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Founder of banned Hong Kong independence party arrested: police source

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The founder of a banned Hong Kong independence party has been arrested in a raid where offensive weapons and explosives were found, a senior police source told AFP Friday, as the city reels from weeks of anti-government protests.

In a statement, police said eight people — seven men and one woman — were arrested at an industrial building on Thursday evening in the district of Sha Tin on charges of possession of an offensive weapon and possession of explosives without a licence.

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The statement did not identify the individuals arrested. But a senior police source told AFP that independence activist Andy Chan was among those detained.

“Andy Chan was arrested inside a premise with (a) gasoline bomb seized,” the source said, asking not to be identified.

Chan’s independence party — the Hong Kong National Party — was outlawed last year on the grounds it posed a national security threat, the first such ban since 1997.

His party contained only a few dozen members but its formation infuriated Beijing, which sees calls for independence as an absolute red line.

The banning of his party — and the expulsion of a Financial Times journalist who chaired a talk with Chan at the city’s press club before the party was outlawed — were held up as two examples of sliding freedoms in Hong Kong as Beijing clamps down on dissent.

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The South China Morning Post reported that a crowd of protesters gathered outside Sha Tin police station overnight, shouting slogans and throwing eggs at the building.

Semi-autonomous Hong Kong has endured two months of protests that began with a government bid to introduce a law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.

The demonstrations evolved into a movement for deeper democratic reforms and an end to eroding freedoms, in the most significant challenge to Beijing’s rule since the city’s handover from Britain in 1997.

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New Trump rules give his own golf courses freedoms to pollute Florida — and 6 other states

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President Donald Trump's golf courses could end up polluting streams and wetlands under a new rule by his administration.

"The Trump administration on Thursday will finalize a rule to strip away environmental protections for streams, wetlands and other water bodies, handing a victory to farmers, fossil fuel producers and real estate developers who said Obama-era rules had shackled them with onerous and unnecessary burdens," The New York Times reported Wednesday.

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‘Where’s Justice Roberts?!’ Internet explodes after GOP senator flouts trial rules to give interview to Fox News while in session

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On Wednesday evening, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) appeared to break the rules of the Senate impeachment trial by stepping out of the chamber to give an interview to Fox News' Tucker Carlson:

Ummm Tucker Carlson got Josh Hawley to step away from the impeachment hearing about an hour ago to give him an interview. Notice how Tucker says “you’re just taking a break from a trial in progress” pic.twitter.com/dH5Jjwmofg

— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) January 23, 2020

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GOP senators only have three options for Trump’s impeachment trial: conservative Naval War College professor

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Naval War College Prof. Tom Nichols broke down the only three ways Republican senators will come off if they vote against removing President Donald Trump from office following the Senate's impeachment trial.

Nichols, an undefeated five-time "Jeopardy!" champion, praised House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) for his success in prosecuting the commander-in-chief.

As one of America's top Russia experts, Nichols has been closely following the proceedings, and concluded that the political perception of the trial was incredibly damning for Republicans.

"Schiff is laying out a narrative that is so clear - and undeniable, because it is rooted in a huge amount of documents and testimony - that the President’s defenders only have the choice now of looking complicit, stupid, or immoral (or all three) in rejecting it," he wrote.

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