Breaking news
August 10, 2020

Jimmy Lai, a 72-year-old media tycoon and activist who is a vocal critic of the Chinese Communist Party, was arrested early Monday, accused of colluding with foreign forces, The Washington Post reports.

This is a crime under Hong Kong's new national security law that aims to stifle dissent, and anyone found guilty could receive life in prison. Lai's company, Next Digital, publishes the Apple Daily, a pro-democracy newspaper, and a person familiar with the matter said several company executives were also arrested on Monday, the Post reports.

In a statement, the Hong Kong Police Force said seven men between the ages of 39 and 72 were arrested on suspicion of breaching the security law, but did not release their names. Mark Simon, one of Lai's close aides, said two of Lai's sons were among those arrested.

Lai is from mainland China, and became politically active in the wake of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. He has been calling for greater freedoms and democracy in Hong Kong, and was arrested in February on charges of illegal assembly and intimidation. Catherine Garcia

August 6, 2020

On Thursday night, President Trump issued executive orders banning American people and companies from doing business with the Chinese parent companies of TikTok, a video-sharing app, and WeChat, a messaging app.

The executive orders did not explicitly say what business transactions will be prohibited; the bans go into effect in 45 days, and by that time, the Commerce Secretary must define what exactly is banned, The Associated Press reports.

TikTok is owned by ByteDance, while WeChat is owned by Tencent; neither responded to AP's requests for comment. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called TikTok and WeChat security threats, and earlier Thursday, the Senate voted unanimously in support of a bill banning federal employees from installing TikTok on government-issued devices.

TikTok has a separate U.S. enterprise, and has said it does not store American user data in China. WeChat has also denied sharing data with the Chinese government, saying it stores U.S. user data in Canada. Microsoft is now in talks with ByteDance to purchase TikTok's U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand entities. Catherine Garcia

July 26, 2020

The United States announced late Sunday night that it has closed its consulate in Chengdu, China.

On Thursday, the Chinese government ordered the consulate shuttered in retaliation for the United States telling China earlier in the week that it had to close its consulate in Houston. U.S. officials accused China of using the consulate to engage in economic espionage, a charge Beijing denied.

The Chengdu consulate "stood at the center of our relations with the people in western China, including Tibet, for 35 years," the State Department said in a statement. It was one of five U.S. consulates in mainland China, and the State Department said it plans to use its other missions to continue outreach in the region. Catherine Garcia

July 24, 2020

China on Friday said it has ordered the United States to shutter its consulate in the western city of Chengdu, in response to the Trump administration telling China on Tuesday it had 72 hours to close its consulate in Houston.

U.S. officials accused China of using the Houston consulate to engage in economic espionage, allegations Beijing denied. The United States has five consulates in mainland China, and the Chengdu location is valuable for gaining information on Tibet and Xinjiang, two areas that have experienced security crackdowns, The New York Times reports.

On Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a speech at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Southern California, and said the United States "must admit a hard truth that should guide us in the years and decades to come, that if we want to have a free 21st century, and not the Chinese century of which [Chinese President] Xi Jinping dreams, the old paradigm of blind engagement with China simply won't get it done. We must not continue it and we must not return to it."

In response, Hua Chunying, a Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, said Pompeo is "launching a new crusade against China in a globalized world. What he is doing is as futile as an ant trying to shake a tree." Catherine Garcia

July 16, 2020

During an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Thursday night, President Trump's niece, Mary Trump, said she has heard him use both racist and anti-Semitic slurs.

Mary Trump's book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man, was released on Tuesday. She told The Washington Post that growing up in her family, she witnessed "knee-jerk anti-Semitism" and "knee-jerk racism." Maddow asked Mary Trump about this, and whether she ever heard her uncle "express either anti-Semitic slurs or the n-word or other racist slurs." She quickly responded: "Oh yeah, of course I did. I don't think that should surprise anybody given how virulently racist he is today." Maddow followed up by asking if she heard the president use the n-word, and Trump replied, "Yeah."

Within the last month, President Trump has defended Confederate statues and retweeted a video of a supporter yelling, "White power!" Earlier this week, when asked about Black people being killed by police officers, he responded, "So are white people."

Update, 10:01 p.m. ET: The White House told The Rachel Maddow Show that Too Much and Never Enough is "a book of falsehoods, plain and simple. The president doesn't use those words." Maddow noted that Mary Trump did not write about her uncle using slurs in Too Much and Never Enough. Catherine Garcia

July 15, 2020

With the election less than four months away and national polls showing former Vice President Joe Biden ahead by double digits, President Trump has decided to shake up his campaign.

Trump announced on Wednesday night he is replacing campaign manager Brad Parscale with Bill Stepien, a longtime political operative and field director for Trump's 2016 campaign. In a tweet, Trump said Parscale has "been with me for a very long time," and will now serve as a senior adviser for data and digital operations.

Trump's poll numbers are dropping, with a majority of voters disapproving of his handling of the coronavirus or race relations. White House officials told The Washington Post Trump hasn't been happy with Parscale for several weeks, and he was blamed for the low turnout at Trump's rally in Tulsa last month; Parscale boasted that the campaign received one million ticket requests for the event, but only about 6,000 people showed up.

Parscale is close to Trump's older children and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. His firm also bills for the campaign salaries of Lara Trump, the president's daughter-in-law, and Kimberly Guilfoyle, Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend. Catherine Garcia

July 14, 2020

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hospitalized early Tuesday, after experiencing fever and chills, a Supreme Court spokeswoman said.

Ginsburg, 87, was evaluated at a hospital in Washington, D.C., on Monday night, before being admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Spokeswoman Kathleen Arberg said Ginsburg "underwent an endoscopic procedure at Johns Hopkins this afternoon to clean out a bile duct stent that was placed last August. The justice is resting comfortably and will stay in the hospital for a few days to receive intravenous antibiotic treatment."

In May, Ginsburg received treatment at Johns Hopkins for a gallbladder condition. She has battled cancer four times, and last August, underwent radiation for a tumor on her pancreas. Catherine Garcia

July 13, 2020

The Washington Redskins will announce on Monday morning plans to change their 87-year-old team name, three people familiar with the matter told The Washington Post on Sunday night.

Corporate sponsors, including FedEx, Bank of America, Nike, and PepsiCo, have been calling on the team to change the name, which is considered a slur against Native Americans. Owner Daniel Snyder and Coach Ron Rivera have been working together to select a new name, and on July 4, Rivera said there were two names they both liked, and they planned to discuss the possible replacements with Native American and military organizations.

It's unlikely the new name will be revealed on Monday, the Post reports; two people familiar with the matter said the name Snyder and Rivera prefer is in the middle of a trademark battle. Rivera has said he wants to see the replacement name in place by the beginning of the NFL's upcoming season. Catherine Garcia

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