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Asian shares mixed on jitters over Hong Kong protests
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Asian shares mixed on jitters over Hong Kong protests

Asian shares mixed on jitters over Hong Kong protests
Photo Credit: KOSPI
A currency trader talks on the phone near the screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), left, and the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and South Korean won at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, June 13, 2019. Asian stocks were mixed on Thursday as protesters in Hong Kong vowed to keep opposing a proposed extradition bill they fear would whittle down the territory’s legal autonomy. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Asian shares mixed on jitters over Hong Kong protests

Asian stocks were mixed on Thursday as protesters in Hong Kong vowed to keep opposing a proposed extradition bill they fear would whittle down the Chinese territory's legal autonomy.

The protests threaten to shake confidence in the hub for many regional and international businesses and investors. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gave up 0.5% to 27,163.46, extending its losses after closing down 1.7% on Wednesday.

The Shanghai Composite index added 0.1% to 2,912.47 while South Korea's Kospi lost 0.8% to 2,092.11. Japan's Nikkei 225 index lost 0.8% to 20,958.25. Australia's S&P ASX 200 picked up 0.1% to 6,550.10 after the release of better-than-expected jobs data. Shares fell in Taiwan and throughout Southeast Asia.

On Wednesday, thousands of protesters clashed with police and were confronted with rounds of tear gas as they demonstrated on the streets of Hong Kong. At least 72 people were brought to hospitals, with two in serious condition, the Hong Kong Hospital Authority said.

They obstructed the flow of traffic and delayed a debate on a bill that would allow criminal suspects in Hong Kong to be sent for trial in mainland China. Protesters fear this would allow Beijing to tighten its grip over Hong Kong, which was promised the right to maintain its own political, economic and social institutions for 50 years following the British handover in 1997.

Traffic was restored Thursday but students and civil rights activists have pledged to keep protesting the legislation.

"The Hong Kong crisis could continue to escalate in the coming days and should weigh on risk appetite. Trade deal updates could fall to the second page of papers, but eventually we could see Chinese politics blend together," Edward Moya of OANDA said in a market commentary.

President Donald Trump has said he expects to meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka later this month. But he said he's prepared to expand existing tariffs if a deal with Beijing falls through. Representatives from both countries have had 11 rounds of trade talks but have yet to ink an agreement.

Wall Street suffered its second straight loss on Wednesday as bank and technology companies slid. Investors were worried that a trade dispute between the world's two largest economies would drag on for longer than expected.

The S&P 500 index eased 0.2% to 2,879.84 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average also fell 0.2% to 26,004.83. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite dropped 0.4% to 7,792.72. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks edged up less than 0.1% to 1,519.79.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 9 cents to $51.05 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It shed $2.13 to $51.14 per barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, fell 7 cents to $59.90 per barrel. The contract lost $2.32 to $59.97 per barrel in the previous session.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 108.32 Japanese yen from 108.50 yen late Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.1293 from $1.1288.

