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Hong Kong braces for huge rally after leader climbdown

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Hong Kong is bracing for another mass rally Sunday as public anger seethes following unprecedented clashes between protesters and police over a controversial extradition law, despite a climbdown by the city’s embattled leader.

Organisers are hoping for another mammoth turnout as they vowed to keep pressure on chief executive Carrie Lam, who suspended work on the hugely divisive bill Saturday after days of mounting pressure, saying she had misjudged the public mood.

Critics fear the Beijing-backed law will tangle people up in China’s notoriously opaque and politicised courts as well as hammer the city’s reputation as a safe business hub.

The international finance hub was rocked by the worst political violence since its 1997 handover to China on Wednesday as tens of thousands of protesters were dispersed by riot police firing tear gas and rubber bullets.

Lam stopped short of committing to permanently scrapping the proposal and the concession was swiftly rejected by protest leaders, who called on her to resign, permanently shelve the bill and apologise for police tactics.

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On Sunday afternoon, protesters will march from a park on the main island to the city’s parliament — a repeat of a massive rally a week earlier in which organisers said more than a million people turned out.

Lam’s decision to ignore that record-breaking turnout and press ahead with tabling the bill for debate in the legislature on Wednesday was the spark that lit the clashes which brought parts of the financial hub to a standstill.

The protest movement has morphed in recent days from one specifically aimed at scrapping the extradition bill, to a wider movement of anger at Lam and Beijing over years of sliding freedoms.

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“The pro-democracy group will not stop at this point, they want to build on the momentum against Carrie Lam,” political analyst Willy Lam, told AFP. “They will keep the heat on and ride the momentum.”

Police said they had no choice but to use force to meet hardcore violent protesters who had besieged their lines outside the city’s parliament on Wednesday.

But critics — including legal and rights groups — say officers used a small minority of violent protesters to launch a sweeping security crackdown against predominantly young, peaceful protesters and clear the streets.

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Anger has also been fanned by Lam and senior officers calling those in the streets “rioters”.

Protest leaders have called for police to drop charges against anyone arrested for rioting and other offences linked to Wednesday’s clashes.

Lam has argued that Hong Kong needs to end the lack of an extradition agreement with the mainland and says safeguards were in place to ensure dissidents or political cases would not be accepted.

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Opposition to the bill united an unusually wide cross-section of Hong Kong from influential legal and business bodies, to religious leaders and western nations


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Former Fox & Friends co-host Clayton Morris flees the US as he faces two dozen lawsuits

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Facing more than two-dozen lawsuits alleging he committed real estate fraud, former "Fox & Friends Weekend" co-host Clayton Morris has reportedly fled the United States, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Morris, who previously resided in a $1.4 million home in New Jersey, moved his family to a coastal resort town in Portugal, the newspaper reported, citing a Facebook post from his wife.

Morris's wife and business partner, former MSNBC anchor Natali Morris, told the IndyStar that she and her husband plan to continue fighting the lawsuits from abroad.

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Trump defenders argued his latest tweets weren’t really racist — but he just completely undercut their arguments

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If you try to defend President Donald Trump, you will always end up having the rug pulled out from underneath you. It's a law of nature.

And yet, so many of the president's allies have failed to learn this simple lesson. So when Trump launched a new attack at progressive Democratic lawmakers that was one of his most obviously racist smears, inevitably, some of his defenders tried to deny the obvious truth.

His screed attacked a group of women who have come to define the left wing of the Democratic caucus, which includes Reps. Ilhan Omar (MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Rashida Talib (MI), and Ayanna Pressley (MA). Though only Omar is an immigrant (she was a refugee from Somalia as a child), Trump seemed to assume all four women of color weren't born in the United States, and most egregiously, he suggested they should "go back" to other countries:

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UK prime minister hopefuls slam Trump tweets — but refuse to call them racist

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The two candidates vying to become Britain's next prime minister both condemned on Monday US President Donald Trump's xenophobic tweets about progressive Democrat congresswomen as "totally offensive" and "totally unacceptable".

But front-runner Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt refused to call the tweets racist when pressed to do so during their last debate before next week's announcement of who will succeed Prime Minister Theresa May.

May's spokesman had earlier said that the outgoing leader's view was that Trump's comments were "completely unacceptable".

On Monday Trump doubled down on a series of his tweets from the day before urging the four congresswomen of colour to "go back" to the countries they came from.

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