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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 336)

YouTube Star Skewers Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom Fights Back.

Westlake Legal Group 00saudidissident-01-facebookJumbo YouTube Star Skewers Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom Fights Back. YouTube.com Saudi Arabia NSO Group London (England) Cyberattacks and Hackers Asylum, Right of al-Masarir, Ghanem

LONDON — No one has skewered the Saudi royal family as gleefully as Ghanem al-Masarir.

In hundreds of videos posted to YouTube — which have now been viewed more than 300 million times — Mr. al-Masarir sits at a desk, usually at his home in North London, offers a jovial greeting in Arabic, then launches into a series of embarrassing Saudi-related stories. The tone is sharply satirical, the delivery a bit hammy.

One of his favorite targets is Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, whom he long ago tagged with a nickname, now widely used by detractors, that translates to “the bear that has gone astray.” As mild as this may sound to Western ears, calling someone a bear in the Middle East is tantamount to calling him fat and ugly, and “astray” in this context means immoral, corrupt, essentially a gangster.

“There are academics in prison in Saudi Arabia for criticizing policy, and they haven’t even mentioned leaders by name,” said Madawi al-Rasheed, a visiting professor at the London School of Economics. “So imagine what they think of Ghanem.”

By now, it seems pretty clear.

In October 2018, Mr. al-Masarir says, the British police visited his home to deliver an official warning about a threat to his life. They left him with a “panic button” system, attached through his phone line, that summons the authorities when activated, but they offered no specifics about the source of the threat.

To Mr. al-Masarir, it’s no mystery. Years ago, he says, he was quietly alerted to an apparent Saudi plan to kidnap him, a heads-up that came from an unlikely source: the Saudi intelligence agent later accused of masterminding the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post op-ed columnist killed in 2018 in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

And the Saudi regime has spent years trying to intimidate Mr. al-Masarir, he says, through cyberattacks on his social media platforms.

A few months before the police showed up at his door, Mr. al-Masarir says, the campaign against him escalated.

His smartphones had turned unaccountably sluggish, and at the behest of a friend — familiar with the side effects of covertly installed spyware — he asked a cybersecurity watchdog group to figure out why.

After examining his smartphones, Citizen Lab, a nonprofit organization based in Toronto, told him that they had been infected with Pegasus, a virus created by an Israeli tech company, NSO Group. It turns smartphones into all-purpose surveillance tools, hoovering up texts and emails, eavesdropping on calls and tracking locations.

Citizen Lab found digital footprints on Mr. al-Masarir’s smartphones leading directly to Saudi Arabia. That discovery, and the police visit, prompted Mr. al-Masarir to take an unusual step: He sued the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, demanding an apology and unspecified damages, for ruining his phones and causing personal distress and anxiety.

“You’re dealing essentially with the mafia,” Mr. al-Masarir said, during a meeting at the offices of Leigh Day, a law firm that is representing him on a “no win, no fee” basis. “Except they have diplomatic passports and a lot of money.”

Saudi officials in the United States, Britain and Saudi Arabia did not return calls and emails for comment.

Mr. al-Masarir came to Britain 16 years ago, seeking both an education and a way to denounce his native country from afar. Along the way, he discovered his inner performer and YouTube, an online platform that provided both a steady flow of income and a prominence he had never imagined. A 2018 list of thought leaders in the Arab world compiled by Global Influence ranked him No. 17, far ahead of Mr. Khashoggi.

Today, Mr. al-Masarir finds himself in an odd kind of purgatory. It has been months since he uploaded new “Ghanem Show” videos, which he once recorded three or four times a week. A rotation of repeats now provides the bulk of his income.

But defiance is part of his brand, so he is reluctant to say the Saudis have cowed him. He merely says that, at least for the time being, he has lost interest in filming new monologues.

“I’ll be back,” he said. “I don’t know when, but soon.”

Off camera, Mr. al-Masarir seems nothing like the boisterous character he assumes in his videos.

During an afternoon out this summer, he was stopped repeatedly by fans who recognized him as he walked through Harrods department store, which was filled with shoppers from Saudi Arabia. He graciously posed with families who wanted photographs and nodded to people who shouted compliments.

In private settings, he is soft-spoken, reserved and wary to the point of paranoia. At a cafe that day, he declined to drink the coffee he had ordered, apparently worried that it had been poisoned. He walked with a bottle of pepper spray in his pocket, and when a drunken pair of men careened near him, as he emerged from a Tube station, he looked ready to use it.

“Did you see those guys?” he said, briefly unnerved, as he put the bottle back in his pocket. “I didn’t know what was happening.”

According to his lawsuit, Mr. al-Masarir has much to fear. It was Oct. 31, 2018, when two Metropolitan Police officers visited his home and delivered what is known as an “Osman warning.” It’s a police protocol in which a person is officially informed about a threat to his or her life in cases that lack evidence for an arrest.

A police spokesman said the department does not comment on Osman warnings.

“They didn’t tell me anything about where the threat came from,” Mr. al-Masarir said, as he described the panic button system they had left with him. “They just said that if I pushed the button, they would break down my door, assuming I was under attack.”

The warning occurred a few weeks after the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, which the C.I.A. has concluded was ordered by the crown prince.

Mr. al-Masarir now lives with a sense of personal jeopardy that was inconceivable when he arrived in Britain, in 2003. He left his hometown, Al Kharj, which is about 50 miles south of Riyadh, to study computer science at the University of Portsmouth. He wanted to earn a degree, land a job in the computer field and find ways to denounce the Saudi regime.

Any hopes of remaining a low-profile agitator disappeared in 2004 when he met several times with a man he thought was with the opposition who turned out to work for the Saudis. Later that year, a cousin of Mr. al-Masarir’s, the Saudi diplomat Monhie bin Foyz, was transferred from the consulate of Rome to the embassy in London.

Mr. al-Masarir was leery when Mr. bin Foyz, whom he had never been close to, began inviting him to vacations in countries like Morocco and Egypt. Mr. al-Masarir turned down the invitations.

“The Saudis have a long history of kidnapping people from those countries,” he said. “He called me once from Egypt and said: ‘I’ll book the flights and hotel for you. We’ll hang out.’”

The pair stayed in touch, but his fear that his cousin meant him harm intensified one day in 2007, Mr. al-Masarir said. Mr. bin Foyz had invited him to a cafe in the Lanesborough Hotel in London for a farewell for a fellow diplomat returning to Saudi Arabia.

At one point during this coffee, Mr. bin Foyz went to the bathroom. With his cousin out of earshot, the other diplomat leaned over, stared into Mr. al-Masarir’s eyes and grimly said, “Ghanem, stay where you are.” He added an expletive for emphasis.

The message was plain. Any excursion outside Britain was a very dangerous idea.

“After that,” Mr. al-Masarir said, “there was no way I was going to leave the country.”

Mr. bin Foyz, who now lives in Saudi Arabia, did not return emails asking for comment.

Years later came a shock. The man who delivered the “stay where you are” warning was Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb. In November, the Saudi regime tagged Mr. Mutreb as the organizer of the team that had murdered Mr. Khashoggi. It is unlikely that he was among the five people recently sentenced to death by the Saudi government for the killing, because those men have been described as low-level agents and Mr. Mutreb is an aide to the crown prince.

“I can’t explain the change in Mutreb,” Mr. al-Masarir said, still baffled. “When I knew him, he was a human being.”

Mr. al-Masarir remained something of a professional student until his student visa options expired in 2011. He applied for political asylum the next year.

That entitled him to a government stipend of about $50 a week, but lacking work papers, he was unable to land a job. So he created one that didn’t require papers. In 2014, he posted his first video to a channel he originally called “GhanemTube.” It was a scathing attack on the now-deceased King Abdullah for his efforts to censor social media.

“I had never done any acting before,” Mr. al-Masarir said. “I just started.”

His early videos were seen by just a few thousand people and were savaged in the comments section, he presumes by Saudi loyalists. But he gained traction, and his audience multiplied.

In 2016, he posted a video about a cleric’s indignation about women dancing that has since been viewed more than 13 million times. His favorite theme is the widely chronicled corruption of the royal family, which he hammers for spending extravagantly and ruling tyrannically.

“The most important thing for M.B.S. is to take the money of the Saudi people and to empty their pockets,” Mr. al-Masarir says in a video about Mohammed bin Salman and his plan to build a $500 billion “smart city” near the Red Sea. “His Highness buys whatever he wants.”

He has earned as much as $6,000 a month from YouTube. The more famous he became, he said, the more the Saudis worked to undermine him.

The campaign of intimidation described by Mr. al-Masarir overlaps in one chilling way with the plot against Mr. Khashoggi.

After Mr. Khashoggi’s murder, a human-rights activist and friend of Mr. Khashoggi’s, Omar Abdulaziz, said his smartphone had been infected with the Pegasus virus. In a lawsuit against NSO Group, Mr. Abdulaziz said the Saudis had used the virus to plan the killing.

