By Clare Baldwin and Donny Kwok HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong riot police fired warning shots on Tuesday during clashes that erupted in the Chinese-ruled city when authorities tried to remove illegal street stalls set up for Lunar New Year celebrations, the worst violence since pro-democracy protests in 2014. Demonstrators prised bricks from the sidewalk to hurl at police, while others toppled street signs and set fire to rubbish bins in Mong Kok, a tough, working-class neighborhood just across the harbor from the heart of the Asian financial center. "We have noticed a shift in some members of the public," said Hong Kong Police Commissioner Lo Wai-chung. "(They) have an inclination to use violence or radical acts in order to express their opinion." Nearly 90 police sustained injuries ranging from fractured bones to lacerations and bruises and 54 protesters were arrested, Lo said. Hong Kong television showed police officers being beaten with poles and sticks as they lay on the ground. Many protesters and police were also shown with blood streaming down their faces. Police said two warning shots were fired into the air, with pepper spray and batons also used to disperse the crowd. Television footage showed the shots were fired as protesters surrounded traffic police, pelting them with rubbish, bricks and bottles and wrestling one of them to the ground. Lo said the life of the officer who fired the shots was being threatened. He also said there would be a full investigation into the incident. The remains of burned bins and flower pots, chunks of brick and broken bottles lay scattered along the Nathan Road shopping strip, which leads to the harbor at Tsim Sha Tsui. A taxi with shattered windows was parked nearby. The narrow streets in and around Mong Kok were the scene of some of the most violent clashes during protests in late 2014 to demand greater democracy for the former British colony that returned to Beijing rule in 1997. The violence broke out after police moved in to clear illegal vendors who sell local delicacies, trinkets and household goods from makeshift streetside stalls. The hawkers, a common sight on Hong Kong's bustling streets, quickly attracted a strong social media following under the hashtag #FishballRevolution. Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said the government strongly condemned the violence. Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok said police were investigating indications the clashes had been organized. The protesters had dispersed by 8 a.m. (7.00 p.m. ET on Monday) but more than 100 had confronted police in a tense, pre-dawn stand-off during the Lunar New Year holiday, when most of the city is shut down. Police said they did not expect another riot on Tuesday night, when new year fireworks are planned over the harbor, but they were boosting manpower nonetheless. Hong Kong Indigenous, a "localist" group that is fielding a candidate in a Legislative Council by-election in a few weeks, was involved in the protest, though it was not immediately clear the role it played or the extent to which it was involved. The group said on its official Facebook page and confirmed to Reuters that its candidate, Edward Leung Tin-kei, had been arrested. Many so-called localists remain deeply embittered by the lack of any concessions from Beijing or Hong Kong authorities during the 2014 protests. Television footage showed protesters on Tuesday shouting: "Establish a Hong Kong country!" during running battles with police. The clashes in December 2014 came when authorities cleared the last of pro-democracy demonstrators from the streets after more than two months of protests that had presented Beijing with one of its greatest political challenges in decades. (Additional reporting by Anne Marie Roantree, Bobby Yip and James Pomfret; Editing by Paul Tait and Nick Macfie)
- The Week
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) didn't exactly pull punches in an interview with Politico, going after congressional Republicans, Democrats, former President Donald Trump, and the Biden administration all in one go. Sasse, who is facing imminent censure from the Nebraska GOP for voting to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial, stands by that vote and says he's not bothered by the action his home state's Republican Party is taking against him, though he did say he thinks it's not "healthy." His comments to Politico seemed to back up that confidence. At one point, when asked about Trump loyalist Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Sasse simply said "that guy is not an adult," and described Congress, generally, as "a bunch of yokels screaming." Sasse's candor is gutsy, but it's worth noting he's generally well-respected by his Senate colleagues and won re-election handily last year, so he's ensconced in the upper chamber until 2026, and likely doesn't need to look over his shoulder as of now. While he's been in the spotlight for his intra-party criticism of late, Sasse did have words for Democrats, as well, per Politico. He said the Biden administration is "cowering" to the opinions of progressive lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and called the education spending plan in President Biden's COVID-19 relief package "disastrous." Read more at Politico. More stories from theweek.comBiden in the quagmireNewly confirmed Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is 'obsessed' with creating 'clean-energy jobs'Records provide Louisiana State Police's 1st acknowledgement Black man who died in custody was mistreated
- Business Insider
Opinion: The costs of a foreign policy that emphasizes US global preeminence are now inescapable clear, and US leaders need to change course.
