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Germany Won’t Enlist in Macron’s European Army

November 11, 2019 - 10:00pm

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Now that German leaders have responded to French President Emmanuel Macron’s provocative remarks concerning the future of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, an unusually wide public rift has emerged between France and Germany. At its root, it’s about France’s leadership ambitions, to which Germany is opposed without itself wanting to lead.“We do want a strong and sovereign Europe,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wrote in an op-ed article in the weekly Der Spiegel on Sunday. “But we need it as part of a strong NATO, and not as a substitute.”That doesn’t just mean Maas is keen to preserve Europe’s, and Germany’s, transatlantic alliance regardless of U.S. President Donald Trump’s relative lack of interest in it — simply because Europe cannot defend itself without U.S. help today. Maas insisted that “when Europe is one day able to defend its own security, we should still want NATO.” And, directly answering Macron’s musings about improving relations with Russia as the alliance with the U.S. erodes, the German minister declared that “Germany will not tolerate any special arrangements, not vis-à-vis Moscow and not on any other matters,” because it takes the security of Poland and the Baltic states to heart.These are strong statements, especially coming from Maas. He’s a member of the Social Democratic Party, which is less pro-U.S. and pro-NATO than its senior partner in Germany’s governing coalition, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union. But on the points Maas made in his article, the German government appears to be united. Merkel, too, has criticized Macron’s vision more sharply than on any other matter since his election in 2017, calling it a “sweeping attack.”“We must bring the European part of NATO closer together,” Merkel said on her regular Sunday podcast. That, she added, was what the European Union defense project, known as Permanent Structured Cooperation, or Pesco, is all about.That’s an approach radically different from Macron’s. To him, the EU defense project is about strategic sovereignty. To German politicians, it’s largely an efficiency project aimed at harmonizing European countries’ defense industries, cutting the number of different defense systems used by member states’ armies, and centralizing the development of new weapons such as warplanes and tanks.This German vision is consistent with the Framework Nations Concept, adopted by NATO in 2014. It’s a mechanism for voluntary defense cooperation built around specific nations’ projects, such as Germany’s own idea of coordinating the development of defense capabilities, or the U.K.’s work on a multinational rapid response force. Under the concept, pretty much any cooperation projects, even those including non-NATO members such as Sweden and Finland, can take place under NATO’s umbrella.With NATO providing such a flexible platform, it’s often not obvious why any other defense cooperation programs are necessary. NATO and the EU have agreed to coordinate their activities, anyway, and it’s evident from progress reports on that effort that this creates a lot of duplicative bureaucratic activity such as cross-participation in working groups. The same exercises under the program get two different names, one for the EU and one for NATO.But especially from the French point of view, NATO isn’t the best platform for joint procurement programs, because outside it, Europeans can keep out U.S. competition. Involving NATO also means dealing with the U.S. as the organization’s military leader. France, as the country with the strongest military in the EU, likes to exercise leadership, too. Which is perhaps the best explanation for Macron’s European Intervention Initiative, an attempt at coordinating European countries’ strategic thinking that isn’t even part of EU defense cooperation.Germany doesn’t have France’s military ambitions. It’s a low defense spender because higher expenditure is politically unpopular. The Bundeswehr’s combat readiness is constantly in question, and there’s all the weight of history on the shoulders of  German leaders. So German politicians see their function in maintaining European security differently than Macron does, even if they, too, refer to “leadership.”“As a country at the centre of Europe, Germany must play a central, mediatory and balanced role – within Europe and vis-a-vis the United States,” Maas wrote. “If we do not assume this leadership role, nobody will.”Being a mediator, though, is not the same as being a leader. An unambitious, compromise-minded Germany won’t compete with Macron’s cocky France, but it’ll be a drag on Macron’s security strategizing, getting in the way as he tries to provoke the U.S. with talk of strategic autonomy or flirt with Russia. It’ll provide the reliably boring alternative, and that’s probably for the best: Any machine in which Macron designs the sporty engine needs German-made brakes.To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at lbershidsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tobin Harshaw at tharshaw@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Performers wounded in knife attack on stage in Saudi Arabia

November 11, 2019 - 9:30pm

Two men and a woman were wounded in a knife attack Monday evening as they performed on stage in a park in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, marking the first such incident since the kingdom began loosening restrictions on entertainment. Saudi broadcaster al-Ekhbariya reported that police detained the suspect, who was identified only as a 33-year-old Yemeni male resident of Saudi Arabia. Al-Ekhbariya reported the three performers wounded in the attack are in stable condition.

