Reminder: YouGov MRP poll for UK election to be published at 2200 GMT – ForexLive

Another reminder and some final thoughts

UK vote

Just in case you missed the heads up from yesterday (⬆️) but in any case, if you’re wondering why this is one of the more watched opinion polls for the election, you can check out the post above as well for some backstory.

With the pound being so choppy in trading so far this week, perhaps the poll will be able to give more of a direction in trading sentiment in the lead up to 12 December. But just a hint of caution, it may not necessarily do so.

The issue with opinion polls as I have always said is that they are subject to the interpreter’s interpretation. As such, there’s the saying beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

In other words, we all see what we want to see when it comes to the opinion polls.

For the YouGov MRP poll in 2017, there is no further history to the methodology and results of the poll. As such, it is only viewed to be “accurate” because it has a sample size of one.

Common logic will dictate that such a sample size is meaningless so are we all attaching too much significance to the accuracy of this polling data? Perhaps, maybe.

But the more important thing is whether or not markets are attaching any significance to the poll. The answer is that there is quite a strong likelihood the data will be a relevant one in affecting trading sentiment. And that is all that matters.

We can dive deeper into figuring out if and how accurate the poll this time around will be but that’s a another story for a another day.

The other thing to take note is that the release today will come at 2200 GMT. It’s pretty much the time when markets are asleep so just be mindful of thinner liquidity conditions as it may exacerbate any moves and reactions later.

Most expensive service stations named as drivers charged 117% more for same snacks – Mirror Online

A new investigation has laid bare the scale of the motorway service station rip-off – as well as the places it’s worst.

Admiral Car Insurance visited stations up and down the country – comparing prices on staples like sausage rolls, wine gums, chocolate and crisps – to find out exactly what they were charging, then compared it to the same items in a normal supermarket.

They found water was the most overpriced purchase – with stations charging an extra £1.85 for a 500ml bottle compared with 44p in a supermarket.

Admiral’s Clare Egan said: “We all expect to pay a little more for convenience, but the amount people are charged at service stations amounts to highway robbery in some cases.”

Beaconsfield Services on the M40 was the 6th most expensive found
Beaconsfield Services on the M40 was the 6th most expensive found
(Image: Alamy Stock Photo)

The average price hike worked out at 117%, with some service stations charging as much as 135% more than buying the same items at a supermarket.

Worst of all was Durham services – where a basket of sweets and savoury snacks plus drinks wold set you back £16.21, compared to £6.89 in a supermarkt.

Lancaster and Woolley Edge services were the joint next most expennsive – charging £16.17 for the same items – followed by Hilton Park and Leigh Delamere services at £16.16.

Leigh Delamere Services on the M4 was ranked in the top 5 for costs
Leigh Delamere Services on the M4 was ranked in the top 5 for costs
(Image: Alamy Stock Photo)

By contrast, Heart of Scotland services was the cheapest –  where motorists would pay £9.31 for the same basket of items motorway fare.

Egan said: “Grabbing the essentials from home or at least a supermarket before setting off could result in some big savings on the overall cost of your journey.

“Given the availability of free water refills at all of the service stations and the push to be plastic-free, motorists don’t need to spend anything on bottled water, let alone a forking out as much as 420% more than in a supermarket.”

Reading West Motorway Services (M4)
(Image: Alamy Stock Photo)

The 10 most expensive service stations Admiral found:

  • Durham Services A1(M) – 135% markup
  • Lancaster (Forton) Services M6 – 135% markup
  • Woolley Edge Services M1 – 135% markup
  • Hilton Park Services M6 – 135% markup
  • Leigh Delamere Services M4 – 135% markup
  • Beaconsfield M40 – 133% markup
  • Bothwell Services M74 – 132% markup
  • Magor Services M4 – 130% markup
  • Birchanger Green Services M11 – 129% markup
  • Reading Services M4 – 128% markup

“Many of us will be making cross-country trips with our families over the coming weeks, and it will be tempting to stop en route for a snack or petrol,” Egan said.

