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Tuesday
August 2020
12:07 AM IST
News Headlines
NIA arrests six more people and conducts searches at 6 places in Kerala gold smuggling case        Union Minister observes fast as BJP seeks to step up pressure on Ker govt in gold smuggling case        Kerala crosses 25,000 COVID-19 cases as 1,169 test positive        Heavy rains forecast in Kerala this week; Low pressure likely in Bay of Bengal        Shah tests +ve for COVID-19, admitted to Medanta hospital in Gurugram        International passengers with negative COVID-19 test report can skip institutional quarantine: Govt        High time Mehbooba Mufti is released, says Rahul Gandhi        Death toll in Punjab spurious liquor tragedy rises to 104        Trump Says Federal Government Should Seek Death Penalty For Boston Bomber        Khamenei''s top aide praises Turkey''s Hagia Sophia move        IPL GC Meet: Final on Nov 10, Chinese sponsors intact, COVID replacements allowed        2nd ODI: Bairstow, Rashid shine in England''s 4-wicket win over Ireland        Kerala''s COVID-19 tally inching towards 25,000 mark, 1129 ccases, death toll climbs to 82        Kerala police SI dies of COVID-19; first from the force to succumb to the virus        If high command forgives rebels, I will welcome them back: Gehlot        Former SP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh dies at 64        Wild fire: 200 homes evacuated in Southern California        Emirati nuclear plant successfully starts up first reactor        Ready to push for continued advancement of China-Nepal ties: Xi        Some 17,000 people hit streets of Berlin to protest COVID-19 measures        
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International News
Hong Kong leader vows to 'listen' as voters send sharp rebuke
 
Hong Kong, Nov 25 (AFP) Hong Kong's deeply unpopular leader vowed Monday to "listen humbly" to voters after the pro-democracy camp scored a crushing victory in community-level elections that revealed broad public support for a protest movement that has stirred months of violence.

In a rout that stunned the semi-autonomous territory, candidates seeking to loosen control by China seized an overwhelming majority of the 452 elected seats in the city's 18 district councils, bodies that have historically been firmly in the grip of a Beijing-aligned establishment.

The result, the first vote to be held since protests engulfed the city, was a humiliating rebuke to Beijing and Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

She has stubbornly dismissed calls for political reform and repeatedly suggested that a silent majority supported her administration and opposed the protest movement.

"The government will certainly listen humbly to citizens' opinions and reflect on them seriously," Lam said in a statement issued by the government.

But she gave no specifics on the likely response.

China's foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing "resolutely supports" the leader and backs the police and judiciary in Hong Kong in "punishing relevant violent and illegal behaviours".

Opponents quickly called on Lam to accede to a five-point list of demands, including direct elections for the city's legislature and leadership and a probe into alleged police brutality against demonstrators.

"The government must squarely face public opinion," said Wu Chi-wai, the chairman of the Democratic Party, Hong Kong's largest anti-establishment party.

The Labour Party, another leading component of the pro-democracy bloc, attributed the election result to "the sweat, blood and tears" of protesters.

There has been no tear gas fired in Hong Kong for a week, rare respite for a city upturned by months of chaos and violence.

The lull follows some of the most intense clashes yet between police and protesters at the city centre PolyU campus.

Dozens of newly elected councillors marched on Monday evening on the campus urging police to allow the small number of hardcore protesters who remain holed-up inside to leave freely.

"The people of Hong Kong of spoken," Paul Zimmerman, a pro-democracy councillor re-elected in Sunday's poll, said in a speech outside PolyU.

"Now is time for the government to respond. Don't fail Hong Kong again." Chatter on a popular web forum used to urge people to turn out for protests called for a march on Sunday to press the government to respond to the movement's demands.

Millions took to the streets earlier this year after Lam's government introduced a bill to allow extraditions to China's opaque judicial system.

It was eventually withdrawn, but the resulting public anger unleashed broader demands and led to violent clashes between police and protesters.

District councils handle mundane community-level issues like garbage collection. But backlit by protests, Sunday's contest took a new political significance.

The outcome is "a sound repudiation of the (Hong Kong) administration and Beijing's policy toward Hong Kong," political analyst Willy Lam said.

But it does not mean Beijing will budge on the protesters' demands, he added.

Pro-democracy candidates grabbed 388 seats -- a stunning net gain of 263 -- according to local media, with the establishment holding on to only 59. Five went to independents.

Chinese state media moved to downplay the poll debacle for pro-Beijing parties, suggesting mischief-making by western governments was at play in the poll run-up while violent protests chiselled away at the pro-government turnout.

"It is hard to imagine how many people's opinions the election result represents," ran a commentary in the China Daily.

"When people live under so heavy shadow of the rioters' terror that they dare not speak out against them." A record 71 percent of the 4.13 million registered voters had cast ballots, according to Hong Kong's election watchdog.


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ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
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'Game of Thrones' star Indira Varma tests positive for coronavirus
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KERALA NEWS
Kerala crosses 25,000 COVID-19 cases as 1,169 test positive
 Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala on Sunday crossed the 25,000 mark in COVID-19 cases as 1,169 more people
Heavy rains forecast in Kerala this week; Low pressure likely in Bay of Bengal
Kerala police SI dies of COVID-19; first from the force to succumb to the virus
Kerala reports 1,310 COVID-19 cases; 3 deaths takes toll to 73
NATIONAL NEWS
Union Minister observes fast as BJP seeks to step up pressure on Ker govt in gold smuggling case
 New Delhi: Union Minister V Muraleedharan on Sunday observed a day-long fast at his residence here d
Shah tests +ve for COVID-19, admitted to Medanta hospital in Gurugram
International passengers with negative COVID-19 test report can skip institutional quarantine: Govt
High time Mehbooba Mufti is released, says Rahul Gandhi
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