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Seoul police say they’re questioning anti-North activists

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean police stated Tuesday that they’ve summoned two activists accused of elevating tensions with North Korea by sending propaganda balloons or plastic bottles stuffed with rice throughout the border.

Park Sang-hak, a North Korean refugee who has floated anti-Pyongyang leaflets by balloon throughout the land border, and his brother Park Jung-oh, who has floated plastic bottles stuffed with rice throughout the ocean boundary, had been being questioned on the Seoul Metropolitan Police Company, an company officer with direct data of the circumstances stated.

The officer spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of he was not approved to launch the data to the media.

Police raided the workplaces of the Park brothers final week and confiscated leaflets, account books, cell phone information, laptop information and different supplies associated to their actions.

The officer stated additional investigation was wanted earlier than figuring out whether or not the brothers ought to be charged with a criminal offense.

North Korea raised Park Sang-hak’s yearslong propaganda marketing campaign and South Korea’s failure to stop it earlier this month earlier than it blew up an empty liaison workplace on the North’s territory and threatened different provocative steps.

South Korean officers later requested police examine the Parks and different activists for elevating tensions and doubtlessly endangering residents dwelling close to the border.

Authorities in a single province that borders North Korea have additionally accused a number of activist teams, together with these of the Parks, of fraud, embezzlement and different expenses over their donation actions.

The strikes towards the activists have invited criticism that President Moon Jae-in’s liberal authorities is sacrificing democratic rules to attempt to restore deteriorating ties with North Korea.

After his workplace was raided Friday, Park Sang-hak instructed reporters that he would maintain sending leaflets towards North Korea to tell folks there about their authoritarian authorities. He additionally accused the South Korean authorities of “gagging its folks and destroying freedom of speech after succumbing” to North Korea.

Tensions eased barely final week when North Korea introduced it will postpone deliberate steps to nullify reconciliation offers it beforehand reached with South Korea.

Some consultants say North Korea has been deliberately elevating tensions as a part of a method to wrest exterior concessions at at time when it’s dealing with worsening financial troubles brought on by U.S.-led sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic.

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Trump indicators invoice, order rebuking China, and slams Biden

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump signed laws and an govt order on Tuesday that he stated will maintain China accountable for its oppressive actions in opposition to the individuals of Hong Kong, then rapidly shifted his coverage speech right into a political one, hurling broadsides in opposition to Democratic rival Joe Biden.

The laws and order are a part of the Trump administration’s stepped-up offensive in opposition to China for what he calls the rising Asian superpower’s exploitation of America and its effort to hide particulars in regards to the human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus from the world. The just about each day administration assaults on Beijing come as Trump defends his personal response to the virus, with circumstances surging in elements of the USA, and as he works forward of the election to painting Biden as mushy on China.

“So Joe Biden and President Obama freely allowed China to pillage our factories, plunder our communities and steal our most treasured secrets and techniques,” Trump stated, including, “I’ve stopped it largely.”

Trump stated that as vice chairman, Biden advocated for the Paris Settlement addressing local weather change; Trump withdrew the U.S. from the accord. “It might have crushed American producers whereas permitting China to pollute the environment with impunity, but yet another reward from Biden to the Chinese language Communist Social gathering,” Trump stated.

Trump talked up his personal powerful method to Beijing, although he spent the early weeks of the pandemic praising Chinese language President Xi Jinping. The 2 nations signed section one in all a commerce deal, however since then, relations have soured and Trump instructed reporters within the Rose Backyard that he has little interest in speaking to Xi.

The laws Trump signed into legislation targets police models which have cracked down on Hong Kong protesters in addition to Chinese language Communist Social gathering officers liable for imposing a brand new, strict nationwide safety legislation extensively seen as chipping away at Hong Kong’s autonomy. The necessary sanctions are additionally required to be imposed on banks that conduct enterprise with the officers.

Whereas he signed the invoice into legislation, Trump issued an announcement saying the administration wouldn’t view as binding sure sections of the legislation that the White Home believes restrict a president’s powers to conduct overseas coverage.

Lawmakers from each events have urged Trump to take robust motion in response to China’s new nationwide safety legislation that erodes the “one nation, two techniques” framework underneath which Britain handed Hong Kong over to China in 1997. Hong Kong is taken into account a particular administrative area inside China and has its personal governing and financial techniques.

“This legislation offers my administration highly effective new instruments to carry accountable the people and the entities concerned in extinguishing Hong Kong’s freedom,” Trump stated. “Their freedom has been taken away. Their rights have been taken away, and with it goes Hong Kong in my view as a result of it’ll not have the ability to compete with free markets. Lots of people shall be leaving Hong Kong, I believe.”

The manager order he signed didn’t seem to transcend his administration’s earlier determinations that Hong Kong is not eligible for preferential remedy from the USA. Trump stated the order strikes these privileges however, in reality, the administration already has been within the technique of eliminating them for almost two months.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo first made the dedication in late Might that China’s determination to impose a brand new nationwide safety legislation in Hong Kong meant the previous British territory was not a democracy and so was not eligible for commerce, business and different U.S. perks it had loved. Simply three days later, when Trump introduced the U.S. was withdrawing from the World Well being Group due to Chinese language affect, he echoed Pompeo’s dedication and instructed his administration to right away start eliminating the preferences, which it did.

In late June, the administration barred Hong Kong from importing U.S. weapons, saying its buy of things which have each civilian and navy purposes can be topic to the identical licensing necessities as mainland China. Different actions within the works embrace suspending an extradition treaty with Hong Kong, one thing Australia has already performed, in addition to ending authorized cooperation agreements, taxation accords and monetary understandings that cowl accounting guidelines for Chinese language companies that work within the U.S.

On the identical time, the administration has pressed forward with journey bans for Chinese language, Hong Kong and communist get together officers the U.S. believes are liable for curbing democracy in Hong Kong.

The administration additionally additionally gone after China by imposing journey bans on officers for repressing minorities in western China and hindering foreigners’ entry to Tibet. On Monday, Pompeo introduced that the U.S. had determined to reject outright nearly all Chinese language maritime claims within the South China Sea, a dedication that would result in elevated tensions in disputed, vital worldwide delivery lanes.

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Related Press author Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report.

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New York Occasions strikes workers out of Hong Kong amid press freedom fears | Hong Kong

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The New York Occasions is shifting a part of its Hong Kong bureau to Seoul, amid rising concern in regards to the affect of latest nationwide safety legal guidelines on the liberty and security of the press.

The US outlet will relocate its digital team – about one third of its present Hong Kong bureau – to the South Korean capital over the subsequent 12 months, it mentioned. Correspondents and print manufacturing groups for the Worldwide New York Occasions, the paper’s European and Asian version, will keep in Hong Kong.

Workers have been knowledgeable of the transfer in a memo from editors and executives on Tuesday.

“China’s sweeping new nationwide safety regulation in Hong Kong has created loads of uncertainty about what the brand new guidelines will imply to our operation and our journalism,” it mentioned. “We really feel it’s prudent to make contingency plans and start to diversify our modifying workers across the area.”

A New York Occasions report on the relocation mentioned a few of its staff had struggled to safe work permits, which had hardly ever been a difficulty Hong Kong previously.

“With town dealing with a brand new period below tightened Chinese language rule, Occasions editors decided they wanted a further base of operations within the area,” it mentioned.

On 30 June, Beijing imposed sweeping nationwide safety legal guidelines on Hong Kong, bypassing the semi-autonomous area’s personal legislature, that outlaw subversion, sedition, terrorism and collusion. Nevertheless, the legal guidelines have been criticised as so broad and ill-defined that even probably the most benign acts supporting independence may be considered as unlawful.

The legality of journalistic practices in Hong Kong can also be unclear, and inquiries to the Hong Kong authorities have drawn solely warnings that the press won’t be focused so long as journalists abide by the brand new legal guidelines.

The editor of the Hong Kong Free Press, Tom Grundy, wrote in the Guardian on Tuesday the legal guidelines had been designed to have a chilling impact on media.

“The federal government won’t give us straight solutions to questions in regards to the safety regulation – and that’s by design,” Grundy mentioned. “Fuzziness is a characteristic, not a bug – the authorities need journalists to overcompensate, tip-toe round ill-defined pink strains, and in the end self-censor.”

Workers from the New York Occasions, the Wall Avenue Journal, and the Washington Put up have been expelled from mainland China earlier this 12 months, amid persevering with diplomatic hostilities over international media based mostly within the US and China.

“Hong Kong has been a pacesetter in supporting the rights of a free press in Asia for many years, and it’s important that it continues to take action,” New York Occasions spokeswoman, Ari Isaacman Bevacqua, mentioned.

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Whether or not inmate mentally match for execution might trigger delay

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CHICAGO (AP) — The person subsequent on the checklist to be executed by the federal authorities after a virtually 20-year hiatus ended this week could have a greater probability of avoiding deadly injection, authorized specialists say, as a result of he suffers from dementia and so, his attorneys say, can not grasp why he is slated to die.

Wesley Ira Purkey, convicted of a ugly 1998 kidnapping and killing, is scheduled for execution Wednesday on the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, the place Daniel Lewis Lee was put to death Tuesday after his personal 11th-hour authorized bids failed.

Lee, who was convicted of killing an Arkansas household in a 1990s plot to construct a whites-only nation, was the primary of 4 condemned males scheduled to die in July and August regardless of the coronavirus pandemic raging each inside and outdoors prisons.