“By planning ahead, you could avoid the hyper inflated service station costs save some money for Christmas and help the environment at the same time.”

Read More

Top money stories

Here are Admiral’s tips to save money on a long car journey:

  • Plan ahead and buy food in from the supermarket before you set off, or even better take a packed lunch and refillable water bottle from home
  • Use an app such as   identify places to refill water for free
  • Fill up on fuel before you get onto the motorway to ensure you aren’t paying inflated prices
  • Bring some activities and snacks for the children so you are prepared should they want to stop off to avoid expensive treats
  • Consider pulling off the motorway to a nearby supermarket if you need to re-stock: prices are considerably lower
  • Don’t forget to make sure you carry out all the appropriate vehicle checks before you start a long journey – checking tyre pressure and water levels will mean you travel safely and don’t have the unexpected cost of a broken-down car

West Coast Mainline passengers stranded for seven hours – BBC News

Sign for rail replacement

Image caption

All services running north of Preston have been cancelled until Thursday

Hundreds of passengers on the West Coast Mainline have been stranded for hours after an electric overhead cable snapped.

The cable broke on the route between Lancaster and Preston at about 08:35 GMT blocking both lines in both directions, Network Rail said.

One person tweeted they were on a train for seven-and-a-half hours, another called it “an absolute horror show”.

Stations along the route have become crowded as the delays continue.

West Coast Mainline suspension: latest updates

Network Rail said that section of the line would be closed for the rest of the day.

“Our immediate focus is to fix the cables in time for start of service tomorrow,” a spokesperson said.

Image copyright
Anthony Roberts

Image caption

Passengers have been queuing at stations

It earlier said the stranded passengers would be towed back to their nearest stations at about 17:00 GMT.

Virgin Trains said a rescue locomotive was sent to retrieve two trains and a third was involved in a train-to-train evacuation.

Northern and Trans Pennine Express services in the area have also been affected.

Passengers expecting to use the route have been advised not to travel, and have been warned journey times would be at least three hours longer than usual.

Image caption

Crowds gather at Preston station while the delays to services continue

Simon Mabon was travelling from Macclesfield to Lancaster and said his journey – which would normally take about 90 minutes – took about eight hours.

“We got to Preston and were told the train was cancelled so we were instructed to get on to a different train and we got on to that train and we sat there for about two hours waiting because there was a broken down train in front of us,” he said.

“Then we eventually started moving and we made about 10 minutes’ progress and then it stopped and they said there were some technical issues, that there was no power, that we were stuck here for the foreseeable.”

He said after hearing that announcement at about 11:00 they were stuck on the train for more than three hours with no air conditioning and the toilets “stopped working very quickly”.

He said passengers were given a small bottle of water each but the card machine was not working in the food carriage.

Mr Mabon eventually got to Lancaster at about 15:30, where he said there was “chaos” at the station.

Image copyright

Image caption

All services between Preston and Lancaster have been cancelled until tomorrow

Phil James, director for Network Rail’s North West route, apologised for the issues.

“Our specialist electrical teams are working to repair the damaged cables. It means the railway is blocked with no trains running at present.”

Network Rail added because of the lack of electrical power in the area it had made towing back difficult.

Queues have formed at Preston station while passengers wait for rail replacement services.

There have also been queues at Oxenholme in the Lake District.

Virgin Trains said the disruption would continue until Thursday.

“We’re very sorry for the experience of customers affected by today’s disruption. We’re working closely with our partners to get customers from the affected trains to the nearest station so they can continue their journeys,” a spokesperson said.

It is not yet known what caused the damage to the 440 yards (400m) of cable.

Virgin passengers can use their tickets on Thursday, the company said.

Have your travel plans been affected? Share your experiences by emailing

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

House Judiciary Committee sets 1st impeachment hearing

The House Judiciary Committee will hold its first impeachment hearing next Wednesday, Dec. 4, Chairman Jerry Nadler announced Tuesday, following two weeks of high-profile impeachment inquiry hearings by the House Intelligence Committee.

Interested in Impeachment Inquiry?