Trump's leadership style 'misunderstood': Nikki Haley

November 11, 2019 - 7:57pm

Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley says Trump is a leader who listens.

Brazil's Bolsonaro to walk diplomatic tightrope at BRICS

November 11, 2019 - 6:49pm

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro will walk a diplomatic tightrope Wednesday when he hosts his Chinese counterpart, as he seeks to boost ties with Beijing and avoid upsetting key ally Donald Trump. Just weeks after his first official visit to China, Bolsonaro will hold talks with Xi Jinping in Brazil's capital Brasilia on the eve of a summit with their BRICS counterparts from Russia, India and South Africa. Bolsonaro's bilateral meeting with Xi -- one of several to be held on the sidelines of the annual BRICS get-together that will focus on economic growth and innovation -- comes as the United States and China wage a protracted trade war that has roiled the global economy.

Iran accuses Europeans of hypocrisy over nuclear deal

November 11, 2019 - 5:11pm

Iran accused European nations of hypocrisy on Tuesday for criticising its latest step back from a nuclear deal while failing to fulfil their commitments of relief from US sanctions. President Hassan Rouhani made no mention of a new report from the UN nuclear agency that reveals its inspectors detected uranium particles of man-made origin at an undeclared site in Iran. "Cooperation between Iran and the agency on this issue is still ongoing.

Pneumonia kills a child every 39 seconds, health agencies say

November 11, 2019 - 5:01pm

Pneumonia killed more than 800,000 babies and young children last year - or one child every 39 seconds - despite being curable and mostly preventable, global health agencies said on Tuesday. In a report on what they described as a "forgotten epidemic", the United Nations children's fund UNICEF, the international charity Save The Children and four other health agencies urged governments to step up investment in vaccines to prevent the disease and in health services and medicines to treat it. "The fact that this preventable, treatable and easily diagnosed disease is still the world's biggest killer of young children is frankly shocking," said Seth Berkley, chief executive of the GAVI vaccines alliance.

Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day

November 11, 2019 - 4:01pm

(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on what's moving Asia’s markets in your inbox every morning? Sign up here.More gunshots have fueled tensions in Hong Kong, Sydney faces a “catastrophic” fire warning, and Boeing soared after providing more detail on how soon the 737 Max will return to the skies. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.Rumors AboundFake news is taking a sinister role in stoking violence in Hong Kong. As anti-government protests stretch into their 23rd straight week, the city is being inundated with online rumors, fake news and propaganda from both sides of the political divide. Soon after a 22-year-old student Alex Chow fell off the edge of a parking garage last week, allegations that he was chased — and maybe even pushed — by police began spreading on social media and messaging apps. Never mind that the claims were unsubstantiated: Hundreds of protesters seized on Chow’s Nov. 8 death to engage in clashes with police that resulted in one person being shot on Monday, and another st on fire. Both remain in critical condition. The day’s chaos also showed the strains facing Hong Kong’s police, which the China-appointed government has relied on to suppress increasingly violent protests aimed at securing greater democracy. Markets UpStocks in Asia looked set to claw back some of Monday’s losses as investors awaited further developments on a trade deal and kept an eye on the volatile situation in Hong Kong, while the dollar fell for the first time in six days. Futures pointed higher in Tokyo, Sydney and Hong Kong, where shares dropped as much as 3% Monday to lead a slide in regional markets on continued unrest in the city. In the U.S., the S&P 500 Index dropped for the first time in four sessions on below average volume. Treasuries were closed for the Veterans’ Day holiday, and the pound rallied as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s efforts to leave the European Union got a boost from the Brexit Party. Elsewhere, emerging market shares fell the most in more than two months. Crude oil edged lower.Sydney in SmokeAfter Sydney was issued a “ catastrophic” fire danger warning for Tuesday — the highest level that’s ever been issued for Australia’s largest city — waking up to the smell of smoke came as no surprise to Sydney-siders this morning. As the country’s bushfire season becomes longer and more intense, the threat to lives and homes across the nation has grown. High temperatures and strong winds are expected to fan more than 50 fires burning across New South Wales state, with authorities warning that embers could be blown 30 kilometers from the numerous fire fronts and trigger more outbreaks. With three people dead and 150 homes destroyed in recent days, and almost million hectares of land burned this season, the fires have thrust the threat posed by global warming back into the headlines in a nation that gets the bulk of its energy from burning coal. Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has largely sidestepped the issue of climate change when asked about the bushfires.Boeing SoarsBoeing surged the most since June after providing more detail on how the 737 Max will return to the skies — even as the company backed away from saying the grounded jet would win full regulatory approval next month. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is on track to certify redesigned flight-control software by mid-December, Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Monday in an email. That could enable the planemaker to begin shipping new jets that have been stashed away across the Pacific Northwest and Texas during a flying ban imposed back in March, after two crashes killed 346 people. While the Max won’t be cleared to resume commercial flights until regulators also sign off on updated training material for pilots — expected to occur in January — the more detailed road map eased investor jitters over Boeing’s prospects. Farage Forgoes FightIt’s been all quiet on the Brexit front for a couple of days, but now, Nigel Farage has boosted Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chances of winning a majority by dramatically announcing his Brexit Party won’t fight to oust Conservatives at next month’s U.K. general election. The pound rose on the news. The Brexit Party leader told a rally in Hartlepool, northeast England, on Monday that it was a difficult decision to stand down candidates in the 317 seats the Tories won in the last national vote in 2017, but said he’s reassured by Johnson’s plans for a sharper split with the European Union. Farage said he’s “unilaterally” creating an “alliance” for Brexit to stop pro-EU politicians winning seats, as a means of preventing a triggering of a second referendum to keep Britain in the bloc.What We’ve Been ReadingThis is what’s caught our eye over the past 24 hours.Alibaba smashes last year’s Singles’ Day sales record. Apple Card’s sex-bias issue shows AI hasn’t tackled a ’70s problem. Malaysia’s airline-safety ranking has been downgraded. WeWork is searching for a new CEO to turn around the troubled co-working company. A $100 billion fund manager is debunking stock-bubble theories. A record $173 billion is flowing from Korea into riskier assets. This Patek Philippe watch just sold for $31 million. To contact the author of this story: Sybilla Gross in Sydney at sgross61@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Alyssa McDonald at amcdonald61@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Mexico grants asylum to Bolivia's Evo Morales

November 11, 2019 - 3:34pm

Mexico granted asylum to Bolivia's former President Evo Morales on Monday as unrest shook the South American nation, helping cement the Mexican government's emerging role as a bastion of diplomatic support for left-wing leaders in Latin America. Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Morales' life was in danger, and the decision to grant him asylum was in Mexico's long tradition of sheltering exiles. Morales' government collapsed on Sunday after ruling party allies quit and the army urged him to step down in the wake of a disputed election, adding to a sense of crisis in Latin America, which has been hit by weeks of protests and unrest. Looting and roadblocks convulsed Bolivia after Morales stepped down. He said "violent groups" attacked his house. His exact whereabouts were unknown, though it was believed he had left in the presidential plane for his stronghold of Chapare province. "His life and integrity is at risk," Ebrard told reporters. "We will immediately proceed to inform Bolivia's foreign ministry that under international law, it should offer safe conduct." Mexico has informed the Organization of American States, and will inform the United Nations, he added. The Washington-based OAS delivered a report on Sunday citing serious irregularities during Bolivia's October vote. The departure of Bolivia's first indigenous president, one of a wave of leftists who dominated Latin America's politics at the start of the century, comes amid a widespread rejection of incumbent leaders from either side of the political divide in the region, from Mexico to Brazil and Argentina. Mexico elected its first left-leaning government in decades last year, moving closer to like-minded governments and distancing itself from diplomatic initiatives aimed at pushing socialist President Nicolas Maduro from power in Venezuela. Argentina last month elected a left-leaning leader, as voters rejected economic policies aimed at stabilizing the economy but that deepened poverty and inflation. The resignation of Morales, who governed for 14 years, followed protests in Ecuador and Chile that forced their governments to step back from policies raising fuel and transport prices. Ebrard said earlier on Monday his government viewed Sunday's events in Bolivia as a "coup" because the military broke with the constitutional order by pressing Morales to resign. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador praised Morales saying he chose to resign rather than put the lives of Bolivia's citizens at risk

