Pompeo says Hong Kong no longer autonomous from China » Secretary of State of Mike Pompeo notified Congress on Wednesday that in the eyes of the Trump administration, Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from mainland China.
That after the Chinese government announced plans to bypass Hong Kong lawmakers and impose a so-called national security law in the territory. The law will allow Beijing to further crack down on liberties in Hong Kong.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said President Trump was disturbed by China’s power grab.
MCENANY: He said to me that he’s displeased with China’s efforts and that it’s hard to see how Hong Kong can remain a financial hub if China takes over.
Wednesday’s notice sets the stage for the United States to withdraw preferential trade and financial status that the former British colony has enjoyed since reverting to Chinese rule in 1997.
Meantime, in Hong Kong, armed police massed outside the legislature Wednesday clashed with protesters.
AUDIO: [Sound of protest]
Demonstrators were rallying against a bill that would criminalize the abuse of the Chinese national anthem.
AUDIO: [Sound of protest]
Police arrested at least 16 people on charges of possessing items fit for unlawful purposes, like gasoline bombs and screwdrivers.
Trump administration ends Iran sanctions waivers » Also on Wednesday, the Trump administration announced that it’s ending nearly all of the remaining sanctions relief provided under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Pompeo said the United States would revoke all but one of the sanctions waivers covering civil nuclear cooperation. They allow foreign companies to do work at some of Iran’s declared nuclear sites without becoming subject to U.S. sanctions.
Secretary Pompeo noted that Iran has admitted to activities that are in violation of the deal.
The revocations will give foreign companies 60 days to wind down their operations.
Supporters of the waivers say they give international experts a valuable window into Iran’s atomic program. But critics say all they do is give Iran access to technology that could be used for weapons.
Trump takes aim at Twitter after platform adds selective fact check warnings to tweets » President Trump took aim at Twitter and other social media platforms on Wednesday after Twitter added a fact check warning link to the bottom of his tweets.
Trump wrote—quote—“Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!” WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: On Tuesday, the president tweeted that mail-in voting would produce forgery and fraud and would lead to a “rigged” election in November.
Underneath two Trump tweets on the subject, Twitter placed a blue exclamation point next to a link that said “Get the facts about mail-in ballots.”
That link leads to a page that calls Trump’s claims “unsubstantiated” and adds that “experts say mail-in ballots are very rarely linked to voter fraud.” The page names CNN and the Washington Post as sources and includes a series of tweets condemning the president’s claims.
Trump shot back on Wednesday. He said social media platforms are trying to influence the 2020 election and silence conservative voices. And he added that Republicans could “strongly regulate” or “close down” social media platforms that restrict conservative speech.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Violent protests break out over Minneapolis man’s death » Violent protests over the death of a black man in police custody broke out in Minneapolis for a second straight night Wednesday.
While many demonstrated peacefully, some destroyed police cars, smashed store windows, set fires, and looted local businesses.
AUDIO: [Sound of protests]
Hundreds of people grabbed whatever they could carry from a local Target department store.
As darkness fell, fire erupted in an auto parts store.
Officers could be seen surrounding the nearby precinct, not attempting to intervene in the looting. Earlier, some protesters clashed with officers, who fired rubber bullets and tear gas.
The violence followed the death Monday night of 46-year-old George Floyd. A cell phone video showed an officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost eight minutes as he eventually became unresponsive.
Weather forces scrub of Space X launch » T-minus two days and counting. NASA and Space X now hope to launch two American astronauts into orbit on Saturday.
Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken were supposed to blast off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center just after 4:30 p.m. yesterday, but the weather didn’t cooperate.
AUDIO: Hey Dragon Space X, unfortunately, we are not going to o launch today. You are go for 5.100 launch scrub. 5.100, it was a good effort by the teams, and we understand and we’ll meet you there. Copy out.
Officials made the call about 15 minutes before the scheduled launch.
Everything else appeared to go smoothly. There were no technical problems with the Falcon 9 rocket or the crew’s Dragon capsule. They’ll hope for better weather a little after 3:20 p.m. on Saturday.
Boeing slashes workforce as coronavirus curbs air travel » Boeing is cutting more than 12,000 jobs as coronavirus shutdowns seize the travel industry. WORLD’s Leigh Jones has that story.
LEIGH JONES, REPORTER: Boeing said Wednesday that it will lay off nearly 7,000 U.S. employees this week. Another 5,500 workers are taking buyout offers.
The aircraft manufacturer said it would cut 10 percent of a workforce that numbered about 160,000. That means it will cut several thousand more jobs over the next few months.
Most of the layoffs are expected to be concentrated in the Seattle area, home to Boeing’s commercial-airplane business.
U.S. air travel tumbled 96 percent by mid-April and has recovered only slightly.
The company is now leaning heavily on its defense and space division, which has remained relatively stable.
CEO David Calhoun warned that Boeing will have to adjust business plans constantly because it’s hard to predict the future impact of the pandemic.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leigh Jones.