Tag Archives: leader

Venezuelan opposition leader denies ties to criminal gang

Venezuelan opposition leader denies ties to criminal gangVenezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó rejected allegations Friday that he has ties to an illegal armed group in Colombia, as officials launched an investigation based on photos appearing in social media purportedly showing him posing with members of the gang. The pictures were allegedly taken in late February when Guaidó crossed into Colombia and made a surprise appearance at a concert organized by billionaire Richard Branson aimed at helping deliver humanitarian aid to Venezuela. Government officials loyal to President Nicolás Maduro are holding up the photos as proof that Guaidó’s covert journey was orchestrated with the help of a Colombian criminal gang known as the Rastrojos, an accusation he denies.



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Iraqi cleric Sadr joins supreme leader at Iran ceremony

Iraqi cleric Sadr joins supreme leader at Iran ceremonyPowerful Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr joined Iran’s supreme leader during a rare visit to Tehran to mark the Shiite holy day of Ashura, state media reported Wednesday. The office of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued pictures of Sadr flanked by Khamenei on one side, and the commander of the elite Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Major General Qasem Soleimani, on the other.



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Sexual assault claim against party tests New Zealand leader

Sexual assault claim against party tests New Zealand leaderNew Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was facing a difficult test of her leadership Wednesday after her party president resigned over the party’s handling of a sexual assault complaint. Labour Party President Nigel Haworth’s resignation came after a 19-year-old party volunteer told online site The Spinoff that last year she was pinned down and violently sexually assaulted by a party staffer.



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Israeli leader claims to find new Iranian nuke site

Israeli leader claims to find new Iranian nuke siteIsrael’s prime minister on Monday unveiled what he said was a previously undisclosed Iranian nuclear weapons site, further escalating a showdown between the two enemy countries. Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement came as the U.N. nuclear watchdog held a meeting in Vienna, where he’s hoping the agency will take tougher action against Iran. It also came in the final stages of Israeli national elections, drawing criticism from opponents that the sudden press conference was a campaign stunt.



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North Korean leader berates officials over typhoon prep

North Korean leader berates officials over typhoon prepNorth Korean leader Kim Jong Un has berated officials for their “easygoing” attitude to the approach of Typhoon Lingling, state media reported. The powerful storm is expected to make landfall in the North on Saturday afternoon after passing off the coast of South Korea, according to Seoul’s Korea Meteorological Administration. Kim convened an emergency meeting on Friday and said “dangerous circumstances” caused by the typhoon were “imminent”, but that many in positions of authority were ill prepared, the North’s KCNA news service said later that day.



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UPDATE 11-Hong Kong leader pulls extradition bill, but too little too late, say some

UPDATE 11-Hong Kong leader pulls extradition bill, but too little too late, say someHong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Wednesday withdrew an extradition bill that triggered months of often violent protests so the Chinese-ruled city can move forward from a “highly vulnerable and dangerous” place and find solutions. The withdrawal still needs the approval of the Legislative Council, which is not expected to oppose Lam.



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Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam recorded saying she 'would resign if she could'

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam recorded saying she 'would resign if she could'Hong Kong’s embattled leader Carrie Lam has said she “would resign if she could”, according to an audio recording of a speech she gave to a group of businesspeople last week. In often anguished remarks, she apologised for igniting the “unforgivable chaos” in the city and said her room to respond was “very limited” as the Chinese government now considers the protest movement a national security issue. “If I have a choice,“ she said, ”the first thing is to quit, having made a deep apology.”  The audio recording of the speech, given in English, was obtained by Reuters and gives the clearest indication yet of the weakness of the Hong Kong government in relation to Beijing, which has not faced a political crisis this severe since the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. Ms Lam has long denied being a puppet of the Chinese government but reports have consistently made clear that the Communist Party is effectively calling the shots on how to handle the crisis. However, Ms Lam was adamant the Chinese military will not intervene. She said there was “absolutely no plan” to deploy the People’s Liberation Army and that China has imposed no deadline on ending the unrest, preferring to ride out any economic cost. The chief executive, who was chosen as city leader in 2017, spoke of her sadness at being unable to walk the city or visit hair salons such is the anger at her government. However, she was bitterly self-critical about the decision to try and pass the extradition bill that kicked off the protests, saying the decision was nothing to do with Beijing. “This is not something instructed, coerced by the central government,” she said, adding “this has proven to be very unwise given the circumstances. And this huge degree of fear and anxiety amongst people of Hong Kong vis-à-vis the mainland of China, which we were not sensitive enough to feel and grasp." Students gather under umbrellas on the University Mall at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) during a class boycott rally in Hong Kong Credit: Bloomberg Often criticised as inflexible and unempathetic in her public appearances, Ms Lam choked up several times during the meeting, which was one of several behind-closed-doors encounters she has arranged with citizens from “all walks of life”. In the 24-minute recording, she says that for ““for a chief executive to have caused this huge havoc to Hong Kong is unforgivable.” Meanwhile yesterday/Monday thousands of secondary school and university students protested on the day they were due back in class, announcing a two-week boycott. Co-organized by two student groups and the pro-democracy party Demosisto, one organizer said over 4,000 secondary school students from over 230 schools joined the rally. “I am more worried about Hong Kong than ourselves at this moment, maybe in the next five years we will be studying in the university or working, but what is happening now will affect the whole Hong Kong society, and other countries as well,” said one student, 17, in a school uniform. Across the harbour thousands of students from 10 universities gathered at the Chinese University in black t-shirts, some holding signs saying “boycott for freedom”. In a press conference on Monday, Hong Kong police said they had arrested 159 people over the weekend, including one 13-year-old found with petrol bombs. China’s foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuan, yesterday said the demonstrations in Hong Kong had “completely exceeded the scope of freedom of assembly”.



