Iran’s brutality is getting another pass from Europe

Remember that the continued reasoning for Europe’s dovish approach to Iran is the fact that Great Britain, France, and Germany are trying so hard to preserve the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. This casts enough doubt on any definitive statement that Iran had been complying with the 2015 nuclear deal before the U.S. pulled of it. Second, the idea that Iran’s mischief was somehow more manageable before the nuclear deal ended is more than a stretch. The Yemeni civil war, where Iran has backed the Houthi r


Remember that the continued reasoning for Europe’s dovish approach to Iran is the fact that Great Britain, France, and Germany are trying so hard to preserve the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
This casts enough doubt on any definitive statement that Iran had been complying with the 2015 nuclear deal before the U.S. pulled of it.
Second, the idea that Iran’s mischief was somehow more manageable before the nuclear deal ended is more than a stretch.
The Yemeni civil war, where Iran has backed the Houthi r
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Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-12-04  Authors: jake novak
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, iranian, brutality, getting, irans, nuclear, used, money, deal, pass, iran, europe, thats, regime, protesters


Iran's brutality is getting another pass from Europe

If you think that’s as perverse as it gets, be prepared for further disbelief. Because just as Iran’s belligerence is increasing, much of the Western world is going out of its way to appease the Islamist regime. Last week, six new European countries joined with France, Germany, and Great Britain in an effort to help Iran circumvent tough new U.S. economic sanctions by setting up a barter system that does not use the dollar. To call the timing of this outrageous, especially since European nations like Great Britain have recently suffered from Iran’s aggression in the Persian Gulf .

As of now, the human rights group Amnesty International has confirmed a number of those stunning items. They include 208 protesters confirmed killed, a “shoot to kill” policy in place against demonstrators, and the absolutely most stunning revelation of all: in some cases, Iranian security forces are returning the bodies of killed protesters to their families and demanding to be paid for the price of the bullets used to kill them .

But over the last few weeks, the Iranian government’s brutality has been refocused on its own people. The regime’s decision to scrap gasoline subsidies sparked massive protests across the country, and the shocking crackdown on those protesters is providing stunning news stories almost daily.

These days, the world would be hard-pressed to find a more dangerous wounded animal than Iran. The Islamist regime has spent most of this year ramping up its violent attacks on its neighbors in the Middle East and on oil tanker traffic along the Persian Gulf.

Every hunter and hiker knows that one of the first rules of the wild is to beware a wounded animal.

In some cases, Iranian security forces are returning the bodies of killed protesters to their families and demanding to be paid for the price of the bullets used to kill them.

But it gets even worse. Remember that the continued reasoning for Europe’s dovish approach to Iran is the fact that Great Britain, France, and Germany are trying so hard to preserve the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. That’s the deal that the Trump administration formally took the U.S. out of last year and Iran has been systematically violating in recent months by increasing its uranium enrichment.

Their argument, one that’s parroted by many U.S. opponents of the Trump administration, is that Iran’s increased aggression is a direct result of the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the nuclear deal. Without the incentives to fall back from their march to nuclear weapons, the Europeans argue that Iran has been unintentionally coaxed by the U.S. back to its nuclear program and also more terrorism.

That could be a good argument if it weren’t for one thing: it’s blatantly incorrect on numerous levels.

First off, the assumption that Iran ever really abandoned or significantly delayed its nuclear program is highly questionable. Just last month, reports surfaced that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had found uranium particles at a site in Iran that had not been declared by the Iranian authorities.

The reports did not say exactly where the site was, but the BBC reported that inspectors are believed to have taken samples from a location in Tehran’s Turquzabad district. That would be the same location that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the U.N. about in 2018, saying the Iranians were using it as a “secret atomic warehouse.” This casts enough doubt on any definitive statement that Iran had been complying with the 2015 nuclear deal before the U.S. pulled of it.

Second, the idea that Iran’s mischief was somehow more manageable before the nuclear deal ended is more than a stretch. The deadly Syrian civil war that Iran has played a major role in for years by backing the regime of Bashar al-Assad began well before 2015. The Yemeni civil war, where Iran has backed the Houthi rebels, also began before the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran’s continued backing terror groups like Hamas and Hezbollah and their continued attacks on Israeli civilian locations also long predates any nuclear deal with the West.

In fact, many experts believe the billions of dollars Iran was able to reclaim as part of the nuclear deal were used by the regime to advance their terrorist and other destabilizing efforts around the region. Then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford told Congress in 2017 that’s what at least some of the money given to Iran was being used for.

At the very least, this is a belief held by many Iranians themselves. A key rallying cry against Iranian money being used to fund paramilitary activities abroad has been heard frequently in the current Iranian protests and demonstrations that hit the country last year. Many of the protesters are even chanting, “no money, no gas, screw Palestine” as a way to make it clear they want Iran’s money used to improve the domestic economy and not pay for rockets launched from Gaza into Israel.

