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Hong Kong police shoot protester as activists block streets

HK police shoot protester

Police in Hong Kong shot a protester as demonstrators blocked subway lines and roads during the Monday morning commute.

Online video showed a police officer collaring one protester and then shooting another who approaches. The officer fired again as a third protester approached. Police said that only one protester was hit and is undergoing surgery.

The video was posted on Facebook by Cupid Producer, an outlet that started last year and appears to post mostly live videos related to local news.

The shooting occurred in a crosswalk at a large intersection strewn with debris that had backed-up traffic in Sai Wan Ho, a neighbourhood on the eastern part of Hong Kong Island.

Protesters blocked intersections around the city. Public broadcaster RTHK said that a fire was set inside a train at Kwai Fong station and service suspended at several stations.

A patch of what looked like dried blood could be seen in a cordoned-off area after the shooting, as angry onlookers shouted insults at the police.

Masked protesters continued to try to block other intersections in the area, and police responded with pepper spray, hitting some bystanders as well.

On Sunday, police fired tear gas and protesters broke windows at a shopping mall in anti-government demonstrations across Hong Kong amid anger over a student activist's death and the arrest of pro-democracy lawmakers.

Hong Kong is in the sixth month of protests that began over a proposed extradition law and have expanded to include demands for greater democracy and police accountability. Activists say Hong Kong's autonomy and Western-style civil liberties, promised when the former British colony was returned to China in 1997, are eroding.

The territory is preparing for Nov. 24 district council elections that are viewed as a measure of public sentiment toward the government.

Pro-democracy lawmakers accuse the government of trying to provoke violence to justify cancelling or postponing the elections.



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Researchers say coffee drinkers could halve risk of liver cancer

Coffee halves risk of cancer

A new study shows that coffee drinkers are 50 per cent less likely to develop the most common type of liver cancer - hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). 

Queen's University Belfast researchers studied the coffee-drinking habits of 471,779 participants in the United Kingdom over seven and a half years, making it one of the largest studies in the world. 

Over three quarters of the participants were coffee-drinkers. When compared to those who don't drink coffee, they were more likely to be previous or current smokers, consume higher levels of alcohol and have high cholesterol.

However, coffee-drinkers were less likely to suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes, cirrhosis, gallstones, and peptic ulcers, compared with non-coffee drinkers.

Taking all of this into account, researchers concluded that coffee drinkers were 50 per cent less likely to develop HCC compared with people who do not drink coffee.

They found the risk of developing HCC was just as low in participants who consumed mostly instant coffee.

Lead author Kim Tu Tran says the results suggest people should keep up coffee drinking, but keep in mind that other lifestyle choices strongly affect the risk of developing liver cancer.

“People with a coffee-drinking habit could find keeping that habit going is good for their health.  That is because coffee contains antioxidants and caffeine, which may protect against cancer. However, drinking coffee is not as protective against liver cancer as stopping smoking, cutting down on alcohol or losing weight.”

The research team also investigated other digestive cancers including bowel and stomach, but did not find any correlation between the cancer and consumption of coffee. 



Man axes home intruder

Man axes home intruder

OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP, Mich. - A Michigan man whose hobbies include ritualized combat with replica weapons from the Middle Ages says he wielded a battle axe he calls "my baby" to fend off an intruder.

Thirty-six-year-old Ben Ball says he was playing video games at his apartment in Oshtemo Township, about 200 kilometres west of Detroit, late Wednesday when someone who once dated his ex-roommate kicked in his door. He believed the attacker might be armed.

Ball tells the station he grabbed the axe, took two steps forward and struck the intruder in the torso. After the two grappled, the attacker fled. Police deployed a K-9 unit to track a trail of blood leading to 33-year-old Alex Lavell Rawls.

Kalamazoo County officials say Rawls spent the night at hospital before going to jail.



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Hindus rejoice, Muslims deplore India court ruling on temple

Hindus, Muslims clash

India's Supreme Court ruled in favour of a Hindu temple on a disputed religious ground in the country's north and ordered that alternative land be given to Muslims to build a mosque - a verdict in a highly contentious case that was immediately deplored by a key Muslim body.

The dispute over land ownership has been one of India's most heated issues, with Hindu nationalists demanding a temple on the site in the town of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh state for more than a century. The 16th century Babri Masjid mosque was destroyed by Hindu hard-liners in December 1992, sparking massive Hindu-Muslim violence that left some 2,000 people dead.

Saturday's verdict paves the way for building the temple in place of the demolished mosque.

