a world without nuclear weapons. And that points right back to his dreams.
In those dreams, Zerbo said, there would be “a 2- or 3-year-old child — because they speak quite quick today — who says to the media or says to the TV: ‘I don’t want nuclear testing anymore.'”
___
Edith M. Lederer, chief U.N. correspondent for The Associated Press, has been reporting on international affairs for nearly a half century.

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N. Korea urges Trump to make bold move to revive diplomacy
By HYUNG-JIN KIM | Thu, September 26, 2019 11:29 EDT
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea said Friday it wants President Donald Trump to make a “wise option and bold decision” to produce a breakthrough in stalled nuclear diplomacy, in an escalation of pressure on the U.S. ahead of an expected resumption of talks.
The statement by Foreign Ministry adviser Kim Kye Gwan came days after Trump said another meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “could happen soon” without elaborating.
Kim Kye Gwan says he doubts another summit could make any breakthrough because of what he describes as prevailing opinions in Washington that North Korea must first disarm before getting major concessions and that U.S.-led sanctions brought the North to a negotiating table.
He accused the U.S. of not acting to implement a joint statement issued after the first summit between Kim and Trump in Singapore last year. He said North Korea, for its part, made “sincere efforts” to build mutual trust and carry out the Singapore statement, citing the repatriation of three American detainees and U.S. war remains.
“But I came to know that President Trump is different from his predecessors in political sense and decision while watching his approach to the DPRK, so I would like to place my hope on President Trump’s wise option and bold decision,” Kim Kye Gwan said, using the abbreviation of his country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“I and the DPRK Foreign Ministry will follow the future moves of the U.S.”
Kim, in his mid-70s, is a veteran diplomat who led the North Korean delegation at much of the now-dormant six-nation nuclear disarmament talks held in Beijing in 2003-2008.
North Korea entered talks with the United States last year saying it’s willing to negotiate away its advancing nuclear arsenal in exchange of U.S. security guarantee and sanctions relief. The North wants a slow, step-by-step disarmament process, in which each of its denuclearization step is matched by a corresponding U.S. reward. The United States says sanctions on North Korea will remain in place until the country takes significant steps toward denuclearization.
During the Singapore summit, Kim Jong Un promised to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula without providing any timetable or roadmap for disarmament steps. In Singapore, Kim and Trump also agreed to establish new bilateral relations and build a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.
They met again in Vietnam in February for a second summit. But that meeting abruptly fell apart after Trump rejected Kim’s request for extensive relief of sanctions in return for dismantling his main nuclear complex, a limited denuclearization step. The two leaders held a brief, impromptu meeting at the Korean border in late June, and agreed to restart talks.
Last week, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said working-level nuclear talks with the United States could resume in a few weeks. But it said discussions of North Korea’s denuclearization will only be possible when “threats and hurdles endangering our system security and obstructing our development are clearly removed beyond all doubt.”

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Jury pool of 300 to be questioned in newspaper shooting case
By BRIAN WITTE | Fri, September 27, 2019 01:16 EDT
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A pool of 300 potential jurors will be in a Maryland court to answer questions about the mass shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper that killed five people last year.
The potential jurors will be in court Friday in Annapolis, Maryland.
The judge is using a questionnaire approach at the start of a lengthy process to pick the jury in the case against Jarrod Ramos. He is charged with five counts of first-degree murder. He has pleaded not guilty and not criminally responsible.
Legal experts say the questionnaire will aid the process by helping to find people early on who can’t serve on the jury due to biases in a highly publicized case in a small community.
Judge Laura Ripken has scheduled three days of jury selection beginning Oct. 30.
Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Slain deputy devoted life to Sikh faith, serving others
By COREY WILLIAMS and TAMMY WEBBER | Sat, September 28, 2019 07:20 EDT
Sandeep Dhaliwal carried a badge and a gun while devoting his life to a faith that teaches love and peace.
Dhaliwal, who was fatally shot from behind during a traffic stop Friday, was the first Sikh sheriff’s deputy on a force that covers an area including the nation’s fourth largest city of Houston. Four years ago he won an accommodation to wear his turban and a beard while patrolling.
Friends said Dhaliwal, 42, was an example of how love-inspired service to others can tear down walls of distrust and misunderstanding.
“He was just a gem of a person. He was a beautiful soul,” Simran Jeet Singh, a senior religion fellow at the New York-based Sikh Coalition, said Saturday. “Everyone who knew him admired him greatly.”
