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US House of Representatives pass pro-democracy bill on Hong Kong

The US House of Representatives has passed a pro-democracy bill on Hong Kong on Tuesday, prompting an angry reaction from China. The bill, sought by pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aims to defend civil rights in the semi-autonomous territory.

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The US House of Representatives has passed a pro-democracy bill on Hong Kong on Tuesday, prompting an angry reaction from China. The bill, sought by pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aims to defend civil rights in the semi-autonomous territory.

“Today we’re simply urging the Chinese president and the Hong Kong Chief Executive  to faithfully honour the government’s promises” that Hong Kong’s rights and autonomy would be protected, Republican Representative Chris Smith, prime sponsor of the bill, said on the floor of the House.

“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.

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, needs to be passed by the Senate, before it can become   law.

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. “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.

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 that governed Hong Kong’s 1997 transfer to China from British colonial rule.

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Iran couple, who danced on Tehran’s streets, sentenced to prison | WATCH

A young Iranian couple can be seen dancing alone in front of the Azadi Tower in Tehran in the video. They walk together while grinning. As he raises her into the air, her uncovered hair falls behind her.

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Iran couple dance

A young Iranian couple can be seen dancing alone in front of the Azadi Tower in Tehran in the video. They walk together while grinning. As he raises her into the air, her uncovered hair falls behind her.

Early in November—weeks after Mahsa Amini, 22, died at the hands of the police, igniting massive demonstrations in Iran—the video went viral on social media. These protests intensified in the months that followed as a result of the government’s mass arrests and death programme.

Watch the viral video here:

According to Mizan, a news outlet supervised by the country’s judiciary, the pair, Astiyazh Haghighi, 21, and Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, 22, have now each been given a five-year prison sentence on allegations such as colluding against national security and propaganda against the establishment.

The couple was detained on Nov 1 after they disregarded orders to stop their malicious behaviour online, according to the agency, which claimed they used their Instagram profiles to call for people to engage in the riots, a reference to the protests.

Each of the couple’s Instagram profiles has close to a million subscribers. Haghighi identifies herself a blogger on her Instagram page. Her photographs depict a young woman who is enthusiastic about both her romance and fashion. She presents herself in baggy attire. Her bleach-blond hair is occasionally portrayed partially covered by a hood, hat, or bandanna.

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According to Skylar Thompson, who oversees campaigning for Human Rights Activists in Iran, the judgement was rendered by Abolghassem Salavati, a Revolutionary Court judge known for handing out severe punishments. According to her, Haghighi was being imprisoned at Qarchak, a notorious and remote facility for incarcerating women southeast of the capital. According to her, Ahmadi was held at the Evin prison.

Thompson stated it another illustration of how devastating a system lacking complete due process can be — and has been for many years, adding that their arrests were the latest evidence of Iran’s ill-functioning court.

According to the assessment of the organisation, 763 Iranians who took part in the protests have already faced trials and been found guilty.

The video, which was posted at the height of the protests, touched a nerve with Iranians and received a lot of attention on social media. The Iranian police, who were attempting to put an end to the demonstrations, took notice of it as well. The video was eventually removed, but other social media users have already uploaded it.

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FBI searches US President Joe Biden’s Delaware beach house, no classified documents found

The Federal Bureau of Investigation did not find any classified documents at US Joe Biden’s Delaware beach house, his attorney Bob Bauer said on Wednesday.

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US President Joe Biden

The Federal Bureau of Investigation did not find any classified documents at US Joe Biden’s Delaware beach house, his attorney Bob Bauer said on Wednesday. However, the agents did take some materials and handwritten notes relating to his time as vice president during the Obama administration for “further review.”

The US law enforcement conducted a search of Biden’s Rehoboth beach house in Delaware to hunt for improperly stored classified documents. The president’s lawyer said that search was done with Biden’s “full support and cooperation”.

The search followed after some classified documents were found Biden’s home in Wilmington and a former office space in Washington, DC.

The controversy has been played up by Republican-backed outlets as the incumbent president prepares to face a tough challenge from potential GOP- nominee and former president Donald Trump in the 2024 elections.

A Department of Justice (DoJ) appointed special counsel has been assigned to run an independent investigation, similar to another special counsel overseeing the probe of Trump’s stash of classified documents discovered at his home in Florida.

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The White House has watered down the discovery of classified documents as Biden’s “accidental mistakes” in storing the decade old documents from his time as vice president under the Obama administration.

However, unlike Trump, who allegedly resisted handing over the classified documents after leaving the White House in 2021, Biden claims he has cooperated with the authorities ever since classified documents turned up from his former office in Washington DC.

More documents were discovered by the FBI from Biden’s private home in n Wilmington, the Delaware house, less often used by the Bidens, is now the third of the President’s properties searched by the LEA.

Biden’s attorney in a statement claimed that the DoJ launched the Delaware search without “advance public notice” but Biden cooperated.

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Indian-American Republican Nikki Haley poised to launch 2024 US Presidential bid

Two-time South Carolina Governor and former US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley is poised to launch her Presidential bid for 2024 US elections on February 15

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Indian-American Republican Nikki Haley

Two-time South Carolina Governor and former US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley is poised to launch her Presidential bid for 2024 US elections on February 15. Haley, 51, will become the first Republic Party leader to challenge former US president Donald Trump who is seeking the party’s nomination for 2024 polls.

According to a report by the Post and Courier, Haley is soon sending out an invite to her backers in which she has advertised a “special announcement” on February 15 at The Shed at the Charleston Visitor Center, a downtown gathering spot that could draw hundreds of supporters into the heart of the city’s tourism district.

When she enters the race, Haley will be the first contender to join the contest against her former boss, who is currently the sole Republican seeking his party’s 2024 nomination.

According to the South Carolina-based daily, the confirmation of Haley entering the Presidential race came on January 31 from a member of her inner circle. Previously, Haley had famously said would not run against Trump if her former boss decided to run again. However, she has shifted her stance recently citing the need for the US to look toward a different path.

According to the Washington Post, Haley could release a video signalling her plan for a White House bid as soon as this week. Trump, 76, announced his run last year.

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In a recent tweet, Haley said it’s time for a new generation and a new leadership; “and its time to take our country back. America is worth the fight — and we’re just getting started.”

Haley told Fox News last month that the US needs a new leader who can take the country in a new direction.

In the Fox News interview, Haley emphasized that Democrat President Joe Biden, 80, should not be given a second term. When asked if she believes she is up for the job, Haley confidently answered that the current situation in the US demands a new leader and she can be that person who takes America in a new direction.

The next US presidential election is scheduled to be held on November 5, 2024.

Nikki Haley, an Indian-American, was born Nimrata Randhawa to Ajit Singh Randhawa and mother Raj Kaur Randhawa, who had emigrated from Punjab to Canada and then to the US in the 1960s. Her father was a professor at the Punjab Agricultural University, and her mother received a law degree from the Delhi University.

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