It is expected to give a boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, which has been promising the majority Hindus a temple of their most revered god Ram in Ayodhya as part of its election strategy for decades. The minority Muslims fear that the court verdict will embolden Hindu hard-liners in the country.

As the news broke, groups of jubilant Hindus poured into Ayodhya's streets and distributed sweets to celebrate the verdict, but police soon persuaded them to return to their homes. As night fell, a large number of Hindus in the town lit candles, lamps and firecrackers to celebrate, and police faced a tougher time in curbing their enthusiasm.

The five Supreme Court justices who heard the case said in a unanimous judgment that 5 acres (2 hectares) of land will be allotted to the Muslim community to build a mosque, though it did not specify where. The court said the 5 acres is "restitution for the unlawful destruction of the mosque."

The disputed land, meanwhile, will be given to a board of trustees for the construction of a temple to the Hindu god Ram.

Hindu hard-liners have said they want to build a new temple to Ram on the site, which they revere as his birthplace. They say the mosque was built after a temple dedicated to Ram was destroyed by Muslim invaders.

Zafaryab Jilani, a representative of the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board, a key Muslim body in the state and a party to the dispute, opposed the ruling.

"We are not satisfied with the verdict and it's not up to our expectation," he said. "These 5 acres of land don't mean anything to us. We are examining the verdict and whatever legal course is open for us."

Jilani hinted at filing a review petition in the Supreme Court challenging the verdict. At the same time, he appealed to members of all communities to maintain peace.

The judges said that the demolition of the mosque in 1992 was "in violation of the status quo orders of this court." But they didn't order any punitive action against those who demolished the mosque in the presence of several top leaders of Modi's BJP.

The judges said Hindus' belief that Ram was born at the site "is undisputed," and that the Sunni Central Waqf Board had not provided evidence that the Muslims were in exclusive possession of the disputed site.

"It was a huge legal battle and we are happy that we convinced the Supreme Court. It's a historic moment for Hindus," said Vishnu Shankar Jain, an attorney who represented the Hindu community in the case.

Modi hailed the decision and said it had settled a long-standing matter.

"Every point of view was given adequate time and opportunity to express differing points of view. This verdict will further increase people's faith in judicial processes," he tweeted.

He also in a broadcast over television channels and radio urged "all citizens to come together to build a new India and work for everyone's development."

The main opposition Congress party also welcomed the court verdict and appealed all parties to maintain peace and harmony.

In Islamabad, Pakistan's foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, said that the ruling was indicative of the "hate based mindset" of Modi's government.

After the demolition of the mosque, Hindus and Muslims took the issue to a lower court, which in 2010 ruled that the disputed land should be divided into three parts - two for Hindus and one for Muslims.

That was challenged in the Supreme Court by both communities.

The five judges started daily proceedings in August after mediation failed to find a compromise.

Modi had promised to build the temple during 2014 elections that brought him to power. But he later decided to wait for the court verdict despite pressure from millions of Hindu hard-liners who asked his government to bring legislation to build the temple.

Authorities on Saturday increased security in Ayodhya, which is located 550 kilometres (350 miles) east of New Delhi, and deployed more than 5,000 paramilitary forces to prevent attacks by Hindu activists on Muslims, who comprise 6% of the town's more than 55,500 people.

Overall, Hindus comprise more than 80% and Muslims around 14% of India's 1.3 billion people.

The town looked deserted on Saturday, with authorities turning back thousands of Hindu pilgrims who were congregating for a religious event scheduled for Tuesday.

Police have arrested about 500 people for posting provocative messages on social media in Uttar Pradesh. Police also have detained around 5,000 people with criminal backgrounds across the state to prevent them from creating trouble after the court verdict, according to Uttar Pradesh government spokesman Awanish Awasthi.

Authorities have stopped the entry of people into the state through the land border from Nepal, and ordered all of the state's schools and colleges to remain closed until Monday.



Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers charged, student mourned

Hong Kong people, revenge

Police in Hong Kong said Saturday they have arrested and charged six pro-democracy lawmakers, a move that could escalate public fury a day after the death of a university student linked to months of anti-government protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

Protesters vented their anger over Chow Tsz-Lok's death and vowed not to give up their resistance at a police-approved prayer rally Saturday night, with frequent chants of "Hong Kong people, revenge" and "Free Hong Kong."

The 22-year-old died Friday, succumbing to injuries four days after falling from a parking garage when police fired tear gas during clashes with protesters. Although the circumstances of his death are unclear, many blame police who have been accused of heavy-handed tactics since the unrest began in June, including widespread use of tear gas and pepper spray.