Add Impeachment Inquiry as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Impeachment Inquiry news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

The Judiciary Committee hearing will include legal experts as witnesses and is titled, “The Impeachment Inquiry into President Donald J. Trump: Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment,” as Democrats decide whether to draft articles of impeachment.

Nadler sent a letter to President Trump, reminding him that he and his lawyers have a right to attend the hearing.

PHOTO: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) attends a news conference, April 9, 2019, in Washington, D.C.Zach Gibson/Getty Images
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) attends a news conference, April 9, 2019, in Washington, D.C.

“As Chairman Schiff indicated yesterday, the impeachment inquiry is entering into a new phase,” Nadler said in a statement, referring to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif. “Our first task is to explore the framework put in place to respond to serious allegations of impeachable misconduct like those against President Trump.”

“I have also written to President Trump to remind him that the Committee’s impeachment inquiry rules allow for the President to attend the hearing and for his counsel to question the witness panel. At base, the President has a choice to make: he can take this opportunity to be represented in the impeachment hearings, or he can stop complaining about the process. I hope that he chooses to participate in the inquiry, directly or through counsel, as other Presidents have done before him,” Nadler said.

On a background call with reporters, House Judiciary Democratic aides wouldn’t get into whether they expected the House Intelligence Committee to have transmitted its report by then, but emphasized this is a legal hearing that will include evaluating the evidence and the constitutional framework as the committee looks at “high crime and misdemeanors” — one of the phrases included in the Constitution’s Impeachment Clause.

There was no immediate response from the White House.

DA confident of case against student who allegedly urged boyfriends suicide

The prosecutor who brought charges against a former Boston College student for encouraging her boyfriend to hill himself is “very confident” in the case being brought against the woman, the district attorney told Boston ABC affiliate WCVB.

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins spoke exclusively to WCVB about the case against Inyoung You, who was charged in late October with involuntary manslaughter for the death of Alexander Urtula. Urtula died after jumping from the roof of a parking garage in Roxbury, Massachusetts, on May 20.

“We’re very confident in our case,” Rollins told WCVB.

You, 21, sent 75,000 text messages to Urtula in the two months leading up to his death, according to Rollins. Some of those texts included ones urging him to kill himself, she said.

The couple, which met at Boston College, dated for just 18 months. He died on the same day he was supposed to attend his graduation. You was allegedly present at the time Urtula jumped.

PHOTO: Shown in this image released by the Suffolk County District Attorneys Office, former Boston College student Inyoung You, 21, is charged with involuntary manslaughter for her alleged role in the suicide of her boyfriend, Alexander Urtula, 22.Suffolk County District Attorneys Office
Shown in this image released by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, former Boston College student Inyoung You, 21, is charged with involuntary manslaughter for her alleged role in the suicide of her boyfriend, Alexander Urtula, 22.

She appeared in court for the first time since she was charged on Nov. 22, and prosecutors shared some of the profane texts You allegedly sent.

In one message, You allegedly wrote, “Do everyone a favor and go f—— kill yourself. … Dude just f—— do everybody a favor and go f—— kill yourself,” Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Caitlin Grasso said in court last week.

Rollins, a veteran prosecutor, called the exchanges “even extreme for me.”

“We have a barrage, a meticulous, relentless, pathological breakdown, of this individual, Alexander Urtula, by somebody who claimed to love him,” Rollins told WCVB. “And although it was a toxic relationship, we believe Ms. You’s behavior entered the criminal.”

While Rollins called the case uncommon, she also said it was a sign of changing times and called it a “generational” difference.

“I think in the younger communities of individuals — the way you and I would pick up a phone and speak to each other or might actually stand face to face and have a conversation, texting is the way people are interacting nowadays,” she said. “And so this is a situation where the law has to catch up with what the world is doing right now.”

PHOTO: Inyoung You, a former Boston College student from South Korea, arrives in court to be arraigned on involuntary manslaughter charges in connection with the suicide of her boyfriend, in Suffolk County Superior Court in Boston on Nov. 22, 2019.Pool/Reuters
Inyoung You, a former Boston College student from South Korea, arrives in court to be arraigned on involuntary manslaughter charges in connection with the suicide of her boyfriend, in Suffolk County Superior Court in Boston on Nov. 22, 2019.