Robert Solis, who has an extensive criminal history, has been charged with capital murder in Dhaliwal’s killing. Solis, 47, was denied bond at a hearing early Saturday.
Authorities haven’t speculated as to Solis’ motive or suggested that it was a hate crime. Solis was wanted on a warrant for violating parole, and authorities said Saturday that they had received “credible information” that he might have a mental illness or intellectual disability and ordered an evaluation.
The killing came at a time when the U.S. has seen a string a mass shootings, including several recent ones in the Texas cities of El Paso, Odessa and Midland, stoking the debate over the nation’s gun laws.
The country also is riven over President Donald Trump’s push for restrictions on immigration and efforts to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico.
Some friends of Dhaliwal said his life showed how the presence of multiple cultures and faiths can enrich the country.
“It’s such a powerful message to send to the community that a man in a turban and beard is just as much American as you,” said Simran Jeet Singh.
Even so, Dhaliwal’s primary motivation was the ability to live his faith, said his friend Manpreet Kaur Singh, an attorney and Sikh Coalition board member who is not related to Simran Jeet Singh. Sikh men often take Singh as a last name, while women take the last name Kaur, rather than using surnames that would identify them by caste. Manpreet Kaur Singh has both her mother’s and father’s last names.
“When you wear your articles of faith, you’re telling the world ‘I stand up for injustice, for people and for the greater good,'” she said.
Sikhism, a monotheistic faith, was founded more than 500 years ago in the Indian region of Punjab and has roughly 27 million followers worldwide, most of them in India.
There are more than 500,000 Sikhs in the U.S. Male followers often cover their heads with turbans, which are considered sacred, and refrain from shaving their beards.
Some were targets of anti-Islam violence following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, even though Sikhism is unrelated to Islam.
About 7,000 to 10,000 live in the Gulf Coast Region of the U.S., according to the Houston Chronicle. More than a half-dozen Sikh temples can be found in the region.
Dhaliwal was a member of the Sikh National Center in Houston, said its chair, Hardam Azad.
Azad said Dhaliwal often would speak with young people at the center, showing his sheriff’s badge. A widely-shared video of Dhaliwal posted on the Facebook page of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office showed him laughing as he allowed a boy to handcuff him and then unlock the handcuffs with the key.
“Ever since 9/11 happened, a lot of hate crimes have occurred against the Sikhs,” Azad said. “The way to counter that was exactly the kind of service Sandeep Dhaliwal provided to the larger community.”
Prior to Dhaliwal’s hiring, Azad said the center had been in conversations with then-Sheriff Adrian Garcia to bring a Sikh onto the force.
Dhaliwal stepped up, he added.
“His passion for public service was obvious to us all,” Azad said. “There are some people who live angry lives. He was anything but angry.”
Dhaliwal’s father was a police officer in India before moving his family to the United States. The deputy said in a 2015 interview that “serving in the police force is natural” to Sikhs who value service.
“Sikhs have been in this country for more than 100 years (but) we’ve been absent from the national conversation,” Simran Jeet Singh said. “One of the values of serving in uniform gives us a sense as a community that we are being seen and are being understood.”
When Hurricane Harvey ravaged Houston, Dhaliwal joined others in the Sikh community to help feed those left homeless. Then when Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, he traveled there to help.
“There are just those people who come out passionate in the world, and you don’t know what drives them,” said Manpreet Kaur Singh. “He wanted to make sure he helped people. I had no idea what made him sacrifice his time.”
She said Dhaliwal didn’t fear being targeted because of his appearance, but he did help ensure that Sikh places of worship were protected on Sundays by off-duty officers.
She also said Dhaliwal was deeply affected by the 2015 killing of another deputy, Darren Goforth, who was gunned down at a gas station while fueling his car. Dhaliwal “really jumped in and helped with the vigil, helped put together the memorial,” she said.
Dhaliwal is survived by a wife and three children, as well as his father and sisters, Manpreet Kaur Singh said. His mother died last year.
She said she has a picture of him taken the day the policy change allowed him to wear his turban.
“He was so excited. I never had the foresight to see the possibility of him dying in the line of duty,” she said.
___
Williams reported from Detroit and Webber from Chicago. Associated Press writers Terry Wallace in Dallas, Cedar Attanasio in El Paso, Texas, and Monika Mathur in New York contributed to this report.