Police said they arrested six lawmakers and charged them Saturday with obstructing the local assembly during a raucous May 11 meeting over a now-shelved China extradition bill that sparked the five months of protests calling for democratic reforms. All were freed on bail.

A seventh lawmaker received a summons but failed to turn up at a police station to face arrest, a police spokesman said.

Pro-democracy lawmakers slammed the government clampdown as a calculated move after Chow's death to provoke more violence as an excuse to postpone or cancel Nov. 24 district elections — polls viewed as a barometer of public sentiment amid the unrest.

"We'll say no to their plans," lawmaker Tanya Chan told a news conference. "It is a de facto referendum for all Hong Kong voters to cast their vote and say no to police brutality and say no to our unjust system."

She said the district elections will also send a crucial message to Beijing, accused by protesters of interfering in Hong Kong's freedoms and rights promised when the former British colony returned to Chinese control in 1997.

Hong Kong's constitutional and mainland affairs secretary, Patrick Nip, said police made the arrests based on their investigation and that they had nothing to do with the upcoming elections.

Violence erupted late Friday when protesters took to the streets following memorial events in multiple locations to mark Chow's death.

On Saturday night, thousands gathered at a Christian memorial service for Chow, singing hymns and laying white flowers and paper cranes at a makeshift stage in a downtown park.

It wasn't clear what Chow was doing at the garage early Monday as mobs clashed with police in the streets below. Police have repeatedly denied that officers pushed him down and had delayed emergency services that delayed treatment.

A friend of Chow told a citizens' press conference earlier Saturday that he had joined every protest since June.

"We, friends, were doing what we could on the streets. We were frustrated with the tyranny of this government," said the friend, who wore a mask and didn't identify himself.

At the evening prayer rally, various speakers, including hard-line protesters, took to the stage to call for justice for Chow and vowed never to surrender.

"Hong Kong people can be struck down but never defeated," said a masked protester. Another protester urged citizens to show their anger by going out early to vote in the district council elections.

Prominent activist Joshua Wong, who has been barred from running in this month's polls, said the city can emerge from the chaos if protesters unite and fight on despite the tough road ahead.

Shortly after the event ended, police issued warnings to dozens of protesters gathered outside the office of Hong Kong's embattled leader adjacent to the park. Some protesters pointed laser beams at the Chinese garrison building nearby and heckled police, but they later dispersed.

There have been only a few fatalities during the unrest, including some reported deaths by suicide and a man who fell to his death while hanging pro-democracy banners on a building.

More than 3,300 people have been arrested since the start of the protest movement, which has expanded to include calls for direct elections for the city's leaders and other demands.



Police have found the body of missing Clark Atlanta University student

Missing student found dead

A missing Clark Atlanta University student has been found dead, authorities said Friday.

The body of Alexis Crawford, 21, was found at a park in DeKalb County, Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said at a news conference.

Investigators are securing arrest warrants for Crawford's friend and roommate, 21-year-old Jordyn Jones, and Jones' boyfriend, 21-year-old Barron Brantley, Sheilds said. One of the suspects led investigators to where Crawford's body was found, she told reporters.

Shields said a motive has not been clearly established but she noted that Crawford filed a police report on Oct. 27 describing "unwanted kissing and touching" by Brantley.

Crawford last spoke to her family on Oct. 30. She was reported missing Nov. 1.

"The case has come to one of the saddest conclusions possible and has been absolutely heartbreaking," Shields said. "To Alexis' family, our hearts go out to you. I am so truly sorry that we could not provide you with a better ending."

No details were released on a possible cause of death.

In a letter to the Clark Atlanta community, university President George French called Crawford's death "the worst possible news."

"Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with her family and with everyone who knew and loved Alexis," French said in the letter, posted on social media.

Grief counsellors will be made available, French said.



Residents say wild turkeys are attacking community

Attack of the wild turkeys

Some New Jersey residents have been getting an early Thanksgiving surprise.

A gaggle of 40 to 60 wild turkeys have been aggressively terrorizing residents in a 55-and-up community in Ocean County daily.

Holiday City residents say the turkeys are blocking doorways, pecking at cars and behaving aggressively when they are shooed away.

The wild turkeys can sometimes weigh between 16 and 24 pounds and run up to 20 miles per hour.

The township has received dozens of complaints but says its animal control is powerless in capturing or stopping the birds since they are not licensed to trap wildlife.

A spokesman for the state's Department of Environmental Protection says the agency is aware of the issue but does not have further comment.



