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Hong Kong security law could mean life sentence for guilty: Media – Al Jazeera English



People found guilty under China’s new national security legislation for Hong Kong could face a life sentence, local media reported on Monday as the police confirmed at least 53 people were arrested during a largely peaceful protest in the territory against the planned law.

“I believe the punishment may not be three years or 10 years in jail,” Ip Kwok-him, a Hong Kong delegate to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, which began reviewing a draft of the bill on Sunday, told Apple Daily.

“National security law(s) overseas often have life imprisonment as the maximum sentence. I do not see why the punishment under (Hong Kong’s) national security law cannot be as serious as that.”

Ip also suggested that the legislation, which targets subversion, secession, terrorism and foreign interference, could be applied retroactively.

Hong Kong has endured more than a year of protests, which started when the territory’s government attempted to pass a bill that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial. The rallies have since evolved into a broader call for democracy and become increasingly violent, marking the biggest challenge to Beijing’s power since the territory was returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

The protests slowed this year as the coronavirus pandemic outlawed large gatherings, but people returned to the streets in May after Beijing announced its plan to impose the security law. Many expect the legislation to be enacted before July 1 when the anniversary of the handover is usually marked with a large rally.

The Chinese government has “unshakable determination to push ahead with enactment of the security bill and safeguard national sovereignty and interest,” state broadcaster CCTV reported at the weekend, citing a government spokesperson.

Police disperse protest

On Sunday, a crowd of several hundred people moved from Jordan to Mong Kok in the territory’s Kowloon district, staging what was intended as a “silent protest” against the planned law.

Scuffles broke out with chanting and slogans directed towards police and officers using pepper spray on parts of the crowd. Hong Kong Police said on Facebook that 53 people had been arrested and charged with unlawful assembly, and that some protesters had tried to blockade roads in the area.

The national security law has raised concerns that Beijing is further eroding the extensive autonomy promised at the handover.

“The government wants to shut us up and to kick us out,” one protester, Roy Chan, 44, told Reuters. “We must stand up and strike down all those people who deprive Hong Kong people’s freedom.”

The Progressive Lawyers Group has also expressed its concerns about a law it says “will allow the Beijing authorities to arrest and lock up anyone in Hong Kong they consider ‘threatening’ national security.”

The legislation “disregards” due process and is “far more draconian than the extradition bill of 2019. The National Security Law will have a serious long term impact on Hong Kong’s autonomy and rule of law, and the way of life as we know it,” the group said in a statement on Facebook.

Hong Kong police have refused permission for this year’s July 1 march, citing a ban on large gatherings because of the coronavirus.

China has said the new security law will target only a small group of “troublemakers”; a position echoed by the administration in Hong Kong.

Al Jazeera and news agencies

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Eagles’ DeSean Jackson apologizes after sharing anti-Semitic posts on social media




Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson has apologized after backlash for sharing anti-Semitic posts on social media over the weekend.

Jackson initially posted a screenshot of a quote widely attributed to Adolf Hitler, saying in part: “Jews will blackmail America.” In another post, Jackson showed support for Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader who is known for anti-Semitic rhetoric.

“My post was definitely not intended for anybody of any race to feel any type of way, especially the Jewish community,” Jackson said in a video he posted on Instagram on Tuesday. “I post things on my story all the time, and just probably never should have posted anything Hitler did, because Hitler was a bad person, and I know that.”

The team issued the following statement: “We have spoken with DeSean Jackson about his social media posts. Regardless of his intentions, the messages he shared were offensive, harmful, and absolutely appalling. They have no place in our society, and are not condoned or supported in any way by the organization. We are disappointed and we reiterated to DeSean the importance of not only apologizing but also using his platform to take action to promote unity, equality, and respect. We are continuing to evaluate the circumstances and are committed to continuing to have productive and meaningful conversations with DeSean, as well as all of our players and staff, in order to educate, learn, and grow.”

The NFL also issued a statement, saying: “DeSean’s comments were highly inappropriate, offensive and divisive and stand in stark contrast to the NFL’s values of respect, equality and inclusion. We have been in contact with the team which is addressing the matter with DeSean.”



Jackson, a three-time Pro Bowl pick, is in his second stint in Philadelphia, returning last season to the team that drafted him in the second round of the 2008 draft.

Former Eagles president Joe Banner criticized Jackson on Twitter. Banner wrote: “If a white player said anything about [African-Americans] as outrageous as what Desean Jackson said about Jews tonight there would at least be a serious conversation about cutting him and a need for a team meeting to discuss. Which would be totally appropriate. Absolutely indefensible.”

Banner, who also worked for Cleveland and Atlanta, later shared an anti-Palestinian tweet with the hashtag “#Palestinianprivilege getting away with murder.”


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EU executive expresses concern over Hungary's media freedom – The Telegram



BUDAPEST (Reuters) – A senior European Commission official has expressed concern for the independence of, one of Hungary’s last major independent news websites and a leading critic of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government.

“What you are doing, the values you are fighting for, media freedom and pluralism, are essential for democracy,” Vera Jourova, the commission’s Vice President for Values and Transparency, said in a message to Index published on its web site. “You can count on my support.”

Editor-in-chief Szabolcs Dull said last month that Index was at risk of losing its independence because of “external influence”.

He said Index wanted to remain free of government influence and undue pressure from businessmen and advisers with government ties.

Orban has extended his influence over many walks of life in Hungary during his decade-long rule.

Pro-government businessman Miklos Vaszily bought a major stake in a company with control of Index’s revenue stream in March, raising fears of interference with the web site to favour Orban.

Vaszily, who has not returned Reuters requests for comment, has denied he wants to muzzle Index, saying economic problems need to be fixed. But staff are on alert as Vaszily had previously turned their competitor,, into a government mouthpiece.

Jourova said Index’s business situation should not be used as a pretext to undermine its freedom.

“While readership and audiences have been record high, revenues have been heavily hit. Economic pressure should not turn into political pressure…I would like to express my solidarity with the staff of Index.”

Media freedom was a key issue when the EU warned Hungary in April to respect the bloc’s values as it fought against the coronavirus pandemic.

(Reporting by Marton Dunai; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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Restaurateur pours her heart out on social media about disrespectful customers – Montreal Gazette



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“I know a lot of those people and it was nice to hear,” she said.

One patron wrote: “The food was delicious and the terrace was perfect for social distancing!! Shame on those idiots!”

Another: “Don’t let those idiot customers get you down. It happens. We can’t all be nice. I’m looking forward to coming back and enjoying more amazing food.”

Polansky said she apologized to diners seated closest to the disruptive patrons. Usually, her restaurant is “quiet and nice and relaxing and fun,” she told them.

Even after nearly three decades, Polansky still works the floor and is full of ideas for everything from new cocktails to pink masks for the staff.

“I still have passion after all these years,” she said. “I still have that drive. This is not going to get me down.”

On Tuesday afternoon, as she prepared to open at 4 p.m., Polansky was philosophical.

“Other nights aren’t like Sunday,” she said. “I was discouraged on Sunday. Today is a new day.”

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