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Hong Kong anti-extradition protesters move barricades ahead of debate

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

Anti-extradition law protesters removing barricades | Courtesy: Image grabbed from a Reuters video

Chaotic scenes erupted in Hong Kong on Wednesday (June 12) as tens of thousands of demonstrators stormed key roads next to government offices to protest against a proposed extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial.

Thousands of protesters rallied in and around Lung Wo Road, an important east-west artery near the offices of embattled Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, as hundreds of riot police warned them to stop advancing.

Some protesters erected barricades to block traffic in the heart of the Asian financial center, with many defying police calls to retreat, in scenes reminiscent of pro-democracy protests that rocked the city in late 2014.

Officials said the legislative session for the second reading of the controversial extradition bill has been delayed as protesters have blocked entry to the chamber and government headquarters.

A spokesman for bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) said a cocktail reception on Wednesday evening to celebrate 19 years of being listed, at which Lam is guest of honor, would go ahead. (REUTERS)

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Heatwave hits Brussels with temperature over 30 degrees

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

Various people filling water bottles at a fountain | Courtesy : Reuters

Temperatures soared in Brussels on Monday (June 24) kicking off a heatwave with temperatures of 32 degrees Celsius expected in the Belgian capital from Tuesday, up to 34 degrees in the north of the country.

The Belgian Royal Meteorological Institute said high temperatures were caused by the circulation of subtropical air between a depression located over the Atlantic Ocean and an anticyclone covering an area ranging from Iceland to Russia.

On its website, the Walloon government issued a series of recommendations including drinking more than a liter of water per day and avoiding alcohol, closing the windows and curtains in rooms exposed to the sun, wearing light clothes and a hat.

The Brussels regional government wrote on Twitter that pollution levels will increase but not go beyond the 180 micrograms per cubic meter threshold above which the public has to be informed of risks. (REUTERS)

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Magnitude 7.5 quake shakes Australian City

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, June 24th, 2019

Evacuated people standing outside | Courtesy : Reuters

A deep earthquake of magnitude 7.5 struck off the coasts of East Timor and Indonesia on Monday (June 24) with the shaking felt in Australia’s northern city of Darwin, about 700 km (435 miles) from the epicenter, but no damage was reported.

Witnesses in Darwin told of shaking and trembling, as they were evacuated out of buildings in the city center.

The quake, initially recorded at a magnitude of 7.2, hit out at sea at a depth of 220 km (136 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.

There is no tsunami threat because of the quake’s depth, the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a statement. (REUTERS)

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Over 70 injured during clashes at protest in Georgia

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, June 21st, 2019

Protesters clashing with riot police outside of parliament building | Courtesy : Reuters

At least 70 people were injured after protesters rallying against the visit of a Russian lawmaker tried to storm Georgia’s parliament building on Thursday (June 20) night, Georgian Ministry of Health said.

Riot police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon after protesters pushed against lines of riot police, throwing bottles and grabbing riot shields from some officers and tearing off their helmets.

The scenes in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, flared up suddenly after public anger over the visit and speech of a member of the Russian lower house of parliament triggered big street protests.

After hours of confrontation between protesters and the police dozens had been taken to hospitals with injuries from rubber bullets or stones, thrown by protesters, as well as tear gas poisoning.

The majority of protesters left the area outside the parliament, but dozens of them remained at adjoining streets, while police continued to use tear gas to disperse them.

Russian influence in Georgia remains a politically sensitive subject. The small country, a U.S. ally, fought and lost a short war against Moscow in 2008. (REUTERS)

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