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Hong Kong protesters threaten more demos if demands not met

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Hong Kong student groups were preparing to mobilise support for another major demonstration, a union leader said, as a Thursday deadline approached for the pro-Beijing government to respond to demands of protesters who have shaken the city with massive rallies.

Millions have marched this month to oppose a proposed law that would have allowed extraditions to the Chinese mainland, but the huge protest movement has morphed into a larger rebuke of Hong Kong’s administration.

Under-fire chief executive Carrie Lam has apologised and suspended the controversial bill, but that has failed to quell the opposition, with protesters demanding she step down and completely withdraw the legislation.

A network of students at universities and higher education institutions is preparing to mobilise based on a 5:00 pm (0900 GMT) Thursday deadline circulating online for several demands to be met, said So Tsun Fung, president of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Students Union.

In addition to Lam’s ouster and the extradition law’s withdrawal, protesters have also demanded the release of those detained during sporadic clashes with police last week, and an investigation into allegations of police brutality.

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So told AFP the student network would call for people to surround Hong Kong’s central government offices at 7:00 am Friday (2300 GMT Thursday) if the Lam administration does not respond to demands.

– Human chain –

“The hope is to apply pressure before civil servants go to work if we have a certain amount of people,” he added.

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In a chat group seen by AFP on the messaging app Telegram, some users posted anonymous polls asking its more than 34,000 members how they wanted to protest Friday, with options including a peaceful sit-in, forming a human chain, or surrounding Lam’s residence.

A Hong Kong government press representative asked AFP to direct queries about the demands to Lam’s office, which could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Civil Human Rights Front, a group that helped facilitate the massive June 9 and June 16 rallies, said it would support any lawful and peaceful protest by student groups.

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The ongoing protests have been largely “leaderless”, with no one group or individual articulating demands or negotiating with authorities on the demonstrators’ behalf.

The minority pro-democracy bloc in Hong Kong’s legislature would also back the students and urges them to remain peaceful, opposition lawmaker Claudio Mo told AFP.

Opponents of the extradition bill that sparked the crisis have said they fear the proposal will ensnare the people of Hong Kong in mainland China’s opaque and politicised justice system and also give Beijing a tool to target its critics based in the semi-autonomous territory.


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Mueller testimony ‘is going to be a devastating day for the president’: former White House lawyer

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The eyes of the nation will be on Capitol Hill on Wednesday when former special counsel Robert Mueller publicly testifies before Congress.

Mueller, who was a federal prosecutor, top DOJ official, and director of the FBI before serving as special counsel, is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning and the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday afternoon.

"As Democrats prepare for the arrival of special counsel Robert Mueller on Capitol Hill next week, their plans for his day of wall-to-wall testimony is becoming clearer: if Donald Trump were anyone but the president, he would be charged with the crimes Mueller uncovered," MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace reported on Friday.

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WATCH: Trump blurts out a massive lie about Dem congresswomen — after being asked about Melania

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President Donald Trump on Friday falsely accused Democratic congresswomen of using the phrase "evil Jews."

Trump ignited a firestorm over the weekend after saying that the congresswomen of color should "go back" to their countries of origin. At a rally on Wednesday, his supporters chanted "send her back" after Trump attacked one of them, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

But on Friday, Trump insisted the congresswomen were the real racists.

"You know what is racist to me? When somebody goes out and says the horrible things about our country, the people of our country, that are anti-Semitic, that hate everybody, that speak with scorn and hate -- that to me is really a very dangerous thing," Trump said.

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Iran says it has seized British oil tanker

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Iran's Revolutionary Guards said on Friday they had captured a British-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf after Britain seized an Iranian vessel earlier this month, further raising tensions along a vital international oil shipping route.

Britain said it was urgently seeking information about the Stena Impero after the tanker, which had been heading to a port in Saudi Arabia, suddenly changed course after passing through the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf.

The Revolutionary Guards said they seized the tanker at the request of Iranian maritime authorities for "not following international maritime regulations," state television reported.

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