Trump impeachment inquiry: a timeline of key events so far

November 11, 2019 - 9:14am

Pelosi launched inquiry on 24 September over allegations that Trump sought the help of a foreign country to harm a political rival * How Trump’s hardball tactics put the constitution in perilMembers of the media wait at the stairs for former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch as she testifies in the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump on Capitol Hill on 11 October. Photograph: Carlos Jasso/ReutersThe House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, announced an impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump on 24 September.Since then, House committees have been taking witness testimony about an alleged plot by Trump to use the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country, Ukraine, in the 2020 election.Democrats say that amounts to an abuse of power impeachable under the US constitution. Republicans have said Trump’s conduct was concerning but not impeachable.A vote to impeach Trump on the House floor, which would be held at the conclusion of televised hearings, could play out by the end of the year. If Trump is impeached, the Senate would hold a trial in which a two-thirds majority vote would be required to remove him from office.Here’s a timeline of key events so far: April and MayThrough his personal emissary, Rudy Giuliani, Trump applies pressure on Ukraine to announce investigations tied to Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The Ukrainian president-elect, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, meets with subordinates on 7 May to discuss how to stay out of it. 23 MayIn a White House meeting, Trump is unmoved by the enthusiasm of a delegation of officials freshly returned from Zelenskiy’s inauguration in Kiev. “He just kept saying: Talk to Rudy, talk to Rudy,” EU ambassador Gordon Sondland testified. “I don’t know what he meant. He kept repeating it, though, ‘They tried to take me down, they tried to take me down.’” 3 JulyLt Col Alexander Vindman, top adviser on Ukraine on the National Security Council, is made aware of the suspension of military aid for Ukraine. In testimony, Vindman said: “But by 3 July, that’s when I was concretely made aware of the fact that there was a hold placed by [Office of Management and Budget].” 10 JulyAt a dramatic White House meeting, Trump emissaries ask top Ukrainian officials to investigate Biden, shocking US national security officials. According to multiple accounts, after Sondland makes the Biden ask, then national security adviser John Bolton abruptly terminates the meeting, later calling it a “drug deal”. Mid-JulyThe Office of Management and Budget informs the Pentagon and state department that Trump has suspended $391m in military aid for Ukraine. According to testimony by senior diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor, “In a regular, NSC secure video conference call on 18 July, I heard a staff person from the Office of Management and Budget say that there was a hold on security assistance to Ukraine but could not say why.” 25 JulyTrump speaks on the phone with Zelenskiy, reminding him that “the United States has been very, very good to Ukraine” and then asking for a “favor”. Trump wants Ukraine to announce investigations designed to make Joe Biden look bad and to cast doubt on Russian tampering in the 2016 US election. Early AugustHigh-level Ukrainian officials are made aware of the suspension of US military aid meant to help in their fight against Russian forces, according to a New York Times report. 12 AugustA whistleblower complaint against Trump is secretly filed to the inspector general of the intelligence community. For six weeks, the Trump administration will block Congress from obtaining the complaint. 16 AugustA security council recommendation that aid for Ukraine be released is raised in a meeting with Trump, according to Vindman. But “the president didn’t act on the recommendation”. 27 AugustBolton visits Taylor in Kyiv. Taylor brings up his concerns about suspended military aid. Bolton is “very sympathetic”, Taylor later testifies, and tells him to send a cable directly to secretary of state Mike Pompeo raising his concerns. 