NSO Group denies that accusation and said in a statement that “Omar Abdulaziz’s suit makes a number of false claims about our technology, which is designed to prevent and investigate terror and crime.”

After examining phones owned by Mr. Abdulaziz and Mr. al-Masarir, a senior researcher at Citizen Lab, the cybersecurity organization, said the spyware infections had identical elements — both were surreptitiously installed through a fake DHL package delivery link — and led to the same Saudi-controlled server.

Six years after his original application, and a few weeks after the killing of Mr. Khashoggi, Mr. al-Masarir was finally granted asylum. Judge Mark Eldridge wrote in an Oct. 25, 2018, decision that Mr. al-Masarir was entitled to be recognized as a political refugee because he “has a well-founded fear of persecution if he is now returned to Saudi Arabia on the basis of his political opinions.”

Now, Mr. al-Masarir is turning again to the British courts, this time for a reckoning with the Saudis. His lawsuit, which was filed in the High Court of Justice on Nov. 4, relies on what scholars described as an untested legal theory, one that would have to overcome jurisdictional hurdles and broaden the scope of liability for cyberattacks. It is Mr. al-Masari’s attempt to hold accountable an old enemy in a new arena, having concluded that he has plenty to fear from Saudi Arabia, even if he never sets foot there again.

“The Saudi government wanted to show me, ‘You’re not safe,’” he said, referring to the Pegasus infection and other efforts to silence him. “‘Even in the United Kingdom. We have the upper hand.’”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Andrew Yang Puts Autism In The Spotlight, But Policy Questions Linger

Westlake Legal Group ap_19354048687009-d41d89f908f295f013e9d267ffa15e74643320e5-s1100-c15 Andrew Yang Puts Autism In The Spotlight, But Policy Questions Linger

Democratic presidential candidate entrepreneur Andrew Yang speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) Chris Carlson/AP hide caption

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Chris Carlson/AP

Westlake Legal Group  Andrew Yang Puts Autism In The Spotlight, But Policy Questions Linger

Democratic presidential candidate entrepreneur Andrew Yang speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Chris Carlson/AP

During the final presidential debate of 2019, one of the moderators posed a question about a topic that rarely gets attention on the debate stage: What steps would candidates take to help disabled people get more integrated into the workforce and their local communities?

For Andrew Yang, the question was both political and personal. His oldest son, Christopher, is on the autism spectrum.

“I have a son with special needs. And to me, special needs is the new normal in this country,” Yang said on the debate stage, before asking audience members to raise their hands if they knew someone autistic or with special needs.

That’s a question that Yang has been asking audiences everywhere as he campaigns across the country seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. But despite his openness about the disability, some advocates say his policy proposals meant to help people on the autism spectrum and with disabilities lack heft and specificity.

At a recent town hall in Salem, N.H., Yang described when Christopher received his autism diagnosis.

“We were first time parents and Christopher had struggles. But as a first time parent you don’t know if that’s just the norm,” he said. “You think maybe this is normal, maybe two-year-olds act like this and three-year-olds act like this.” Getting the diagnosis, he said, was a relief for him and his wife. “We were like O.K. this is something we now understand and we can bring resources to bear.”

But Yang said he recognizes that not everyone has those resources. Autism can be a costly and complex diagnosis that can vary widely. Yang told NPR why he’s decided to make his son’s story part of his campaign. He said there wasn’t really a choice.

“I would have no idea how not to talk about it, in the sense that it’s part of our family and part of our lives,” he said. “The last thing would ever occur to me would be to somehow obscure the reality of Christopher and his autism from our story.”

He described Christopher as “very high-functioning” and “intellectually very gifted in some respects,” while “socially and emotionally very challenged in some respects.”

Yang and his wife, Evelyn, have been particularly candid about the challenges they face as caregivers. Evelyn stays at home with their children, though she has recently been active on the campaign trail. She recently voiced an ad that focuses on caregivers.

Yang has said that since Christopher received his autism diagnosis at age 3, Evelyn has become the “CEO of Team Christopher.” He credits her with taking on the lion’s share of the work while he’s on the road. But he’s candid that it’s “very, very hard on the family.”

“I will say one virtue of Christopher’s autism is that he has absolutely no idea what daddy is doing. And that’s true for his younger brother as well, who is four. So there is some benefit,” Yang said in response to a question about how they balance parenting with the demands of a presidential campaign. “I just told them that daddy has a big deadline and is on the road an awful lot. They don’t understand what I’m doing.”

“Anytime someone talks to me about running and the work I’m doing, I say really thank my wife Evelyn, because she’s been working 10 times harder, keeping Christopher in the family strong and whole,” he said, adding that his campaign would not be possible “without her doing the real, hard work.”

In December, the Yang campaign held an event focused on families and autism in Iowa City, Iowa. The stop was part of Yang’s recent bus tour across the state. More than 100 people filled a cafe to speak with the Yangs.

Many attendees said they didn’t remember a presidential candidate ever talking about autism in the same way — or holding an event specifically focused on autism.

“Autism is such a common condition. You know, so many of us know somebody who’s on the autism spectrum. But yet we don’t we don’t have leaders who talk about autism in a positive light You know, we currently have a leader who thinks it’s appropriate, some openly mock people who have developmental differences,” said Jessie Witherell, a co-founder of the Iowa City Autism Community and the mother of an 8-year-old autistic son. Her group helped put together the December event.

She was alluding to President Trump, who recently, has mocked Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old climate activist who has Asperger’s syndrome.

“And so you’re getting to meet somebody who actually wants to address autism and reduce stigma and talk about the things that actually affect our lives was very, very important,” she added.

The event was the first one of its kind Dina Bishara, another co-founder of the Iowa City Autism Community said.

“One thing that I think we were both very happy with is that I think the first three questions from the audience were from autistic adults,” Bishara, who moderated the conversation with Yang, said. “So often the conversation is dominated by parents and professionals. I was really happy that not only did autistic adults stick out this event, which was very not autism friendly, but they had a chance to directly connect with the candidate himself, too.”

At the event in Salem, Yang rolled out a new plan to fund research and support children with disabilities and their families.

Ari Ne’eman, a senior research associate at Harvard Law School’s Project on Disability and a co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, said he welcomed some parts of Yang’s plan, including his commitment to ending seclusion as a punishment in schools. He also praised Yang’s call for increased funding for the federal law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which gives every child the right to services and accommodations that will allow them to learn.

But he also had some concerns, including the fact that Yang’s proposals focuses only on children, rather than also including policy directed toward disabled adults.

“That’s a sore spot in the disability community. Often you will see the public very quick to talk about cute, disabled children, but when those children grow up, being very reluctant to provide supports and services in order to be able to have a life with dignity and independence,” he said.

In the NPR interview, Yang called it “mission critical that we help families get a diagnosis for a child as early as possible,” but added that “it should be easier for any American to identify that they may be neurologically atypical.”

“I’d love to be able to help people at different stages identify neurological atypicalities because it’s immensely helpful. If you don’t know about something about yourself, then it’s very hard to adapt and adjust,” he said. “But I will say that I’m particularly passionate about helping kids and parents understand it because the early ages and stages are so crucial to kids development where the right intervention can actually change the course of that person’s life, and be the difference between them leading a happy, productive, fully integrated life and needing assistance for their entire life.”

Disability justice advocate and organizer Lydia X. Z. Brown said that Yang “falls into a very familiar pattern of non-autistic parents of autistic children using their children to support their own credibility as speakers about autism without actually consulting autistic people themselves.”

They described Yang’s proposal as “limited in scope,” and “lacking” compared to the disability policy platforms released by other candidates.

“A good policy platform at the end of the day has to be one that is devised in consultation and collaboration with directly impacted people and communities and one in which if that person is to be elected to office or to hold any position of influence will be implemented, led and led by those who belong to directly impacted communities,” they said. “Yang’s platform shows that he has not done even a fraction of that work.”

Ne’eman shared that concern. He said that Yang’s plan was a positive step forward, but that “he’s still speaking in generalities rather than making concrete policy commitments.”

One big question that has been raised by advocates is how Yang’s signature ” Freedom Dividend,” that would give every American $1,000 a month, would work with existing web of disability programs.

That’s one issue that Tammy Nyden, who attended the Iowa City autism event, raised. She’s the mother of a severely disabled son and a co-founder of Mothers on the Front Line.

She said she hasn’t found her “perfect candidate” but says she was pleased to hear Yang “speak openly and proudly about his child and put it in a positive light and understand the wonderful humanity and gifts of his son instead of sometimes the way the issue is discussed. “

“I really appreciate Andrew Yang’s platform, this idea of having a minimum income, particularly for people with disabilities,” Nyden said. “One concern I have, though, is when I look at the platform, that’s to replace SSDI (Social Security Disability Income) and other things. And while $1,000 dollars is better than the, I think $721 that a person with disabilities can get per month, you can’t live on either of those.”

