General election: John Bercow to join Sky News for election night coverage | Politics News | Sky News
John Bercow will be the special guest on Sky News’ election night programme.
The former Speaker will join host Dermot Murnaghan to give his colourful take on events as the outcome of the battle for Downing Street unfolds once polls close on December 12.
Mr Bercow recently stepped down after 10 years in the role, having proved to be a controversial figure in the chair.
Order! John Bercow’s legacy as Speaker
He has had a front row seat for much of the Brexit drama since the 2016 referendum – and recently claimed the vote to leave the EU was the “biggest foreign policy mistake in the post-war period”.
John Ryley, the head of Sky News, said: “It promises to be a night of political frenzy with the very future of the United Kingdom at stake.
Advertisement “I’m confident this will be Sky News’ biggest, boldest election night programme, covering every twist and turn of the night, with explanation and analysis for all audiences.
“Sky News will have all the bases covered to analyse the results as they start to be reported, with the exit poll released at 10pm giving the first indication towards the possible outcome.
More from General Election 2019 General election: Boris Johnson challenges Jeremy Corbyn ahead of first TV debate General election: Here’s what happened on day 13 of the campaign General election: Boris Johnson delays corporation tax cuts to help fund NHS General election: Johnson, Corbyn and Swinson court business vote at Confederation of British Industry General election: High Court to hear legal challenge against TV debate excluding some party leaders General election: Here’s what happened on day 12 of the campaign “We’re delighted to be welcoming John Bercow to our general election coverage. House of Commons Speaker for 10 years, John will bring his own authority, and no little wit to a night of high drama.”
A key moment on the night will be the release of the broadcasters’ exit poll at 10pm.
Sky News political editor Beth Rigby will be on hand to provide her observations and expert analysis as the night takes shape, while deputy political editor Sam Coates will give a seat-by-seat view.
Economics editor Ed Conway will use the very latest graphics to show viewers the story in the clearest and most concise way.
Bercow: Brexit is UK’s biggest blunder
Given the campaign is increasingly being fought out on social and digital media battlegrounds, Sky News will have in-depth coverage across its digital platforms.
On election night itself this will include a partnership with BuzzFeed UK to deliver a live programme aimed at a younger, more diverse audience.
Streamed live across Sky News’ digital platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Twitch and YouTube, the show’s mission is to explain and engage.
It will be presented by political correspondent Lewis Goodall, with technology correspondent Rowland Manthorpe bringing Sky News’ sharp analysis to new audiences through Election Social.
Bercow announces he is standing down
Both programmes, which will come from purpose-built studios at Sky HQ, will feature augmented reality graphics, wire cams and a state-of-the art videowall.
Around the country, presenter Anna Botting will be with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Sophy Ridge will be with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Niall Paterson with Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, while Gillian Joseph in Newcastle and Sarah-Jane Mee in Sunderland will vie for the honour of the first constituency to declare a result.
Sky News will have a journalist at every count for the first time ever in a bid to deliver the fastest results ever.
Listen to “Managing the message, fighting embargoes and Jeremy Corbyn’s souffle” on Spreaker. :: Listen to Campaign Unwrapped on Apple Podcasts , Spotify , Google Podcasts , Spreaker
A special edition of Kay Burley@Breakfast will come from Westminster from 6am until 9am the morning after polling day, as the fallout and reaction from the election continues.
Editor at Large Adam Boulton will then take over the reins for a day of more drama as whoever has won sets up their government.
The Brexit Election on Sky News – the fastest results and in-depth analysis on mobile, TV and radio.
Watch Dermot Murnaghan live from 9pm on 12 December See the exit poll at 10pm Watch KayBurley@Breakfast election special on 13 December Find out what happens next in All Out Politics special from 9am with Adam Boulton
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Hong Kong police battle protesters trying to escape arrest
By KEN MORITSUGU | Mon, November 18, 2019 01:52 EST
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong police fought off protesters with tear gas and batons Monday as they tried to break through a police cordon that is trapping hundreds of them on a university campus.
Protesters advanced on the police from outside the cordon, while others emerged from the campus, their trademark umbrellas at the fore. Police used tear gas and in some places swooped in to subdue protesters and make arrests.
It wasn’t clear if any of those inside Hong Kong Polytechnic University escaped.
Hong Kong’s work week started with multiple protests that disrupted traffic, schools closed because of safety concerns and a temporary lull in the pitched battles for control of the Polytechnic campus, as the emphasis shifted from battering the protesters with tear gas and water cannons to waiting for them to come out.
For days, protesters fortified the campus to keep police from getting in. Cornered by authorities, they were trying to get out.
