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Missing Mayor found dead in north Seoul        Heavy rain hits scenic central Japan, more damage in south        Bikru bloodbath mastermind Vikas Dubey nabbed in MP town        NIA to probe gold smuggling case, ex-Consulate woman employee moves HC for anticipatory bail        Kerala reports biggest daily spike of 339 infections,COVID-19 tally crosses 6,500 mark        Holder wins early battle with Stokes as Windies take control        Ganguly announces cancellation of Asia Cup in September        We have asked every state to adopt one sport: Rijiju        Rupee slips 9 paise to 75.02 against USD        ICICI Bank to raise up to Rs 15,000 crore to bolster capital base        Trump threatens to cut federal aid if schools don't reopen        Pak PM urges world community to share info on COVID-19 strategies as tally rises to 239,225        Enhancing global cooperation need of the hour to effectively tackle COVID-19: Prez        Kanpur encounter: 2 policemen held for 'tipping off' gangster Vikas Dubey about police action        CBSE should explain rationale behind dropping certain chapters from curriculum: Sisodia        301 test positive in Kerala,COVID-19 tally crosses 6,000 mark        Dhoni turns 39, wishes pour in from all corners        New era for cricket as England-West Indies series begins        India''s COVID-19 tally, fatality rate per million population lowest in world: Govt        Rahul asks why no mention of Galwan Valley in MEA statement on talks        
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International News
Hong Kong blocks Tiananmen vigil; rush on for UK passports
 
Hong Kong, Jun 1 (AP) Hong Kong police rejected an application Monday for an annual candlelight vigil marking the anniversary this week of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, as residents rushed to apply for passports that could allow them to move to the United Kingdom.

Throngs of people lined up at DHL courier outlets across the city, many to send documents to the UK to apply for or renew what is known as a British National (Overseas) passport.

My BNO passport expired in 2004, but at the time I didn't renew it because I trusted China, said 40-year-old Peter Chan, who works in asset management and waited in line for more than two hours.

Chan said he was worried about political and security issues in Hong Kong stemming from an upcoming national security law as well as a push by the semi-autonomous territory's legislature to enact a bill that would make it illegal to insult the Chinese national anthem.

Even though there is rising anti-immigrant and anti-Asian sentiment in the U.K., it's still better than Hong Kong, he said.

In Hong Kong, you never know what will happen tomorrow, Chan said.

It would be the first time in 30 years that the candlelight vigil, which draws a huge crowd to an outdoor space, is not held in Hong Kong.

The vigil marks the deadly military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.

The police, in a letter to organizers, said it would violate coronavirus social distancing rules that ban gatherings of more than eight people.

Organizer Lee Cheuk-yan, chair of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, expressed disappointment and urged people to light candles individually and observe a moment of silence.

Amnesty International said authorities should facilitate a socially distanced vigil rather than ban it.

COVID-19 must not be used as an excuse to stifle freedom of expression," said Joshua Rosenzweig, the group's deputy director for East and Southeast Asia. With this ban, and a disastrous national security law looming, it is not clear if Hong Kong's Tiananmen vigil will ever be allowed to take place again.

Hong Kong has reported five local infections of the coronavirus in the last two days, breaking a nearly two-week streak of no new cases outside of those brought in from abroad.

The rush to apply for passports came after Britain said last week that it might allow holders of the document to stay in the country for a year or more. The proposal came after China's legislature decided it would enact a national security law for Hong Kong.

The move is aimed at clamping down on a pro-democracy movement that has at times resulted in violent clashes between protesters and the police. Critics say the law erodes the one country, two systems framework that promised Hong Kong freedoms not found in mainland China for 50 years.

Protesters demonstrated against the security law during lunchtime Monday at a luxury shopping mall in the Central business district, shouting pro-democracy slogans.

The British National (Overseas) passport, which was issued to Hong Kongers when it was a British colony, allows them to visit the country for an extended period but falls short of offering them citizenship rights.

Currently, BNO passport holders can remain in the U.K. as visitors for six months without a visa. But Britain's plan to allow them to stay in the U.K. for a longer period could include options that offer a path to citizenship, according to British Home Secretary Priti Patel.

In Hong Kong's eastern district of Quarry Bay, Vanessa Tai was among more than 40 people who stood in line at a DHL service point, many holding envelopes with application documents.

Tai, 24, said the BNO passport is a Plan B for Hong Kongers who are worried about losing their freedoms as China strengthens its control over the city.

If I had a choice, I'd rather work and live in Hong Kong. I hadn't considered emigrating or working overseas before this, she said.

Nowadays, my family and I are seeking an alternative, just in case.

As of February, nearly 350,000 Hong Kong residents held BNO passports, although the U.K. government estimated that there are 2.9 million people in the city of 7.5 million who are eligible for the passport.


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Brazilian Prez Jair Bolsonaro tests positive for COVID-19
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Bangladesh records 3,288 new COVID-19 cases, death toll nears 2,000
China under Xi stepped up 'aggressive' foreign policy towards India:Congressional commission report
US issues guidelines but no new rules for safe air travel
Congress passes bill rebuking China over Hong Kong crackdown
If elected, will revoke H1-B visa suspension: Joe Biden
New Zealand's health minister resigns after virus blunders
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KERALA NEWS
Kerala reports biggest daily spike of 339 infections,COVID-19 tally crosses 6,500 mark
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Kerala reports 272 fresh cases; 68 infected through contact
Will take appropriate decision at appropriate time:Jose K Mani
Kerala reports 131 new COVID cases, 75 recoveries, 2,112 patients under treatment
NATIONAL NEWS
Bikru bloodbath mastermind Vikas Dubey nabbed in MP town
 Ujjain: History-sheeter Vikas Dubey ? the prime accused for whom Uttar Pradesh Police had launched a
Enhancing global cooperation need of the hour to effectively tackle COVID-19: Prez
Kanpur encounter: 2 policemen held for 'tipping off' gangster Vikas Dubey about police action
CBSE should explain rationale behind dropping certain chapters from curriculum: Sisodia
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