A leading pro-democracy organization called on residents to take to the streets again this weekend, in the wake of clashes that have put the government on the defensive and delayed by at least two days a debate on a contentious extradition bill. Opponents see the measure, which would allow extraditions to mainland China, as accelerating the erosion of Hong Kong’s civil liberties. The city’s Legislative Council is dominated by pro-Beijing members, who see the bill as closing a loophole that enabled mainland criminals to shelter in the territory.
South Korean Navy commandoes seized the two North Koreans from their squid-fishing boat in early November after they had repeatedly resisted an order to surrender, according to South Korean officials. After their capture, the two confessed that they were running from the law after murdering the captain and 15 other crewmen on their boat, South Korean officials said. They also said they wanted to defect to the South. The South Korean authorities decided to treat them not as political refugees but as “heinous criminals.”
The scandal has rocked Austria. The vice chancellor, a leader of the far-right Freedom Party, quickly resigned, and new elections have been called for September. But it is also rippling across Europe, only days before the European parliamentary elections, as a reminder that Russia has deep ties to many other populist parties, too. “What’s strange,” said Tom Tugendhat, a Conservative Party lawmaker in Britain, “is how many of these nationalist movements seem to be in favor of Russia, not their own country.”
In Germany, a “livid” Angela Merkel accused the US of spying on her, igniting a furore that has seen the White House concede that new constraints on the NSA’s activities may be necessary. Meanwhile, in Britain, prime minister David Cameron accused the Guardian of damaging national security by publishing the revelations, warning that if it did not “demonstrate some social responsibility it would be very difficult for government to stand back and not to act”.