- The Telegraph
Perched on the mountain range that divides the sprawling city of Caracas from the Caribbean Sea, Venezuela’s Hotel Humboldt can be seen from nearly all corners of the capital. The 65-year-old, 14-floor structure can only be reached by cable car from the city below. It currently boasts 69 rooms, six dining areas, a casino, a night club, and a swimming pool and spa. “It will be the first seven star hotel in Venezuela,” President Nicolas Maduro once proudly proclaimed as the 1956 symbol of oil wealth was being lavishly renovated. Now, the hotel is open again as a symbol of an impending economic recovery and tourism boom in a country that has suffered the worst economic crisis in modern Latin American history. But the so-called Socialist president’s touting of the luxurious, $300 per night hotel in a country where most live in poverty represents something else to others - an abandonment of a political project promising a socialist utopia in favor of an 'anything goes', capitalist kleptocracy.
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Among the fatalities, most died from bullet wounds, a hospital source said, adding that about 120 protesters were wounded. At least 57 members of the security forces were injured, according to another hospital source and a security source.The clashes continued on Friday evening after a week of violence that erupted on Sunday when security forces fired to disperse protesters, who were trying to storm the provincial government building using rocks and Molotov cocktails.Protesters are demanding the removal of the governor and justice for protesters killed since 2019.Iraq's biggest anti-government protests in decades broke out in October 2019 and continued for several months, with hundreds of thousands of Iraqis demanding jobs, services and the removal of the ruling elite, whom they accused of corruption.Nearly 500 people were killed, and the protests caused the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who took office in May 2020, has pledged justice for activists killed or abused by armed groups. But no prosecutions have occurred so far.The clashes come just a week before Pope Francis visits Iraq from March 5 to 8. He is due to tour the ancient Mesopotamian site of Ur, only about 20 kilometres away from the clashes.
- Business Insider
Johnson & Jonhson's coronavirus vaccine is the only one that's been tested out in the US as just one shot.
- Associated Press
The U.S. is getting a third vaccine to prevent COVID-19, as the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two. Health experts are anxiously awaiting a one-and-done option to help speed vaccinations, as they race against a virus that already has killed more than 510,000 people in the U.S. and is mutating in increasingly worrisome ways. The FDA said J&J’s vaccine offers strong protection against what matters most: serious illness, hospitalizations and death.
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QAnon's most devout followers believe bizarrely that former President Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 19th President on March 4, 2021.
- USA TODAY
Nearly two dozen Republicans attending CPAC in Florida have designated a proxy to vote on their behalf, citing the "ongoing public health emergency."
- Associated Press
Officials at the Pompeii archaeological site in Italy announced Saturday the discovery of an intact ceremonial chariot, one of several important discoveries made in the same area outside the park near Naples following an investigation into an illegal dig. The chariot, with its iron elements, bronze decorations and mineralized wooden remains, was found in the ruins of a settlement north of Pompeii, beyond the walls of the ancient city, parked in the portico of a stable where the remains of three horses previously were discovered. The Archaeological Park of Pompeii called the chariot “an exceptional discovery” and said "it represents a unique find - which has no parallel in Italy thus far - in an excellent state of preservation.”
- Business Insider
Go back to the place you got your first shot if you lose your paper card, and make sure to take a photo of the vaccine card after your first dose.
