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Hong Kong leader signals end to extradition bill but refuses to quit

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Tuesday signaled the end of a controversial extradition bill that she promoted and then postponed after some of the most violent protests since the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997. In a closely watched press conference, Lam apologized for the turmoil but refused to say the bill would be “withdrawn”, only that it wouldn’t be re-introduced during her time in office if public fears persist. This was the strongest indicator yet that the government was effectively shelving legislation that would allow people to be extradited to mainland China to face trial, even if it…

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“Sing Hallelujah to the Lord” an unlikely anthem of Hong Kong protests

(This June 18 story corrects description in paragraph 13 to show Lam is a pastor, not a Catholic priest.) By Jessie Pang and Marius Zaharia HONG KONG (Reuters) - The Christian hymn “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord” has emerged as the unlikely anthem of Hong Kong’s protests against an extradition bill that have drawn millions of people onto the streets. Protests around the world often develop their own soundtrack, usually songs with lyrics of defiance and solidarity, aiming to keep crowds energized and focused. But the hymn taken up in Hong Kong hardly ticks those boxes. For the past week, the hymn has been heard almost non-stop…

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How Libra, Facebook’s Cryptocurrency, Would Work for You

Facebook and a consortium of 27 partners on Tuesday unveiled Libra, a new cryptocurrency. Their goal? To create a new global money and the foundation for a fresh universe of financial services. That’s a grandiose vision, but what exactly will happen and what will you be able to do with Libra? Here are the basics. What exactly is Libra?Libra is a cryptocurrency that is intended to be sent instantly, and with almost no fees, anywhere in the world. It is built on some of the same principles as Bitcoin. But the aim is for Libra, unlike Bitcoin, to have a stable value, backed up by a basket…

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Trump launches re-election campaign, presents himself as outsider and victim

ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) - President Donald Trump formally launched his 2020 re-election campaign on Tuesday by presenting himself as the same political insurgent who shook up the Washington establishment four years ago and who is now a victim of an attempted ouster by Democrats. At a packed rally at an arena in Orlando, Florida, Trump made clear he would run for re-election as an outsider, just as he did in 2016. Whether he can pull it off remains far from certain as Trump has been in office now for 2-1/2 years. He revisited campaign themes from four years ago, decrying illegal immigration, the news media and his…

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Trump says immigration roundup will start next week

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump repeated on Tuesday that immigration authorities would next week target migrants in the country illegally in large-scale arrests, but still gave no details about the planned action. U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he departs the White House on travel to Orlando, Florida from the White House in Washington, U.S., June 18, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst“They’re going to start next week, and with people coming to our country, and they come in illegally - they have to go out,” he told reporters at the White House before a trip to Florida where he will formally launch his re-election campaign.…

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Google Pledges to Invest $1 Billion to Ease Bay Area Housing Crisis

SAN FRANCISCO — In 1998, Google paid $1,700 a month to rent its first office — half a home, including the garage, in Silicon Valley. What a deal.After two decades of extraordinary growth by tech companies like Google, real estate prices in the area have skyrocketed, fueling a shortage of affordable housing and exacerbating inequality. A small one-bedroom apartment near the company’s current headquarters costs about $3,500 a month.Now Google, saying it wants to be a “good neighbor,” has plans to provide some relief. On Tuesday, it pledged to invest $1 billion in land and money to build homes.The company plans to repurpose at least $750 million…

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BuzzFeed News Is Part of a Union Wave at Digital Media Outlets

Expertise in the language of the internet is part of what has made BuzzFeed a digital giant. Now members of the website’s news staff are using their fluency in digital culture to pressure their employer to come to the bargaining table.The BuzzFeed News Union, which came to life four months ago when the staff decided to join the national News Guild, invoked an online trope in the bio of its Twitter account: “Building a stronger newsroom while staying nimble — get you a union who can do both.” The line is a play on the “get you a man who can do both” meme, which BuzzFeed explained…

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Facebook Plans Global Financial System Based on Cryptocurrency

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook unveiled an ambitious plan on Tuesday to create an alternative financial system that relies on a cryptocurrency that the company has been secretly working on for more than a year.The effort, announced with 27 partners as diverse as Mastercard and Uber, could face immediate skepticism from people who question the usefulness of cryptocurrencies and others who are wary of the power already accumulated by the social media company.The cryptocurrency, called Libra, will also have to overcome concern that Facebook does not effectively protect the private information of its users — a fundamental task for a bank or anyone handling financial transactions.But if the…

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Rockets land near Iraqi base hosting U.S. personnel in Mosul: sources

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A rocket landed near an Iraqi military base hosting U.S. forces in the northern city of Mosul late on Tuesday, an Iraqi military statement said, the second such incident in two days. The statement gave no immediate reports of casualties. It said the rocket fired was a short-range Katyusha missile. Mosul’s military commander said the rocket landed in an open space causing no casualties or damage. He said it was fired from west Mosul, across the Tigris river, and was a “locally made” rocket, without elaborating. Security sources separately told Reuters that two Katyusha rockets had landed on the base. On Monday, three rockets…

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Trump pressures Fed’s Powell: ‘Let’s see what he does’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Tuesday kept up pressure on the head of the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates, following a report that White House lawyers earlier this year explored whether they could legally strip Jerome Powell of the Fed chairmanship. FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell delivers the Federal Reserve’s Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the House Financial Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File PhotoAsked by reporters outside the White House if he wanted to demote Powell, Trump said: “Let’s see what he does.” Trump has repeatedly attacked Powell for raising interest rates, claiming…

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