Tuesday morning news: August 6, 2019

Death toll rises in El Paso shooting » The death toll from Saturday’s shooting in El Paso, Texas has risen to 22. 

Dr. Stephen Flaherty at Del Sol Medical Center made the announcement Monday. 

FLAHERTY: We are deeply saddened to be here today to have to tell you that two patients have passed. 

Doctors at Del Sol are treating many of the wounded. Hospital CEO David Shrimp briefed reporters on the conditions of survivors. 

SHRIMP: Two of the patients have been discharged. One patient has been transferred to another local hospital. Five remain in stable condition and one remains in critical condition. 

And many remain hospitalized in Dayton, Ohio, after another mass shooting there early Sunday morning. Nine people died in that attack. 

President condemns hatred, violence in wake of shootings » On Monday President Trump addressed the tragedies from the White House. 

TRUMP: The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online consumed by racist hate. In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. 

The president said he’s directing the Justice Department to propose legislation “ensuring that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty.” 

He also denounced what he called “the glorification of violence in our society,” including “gruesome” video games. And he called on Congress to reform mental health laws. 

TRUMP: Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun. 

Also on Monday, GOP Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal announced a bipartisan plan. They’re calling for a federal grant program to help states that adopt “red flag” laws to take guns away from people believed to pose a threat. A similar bill last year never came up for a vote in the Senate.

Stocks plunge as China trade war escalates » The Treasury Department labeled China as a currency manipulator on Monday—the first time it’s done so in 25 years. 

That came after China let its currency—the yuan—drop to its lowest level against the dollar in more than a decade. 

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the United States “will engage with the International Monetary Fund to eliminate the unfair competitive advantage created by China’s latest actions.”

One day earlier, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said they’ve come to expect this from China. 

NAVARRO: China has strategically gamed the tariffs by slashing their prices and by devaluing their currency. Since the tariffs were put in place back in 2018, the Chinese Yuan fell by almost 10 percent.  

China is also halting purchases of U.S. farm products. 

The moves follow President Trump’s tweets last week threatening tariffs on another $300 billion of Chinese goods.

The worsening trade war hit markets hard on Monday. Stocks plunged to their worst loss of the year.

Puerto Ricans debate legitimacy of leader » Puerto Rico’s outgoing governor swore in his replacement last week, but some government officials say the new governor is illegitimate. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The now former Governor of Puerto Rico Ricardo Rosselló swore in Pedro Pierluisi to replace him. But not without some constitutional gymnastics. 

The Puerto Rican Constitution says the secretary of state takes over if the governor resigns. The problem was the secretary of state also recently resigned amid the same scandal that took down the governor. 

So before leaving office, Rosselló had to rush Pierluisi’s appointment and confirmation to the position. The House has confirmed him, but the Senate has not. It postponed a vote until this week. 

But Rosselló, citing a law about recess appointments, said the House confirmation was enough. 

The president of the Senate disagreed and filed a lawsuit on Sunday seeking to oust Pierluisi from the office. 

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Strike and protests cause gridlock in Hong Kong » A general strike in Hong Kong descended into mayhem on Monday. Defiant protesters started fires outside police stations and hurled bricks and eggs at officers. And police once again responded by firing tear gas and rubber bullets. 

AUDIO: [Sound of protests in Hong Kong] 

Monday’s strike caused gridlock in the city. Demonstrators blocked streets and train stations. The strike also forced the airport to cancel more than 200 flights. 

In one district, a mob of men threw wooden poles at the protesters, who retaliated with traffic cones and rods. Riot police arrested at least 82 people by early evening.

This marks the ninth consecutive week of anti-government protests that began in opposition to a bill on extradition to China. Protesters continue to call for Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to step down. But Lam says she does not plan to resign.

India downgrades Kashmir’s autonomy » India’s Hindu-majority government on Monday issued a decree revoking the special autonomy status of Muslim-majority Kashmir. WORLD Radio’s Paul Butler has that story. 

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: Kashmir has operated with an independent constitution—except on issues of defense, communications, and foreign affairs. The law also forbids Indians outside the state from permanently settling, buying land, or holding local government jobs.

The changes will require the approval of the Parliament of India.

Fearing the action could lead to uprisings, authorities cut off internet and cellphone service in Kashmir. They also shut down schools, banned public meetings and deployed thousands of troops in the region. 

Revoking Kashmir’s special status is angering Pakistan, which disputes India’s claim on parts of the territory. 

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Paul Butler. 

Britain joins U.S. Strait of Hormuz mission » Britain announced on Monday that it will join a U.S.-led naval security mission in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran’s seizure of merchant vessels in the region has ratcheted up tensions with the West. 

Britain’s Defense Ministry said the Royal Navy will work alongside the U.S. Navy to escort vessels through the Strait of Hormuz, which sits at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. It’s a critical shipping channel for one-fifth of all global crude exports.

Britain has made clear its presence in the Persian Gulf is separate from Washington’s maximum pressure campaign against Iran. The UK is among the European powers still trying to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal.

(Mark Lambie/The El Paso Times via AP) Crosses bear the names of the people killed at a Walmart Saturday during a memorial Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. 

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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