Residents of an Indian slum thought they were getting vaccinated like everyone else but were unknowingly part of a clinical trial
After a white van advertised COVID-19 vaccines to a central-Indian slum, many of its residents feel duped after finding out they were in a trial.
- Yahoo News Video
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she won't take AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine because she is too old, a comment that comes as millions of Germans refuse to take the vaccine because they do not trust it.
It's been 40 years since Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer announced their engagement with a televised interview.
A harmless side effect of the shot can be swollen lymph nodes. That means the vaccine is working, but could cause false alarm, so you should wait.
From buying whole, fresh beans to nailing the perfect water-to-coffee ratio, coffee connoisseurs have plenty of tips for better at-home brewing.
- The Week
Democrats decry Biden's airstrikes in Syria as unconstitutional. Republicans praise them as 'proportional.'
Democrats are calling the Biden administration's airstrikes in Syria unconstitutional. President Biden on Thursday ordered airstrikes against facilities in eastern Syria used by Iranian-backed militant groups, his first military action since taking office. The strikes were in response to several rocket attacks against U.S. targets in Iraq. While Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the limited scope of the airstrikes "aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq," many Democrats expressed concerns on Friday that the move has done just the opposite, and argued it wasn't legally justified. "Some Democrats said that Congress has not passed an authorization for the use of military force specifically in Syria," reports CNN. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said "there is absolutely no justification for a president to authorize a military strike that is not in self-defense against an imminent threat without congressional authorization ... we need to extricate from the Middle East, not escalate." Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) agreed, calling for an immediate congressional briefing and saying "offensive military action without congressional approval is not constitutional absent extraordinary circumstances." Republicans, however, were seemingly largely pleased with the move. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the U.S. response a "necessary deterrent" to tell Iran that attacks on U.S. interests "will not be tolerated," reports CNN. As Fox News notes, Republican Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), among others, also applauded the strike, calling it "proportional." White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki defended the action as "necessary," and said Biden "has the right to take action" as he sees fit. She said "there was a thorough, legal response" and the Defense Department briefed congressional leadership in advance. More stories from theweek.comBiden in the quagmireBen Sasse on Matt Gaetz: 'That guy is not an adult'Newly confirmed Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is 'obsessed' with creating 'clean-energy jobs'
- Business Insider
Trump supporters and right-wing reporters wouldn't stop heckling CNN's Jim Acosta during second day of CPAC
A crowd of Trump supporters and right-wing reporters were filmed following Jim Acosta around CPAC while chanting "CNN sucks!"
Arrival of the first vehicle from the high-profile, soon-to-be public EV startup Lucid Motors will take longer than the company planned.Driving the news: Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson said in an open letter that COVID-19 is forcing a delay in production of the luxury Lucid Air sedan.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free"From testing activities to supplier availability to preparing for sales and service, COVID-19 has affected all workstreams," he said of the delay, which was also acknowledged in a Bloomberg interview this week.He said that despite progress, "we won’t be able to start delivering Lucid Air this spring at the level of quality we insist on providing."The company hopes to start production from its Arizona factory "as early as we can in the second half of 2021."Why it matters: The Financial Times puts it well, noting the delay "highlighted, for anyone perhaps unfamiliar with Tesla’s own meandering journey to profitability, how timelines can slip in the electric-car business."Yes, but: "Tesla rival" is a term thrown around too much, but Lucid does appear well-poised to make inroads in the EV market.It's well-capitalized with backing from Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund and the Air boasts some impressive specs, notably a 500-plus mile range.More from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free
- Business Insider
Merkel says she won't take AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine because she's too old, as 1.4 million jabs are left unused
The German chancellor said she wasn't eligible because the vaccine isn't approved for people over 65 in Germany.
Jill Biden said on "The Kelly Clarkson Show" that her daughter, Ashley, was the first to tell her that the Valentine's Day scrunchie sparked a trend.