All of this is on top of Iran’s already shoddy human rights record, which includes numerous cases of executing gays, jailing and beating women who don’t cover their hair, and persecuting Muslim converts to Christianity. One could argue there has never been a good time to appease Iran since the Islamic revolution changed that nation and the entire Middle East in 1979.

But the world is remaining mostly silent. In addition to the European nations ignoring the brutal crackdown on the protesters in favor of skirting economic sanctions, the U.N. has scheduled no resolutions to address this issue or the Iranian connection to the even more brutal crackdowns on protesters in Iraq.

Many news organizations have been covering the story, but rarely with the front page or top story status. Coverage or not, the dichotomy between the U.S. and Europe over how to deal with Iran is one of the biggest rifts in the history of the NATO alliance. If Iran continues to promote death and destruction at home and abroad, it’s hard to see how more rifts won’t emerge between the U.S. and Europe.

Jake Novak is a political and economic analyst at Jake Novak News and former CNBC TV producer. You can follow him on Twitter @jakejakeny.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-12-04  Authors: jake novak
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China suspends US military visits to Hong Kong, sanctions US-based NGOs

Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China November 27, 2019. China said on Monday U.S. military ships and aircraft won’t be allowed to visit Hong Kong, and also announced sanctions against several U.S. non-government organisations for encouraging protesters to “engage in extremist, violent and criminal acts.” China last week promised it would issue “firm counter measures” after U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democr


Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China November 27, 2019.
China said on Monday U.S. military ships and aircraft won’t be allowed to visit Hong Kong, and also announced sanctions against several U.S. non-government organisations for encouraging protesters to “engage in extremist, violent and criminal acts.”
China last week promised it would issue “firm counter measures” after U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democr
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China suspends US military visits to Hong Kong, sanctions US-based NGOs

Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China November 27, 2019.

China said on Monday U.S. military ships and aircraft won’t be allowed to visit Hong Kong, and also announced sanctions against several U.S. non-government organisations for encouraging protesters to “engage in extremist, violent and criminal acts.”

The measures were announced by China’s Foreign Ministry in response to U.S. legislation passed last week supporting anti-government protesters. It said it had suspended taking requests for U.S. military visits indefinitely, and warned of further action to come.

“We urge the U.S. to correct the mistakes and stop interfering in our internal affairs. China will take further steps if necessary to uphold Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity and China’s sovereignty,” said ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news briefing in Beijing.

China last week promised it would issue “firm counter measures” after U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act,” which supports anti-government protesters in Hong Kong and threatens China with potential sanctions.

There are fears that the row over Hong Kong could impact efforts by Beijing and Washington to reach preliminary deal that could de-escalate a prolonged trade war between the two countries.

The U.S.-headquartered NGOs targeted by Beijing include the National Endowment for Democracy, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Republican Institute, Human Rights Watch, and Freedom House.

“They shoulder some responsibility for the chaos in Hong Kong and they should be sanctioned and pay the price,” said Hua.

In more normal times, several U.S. naval ships visit Hong Kong annually, a rest-and-recreation tradition that dates back to the pre-1997 colonial era which Beijing allowed to continue after the handover from British to Chinese rule.

Visits have at times been refused amid broader tensions and two U.S. ships were denied access in August.

The USS Blue Ridge, the command ship of the Japanese-based Seventh Fleet, stopped in Hong Kong in April – the last ship to visit before mass protests broke out in June.

Foreign NGOs are already heavily restricted in China, and have previously received sharp rebukes for reporting on rights issues in the country including the mass detention of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.


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Hundreds march in Hong Kong against use of tear gas; city braces for further protests

Pro-democracy protesters take part in a Thanksgiving Day rally at Edinburgh Place on November 28, 2019 in Hong Kong. Hundreds of protesters in Hong Kong, including many families with children, marched on Sunday in protest against police use of tear gas as the Asian financial hub geared up for further anti-government demonstrations following a week of calm. Carrying yellow balloons and waving banners that read “No tear gas, save our children”, the protesters streamed through the city’s central bu


Pro-democracy protesters take part in a Thanksgiving Day rally at Edinburgh Place on November 28, 2019 in Hong Kong.
Hundreds of protesters in Hong Kong, including many families with children, marched on Sunday in protest against police use of tear gas as the Asian financial hub geared up for further anti-government demonstrations following a week of calm.
Carrying yellow balloons and waving banners that read “No tear gas, save our children”, the protesters streamed through the city’s central bu
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Hundreds march in Hong Kong against use of tear gas; city braces for further protests

Pro-democracy protesters take part in a Thanksgiving Day rally at Edinburgh Place on November 28, 2019 in Hong Kong.