Urtula’s lawyer, Steven Kim, slammed Rollins in a press conference outside the courthouse after last week’s hearing.

“I’ve never seen in my entire career such an unjust and callous behavior by a district attorney,” Kim said.

He added, “No one can know to a moral certainty why someone decides to take their own life, but to further punish the young woman who loved this man would only compound the tragedy that already is and further tarnish the memory of that young man.”

You was released on bail and is not expected to go on trial until November 2020.

Rollins’ full interview with WCVB will air on Sunday.

ABC News’ Ella Torres and Julia Jacobo contributed to this report.

Start Here: House Judiciary Committee schedules 1st public impeachment hearing

It’s Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019. Let’s start here.

Interested in Start Here Morning Briefing ?

Add Start Here Morning Briefing as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Start Here Morning Briefing news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

1. Next phase

The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled its first public impeachment hearing, beginning a new phase of the inquiry on Dec. 4.

The hearing will look different from the House Intelligence Committee’s open hearings with “fact witnesses” over the last two weeks, according to ABC News Senior National Correspondent Terry Moran, who calls this latest step a “decision-making point” for House Democrats.

“What would the articles of impeachment be? What would the indictment essentially against President Donald Trump be?” he says. “They’re calling witnesses, constitutional scholars who can talk about impeachment. These are going to be witnesses that will advise them on what to make of it all.”

2. Life expectancy decline

The overall life expectancy in the U.S. has dropped for three straight years, according to a new study, as researchers point to opioid abuse, suicide and obesity as causes.

The study’s author, Dr. Stephen Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, tells “Start Here” it’s a problem unique to America, particularly in the Rust Belt: “It isn’t lost on us that these are regions of the country that have been hit hard by the economy. … That strain itself could affect health in ways that don’t have to be limited to despair or unhealthy behaviors.”

PHOTO: Men sit passed out in a park where heroin users gather to shoot up in the Bronx borough of New York, May 4, 2018.Spencer Platt/Getty Images, FILE
Men sit passed out in a park where heroin users gather to shoot up in the Bronx borough of New York, May 4, 2018.

3. ‘The Cave’

In the midst of war in Syria, doctors inside a hidden hospital known as “The Cave” fight to save lives underground.

Dr. Amani Ballour, the former lead doctor of the Cave who was forced to flee to Turkey, details her life inside, “They targeted everything, they bombed everything, they used all types of weapons.”

Her story is featured in “The Cave,” a film in conjunction with National Geographic Documentary Films, and on ABC’s “Nightline.” The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of National Geographic and ABC News.

PHOTO: Dr Amani covers her ears during nearby bombings, in Al Ghouta, Syria. National Geographic
Dr Amani covers her ears during nearby bombings, in Al Ghouta, Syria.

“Start Here,” ABC News’ flagship podcast, offers a straightforward look at the day’s top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or the ABC News app. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content and show updates.


‘My home’: President Donald Trump visited Florida for the first time since changing his place of residence for a rally Tuesday night. But he talked some of the same topics: impeachment, the Bidens, Nancy Pelosi and the “deep state.”

Boo birds: First lady Melania Trump’s visit to an opioid summit did not go well as she was greeted by loud boos when she took the stage.

‘Absolutely brazen’: Scary video shows a bus driver stop at a gas station, purchase beer and then drinking it as she transported 32 children.

‘Angry that he was being ignored’: A new police report details that the University of Illinois at Chicago student who was found dead in a school parking garage was apparently murdered after she ignored the suspect’s catcalls.

From our friends at FiveThirtyEight:

Our Poll Shows That Buttigieg’s Post-Debate Bump Is Still Just His Base: Pete Buttigieg saw the largest bump — 6% — of any candidate in a FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos poll. But where did that 6% increase come from?

Doff your cap:

There’s no use in crying over spilled milk. But what about spilled donuts?

