UPDATE 1-Iran launches nuclear enrichment at underground Fordow plant, IAEA confirms

Iran has begun enriching uranium at its underground Fordow site in the latest breach of its deal with major powers, the U.N. nuclear watchdog confirmed on Monday, adding that Tehran’s enriched uranium stock has continued to grow. Iran is contravening the deal’s limits on its nuclear activities step by step in response to Washington’s withdrawal from the accord last year and its renewed sanctions on Tehran. Tehran says it can quickly undo those breaches if Washington lifts its sanctions.

Mexico asks FBI to help probe killing of Americans

Mexico on Sunday invited the FBI to participate in the investigation of an attack in its north that killed nine dual citizens of the United States and Mexico. The Foreign Ministry said it made the invitation through a diplomatic note to the U.S. embassy in Mexico. On Monday, gunmen killed three women and six children from a breakaway Mormon community in northern Mexico, prompting U.S. President Donald Trump to offer President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador help in wiping out drug gangs he blamed for the ambush.

Shock in Russia as Napoleon expert confesses to chopping up lover

A prominent Saint Petersburg-based Napoleon expert has confessed to murdering his young lover and former student and dismembering her body in a grisly crime that sent shock waves across Russia. Oleg Sokolov, a 63-year-old history lecturer who received France’s Legion d’Honneur from Jacques Chirac in 2003, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of murder after he was hauled out of the icy Moika River with a backpack containing a woman’s arms. Sokolov was reportedly drunk and fell into the Moika, a tributary of the Neva, in central Saint Petersburg as he tried to dispose of body parts near the offices of investigators.

Gambia takes Myanmar to top UN court over Rohingya campaign

Gambia filed the case on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Gambia’s justice minister and attorney general, Abubacarr Marie Tambadou, told The Associated Press he wanted to “send a clear message to Myanmar and to the rest of the international community that the world must not stand by and do nothing in the face of terrible atrocities that are occurring around us. Myanmar’s military began a harsh counterinsurgency campaign against the Rohingya in August 2017 in response to an insurgent attack.

Hong Kong Violence Escalates With Bullets, Tear Gas, Man on Fire

(Bloomberg) — Hong Kong saw one of its most violent days since protests began in June, with clashes involving police and protesters leaving downtown paralyzed, transportation networks hobbled and two men clinging to life.The chaos started early on Monday when demonstrators, still angry after the first protest-related death on Friday, moved to disrupt the morning commute. A scuffle ensued outside a subway station in which a police officer shot a protester at point blank, all of which was caught on a video that went viral within moments. He’s currently in intensive care.The shooting spawned calls for a flash mob at noon in Central, where protesters blocked roads in one of Hong Kong’s premier shopping districts. Police fired tear gas to clear them, leading to chaotic scenes of office workers ducking into luxury malls to wash out their eyes with water.Around the same time, video emerged of a man doused with petrol and lit on fire. Hu Xijin, an editor with China’s state-run Global Times newspaper, said the victim had “openly disagreed with radical protesters” at the time of the attack. He’s currently in critical condition, according to hospital authorities, who said almost 50 people were injured.The shocking videos raised fears that things could get even worse, as the pro-democracy protests show no signs of letting up after five months of increasingly violent demonstrations opposing Beijing’s grip over the city. Hong Kong stocks on Monday saw their biggest loss in about three months, banks set people home early and the Hong Kong Jockey Club closed all off-course betting branches, underscoring fears about an economy already in recession.“We’re afraid that the escalation is really on both sides, but more so on the police side,” said Fernando Cheung, a pro-democracy lawmaker who has mediated between police and protesters during the city’s unrest. “It will become more chaotic and more violent — that seems to be inevitable.”Hong Kong’s government urged in a statement Monday afternoon for protesters to remain “calm and rational.” Chief Executive Carrie Lam, whose move to introduce legislation allowing extraditions to the mainland initially sparked the protests, on Monday called it “wishful thinking” that violence would prompt her to make any concessions such as an independent inquiry into police violence or for the ability to pick and choose their own leaders.“I’m making this statement clear and loud here — that will not happen,” she said in an address, flanked by members of her cabinet. “Violence is not going to give us any solution to the problems that Hong Kong is facing. Our joint priority now as a city is to end the violence and to return Hong Kong to normal as soon as possible.”The police defended the officer who fired his weapon, while suspending another who deliberately rode his motorcycle into a group of demonstrators. Police dismissed as “totally false and malicious” online rumors that they had ordered officers to use their firearms “at will.”The reinvigorated violence followed a weekend of demonstrations that resulted in almost 90 arrests. Demonstrators angered over the death Friday of a student who was injured earlier near a recent clash between police and protesters vandalized shops and train stations while throwing Molotov cocktails at a police station, blocking roads, hurling objects at police.“Police reiterate that no violent behavior will be tolerated,” the police said in a statement. “Police will continue to take resolute enforcement action so as to safeguard the city’s public safety and bring all lawbreakers to justice.”The student who died Friday suffered a brain injury after falling from a parking garage near a demonstration where police used tear gas to disperse a crowd. Hong Kong police officials denied reports that officers had chased and pushed the student. A memorial drew tens of thousands of people.Over the weekend, China reiterated that it would ensure only people loyal to it will become Hong Kong’s chief executive. The majority of representatives in Hong Kong’s cabinet, judiciary and legislative bodies should also support the central government, Zhang Xiaoming, China’s top official overseeing Hong Kong affairs, said in a post on the agency’s website.The inability to implement Article 23 — the section of Hong Kong’s Basic Law requiring legislation prohibiting treason and subversion against the Chinese government — and its failure to set up units to follow through were the main reasons separatist movements are on the rise, Zhang said. In 2003, the Hong Kong government halted implementation after protests drew hundreds of thousands of people.Anger over police tactics in the latest protests that have injured demonstrators has been a major focus of recent rallies. Hong Kong’s police watchdog has neither the authority nor the resources to effectively investigate the ongoing protests in the city, according to the Independent Expert Panel brought in to advise it.The panel saw “a shortfall” in the powers of the Independent Police Complaints Council, according to a statement posted on the Twitter account of panel member Clifford Stott, a dean for research at Keele University in England. In July, Chief Executive Carrie Lam tasked the IPCC with conducting a fact-finding study into the unrest after growing public concern about police behavior and tactics.The five experts of the panel were announced in September by the IPCC to advise the council as the rift between the government and protesters widened, with activists including the establishment of an independent inquiry into police conduct as one of their five demands.“There’s a requirement for the IPCC to have increased capacity if it’s going to address the scale of events in question,” Stott said by phone. “We’re calling for that as a matter of urgency.”–With assistance from Fion Li, Aaron Mc Nicholas and Stephen Tan.To contact the reporters on this story: Natalie Lung in Hong Kong at flung6@bloomberg.net;Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Republicans demand Hunter Biden and whistleblower appear at televised Donald Trump impeachment hearings