Hundreds of protesters in Hong Kong, including many families with children, marched on Sunday in protest against police use of tear gas as the Asian financial hub geared up for further anti-government demonstrations following a week of calm.

Carrying yellow balloons and waving banners that read “No tear gas, save our children”, the protesters streamed through the city’s central business district towards government headquarters on the main Hong Kong island. Three marches are planned for Sunday and all have been approved by authorities.

On Saturday, secondary school students and retirees joined forces to protest against what they called police brutality and unlawful arrests.

Activists have pledged to maintain the momentum of the movement that has roiled the China-ruled territory for nearly six months.

Holding umbrellas to shield themselves from the sun, many people were seen pushing their children in strollers, while one man with a balloon festooned to his wheelchair also joined the procession.

“We want the police to stop using tear gas,” said a woman surnamed Wong, who was marching with her husband and five year old son.

“It’s not a good way to solve the problem. The government needs to listen to the people. It is ridiculous.”

Police have fired around 10,000 rounds of tear gas since June, the city’s Secretary for Security, John Lee, said this week.

Anti-government protests have rocked the former British colony since June, at times forcing government offices, businesses, schools and even the international airport to shut.

However, there has been relative calm since local elections last Sunday delivered an overwhelming victory to pro-democracy candidates.

Sunday’s marches came as a top Hong Kong official said the government was looking into setting up an independent committee to review the handling of the crisis, in which demonstrations have become increasingly violent.


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Hong Kong police fire tear gas as thousands take to the streets in fresh protests

Pro-democracy protesters take part in a Thanksgiving Day rally at Edinburgh Place on November 28, 2019 in Hong Kong. Police fired tear gas to disperse thousands of anti-government protesters in Hong Kong on Sunday, ending a rare lull in violence, as residents took to the streets chanting “revolution of our time” and “liberate Hong Kong”. Police made several arrests as the tear gas sent hundreds fleeing toward the harbor. Hong Kong, a major financial hub, had enjoyed relative calm for the past we


Pro-democracy protesters take part in a Thanksgiving Day rally at Edinburgh Place on November 28, 2019 in Hong Kong.
Police fired tear gas to disperse thousands of anti-government protesters in Hong Kong on Sunday, ending a rare lull in violence, as residents took to the streets chanting “revolution of our time” and “liberate Hong Kong”.
Police made several arrests as the tear gas sent hundreds fleeing toward the harbor.
Hong Kong, a major financial hub, had enjoyed relative calm for the past we
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Hong Kong police fire tear gas as thousands take to the streets in fresh protests

Pro-democracy protesters take part in a Thanksgiving Day rally at Edinburgh Place on November 28, 2019 in Hong Kong.

Police fired tear gas to disperse thousands of anti-government protesters in Hong Kong on Sunday, ending a rare lull in violence, as residents took to the streets chanting “revolution of our time” and “liberate Hong Kong”.

The protest in the busy shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui followed a march by hundreds of people to the U.S. consulate to show “gratitude” for U.S. support for the demonstrations that have agitated the Chinese-ruled city for six months.

Shops and businesses in the area closed early as police sprayed volleys of tear gas at protesters, including some elderly residents and others with their pets, as they marched past the city’s Kowloon waterfront, home to luxury hotels and shopping malls.

Police made several arrests as the tear gas sent hundreds fleeing toward the harbor.

Hong Kong, a major financial hub, had enjoyed relative calm for the past week since local elections last Sunday delivered an overwhelming victory to pro-democracy candidates.

Activists pledged, however, to maintain the momentum of the anti-government movement. Protests in the former British colony since June have at times forced the closure of government offices, businesses, schools and even the international airport.

Waving posters that read “Never forget why you started” and black flags with the logo “Revolution now”, protesters occupied several main roads on Sunday, with young residents and families with children filling the nearby streets.

“We had demonstrations, peaceful protests, lobbying inside the council, a lot of things we have done but they all failed,” said Felix, a 25-year-old university graduate.

“There are still five demands,” he said, referring to protesters’ calls that include an independent inquiry into police behavior and the implementation of universal suffrage.

Some black-clad protesters wearing gas masks built barricades and blocked roads near luxury stores, including Armani, while others headed toward Hung Hom, a district near the ruined campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

The campus turned into a battleground in mid-November when protesters barricaded themselves in and faced off riot police in violent clashes of petrol bombs, water cannon and tear gas.

About 1,100 people were arrested last week, some while trying to escape.

Police withdrew from the university on Friday after collecting evidence and removing dangerous items including thousands of petrol bombs, arrows and chemicals that had been strewn around the site.

