Monday morning news: August 19, 2019

Protesters stage massive demonstration in Hong Kong » Hong Kong streets turned into rivers of umbrellas on Sunday. Hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy protesters marched through heavy rain down a major road in the Chinese territory. Organizers said at least 1.7 million people participated.

WORLD East Asia reporter June Cheng was on the ground and one protester told her that Hong Kong’s government doesn’t seem to be listening. 

AUDIO: They insist not to reply to what we want. And the most important point is what the Hong Kong police has done. They do everything very brutally. So we need to show to the whole world that we are united and will invest to fight for freedom. 

Sunday’s assembly was peaceful, with no reports of violent clashes with police—as in other recent demonstrations. 

Protest organizer Bonnie Leung said the Hong Kong people have always been peaceful. 

LEUNG: It was the government’s ignorance and the arrogance that made a lot of young protesters feel they had no other ways to protest except to do more radical actions. 

Police kept a low profile, with no riot police visible along the procession’s main routes. 

At least 63 dead after terrorist attack in Afghanistan » At least 63 people are dead and nearly 200 others wounded after a terrorist attack at a wedding in Afghanistan. 

A suicide bomber stood in the middle of the dancing, clapping crowd as he blew himself up. ISIS has claimed responsibility. It was the deadliest attack in the capital this year.

The attack came amid peace talks between the Taliban and the United States. The Taliban condemned the attack. 

Senator Lindsey Graham said Sunday that ongoing violence underscores the threat that terrorists could once again use Afghanistan as a staging ground for global attacks. 

GRAHAM: I would invite every member of the United States Senate and the House to look at the intel assessment as to what would happen to America if we pulled the plug on Afghanistan, if we did not have a counterterrorism force. It is ominous to the homeland. 

He said any peace deal must guarantee the ability of the U.S. “to have a counterterrorism force” in Afghanistan “with intel capability as long as conditions on the ground warrant.” 

Security lockdown continues in Kashmir » The Indian government is still clamping down on large areas of Kashmir. The government said it was gradually restoring phone lines and easing a security lockdown that’s been in place for nearly two weeks. But one resident said he hasn’t seen any sign of that, as phone and internet are still out and that’s not the only problem. 

AHMAD: We don’t have medicine, medicines, food problem is there. We are, we are just like animals. 

In the region’s main city, Srinagar, soldiers still manned nearly deserted streets on Sunday.

The security crackdown and a news blackout followed an August 5th decision by India’s Hindu nationalist government to downgrade the Muslim-majority region’s autonomy. 

Authorities said they began easing restrictions on Saturday. But the government reportedly re-imposed restrictions in some areas after reports of violence. 

Former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco dies » Former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco has died. The Democrat served in state government offices for more than two decades. And she became the state’s first female elected governor, but saw her political career derailed by Hurricane Katrina. 

Blanco had a rare eye cancer that she battled successfully in 2011, but that later returned and spread to her liver. 

Governor John Bel Edwards’ office confirmed Blanco died Sunday in hospice care in Lafayette. She was 76.

Disney sets new box office record for billion-dollar movies » At the weekend box office the R-rated Good Boys took the top spot with $21 million—bumping Hobbs and Shaw to second place with another $14 million. 

But it’s Disney grabbing the headlines today. Toy Story 4 just crossed the $1 billion mark… 

AUDIO: Forky is the most important toy to Bonnie right now. We all have to make sure nothing happens to him. Woody, we have a situation.

And with that, Disney just set a new record—becoming the first studio ever with five movies grossing more than a billion dollars each in the same year. 

The other four are Avengers: Endgame, The Lion King, Captain Marvel and Aladdin.

(AP Photo/Vincent Thian) Protesters march in the rain in Hong Kong Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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