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They said it: Leaders at the UN, in their own words
By The Associated Press | Sat, September 28, 2019 08:44 EDT
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Lots of leaders saying lots of things about lots of topics — topics that matter to them, to their regions, to the world.
That’s what the speechmaking at the U.N. General Assembly invariably produces each year. And each year, certain enormous topics and certain louder voices dominate.
Here, The Associated Press takes the opposite approach and spotlights some thoughts you might not have heard — the voices of leaders speaking at the United Nations who might not have captured the headlines and the airtime on Saturday, the fifth day of 2019 debate.
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“When I was a young boy in the Marshall Islands, the unavoidable sound of ocean waves crashing upon our coral reefs was, to me, a natural symphony. But to my grandchildren, this same sound is rapidly becoming, to them, a threat of inundation. Do they not share my same right to live in ancestral homes?”
— John Silk, foreign minister of the Marshall Islands.
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“The focus of our education is beyond imparting skills and knowledge. We would like to ensure that our children learn to become good human beings, with qualities such as compassion, empathy and respect for nature.”
— Lotay Tshering, prime minister of Bhutan.
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“The influx and prolonged presence of refugees has had an adverse impact on the environment. Forests have been stripped as refugees need poles for houses, firewood, medicine, thatching and fodder within and far from the refugee settlements.”
— Ruhakana Rugunda, prime minister of Uganda.
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“The U.N. system is a global public good — and it is in our shared strategic interest to keep investing in it. The long-term gains are far greater than any short-term costs. The prosperity of one nation is not part of a zero-sum game in which nations either win or lose.”
— Ann Linde, foreign minister of Sweden.
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“It is telling that advocates of multilateralism conveniently leave out issues of migration. Migration is as multilateral as it gets. Migration is the pervasive reality today. … Migrant labor raises great cities out of deserts, mans the ships that enable global trade. Migrant health workers care for the sick, the children, the elderly, giving to strangers as much care as they gave their own loved ones back home. … Migrants themselves are grateful for the love that is sometimes returned — and sad when they are hurt instead.”
— Teodoro Locsin Jr., foreign minister of The Philippines.
___

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Asian American groups oppose Cambodian refugee deportations
By PHILIP MARCELO | Sat, September 28, 2019 05:36 EDT
LOWELL, Mass. (AP) — Asian American groups are objecting to the Trump administration’s efforts to step up deportations of Cambodians, as dozens of refugees with criminal convictions are being ordered to report to federal officials next week for removal.
At least 20 people in California have been served notices to report to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to begin the deportation process, according to Ny Nourn, a San Francisco-based community advocate with the Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus. The state is home to the largest population of Cambodians in the U.S.
In Massachusetts, the state with the nation’s second largest Cambodian community, at least 10 residents have received them, said Bethany Li, director of Greater Boston Legal Services’ Asian Outreach Unit.
Cambodians living in Minnesota, Texas, Rhode Island, Washington and Wisconsin have also been issued the orders, said Elaine Sanchez Wilson, a spokeswoman for the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center in Washington, D.C.
Asian American activists are planning demonstrations in San Francisco, Sacramento and Boston next week. They argue that many of those facing deportation served criminal sentences years and in some cases decades ago, when they were troubled young refugees struggling to adjust to a new country after their families fled Cambodia’s brutal Khmer Rouge regime.
“Many of these people have served their time and rebuilt their lives,” said Kevin Lam, an organizer with the Asian American Resource Workshop, which is helping organize Monday’s protest in Boston. “They have families, careers and contribute to their communities.”
The deportations have been happening since about 2002, when Cambodia agreed to begin repatriating refugees convicted of felony crimes in the U.S.
But they’ve risen sharply since President Donald Trump took office and imposed visa sanctions on Cambodia and a handful of other nations in order to compel them to speed up the process.
The result has been a roughly 280% increase, from 29 removals in federal fiscal year 2017 to 110 in federal fiscal year 2018, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement data .
Through the current fiscal year, which ends Monday, 80 Cambodians have been removed, the agency told The Associated Press this week. There are nearly 1,800 Cambodians with final removal orders living in the country. The majority have criminal convictions but are on supervised release and not in detention, ICE said.
“ICE fully respects the Constitutional rights of all people to peacefully express their opinions,” the agency said in response to the planned demonstrations. “That being said, ICE remains committed to performing its immigration enforcement mission consistent with federal law and agency policy.”
Asian American organizations say they’re focused on finding ways to get criminal convictions reduced or dropped so that Cambodian refugees can avoid deportation.