Officers repelled one attempt Monday morning with tear gas, driving a few hundred protesters back onto the campus.
It’s a game that has played out repeatedly during the city’s months of anti-government unrest. The protesters want to avoid arrest. The police want to pick up as many as they can.
Protesters won on a legal front when the high court struck down a mask ban imposed by the government last month. The court said it did not consider anti-mask laws unconstitutional in general, but in this case, the law infringed on fundamental rights further than was reasonably necessary.
Many protesters wear masks to shield their identities from surveillance cameras that could be used to arrest and prosecute them. The ban has been widely ignored, and police have charged protesters with wearing masks.
The protests started peacefully in early June, sparked by proposed legislation that would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to the mainland. But by the time the bill was withdrawn, the protests had hardened and broadened into a resistance movement against the territory’s government and Beijing.
Activists see the extradition bill as an example of Hong Kong’s eroding autonomy under Beijing rule since the 1997 handover from colonial power Britain.
Anti-government protesters barricaded themselves inside Polytechnic last week. Police surrounded the area Sunday night and began moving in after issuing an ultimatum for people to leave the area. The crowd wore raincoats and carried umbrellas to shield themselves from police water cannons.
Riot officers broke in one entrance before dawn as fires raged inside and outside the school, but they didn’t appear to get very far. Fiery explosions were seen as protesters responded with gasoline bombs. Police, who have warned that everyone in the area could be charged with rioting, reportedly made a handful of arrests.
At daybreak, protesters remained in control of most of the campus. In one outdoor area, some demonstrators made gasoline bombs while others dozed while wearing gas masks. Two walked about with bows and quivers of arrows, while many stared at their smartphones.
A lull settled on the area as the president of the university said in a video message that that police have agreed to suspend their use of force.
Jin-Guang Teng said police would allow protesters to leave and he would accompany them to the police station to ensure their cases would be processed fairly.
“I hope that you will accept the proposed temporary suspension of force and leave the campus in a peaceful manner,” he said.
It seemed unlikely the protesters would accept the offer given that they would all likely be arrested.
A few hundred streamed out of the campus about 8:15 a.m. in an apparent bid to escape, but they were driven back by police tear gas. Some wearing gas masks calmly picked up smoking tear gas canisters and dropped them into heavy-duty bags, but the protesters decided to retreat with a phalanx of officers lined up across the road in the distance.
Police have set up a dragnet around the campus to try to arrest protesters, who typically try to melt away after blocking traffic or causing other disruption before police run in to grab as many as they can.
Other protesters blocked a major road not far from the Polytechnic campus in a bid to distract police and help those inside the campus escape.
They tossed paving stones onto stretches of Nathan Road as police chased them with tear gas.
Police issued a “wanted” notice for an injured woman after they say protesters stopped the ambulance, hurled rocks and bricks inside and removed her from police custody.
One police officer fired three shots from his weapon, but the police say the shots did not hit anyone.
The 20-year-old woman had been arrested at a Nathan Road intersection for participating in an unlawful assembly. A statement on the police Facebook page said anyone who aided her would face the charge of assisting an offender, carrying up to 10 years in prison.
The road closure added to transport woes during the morning commute, with several train stations still closed because of damage by protesters last week and a section of one line closed completely near Polytechnic.
The Education Bureau announced that classes from kindergarten to high school would be suspended again on Monday because of safety concerns. Classes have been canceled since Thursday, after the bureau came under criticism for not doing so earlier.
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Kanye West talks about serving God during visit with Osteen
By JUAN A. LOZANO | Sun, November 17, 2019 06:20 EST
HOUSTON (AP) — Rapper Kanye West told parishioners at Joel Osteen’s Houston megachurch on Sunday that his recent spiritual awakening has made him realize he’s no longer in the service to fame and money but “in service to God.”
West spoke to a packed crowd of about 16,000 people at Lakewood Church’s 11 a.m. service during an interview with Osteen from the stage. West told the parishioners about his recent conversion to Christianity and how God has been guiding him.
“I know that God has been calling me for a long time and the devil has been distracting me for a long time,” West said. He added that at his lowest point, when he was hospitalized in 2016 after a “mental breakdown,” God “was there with me, sending me visions and inspiring me.”
Last month, West released “Jesus is King,” a Gospel-themed album that’s been described as Christian rap.
The rapper’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, and their daughter, North West, joined him at the church. They sat in the front row of the cavernous arena, the former Compaq Center, which was once the home of the Houston Rockets. Many of the parishioners seated around West took photos of him with their cellphones.
“This is like the Super Bowl today,” said Amy Holmes, who was visiting from New Orleans with her husband and decided to attend.
West also was scheduled to perform in the evening at Lakewood with his “Sunday Service,” a church-like concert featuring a choir. Tickets for the free concert were distributed through Ticketmaster and sold out within minutes Saturday, though some people have been reselling them for hundreds of dollars.
West has been traveling around the U.S. holding his “Sunday Service” concerts since January, including at the Coachella festival, an outdoor shopping center in Salt Lake City and at an Atlanta-area megachurch.
On Friday, he and his choir performed for inmates at the Harris County Jail in Houston.
During Sunday morning’s appearance, West touched on a variety of topics in what he called his “streams of consciousness,” including religion, the perils of fame and money, going to church as a child, strip clubs and the devil.
“The only superstar is Jesus,” West said as the crowd applauded loudly.
But West’s trademark boastfulness hasn’t completely disappeared.
“Now the greatest artist that God has every created is now working for him,” West said.
After the service, Osteen told reporters he was excited that West was “using his influence for the Lord.”
“We come from different backgrounds. Styles are different. But we’re still brothers in Christ. We’re all on the same team,” Osteen said.
Jose Gonzalez, a 25-year-old who attended the service, said he believes West’s religious conversion to be sincere.
“I don’t see why it would not be genuine. Especially with someone with his platform that talks about God and love and unity, it can get really shut down unfairly,” said Gonzalez.
When asked what advice he had for people, West told reporters, “Every single millisecond be in service to God.”
West and his wife are among the celebrities who have expressed support for Texas death row inmate Rodney Reed, who received an execution stay on Friday. Reed’s supporters said new evidence raises serious doubt about his guilt in a 1996 killing.
On Friday, Kim Kardashian West traveled to death row in Livingston, Texas, and visited Reed.
Lakewood Church, where more than 43,000 people attend services each week, has become the largest church in the U.S.
Osteen’s weekly television program is viewed by more than 13 million households in the U.S. and millions others in more than 100 nations around the world.
Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter: https://twitter.com/juanlozano70
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Police chief: 3 people killed in Oklahoma Walmart shooting
By SEAN MURPHY | Mon, November 18, 2019 03:05 EST
DUNCAN, Oklahoma (AP) — Two men and a woman were fatally shot Monday morning outside a Walmart store in southwestern Oklahoma, and the shooter is among the dead, authorities said.
Two victims were shot inside a car and the third was in the parking lot outside the store in Duncan, Police Chief Danny Ford said.
Two bodies covered with sheets were visible in the parking lot Monday afternoon. One body was in the driver’s seat of a red, two-door car. The other body was lying on the ground next to the vehicle.
Bullet holes were visible in the car’s windshield. Police said in a Facebook post that a handgun was found at the scene.
Authorities have not identified those killed, but Stephens County District Attorney Jason Hicks has confirmed that the shooter was among the dead.
Authorities from multiple agencies including the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, the state highway patrol and the Stephens County sheriff’s office were investigating the scene.
Police are also looking for witnesses to the shooting, Ford said.
Aaron Helton, of Duncan, said he was parking outside the Walmart where he planned to buy groceries when he heard about nine gunshots.
“I arrived and there were three bodies,” Helton said.
No staff members were involved in the shooting and the store was not evacuated, Walmart spokeswoman LeMia Jenkins said in an email.
“This was an isolated incident in the parking lot and was not an active shooter situation,” Jenkins said.
Duncan is about 80 miles (130 kilometers) south of Oklahoma City. The Walmart is in a commercial center that includes a sporting goods store and a dollar store along U.S. Highway 81, the main road that passes through Duncan heading south toward Texas.
Associated Press reporter Cedar Attanasio in El Paso, Texas, contributed to this report.
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Tolerant Thailand to welcome pope, but martyrs tale haunts
By TASSANEE VEJPONGSA and GRANT PECK | Sun, November 17, 2019 11:52 EST
SONGKHON, Thailand (AP) — When Pope Francis makes his first trip to Thailand this week, he will be visiting a country that welcomed Roman Catholic missionaries more than five centuries ago and whose Buddhist population remains strikingly tolerant of other religious beliefs. But in 1940, as militarism and xenophobia were haunting the world, seven Catholic villagers in remote northeastern Thailand were executed for refusing to renounce their religion.
The “Seven Martyrs” were beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1989, making them eligible for eventual sainthood. They were the first Thais to be given the honor by the Vatican. The date of their beatification, Oct. 22, is marked annually in this village where they died, where there is a shrine and educational center for Catholics that is a regional landmark.
“For our history, we should not repeat the bad part but we should use it as a lesson, to move on, to build a new religious history, to bring all Thais together as brothers and sisters,” the Rev. Prayoon Phongphit, chancellor of the region’s archdiocese, said at this year’s ceremony.
The little-known story of the seven martyrs is more a political than religious tale.
They were victims of a tide of nationalism, an opportunistic policy implemented by Thailand’s then-dictator to avenge slights from Western powers while modernizing the country on a Western model. The Western model it most closely resembled was Mussolini’s fascist Italy.
Thailand fended off being colonized by placating the neighboring colonial powers, Britain and France, with territorial and economic concessions. France whittled away at territory Thailand considered its own, annexing it to its French Indochina colonies of Laos and Cambodia.
Plaek Phibunsongkhram was one of the Thai army officers who in 1932 staged a revolution ousting an absolute monarch with the aim of modernizing the country. In 1938, he became prime minister and promoted the sort of ultranationalism then seen in Italy and Nazi Germany, seeking to expunge minority cultures with their languages and religions and unite all behind loyalty to king and nation and one religion, Buddhism.
Phibunsongkhram’s rise coincided with Japan’s military drive to build a Great East Asia empire. The Japanese promoted Asian chauvinism, an appeal to the people in British, French and Dutch colonies to throw off the yoke of their Western oppressors.
Events elsewhere, meanwhile, suggested that nationalistic strongman rule was the wave of the future, as the army of Japanese ally Germany overran most of Europe.
An emboldened Phibunsongkhram had Thailand attack the demoralized French forces in Laos and Cambodia in a bid to regain what he considered lost Thai territories.
To whip up support for the war, all things French were painted as threatening. Inside Thailand, French missionaries — and their churches and followers — were looked upon as the enemy within. Propaganda and policy were both used to try to purge the Catholic presence, mainly by forcing conversions to Buddhism and shuttering church properties.
“Catholics were the perfect symbol of imperialism and antithesis of national identity due to their association with France, their history of political intervention, and the fact that many converts were ethnic minorities,” Shane Strate, a history professor at Kent State University in the United States, wrote in a paper about the era.
Songkhon village in Mukdahan province, 550 kilometers (340 miles) northeast of Bangkok, was one of several Catholic settlements in the area. With a population of 500-600, it had a church, a church school, a French parish priest and two sisters from a convent in Laos, which lies just across the Mekong River from the province.
Six policemen were deployed to the village after Thailand attacked French Indochina in November 1940, and the officer in charge , Boonlue Muangkote, enforced the new nationalist order avidly. As villagers were pressured to renounce their Catholic faith and embrace Buddhism, the French priest, Father Paul Fige, was deported to Laos.
Boonlue pressed his campaign, apparently assuming the absence of their priest would break the villagers’ will. But Philip Siphong Onphitak, the village religious teacher, or catechist, assumed leadership of his flock, keeping up resistance until Dec. 16, when he was murdered in the jungle, reportedly by Boonlue.
Two sisters from the Lovers of the Holy Cross Congregation, Agnes Phila and Lucia Khambang, then took over the leadership, defying Boonlue’s increasingly strident demands to convert. After they failed to yield during a Dec. 22 showdown, they decided they were ready to die for their faith.
On Christmas night, Sister Agnes wrote a letter to Boonlue declaring their intention and calling on him to carry out his threats and “open the door to heaven to us.”
After the letter was delivered the next day, Boonlue had the sisters and a handful of devotees marched over to a cemetery, where they were shot. The dead included 59-year-old Agatha Phutta and three teenage girls: Cecilia Butsi, Bibiana Khampai and Maria Phon.
Boonlue was transferred in June 1941, but only in 1944, when the tide of war began to turn against Japan and Prime Minister Phibunsongkhram was forced to step down, was the persecution of Catholics halted.
At this year’s commemoration of the beatification, Rev. Prayoon read from Sister Agnes’s defiant letter in front of hundreds of the faithful.
“We are asking you to carry out your order with us. Please do not delay any longer. Please carry out your order. We are ready to return our lives to God who has given us our lives. We will not allow ourselves to be victims of devils and ghosts,” it said.
The crowd then moved to the cemetery, where statues of the martyrs are in a garden shaded by tall trees.
“We are so blessed. We are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the beatification here and Thailand will receive the pope’s visit. I am so proud,” said Elizabeth Boonsong Sitthi, a 62-year-old resident of neighboring Sakon Nakhon province who attends the ceremony almost every year and plans to be in the Thai capital Bangkok for Pope Francis’s events.
Peck reported from Bangkok.