In our news wrap Friday, authorities in Hong Kong moved to head off new pro-democracy protests, denying permission for a planned major march. But two veteran activists who had been arrested were released, vowing to “continue to fight.” Also, Australian officials lowered the outlook for the health of the Great Barrier Reef to “very poor,” saying warming oceans and other factors are killing coral.
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In the day's other news: Another U.S. service member has been killed in combat in Afghanistan. NATO reported the death today, but gave no details. It came amid reports that the U.S. and the Taliban may be nearing a peace agreement. Some 14,000 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan, providing air cover and support for Afghan forces.
Authorities in Hong Kong moved today to head off new pro-democracy protests. They denied permission for a major march scheduled for tomorrow. It would have marked five years since mainland China barred democratic elections for Hong Kong's chief executive.
Meanwhile, two veteran activists were arrested, and then released on bail. They vowed to fight for the self-determination of Hong Kong.
We shall not surrender. And I urge international communities to send a clear message to President Xi. Sending troops or using emergency ordinance is not the way out. We will continue our fight, no matter how they arrest and prosecute us.
Hong Kong's police chief warned of jail time for anyone who is caught at non-sanctioned rallies this weekend.
Iran is still building up a stockpile of enriched uranium, violating the 2015 nuclear agreement. That word comes from the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency. It also says that Iran continues to enrich uranium at a higher level than allowed.
Tehran announced earlier this summer that it would begin violating parts of the nuclear agreement after the U.S. quit the deal last year.
In Australia, officials today lowered the outlook for the health of the Great Barrier Reef to very poor. Environment Minister Sussan Ley said warming oceans and other factors are killing the corals that make up the reef.
This reef has suffered in the last few years six cyclones, two major coral-bleaching events, and various attacks by the predator crown-of-thorns starfish. So, unsurprisingly, the outlook is that the condition has deteriorated. And the report calls out the biggest threat to the reef, which is climate change.
The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system.
Back in this country, the Democratic Party effectively canceled plans for virtual caucuses in Iowa and Nevada, letting people vote by phone in 2020. But national party leaders said the system could be vulnerable to hacking.
And on the Republican side, Illinois Congressman John Shimkus announced that he will retire. He is the 14th House Republican not running again next year, compared with nearly 40 in the 2018 midterms.
The official account of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was hacked today, sending out vulgar and racist tweets. Twitter quickly deleted the posts and said it's investigating. The incident may be related to Twitter's promise to crack down on hate speech.
Ford is recalling more than 550,000 trucks and SUVs over potentially faulty seat backs. They could fail to hold passengers in place in a crash. The recall includes F-150 pickups, Super Duty trucks, Explorers and Expeditions from model years 2018 to 2020.
Wall Street had a quiet day headed into the long Labor Day weekend. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 41 points to close at 26403. The Nasdaq fell 10 points, and the S&P 500 added about two points.
And a passing to note. Former Dallas Police Detective Jim Leavelle has died. He became part of history two days after President Kennedy's assassination in November 1963. Leavelle was at the police station in the light-colored suit, escorting the man who killed Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald, at the moment that Oswald was fatally shot by nightclub owner Jack Ruby.
In later years, Leavelle spoke about his experience and he rejected all conspiracy theories about the assassination.
Jim Leavelle was 99 years old.