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|Recent developments surrounding the South China Sea
BEIJING (AP) — A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves:
POSTED JANUARY 20, 2019 11:22 PM
|Flash freeze of melting snowstorm seen icing over U.S. Northeast
Plunging temperatures after a wet winter storm dumped more than a foot of snow on parts of the U.S. Northeast were expected to flash freeze much of the region on Sunday and make travel dicey during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday. "Any water that remains on the road will freeze into a sheet of ice and make conditions quite hazardous," said Rich Otto, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS). Sub-zero temperatures tied to gusting winds prompted the NWS to issue wind chill advisories and warnings for more than 10 states, from North Dakota and other parts of the central United States to East Coast metropolitan centers including Washington, New York and Boston.
POSTED JANUARY 20, 2019 8:26 PM
|Mexico probes negligence in pipeline blast that killed 91
Mexico has opened an investigation into what caused a deadly pipeline explosion, including possible negligence by authorities, the attorney general said Monday, as the death toll rose to 91 people. It is still unclear exactly how events unfolded leading up to the Friday blast, which occurred as hundreds of people rushed to collect fuel in buckets and jerrycans from a geyser of gasoline that was spouting from an illegal pipeline tap near the town of Tlahuelilpan, in the central state of Hidalgo. Attorney General Alejandro Gertz said investigators were trying to determine who tapped the pipeline -- whether locals acting alone or one of the criminal gangs that have turned fuel theft into a booming industry in Mexico.
POSTED JANUARY 21, 2019 7:18 PM
|Women’s March Leader Claims Questions about Anti-Semitism Were Racist
Women’s March co-chair Tamika Mallory claimed during a recent interview that The View’s Meghan McCain aggressively questioned her about her ties to infamous anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan because McCain is racist. Mallory, who labeled Farrakhan the GOAT on social media after attending a speech in which he labeled Jews “satanic,” said she intended to praise the Nation of Islam leader’s past advocacy on behalf of the black community, not his virulent and frequently displayed anti-Semitism. Asked by McCain to explicitly condemn Farrakhan, Mallory refused — a decision she now attributes to McCain’s aggressive rhetorical style, which she claims was racially motivated.
POSTED JANUARY 21, 2019 3:30 PM
|Native American veteran: 'Mob mentality' in students seen in viral video was 'scary'
In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Native American leader Nathan Phillips of Ypsilanti describes incident with students caught on video.
POSTED JANUARY 20, 2019 4:56 PM
|Report: China population growth continued to slow in 2018
BEIJING (AP) — China's population growth rate continued to slow in 2018, spelling possible trouble ahead as a swelling number of retirees pushes up against a shrinking labor pool.
POSTED JANUARY 21, 2019 5:38 AM
|Trump may have spoken to Michael Cohen about testimony to congress, says Rudy Giuliani: 'So what?'
Donald Trump may indeed have spoken to his then lawyer Michael Cohen about false testimony he delivered to Congress, and which is now at the centre of a seething political controversy, Rudy Giuliani has said. Last week, BuzzFeed reported that Mr Trump’s personal lawyer delivered the false information to politicians about the then candidate’s business interests in Moscow on the orders of the man who is now president. Democrats and opponents of Mr Trump leapt on the story, saying it showed the president had committed perjury.
POSTED JANUARY 20, 2019 1:44 PM
|British pound recovers as May outlines Brexit 'Plan B'
The pound recovered ground Monday after British Prime Minister Theresa May said she plans to return to Brussels to discuss changes to the Brexit deal she agreed with EU leaders last month despite an overwhelming rejection of the draft text by MPs last week. There was mixed news out of China, with official data showing the country's economic growth at its slowest pace in 28 years offsetting a report that the country has offered to eliminate its massive trade surplus with the United States -- easing trade war tensions between the world's two biggest economies. "Unless the British PM intends to commit political suicide, an extension request is the most likely scenario and the EU will most probably agree, which should be a positive development that will take the pound towards $1.30 again," predicted Konstantinos Anthis, Head of Research at ADSS.
POSTED JANUARY 21, 2019 12:02 PM
|Why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dropped into a 'Donkey Kong 64' session on Twitch
It's not every day a member of Congress drops by a Twitch session.
Streamers of a session of Donkey Kong 64 on Sunday were treated to a cameo from newly elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
SEE ALSO: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made perfect use of this 20-year-old video game meme
YouTube star Hbomberguy, a.k.a. Harry Brewis, is streaming a Twitch marathon of the classic 1999 Donkey Kong adventure platformer released by Rare for Nintendo 64, which he'd never finished as a kid (preach).
Brewis explained in a video announcement he intended to play the game start to finish, streaming from January 18 to raise money for Mermaids, a charity providing resources and support for transgender children and young people.
"I chose to support this charity because as a person living in Britain, I find the media discussion surrounding this issue in my country, especially in its tabloids, to be woefully misinformed," he said.
"I'd like to do my bit to help support the people who do the hard work of contributing to people's thinking on an important issue."
But there's more to the stream than a nice thought. Brewis said he chose Mermaids specifically to "spite" comedy writer Graham Linehan, who worked on British sitcoms Father Ted, Black Books and The It Crowd.
