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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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Alabama Governor Apologizes for Blackface Skit, Refuses to Resign

Alabama Governor Apologizes for Blackface Skit, Refuses to ResignAlabama Governor Kay Ivey apologized Thursday for a blackface skit she participated in while a student at Auburn University during the 1960s.“I offer my heartfelt apologies for the pain and embarrassment this causes, and I will do all I can — going forward — to help show the nation that the Alabama of today is a far cry from the Alabama of the 1960s,” Ivey said in a statement. “We have come a long way, for sure, but we still have a long way to go.”The Republican governor, 74, stopped short of capitulating to calls from Alabama Democrats to resign, however.“While some may attempt to excuse this as acceptable behavior for a college student during the mid-1960s, that is not who I am today, and it is not what my Administration represents all these years later,” Ivey insisted.The governor claimed she cannot recall either the skit or a 1967 interview on a campus radio program with her then-fiancé, who described how Ivey had "had put some black paint all over her face" for the bit. However, she acknowledged she had likely participated in such a skit and said she has "genuine remorse" now for her involvement.Democratic state representative Terri Sewell dismissed Ivey's apology as not reparation enough, saying the governor's actions are "reprehensible and are deeply offensive."Her words of apology ring hollow if not met with real action to bridge the racial divide," Sewell added.



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Sen. Johnny Isakson to resign at end of the year

Sen. Johnny Isakson to resign at end of the yearRepublicans now have to defend two Senate seats in Georgia in 2020.



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The Latest: Puerto Rico governor says he will resign Aug. 2

The Latest: Puerto Rico governor says he will resign Aug. 2Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló says he is resigning effective Aug. 2 in the face of public furor over an obscenity-laced online chat that showed the governor and close advisers insulting women and mocking constituents including the victims of Hurricane Maria. The 40-year-old Rosselló is the first governor to resign in the modern history of Puerto Rico, a territory of 3.2 million U.S. citizens that is mired in a 13-year recession and still recovering from the Category 4 hurricane two years ago. Public outrage over the leaked chats and federal corruption charges against former government officials sparked massive demonstrations across San Juan in the largest protest movement on the island since Puerto Ricans successfully marched to demand an end to U.S. Navy military training on the island of Vieques more than 15 years ago.



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Sorry, Al Franken: 7 senators regret pushing Franken to resign, as new reporting casts doubt on key allegation

Sorry, Al Franken: 7 senators regret pushing Franken to resign, as new reporting casts doubt on key allegationSeven of former Sen. Al Franken's Democratic colleagues now say they regret calling on him to resign in 2017 before a full investigation was completed.



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Gabbard, AOC join lawmakers to call on Puerto Rican governor to resign over corruption scandal

Gabbard, AOC join lawmakers to call on Puerto Rican governor to resign over corruption scandalRep. Tulsi Gabbard has joined a growing chorus of lawmakers calling for the resignation of the Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.



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Puerto Rico governor rejects calls to resign amid scandal

Puerto Rico governor rejects calls to resign amid scandalProtesters in Puerto Rico gathered outside La Fortaleza governor’s residence on Sunday, demanding Gov. Ricardo Rosselló step down for his involvement in a private chat in which he used profanities to describe an ex-New York City councilwoman and a federal control board overseeing the island’s finances. Undersecretary of La Fortaleza’s press office, Michelle De la Cruz, said she did not know if the governor was home. Some activists say they are ashamed of the language used by Rosselló in the group chat and the ways the reputation of the U.S. territory might be affected.



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Calls mount for Labor Sec. Acosta to resign over plea deal for alleged pedophile Epstein

Calls mount for Labor Sec. Acosta to resign over plea deal for alleged pedophile EpsteinIn the wake of the arrest of financier Jeffrey Epstein on sex-trafficking charges, Democratic leaders are calling for the resignation of Labor chief Alex Acosta, who negotiated a plea deal that resulted in an exceptionally light sentence for Epstein on similar charges a decade ago.



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Pelosi and Schumer: Trump Labor Secretary Acosta must resign over plea deal for Jeffrey Epstein

Pelosi and Schumer: Trump Labor Secretary Acosta must resign over plea deal for Jeffrey EpsteinFormer Vice President Joe Biden also called on Acosta to resign, writing on Twitter that "The abuse of a child is one of the most heinous, despicable abuses of power imaginable."



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