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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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WATCH: Saturday Night Live airs Christmas special — that’s just one giant dig at the Electoral College

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NBC's "Saturday Night Live" aired an opening skit that was just one giant attack on the electoral college.

A snowman introduced the segment, saying that we could look in on the holiday table conversation thanks to hacked Nest cams.

The skit featured a house in San Francisco, California, a second in Charleston, South Carolina and a third in Atlanta, Georgia.

Each dinner table debated impeachment, and the differences between President Donald Trump and his predecessor, President Barack Obama.

But then the snowman said that none of their votes matter.

"They'll debate the issues all year long, but then it all comes down to 1,000 people in Wisconsin who won't even think about the election until the morning of," the snowman said. "And that's the magic of the Electoral College."

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Georgia mayor being recalled for racism resigns from office: report

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Hoschton Mayor Theresa Kenerly resigned in a special city council meeting held on Saturday, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported Saturday.

"The resignation came just days after Councilman Jim Cleveland resigned saying he‘d rather leave office on his own terms than face voters in a recall election next month," the newspaper reported. "Both resignations follow an AJC investigation launched seven months ago into claims that an African American candidate for city administrator was sidetracked by Mayor Theresa Kenerly because of his race."

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Nine 2020 Democrats unite to demand DNC Chair Tom Perez scrap debate rules: report

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The Democratic National Committee is facing a revolt for the party's 2020 presidential candidates for its restrictive debate rules.

"Nine Democratic presidential candidates, including the party's front-runners, are urging the Democratic National Committee to toss out the current polling and fundraising rules used to determine who appears in televised debates and reopen the exchanges to better reflect the historic diversity of the current field. The candidates say the rules exclude diverse candidates in the field from participating," CBS News reported Saturday evening.

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