Well, the Brookhaven, Georgia, Police Department did just that on Tuesday and we couldn’t be more empathetic. It turns out the officers were called to the scene where a Krispy Kreme truck had toppled over and the iced creations spilled all over the street.

Authorities called it a senseless loss of delicious pastries.Play
Cops hilariously mourn ‘senseless loss’ of Krispy Kreme doughnuts in the street

The troopers managed to snap a few teary-eyed photos, since they “couldn’t beat the 5 second rule.” Our condolences.

Amazon Cyber Monday 2019 deals revealed – CNET



This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2019, your source for the season’s best gifts and deals, hand-picked by the experts at CNET.

It’s not even Black Friday yet (though there are certainly a zillion Black Friday deals available right now), but Amazon is already setting its sights on Cyber Monday. The company just revealed its full list of deals for Dec. 2 — except the deals actually start on Saturday, Nov. 30, the day after Black Friday. And this may come as no surprise: The list looks a little… familiar. Amazon is pretty much carrying its Black Friday discounts on through to Cyber Monday. (One big exception: The Echo Show 8, which CNET just dubbed the best Echo smart display, period, will be $79.99. Current price: $99.99, already a $30 discount.)

You’ll be able to track all this on Amazon’s holiday page, which is currently focused on Black Friday but will transition on Saturday. There you’ll find a mixture of Amazon’s own devices (Kindles, Fire tablets, Echo screens and speakers, etc.) and various other sale items. For now, however, take a look at what’s in store (which is to say, online).

Cyber Monday Amazon device sales 

Although the official sale doesn’t kick off until Saturday, many of these deals are available right now. Indeed, just about everything here is a continuation of the discounts leading up to Black Friday. Even so, these remain some of the best prices of the year (or best since Prime Day, at least) on Echo speakers and smart displays, Kindle readers, Fire TV streamers and other first-party Amazon devices.

Cyber Monday electronics deals

These deals on non-Amazon devices were just announced today. So far, though, there are no specifics. These deals are taken straight from the Amazon press release.

  • Save up to 30% on headphones from Bose, Sony and other top brands.
  • Save up to 25% on home theater projectors.
  • Save up to 25% on Samsung Galaxy S10/Note 10.
  • Save on Samsung, Sony, and LG TVs.
  • Save 30% on select cell phone cases.
  • Save up to 25% on Jabra Elite Active 65t earbuds.
  • Save on the Google Pixel 3.
  • Save up to 40% on cameras, telescopes, binoculars.
  • Save big on Nikon products.
  • Save on Fujifilm Instax mobile printer.
  • Save on Polaroid Snap Touch 2.0 Instant Print camera,
  • Save big on Sony cameras and lenses.
  • Content Creator Savings on PC devices and accessories.
  • Save big on select Chromebooks.
  • Save up to 30% on laptops, desktops and monitors.
  • Save on PC Gaming laptops, desktops, monitors, components, and accessories.
  • Deals to build your own custom PC.
  • Save big on connected home products.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud 40% off plus $10 gift card.
  • Save 50% on H&R Block tax software.
  • Save up to 60% on Brother printers.
  • Save $100 on PS4 Pro.
  • Save on Xbox One.
  • Save 35% on Sindoh 3DWOX DP200 3D printer.
  • Save 15% on Monoprice MP10 Mini 3D printer. 

Cyber Monday household, kitchen and home-furnishing deals

Amazon will have plenty of savings on everything from mattresses to blenders to Instant Pots to vacuums, too. 

  • Save up to 35% on select furniture and mattresses.
  • Save up to 35% on area rugs.
  • Save up to 35% on gaming chairs & desks.
  • Save on Instant Pot.
  • Save on Breville kitchen appliances.
  • Save on Nespresso.
  • Save up to 15% on Aprilaire Whole House Humidifiers.
  • Save 20% on First Aid Only 299-piece All-Purpose First Aid Kit.
  • Save 20% on Scott Essential Multifold paper towels.
  • Save up to 30% on office furniture essentials.
  • Save on Ninja products.
  • Save on SodaStream machines.
  • Save on Wusthof Cutlery.
  • Save 20% on the Brother HC1850 Computerized Sewing and Quilting machine.
  • Save up to 43% on the Ecovacs Ozmo 920.
  • Save up to 45% on Sharpie, Paper Mate, and Elmer’s Slime.
  • Save on Casper mattresses. 

