Nation and World briefs for September 16

New York moves to enact statewide flavored e-cig ban

NEW YORK — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing to enact a statewide ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes amid growing health concerns connected to vaping, especially among young people.

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The Democrat announced Sunday that the state health commissioner would be making a recommendation this week to the state Public Health and Health Planning Council. The council can issue emergency regulations that would go into effect as soon as they are voted on and start being enforced in as soon as two weeks, following a short grace period for retailers, officials said.

In announcing the action, Cuomo sharply criticized the flavors that are for sale, like bubble gum and cotton candy.

“These are obviously targeted to young people and highly effective at targeting young people,” he said.

Officials pointed to a significant increase of e-cigarettes by young people, which they said was driven by the flavors.

Boris Johnson likens himself to the Hulk in Brexit fight

LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has compared himself to the Hulk in a newspaper interview emphasizing his determination to take Britain out of the European Union next month.

Johnson faces considerable legal and political hurdles but told the Mail on Sunday he will meet the Oct. 31 deadline no matter what.

“The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets,” he told the widely read tabloid, invoking the comic book and film character known for formidable but destructive strength.

Johnson remains defiant even though Parliament has passed a law requiring him to seek an extension to the deadline if no deal is reached by mid-October. He has also lost his working majority in Parliament and been told by Scotland’s highest court that his decision to suspend Parliament was illegal.

Johnson portrays himself as more convinced than ever that Britain will break with the EU at the end of October.

Violence flares after Hong Kong protesters defy police ban

HONG KONG — Police fired chemical-laced blue water and tear gas at protesters who lobbed Molotov cocktails outside the Hong Kong government office complex Sunday, as violence flared anew after thousands of pro-democracy supporters marched through downtown in defiance of a police ban.

A mixed crowd of hardcore protesters in black and wearing masks, along with families with children, spilled into the roads of the Causeway Bay shopping belt and marched for over 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) to the central business district. Some waved U.S. and British flags, while others carried posters reiterating their calls for democratic reforms.

Police had turned down a request by the Civil Human Rights Front to hold the march, but the demonstrators were undeterred, as they’ve been all summer.

“I feel this is our duty. The government wants to block us with the ban, but I want to say that the people will not be afraid,” said one protester, Winnie Leung, 50.

The march disrupted traffic, and many shops, including the Sogo department store in Causeway Bay, one of Hong Kong’s largest department stores, closed their doors.

No millennial bump for Buttigieg, but hints of broad appeal

DES MOINES, Iowa — Pete Buttigieg would like to turn the fight for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination into a contest about generational change. But there’s one looming problem: He has yet to win over his own.

His lack of any ample base of support, even among his fellow millennials, is a central challenge of the 37-year-old’s long shot bid to rise from mayor of South Bend, Indiana, to the nation’s highest office. He plays well across a broad spectrum of Democratic voters, but in small fragments that have left him an intriguing candidate stuck in single digits in national polls.

“You can put groups of candidates into corners. What corner do you put Pete Buttigieg in?” said J. Ann Selzer, longtime director of the Iowa Poll, produced by The Des Moines Register and its partners. “I think that the combination of characteristics that most define Buttigieg fit him rather uniquely. He appears to be a cluster of one.”

As such, he needs to try to leverage that kind of appeal into votes against a field where candidates with clearer ideological positions, such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, have more natural core constituencies.

There was hope for Buttigeig in a Register poll in June that showed his overall viability footprint — measuring Iowans listing him as their first or second choice, or merely considering him — closely trailed the survey’s top choices: former Vice President Joe Biden, Sanders and Warren.

Dem presidential candidates call for Kavanaugh’s impeachment

WASHINGTON — Several Democratic presidential candidates on Sunday lined up to call for the impeachment of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in the face of a new, uninvestigated, allegation of sexual impropriety when he was in college.

Kavanaugh was confirmed last October after emotional hearings in the Senate over a sexual assault allegation from his high school years. The New York Times now reports that Kavanaugh faced a separate allegation from his time at Yale University and that the FBI did not investigate the claim. The latest claim mirrors one offered during his confirmation process by Deborah Ramirez, a Yale classmate who claimed Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a drunken party.

When he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last year, Kavanaugh denied all allegations of impropriety .

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Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said after the new report that “Brett Kavanaugh lied to the U.S. Senate and most importantly to the American people.” She tweeted: “He must be impeached.”

A 2020 rival, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, tweeted that “Confirmation is not exoneration, and these newest revelations are disturbing. Like the man who appointed him, Kavanaugh should be impeached.”

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