Hundreds of thousands evacuated ahead of Bangladesh cyclone

Cyclone forces mass evacs

With a strong cyclone approaching Bangladesh on Saturday, authorities used more than 50,000 volunteers and officials to evacuate hundreds of thousands of people to shelters across the low-lying delta nation's vast coastal region.

More than 300,000 people had already moved to safer places and up to 1.8 million were expected to be evacuated by the evening, said Enamur Rahman, Bangladesh's junior disaster management minister.

Cyclone Bulbul was moving over the Bay of Bengal and was expected to hit the country's southern coast at around midnight. More than 5,000 shelters had been prepared by Saturday morning.

Ayesha Khatun, a deputy director of the Meteorological Department, said in the evening that the impact of the cyclone was already being felt, with rain starting to fall in the region.

The weather office in Dhaka, the capital, issued the most severe storm signal for Bulbul, which was packing maximum sustained winds of 74 km/h and gusts of up to 150 km/h.

It said the southwestern Khulna region could be the worst hit. The region has the world's largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans, which straddles the Bangladesh-India border.

The weather office said coastal districts were likely to be inundated by storm surges of 1 1/2-2 metres above normal tide because of the impact of the cyclone.

Several ships from Bangladesh's navy and coast guard were kept ready in parts of the region for an emergency response, said the domestic TV station Independent.

The storm is also expected to impact parts of northeastern India, where precautions were also being taken.

According to U.S.-based AccuWeather Inc., Bulbul strengthened from a deep depression into a tropical cyclone on Thursday morning, and by Friday afternoon had strengthened into a severe cyclone.

With winds around 130-140 km/h, Bulbul was the equivalent of a Category 1 or 2 hurricane in the Atlantic.



Rockets hit Iraq base with US troops; no word on casualties

Rockets hit US base in Iraq

A barrage of Katyusha rockets targeted an Iraqi air base that houses American troops south of the city of Mosul on Friday, two security officials said. There was no immediate word of casualties from the attack.

The rocket fire appears to have originated in Mosul and struck the Iraqi army base in Qayyara, about 60 kilometres south of Mosul, where a U.S.-led coalition is helping Iraqi forces battle remnants of the Islamic State group.

The Iraqi officials who spoke to The Associated Press did so on condition of anonymity under regulations.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility nor was it clear if any of the rockets struck the base.

Iraq announced victory over IS two years ago, but the extremist group is still active through sleeper cells and frequently mount attacks on Iraqi security forces.

Some hard-line Iraqi militias loyal to Iran have recently threatened to carry out attacks against Americans in the country. The U.S. maintains about 5,000 troops in Iraq.

American forces withdrew from Iraq in 2011 but returned in 2014 at the invitation of the government to help battle IS after it seized vast areas in the north and west of the country, including Iraq's second largest city, Mosul. A U.S.-led coalition provided crucial air support as Iraqi forces regrouped and drove IS out in a costly three-year campaign.

The attack on Friday came as large parts of Iraq, including the capital of Baghdad and Shiite-majority southern provinces, are engulfed in anti-government protests. Rockets have been fired near the U.S. Embassy in the heavily fortified Green Zone in the Iraqi capital on several occasions recently.

Mosul, which was largely destroyed during the war against the Islamic State group, lies north of Baghdad and has not seen any anti-government protests.



10 hospitalized from Oklahoma facility after flu shot mix-up

Insulin flu shot mix-up

Ten people at an Oklahoma care facility for people with intellectual disabilities were hospitalized after they were apparently accidentally injected with what's believed to be insulin rather than flu shots, authorities said.

Emergency responders were called Wednesday afternoon to the Jacquelyn House in Bartlesville on a report of an unresponsive person and found "multiple unresponsive people," Bartlesville Police Chief Tracy Roles said.

The facility had contracted with an experienced pharmacist to administer the influenza vaccine, Roles said, but all received injections of what's believed to be insulin instead. Roles said the pharmacist is co-operating with police but that investigators believe it was an accident.

The eight residents and two staff members were taken to a Bartlesville hospital, and officials said that all have either been released or will be soon.

"I've never seen where there's been some sort of medical misadventure to this magnitude," Roles said. "It could have been worse. Not to downplay where we are, but thinking of where we could be, it certainly could have been very tragic."

A similar mishap occurred in September in Indianapolis, when 16 students were mistakenly injected with insulin during a tuberculosis skin test.