In the NPR interview, Yang didn’t get into specifics on which existing disability programs would stack with the Freedom Dividend in our interview. And it’s not something the plan his campaign released this week addressed.

But, in response to Nyden’s concern, he said that “the last thing I would ever do is take anything away from Americans.”

“The Freedom Dividend is universal and opt in. There are some instances where it might substitute for existing benefits. In many other instances, like Social Security, it stacks on top,” he said. “So it would depend upon the source of the nature of the program.”

He added that the $1,000 a month payment he wants to give every American is “meant to be a foundation or floor for all Americans, but no one stops building at the floor.”

“If there are individuals or families that need more support and resources, that’s what we should be providing,” Yang said.

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Hong Kong Considers the Future: ‘If You Can Afford It, Leave’

Westlake Legal Group 00hkfuture-1-facebookJumbo Hong Kong Considers the Future: ‘If You Can Afford It, Leave’ Politics and Government parenting Labor and Jobs Hong Kong Protests (2019) Hong Kong Economic Conditions and Trends Demonstrations, Protests and Riots China

HONG KONG — Everywhere Ivan Lam looks, he sees his possible future.

On the news, he watches the Hong Kong police beating demonstrators. He sees masked protesters vowing to fight on. He reads reports of the growing power of the Chinese Communist Party and its campaign to lock away Muslims.

Conspiracy sites whisper about disappearances and suicides. On the street, outside the gleaming office tower where Mr. Lam, 24, just started his career at a multinational company, he sees officers in riot armor lining the sidewalk and watching for trouble.

Mr. Lam wants to stay in Hong Kong. But he is saving his money. He is making plans. If he has to, he will leave.

“I don’t know how all of this conflict is going to end,” he said, “so my future, like Hong Kong’s future, is unpredictable.”

Months of political turmoil have turned Hong Kong from a city of possibilities into a place of doubt and disillusion. Peaceful demonstrations have turned violent. Its economy is shrinking. Yet China’s leaders seem as determined as ever to do away with the high degree of autonomy they once promised, threatening to put Hong Kong further under Beijing’s authoritarian control.

That reality has upended the lives of the city’s seven million people. Plans to buy homes or have children have been put off. Families and friendships have been strained or broken.

And some — at least, those who have the option — wonder whether they should leave it all behind.

“Before this movement, things were already bad,” said Bessy Chan, a 45-year-old events manager, who is considering moving to Germany.

Ms. Chan, a Hong Kong native, was studying in Britain two decades ago when China took back the British colony after Beijing promised to preserve its freedoms and rule of law. She returned to Hong Kong, with hesitation, and found little had changed. Work kept her busy.

But the city’s high cost of living kept her from changing careers. She grew frustrated that Hong Kong officials devoted money to expensive but problem-plagued train and bridge projects that linked the city to the mainland instead of on affordable housing or education. She began to resent the crowds of mainland tourists.

This year, her sister’s husband got a job in Germany. Ms. Chan has begun to research graduate programs there. She is single, she reasoned, and the changing city has left her unmoored. Her parents, rather than mourning a family split, are happy about the move, she said.

“I have a niece who is 16 right now,” Ms. Chan said. “For a youngster at that age, I don’t see a future for her.”

Hong Kong’s future once looked bright. It benefited from China’s booming economy while maintaining its own system of laws. Its eventual absorption into the mainland, set to take place in 2047, seemed far away.

Soaring housing costs, fewer job opportunities and a rising income gap began to sully that image. But fewer people describe financial pressures as their main reason for wanting to leave the city these days, said Paul Yip, a professor and director at Hong Kong University whose studies show increased unhappiness and depression.

“Rather, they are talking about whether Hong Kong is a place where you want to raise your children,” Mr. Yip said. “That is more subtle and more serious.”

For those reasons, many residents have paused their life plans. Edmond Chan, a 29-year-old math teacher, and his girlfriend do not talk about getting married or starting a family anymore. They have discussed moving to Taiwan but cannot afford to.

Mr. Chan’s role has changed over the year from educator to counselor for students who cannot talk to their parents about the protests. He can no longer talk about the unrest with his own parents, who he says would rather not watch the news or discuss politics.

“We are very confused about how to teach a child that Hong Kong is a good place to live,” Mr. Chan said as he watched a recent lunchtime protest. When his own students come to him for guidance, he does not know what to say.

Official figures do not show whether more people are leaving Hong Kong than before, but the signs of interest are there. Applications for a certificate required to change citizenship have jumped by nearly three-quarters from a year ago, according to local data. Immigration consultants describe a flurry of requests for information. Fliers advertising investment-for-citizenship programs in other countries can be found in the lobbies of luxury apartment buildings.

Edward Suen, the 42-year-old owner of a marketing firm, is encouraging friends to explore that possibility, especially if they have children. “If you can afford it,” he said, “leave.”

Mr. Suen has himself vowed to stay and support the protests. He was galvanized after participating in Hong Kong’s first major street march this year, in June, which organizers said had drawn one million people. City leaders rejected their demands.

Days later, during a meeting on a work trip, Mr. Suen held his phone surreptitiously under the table and watched a video of police officers firing tear gas at protesters surrounding Hong Kong’s legislative building.

“I almost cried in my meeting,” he said, “to see how the police were against all the peaceful protesters.”

Mr. Suen now spends weekends coordinating drivers who ferry protesters to and from demonstrations. He has built a network of volunteers. He tries to be optimistic.

“In Hong Kong, everyone wants to win the lottery,” Mr. Suen said. “We know we won’t win, so why do we keep buying tickets? Because we have hope.”

Gary Fung has chosen to stay as well. Once pro-establishment, the spry 59-year-old barrister began to participate in protests — “Only the legal demonstrations!” he said — and has been shocked at the police’s behavior.

“I saw many of them breaching the law,” Mr. Fung said.

He obtained a British passport in 1991 ahead of the 1997 handover, but he chose to confront his fears of China instead. In 2007, he traveled to Tiananmen Square in Beijing and sat in quiet protest on the anniversary of the 1989 massacre. Now, he wants to fight to preserve Hong Kong’s legal autonomy.

“I’m proud of our legal system because of my background,” Mr. Fung said. “I want to turn it back.”

Protests have ebbed since November’s elections for district councils gave the pro-democracy movement a decisive victory. Still, tensions lurk in offices and homes.

Carrie Lai, a 45-year-old events and public relations executive, has trouble avoiding shouting matches at family dinners. On the day of the elections, over appetizers, her brother-in-law suggested that one pro-democracy candidate had organized an attack against himself by hammer-wielding thugs to win sympathy. Ms. Lai froze, soup spoon suspended midair and face flushed, and opened her mouth to speak. Her sister-in-law jumped in and changed the subject.

“Everyone is on alert mode,” Ms. Lai said.

Ms. Lai has an Australian passport because she lived there as a teenager, but for now she plans to stay in Hong Kong. Her husband lacks an Australian passport. She also cannot imagine leaving now, at a time when she feels the protest movement needs her.

“It’s not that moment yet,” she said. If things get really bad, Ms. Lai said, her participation in protests could make a difference.

Mr. Lam is less certain he can change the future.

The son of a civil servant and a retail manager, Mr. Lam took all the right steps to climb Hong Kong’s social and economic ladders. He went to school abroad, in Manchester, England. He got a job as a recruiter at a prominent agency. He started dating someone seriously. His life in Hong Kong appeared to be set.

Now, he watches with dismay at Beijing’s increasing role in the city’s affairs. He fears the Communist Party will harness Hong Kong’s growth engine while squelching its culture.

“They want to use us,” he said, “but at the same time they want to change us.”

The protests at times have consumed Hong Kong’s central business district, where Mr. Lam works. During a recent lunchtime protest, he watched as an older man crossing the street was suddenly tackled by riot police officers. As the man was searched, a wailing police van arrived. Officers pushed the man inside. An older woman shouted that the man had done nothing wrong.

“That’s our future,” Mr. Lam said.

Mr. Lam consumes the news. He reads rumor sites and chat rooms and fires off links to acquaintances, even as he acknowledges that he does not know whether they are true.

Mr. Lam and his girlfriend discuss where they might go. She wants to go into a tourism-related business, a skill set that he reasons is portable. Japan comes up a lot in their talks. Britain, too.

Still, Mr. Lam doesn’t want to leave. At least, not yet.

“I love this place, and I wanted to develop my career here,” he said. “This is my home.”

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Today on Fox News: Jan. 3, 2019

STAY TUNED

On Fox News: 

Stay with Fox News for the latest developments of the escalating tension between the U.S. and Iran on all platforms

On Fox News Radio:

The Fox News Rundown podcast: This week’s violent protests led by Iran-backed militants outside the U.S. embassy in Iraq and the killing of a top Iranian general by U.S airstrikes have further escalated American tensions with Iran. Fox News contributor Dan Hoffman weighs in on why violence in the Middle East is ratcheting up and what steps the US can take to handle Iran’s aggression.