By Sunday night, the crowds of protesters had diminished and some roads reopened to traffic. Police said hundreds of “rioters” had hurled smoke bombs, “stirring up public fear and causing chaos” which forced them to fire tear gas.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-12-01
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Falling oil prices may be misreading a tenuous situation in Iraq

Oil fell in U.S. trading after the development but was also impacted by negative sentiment around trade talks and OPEC. He said investors may now think the potential for disruption of Iraq oil exports has abated. Helima Croft, head of global commodities strategy at RBC, said the situation in Iraq now risks getting worse. What has to be a concern to Iran is that these Shiite protesters in Iraq have turned their rage on Iran,” said Croft. The fact we’ve had multiple governments falling in the regi


Oil fell in U.S. trading after the development but was also impacted by negative sentiment around trade talks and OPEC.
He said investors may now think the potential for disruption of Iraq oil exports has abated.
Helima Croft, head of global commodities strategy at RBC, said the situation in Iraq now risks getting worse.
What has to be a concern to Iran is that these Shiite protesters in Iraq have turned their rage on Iran,” said Croft.
The fact we’ve had multiple governments falling in the regi
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Falling oil prices may be misreading a tenuous situation in Iraq

Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi announced his resignation Friday after the country’s top cleric criticized the government following a deadly day of protests. Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani urged Iraq’s Parliament to stop the country from “sliding into chaos, violence and destruction,” according to news reports.

Iraq is the second-largest oil producer in OPEC, with output nearing 5 million barrels a day, and analysts had said that anti-government protests in the country could ultimately impact oil exports if they continued.

The resignation of Iraq’s prime minister helped trigger a drop in oil prices, but analysts say that may not be the right response by investors, as Iraq’s future may have just become even more uncertain.

Oil fell in U.S. trading after the development but was also impacted by negative sentiment around trade talks and OPEC.

West Texas Intermediate futures were down 4.3% at $55.61 per barrel in midday trading. Brent futures were off 2.2% at $62.49 per barrel.

“It’s falling because the protesters got what they wanted,” said John Kilduff, partner with Again Capital. He said investors may now think the potential for disruption of Iraq oil exports has abated.

“Let’s see how the market reacts to this development. Scores were killed over the weekend,” he said.

Helima Croft, head of global commodities strategy at RBC, said the situation in Iraq now risks getting worse. “I think this is maybe far from over,” she said. “They are trading on a headline because they believe the Middle East is becoming more tranquil, not realizing that the battle for the future of Iraq is entering a more dangerous phase potentially.”

Protesters have focused on Iran’s influence in the country, which has water shortages, power outages and a high level of unemployment.

“There’s a sense the oil dividend is not being used to produce any economic dividend,” Croft said.

Croft said Abdul-Mahdi was expendable because he was not tied to any party, and the question now is when will elections take place.

“He was a consensus pick. What has to be a concern to Iran is that these Shiite protesters in Iraq have turned their rage on Iran,” said Croft.

Kilduff said the protests are another challenge to Iran in the region, at a time when its regime is also being challenged by violent protests in its own country. “That’s a key development, that the ire of the protesters is directed toward Iran,” he said.

As oil was being hit hard Friday, the outlook for the trade dispute between the U.S. and China looked more uncertain. The talks are expected to continue, but the potential for a deal became murkier after President Donald Trump signed a bill supporting protesters Wednesday, and Beijing responded negatively in return.

There are also doubts surfacing about OPEC’s meeting next week, with Russia potentially seeking to have its condensates exempted from the production quotas. News reports quoted unnamed sources saying Saudi Arabia does not want to shoulder a bigger percentage of the cuts.

“The OPEC meeting is looking more bearish by the day,” Kilduff said, noting that oil was also moving on technical factors. “The meeting looks like it might be going off the rails.” West Texas Intermediate futures slid just under the 50-day moving average at $55.62 per barrel.

Iraq is now the fourth government to fall, following Lebanon, Algeria and Sudan.

“Oil’s a totally broken barometer. The fact we’ve had multiple governments falling in the region does not mean the region is becoming more placid,” Croft said.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-29  Authors: patti domm
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Thousands in Hong Kong celebrate at ‘Thanksgiving’ rally after US legislation backs supporters

Protesters in Hong Kong responded by staging a “Thanksgiving” rally, with thousands, some draped in U.S. flags, gathering in the heart of the city. “We are really grateful about that and we really appreciate the effort made by Americans who support Hong Kong, who stand with Hong Kong, who do not choose to side with Beijing,” he said, urging other countries to pass similar legislation. Pro-democracy protesters take part in a Thanksgiving Day rally at Edinburgh Place on November 28, 2019 in Hong K