Cyber Monday deals on smart-home and home-improvement products

While plenty of the Amazon device deals listed above are certainly smart home-oriented, Amazon will have deals on non-Amazon devices, too.

  • Save up to 29% on Netgear Orbi Tri-Band Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System.
  • Save up to 25% on iRobot Roomba 675.
  • Save up to 27% on iRobot 960.
  • Save up to 30% on Black & Decker.
  • Save up to 20% on select DeWalt best sellers.
  • Save 15% on NewAir Dual Zone beverage cooler.
  • Save on Emerson Smart Thermostat and Echo Dot Bundle.
  • Save up to 30% on Hunter ceiling fans.
  • Save up to 15% on GE Profile ice maker.
  • Save 35% on Dremel Rotary Bundle.
  • Save up to 44% on Gearwrench tools.
  • Save up to 30% on August Home smart locks. 

We’ll be following up and highlighting the best deals once these actually start going on sale over the next few days. Stay tuned.

Charles Schwab To Buy TD Ameritrade, Creating Brokerage Behemoth – NPR

Brokerage giant Charles Schwab said Monday it will acquire competitor TD Ameritrade in an all-stock transaction valued at $26 billion. A Schwab office in Oakland, Calif., is seen here.

Paul Sakuma/AP

hide caption

toggle caption

Paul Sakuma/AP

Brokerage giant Charles Schwab said Monday it will acquire competitor TD Ameritrade in an all-stock transaction valued at $26 billion. A Schwab office in Oakland, Calif., is seen here.

Paul Sakuma/AP

Two of the country’s largest brokerage firms will become one, with Charles Schwab Corp.’s announcement that it is acquiring rival TD Ameritrade. Together, the firms will hold more than $5 trillion in client assets and 24 million brokerage accounts.

The deal is an all-stock transaction valued at $26 billion, and it marks a major indication of the changes rippling through the financial services market as fees drop to zero. Schwab announced last month that it would eliminate commissions on online trades of U.S. stocks and exchange-traded funds, leading other major brokerages to do the same.

The merger of the two companies, which are among NPR’s financial supporters, may herald further consolidation in the industry and will likely attract antitrust scrutiny. Schwab already is thought to control nearly half the market for money managed by registered investment advisers, and TD Ameritrade holds a further 15% to 20%, according to analyst Kyle Voigt at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.

Their integration could yield Schwab a long-term increase of more than 25% per share, Voigt told The Associated Press.

For the average investor, the differences might not be significant. Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger said in a conference call Monday that the merger is good news for investors. “Our view is that this is a great deal for the consumer,” he said, according to Bloomberg. “We’ve been doing nothing but driving costs down for decades.”

But the deal will have a major effect on investment advisers, perhaps negatively, as it could result in fewer options and lesser service.

“The adviser community is not particularly upbeat about this news,” Michael Kitces, a partner and the director of wealth management at Pinnacle Advisory Group, told The Wall Street Journal. “There’s not a lot of upside that’s visible to them.”

Schwab says the integration will allow it to scale up and lower its operating expenses. One way it will do that is by eliminating jobs: “The majority of positions that will be eliminated will be determined based on overlapping and duplicative roles,” the company said.

The newly combined company will eventually be headquartered at Schwab’s new campus outside Dallas. Schwab said it will continue to have a significant presence in San Francisco, where it was founded in 1971, becoming one of the pioneering discount brokerages. TD Ameritrade, which is based in Omaha, Neb., said it would call off its search for a new CEO.

The integration is expected to take 18 to 36 months.

Warnings, Wariness Mingle With Joy After Hong Kongs Pro-Democracy Landslide – NPR

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam addresses the media after casting her vote during Sunday’s district council elections. After results showed a landslide victory for pro-democracy candidates, Lam said she would listen “humbly” to the will of the voters.