1 SeptemberBilateral meetings in Warsaw, Poland. In a “supplement” to his original testimony, Sondland says, “I now recall speaking individually with [Zelenskiy aide Andriy] Yermak, where I said that resumption of US aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks.” 9 SeptemberTaylor texts Sondland: “As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.” 11 SeptemberThe military aid is released. 24 SeptemberPelosi announces a formal impeachment inquiry, accusing Trump of “a betrayal of his oath of office, a betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections”. 25 SeptemberThe White House releases a partial “transcript” of the 25 July call, hours before Trump’s first face-to-face meeting with Zelenskiy at the United Nations. It’s awkward. 26 SeptemberThe whistleblower complaint is released. Citing “more than half-a-dozen US officials”, it presents an accurate version of the Trump-Zelenskiy call and alleges that the White House tried to cover up the call. 4 OctoberKurt Volker, Trump’s former special envoy to Ukraine, testifies. Afterwards investigators release WhatsApp messages showing US diplomats pursuing a “deliverable” for Trump in Ukraine in the form of the Biden and 2016 election-tampering “investigations”. 8 OctoberThe White House releases a letter refusing to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, and accusing Democrats of trying to reverse the result of the 2016 election. 11 OctoberMarie Yovanovitch, former ambassador to Ukraine, testifies about her shock on learning about an ultimately successful campaign in Ukraine to destroy her ambassadorship, involving Giuliani. “The president did make a decision, but I think influenced by some who are not trustworthy,” she testified. When she sought advice on how to stop the attack, she said, she was told to tweet something nice about Trump. 14 OctoberFiona Hill, senior director for Europe and Russia in the National Security Council, testifies. She describes a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine run by Giuliani, describes the 10 July White House meeting, which she attended, and says Bolton told her to take her concerns to the top NSC lawyer. 16 OctoberP Michael McKinley, a top Pompeo deputy, testifies. He says he resigned owing to the “emerging information on the engagement of our missions to procure negative political information for domestic purposes, combined with the failure I saw in the building to provide support for our professional cadre in a particularly trying time.” 17 OctoberSondland testifies. He says he took Trump at his word that there was no quid pro quo with Ukraine. He will later return to Capitol Hill to partially or fully reverse that testimony. 22 OctoberTaylor testifies. In a 15-page opening statement, he describes his concern to discover an “irregular, informal policy channel” by which the Trump administration was pursuing objectives in Ukraine “running contrary to the goals of longstanding US policy”. 29 OctoberVindman testifies. He describes his alarm at witnessing the White House subvert US foreign policy in favor of Trump’s domestic political agenda and says he took his concerns to the top NSC lawyer. 31 OctoberThe House votes on a resolution laying out a process to move impeachment from closed-door depositions to open hearings. Tim Morrison, senior director for Russian affairs at the National Security Council, testifies a day after announcing that he will resign his post in short order. 5 NovemberThe impeachment committees begin releasing testimony transcripts. The overlapping testimonies tell the same story, of demands by US officials of Ukraine steadily ratcheting up between May and September, from a demand to investigate corruption to a demand that “President Zelenskiy to go to a microphone and say ‘investigations’, ‘Biden’, and ‘Clinton’.” 13 NovemberPublic impeachment hearings are scheduled to begin with the testimony of ambassador Bill Taylor and deputy assistant secretary of state George P Kent. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch is to follow on 15 November.

The Latest: UN: Man-made uranium found at site in Iran

November 11, 2019 - 9:06am

The revelation from International Atomic Energy Agency is the first time it has acknowledged in a report that allegations made by the U.S. and Israel against Iran are true. The IAEA did not identify the site in the confidential quarterly report distributed to member states and seen by The Associated Press on Monday. Israel has alleged that material at the site comes from an Iranian military program involving work on nuclear weapons.

