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VOA news 2019-07-03

This is VOA news. I’m Marissa Melton.

The chief of the U.S. Border Patrol is condemning offensive posts on a secret Facebook group for agents.

AP Washington correspondent Sagar Meghani reports.

Some were sexually explicit posts about Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is among Democrats touring border facilities yesterday and describing what one called jail-like conditions where migrants are being held.

“What we saw today was unconscionable.”

Border Patrol chief Carla Provost says the posts were completely inappropriate. President Trump said yesterday he had not seen them but claimed Border Patrol agents are just unhappy with Congress.

“The Border Patrol, they’re patriots, they’re great people. They love our country.”

Sagar Meghani, Washington.

The Trump administration is giving up plans to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census. This means the U.S. Census Bureau can now start printing forms to be sent to more than 100 million American homes.

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week against the Trump administration’s request to add a citizenship question, the president said he hoped to delay the head count of all people in the United States taking once every 10 years. Such a delay would have violated federal law.

The census is used to determine congressional districts and to allot federal funds.

Critics of the citizenship question says it could intimidate non-citizens, resulting in an undercount of some populations.

The remaining signatories to the 2015 international pact to restrain Iran’s nuclear weapons development all voiced concern Tuesday that Tehran had exceeded the limit of how much low-enriched uranium it could stockpile.

Britain, France, Germany and the European Union said in a joint statement they had been “consistent and clear” that their “commitment to the nuclear deal depends on full compliance by Iran.”

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Anger and concern continue in Hong Kong Tuesday a day after dozens of protesters stormed the legislative building potentially dividing the city’s massive and largely peaceful protests.

Thousands of demonstrators used the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong’s reunification with China to break into the building. They roamed the hallways and defaced walls with spray paint and anti-Beijing graffiti.

Political science analyst Samson Yuen says the protest reflected the viewpoints of many of Hong Kong’s young people.

“I think it’s a very symbolic action that a lot of young protesters in Hong Kong. They have very low institutional trust on the entire system. They don’t trust police, they don’t trust the executive branch and now they don’t even trust the legislative branch.”

U.S. Consul General Kurt Tong says the U.S. would have preferred no violence.

“… the United States is that the right for freedom of expression is both most effective and most proper when it is exercised peacefully and so the United States like many people was disappointed to see the violence and vandalism yesterday in the Legislative Council.”

While the protests coincided with the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover, they were triggered by a controversial legislative bill that would allow for criminal extradition to China’s mainland.

European Union leaders have chosen the new heads of the 28-nation bloc’s institutions after a three-day deadlock triggered by deep divisions among members.

European Council President Donald Tusk said Tuesday that German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen was named president of the European Commission. Belgium’s Prime Minister Charles Michel was named council president.

Lawmakers are set to choose the president of the European Parliament on Wednesday in Strasbourg.

And a dispute over subsidies for the world’s two largest plane manufacturers has the United States threatening to impose tariffs on $4 billion in European Union goods.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office released a list Monday of products the U.S. could target in addition to the $21 billion worth of goods that were announced in April.

On the list of additional goods are a variety of metals, olives, Italian cheese and Scotch whiskey.

The president of the Algerian parliament quit on Tuesday after prolonged demands for his removal by protesters who saw him as a pillar of the ruling elite.

Meanwhile, several hundred Algerian students and teachers demonstrated in Algiers against the government for the 19th consecutive week. They’re calling for the release of “political detainees,” including recently arrested demonstrators.

I’m Marissa Melton, VOA news.

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