APTOPIX Hong Kong Protests

Riot police fire tear gas during the anti-extradition bill protest in Hong Kong, Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019. Police fired tear gas late Sunday afternoon to try to disperse a demonstration in Hong Kong as protesters took over streets in two parts of the Asian financial capital, blocking traffic and setting up another night of likely showdowns with riot police. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

N. Korea boosts Kim’s rising status as statesman

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — There’s no question that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is in full control of his nation. But a recent change to the way he’s being formally described in the North Korean Constitution may allow him even more diplomatic leverage as he steps with increasing confidence onto the world stage for negotiations over his powerful weapons program.

Despite a flurry of unprecedented summits between Kim and the world powers that surround him, the outcome of that crucial diplomacy is very much in question amid currently deadlocked nuclear disarmament talks and an outburst of North Korean weapons tests in recent weeks.

North Korea on Friday said that its rubber-stamp parliament will hold its second meeting of the year on Aug. 29. It follows weeks of intensified North Korean weapons tests and belligerent statements over U.S.-South Korea military exercises and the slow pace of nuclear negotiations with the United States.

Kim has said he said he would seek a “new way” if Washington doesn’t change its hard-line stance on sanctions relief by the year’s end, though experts doubt he’ll fully abandon diplomacy and give away his hard-won status as a global statesman.

President Donald Trump on Saturday said that Kim wrote him a “beautiful” three-page letter in which he expressed desire to meet once again to “start negotiations” after U.S.-South Korea military exercises end, and also apologized for the flurry of short-range missile tests.

The North’s new constitutional changes, which show Kim’s further consolidation of his already formidable powers, could allow him to act more clearly as a diplomat on the world stage, technically signing a peace treaty with Trump, for instance, or giving speeches at the U.N. General Assembly, analysts say.

Children suffer from country’s economic crisis

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — It is only a few hours since Zimbabwe’s schools closed for month-long August holidays, and 13-year-old Tanyaradzwa is already milling outside a bar “doing business,” he says.

He hawks cigarettes outside a dingy downtown bar in the capital, Harare, and for a fee, helps motorists find parking space.

“I am not a street kid. I come here to sell my things, go home and use the money to buy food,” said Tanyaradzwa, who did not give his last name to protect his privacy.

With power cuts lasting 19 hours per day, debilitating water shortages, inflation at 175% and many basic items in scarce supply, Zimbabwe’s children are the silent victims of the once-prosperous southern African country’s debilitating economic downfall.

Tanyaradzwa would rather be home playing computer games with friends. But for his family of six to eat he must hang around the bar at the popular Elizabeth Hotel in hopes of cashing in on afternoon drinkers and passersby who want to buy cigarettes, he said.

His parents run a small vegetable stall in Glen View, a working class residential area, but what they make is hardly enough to pay the bills, let alone buy food, he said.

Due to the spectacular deterioration of an economy that brimmed with hope less than two years ago, many people can no longer afford to put food on the table without the help of their children — no matter how young.

Muslims clash with Israeli police at holy site

JERUSALEM (AP) — Muslim worshippers and Israeli police clashed Sunday at a major Jerusalem holy site during prayers marking the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Palestinian medics said at least 14 people were wounded, one seriously, in the skirmishes with police at the site, which Muslims refer to as the Al-Aqsa mosque compound and Jews refer to as the Temple Mount. Police said at least four officers were wounded. Witnesses said at least two people were arrested.

Clouds of tear gas swirled and stun grenades thundered across the stone-paved esplanade as masses of worshippers skirmished with police in the worst bout of fighting at the contested holy site in months.

The clashes came amid heightened tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, just days after an Israeli soldier was killed south of Jerusalem. On Saturday, Israeli troops killed four Palestinian militants who attempted to cross the Gaza border fence.

Tens of thousands of Muslims had flocked to the site in Jerusalem’s Old City early Sunday for holiday prayers, police said. Jews are also observing on Sunday the Ninth of Av, a day of fasting and mourning for the destruction of the two Biblical temples which stood at the site in antiquity.

The site is the holiest for Jews and the third holiest for Muslims, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, and has long been a flashpoint at the epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Jordan, which serves as the custodian of the holy site, said in a statement that it had sent a formal complaint to Israel and condemned what it called Israel’s “irresponsible provocations.” Sufian al-Qudah, a spokesman for the Jordanian Foreign Ministry, said Amman holds Israel completely responsible for the violence.