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News Wrap: Parts of Hong Kong paralyzed as protesters, police clash

In our news wrap Wednesday, another wave of anti-government demonstrations paralyzed parts of Hong Kong. Black-clad protesters descended on the streets of a busy shopping district, and riot police used tear gas to disperse crowds. Also, protests erupted in India’s capital city over a controversial new citizenship law. Activists accused the government of violating the secular constitution.

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  • Amna Nawaz:

    Yet another wave of anti-government demonstrations paralyzed parts of Hong Kong on this Christmas Day.

    Black-clad protesters descended on the streets of a busy shopping district. Riot police used tear gas to disperse crowds. Meanwhile, hundreds marched through malls chanting pro-democracy slogans. The city has been upended by more than six months of unrest against police use of force and mainland China's influence.

    New protests erupted in India's capital today over a controversial new citizenship law. Students, writers and activists gathered at a college campus in New Delhi to denounce the legislation.

    It grants expedited citizenship to migrants illegally in the country, excluding Muslims. Protesters accused the government of violating India's secular constitution.

  • Man:

    India has been shaken. The idea of constitution has been shaken by this government. And when the soul of constitution has been targeted by Indian government, then it has changed in this regime.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Peaceful protests also continued in India's eastern state of Assam.

    We will take a broader look at the recent wave of protests around the world later in the program.

    More than 200,000 Syrians have fled an onslaught of violence in Idlib province in recent weeks. That's according to the Syrian Response Coordination Group, a relief group active in the area. The exodus continued today, as crammed trucks headed north towards the Turkish border. Civilians are being pushed out by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces working to regain control of Syria's last rebel stronghold.

    There was temporary relief in Australia today, as cooler weather slowed down the spread of devastating wildfires. But forecasters warned higher temperatures are expected to return this weekend. About 2,000 firefighters spent this Christmas holiday battling more than 70 fires still burning in New South Wales.

  • Ian Wedge:

    Fire doesn't stop just because it's Christmas. So, some of the crews have to keep working and monitor the fire. Luckily, today, we have got benign weather, and not everybody has to be out here.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    In his annual Christmas address today, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison paid tribute to two firefighters who died last week battling fires southwest of Sydney.

    And this Christmas Day brought a number of celebrations, both solemn and festive, around the world. Christians in Bethlehem sang hymns of worship, while, in Germany, brave swimmers dove into icy waters for their annual Christmas plunge. U.S. troops stationed in South Korea gathered to enjoy a Christmas feast.

    Meanwhile, President Trump and first lady Melania Trump, who are celebrating the holiday in Florida, sent this message to all Americans serving abroad:

  • President Donald Trump:

    We say a special prayer for those military service members stationed far from home. And we renew our hope for peace among nations and joy to the world.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Pope Francis also hoped for peace during his annual Christmas Day message in St. Peter's Square. He spoke to the plight of migrants and refugees, and said the light of Christ was stronger than human suffering.

    The pope also issued a separate statement with the head of the Anglican Church and the former moderator of the Church of Scotland urging South Sudan's rival leaders to form a coalition government early next year.

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