Protesters in Hong Kong responded by staging a “Thanksgiving” rally, with thousands, some draped in U.S. flags, gathering in the heart of the city.
“We are really grateful about that and we really appreciate the effort made by Americans who support Hong Kong, who stand with Hong Kong, who do not choose to side with Beijing,” he said, urging other countries to pass similar legislation.
Pro-democracy protesters take part in a Thanksgiving Day rally at Edinburgh Place on November 28, 2019 in Hong K
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Thousands in Hong Kong celebrate at 'Thanksgiving' rally after US legislation backs supporters

China warned the United States on Thursday that it would take “firm counter measures” in response to U.S. legislation backing anti-government protesters in Hong Kong, and said attempts to interfere in the Chinese-ruled city were doomed to fail. U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed into law congressional legislation which supported the protesters, despite angry objections from Beijing, with which he is seeking a deal to end a damaging trade war. Protesters in Hong Kong responded by staging a “Thanksgiving” rally, with thousands, some draped in U.S. flags, gathering in the heart of the city. “The rationale for us having this rally is to show our gratitude and thank the U.S Congress and also President Trump for passing the bill,” said 23-year-old Sunny Cheung, a member of the student group that lobbied for the legislation. “We are really grateful about that and we really appreciate the effort made by Americans who support Hong Kong, who stand with Hong Kong, who do not choose to side with Beijing,” he said, urging other countries to pass similar legislation.

Pro-democracy protesters take part in a Thanksgiving Day rally at Edinburgh Place on November 28, 2019 in Hong Kong. Chris McGrath | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The law requires the State Department to certify, at least annually, that Hong Kong is autonomous enough to justify favorable U.S. trading terms that have helped it become a world financial center. It also threatens sanctions for human rights violations. The Chinese foreign ministry said the United States would shoulder the consequences of China’s countermeasures if it continued to “act arbitrarily” in regards to Hong Kong. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng summoned U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad and demanded that Washington immediately stop interfering in China’s domestic affairs. Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed government said the legislation sent the wrong signal to demonstrators and “clearly interfered” with the city’s internal affairs. China is considering barring the drafters of the legislation, whose U.S. Senate sponsor is Florida Republican Marco Rubio, from entering mainland China as well as Hong Kong and Macau, Hu Xijin, the editor of China’s Global Times tabloid, said on Twitter.

‘Sinister intentions’

More than 5,800 people have been arrested since the unrest broke out in June over a proposal to allow extraditions to mainland China, the numbers grew in October and November as violence escalated. Demonstrators are angry at police violence and what they see as Chinese meddling in freedoms promised to Hong Kong when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997, such as an independent judiciary.

China says it is committed to the “one country, two systems” formula put in place at the handover, and blames foreign forces for fomenting the unrest, an allegation it repeated in response to the U.S. law. “This so-called legislation will only strengthen the resolve of the Chinese people, including the Hong Kong people, and raise awareness of the sinister intentions and hegemonic nature of the U.S.,” the foreign ministry said. “The U.S. plot is doomed.” Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang declined to comment on any countermeasures planned by Beijing. “You better stay tuned, and follow up on this,” he said. “What will come will come.” Gao Feng, a spokesman for China’s commerce ministry, did not comment directly on whether the law would affect trade talks, saying there were no new details of their progress to disclose. Some analysts say any move to end Hong Kong’s special treatment could harm the United States, which has benefited from business-friendly conditions in the territory.

Lull in violence

Anti-government protests have roiled the former British colony for six months, at times forcing businesses, government, schools and even the international airport to close. Hong Kong has enjoyed a rare lull in violence over the past week, with local elections on Sunday delivering a landslide victory to pro-democracy candidates. Prominent activists Joshua Wong and Denise Ho addressed the rally on Thursday night, thanking front line protesters for the passage of the bill. Crowds sang the protest anthem “Glory to Hong Kong,” waving their phone torches. Several hundred people also gathered outside the Polytechnic University, which police entered after a nearly two-week siege. “The situation in Poly U is still a disaster,” said 30-year-old Ng, dressed in black and wearing a surgical mask. “We are out to show we will never forget the Poly U incident.”

