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G7 concerns over New Hong Kong Leader

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There are widespread concerns about Hong Kong’s new leader-to-be, John Lee

The G7 has expressed its concerns about the legitimacy of the selection process and what it will mean for the people of Hong Kong. 

“The current nomination process and resulting appointment are a stark departure from the aim of universal suffrage and further erode the ability of Hong Kongers to be legitimately represented. We are deeply concerned about this steady erosion of political and civil rights and Hong Kong’s autonomy.”

Activist in exile, Francis Hui says that there is no system in place that gives people of Hong Kong a chance to participate in democracy.

“We have never actually had true democracy to elect our own leader. There has never been a system developed for our people to vote” Hui says.

“John Lee didn’t even have to please anyone in Hong Kong, because those are not the people who are going to vote for him. It’s Beijing and its supporters.”

Naming it a ‘puppet show’, Human Rights Watch says the so-called election has been an expensive one-man show. 

“The Hong Kong government has budgeted HK$228 million (US$29 million) for this one-man “election.” There are “election” posters; there is even an “election” “forum”—featuring only Lee— without a live audience.”

Concerns over rights and freedoms

The current National Security Law “dismantled the city’s freedoms” according to Human Rights Watch.

“It has decapitated Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, arrested hundreds of protesters and others for exercising their freedom of speech, shut down outspoken media, civil society groups, and businesses, set up a hotline to encourage people to inform on each other, and otherwise create a climate of fear.”

Though the international community continues to show concern, Hui says it’s time to do more than condemn Beijing.

“It’s really time for us to go further beyond just condemnation and to do something to contain the authoritarian practice of the CCP.”

Lee has been outspoken in supporting the abuse against the Uyghrys in Xinjiang and is well-known for his hardline approach to freedom of speech.

Bigger challenges

Hong Kong is a financial hub attempting to relaunch itself after several years of political upheaval. 

However, many people are now fleeing the country, dissatisfied with the administration.

“They really persist on their way to have zero cases in the city, which makes the international community, especially business people worry about the future of Hong Kong to continue to be the international financial hub.” says Hui.

“Continuously we’ll see more people being involved in this migration wave because of the political situation in Hong Kong.” 

Future of democracy in Hong Kong

Hui says it’s difficult to know whether democracy could be restored.

“What we can do is to continue to spread words and to raise awareness and to push for any action by foreign countries.”

“I believe people on the ground will continue to use their strength and their courage to continue to fight for freedom and to stand for our values.”

Katerina Kostakos contributed to this article.

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Suicide bombing rocks an education facility in Afghanistan

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At least 19 people are dead following a suicide bombing in Kabul

A blast at the Kaaj education centre in the Dashte Barchi area has claimed the lives of at least 19 Afghans.

Local reports suggest students were taking a university exam at the time of the attack.

The area is a busy place for the Hazara minority, who have been targeted in recent attacks.

Police are at the scene as investigations continue. At this time, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

A string of violence has plagued Kabul in recent weeks, which has claimed the lives of dozens.

The U.S. withdrawal saw the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan last August.

The Taliban has previously said it is seeking to restore stability. But rival Islamists have continued to plague the country.

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Judge sides with Trump in Mar-a-Lago investigation

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A United States Federal Judge has sided with former President Donald Trump amid the ongoing Mar-a-Lago investigation

In a move that will likely come as a relief to Donald Trump, a federal judge has ruled that the former president does not have to provide a sworn declaration regarding claims the FBI “planted” evidence in his Mar-a-Lago resort.

Previously, Trump had been required to provide the declaration as part of the review process for the investigation.

But Judge Aileen Cannon, who is overseeing the Mar-a-Lago investigation, has now pushed back several key deadlines, extending the final date of completion from November to December.

“There shall be no separate requirement on Plaintiff at this stage, prior to the review of any of the Seized Materials, to lodge ex ante final objections to the accuracy of Defendant’s Inventory, its descriptions, or its contents.”

Judge Aileen cannon
Judge Aileen Cannon & Donald Trump

This means that Trump will not have to confirm, under oath, his recent claims the FBI manufactured evidence against him

These are assertions which could be used against him if he is charged with any crimes.

Trump’s lawyers had argued that the president should not be required to provide a declaration, and it seems Judge Cannon has sided with them.

For now, Trump will not have to put his claims on the record.

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Ian carves path of utter destruction

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After devastating Florida, Hurricane Ian is headed for Carolinas, Georgia

A grim picture of Hurricane Ian’s horrific wreckage emerged Thursday, as millions of people in Florida faced destroyed homes, completely flooded streets and power outages.

The storm’s power turned out to be worse than many had predicted.

Unfortunately, families who did not evacuate have been left stranded as rising water tore through their homes.

So far, hundreds have been rescued from floodwaters, and emergency crews are still struggling to reach some of the most devastated areas.

According to the National Hurricane Center, a storm surge of 12-18 feet hit as destructive waves struck the coast.

Officials say the hurricane knocked out power to more than 2.6 million customers, mainly in southwest and central Florida.

Meanwhile, the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) says that the next 72 hours will certainly be the most critical when it comes to rescue missions.

President Biden said there were ‘early reports of what may be substantial loss of life’ saying, that the numbers are still unclear but there are early reports of fatalities.

The President added, “water rescue is critical—Coast Guard deployed 16 rescue helicopter, six fixed wing aircraft and 18-rescue boats and crews. That’s just one element of the many federal search and rescue teams that were pre-staged in Florida.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis detailed the state’s “monumental effort” to help aid recovery and eventually rebuild.

“Those were really difficult images to see but we’re committed to restoring the infrastructure as needed. That is not going to be an overnight task. That is going to require a lot of love and care—it’s going to require a lot of resources, but we’re going to do it because we understand how important it is.”

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