Insulin is typically administered to someone with diabetes, a disease in which blood sugar levels are too high. The side effects of a too high injection of insulin includes sweating, nervousness, hunger and irritability, according to the Mayo Clinic.



UK police identify truck victims; 10 teenagers among 39 dead

Police identify truck victims

Ten teenagers were among the 39 Vietnamese found dead in a truck container in southeast England last month, local police said Friday while relaying for the first time details of those who died.

The scope of the tragedy became clear as police released the names and ages of those who died in one of Britain's worst incidents of people smuggling.

Two of the dead were only 15, while the oldest was 44. 

Police suggested they waited until the entire identification process was complete before releasing details of those who died.

"Our priority has been to identify the victims, to preserve the dignity of those who have died and to support the victims' friends and families," said Assistant Chief Constable Tim Smith.

"It remained of paramount importance to us to ensure that an individual's next of kin were informed, and that they were given some time to absorb this tragic news before we publicly confirmed their loved one's identity."

The authorities worked with Vietnamese police and the coroner to identify the bodies found Oct. 23 in the back of a truck in an industrial park in the English town of Grays.

Police said last week that all of the victims were Vietnamese citizens. DNA samples were taken from families in Vietnam who suspected their missing relatives had been on that truck.

Some of the names had emerged in news reports before, among them Pham Thi Tra My, a 26-year-old woman whose heartbreaking final text message to her mother vividly brought home the scale of the tragedy. Her family had been unable to contact her since the text arrived saying she was suffocating.

"I'm so sorry mom and dad.... My journey abroad doesn't succeed," she wrote. "Mom, I love you and dad very much. I'm dying because I can't breathe .... Mom, I'm so sorry."

The 31 men and eight women are believed to have paid people traffickers for their clandestine transit into England. British police have charged 25-year-old Maurice Robinson, from Northern Ireland, with 39 counts of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people. They say he drove the cab of the truck to Purfleet, England, where it picked up the container, which had arrived by ferry from Zeebrugge in Belgium.

In Ireland, 22-year-old Eamonn Harrison was arrested on a British warrant. Essex Police in Britain said they had started extradition proceedings to bring him to the U.K. to face charges of manslaughter. Several others have been arrested in Vietnam.



Bloomberg opens door to 2020 Democratic run for president

Bloomberg 2020 bid?

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City, is opening the door to a 2020 Democratic presidential campaign, warning that the current field of candidates is ill equipped to defeat President Donald Trump.

Bloomberg, who initially ruled out a 2020 run, has not made a final decision on whether to jump into the race. If he were to launch a campaign, it could dramatically reshape the Democratic contest less than three months before primary voting begins.

The 77-year-old has spent the past few weeks talking with prominent Democrats about the state of the 2020 field, expressing concerns about the steadiness of former Vice-President Joe Biden's campaign and the rise of liberal Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, according to people with knowledge of those discussions. In recent days, he took steps to keep his options open, including moving to get on the primary ballot in Alabama ahead of the state's Friday filing deadline.

In a statement on Thursday, Bloomberg adviser Howard Wolfson said the former mayor believes Trump "represents an unprecedented threat to our nation" and must be defeated.

"But Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that," Wolfson said.

Bloomberg's moves come as the Democratic race enters a crucial phase. Biden's front-runner status has been vigorously challenged by Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who are flush with cash from small-dollar donors. But both are viewed by some Democrats as too liberal to win in a general election faceoff with Trump.

Despite a historically large field, some Democrats anxious about defeating Trump have been looking for other options. Former Attorney General Eric Holder and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick have quietly had conversations with supporters urging them to consider a run, but neither appears likely to get in the race.

Bloomberg, a Republican-turned-independent who registered as a Democrat last year, has flirted with a presidential run before but ultimately backed down, including in 2016. He endorsed Hillary Clinton in that race and, in a speech at the Democratic Party convention, pummeled Trump as a con who has oversold his business successes.

Bloomberg plunged his efforts — and his money — into gun control advocacy and climate change initiatives. He again looked seriously at a presidential bid earlier this year, travelling to early voting states and conducting extensive polling, but decided not to run in part because of Biden's perceived strength.

Biden did not address Bloomberg's potential candidacy at a fundraiser Thursday night in Boston.

With immense personal wealth, Bloomberg could quickly build out a robust campaign operation across the country. Still, his advisers acknowledge that his late entry to the race could make competing in states like Iowa and New Hampshire, which have been blanketed by candidates for nearly a year, difficult. Instead, they previewed a strategy that would focus more heavily on the March 3 "Super Tuesday" contests, including in delegate-rich California.



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