A protester runs during an attempt to leave The Hong Kong Polytechnic University on November 18, 2019 in Hong Kong. Anthony Kwan | Getty Images News | Getty Images


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Iraq’s PM announces he’ll resign amid worsening crisis

Security forces had fired live rounds the previous day to disperse protesters from two key bridges, killing 31 people. In Baghdad, protesters gathered around the historic Rasheed Street near the strategic Ahrar Bridge and burned the Iranian flag, chanting “Iran out!” Four people were shot by security forces on the bridge the previous day. Security forces have used live fire, tear gas and smoke bombs to disperse crowds. A spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general expressed deep concern over the us


Security forces had fired live rounds the previous day to disperse protesters from two key bridges, killing 31 people.
In Baghdad, protesters gathered around the historic Rasheed Street near the strategic Ahrar Bridge and burned the Iranian flag, chanting “Iran out!”
Four people were shot by security forces on the bridge the previous day.
Security forces have used live fire, tear gas and smoke bombs to disperse crowds.
A spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general expressed deep concern over the us
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Iraq's PM announces he'll resign amid worsening crisis

Demonstrators run as Iraqi security forces use tear gas during a protest after lifting of the curfew, following four days of nationwide anti-government protests turned violent, in Baghdad, Iraq October 5, 2019.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi said Friday he would submit his resignation to parliament, a day after more than 40 people were killed by security forces and following calls by Iraq’s top Shiite cleric for lawmakers to withdraw support.

In a statement, Abdul-Mahdi said he “listened with great concern” to al-Sistani’s sermon and made his decision in response to his call and in order to “facilitate and hasten its fulfillment as soon as possible.”

“I will submit to parliament an official memorandum resigning from the current prime ministry so that the parliament can review its choices,” he said. Abdul-Mahdi was appointed prime minister just over a year ago as a consensus candidate between political blocs.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said parliament, which elected the government of Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, should “reconsider its options” in his weekly Friday sermon delivered in the holy city of Najaf via a representative.

“We call upon the House of Representatives from which this current government emerged to reconsider its options in that regard,” al-Sistani said in the statement.

Three more protesters were killed and eight wounded by security forces on Friday who used live rounds in the southern city of Nasiriyah, amid continuing violence after the previous day’s bloodshed.

Al-Sistani also said protesters should distinguish between peaceful demonstrators and those seeking to turn the movement violent, following the burning of an Iranian consulate building in Najaf on Wednesday that government officials say was perpetrated by saboteurs from outside the protest movement.

The Islamic Dawa party called for parliament to convene immediately and choose an alternative government, in a statement.

Forty protesters were shot dead by security forces in Baghdad and the southern cities of Najaf and Nasiriyah on Thursday, in a sharp escalation of violence that continued Friday.

Three protesters were shot and eight wounded by security forces in Nasiriyah when the demonstrators attempted to enter the city center to resume their sit-in, security and hospital officials said. Security forces had fired live rounds the previous day to disperse protesters from two key bridges, killing 31 people.

In Baghdad, protesters gathered around the historic Rasheed Street near the strategic Ahrar Bridge and burned the Iranian flag, chanting “Iran out!”

Four people were shot by security forces on the bridge the previous day. Protesters are also occupying parts of the nearby bridges Jumhuriya and Sinar — all of which lead to the fortified Green Zone, the seat of Iraq’s government.

At least 400 protesters have died since Oct. 1, when thousands of Iraqis took to the streets in Baghdad and the predominantly Shiite southern provinces to decry corruption, poor services and lack of jobs. Security forces have used live fire, tear gas and smoke bombs to disperse crowds.

A spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general expressed deep concern over the use of live ammunition against protesters on Friday.

“The Secretary-General reiterates his call on the Iraqi authorities to exercise maximum restraint, protect the lives of demonstrators, respect the rights to freedom of expression and assembly, and swiftly to investigate all acts of violence,” said Stéphane Dujarric, in a statement.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-29
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, demonstrators, protesters, worsening, iraqs, hell, forces, resign, amid, security, parliament, prime, abdulmahdi, live, violence, announces, baghdad, crisis


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Asia stocks set to trade higher; Trump signs bills backing Hong Kong protesters

Stocks in Asia were set to trade higher at the open on Thursday as markets await investor reaction to bills backing protesters in Hong Kong which were signed into law by U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday. Futures pointed to a higher open for Japanese stocks, with the Nikkei futures contract in Chicago at 23,485 and its counterpart in Osaka at 23,590. Meanwhile, shares in Australia rose in early trade, with the S&P/ASX 200 about 0.3% higher. Trump has signed into law two bills backing prot


Stocks in Asia were set to trade higher at the open on Thursday as markets await investor reaction to bills backing protesters in Hong Kong which were signed into law by U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday.
Futures pointed to a higher open for Japanese stocks, with the Nikkei futures contract in Chicago at 23,485 and its counterpart in Osaka at 23,590.
Meanwhile, shares in Australia rose in early trade, with the S&P/ASX 200 about 0.3% higher.
Trump has signed into law two bills backing prot
Asia stocks set to trade higher; Trump signs bills backing Hong Kong protesters Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-28  Authors: eustance huang
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, trade, trump, signs, kong, nikkei, law, set, bills, protesters, hong, signed, stocks, open, higher, negotiators


Asia stocks set to trade higher; Trump signs bills backing Hong Kong protesters

Stocks in Asia were set to trade higher at the open on Thursday as markets await investor reaction to bills backing protesters in Hong Kong which were signed into law by U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday. Futures pointed to a higher open for Japanese stocks, with the Nikkei futures contract in Chicago at 23,485 and its counterpart in Osaka at 23,590. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 23,437.77. Meanwhile, shares in Australia rose in early trade, with the S&P/ASX 200 about 0.3% higher.

Trump has signed into law two bills backing protesters in Hong Kong, according to a White House statement. That move comes despite past objections by China amid ongoing trade negotiations between Beijing and Washington. Market sentiment has gotten a boost in recent days amid positive rhetoric on the U.S.-China trade front. On Tuesday, Trump said negotiators were close to reaching an initial trade deal. Trump’s upbeat comments on trade followed a phone call between officials from the U.S. and China. The negotiators agreed to keep working on remaining issues.

Wall Street record

Currencies


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-28  Authors: eustance huang
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, trade, trump, signs, kong, nikkei, law, set, bills, protesters, hong, signed, stocks, open, higher, negotiators


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China accuses US of ‘sinister intentions’ after Trump signs bills supporting Hong Kong protesters

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday the U.S. has “sinister intentions” and its “plot” is “doomed to fail,” after President Donald Trump signed two bills supporting Hong Kong protesters into law. In a statement released by the White House, Trump said, “I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong. Beijing’s statements came just hours after Trump signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 into law. He also signed another bi


China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday the U.S. has “sinister intentions” and its “plot” is “doomed to fail,” after President Donald Trump signed two bills supporting Hong Kong protesters into law.
In a statement released by the White House, Trump said, “I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong.
Beijing’s statements came just hours after Trump signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 into law.
He also signed another bi
China accuses US of ‘sinister intentions’ after Trump signs bills supporting Hong Kong protesters Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-28  Authors: grace shao christine wang evelyn cheng, grace shao, christine wang, evelyn cheng
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, china, systems, bills, hong, country, trump, kong, signed, sinister, signs, underestimate, statement, bill, protesters, supporting, president, intentions


China accuses US of 'sinister intentions' after Trump signs bills supporting Hong Kong protesters

China’s President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump during a meeting outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday the U.S. has “sinister intentions” and its “plot” is “doomed to fail,” after President Donald Trump signed two bills supporting Hong Kong protesters into law.

State media also published a statement from the Hong Kong liaison office, emphasizing its commitment to defending its “one country, two systems” policy.

“We are officially telling the U.S. and the handful of opposition politicians in Hong Kong who follow America’s lead to not underestimate our determination to protect Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, don’t underestimate our belief to protect the ‘one country, two systems policy’ and don’t underestimate our capabilities and strategies in protecting our country’s sovereignty, safety, growth and rights,” the office said, according to a CNBC translation of an online-Chinese language statement.

Hong Kong is a semi-autonomous territory which operates under the “one country, two systems” principle — a structure that grants the city’s citizens some degree of financial and legal independence from the mainland.

In a statement released by the White House, Trump said, “I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong. They are being enacted in the hope that Leaders and Representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences leading to long term peace and prosperity for all.”

Beijing’s statements came just hours after Trump signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 into law. That bill would require the State Department to certify once a year that Hong Kong is sufficiently autonomous to retain its special U.S. trading consideration — a status that helps its economy. He also signed another bill banning the sale of munitions like tear gas and rubber bullets to Hong Kong police.

“This so-called bill will only make the Chinese people, including our compatriots in Hong Kong, further understand the sinister intentions and hegemonic nature of the United States. It will only make the Chinese people more united and make the American plot doomed to fail,” China’s foreign ministry said in an online Chinese-language statement Thursday, according to a CNBC translation.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-28  Authors: grace shao christine wang evelyn cheng, grace shao, christine wang, evelyn cheng
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, china, systems, bills, hong, country, trump, kong, signed, sinister, signs, underestimate, statement, bill, protesters, supporting, president, intentions


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A major tunnel in Hong Kong has reopened, ending one of the more violent chapters in the protests

Cloud of smoke from an explosion on the footbridge on the drive way in front of Hong Kong Coliseum and Hong Kong harbour during the protests. A major tunnel in Hong Kong reopened on Wednesday as a week-long police siege of a nearby university appeared to be winding down, closing one of the more violent chapters in the city’s anti-government protests. “Let me just stress that after these five-six months, Hong Kong people have realized very clearly that Hong Kong could no longer tolerate this chao