Also on the Rundown: Anti-Semitic incidents are increasing in the U.S. including the recent attacks in New York. Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of Anti-Defamation League, and Rabbi Marvin Hier at the Simon Wiesenthal Center join Friday’s podcast to discuss what needs to be done to address the issue.

Don’t miss the good news with Tonya J. Powers. Plus, commentary by “Fox News Sunday” host, Chris Wallace.

Want the Fox News Rundown sent straight to your mobile device? Subscribe through Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Stitcher.

The Brian Kilmeade Show, 9 a.m. ET: Special guests include: U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla.; Geraldo Rivera, Fox News correspondent-at-large; Shannon Bream, host of “Fox News @ Night”; Susan Li, Fox Business correspondent and more.

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Ancient Mayan palace lost for 1,000 years and used by ‘elites’ uncovered near Cancun

A lost Mayan palace likely used by the ancient civilization’s most elite citizens has been unearthed.

The structure was found near Mexico’s popular resort city of Cancun and was last used around 1,000 years ago.

Archaeologists found the palace during a dig at the ancient ruined city of Kuluba, in the Yucatan state.

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The building itself is six meters (20 feet) tall, 55 meters (180 feet) long and 15 meters (49 feet) wide.

It’s believed that the structure was used over two separate Mayan periods, dating as far back as 600 AD.

“This work is the beginning,” said archaeologist Alfredo Barrera, speaking to Reuters.

“We’ve barely began uncovering one of the most voluminous structures on the site.”

Westlake Legal Group Kuluba-2-Reuters Ancient Mayan palace lost for 1,000 years and used by ‘elites’ uncovered near Cancun The Sun Sean Keach fox-news/columns/digging-history fnc/science fnc Digital Technology and Science Editor article 772c80c7-b5ff-52e0-8083-5e38039b7c47

(Credit: Reuters)

The Mayans dominated huge areas of Central America, creating an empire long before the arrival of Spanish conquerors.

Their rise, rule and fall stretched over several centuries.

This particular palace was possibly used during the Late Classic period (600-900 AD) and the Terminal Classic period (850-1050AD), according to experts at the National Institute of Anthropology and History.

Kuluba, where the palace was found, was a key Mayan site that had links to the nearby cities of Chichen Itza and Ek’ Balam.

Experts are examining several structures at the site, including an altar, two homes and a round oven.

There’s also talk of a plan to reforest parts of the area, due to concerns over damage from wind and sun.

The site was first discovered by American archaeologist Wyllys Andrews IV in 1939.

This story originally appeared in The Sun.

Westlake Legal Group Kuluba-1-Reuters Ancient Mayan palace lost for 1,000 years and used by ‘elites’ uncovered near Cancun The Sun Sean Keach fox-news/columns/digging-history fnc/science fnc Digital Technology and Science Editor article 772c80c7-b5ff-52e0-8083-5e38039b7c47   Westlake Legal Group Kuluba-1-Reuters Ancient Mayan palace lost for 1,000 years and used by ‘elites’ uncovered near Cancun The Sun Sean Keach fox-news/columns/digging-history fnc/science fnc Digital Technology and Science Editor article 772c80c7-b5ff-52e0-8083-5e38039b7c47

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Hong Kong Considers the Future: ‘If You Can Afford It, Leave’

Westlake Legal Group 00hkfuture-1-facebookJumbo Hong Kong Considers the Future: ‘If You Can Afford It, Leave’ Politics and Government parenting Labor and Jobs Hong Kong Protests (2019) Hong Kong Economic Conditions and Trends Demonstrations, Protests and Riots China

HONG KONG — Everywhere Ivan Lam looks, he sees his possible future.

On the news, he watches the Hong Kong police beating demonstrators. He sees masked protesters vowing to fight on. He reads reports of the growing power of the Chinese Communist Party and its campaign to lock away Muslims.

Conspiracy sites whisper about disappearances and suicides. On the street, outside the gleaming office tower where Mr. Lam, 24, just started his career at a multinational company, he sees officers in riot armor lining the sidewalk and watching for trouble.

Mr. Lam wants to stay in Hong Kong. But he is saving his money. He is making plans. If he has to, he will leave.

“I don’t know how all of this conflict is going to end,” he said, “so my future, like Hong Kong’s future, is unpredictable.”

Months of political turmoil have turned Hong Kong from a city of possibilities into a place of doubt and disillusion. Peaceful demonstrations have turned violent. Its economy is shrinking. Yet China’s leaders seem as determined as ever to do away with the high degree of autonomy they once promised, threatening to put Hong Kong further under Beijing’s authoritarian control.

That reality has upended the lives of the city’s seven million people. Plans to buy homes or have children have been put off. Families and friendships have been strained or broken.

And some — at least, those who have the option — wonder whether they should leave it all behind.

“Before this movement, things were already bad,” said Bessy Chan, a 45-year-old events manager, who is considering moving to Germany.

Ms. Chan, a Hong Kong native, was studying in Britain two decades ago when China took back the British colony after Beijing promised to preserve its freedoms and rule of law. She returned to Hong Kong, with hesitation, and found little had changed. Work kept her busy.

But the city’s high cost of living kept her from changing careers. She grew frustrated that Hong Kong officials devoted money to expensive but problem-plagued train and bridge projects that linked the city to the mainland instead of on affordable housing or education. She began to resent the crowds of mainland tourists.

This year, her sister’s husband got a job in Germany. Ms. Chan has begun to research graduate programs there. She is single, she reasoned, and the changing city has left her unmoored. Her parents, rather than mourning a family split, are happy about the move, she said.

“I have a niece who is 16 right now,” Ms. Chan said. “For a youngster at that age, I don’t see a future for her.”

Hong Kong’s future once looked bright. It benefited from China’s booming economy while maintaining its own system of laws. Its eventual absorption into the mainland, set to take place in 2047, seemed far away.

Soaring housing costs, fewer job opportunities and a rising income gap began to sully that image. But fewer people describe financial pressures as their main reason for wanting to leave the city these days, said Paul Yip, a professor and director at Hong Kong University whose studies show increased unhappiness and depression.

“Rather, they are talking about whether Hong Kong is a place where you want to raise your children,” Mr. Yip said. “That is more subtle and more serious.”

For those reasons, many residents have paused their life plans. Edmond Chan, a 29-year-old math teacher, and his girlfriend do not talk about getting married or starting a family anymore. They have discussed moving to Taiwan but cannot afford to.

Mr. Chan’s role has changed over the year from educator to counselor for students who cannot talk to their parents about the protests. He can no longer talk about the unrest with his own parents, who he says would rather not watch the news or discuss politics.

“We are very confused about how to teach a child that Hong Kong is a good place to live,” Mr. Chan said as he watched a recent lunchtime protest. When his own students come to him for guidance, he does not know what to say.

Official figures do not show whether more people are leaving Hong Kong than before, but the signs of interest are there. Applications for a certificate required to change citizenship have jumped by nearly three-quarters from a year ago, according to local data. Immigration consultants describe a flurry of requests for information. Fliers advertising investment-for-citizenship programs in other countries can be found in the lobbies of luxury apartment buildings.

Edward Suen, the 42-year-old owner of a marketing firm, is encouraging friends to explore that possibility, especially if they have children. “If you can afford it,” he said, “leave.”

Mr. Suen has himself vowed to stay and support the protests. He was galvanized after participating in Hong Kong’s first major street march this year, in June, which organizers said had drawn one million people. City leaders rejected their demands.

Days later, during a meeting on a work trip, Mr. Suen held his phone surreptitiously under the table and watched a video of police officers firing tear gas at protesters surrounding Hong Kong’s legislative building.

“I almost cried in my meeting,” he said, “to see how the police were against all the peaceful protesters.”

Mr. Suen now spends weekends coordinating drivers who ferry protesters to and from demonstrations. He has built a network of volunteers. He tries to be optimistic.

“In Hong Kong, everyone wants to win the lottery,” Mr. Suen said. “We know we won’t win, so why do we keep buying tickets? Because we have hope.”

Gary Fung has chosen to stay as well. Once pro-establishment, the spry 59-year-old barrister began to participate in protests — “Only the legal demonstrations!” he said — and has been shocked at the police’s behavior.

“I saw many of them breaching the law,” Mr. Fung said.

He obtained a British passport in 1991 ahead of the 1997 handover, but he chose to confront his fears of China instead. In 2007, he traveled to Tiananmen Square in Beijing and sat in quiet protest on the anniversary of the 1989 massacre. Now, he wants to fight to preserve Hong Kong’s legal autonomy.

“I’m proud of our legal system because of my background,” Mr. Fung said. “I want to turn it back.”

Protests have ebbed since November’s elections for district councils gave the pro-democracy movement a decisive victory. Still, tensions lurk in offices and homes.