Republicans have demanded that Joe Biden’s son and an anonymous whistleblower should give evidence during highly anticipated televised impeachment hearings this week. It came as America’s big three networks – CBS, NBC and ABC – all announced wall-to-wall coverage. They will break into scheduled programming to carry the sessions live, so voters can watch the case against Donald Trump. The three witnesses at the hearings on Wednesday and Friday will be George Kent, a top State Department official, William Taylor, a US diplomat in Ukraine, and Marie Yovanovitch, the former US ambassador to Ukraine. But Republicans want to her from the whistleblower who kickstarted the impeachment inquiry after complaining about a July 25 telephone call between Mr Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Mr Trump is accused of holding up $392 million in military aid in an effort to pressure Mr Zelenskiy into investigating Joe Biden, and his son Hunter, for corruption. Mr Trump vehemently denies doing so. Hunter Biden sat on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, while his father, as vice president, was heading Ukraine policy for the Obama administration. Hunter and Joe Biden Credit: Reuters Congressman Devin Nunes, the lead Republican on the House intelligence committee, which will host the televised impeachment hearings, demanded Hunter Biden and the whistleblower appear. But Adam Schiff, the Democrat committee chairman, refused to call them, and accused Republicans of trying to turn impeachment into a “sham investigation of the Bidens.” The televised impeachment inquiry sessions come 46 years after America was transfixed by the Watergate hearings. Around three quarters of the US population watched at least some of the Watergate hearings on television. A major difference this time will be social media, with Republicans and Democrats able to react instantly to developments. Days before the hearings Republicans appeared increasingly fractured over how to defend the president. Some Republican senators and members of Congress have stuck to Mr Trump’s description of his call with Mr Zelenskiy as “perfect,” and maintained there was no “quid pro quo” offered by the president. Others have suggested there was an “appropriate quid pro quo”. And, some said his behaviour raised concerns but did not rise to the level of impeachment. There were also some who refused to discuss the matter at all, on the basis they would be jurors in an eventual Senate trial of Mr Trump. Several Republican senators declared they would not even watch the televised hearings this week. They included Lindsey Graham, a friend of Mr Trump, who called it a “sham”. He added: “It’s being driven by political people. I think this is a bunch of crap.” Senator Lindsey Graham says he will be one of the few Americans not watching the live impeachment inquiry hearings Credit: AP Alex Conant, a Republican strategist, said: “It’s not good. It’s hard to rally people to your side without a coherent and sustainable message.” Meanwhile, Mick Mulvaney, Mr Trump’s acting chief of staff, asked a court to decide whether he should adhere to a request from Congress to give evidence privately to the impeachment inquiry.The White House has ordered him not to do so. As he prepared to watch the televised hearings Mr Trump attended a college American football game in Alabama, where more than 100,000 people packed into a stadium. Mr Trump at the Alabama game Credit: AP When Mr Trump appeared on a big screen he was cheered and there were chants of “USA, USA.” Outside the stadium an inflatable 20ft-high “Baby Trump” protest balloon was slashed and deflated. A man reportedly ran at the balloon with a knife and cut an 8ft long gash in it. The “Baby Trump” protest balloon after it was attacked Credit: The Tuscaloosa News Local police said Hoyt Deau Hutchinson, 32, was arrested and charged with criminal mischief. Mr Trump’s reception in Alabama was a sharp contrast to the booing when he attended a World Series baseball game in Washington two weeks ago