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EU changes title for migration commissioner after outcry

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Belarus leader visits Austria, seeking closer EU ties

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EU warns of low growth with debt on the rise

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Hong Kong bars democracy activist Joshua Wong from local election

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Former Catalan leader to fight Belgian extradition

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Saudi hosts 'Davos in desert' as outrage fades over critic's murder

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Jailed Uighur Tohti wins European Parliament Sakharov rights award

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Latest News

EU changes title for migration commissioner after outcry

EU changes title for migration commissioner after outcry EU changes title for migration commissioner after outcry
  The incoming European Commission chief has changed the title of her migration commissioner from "Protecting our European Way of Life"...
Read More...

Belarus leader visits Austria, seeking closer EU ties

Belarus leader visits Austria, seeking closer EU ties Belarus leader visits Austria, seeking closer EU ties
Belarus's isolated leader Alexander Lukashenko on Tuesday visits Austria, marking his first trip to an EU member in more than three years as...
Read More...

Romania vote set to give boost to region's liberals

Romania vote set to give boost to region's liberals Romania vote set to give boost to region's liberals
Romania's pro-European President Klaus Iohannis is the favourite to win the first round of the country's election Sunday, potentially adding...
Read More...

EU warns of low growth with debt on the rise

EU warns of low growth with debt on the rise EU warns of low growth with debt on the rise
The EU slashed its already low growth forecast for the eurozone on Thursday (Nov 7), intensifying pressure on Germany and other rich countries...
Read More...

Romania parliament gives green light to minority liberal govt

Romania parliament gives green light to minority liberal govt Romania parliament gives green light to minority liberal govt
Romania's pro-European liberals on Monday succeeded in getting parliamentary approval to form the next government, ending months of political...
Read More...

Hong Kong bars democracy activist Joshua Wong from local election

Hong Kong bars democracy activist Joshua Wong from local election Hong Kong bars democracy activist Joshua Wong from local election
Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong was barred Tuesday from standing in upcoming local elections after months of huge and frequently violent...
Read More...

Former Catalan leader to fight Belgian extradition

Former Catalan leader to fight Belgian extradition Former Catalan leader to fight Belgian extradition
Lawyers for former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont vowed Tuesday to fight Spain's efforts to extradite him from Belgium on charges of sedition...
Read More...

Saudi hosts 'Davos in desert' as outrage fades over critic's murder

Saudi hosts 'Davos in desert' as outrage fades over critic's murder Saudi hosts 'Davos in desert' as outrage fades over critic's murder
Dozens of global policymakers and tycoons will attend a Saudi investment summit starting Tuesday, helping the kingdom turn the page on a critic's...
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Jailed Uighur Tohti wins European Parliament Sakharov rights award

Jailed Uighur Tohti wins European Parliament Sakharov rights award Jailed Uighur Tohti wins European Parliament Sakharov rights award
The European Parliament on Thursday awarded the Sakharov Prize for human rights to Uighur intellectual Ilham Tohti, who has been sentenced...
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EU fires budget warning shots to Italy, France

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The US House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday sought by pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong that aims to defend civil rights in the semi-autonomous

territory, prompting an angry response from China.

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which will now move to the Senate before it can become law, has drawn rare bipartisan support in a polarized Congress.

The law would end the Hong Kong-US special trading status unless the State Department certifies annually that city authorities are respecting human rights and the rule of law.

China expressed "strong indignation" over the passing of the act, which also requires the US president to identify and sanction people who are responsible for the erosion of autonomy and serious abuses of human rights in Hong Kong.

"What Hong Kong faces is not the so-called human rights and democracy issue at all, but the issue of stopping violence, reinstating order and upholding the rule of law as soon as possible," said foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang in a statement.

Geng said the US should "stop meddling" and warned China would take "strong measures" to counter the proposed Hong Kong bill.

The act will now move to a similar vote in the Senate before it can become law.

"Today we're simply urging the Chinese president and the Hong Kong Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, to faithfully honor the government's promises" that Hong Kong's rights and autonomy would be protected, Republican Representative Chris Smith, prime sponsor of the bill, said Tuesday on the House floor.

- 'External forces' -

China has frequently accused "external forces" of fuelling weeks of unrest in the global financial hub.

Millions have taken to the streets of Hong Kong, initially against a now-dropped bid by its leaders to allow extraditions to the authoritarian Chinese mainland.

The months-long movement has expanded into a broader pro-democracy push in the territory where activists say freedoms are being eroded by Beijing, despite being written into a deal the deal that governed Hong Kong's 1997 transfer to China from British colonial rule.

"The House just sent a strong message to the people of Hong Kong: We stand with you in the fight for democracy and justice," said Ben Ray Lujan, a House Democrat.

Republican House member Mario Diaz-Balart said the Act ensures "that the special relationship with Hong Kong endures only as long as Hong Kong retains the autonomy and freedoms that justify that special relationship."

The House also approved, by a similar voice vote, a related bill to prohibit the export of certain non-lethal crowd control items such as tear gas to Hong Kong.

Amnesty International has accused the city's officers of using excessive force, although the police say they have exercised restraint.

A separate house resolution called on the Hong Kong government to begin negotiations to address the demonstrators' demands, which include universal suffrage and an independent probe into police conduct.

Prominent Hong Kong activists testified before a congressional hearing last month in support of the legislation approved by the House on Tuesday.afp

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