Jordan's king visits enclave day after reclaimed from Israel

November 11, 2019 - 9:05am

Jordan's king has visited one of two small areas of land that — until a day earlier — were leased to Israel as part of their 1994 peace agreement. Jordan's decision to not renew the 25-year lease and to reassume control over the two small territories comes amid rocky relations with Israel. King Abdullah II tweeted Monday that "Jordan's sovereignty over its territory is paramount," after touring Baqura, in the country's north.

The Hong Kong Police Gunshot That Unleashed a Day of Mayhem

November 11, 2019 - 9:00am

(Bloomberg) -- Even before most of Hong Kong got to work Monday, protesters already had a fresh grievance against the police.A traffic cop seeking to break up a rush-hour roadblock grabbed a masked protester in a headlock and shot another in the abdomen at close range. The demonstrator collapsed on the crosswalk as blood pooled under him, prompting speculation that he could be the first to die from police gunfire after five months of unrest. He is in critical condition.The incident -- caught on video and widely circulated on social media -- added new fuel to criticism of police tactics already raging after a student died Friday from injuries suffered near a clash between cops and protesters. Moments later, another police officer was filmed repeatedly driving a motorcycle through a group of retreating protesters, striking several.Activists attempted to use the shooting to rally support for more protests on Tuesday, circulating flyers on social media featuring an image of a revolver and calling on people to disrupt traffic during the morning commute. The University of Hong Kong canceled all classes on Tuesday. Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union urged a suspension of all classes at schools and kindergartens, according to a statement on its Facebook page.Monday’s chaos showed the strains facing Hong Kong’s police, which the China-appointed government has relied on to suppress increasingly violent protests aimed at securing greater democracy. The shooting led protesters to flood the city’s central business district at lunch time -- spurring fresh outrage at police when they fired volleys of tear gas into streets and luxury malls, sending office workers sprinting to safety and to wash out their eyes.“People in Hong Kong are getting more and more angry that the violence from the police is increasing,” said Tommy, 52, an accountant in Hong Kong who was with hundreds gathered in Central on Monday. “They just beat on protesters like terrorists. The most important solution is to have an independent investigation. But our government just doesn’t listen.”Although police said they suspended the motorcycle officer pending an investigation, they defended the officer who discharged his weapon, saying he feared for his safety. Police have repeatedly reaffirmed their commitment to restraint, despite criticism from the United Nations, U.S. and U.K. lawmakers, and Amnesty International, which accused the force of torturing detained protesters. Police have denied that claim.The shooting Monday was the third time a protester has been shot in the past two weeks, although all the victims have survived. The student who died Friday had fallen earlier in the week from a parking garage deck near a clash between protesters and police, making him the first such fatality.Protesters have seized on police tactics to justify their own escalations in a city once known for its non-violent demonstrations. Hard-core activists now show up at protests wearing gas masks and body armor and hurl petrol bombs at police lines.On Monday, a man was set on fire while arguing with one group in the northeastern area of Ma On Shan. He is also in critical condition.“The level of violence used by the rioters has escalated significantly throughout these five months,” senior superintendent Kong Wing-cheung told a news briefing Monday. “I do not agree that our officers are out of control with their use of force, but of course we are under great pressure and our officers also encounter difficult times during our operations.”Worn out by months of protests and trying to contain rallies that often pop up out of nowhere, the police find themselves outnumbered and surrounded. That’s what happened to the traffic officer who opened fire Monday. While he fired three shots, only one hit a protester.“One of the most dangerous things any police officer can do is move away independently,” said Clifford Stott, a professor at Keele University in the U.K., who was one of the experts on an international panel appointed to advise Hong Kong’s Independent Police Complaints Council on the protests. “It’s highly stressful, they’re highly vulnerable, and in that context we’re likely to see extremely high levels of use of force.”Numerous police officers have been injured since more than one million people flooded Hong Kong’s streets in June for what started out as a largely peaceful movement against legislation that would’ve allowed extraditions to mainland China. Officers have accused protesters of splashing them with noxious fluids and exposing them and their families to threats by circulating their personal information online.Meanwhile, Chief Executive Carrie Lam has vowed not to give into violence and meet the protesters’ demands, including calls for direct leadership elections. The Chinese government last week reaffirmed its support for Lam, seemingly dashing any prospects for political change that could ease tensions between protesters and police.“You can imagine that if you work constant overtime, you need to be cautious communicating with your friends, you can imagine the immense pressure,“ said Lawrence Ka-ki Ho, an assistant professor at the Education University of Hong Kong who studies policing and public order management.Stott said the “unprecedented” scale and violence of the city’s protests make Monday’s incidents “perhaps unsurprising.” However, he said firing tear gas in the financial district at lunch time was rarely a good idea.“We know from decades of research that those forms of policing tactics escalate disorder,” he said, stressing he wasn’t speaking in his capacity as an adviser to the IPCC. “The question for Hong Kong is: How does one deescalate the situation?”\--With assistance from Blake Schmidt, Natalie Lung and Erin Roman.To contact the reporter on this story: Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at, Colin Keatinge, Caroline AlexanderFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Bosnia: Citizens who fought for IS in Syria can return