Linehan recently made headlines after encouraging people to oppose a substantial grant given to Mermaids from the Big Lottery Fund -- a fund which awards grants to UK organisations, accumulated from tickets sold to the National Lottery -- reportedly saying the charity pushes an "extreme ideological agenda." As a result, the charity's awarded funding is under review.
"Well done, Graham," said Brewis in his video. "Now, tons of people know about Mermaids, and support them just to spite you."
As of the stream's 52-hour mark, Brewis had raised over $270,000 for the charity.
But around the 50-hour mark, who should drop by but Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, after tweeting her support for the fundraiser. It was in the midst of a thread started by LGBT activist Charlotte Clymer, in which Ocasio-Cortez hit back at screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who said on Sunday that young Democrats needed to "stop acting like young people," criticising them for focusing on issues like "transgender bathrooms."
"That's a Republican talking point they're trying to distract you with," Sorkin said.
> If you'd like to use this as a good moment to support the queer community, there's a charity twitch stream going on for @Mermaids_Gender: https://t.co/vCvvqRhAwb
> -- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 20, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez, who recently delivered a perfectly deep Twitter cut with a 20-year-old video game meme, chatted casually to Hbomberguy about Nintendo 64 being "the best system" of them all.
"I never owned a N64 but I used to go to my cousin's house all the time and she had Super Mario 64, Pokemon Snap, and probably a handful of other things," she said.
> Here's @aoc talking about how Nintendo 64 was the best system. She's on @twitch helping to raise money for trans kids. pic.twitter.com/cJIfUif1mv
> -- New Super Blood Wolf Moon Bros. U Deluxe (@GenePark) January 20, 2019
But of course, in an effort to raise awareness for Mermaids, the Congresswoman chatted about discrimination and economic hardship experienced by the trans community.
"It makes these issues much more acute in their crises than they usually are on average for other people," she said. "So it's important that we do talk about these issues in the economic frame, but not let go of the fact that that discrimination is a core reason for the economic hardship."
Needless to say, people were pretty psyched with the Congresswoman's cameo.
> Bloody hell @AOC is a genius. Supporting trans rights on a video game livestream is something that will hit bang on with young voters while her boomer critics won't even be able to understand what's happening, much less know how to criticise it. https://t.co/Spi0xkvjKU
> -- David Rayfield (@RaygunBrown) January 20, 2019
> aoc saying "donkey kong 64 is outside of my wheelhouse" is exactly how elected officials should engage with any sort of Hip New Thing they don't know about
> -- Colin Spacetwinks (@spacetwinks) January 20, 2019
> You know that Twitch gamer raising money for the trans charity @Mermaids_Gender? Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez just called in and is talking about the shutdown. AOC: "Trans rights are civil rights are human rights!" https://t.co/QTfFdst0eV pic.twitter.com/aAdoUlhAW1
> -- Gavia Baker-Whitelaw (@Hello_Tailor) January 20, 2019
Brewis said he won't stop playing or raising funds until he's finished the game, so this ain't over. To tune in, head to Twitch.
## WATCH: Cardi B speaks out on government shutdown
POSTED JANUARY 20, 2019 9:14 PM
|Open letter to Xi demands China release detained Canadians
A group of 143 former diplomats and scholars from 19 countries have penned an open letter to Xi Jinping, China’s president, demanding Beijing to “immediately release” two Canadians detained in China. Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Michael Spavor, a prominent consultant on North Korean business issues, have been held for six weeks in Beijing. In their respective roles, the two frequently met with Chinese officials, researchers and scholars, the letter noted. The “detentions send a message that this kind of constructive work is unwelcome and even risky in China,” the letter said. “That will lead to less dialogue and greater distrust, and undermine efforts to manage disagreements and identify common ground. Both China and the rest of the world will be worse off as a result.” The pair disappeared as tensions escalated between Canada and China after Meng Wanzhou, a top executive from Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, was arrested in December in Vancouver on a US extradition request related to Iran sanctions violations. Although Beijing has denied any link between the detentions and Ms Meng, 46, the two men were seized shortly after China threatened “serious consequences” over her case. Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou arrives at a parole office with a security guard in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018 Credit: Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press Last week, China handed down a death sentence to a Canadian citizen on drug trafficking charges in a rushed retrial that experts say is another example of Beijing acting in retaliation for Meng, and further efforts to pressure Ottawa in a diplomatic row that has now lasted weeks. A spate of British diplomats and politicians have signed the letter, including former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former Ambassador to China Sir Christopher Hum, and Member of Parliament Lord David Alton. Signatories also included Gareth Evans, the former foreign minister of Australia, two US deputy assistant secretaries of state, former ambassadors to China from Canada, the US, Australia, Germany, Sweden, and Mexico, and scholars Orville Schell of the Asia Society, Minxin Pei, a professor and expert on Chinese politics at Claremont McKenna College, and Bonnie Glaser, senior advisor for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a US think tank. Meng is currently under house arrest as her case remains pending. Kovrig and Spavor have been allowed a handful of consular visits in detention.
POSTED JANUARY 21, 2019 11:03 PM