Democratic governors in California and Washington state have recently granted pardons to a handful of Cambodians, and at least two Cambodians recently returned to the U.S. after successfully challenging the criminal convictions that had prompted their removal.
A nationwide class action lawsuit challenging immigration raids on the Cambodian community is also pending in a California federal court. A temporary restraining order issued earlier this year in that case requires ICE to give written notice at least two weeks before detaining Cambodian refugees.
Nourn says sending refugees back to Cambodia now only sets them up for failure. Many have little connection to the country, let alone the language and other skills needed to navigate the unfamiliar environment.
Last year, 27-year-old Sophorn San , who had lived most of his life in Rhode Island after he family fled Cambodia in the 1990s, was deported after pleading guilty to a gun charge as a teen. He was struck and killed by a truck in the Cambodian capital city of Phnom Penh only a few months later.
In Lowell, an old mill city in Massachusetts where about 15% of residents are of Cambodian descent, a 40-year-old refugee from Cambodia said he’s lived almost half his life with a removal order hanging over him.
The man, who requested anonymity because he’s trying to resolve his immigration status, said he came to the U.S. when he was four years old, got involved in a street gang as a youth and received felony convictions by the age of 18 that made him deportable.
The man said his attorney has helped him address the old convictions, but he now has to convince immigration officials to reconsider his deportation case. If he’s forced to go back to Cambodia, he said he’d be leaving his family and a nearly two-decade career serving at risk youths to live in a country he’s never known.
“I consider myself an American,” he said. “I have kids that are American, and a wife that is an American citizen. But just because of the past, they can pick you up and deport you at any moment. That’s just insane to me.”
___
Follow Philip Marcelo at twitter.com/philmarcelo.

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Syria gets its moment at UN, small island states sound alarm
By MARIA SANMINIATELLI | Sat, September 28, 2019 09:43 EDT
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Overshadowed by other concerns, the war in Syria got some attention Saturday and leaders from assorted island nations pleaded for their survival as they urged the U.N. General Assembly to take action that would help stop them from sinking into the ocean.
Syria’s plight remains one of the world body’s thorniest issues as the country has been devastated by more than eight years of war. But global worries over rising tensions in the Gulf region, the earth’s warming temperature and the trade war between the United States and China this year have eclipsed attention given to the Syrian people.
The U.N. is hoping that the recent creation of a committee that would draft a new Syrian constitution will put the country on track for a political solution.
But in a speech before world leaders, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem took what appeared to be a hardline stance. He insisted that the committee not be subjected to deadlines and be run entirely by Syria with no preconditions set by other countries — a possible indication of the challenges ahead.
“The committee must be independent. Its recommendations must be made independently, without interference from any country or party,” al-Moallem said.
The committee will meet for the first time on Oct. 30 in Geneva, the U.N. announced Saturday.
While most of Syria has returned to government control, the opposition-held bastion of Idlib in the northwest, and the U.S.-backed Kurdish groups in the oil-rich northeast, still elude the grasp of President Bashar Assad.
In one of the earliest speeches of the day, the Holy See’s envoy, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, highlighted the Syrian conflict — along with the one in Yemen — as one of the world’s most urgent challenges and advised the international community to work together to “put an end to the suffering of so many people.”
The civil war in Yemen has killed tens of thousands of people and sparked the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in the Arab world’s most impoverished country. In his own statement before the General Assembly late Saturday, the country’s new foreign minister vowed his government would “end any attempt to tear apart our homeland.”
Mohammed Abdullah al-Hadrami angrily criticized Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who control much of the Yemen’s north, and the United Arab Emirates, which supports forces seeking their own nation in the south. He called Iran the world’s main sponsor of terrorism.
A Saudi-led coalition that included the UAE has been fighting the Houthis since 2015 on behalf of the internationally recognized government.
America’s foreign policy was a popular target in Saturday’s speeches. Al-Moallem blasted the United States, and Turkey, for maintaining a military presence in Syria, and Cuba’s foreign minister denounced the Trump administration for its decision to impose a travel ban to the U.S. on former Cuban President Raúl Castro.
“This is an action that is devoid of any practical effect and is aimed at offending Cuba’s dignity and the sentiments of our people,” Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla thundered. “It is a vote-catching crumb being tossed to the Cuban American extreme right.”
Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a travel ban on Castro and his immediate family on grounds of human rights abuse, saying they would not be allowed into the United States. Castro is no longer president of Cuba but remains at the top of the Cuban Communist Party.
Cuba’s Parrilla railed against America’s economic blockade on Cuba and blamed capitalism for contributing to the world’s ecological balance with “its irrational and unsustainable production and consumption patterns.”
But those sounding the most urgent climate alarm were leaders from tiny island nations, who begged for the world to take note of their plight and help them have a future.
A U.N climate summit earlier in the week got attention but ended disappointingly as the 77 nations who committed to carbon neutrality by 2050 did not include the biggest polluters — China, the United States, India, Russia and Japan.
The deputy prime minister of Tuvalu, which sits in the Pacific Ocean at about 10 feet above sea level, made it all real: Rising waters and temperatures, he said, have contaminated the country’s ground water resources and damaged its reefs and fisheries.
“My country is in the frontline of climate change,” Minute Alapati Taupo said. “Our food and water security are severely compromised. A life of fear and uncertainty is becoming our way of life.”
The impact on daily life on the islands was clear.
“When I was a young boy in the Marshall Islands, the unavoidable sound of ocean waves crashing upon our coral reefs was, to me, a natural symphony,” said the country’s foreign minister, John Silk.
“But to my grandchildren,” he said, “this same sound is rapidly becoming, to them, a threat of inundation. Do they not share my same right to live in ancestral homes?”
___
Associated Press writers Jennifer Peltz and Aya Batrawy contributed to this story.

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Researchers question Census Bureau’s new approach to privacy
By JENNIFER McDERMOTT and MIKE SCHNEIDER | Sat, September 28, 2019 02:23 EDT
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — In an age of rapidly advancing computer power, the U.S. Census Bureau recently undertook an experiment to see if census answers could threaten the privacy of the people who fill out the questionnaires.
The agency went back to the last national headcount, in 2010, and reconstructed individual profiles from thousands of publicly available tables. It then matched those records against other public population data. The result: Officials were able to infer the identities of 52 million Americans.
Confronted with that discovery, the bureau announced that it would add statistical “noise” to the 2020 data, essentially tinkering with its own numbers to preserve privacy. But that idea creates its own problems, and social scientists, redistricting experts and others worry that it will make next year’s census less accurate. They say the bureau’s response is overkill.
“This is a brand new, radically more conservative definition of privacy,” University of Minnesota demographer Steven Ruggles said.
Federal law bars census officials from disclosing any individual’s responses. But data-crunching computers can tease out likely identities from the broader census results when combined with other personal information.
Some critics fear the agency’s changes could make it harder to draw new congressional and legislative districts accurately. Others worry that research on immigration, demographics, the opioid epidemic and declining life expectancy will be hindered, particularly when it involves less populated areas.
If the change had been in place four years ago, Ruggles said, he would not have been able to conduct a 2015 study on the impact of declines in young men’s incomes on marriage.
With more and more data sets available to the public with a quick download, it has become easier than ever to match information with real names. That means aggregated answers to census questions involving race, housing and relationships could lead to individuals.
The fear is that advertisers, market researchers or anybody with know-how and curiosity could use data to reconstruct the identities of census respondents.
When the bureau went back to the 2010 census, it matched the census data with commercial databases. More than 1 in 6 respondents were identified by name and neighborhood as well as by information about their race, ethnicity, sex and age.
Since the last census, “the data world has changed dramatically,” Ron Jarmin, deputy director of the census agency wrote earlier this year. “Much more personal information is available online and from commercial providers, and the technology to manipulate that data is more powerful than ever.”
The Trump administration’s unsuccessful effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 questionnaire heightened fears about how census information would be used. But privacy concerns are nothing new for the bureau.
Historians have found evidence that census data helped identify Japanese Americans who were rounded up and confined to camps during World War II. That revelation led to an apology from then-Census Bureau Director Kenneth Prewitt in 2000.
Jewish groups and some liberal organizations had concerns about privacy when the bureau was lobbied to ask about religion for the 1960 census. Some noted that Nazis had used government and church records to identify and round up Jews. The idea never went anywhere.
During the legal battle over the citizenship question, advocates worried that the information could be used to target residents in the country illegally. Some say lingering concerns could have a chilling effect on the 2020 census.
To address those worries, the bureau has adopted a technique called “differential privacy,” which alters the numbers but does not change core findings to protect the identities of individual respondents.