Ye Aung Thu/AFP via Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

Ye Aung Thu/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam addresses the media after casting her vote during Sunday’s district council elections. After results showed a landslide victory for pro-democracy candidates, Lam said she would listen “humbly” to the will of the voters.

Ye Aung Thu/AFP via Getty Images

Just a day after Hong Kongers cast ballots overwhelmingly for pro-democracy candidates, handing them control of 17 of the region’s 18 district councils, authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing have taken markedly different tacks in responding to the landslide.

Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, adopted a conciliatory tone. She pledged to respect the election’s results, which represented a veritable drubbing of her preferred slate of candidates. After months of massive protests, voters turned out in record numbers and give pan-democratic, or pro-democracy, candidates more than three-quarters of the total 452 district council seats.

“There are various analyses and interpretations in the community in relation to the results, and quite a few are of the view that the results reflect people’s dissatisfaction with the current situation and the deep-seated problems in society,” Lam said in a statement released online Monday.

Her government, she added, “will listen to the opinions of members of the public humbly and seriously reflect.”

Lam, who won election in 2017 on the strength of Beijing’s backing, has found herself at the center of a maelstrom since her government introduced a bill that effectively would have allowed extradition of criminal suspects to mainland China. Critics feared the measure would give the country more control over Hong Kong, which has enjoyed semiautonomy since it was transferred from the U.K. to China in 1997.

That bill formally died last month under intense popular pressure, but the popular pressure did not die with it. Since then, protesters have continued to swarm the streets with demands for direct elections of the chief executive and independent investigations into alleged police violence.

Chinese officials, for their part, reacted more tersely than their ally in the chief executive’s office. At a briefing Monday, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry did not mention the results, instead choosing to reassert Beijing’s sway over Hong Kong’s governance.

“The most pressing task for Hong Kong at the moment is stopping violence and restoring order. As Hong Kong is part of China, its affairs are purely domestic affairs. China is determined in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests,” Geng Shuang said.

“We are determined in implementing the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ and in opposing external interference in Hong Kong affairs,” he added.

People raise their mobile phones during a demonstration Monday evening local time, near an area cordoned off by police in Hong Kong.

Dale de la Rey/AFP via Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

Dale de la Rey/AFP via Getty Images

People raise their mobile phones during a demonstration Monday evening local time, near an area cordoned off by police in Hong Kong.

Dale de la Rey/AFP via Getty Images

Back in Hong Kong, anti-government demonstrators celebrated Sunday night. But their elation, for the most part, was tempered by concern for protesters who remained holed up on the campus of a local university. For more than a week, a group of students, activists and first-aid volunteers has been barricaded in Hong Kong Polytechnic University while security forces have laid siege outside.

The contingent of occupiers, which numbered in the hundreds to begin with, reportedly has dwindled to just a handful. Several of the newly elected councilors negotiated their way past the barricade on Monday to try to help mediate an end to the standoff, while demonstrators gathered once more outside the university’s gates to express solidarity and press for a peaceful resolution.

For the protesters, there was another reason to rein in their joy: For all the symbolic significance of Sunday’s elections, it is unclear just how much change can be expected from the electoral victory.

District councils in Hong Kong are responsible primarily for hyperlocal concerns, such as bus routes, pothole repairs and garbage collection. The authority to effect the kinds of sweeping democratic changes that protesters are demanding largely rests elsewhere — in the chief executive’s residence and the halls of power in Beijing.

Still, the newly elected councilors aren’t entirely bereft of ways to make their weight felt. District councilors represent a sizable chunk of the Election Committee, the roughly 1,200-member body of politicians and business figures responsible for deciding the chief executive.

In that respect, some have suggested, the newly elected pan-democrats might have a chance to play kingmaker in the next chief executive election, expected in 2022.

Defense Secretary Says Trump Ordered Him To Let Eddie Gallagher Retire As Navy SEAL – NPR

Defense Secretary Mark Esper, pictured in October, told reporters at the Defense Department on Monday that President Trump ordered him to ensure that Eddie Gallagher retained his Navy SEAL Trident pin.