Cloud of smoke from an explosion on the footbridge on the drive way in front of Hong Kong Coliseum and Hong Kong harbour during the protests.
A major tunnel in Hong Kong reopened on Wednesday as a week-long police siege of a nearby university appeared to be winding down, closing one of the more violent chapters in the city’s anti-government protests.
“Let me just stress that after these five-six months, Hong Kong people have realized very clearly that Hong Kong could no longer tolerate this chao
A major tunnel in Hong Kong has reopened, ending one of the more violent chapters in the protests Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-27
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, hong, protesters, violent, dialogue, public, tunnel, bill, protests, chapters, trade, reopened, kong, major, lam, ending, chinese


A major tunnel in Hong Kong has reopened, ending one of the more violent chapters in the protests

Cloud of smoke from an explosion on the footbridge on the drive way in front of Hong Kong Coliseum and Hong Kong harbour during the protests.

A major tunnel in Hong Kong reopened on Wednesday as a week-long police siege of a nearby university appeared to be winding down, closing one of the more violent chapters in the city’s anti-government protests.

The Cross-Harbour Tunnel, which links Hong Kong Island to the rest of the city, had been closed for two weeks after protesters blocked the approach with debris and set the toll booths on fire as they fought clashes with police.

A search of the Hong Kong Polytechnic campus found just one woman, in weak condition, and a senior university official said it’s unlikely anyone else remains.

Attention meanwhile shifted to city leader Carrie Lam’s response to a major loss in local elections Sunday — a public rebuke of her tough line on the protests. Lam offered no concessions, saying only that she would accelerate dialogue and identify ways to address societal grievances.

She said the central government in Beijing did not blame her for the election setback, and that while it may have reflected unhappiness with the government’s handling of the unrest, it also showed that many people want an end to the violence.

“Let me just stress that after these five-six months, Hong Kong people have realized very clearly that Hong Kong could no longer tolerate this chaotic situation,” Lam told reporters after a weekly meeting with advisers. “Please help us to maintain the relative calm and peace that we have seen in the last week or so and provide a good basis for Hong Kong to move forward.”

Her refusal to compromise could spark more unrest at a time when the semi-autonomous Chinese territory has plunged into its first recession in a decade.

The pro-democracy bloc won control of 17 out of 18 district councils.

Lam said that when she withdrew an extradition bill in September that had sparked the protests, she also gave a detailed response to the protesters’ other demands, including free elections for the city’s leader and legislature and a probe into accusations of police brutality.

The government hopes to take advantage of the current lull in violence to accelerate public dialogue and set up an independent review committee to find solutions to deep-seated societal issues, she said.

“The next step to go forward is really, as you have put it, to engage the people. And we have started public dialogue with the community,” Lam said. “But unfortunately, with the unstable environment and a chaotic situation, I could not do more on that sort of engagement. I hope that the environment will allow me to do it now.”

Some pro-establishment figures have pointed fingers at Lam for their loss, while the pro-democracy camp has asked her to step down.

Protesters saw the extradition bill as an erosion of their rights promised when the former British colony returned to Chinese control in 1997. The demonstrations have since expanded into a protest over what they see as Beijing’s growing interference in the city.

Some analysts said China’s ruling Communist Party isn’t likely to soften its stand on Hong Kong. Chinese media have muted reports on the poll outcome, focusing instead on how pro-Beijing candidates were harassed and the need to restore law and order.

Beijing is treading cautiously partly to avoid jeopardizing trade talks with the United States. It also faces pressure from planned U.S. legislation that could derail Hong Kong’s special trade status and sanction Hong Kong and China officials found to violate human rights.

China’s foreign ministry on Monday summoned U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad for a second time to demand Washington block the bipartisan legislation on Hong Kong. Vice Minister Zheng Zeguang warned that the U.S. would “bear all the consequences that arise” if the bill is signed by President Donald Trump.

Trump has not committed to signing it and has 10 days from the time of its passage last week to veto it. If he does not do so, it automatically becomes law. Congress could also override a veto with a two-thirds majority vote in both houses.

Trump told reporters Tuesday at the White House that is message to protesters is “We are with them.”

Trump cited his “very good relationship” with Chinese President Xi Jinping and that the U.S. was in the final stages of an important trade deal.

Derek Mitchell, a former U.S ambassador to Myanmar who heads the Washington-based National Democratic Institute, denied accusations that it had funded or supported the Hong Kong protesters. China has accused foreign forces and money of being a “black hand” behind the protests.

Mitchell, speaking in Hong Kong, said citizens had spoken “loudly and clearly” in the local election and that the government must respond to prevent the protests from sliding into an abyss.

“The ball is in the court of the government here and authorities in Beijing,” he said.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-27
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, hong, protesters, violent, dialogue, public, tunnel, bill, protests, chapters, trade, reopened, kong, major, lam, ending, chinese


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