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Clashes at Hong Kong airport after flights halted

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HONG KONG (Reuters) – Police and protesters clashed at Hong Kong’s international airport on Tuesday after flights were disrupted for a second day as the political crisis in the former British colony deepened.

In Washington, U.S. President Donald Trump said the Chinese government was moving troops to the border with Hong Kong and he urged calm.

Trump said the situation in Hong Kong was tricky but he hoped it would work out for everybody, including China, and “for liberty” without anyone getting hurt or killed.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam warned that Hong Kong risked being “smashed to pieces”.

Demonstrators who have been protesting for the past nine weeks against Beijing’s growing influence in the special administrative region targeted the international airport for a second day on Tuesday.

Thousands of black-clad protesters jammed the terminal chanting, singing and waving banners.

Scuffles broke out in the evening after an injured man was held by a group of protesters. Some claimed he was an undercover mainland Chinese agent and initially refused to let him leave.

Medics, however, bundled him onto a stretcher and forced their way through jeering throngs to an ambulance.

Several police vehicles were blocked by protesters and riot police moved in amid chaotic scenes, using pepper spray to keep people back. A policeman pulled out a gun at one point.

Protesters also barricaded some passageways in the airport with luggage trolleys, metal barriers and other objects. Others clambered onto check-in counters as the protesters appeared to control part of the airport for a short while. At least two protesters were taken away by police.

Another mainland Chinese man was held and tied down by protesters at the airport after they thought he was posing as a reporter. The editor-in-chief of the state-run Global Times newspaper, Hu Xijin, tweeted that the man was a journalist with the paper. He was later taken away by ambulance.

The situation calmed down after a few hours without the violence worsening, and the crowds thinned out. Local media reported that an injunction had been issued by a local court to clear the airport of protesters.

The action followed an unprecedented shutdown of the airport on Monday. Hong Kong’s Airport Authority said operations had been “seriously disrupted” on Tuesday and departing passengers had been unable to reach immigration counters.

The weeks of protests began as opposition to a now-suspended bill that would have allowed suspects to be extradited to mainland China and have swelled into wider calls for democracy.

Demonstrators say they are fighting the erosion of the “one country, two systems” arrangement that enshrined some autonomy for Hong Kong since China took it back from Britain in 1997.

The increasingly violent clashes between police and protesters have roiled the Asian financial hub. Hong Kong’s stockmarket fell to a seven-month low on Tuesday.

Anti-Extradition bill protesters are seen on the check-in counter during a mass demonstration at the Hong Kong international airport, in Hong Kong, China, August 13, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

PUSHED INTO THE ABYSS

The United Nations human rights commissioner, Michele Bachelet, urged Hong Kong authorities to exercise restraint and investigate evidence of their forces firing tear gas at protesters in ways banned under international law.

China responded by saying her comments sent the wrong signal to “violent criminal offenders”.

Chief Executive Lam made an appeal for calm and restraint.

“Take a minute to look at our city, our home,” she said,

her voice cracking, at a news conference in the newly-fortified government headquarters complex.

“Can we bear to push it into the abyss and see it smashed to pieces?” she said.

Demonstrators want Lam to resign. She says she will stay.

The events present Chinese President Xi Jinping with one of his biggest challenges since he came to power in 2012.

Hong Kong legal experts say Beijing might be paving the way to use anti-terrorism laws to try to quell the demonstrations. On Monday,

Britain, a guarantor of the agreement that transferred Hong Kong to China in 1997, on Tuesday condemned the violence and urged dialogue.

“Concerning to see what’s happening in Hong Kong and the worrying pictures of clashes between police & protesters at the airport,” Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said on Twitter.

ANGRY PASSENGERS

“I think paralysing the airport will be effective in forcing Carrie Lam to respond to us…it can further pressure Hong Kong’s economy,” said Dorothy Cheng, a 17-year-old protester.

Despite the trouble, some flights were still scheduled to take off early on Wednesday morning with some tourists still waiting in the departure hall and dining areas, according to Reuters journalists in the airport.

Some passengers challenged protesters over the delays as tempers began to fray.

Slideshow (13 Images)

Flag carrier Cathay Pacific said flights might still be cancelled at short notice. The airline, whose British heritage makes it a symbol of Hong Kong’s colonial past, is also in a political bind.

China’s civil aviation regulator demanded that the airline suspend staff who joined or backed the protests from flights in its airspace, pushing the carrier’s shares past Monday’s 10-year low.

Other Chinese airlines have offered passengers wanting to avoid Hong Kong a free switch to nearby destinations, such as Guangzhou, Macau, Shenzhen or Zhuhai, with the disruption sending shares in Shenzhen Airport Co Ltd (000089.SZ) surging.

Additional reporting by Felix Tam, Noah Sin, Donny Kwok, Greg Torode and James Pomfret in Hong Kong; Additional reporting by Jamie Freed in Singapore and Stella Qiu in Beijing; Writing by James Pomfret; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Angus MacSwan



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MARKET LIVE: Sensex down 200 pts; broader indices underperform benchmarks

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Benchmark indices were trading over half a per cent lower in Thursday’s afternoon trade despite the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) easing the requirements for foreign portfolio investors (FPIs).