Virginia Mayo/AP

hide caption

toggle caption

Virginia Mayo/AP

Defense Secretary Mark Esper, pictured in October, told reporters at the Defense Department on Monday that President Trump ordered him to ensure that Eddie Gallagher retained his Navy SEAL Trident pin.

Virginia Mayo/AP

President Trump has repeatedly intervened on behalf of the Navy SEAL recently convicted of misconduct. And Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Trump did it again over the weekend, directly ordering him to allow Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher to retire as a SEAL.

“I spoke with the president on Sunday. He gave me the order that Eddie Gallagher will retain his Trident pin,” Esper told reporters on Monday at the Defense Department, referring to the insignia designating Gallagher as a member of the elite commando force.

The order from the commander in chief effectively put an end to proceedings by a Trident review board that were called by the commander of Navy special warfare, Rear Adm. Collin Green. The panel was charged with deciding whether Gallagher and three of his supervising officers were fit for duty. In Gallagher’s case, the board was set to convene next week.

On Monday, Esper also reiterated his reasons for asking Navy Secretary Richard Spencer to tender his resignation on Sunday. He accused Spencer of circumventing the appropriate channels, including Esper himself, to engage in direct negotiations with the White House to allow Gallagher to remain a SEAL. Meanwhile, Spencer was saying publicly that the Trident review board process should be allowed to play out.

“This proposal was completely contrary to what we agreed to and contrary to Secretary Spencer’s public position,” Esper said, adding that he was “completely caught off guard by this information and realized that it had undermined everything we had been discussing with the president.”

Esper tried to undo the perception that Spencer’s dismissal was tied to the specifics of Gallagher’s case, saying instead that it was over the chain of command.

The standoff between the commander in chief and the Navy’s top brass began even before Gallagher’s court-martial trial over the summer. Gallagher, who served multiple tours in Iraq, was accused of a slew of crimes, including the murder of a wounded Islamic State prisoner. In the end, he was acquitted of all but one charge — posing with a dead detainee. Part of his sentence included a demotion to the lower rank of petty officer first class.

Trump subsequently overturned that decision, commanding the Navy to promote Gallagher back to chief petty officer.

Green’s decision to initiate a review of Gallagher’s fitness as a SEAL was seen as a rebuke of the president’s order.

In his resignation letter, Spencer suggested that his dismissal was indeed connected to Gallagher’s review rather than any communication back channels.

“Unfortunately it has become apparent that in this respect, I no longer share the same understanding with the Commander in Chief who appointed me, in regards to the key principle of good order and discipline,” Spencer wrote. “I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

On Sunday, Trump also linked Spencer’s ouster to Gallagher. “I was not pleased with the way that Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s trial was handled by the Navy. He was treated very badly but, despite this, was completely exonerated on all major charges. I then restored Eddie’s rank,” the president tweeted.

Then he introduced another reason for pushing Spencer out: “Large cost overruns from past administration’s … contracting procedures were not addressed to my satisfaction.”

The president added that he would nominate Kenneth Braithwaite as the next Navy secretary. “A man of great achievement and success, I know Ken will do an outstanding job!” Trump said.

Gallagher’s attorney, Timothy Parlatore, told the Navy Times that neither he nor his client foresaw such fallout. “With this personnel change, this institution will improve and no one will go through the ordeal Eddie went through. At the end of the day, the most important duty any of us have is protecting America,” Parlatore said.

“This case is completely bananas,” he added.

Gallagher said he is “overjoyed” that the president stepped in on his behalf once again. In an interview on Fox & Friends that aired Sunday morning, Gallagher name-checked Green and Spencer.

“This is all about ego and retaliation. This has nothing to do with good order and discipline. They could have taken my Trident at any time they wanted. Now they’re trying to take it after the president restored my rank,” Gallagher said.

It is unclear where the events of the last few days leave the Trident review board proceedings for Gallagher’s three supervising officers: Lt. Jacob Portier, Lt. Cmdr. Robert Breisch and Lt. Thomas MacNeil.

%d bloggers like this: