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Two Tibetans set themselves on fire in China

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BEIJING — Two more Tibetans have set themselves on fire in a restive southwestern region of China, a rights group said, the latest in a wave of such protests against Beijing’s rule.

The incidents occurred Thursday in the Tibetan prefecture of Aba in a rugged area of China’s Sichuan province, the London-based group Free Tibet said in a statement.

It added that the fate of the pair was not known, but a Tibetan Buddhist monk in the area told AFP by phone that both had died.

Free Tibet said Chinese security forces were en route to the town of Barma, where the incident took place in front of a Tibetan Buddhist monastery.

Local authorities either refused to comment when contacted by AFP or calls went unanswered.

A total of 34 Tibetans, many of them Buddhist monks and nuns, are now reported to have set themselves on fire since the start of 2011 in protest at what they see as Chinese repression of their culture.

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Many of them have reportedly died as a result of severe burns.

Free Tibet identified those involved in Thursday’s protest as Sonam and Choephak Kyap, saying they were laypeople in their 20s.

Local people took the pair away after the incident, it said, citing local sources.

A Tibetan monk at a monastery near where the incident occurred told AFP the pair had died.

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“Yes, they both died that night,” he said, but refused further comment.

China has imposed tight security on restive Tibetan regions since 2008, when deadly rioting against Chinese rule broke out in Tibet’s capital Lhasa and spread to neighbouring Tibetan-inhabited regions.

Since then, confirming reports of unrest has been difficult.

Meanwhile, Chinese authorities on Thursday publicly recognized 6,773 “patriotic and law-abiding” Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns in a ceremony in Lhasa, the Tibetan regional capital.

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Many Tibetans in China complain of religious repression and a gradual erosion of their culture blamed on a growing influx of majority Han Chinese to their homeland.

China, however, denies repressing Tibetans and says it has improved their lives with investments in infrastructure, schools and housing and by spurring economic growth.

Beijing has repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, of inciting the self-immolations in a bid to split the vast Himalayan region from the rest of the nation — a charge he denies.

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Lawrence O’Donnell throttles Donny Deutsch for saying Elizabeth Warren can’t beat Trump: ‘This is pure guesswork’

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Lawrence O'Donnell and Donny Deutsch had quite the exchange in the post-debate conversation on MSNBC Wednesday.

Deutsch tried to say that Sen. Elizabeth Warren's outstanding debate performance doesn't matter because Warren can't win in a match-up against President Donald Trump.

"I do not believe Elizabeth Warren, on stage with Donald Trump, beats him," he told the MSNBC panel. "And I think if we're honest with ourselves and we look hard at ourselves, I think a lot of people agree with me. It's — and I also think when you can label somebody a socialist, 57 percent of this country thinks that word is un-American. I'm not saying it's fair. When he can blanket Elizabeth Warren as a socialist, and he's on stage with her, the Democrats lose."

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Father and daughter drowning at the border fuels anger at Trump immigration policies

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A shocking photograph of a Salvadoran man and his baby daughter drowned in the Rio Grande fueled a surge of emotion around the world Wednesday -- as US Democrats furiously denounced Donald Trump's immigration policies.

"Trump is responsible for these deaths," said Beto O'Rourke, one of several Democratic White House hopefuls who took to Twitter to lash out at the president.

Former vice president Joe Biden, who is also seeking the presidency in 2020, called the image "gut-wrenching."

"History will judge how we respond to the Trump administration's treatment of immigrant families & children -- we can't be silent," he said.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren leads Democrats in spirited first 2020 debate

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Ten Democrats clashed in the first debate of the 2020 presidential race Wednesday with Elizabeth Warren cementing her status as a top-tier candidate and several underdogs using the issue of immigration to clamor for the limelight.

The biggest American political debate since the 2016 presidential campaign is occurring over two nights in Miami, climaxing Thursday with former vice president Joe Biden squaring off against nine challengers, including number two candidate Bernie Sanders.

But Wednesday's first take was a spirited encounter between Democrats like ex-congressman Beto O'Rourke, Senator Cory Booker, former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on subjects as varied as health care, economic inequality, climate action, gun violence, Iran and immigration.

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