Carrie Lai, a 45-year-old events and public relations executive, has trouble avoiding shouting matches at family dinners. On the day of the elections, over appetizers, her brother-in-law suggested that one pro-democracy candidate had organized an attack against himself by hammer-wielding thugs to win sympathy. Ms. Lai froze, soup spoon suspended midair and face flushed, and opened her mouth to speak. Her sister-in-law jumped in and changed the subject.

“Everyone is on alert mode,” Ms. Lai said.

Ms. Lai has an Australian passport because she lived there as a teenager, but for now she plans to stay in Hong Kong. Her husband lacks an Australian passport. She also cannot imagine leaving now, at a time when she feels the protest movement needs her.

“It’s not that moment yet,” she said. If things get really bad, Ms. Lai said, her participation in protests could make a difference.

Mr. Lam is less certain he can change the future.

The son of a civil servant and a retail manager, Mr. Lam took all the right steps to climb Hong Kong’s social and economic ladders. He went to school abroad, in Manchester, England. He got a job as a recruiter at a prominent agency. He started dating someone seriously. His life in Hong Kong appeared to be set.

Now, he watches with dismay at Beijing’s increasing role in the city’s affairs. He fears the Communist Party will harness Hong Kong’s growth engine while squelching its culture.

“They want to use us,” he said, “but at the same time they want to change us.”

The protests at times have consumed Hong Kong’s central business district, where Mr. Lam works. During a recent lunchtime protest, he watched as an older man crossing the street was suddenly tackled by riot police officers. As the man was searched, a wailing police van arrived. Officers pushed the man inside. An older woman shouted that the man had done nothing wrong.

“That’s our future,” Mr. Lam said.

Mr. Lam consumes the news. He reads rumor sites and chat rooms and fires off links to acquaintances, even as he acknowledges that he does not know whether they are true.

Mr. Lam and his girlfriend discuss where they might go. She wants to go into a tourism-related business, a skill set that he reasons is portable. Japan comes up a lot in their talks. Britain, too.

Still, Mr. Lam doesn’t want to leave. At least, not yet.

“I love this place, and I wanted to develop my career here,” he said. “This is my home.”

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‘Cherry Pie’ girl Bobbie Brown says Warrant rocker Jani Lane was haunted by past before death

Video vixen Bobbie Brown can poke fun at her love life today, but things weren’t always a laughing matter for the “Cherry Pie” star.

The model and Sunset Strip sex symbol recently released her second book titled “Cherry on Top” after experiencing a devastating fall that could have ended her life.

The 50-year-old insisted the horrifying experience inspired her to check off her bucket list, including pursuing an unlikely career in stand-up comedy. She also reflected on her past experiences, including her former marriage to Warrant rocker Jani Lane, who passed away in 2011 at age 47 from alcohol intoxication.

Brown spoke to Fox News about her life-changing injury, pursuing comedy, how Lane could have benefitted from the #MeToo movement in his lifetime and what dating is really like today.

RONNIE WOOD’S EX-WIFE JO WOOD RECALLS PHOTOGRAPHING THE ROLLING STONES OVER THE YEARS: ‘THEY DIDN’T NOTICE’

ACTRESS GABRIELLE STONE EXPLAINS WHY SHE LEFT THE COUNTRY AFTER HUSBAND’S AFFAIR, HEARTBREAKING RELATIONSHIP

Fox News: Was there ever a point where you wanted to escape the “Cherry Pie” girl persona?
Bobbie Brown: There was a time when I would go, “Oh God, not that again.” I had done so many other things beyond just being in a music video and yet I was just the “Cherry Pie” girl. It was bulls–t, I thought. But the older I got, the more I embraced it.

The reality is that this is how most people know me. This is why most people are interested in me. And frankly, this is probably why we’re talking right now. It’s gotta be something I need to embrace. And it was never a negative experience in my life so there’s no need to have negative feelings towards it. I don’t need to make it a negative experience. I’ve embraced it. I’m totally OK with it today.

Fox News: What inspired you to write this book?
Brown: I had just gone through a devastating life change. I’ve fallen down the stairs [in 2018] and almost killed myself. I literally was like, “What am I doing with my life?” I had a rude awakening. The doctors said 50 percent of people who’ve had my type of fall and hit their head die instantly. I landed headfirst into a table. So I was very lucky.

‘THREE’S COMPANY’ STAR SUZANNE SOMERS RECALLS HER CANCER DIAGNOSIS: ‘YOU THINK OF YOUR MORTALITY FOR THE FIRST TIME’

Westlake Legal Group MG_8780 ‘Cherry Pie’ girl Bobbie Brown says Warrant rocker Jani Lane was haunted by past before death Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/then-and-now fox-news/entertainment/genres/books fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/entertainment/events/divorce fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 6afa6813-4d53-50ab-b71c-6ea498c94155

Bobbie Brown today. (Photo courtesy of Bobbie Brown.)

RISQUÉ STORIES WRITTEN BY ED WOOD REVEALED DECADES AFTER FILMMAKER’S TRAGIC DEATH

I was looking like the Elephant Man for the next three months. I would look in the mirror every day and say, “What am I doing? What’s my purpose? What’s my point? What am I doing for joy?” I just came to a decision that I needed to make a change and check off my bucket list. I had so many fans who wrote to me about my first book “Dirty Rocker Boys.” I just felt I needed a second book. There were more stories to tell. So I picked up where I left off.

Fox News: How are you doing today?
Brown: My head’s OK *laughs*. I had a permanent dent in my forehead for a really long time. No permanent damage, thank God. But it made me question everything. It made me realize I wasn’t living really. I was just going through the motions. I needed to make some major decisions and fulfill myself.

I feel like we sometimes get stuck in a rut and just live day-to-day without really being happy. Nothing’s really happening and there’s no joy. So I just pushed myself to live. I started doing stand-up comedy. I wrote this second book. I started a podcast. Dating is probably the last thing on my list. But I don’t really have time. So it’s kind of good *laughs*.

HUMPHREY BOGART’S EX-WIFE MAYO METHOT STRUGGLED TO BOUNCE BACK IN HOLLYWOOD AFTER DIVORCE, BOOK CLAIMS

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-156168428 ‘Cherry Pie’ girl Bobbie Brown says Warrant rocker Jani Lane was haunted by past before death Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/then-and-now fox-news/entertainment/genres/books fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/entertainment/events/divorce fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 6afa6813-4d53-50ab-b71c-6ea498c94155

Jani Lane and Bobbie Brown attend BMI Awards Gala on May 21, 1991, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. ((Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

MARIE OSMOND RECALLS HER WEIGHT STRUGGLES, BEING TOLD SHE NEEDED TO ‘KEEP THE FOOD OUT OF MY FAT FACE’

Fox News: How difficult was it to relive some of your memories with ex Jani Lane in this book?
Brown: It’s always cathartic. Usually, when I’m talking about it, it’s because I still have those feelings of non-closure with him on so many levels. To be able to talk about it gives me some closure. And it’s therapeutic in the same sense.

I also feel like it will help other people out there who might be feeling the same way or have had the same experience with their spouses, their friends, whoever. It’s good for me to be honest because somebody out there is going through the same type of feelings I’m experiencing. It’s comforting for people to know they’re not alone in their thoughts and experiences. They’re not crazy. I feel like it gives people a sense of a connection that we’re all the same.

Fox News: You describe there was no #MeToo movement during the time when Jani could have used it the most.
Brown: At the moment that he admitted [he was drugged and raped by a member of a famous heavy metal band and their manager], it was devastating to hear. He admitted this to me before his death. It was traumatizing to watch him reveal those things and how much it had affected his life up to that point. When we were married I had no clue. This occurred when he was just starting out on the Strip. So when I’m hearing all of this with him, I’m crying with him. I was going, “We have to do something, we have to say something.” He was like, “No! No!” It was a humiliation for a man to be in that position.

DEAN MARTIN’S DAUGHTER DEANA RECALLS GROWING UP WITH ‘THE KING OF COOL,’ THE RAT PACK AND JERRY LEWIS

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-120882914 ‘Cherry Pie’ girl Bobbie Brown says Warrant rocker Jani Lane was haunted by past before death Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/then-and-now fox-news/entertainment/genres/books fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/entertainment/events/divorce fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 6afa6813-4d53-50ab-b71c-6ea498c94155

Jani Lane of Warrant performs at Rock The Bayou on August 31, 2008, in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Jay West/WireImage/Getty)

MICHAEL HUTCHENCE’S SISTER RECALLS GROWING UP WITH INXS SINGER, FINAL TRAGIC YEARS FOLLOWING BRAIN INJURY

It’s so emasculating and humiliating. It would have been humiliating for him. So we couldn’t say anything. Instead he lived with this anger inside. He felt like he couldn’t say anything because he was a man. He was raised to be a man, not to cry. It was all mind-f–king. I could see how it would have been devastating and humiliating for him to speak up. I got his perspective from it, but at the same time, I felt so hopeless for him, knowing that he felt he couldn’t say anything. And wouldn’t. That affected him greatly his whole life. It was part of the reason he drank. It’s sad really.