It’s analogous to pixilating the data, a technique commonly used to blur certain images on television, said Michael Hawes, senior adviser for data access and privacy at the Census Bureau.
Redistricting experts say the mathematical blurring could cause problems because they rely on precise numbers to draw congressional and state and local legislative districts. They also worry that it could dilute minority voting power and violate the Voting Rights Act.
“The numbers might be off by five, 10, 20 people, and if you’re dealing with exact percentages, that could mean something. That could mean a lot,” said Jeffrey M. Wice, a national redistricting attorney. “That’s why we care about it so much.”
In the past, the bureau has used “swapping” and other methods to protect confidentiality. Swapping involves taking similar households in different geographic areas and exchanging demographic characteristics.
Census data does not need to be exact for most purposes, “as long as we know it’s really pretty close,” said Justin Levitt, an election law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. But “there’s certainly a point where blurry becomes too blurry.”
The bureau has not decided precisely how much blurring will take place, but researchers have already delivered academic papers and organized a petition signed by more than 4,000 scholars, planners and journalists. The petition asked the bureau to include the research community in its discussions.
Michael McDonald, a University of Florida redistricting expert, said people must be assured their data will be kept confidential or they may not respond at all. If respondents do not answer questions for the once-a-decade census in a timely manner, census workers must try to interview them in person.
“We need high response rates to the census,” McDonald said. “If we don’t get them, whatever noise will be moot because we won’t have good data to start with.”
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Follow Jennifer McDermott on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JenMcDermottAP . Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAP .

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As attack drones multiply, Israeli firms develop defenses
By ILAN BEN ZION | 08:27 EDT
YEHUD, Israel (AP) — Israel, one of the pioneers of drone warfare, is now on the front lines of an arms race to protect against attacks by the unmanned aircraft.
A host of Israeli companies have developed defense systems they say can detect or destroy incoming drones. But obstacles remain, particularly when operating in crowded urban airspaces.
“Fighting these systems is really hard … not just because you need to detect them, but you also need to detect them everywhere and all the time,” said Ulrike Franke, a policy fellow at the European Council of Foreign Relations.
Drones present unique challenges that set them apart from traditional airborne threats, such as missiles or warplanes.
They can fly below standard military radar systems and use GPS technology to execute pinpoint attacks on sensitive targets for a fraction of the price of a fighter jet. They can also be deployed in “swarms,” which can trick or elude conventional defense systems. Even small off-the-shelf drones can be turned into weapons by rigging them with explosives or simply crashing them in crowded areas.
A series of drone strikes across the Middle East, including an attack on a Saudi oil field and processing plant that jolted international markets earlier this month, have underscored the devastating effectiveness of small unmanned attack aircraft.
The drone attack on Saudi energy infrastructure knocked out about half of the kingdom’s oil supplies.
Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi rebels claimed the attack, but the U.S. has blamed Iran itself, which is a leading developer of drone technology and is locked in a bitter rivalry with both Saudi Arabia and Israel.
Similar drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry by the Houthis a month earlier caused a “limited fire.”
Elsewhere in the region, Israeli warplanes last month struck what Israel said was an Iranian-trained Hezbollah squad that was preparing to launch a group of drones toward Israel from Syria. A day later, Hezbollah said two Israeli drones crashed outside the group’s offices in Beirut. Israeli media said the drone strike had destroyed valuable equipment used to make guided missiles.
Earlier this month, the Israeli military said an unmanned aircraft crossed into Israel from the Gaza Strip and dropped explosives on a military vehicle, causing minimal damage and no casualties. It was the second such attack from Gaza in the past year.
These threats are not confined to the battlefield. London’s Gatwick Airport shut for parts of three days, stranding over 100,000 travelers ahead of Christmas last year, after drone sightings.
Israel has long been a dominant player in the military drone export business, developing small attack aircraft as well as long-range spy planes. Now, Israeli firms are at the forefront of a global industry developing means to protect against the drone threat.
“There is a lot of knowledge that was adapted from the area of unmanned aerial vehicles, which is something that the military had to deal with for a long, long time,” said Ben Nassi, a researcher at Israel’s Ben Gurion University specializing in drone threats.
In a laboratory near Israel’s main international airport, Israel Aerospace Industries offered a glance at its new optical detection system: a black cube resembling a souped-up subwoofer that it says can spot a standard commercial drone from several miles (kilometers) away.
The state-owned company says the Popstar system can track and identify flying objects day or night without being detected. Developers say the system, which has already been field tested by the Israeli military, can differentiate threats from standard civilian aircraft with an advanced algorithm.