The S&P BSE Sensex was trading around 36,742 levels, down 318 points, or 0.86 per cent. YES Bank, Vedanta, ONGC, IndusInd Bank, and Tata Motors were the top laggards in the Sensex pack. The broader Nifty50 index slipped 103 points, or 0.94 per cent, to 10,857.


All the Nifty sectoral indices except Nifty FMCG were trading in the red. Nifty Realty and Nifty Metal indexes, down 6 per cent and 1.9 per cent, respectively, took the deepest cuts.

In the broader market, the S&P BSE MidCap index dipped 129 points, or 0.97 per cent, to 13,130, while the S&P BSE SmallCap index slid 183 points, or 1.48 per cent, to 12,207.

BUZZING STOCKS

Shares of LIC Housing Finance tumbled as much as 7.56 per cent to Rs 428.35 apiece on the NSE in the opening deals on Thursday after reports suggested 3.9 crore shares, representing 7.7 per cent of equity, were traded in a block deal at Rs 431 per share. READ MORE





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গোল বন্যার ম্যাচে দারুণ জয় ঢাকা আবাহনীর | Khelajog | Sports News | Ekattor TV

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গোল বন্যার ম্যাচে দারুণ এক জয় তুলে নিয়েছে ঢাকা আবাহনী। এএফসি কাপের ইন্টার জোনাল সেমিফাইনালের প্রথম লেগে উত্তর কোরিয়ার ক্লাব এপ্রিল টুয়েন্টি ফাইভকে ৪-৩ গোলে হারিয়েছে ঢাকার জায়ান্টরা। আকাশী নীলদের হয়ে জোড়া গোল করেছেন সানডে চিজোবা। ম্যাচের ৩৩ মিনিটে ডিবক্সের বাইরে থেকে জীবনের ব্যাকহিলে দৃষ্টিনন্দন এক গোল করেন সোহেল রানা। ২ মিনিটের ব্যবধানে ঠিক একই রকম গোলে সমতায় ফেরে এপ্রিল টুয়েন্টি ফাইভ। এর ২ মিনিট পর জীবনের নৈপুনে ২-১ গোলে এগিয়ে থেকে বিরতিতে যায় আবাহনী। দ্বিতীয়ার্ধ গোল হয়েছে আরো ৪টা। উত্তর কোরিয়ার ক্লাবটা সমতায় ফিরলেও জোড়া গোল করে বাংলাদেশকে এগিয়ে নেন সানডে চিজোবা।

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Modi begins 3-nation trip, says engagements will strengthen relations with time-tested friends

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Ahead of his visit to France, the UAE and Bahrain, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the engagements will strengthen India’s relations with time-tested friends and help explore new areas of cooperation. Modi will visit the three countries from August 22 to 26. He will reach France on Thursday.

In his departure statement, the Prime Minister said his visit to France reflects the strong strategic partnership which the two countries deeply value and share.

From August 22-23, he will have bilateral meetings in France, including a summit interaction with President Emmanuel Macron and a meeting with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

Modi will also interact with the Indian community and dedicate a memorial to the Indian victims of the two Air India crashes in France in the 1950s and 1960s.

Later, from August 25-26, he will participate in the G7 Summit meetings as Biarritz Partner at the invitation of President Macron in the sessions on Environment, Climate, Oceans and on Digital Transformation.

“India and France have excellent bilateral ties, which are reinforced by a shared vision to cooperate for further enhancing peace and prosperity for our two countries and the world at large,” the Prime Minister said.

He said the strong strategic and economic partnership is complemented by a shared perspective on major global concerns such as terrorism and climate change.

“I am confident that this visit will further promote our long-standing and valued friendship with France for mutual prosperity, peace and progress,” Modi said.

During the visit to the United Arab Emirates from August 23-24, the prime minister said he looks forward to discuss with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan the entire gamut of bilateral relations and regional and international issues of mutual interest.

Modi said he also looks forward to jointly release the stamp to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi along with the Crown Prince.

“It will be an honour to receive the ‘Order of Zayed’, the highest civilian decoration conferred by the UAE government, during this visit. I will also formally launch RuPay card to expand the network of cashless transactions abroad,” the Prime Minister said in the statement.

Frequent high-level interactions between India and the UAE testify to our vibrant relations, he said. The UAE is the third-largest trade partner and fourth-largest exporter of crude oil for India, he said.

“The qualitative enhancement of these ties is among one of our foremost foreign policy achievements. The visit would further strengthen our multifaceted bilateral ties with the UAE,” Modi said.

The Prime Minister will be in Bahrain from August 24-25. This will be the first ever prime ministerial visit from India to the Kingdom.

“I look forward to discussing with Prime Minister Prince Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa the ways to further boost our bilateral relations and share views on regional and international issues of mutual interest,” Modi said.

The prime minister would also be meeting King of Bahrain Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and other leaders.

“I would also take the opportunity to interact with the Indian diaspora. I will be blessed to be present at the formal beginning of the re-development of the temple of Shreenathji – the oldest in the Gulf region — in the wake of the auspicious festival of Janmashtami. I am confident that this visit would further deepen our relationship across the sectors,” Modi said.





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