Fox News: You wrote how you considered comedy professionally after your fiancé got high and married another blonde. 
Brown: So that’s referring to Tommy Lee marrying Pamela Anderson. At the moment, it seemed like the most tragic, bulls–t to ever happen to somebody. But when I look back at it today, just like with a lot of my experiences, I have to laugh at it. I mean, who the f–k does that? Who marries somebody after four days? Why does that kind of s–t happen to me?

It’s funny now. It’s not really funny, haha. It’s more like, who does that? I have a lot of moments in my life that make me question things. Like doing laundry and then falling down the stairs headfirst. Who does that? My life is kind of laughable, in a way. I have to make light of it. Otherwise, it could be pretty tragic. If I don’t make light of it, I will probably go down a dark path.

MARLON BRANDO AND MYSTERIOUS FIRST WIFE ANNA KASHFI HAD VIOLENT RELATIONSHIP, BOOK CLAIMS

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-104178523 ‘Cherry Pie’ girl Bobbie Brown says Warrant rocker Jani Lane was haunted by past before death Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/then-and-now fox-news/entertainment/genres/books fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/entertainment/events/divorce fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 6afa6813-4d53-50ab-b71c-6ea498c94155

Tommy Lee of Motley Crue and then-girlfriend Bobbie Brown. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)

JANIS JOPLIN ENJOYED ‘THE MANY PLEASURES THAT CAME HER WAY’ TO COPE WITH INSECURITIES, BOOK CLAIMS

Fox News: A lot of comics poke fun at their personal lives. You initially didn’t. Why?
Brown: I am self-deprecating in my stand-up. I’m starting to use more of my personal life in my stand-up. In the beginning, I just felt like I touched on everything I needed to share in my first book. My comedy wasn’t a continuation of that. I just didn’t think it was really funny.

The only thing my comedy really revolves around is my love life, or lack thereof, specifically what it’s like to actually pursue dating in this day and age with dating apps. How weird it is for people to meet through dating apps. And what that does to a guy. It’s all shocking what they really think and say to you. I make jokes about that, the comments I get and the dates I’ve had.

Fox News: What do you make of modern dating?
Brown: It’s annoying. To have to keep up with that type of interaction, just dating apps in itself – it’s ridiculous to me. It blows my mind. It’s frustrating to have to keep up with that stuff just to maintain relevance in the dating world… I think at this point, I just might die alone. I don’t know if I want to go through all this trouble to have a boyfriend or date somebody. It’s kind of ridiculous. Can’t we just do things like we used to? I guess not.

JUDY GARLAND’S EX-LOVER JOHN MEYER RECALLS THE STAR’S FINAL TUMULTUOUS MONTHS

Westlake Legal Group tumblr_lv2h4rG5jd1qkp83so1_500 ‘Cherry Pie’ girl Bobbie Brown says Warrant rocker Jani Lane was haunted by past before death Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/then-and-now fox-news/entertainment/genres/books fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/entertainment/events/divorce fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 6afa6813-4d53-50ab-b71c-6ea498c94155

“Cherry Pie” girl Bobbie Brown is pursuing stand-up comedy today. (Photo courtesy of Bobbie Brown.)

MARGARET, DUCHESS OF ARGYLL, WAS A VICTIM OF REVENGE PORN THAT FOLLOWED HER UNTIL DEATH, BOOK CLAIMS

Fox News: Are you still pursuing stand-up?
Brown: I am! I’m not as heavily into it as I was in the beginning. I have other projects in the works. But I still go up about twice a month now… But my podcast is freaking hilarious. Sharise Neil and I have been friends for over 30 years. She was previously married to Vince Neil. That’s how we all met.

I am considering turning “Dirty Rocker Boys” into a movie right now. I’m pitching that right now… Nobody served me in the first book as far as attorneys go. You can’t be sued for telling the truth. I’ve heard people say, “She’s lucky I don’t sue her.” Well, try to. I didn’t lie about anything. If anything, I omitted a lot of things you should be grateful that I didn’t mention.

Fox News: Who would play you in a film?
Brown: God, people ask that all the time. I can honestly say there’s not one person that makes me go, “Her for sure.” People say Jennifer Lawrence a lot. I think it’s her personality… But I haven’t thought about it on that level yet. I’m not sure. But there’s a new famous somebody every week now. So who the hell knows?

MISS AMERICA 2016 BETTY MAXWELL SAYS SHE MET HER HUSBAND ON TINDER: ‘GOD HAS A PLAN’

TODD RUNDGREN EXPLAINS WHY HE’S NEVER TAKEN THE ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME SERIOUSLY

Fox News: What’s your relationship like with your daughter today?
Brown: She and I are very close. I’ve been very honest with her my whole life. Of course, I wasn’t able to be the mom that I wanted to be. I do have regrets when it comes to that. But she is a wonderful, well-developed child who is forgiving, loving — all the things I instilled in her. I’m just so proud of her. I’m incredibly lucky.

Fox News: How important has it been to been for you to be completely open and honest with her?
Brown: That’s my motto with everyone in my life. I’m so honest that it’s too much sometimes. I tell too much of the truth. That can be loved or hated. There’s no gray area with that kind of personality trait. Some people are offended by it and some people totally cherish it. That’s just who I am. I’ve always been this way. And I thought it was a good way to be with my child.

BILL HALEY’S SON CLAIMS ‘ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK’ SINGER HAD A DARK SIDE, STRUGGLED FROM ALCOHOLISM IN MEMOIR

It kept her from having to experience a lot of the things that I did growing up. My mom and I just didn’t have that kind of relationship. I feel like it’s really important to have that with your children. That way, they don’t have to go through so much s–t growing up. It’s hard being a kid. Other kids are hateful. Society is crazy. So I think it’s very important to have that type of level of communication with your children and your family. At the end of the day, they’re the ones who love you the most.

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-156168428_1 ‘Cherry Pie’ girl Bobbie Brown says Warrant rocker Jani Lane was haunted by past before death Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/then-and-now fox-news/entertainment/genres/books fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/entertainment/events/divorce fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 6afa6813-4d53-50ab-b71c-6ea498c94155   Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-156168428_1 ‘Cherry Pie’ girl Bobbie Brown says Warrant rocker Jani Lane was haunted by past before death Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/then-and-now fox-news/entertainment/genres/books fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/entertainment/events/divorce fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 6afa6813-4d53-50ab-b71c-6ea498c94155

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Today on Fox News: Jan. 3, 2019

STAY TUNED

On Fox News: 

Stay with Fox News for the latest developments of the escalating tension between the U.S. and Iran on all platforms

On Fox News Radio:

The Fox News Rundown podcast: This week’s violent protests led by Iran-backed militants outside the U.S. embassy in Iraq and the killing of a top Iranian general by U.S airstrikes have further escalated American tensions with Iran. Fox News contributor Dan Hoffman weighs in on why violence in the Middle East is ratcheting up and what steps the US can take to handle Iran’s aggression.

Also on the Rundown: Anti-Semitic incidents are increasing in the U.S. including the recent attacks in New York. Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of Anti-Defamation League, and Rabbi Marvin Hier at the Simon Wiesenthal Center join Friday’s podcast to discuss what needs to be done to address the issue.

Don’t miss the good news with Tonya J. Powers. Plus, commentary by “Fox News Sunday” host, Chris Wallace.

Want the Fox News Rundown sent straight to your mobile device? Subscribe through Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Stitcher.

The Brian Kilmeade Show, 9 a.m. ET: Special guests include: U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla.; Geraldo Rivera, Fox News correspondent-at-large; Shannon Bream, host of “Fox News @ Night”; Susan Li, Fox Business correspondent and more.

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U.S. Strike in Iraq Kills Qassim Suleimani, Commander of Iranian Forces

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Iran’s top security and intelligence commander was killed early Friday in a drone strike at Baghdad International Airport that was authorized by President Trump, American officials said.

The commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, who led the powerful Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, was killed along with several officials from Iraqi militias backed by Tehran when an American MQ-9 Reaper drone fired missiles into a convoy that was leaving the airport.

General Suleimani was the architect of nearly every significant operation by Iranian intelligence and military forces over the past two decades, and his death was a staggering blow for Iran at a time of sweeping geopolitical conflict.

The strike was also a serious escalation of Mr. Trump’s growing confrontation with Tehran, one that began with the death of an American contractor in Iraq in late December.

Westlake Legal Group iraq-embassy-baghdad-airport-attack-1578026455663-articleLarge-v2 U.S. Strike in Iraq Kills Qassim Suleimani, Commander of Iranian Forces Popular Mobilization Forces (Iraq) Iraq Baghdad International Airport (Iraq)

Maps: How the Confrontation Between the U.S. and Iran Escalated

Here’s how the situation developed over the last eight days.

