By Robert A. Vella
Hong Kong’s airport reopened today after violent clashes with riot police and the reported mobilization of Chinese military forces at the border compelled pro-democracy protesters to back down and issue an apology, although the political turmoil sparked by China’s authoritarian takeover of this former British colony appears to be far from over. Despite nonsensical rhetoric boasting that China would pay the costs for U.S. imposed trade tariffs, President Trump admitted yesterday that his decision this week to backtrack on the tariffs was motivated by not wanting to see consumer prices increase before the upcoming holiday season. Newly elected Guatemalan president Alejandro Giammattei said that his country cannot comply with the immigration deal signed by his predecessor Jimmy Morales. Shot were fired at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices in San Antonio, Texas. The African American historical museum in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, founded by murdered civil rights activist Sadie Roberts-Joseph, has been vandalized. Oregon’s new law against bias crimes is being used for the first time to prosecute an alleged offender. High temperatures in Dallas, Texas triggered an emergency declaration to prevent soaring electricity prices as demand pushed near the grid capacity. Finally, two overworked guards at the short-staffed New York jail where Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide have been placed on administrative leave allegedly for negligence and for falsifying records while the overseeing warden has been conveniently reassigned. Yes, this whole situation still smells fishy.
In chaotic scenes that would once have been unthinkable for Hong Kongers, a peaceful sit-in at the airport turned violent late on Tuesday as protesters confronted and held a man they believed was an undercover Chinese agent.
Busloads of riot police arrived in response, clashing with furious demonstrators before withdrawing once the man was removed and leaving the terminal briefly in control of activists who then detained a Chinese reporter for a short time.
Protesters, who occupied the airport for five days – disrupting flights on Monday and Tuesday – mostly withdrew by daybreak, with several groups issuing statements blending contrition for the chaos with defiance of the authorities.
Hong Kong’s airport is open this morning after violent clashes between protesters and police has grounded hundreds of flights over the past two days. Beijing weighed in on the chaos, calling the violence an atrocity and the protest an act of terrorism. Now, newly released satellite images appear to show Chinese military vehicles being moved inside a sports stadium along the Hong Kong border. Debora Patta reports.
President Trump has repeated the same mantra for months: The Chinese are paying the full price of his tariffs. It’s a line that the overwhelming majority of economists and business owners say is false, but Trump kept saying it — until Aug. 13.
The White House announced Tuesday that the president’s latest tariffs on China would be delayed on many popular items like cellphones, laptops and strollers. The 10 percent tax would not go into effect until Dec. 15, effectively ensuring retailers can import goods for the holidays before the tariffs take effect.
Trump himself told reporters the delay is to ensure consumers don’t face higher costs this Christmas. Here are his full remarks:
Guatemala’s President-elect Alejandro Giammattei said Tuesday his country is not able to honor its side of an immigration deal with the U.S. as it is currently written.
Outgoing Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales inked a so-called safe third country agreement with the Trump administration in July, despite Guatemala’s highest court blocking Morales from signing the pact without the consent of lawmakers.
The agreement would require some asylum-seekers to seek asylum in Guatemala before applying for protections in the U.S. It’s part of an attempt by the Trump administration to curb the number of asylum-seekers appearing at the southern U.S. border.
Investigators said at a news conference that multiple shots were fired into offices of ICE’s Immigration Enforcement and Removal division about 3 a.m. Regional offices of The GEO Group Inc., a private prison company that operates ICE detention facilities, are in the same building.
ICE said in a statement that shots were fired into a second nearby building that also houses ICE-related offices. The address of that building wasn’t specified.
A Louisiana African American history museum has been vandalized a month after its beloved founder was killed.
Benches were smashed, gardens trampled, a fountain destroyed and other artifacts damaged at the Odell S. Williams Now and Then African American Museum in Baton Rouge.
Sadie Roberts-Joseph, the founder of the museum, was killed last month, and her body was discovered in the trunk of her car. A tenant in one her rental homes has been charged with first-degree murder.
Robert Oden is accused of punching and yelling homophobic and racist remarks at three men as they walked out of CC Slaughters, a popular gay bar and nightclub in Portland’s Old Town Chinatown neighborhood, according to prosecutors.
At around 2 a.m. Saturday, Oden allegedly attacked the group — three men of Latino descent who hadn’t even spoken to him — by hurling anti-gay epithets and then punching them. Oden, who was sitting in an alcove of a nearby building, attacked the group as they walked along the sidewalk after leaving the club.
One of the men was left with a swollen and bloodied lip, according to The Oregonian. As they ran away, Oden shouted “go back to your country.”
Electricity prices briefly surged past a $9,000 a megawatt-hour price cap in Texas as extreme heat sent power demand skyrocketing and forced the state’s grid operator to declare an emergency.
As temperatures in Dallas climbed to 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39 Celsius), the Electric Reliability Council of Texas issued an emergency alert, calling on all power plants to ramp up and asking customers to conserve. At one point on Tuesday afternoon, the region had just 2,121 megawatts left in power reserves, less than 3% of total demand on the system.
The two staff members who were guarding the jail unit where Jeffrey Epstein apparently killed himself fell asleep and failed to check on him for about three hours, then falsified records to cover up their mistake, according to several law enforcement and prison officials with knowledge of the matter.
Those disclosures came on Tuesday as the two employees were placed on administrative leave and the warden of the jail, the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, was temporarily reassigned, pending the outcome of the investigation into Mr. Epstein’s death, the Justice Department announced.
One of the staff members was a former correctional officer who had taken a different position at the detention center that did not involve guarding detainees. He had volunteered to work again as a correctional officer for the extra overtime pay, a law enforcement official and an employee at the jail said.
The second officer, a woman who was assigned to that wing, had been ordered to work overtime because the jail was short staffed.
Some union leaders for prison workers expressed dismay with Mr. Barr’s decision to allow the warden to continue working, even as the two staff members were placed on leave.
“It makes me angry that they reassigned the warden,” said Jose Rojas, an official in the prison employees’ union and a teacher at the Coleman prison complex in Sumterville, Fla. “They didn’t put him on administrative leave like the others. The warden made the call to take Epstein off suicide watch and to remove his cellmate. That is egregious.”