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Hong Kong’s Leader Says She Has Never Asked Beijing’s Permission to Resign

Hong Kong’s Leader Says She Has Never Asked Beijing’s Permission to Resign(Bloomberg) — Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, said she had never asked China for permission to resign over the historic unrest rocking the city, while acknowledging that she discussed her struggles in a closed-door meeting with business leaders.At a news briefing Tuesday in Hong Kong, Lam denounced the leak of audio from the meeting, which was reported late Monday by Reuters, as “unacceptable.” She said was committed to seeing the city through the unrest, and had only attempted to explain that it would be “an easy choice” for anyone to leave under such circumstances.“I have never tendered a resignation to the central people’s government,” Lam told reporters. “I have not even contemplated to discuss a resignation with the central people’s government. The choice of not resigning is my own choice.”The comments follow a fresh wave of pro-democracy protests, including clashes in which demonstrators hurled scores of petrol bombs and police responded with tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets. The unrest began almost three months ago, when hundreds of thousands of people turned out to oppose Lam’s now-suspended proposal to allow extraditions to mainland China.Lam has so far refused the protesters’ demands, including the formal withdrawal of the legislation, her resignation and an independent inquiry into the unrest. Lam told a closed door meeting of business people last week that she had caused “unforgivable havoc,” and would quit if she had a choice, Reuters reported late Monday, citing an audio tape of her remarks.Lam’s news conference came ahead of a planned briefing from the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, China’s top body governing the city, scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. At a previous briefing, the office’s spokesman warned protesters that “Those who play with fire will perish by it.”As protests drag on, Lam — a career bureaucrat appointed to lead the territory by Beijing — has found herself under increasingly intense pressure. Hong Kong’s leader is effectively squeezed between raucous local protesters pushing for greater democratic freedoms and the President Xi Jinping’s one-party government, which is trying to quell the protests while managing a trade war with the U.S.\–With assistance from Venus Feng.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 bscott66@bloomberg.net, Daniel Ten KateFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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Hezbollah leader: We have no missile factories in Lebanon

Hezbollah leader: We have no missile factories in LebanonThe leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah on Saturday categorically denied Israeli claims about his group having factories to produce precision-guided missiles in Lebanon, saying such “lies” were an attempt to justify Israeli attacks against the country. In a speech to hundreds of his followers who gathered in the group’s stronghold in southern Beirut, Hassan Nasrallah said his group possessed precision-guided missiles but not the factories to produce them. “We do not have factories to produce precision-guided missiles in Lebanon,” he said.



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China calls on police to guard 'southern gate' as Hong Kong leader eyes emergency powers

China calls on police to guard 'southern gate' as Hong Kong leader eyes emergency powersChina’s public security chief has called on the country's police officers to guard its "southern gate" and be ready to crack down on "violent and terrorist activities” as anti-government protests rage on in Hong Kong. Forces must be vigilant against anything that could “infiltrate, subvert, or sabotage the country,” urged Zhang Kezhi, the minister of public security, on a visit this week to a police station in the southern province of Guangdong, which borders Hong Kong.  Officers must “firmly safeguard the ‘southern gate’ of our national political security,” he said, alluding to the crisis in Hong Kong without directly mentioning the ongoing demonstrations.  China has escalated its rhetoric as the unrest continues, issuing ominous warnings that paramilitary forces in a city next to Hong Kong are ready to deploy to suppress the protests. Doing so, however, would be reminiscent of the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989 when the Chinese military opened fire at peaceful student demonstrators. Mr Zhang’s comments come as Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam refused to rule out the possibility of invoking emergency powers, saying she would look at all legal means to "stop violence and chaos" in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.  The ordinance provides for the city's leader to assume near-absolute authority to “make any regulations whatsoever which he [or she] may consider desirable in the public interest”. It would not need approval from city lawmakers, and would grant Ms Lam sweeping powers, including censorship and suppression of publications and communications; arrests, detentions and deportations; control over ports and all transport; the appropriation of property; and authorising the entry and search of premises, with life imprisonment as the maximum penalty for offences under the emergency ordinance.  Mass protests kicked off early June against a now-suspended extradition bill that would have sent suspects to face trial in mainland China where Communist Party influence of courts leads to a 99.9 per cent conviction rate.  But protesters continue to demand the formal withdrawal to prevent the proposal from being passed quickly after demonstrations end. Calls have also expanded to include an independent inquiry into police action, the resignation of Ms Lam and direct leadership elections.  Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific fired staff who attended protests, under pressure from Beijing Credit: Vincent Yu/AP Beijing has also put the squeeze on companies to warn them against siding with protesters. For some, that has meant making a series of staffing changes. Cathay Pacific was rocked recently by the surprise resignation of its CEO – widely seen as an attempt to curry political favour with Beijing as it piled pressure on the Hong Kong airline following the arrest of a pilot at a protest.  Ryan Lo says he was fired two weeks ago after six years with Hong Kong Airlines over his anti-government political views.  “People around me to a certain extent are scared, but as Hong Kongers, we cannot be too scared – otherwise, our speech and point of views will disappear,” he said at a protest on Wednesday. “I hope that [companies] will think twice before terminating their valuable staff. A few thousand people also turned out for a separate protest over claims that police have sexually assaulted and harassed detained female demonstrators.  K Wong, a 28-year old-woman attending the rally with four friends who asked to be identified by her first initial, told The Telegraph that alleged sexual assault cases were "absolutely unacceptable". "Police are who we are supposed to go to if a sexual assault case happens. They are supposed to be protecting us in those events," she said, adding that she did not feel safe when officers were present. Police representatives have dismissed such reports as "online rumours". Hong Kong police have arrested more than 880 people since mass demonstrations began early June, formally charging around 140. About 200 police officers have been injured.



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