In Iran, the leadership convened an emergency security meeting. And the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a statement calling for three days of public mourning and then retaliation.

“His departure to God does not end his path or his mission,” the statement said, “but a forceful revenge awaits the criminals who have his blood and the blood of the other martyrs last night on their hands.”

United States officials were braced for potential Iranian retaliatory attacks, possibly including cyberattacks and terrorism, on American interests and allies.

Israel, too, was preparing for Iranian strikes. Some of the country’s most popular tourist sites, including the ski resort at Hermon, were closed, and the armed forces went on alert, officials said.

From the start of the Syrian civil war, General Suleimani was one of the chief leaders of an effort to protect President Bashar al-Assad of Syria — an important Iranian ally — that brought together disparate militias, national security forces and regional powers, including Russia in recent years.

But that was far from the only front he operated on. American officials accuse General Suleimani of causing the deaths of hundreds of soldiers during the Iraq war, when he provided Iraqi insurgents with advanced bomb-making equipment and training. They also say he has masterminded destabilizing Iranian activities that continue throughout the Middle East and are aimed at the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

“General Suleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “General Suleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more.”

It did not elaborate on the specific intelligence that led them to carry out General Suleimani’s killing. The highly classified mission was set in motion after the American contractor’s death on Dec. 27 during a rocket attack by an Iranian-backed militia, a senior American official said.

In killing General Suleimani, Mr. Trump took an action that Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama had rejected, fearing it would lead to war between the United States and Iran.

While many Republicans said that the president had been justified in the attack, Mr. Trump’s most significant use of military force to date, critics of his Iran policy called the strike a reckless unilateral escalation that could have drastic and unforeseen consequences that could ripple violently throughout the Middle East.

“Soleimani was an enemy of the United States. That’s not a question,” Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, wrote on Twitter, using an alternate spelling of the Iranian’s name. “The question is this – as reports suggest, did America just assassinate, without any congressional authorization, the second most powerful person in Iran, knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war?”

Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, called the killing of General Suleimani an act of “international terrorism” and warned it was “extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation.”

“The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism,” Mr. Zarif tweeted.

Speaking to reporters while on vacation at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., on Tuesday night, hours after an assault on the American Embassy in Baghdad that United States officials said was orchestrated by Iran, Mr. Trump, who has repeatedly vowed to end American entanglements in the Middle East, insisted that he did not want war.

“I don’t think that would be a good idea for Iran. It wouldn’t last very long,” Mr. Trump said. “Do I want to? No. I want to have peace. I like peace.”

After initial reports of the strike emerged on Thursday, Mr. Trump was unusually cryptic, but he appeared to revel in the news when he posted a tweet that consisted only of the image of an American flag.

Within minutes, Twitter accounts associated with Iranian figures were responding in kind, sending images of Iran’s flag — often accompanied by dire threats of revenge.

The strikes followed a warning on Thursday afternoon from Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, who said the United States military would pre-emptively strike Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria if there were signs the paramilitary groups were planning more attacks against American bases and personnel in the region.

“If we get word of attacks, we will take pre-emptive action as well to protect American forces, protect American lives,” Mr. Esper said. “The game has changed.”

“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans,” the Pentagon statement said late Thursday. “The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.”

In Iran, state television interrupted its programing to announce General Suleimani’s death, with the news anchor reciting the Islamic prayer for the dead — “From God we came and to God we return” — beside a picture of the general.

Hawkish Iran experts said the strike would be deeply painful for Iran’s leadership. “This is devastating for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, the regime and Khamenei’s regional ambitions,” said Mark Dubowitz, the chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, referring to Ayatollah Khamenei.

“For 23 years, he has been the equivalent of the J.S.O.C. commander, the C.I.A. director and Iran’s real foreign minister,” Mr. Dubowitz said, using an acronym for the United States’ Joint Special Operations Command. “He is irreplaceable and indispensable” to Iran’s military establishment.

For those same reasons, other regional analysts warned, Iran is likely to respond with an intensity of dangerous proportions.

“From Iran’s perspective, it is hard to imagine a more deliberately provocative act,” said Robert Malley, the president and chief executive of the International Crisis Group. “And it is hard to imagine that Iran will not retaliate in a highly aggressive manner.”

“Whether President Trump intended it or not, it is, for all practical purposes, a declaration of war,” added Mr. Malley, who served as White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the gulf region in the Obama administration.

Some United States officials and Trump administration advisers offered a less dire scenario, arguing that the show of force might convince Iran that its acts of aggression against American interests and allies have grown too dangerous, and that a president the Iranians may have come to see as risk-averse is in fact willing to escalate.

One senior administration official said the president’s senior advisers had come to worry that Mr. Trump had sent too many signals — including when he called off a planned missile strike in late June — that he did not want a war with Iran.

Tracking Mr. Suleimani’s location at any given time had long been a priority for the American and Israeli spy services and militaries. Current and former American commanders and intelligence officials said that Thursday night’s attack, specifically, drew upon a combination of highly classified information from informants, electronic intercepts, reconnaissance aircraft and other surveillance.

The strike killed five people, including the pro-Iranian chief of an umbrella group for Iraqi militias, Iraqi television reported and militia officials confirmed. The militia chief, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was a strongly pro-Iranian figure.

The public relations chief for the umbrella group, the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, Mohammed Ridha Jabri, was also killed.

American officials said that multiple missiles hit the convoy in a strike carried out by the Joint Special Operations Command.

American military officials said they were aware of a potentially violent response from Iran and its proxies, and were taking steps they declined to specify to protect American personnel in the Middle East and elsewhere around the world.

Two other people were killed in the strike, according to a general at the Baghdad joint command, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media.

The Iraqi general said that General Suleimani and Mr. Ridha, the militia public relations official, arrived by plane at Baghdad International Airport from Syria.

Two cars stopped at the bottom of the airplane steps and picked them up. Mr. al-Muhandis was in one of the cars. As the cars left the airport, they were struck, the general said.

The strike was the second attack at the airport within hours.

The New York Times

An earlier attack, late Thursday, involved three rockets that did not appear to have caused any injuries.

The strikes come days after American forces bombed three outposts of Kataib Hezbollah, an Iranian-supported militia in Iraq and Syria, in retaliation for the death of an American contractor in a rocket attack last week near the Iraqi city of Kirkuk.

The United States said that Kataib Hezbollah fired 31 rockets into a base in Kirkuk Province last week, killing an American contractor and wounding several American and Iraqi servicemen.

The Americans responded by bombing three of the militia’s sites near Qaim in western Iraq, and two sites in Syria. Kataib Hezbollah denied involvement in the attack in Kirkuk.

Pro-Iranian militia members then marched on the American Embassy on Tuesday, effectively imprisoning its diplomats inside for more than 24 hours while thousands of militia members thronged outside. They burned the embassy’s reception area, planted militia flags on its roof and scrawled graffiti on its walls.

No injuries or deaths were reported, and the militia members did not enter the embassy building.

They withdrew late Wednesday afternoon.

The Pentagon statement Thursday night said that General Suleimani “had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months,” including the one that killed the American contractor last week.

General Suleimani also “approved the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad,” the statement said.

Mr. Trump said on Tuesday that Iran would “be held fully responsible” for the attack on the embassy, in which protesters set fire to a reception building on the embassy compound, which covers more than 100 acres. He also blamed Tehran for directing the unrest.

In the past several months, Iranian-supported militias have increased rocket attacks on bases housing American troops. The Pentagon has dispatched more than 14,000 troops to the region since May.

Caught in the middle is the Iraqi government, which is too weak to establish any military authority over some of the more established Iranian-supported Shiite militias.

On Thursday, Mr. Esper said the Iraqi government was not doing enough to contain them. The Iraqis need to “stop these attacks from happening and get the Iranian influence out of the government,” Mr. Esper said.

Representative Andy Kim, Democrat of New Jersey, who served as the National Security Council’s director for Iraq under Mr. Obama, said the strike would most likely elicit “a very serious backlash” from a number of Iraqi leaders for taking the action on Iraqi soil, as well as from Shiite communities “that already were protesting and upset in recent days.”

“This is something that is going to make it very difficult for our diplomatic presence there, our military presence there,” Mr. Kim said in an interview.

General Suleimani, who led the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force, a special forces unit responsible for Iranian operations outside Iran’s borders, was long a figure of intense interest.

He was not only in charge of Iranian intelligence gathering and covert military operations, he was regarded as one of Iran’s most cunning and autonomous military figures. He was also believed to be very close to Ayatollah Khamenei, and was seen as a potential future leader of Iran.

The United States and Iran have long been involved in a shadow war in battlegrounds across the Middle East — including in Iraq, Yemen and Syria. The tactics have generally involved using proxies to carry out the fighting, providing a buffer from a direct confrontation between Washington and Tehran that could draw America into yet other ground conflict with no discernible endgame.

The potential for a regional conflagration was a basis of the Obama administration’s push for a 2015 agreement that froze Iran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.

