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US restricts Chinese officials’ visas over Uighur ‘repression’

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The United States said Tuesday it would curb visas for Chinese officials over “repression” of Uighurs and other Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang, a day after imposing commercial restrictions.

“The United States calls on the People’s Republic of China to immediately end its campaign of repression in Xinjiang,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

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Pompeo called on China to “release all those arbitrarily detained, and cease efforts to coerce members of Chinese Muslim minority groups residing abroad to return to China to face an uncertain fate.”

The State Department said it would restrict visas to Chinese government and Communist Party officials involved in “detention or abuse” of Uighurs, Kazakhs or other predominantly Muslim ethnicities in Xinjiang.

The order will also affect their family members, including children who may be seeking the prestige of an American education.

The State Department did not specify the names of officials who would be affected.

But lawmakers have asked the United States specifically to take action against Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party chief for Xinjiang.

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Reputed within the party for his handling of minority groups, he earlier led iron-fisted policies aimed at curbing dissent in Tibet.

The Commerce Department on Monday blacklisted 28 Chinese entities including video surveillance firm Hikvision and artificial intelligence companies Megvii Technology and SenseTime over their involvement in Xinjiang.

Beijing voiced its “strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition” over the move and denied there were any human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

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Rights groups say some one million Uighurs and other Muslims are being held in a vast network of camps in Xinjiang aimed at homogenizing the population into China’s majority Han culture.

Witnesses say that China has sought to force Uighurs to drop core practices of Islam such as fasting during Ramadan and abstaining from alcohol and pork.

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China, after initially denying the camps, describes them as vocational training schools aimed at preventing the allure of Islamist extremism and violence.


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New Zealand may postpone general election after 4 test positive for COVID-19: PM Jacinda Ardern

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New Zealand locked down nursing homes nationwide Wednesday after a 102-day streak without the coronavirus ended, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the outbreak could force her to postpone next month's general election.

Ardern said authorities were scrambling to trace anyone who had been in contact with four Auckland residents who tested positive Tuesday, ending the dream run in which the virus had been contained at New Zealand's borders.

A three-day stay-at-home order for Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city with a population of 1.5 million, was announced on Tuesday night and went into force at lunchtime on Wednesday.

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2020 Election

Android phones to get ‘ShakeAlert’ earthquake warnings — and phones may double as tremor detectors

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Android phones will receive warnings triggered by a "ShakeAlert" earthquake early-warning system implemented on the West Coast by the US Geological Survey and partners.

ShakeAlert uses signals from hundreds of seismometers across the state to trigger warning messages that "an earthquake has begun and shaking is imminent," according to the system's website.

"We saw an opportunity to use Android to provide people with timely, helpful earthquake information when they search, as well as a few seconds warning to get themselves and their loved ones to safety if needed," principal software engineer Marc Stogaitis said in a blog post.

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2020 Election

‘Don’t talk about racism, racist’: Trump scorched after claiming Biden-Harris campaign has a ‘racism problem’

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President Donald Trump continued to lash out at Kamala Harris after the California Democrat was chosen to join the 2020 Democratic Party ticket as presumptive nominee Joe Biden's running mate.

At a news conference following the selection, Trump complained about Harris being "nasty."

After 10 p.m. on Monday, Trump tweeted out an attack ad claiming "Joe Biden has a racism problem."

Here's some of what people were saying about Trump's line of attack:

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