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A man is facing several charges after police said he dragged an officer during a traffic stop, reaching 60 miles per hour. The video shows officer John Murphy with the Orlando Police Department speaking with Zavier Askew during a traffic stop near College Drive and Willie Mays Parkway. Officer Murphy initially pulled Askew over on May 9, 2019 for an expired tag.  The officer later asks Askew to to get out of the vehicle and pats him down after having him stand by his patrol car. Murphy then searches the glove compartment inside the vehicle and allegedly discovers 'a large vacuum seal bag of pot.' Vials of cannabis oil, a scale and multiple baggies were also allegedly found. As Murphy walks back to Askew, the video then allegedly shows Askew run back to the car, jumping in the drivers seat and accelerating, dragging Murphy with him. 'Dude you're killing me,' the officer can be heard saying as his legs were being dragged outside the vehicle. 'Stop! This is attempted murder!'  A minute into the drive, Askew finally stops and is placed in handcuffs. 'I'm bleeding I think,' Murphy can be heard saying. 'You almost killed me.' App users click here to see the video. Another officer arrives as backup and to help with the arrest. Askew faces six charges, including attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.  He is being held at the Orange County Jail on no bond. 
  • Deputies from the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office in Alabama found what they call a  caged ‘attack squirrel’ during a raid on a suspected drug house. Officials believe two suspects who lived in the home fed the animal meth to keep it aggressive. A video shows the long tailed guy jumping around his cage while the deputy reports in saying “I’m dodging a crazy squirrel right now.” Animal control was called in to assist and ultimately decided the squirrel should be released into the wild. They were not able to test it for meth consumption prior to its release, citing safety concerns. This may give new meaning to the term “Wild animal.” App users click here to see the video. One  suspect who lived in the home was arrested, a second man fled the scene.  Officials reported they recovered other drugs, body armor and ammunition from the home.
  • A Missouri man who pleaded guilty to molesting an 11-year-old girl will not be going to prison, a judge decided last week. According to the Jefferson City News Tribune, Judge Calvin Holden on Friday sentenced Joseph Meili, 22, of Russellville, to five years of supervised probation after Meili pleaded guilty to a third-degree child molestation charge. Authorities said Meili sexually assaulted the girl at a Springfield apartment in July 2017 after the pair met on a dating app, the News Tribune reported. >> Read more trending news During the incident, police were looking for the child, who had been reported missing, authorities said. She was found after she returned to her Republic home to pack a bag, according to the Springfield News-Leader. The girl told investigators that she had fallen asleep while she was with Meili, the News Tribune reported. When she woke up, she felt like a sexual encounter had occurred, she told authorities. The girl later told police that she and Meili had had sex, HuffPost reported. A test also confirmed that the child had chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease, authorities said. Meili, who initially was arrested on kidnapping, statutory rape and statutory sodomy charges, said the girl's dating profile said she was 18, the News-Leader reported. Those charges were dropped as part of Meili's plea deal. Meili's attorney, Scott Pierson, said the girl had 'essentially catfished' his client by lying about her age, according to the News-Leader. 'He felt horrible about the entire incident,' Pierson told HuffPost of Meili, who is now a registered sex offender. But Elizabeth Fax, an attorney with the Greene County Prosecutor's Office, was skeptical. 'I think dating apps make it easier to get into these types of situations, to be sure, but to actually see her in person. ... He knew and just decided to go along with it anyway,' Fax told HuffPost.
  • Video posted on youtube by Laura Loomer shows a man in a F-trump t-shirt being cuffed and frisked by Orlando police Tuesday, after he allegedly assaulted a Trump supporter who was waiting in line outside the Amway Center. The video was taken by Illoominate Media reporter, Jacob Engels who can be heard saying “plenty of witnesses saw you kick the other person.” Another witness can be heard saying  “ It’s not funny now, huh?” App users click here to watch the video.  Thousands of people crowded into downtown Orlando to support the presidents re-election bid or to protest the event. Most were peaceful. 
  • A convicted rapist was released from jail on the promise he’d return to Mexico, but instead attacked his victim, who uses a wheelchair, again three days after his release, according to deputies in Washington state. Now, he’s on the run again, authorities said.  King County sheriff’s deputies are asking for the public’s help finding 35-year-old Francisco Carranza-Ramirez. He’s listed in court documents as a 5-foot-8, 140-pound white male with brown eyes and black hair. >> Read more trending news Carranza-Ramirez was released from jail on June 13 in the rape case from September 2018.  The defense asked the court to not impose community custody because he wanted to return to Mexico. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office recommended community custody – meaning Carranza-Ramirez would still be released with conditions.  King County Superior Court Judge Nicole A. Gaines Phelps agreed to let him go with credit for time served and no community custody, as long as Carranza-Ramirez would provide proof that he returned to Mexico. A review hearing for the conditions of his release was scheduled for June 25.  As part of his June 13 guilty plea in the rape case, Carranza-Ramirez was the subject of a sexual assault protection order to keep him away from the victim for five years.  Carranza-Ramirez violated the protection order by being within 1,000 feet of the victim two days after his release, deputies said.  “The following day, the suspect assaulted the victim, knocking her out of her wheelchair, strangled her and threatened to kill her,” Sgt. Ryan Abbott said in a statement.  Deputies arrived at the scene but said Carranza-Ramirez fled and was not located.  Detectives said they believe he is in the White Center area and is homeless. On Tuesday, prosecutors filed charges of second-degree assault , felony harassment, intimidating a witness and violation of a sexual assault protection order against Carranza-Ramirez.  Anyone with information on Carranza-Ramirez’s location is asked to call 911.

Washington Insider

  • Even as President Donald Trump and top Republicans in Congress call on Democratic leaders in the U.S. House to allow a vote on a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada, the President's top trade negotiator told Senators on Tuesday that there's still no set date for when the agreement would be submitted to the Congress 'I believe we're on track, I believe we are making progress,' said United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Asked by a GOP Senator about discussions with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Lighthizer gave no public hint about any problems. 'My hope is that over the course of the next several weeks, that we can make substantial progress,' Lighthizer added, as he said talks with Pelosi had been 'constructive.' Democrats have been pressing the Trump Administration over the enforcement of new labor reforms in Mexico, worried that the government won't adequately enforce the changes. Asked by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) when to expect a vote in Congress, Lighthizer gave no concrete date - as the trade agreement has not yet been formally submitted to the Congress. At a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, Lighthizer faced some verbal slings and arrows from both parties about the President's trade policies. 'I do not agree that tariffs should be the tool we use in every instance to achieve our trade policy goals,' said Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA). 'China's market is now more closed off to American goods and American agriculture than before the trade war began,' said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), as he complained about the impact of the President's tweets on trade policy. For the most part, Lighthizer did not engage in pitched battles with Democrats over trade matters, repeatedly stressing common ground over trade disputes with China and final talks over the USMCA trade deal. As for China, Lighthizer made clear that President Trump isn't bluffing when it comes to additional tariffs on Chinese goods, acknowledging to Senators that the next round could have a bigger impact, to include items like laptop computers and cell phones. Lighthizer could have a somewhat more partisan reception on Wednesday, when he testifies on the same issues before the House Ways and Means Committee.