Purkey, 68, of Lansing, Kansas, can be the second, however his attorneys had been nonetheless anticipated to press for a ruling from the Supreme Court docket on his competency.

“This competency concern is a really robust concern on paper,” stated Robert Dunham, govt director of the Dying Penalty Data Heart. “The Supreme Court docket has halted executions on this concern previously. At a minimal, the query of whether or not Purkey dies goes to go right down to the final minute.”

Lee’s personal execution went ahead a day late. It was scheduled for Four p.m. Monday, however the Supreme Court docket solely gave the inexperienced gentle in a slender 5-Four ruling early Tuesday.

The difficulty of Purkey’s psychological well being arose within the runup to his 2003 trial and when, after the decision, jurors needed to resolve whether or not he must be put to dying within the killing of 16-year-old Jennifer Lengthy in Kansas Metropolis, Missouri. Prosecutors alleged that he raped and stabbed her, dismembered her with a chainsaw, burned her, then dumped her ashes 200 miles (320 kilometers) away in a septic pond in Kansas. Purkey was individually convicted and sentenced to life within the beating dying of 80-year-old Mary Ruth Bales, of Kansas Metropolis, Kansas.

However the authorized questions of whether or not he was mentally match to face trial or to be sentenced to die are completely different from the query of whether or not he’s mentally match sufficient now, within the hours earlier than his scheduled execution, to be put to dying.

Purkey’s attorneys argue he clearly is just not, saying in current filings that he suffers from advancing Alzheimer’s illness.

“He has lengthy accepted accountability for the crime that put him on dying row,” one in all this attorneys, Rebecca Woodman, stated. “However as his dementia has progressed, he not has a rational understanding of why the federal government plans to execute him.”

Purkey believes his deliberate execution is a part of an unlimited conspiracy involving his personal attorneys, Woodman stated. In different filings, they describe delusions that individuals had been spraying poison into his room and that drug sellers implanted a tool in his chest meant to kill him.

Whereas numerous authorized points in Purkey’s case have been hashed, rehashed and settled by courts over practically twenty years, the difficulty of psychological health for execution can solely be addressed as soon as a date is ready, in response to Dunham, who additionally teaches regulation faculty programs on capital punishment. A date was solely set final 12 months.

“Competency is one thing that’s all the time in flux,” so judges can solely assess it within the weeks or days earlier than a agency execution date, he stated.

In a landmark 1986 determination, the U.S. Supreme Court docket dominated that the Structure prohibits placing somebody to dying who lacks an inexpensive understanding of why he’s being executed. It concerned the case of Alvin Ford, who was convicted of homicide however whose psychological well being deteriorated behind bars to the purpose the place, in response to his lawyer, he believed he was pope.

Authorized requirements as as to whether somebody has a rational understanding of why an execution is happening could be advanced, Dunham defined.

“I might say I used to be Napoleon,” he stated. “But when I say I perceive that Napoleon was sentenced to dying for against the law and is being executed for it — that might permit the execution to go forward.”

Purkey’s psychological points transcend Alzheimer’s, his attorneys have stated. They are saying he was topic to sexual and psychological abuse as a baby and, at 14, was identified with schizophrenia, bipolar dysfunction, main melancholy, and psychosis.

Final week, three psychological well being organizations urged U.S. Lawyer William Barr to cease Purkey’s execution and commute his sentence to life in jail with out risk of parole. The letter — signed by the Nationwide Alliance on Psychological Sickness, Psychological Well being America and the Remedy Advocacy Heart — stated that executing mentally ailing people like Purkey “constitutes merciless and weird punishment and doesn’t comport with ‘evolving requirements of decency.’”

The mom of the teenager he killed, Glenda Lamont, advised the Kansas Metropolis Star final 12 months she deliberate to attend the execution.

“I don’t wish to say that I’m blissful,” Lamont stated. “On the similar time, he’s a loopy mad man that doesn’t deserve, in my view, to be respiration anymore.”

The runup to Lee’s execution demonstrated that lots can nonetheless occur earlier than Purkey’s scheduled one.

On Monday, hours earlier than Lee was set to be put to dying, a U.S. District Court docket choose put the execution on maintain over issues from dying row inmates on how executions had been to be carried out, and an appeals courtroom upheld it, earlier than the Supreme Court docket overturned it early Tuesday.

If jail officers get the go-ahead to execute Purkey, he can be put to dying by deadly injection, as Lee was, and in the identical small room on the Terre Haute jail.

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Hegeman reported from Wichita, Kansas. Related Press writers Mike Balsamo in Terre Haute, Indiana, and Mark Sherman and Colleen Lengthy in Washington contributed to this report.

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