November 11, 2019 - 8:53am

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Bosnia on Monday said it will take back the country's citizens who have been captured while fighting for the Islamic State group and who will face legal proceedings upon return to the Balkan country. About 260 Bosnian citizens remain in the camps in Syria, including approximately 100 men and 160 women and children, said Security Minister Dragan Mektic. Mektic insisted that only confirmed Bosnian citizens will be taken in.

Palestinian shot in back says Israelis abused him for hours

November 11, 2019 - 8:50am

A young Palestinian man who was shot in the back by Israeli forces in an incident caught on video last year says the footage shows just a small part of what was a horrifying day for him. Speaking to The Associated Press after the video emerged last week, Karam Qawasmi said he was run over by a military jeep, then beaten for several hours before troops released him, only to shoot him in the back with a painful sponge-tipped bullet as he walked away. "I died several times that day," he said in an interview at his home in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

UK's Farage withdraws Brexit threat to PM Johnson

November 11, 2019 - 8:42am

Populist Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage on Monday withdrew his threat to challenge the governing Conservatives at every seat in next month's general election, in a boost for Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Farage, a leading force behind the movement to leave the EU, had faced growing criticism that his party could split the eurosceptic vote on December 12, allowing pro-EU parties to seize a working majority and hold a second referendum on Brexit. Instead, he vowed to contest hundreds of seats held by pro-European parties and the main opposition Labour Party, including those that backed "Leave" in the 2016 referendum -- which could still see him take votes from Johnson's Tories.

Atomic watchdog: Iran's stockpiles of uranium still growing

November 11, 2019 - 8:40am

The U.N. atomic watchdog says Iran's stockpiles of low-enriched uranium are still growing in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal. In a confidential quarterly report distributed to member states, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium still exceeds the amount allowed by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. It also said Iran continues to enrich uranium up to 4.5%, above the 3.67% allowed.

Turkey starts returning IS fighters, deports US national

November 11, 2019 - 8:39am

Turkey on Monday deported citizens of the United States and Denmark who fought for the Islamic State group and made plans to expel other foreign nationals as the government began a new push to send back captured foreign fighters to their home countries, a Turkish official said. The move comes just over a week after the Turkish interior minister said Turkey was not a "hotel" for IS fighters and criticized Western nations for their reluctance to take back citizens who had joined the ranks of the extremist militant group as it sought to establish a "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria. Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said last week that about 1,200 foreign IS fighters were in Turkish prisons and 287 members, including women and children, were recaptured during Turkey's offensive in Syria.

3 blasts hit Syrian town near border with Turkey, 6 killed

November 11, 2019 - 8:31am

Three car bombs went off Monday in the northeastern Syrian town of Qamishli near the border with Turkey, killing at least six people, while a priest was shot dead in a nearby area by extremists, state media and activists said. Northern Syria has been hit by several explosions that have killed and wounded scores of people over the past month. Syria's state news agency SANA, which has reporters in Qamishli, said the explosions were triggered by car bombs.

Nikki Haley is plotting a loopy path to the presidency

November 11, 2019 - 8:07am

Nikki Haley wants you to know two things: First, she is very loyal to President Trump. Second, she feels kind of bad about the things he does.If that sounds incoherent, well, too bad. Those contradictions -- on display in her new memoir, With All Due Respect -- contain her road map for becoming president.Public impeachment hearings against Trump start this week in Washington, D.C., but Haley, Trump's former U.N. ambassador, pretty clearly is already looking ahead to the 2024 presidential election. If you want to know how the Republican Party plans to salvage its electoral prospects in the wake of Trump's presidency, when women and suburban voters have fled the GOP en masse, look no further than Haley's book.There are two things that are likely to be true for a few years after Donald Trump leaves the presidency. The first is that the GOP base will remain essentially Trumpist, and Trump himself will probably remain a kingmaker within the party for the foreseeable future. The second is that the broader electorate -- which has never really liked Trump -- might well reject any GOP candidate too closely associated with him.Haley's game plan? Split the difference.Her book -- as reported on Sunday afternoon by The Washington Post -- suggests she plans a careful balancing act, simultaneously demonstrating her loyalty to Trump and her independence from him.The question is whether it is truly possible to do both things at once.She accomplishes the first half of the task by rebuking two of her colleagues, then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and then-Chief of Staff John Kelly. According to the Post, Haley writes that she disdained their efforts to circumvent some of the president's decisions -- while she remained steadfast in her loyalty to the boss."It should've been, 'Go tell the president what your differences are, and quit if you don't like what he's doing,'" Haley told CBS News. "But to undermine a president is really a very dangerous thing. And it goes against the Constitution, and it goes against what the American people want. And it was offensive."The problem is that Haley herself provides several examples of the president's questionable judgment. Many of these incidents are known -- Trump's equivocating between racists and anti-racists in the aftermath of violence in Charlottesville is probably the best known -- but Haley wants us to know that while she was silent publicly, she was firm with the president behind closed doors."A leader's words matter in these situations. And the president's words had been hurtful and dangerous," Haley wrote. "I picked up the phone and called the president."In the book -- and in interviews promoting the book -- Haley attempts this balancing act over and over again. She doesn't always approve of the president. His opponents, though, are somehow always worse.Should Trump have said that Democratic women of color should "go back" to where they came from? No, Haley says, but she understands why he did so. "I can also appreciate where he's coming from, from the standpoint of, 'Don't bash America, over and over and over again, and not do something to try and fix it,'" she said.Should the president have pressured Ukraine to investigate his political opponents? No, Haley says, but neither is the act impeachable. "So, do I think it's not good practice to talk to foreign governments about investigating Americans? Yes," she said, in a bit of a grammatical loopty-loop. "Do I think the president did something that warrants impeachment? No, because the aid flowed."One key test of whether Haley's "yes, but" approach to defending Trump is whether Trump himself allows it. The president hasn't exactly shown himself to be fond of subordinates who are loyal but independent. Indeed, on Sunday he was on Twitter, urging Republicans to declare his communications to be "perfect" -- better than merely unimpeachable. "Loyal but independent" might well be insufficiently loyal in Trump's eyes. If he does play the kingmaker role going forward, that could be a problem for Haley.> The call to the Ukrainian President was PERFECT. Read the Transcript! There was NOTHING said that was in any way wrong. Republicans, don't be led into the fools trap of saying it was not perfect, but is not impeachable. No, it is much stronger than that. NOTHING WAS DONE WRONG!> > -- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2019Her two-pronged approach may well offer Republicans their best chance at winning elections in the post-Trump era, however -- unless the party decides to go all-in on voter suppression. Successful politicians often find themselves trying to be all things to all people.Nikki Haley, it appears, is getting ready to put that proposition to the ultimate test.More stories from The coming death of just about every rock legend The president has already confessed to his crimes Why are 2020 Democrats so weird?

The Latest: Corbyn: Brexit Party move is a "Trump alliance"

November 11, 2019 - 8:00am

Labour Party chief Jeremy Corbyn has denounced the decision by Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage not to challenge the Conservative Party in seats it won at the last British election. Corbyn tweeted Monday that the emerging alliance between Farage's Brexit Party and Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservatives ahead of the Dec. 12 national election must be stopped.