“On a daily basis we see these small-scale threats, such as drones, that can tie up a whole airport and shut down the entire air traffic,” said Ariel Gomez, a systems engineer at IAI who worked on the new drone detection platform.
“Our system can discern from several kilometers away any threat that approaches,” he said.
Popstar focuses on protecting fixed, high-value targets like airports or energy infrastructure. Experts say it is much more difficult to use the technology in crowded urban environments, where heavy air traffic and high-rise buildings can create confusion and obstacles.
“Most of the industry is actually targeting the threats in a no-fly area,” said Nassi. “When it comes to populated areas, law enforcement has much more difficulties to understand whether a drone is being used maliciously or not.”
Israeli company Vorpal says it has found a partial solution to these challenges by developing a system that can detect and track virtually all commercial UAVs in urban airspaces.
Avner Turniansky, Vorpal’s vice president of strategy, said the company has compiled a database of signals — what it calls the “signature” — emitted by 95% of drones on the market.
With these signatures, it says it can identify a drone — and locate its operator — within two seconds. Customers can track these aircraft and determine whether they pose a threat.
He said the system has a range of several kilometers, but still has some limitations. If an operator is flying a commercial drone whose signal hasn’t been previously collected, it won’t be identified. The system would also struggle to identify sophisticated drones built by hostile governments, since those signatures are likely unknown.
Still, he said the system can track “the vast majority” of popular drones on the market.
He said the firm has conducted several successful tests with the New York Police Department and counts Israel’s national police force and the Defense Ministry as customers. During this year’s Eurovision song contest in Tel Aviv, he said police caught more than 20 operators who were flying drones in no-fly zones.
According to Israel’s Economy Ministry, UAV exports topped $4.6 billion between 2005 and 2013, around 10% of the country’s defense exports.
Over a dozen Israeli firms presented cutting-edge anti-drone technologies at London’s DSEI exhibition this month, from defense heavyweights Elbit Systems, Raphael and Israel Aerospace Industries, to smaller start-ups like Vorpal. They are part of a booming global industry with competitors from the U.S., Europe, Singapore, and China.
Anti-drone defenses fall into several categories. Detection systems usually rely on either radio or optical technology to spot incoming drones.
Other systems can stop the aircraft with jammers that down aircraft by scrambling communications, kinetic systems that try to knock the craft out of the sky or systems that allow authorities to seize control of an aircraft.
But for now, none of these systems can provide full protection.
“It’s a nasty target. It’s a problem,” said Turniansky. “It’s going to be cat and mouse for a while.”
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Associated Press writer Josef Federman contributed.

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EarthLink – News

They said it: Leaders at the UN, in their own words
By The Associated Press | 12:07 EDT
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Lots of leaders saying lots of things about lots of topics — topics that matter to them, to their regions, to the world.
That’s what the speechmaking at the U.N. General Assembly invariably produces each year. And each year, certain enormous topics and certain louder voices dominate.
Here, The Associated Press takes the opposite approach and spotlights some thoughts you might not have heard — the voices of leaders speaking at the United Nations who might not have captured the headlines and the airtime on Wednesday, the second day of 2019 debate.
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“We must ensure that nobody has to choose between sending her daughter to school and sending her to work.”
— Edgar Lungu, president of Zambia
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“The peoples of the world have seen the movement of globalization nurture in them this common dream of seeing the Earth become a genuine global village. But, alas, we have never seen so many walls and barriers thrown up.”
— Faustin Archange Touadera, president of the Central African Republic
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“Multilateralism is nothing but showing compassion for the fate of others.”
— Kersti Kaljulaid, president of Estonia
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“More than most, island nations must have faith in the multilateral international order. We are by nature isolated and by design, our livelihoods are tied to the rest of the world. We rely heavily on this premise as well as on the actions or inactions of others for our very survival.”
— Danny Faure, president of Seychelles
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“All of you are coffee drinkers around the world. I want to ask all of you a question: If you would dare ask those who sell that cup of coffee to you whether they’re paying a fair price to the producers, would you ask that question? Would you even consider it? Think about it. Think about it. Because I am certain that if the answer is yes, that would be very powerful. It would be very powerful because it could change the lives of some 120 million families of coffee producers around the world.”
— Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, whose coffee-growing country is contending with a drop in its harvest that he attributes to both low global prices and climate change

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