Mr. Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018, saying that Mr. Obama’s agreement had emboldened Iran, giving it economic breathing room to plow hundreds of millions of dollars into a campaign of violence around the region. Mr. Trump responded with a campaign of “maximum pressure” that began with punishing new economic sanctions, which began a new era of brinkmanship and uncertainly, with neither side knowing just how far the other was willing to escalate violence and risk a wider war. In recent days, it has spilled into the military arena.

General Suleimani once described himself to a senior Iraqi intelligence official as the “sole authority for Iranian actions in Iraq,” the official later told American officials in Baghdad.

In a speech denouncing Mr. Trump, General Suleimani was even less discreet — and openly mocking.

“We are near you, where you can’t even imagine,” he said. “We are ready. We are the man of this arena.”

Michael Crowley reported from West Palm Beach, Fla.; Falih Hassan from Baghdad; and Eric Schmitt from Washington. Reporting was contributed by Ronen Bergman from Tel Aviv, Israel; Alissa J. Rubin from Paris; Farnaz Fassihi from New York; Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Helene Cooper, Mark Mazzetti, Catie Edmondson and Edward Wong from Washington; and Tim Arango from Los Angeles.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Hong Kong Considers the Future: ‘If You Can Afford It, Leave’

Westlake Legal Group 00hkfuture-1-facebookJumbo Hong Kong Considers the Future: ‘If You Can Afford It, Leave’ Politics and Government parenting Labor and Jobs Hong Kong Protests (2019) Hong Kong Economic Conditions and Trends Demonstrations, Protests and Riots China

HONG KONG — Everywhere Ivan Lam looks, he sees his possible future.

On the news, he watches the Hong Kong police beating demonstrators. He sees masked protesters vowing to fight on. He reads reports of the growing power of the Chinese Communist Party and its campaign to lock away Muslims.

Conspiracy sites whisper about disappearances and suicides. On the street, outside the gleaming office tower where Mr. Lam, 24, just started his career at a multinational company, he sees officers in riot armor lining the sidewalk and watching for trouble.

Mr. Lam wants to stay in Hong Kong. But he is saving his money. He is making plans. If he has to, he will leave.

“I don’t know how all of this conflict is going to end,” he said, “so my future, like Hong Kong’s future, is unpredictable.”

Months of political turmoil have turned Hong Kong from a city of possibilities into a place of doubt and disillusion. Peaceful demonstrations have turned violent. Its economy is shrinking. Yet China’s leaders seem as determined as ever to do away with the high degree of autonomy they once promised, threatening to put Hong Kong further under Beijing’s authoritarian control.

That reality has upended the lives of the city’s seven million people. Plans to buy homes or have children have been put off. Families and friendships have been strained or broken.

And some — at least, those who have the option — wonder whether they should leave it all behind.

“Before this movement, things were already bad,” said Bessy Chan, a 45-year-old events manager, who is considering moving to Germany.

Ms. Chan, a Hong Kong native, was studying in Britain two decades ago when China took back the British colony after Beijing promised to preserve its freedoms and rule of law. She returned to Hong Kong, with hesitation, and found little had changed. Work kept her busy.

But the city’s high cost of living kept her from changing careers. She grew frustrated that Hong Kong officials devoted money to expensive but problem-plagued train and bridge projects that linked the city to the mainland instead of on affordable housing or education. She began to resent the crowds of mainland tourists.

This year, her sister’s husband got a job in Germany. Ms. Chan has begun to research graduate programs there. She is single, she reasoned, and the changing city has left her unmoored. Her parents, rather than mourning a family split, are happy about the move, she said.

“I have a niece who is 16 right now,” Ms. Chan said. “For a youngster at that age, I don’t see a future for her.”

Hong Kong’s future once looked bright. It benefited from China’s booming economy while maintaining its own system of laws. Its eventual absorption into the mainland, set to take place in 2047, seemed far away.

Soaring housing costs, fewer job opportunities and a rising income gap began to sully that image. But fewer people describe financial pressures as their main reason for wanting to leave the city these days, said Paul Yip, a professor and director at Hong Kong University whose studies show increased unhappiness and depression.

“Rather, they are talking about whether Hong Kong is a place where you want to raise your children,” Mr. Yip said. “That is more subtle and more serious.”

For those reasons, many residents have paused their life plans. Edmond Chan, a 29-year-old math teacher, and his girlfriend do not talk about getting married or starting a family anymore. They have discussed moving to Taiwan but cannot afford to.

Mr. Chan’s role has changed over the year from educator to counselor for students who cannot talk to their parents about the protests. He can no longer talk about the unrest with his own parents, who he says would rather not watch the news or discuss politics.

“We are very confused about how to teach a child that Hong Kong is a good place to live,” Mr. Chan said as he watched a recent lunchtime protest. When his own students come to him for guidance, he does not know what to say.

Official figures do not show whether more people are leaving Hong Kong than before, but the signs of interest are there. Applications for a certificate required to change citizenship have jumped by nearly three-quarters from a year ago, according to local data. Immigration consultants describe a flurry of requests for information. Fliers advertising investment-for-citizenship programs in other countries can be found in the lobbies of luxury apartment buildings.

Edward Suen, the 42-year-old owner of a marketing firm, is encouraging friends to explore that possibility, especially if they have children. “If you can afford it,” he said, “leave.”

Mr. Suen has himself vowed to stay and support the protests. He was galvanized after participating in Hong Kong’s first major street march this year, in June, which organizers said had drawn one million people. City leaders rejected their demands.

Days later, during a meeting on a work trip, Mr. Suen held his phone surreptitiously under the table and watched a video of police officers firing tear gas at protesters surrounding Hong Kong’s legislative building.

“I almost cried in my meeting,” he said, “to see how the police were against all the peaceful protesters.”

Mr. Suen now spends weekends coordinating drivers who ferry protesters to and from demonstrations. He has built a network of volunteers. He tries to be optimistic.

“In Hong Kong, everyone wants to win the lottery,” Mr. Suen said. “We know we won’t win, so why do we keep buying tickets? Because we have hope.”

Gary Fung has chosen to stay as well. Once pro-establishment, the spry 59-year-old barrister began to participate in protests — “Only the legal demonstrations!” he said — and has been shocked at the police’s behavior.

“I saw many of them breaching the law,” Mr. Fung said.

He obtained a British passport in 1991 ahead of the 1997 handover, but he chose to confront his fears of China instead. In 2007, he traveled to Tiananmen Square in Beijing and sat in quiet protest on the anniversary of the 1989 massacre. Now, he wants to fight to preserve Hong Kong’s legal autonomy.

“I’m proud of our legal system because of my background,” Mr. Fung said. “I want to turn it back.”

Protests have ebbed since November’s elections for district councils gave the pro-democracy movement a decisive victory. Still, tensions lurk in offices and homes.

Carrie Lai, a 45-year-old events and public relations executive, has trouble avoiding shouting matches at family dinners. On the day of the elections, over appetizers, her brother-in-law suggested that one pro-democracy candidate had organized an attack against himself by hammer-wielding thugs to win sympathy. Ms. Lai froze, soup spoon suspended midair and face flushed, and opened her mouth to speak. Her sister-in-law jumped in and changed the subject.

“Everyone is on alert mode,” Ms. Lai said.

Ms. Lai has an Australian passport because she lived there as a teenager, but for now she plans to stay in Hong Kong. Her husband lacks an Australian passport. She also cannot imagine leaving now, at a time when she feels the protest movement needs her.

“It’s not that moment yet,” she said. If things get really bad, Ms. Lai said, her participation in protests could make a difference.

Mr. Lam is less certain he can change the future.

The son of a civil servant and a retail manager, Mr. Lam took all the right steps to climb Hong Kong’s social and economic ladders. He went to school abroad, in Manchester, England. He got a job as a recruiter at a prominent agency. He started dating someone seriously. His life in Hong Kong appeared to be set.

Now, he watches with dismay at Beijing’s increasing role in the city’s affairs. He fears the Communist Party will harness Hong Kong’s growth engine while squelching its culture.

“They want to use us,” he said, “but at the same time they want to change us.”

The protests at times have consumed Hong Kong’s central business district, where Mr. Lam works. During a recent lunchtime protest, he watched as an older man crossing the street was suddenly tackled by riot police officers. As the man was searched, a wailing police van arrived. Officers pushed the man inside. An older woman shouted that the man had done nothing wrong.

“That’s our future,” Mr. Lam said.

Mr. Lam consumes the news. He reads rumor sites and chat rooms and fires off links to acquaintances, even as he acknowledges that he does not know whether they are true.

Mr. Lam and his girlfriend discuss where they might go. She wants to go into a tourism-related business, a skill set that he reasons is portable. Japan comes up a lot in their talks. Britain, too.

Still, Mr. Lam doesn’t want to leave. At least, not yet.

“I love this place, and I wanted to develop my career here,” he said. “This is my home.”

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