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Pro-democracy protesters during a demonstration on July 1, 2020. Photo: Tommy Walker/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Senate approved a bill via unanimous consent on Thursday that authorizes sanctions on Chinese officials involved in implementing Hong Kong's draconian new national security law, in addition to banks and firms that do business with them.

Why it matters: The bill, which passed the House unanimously on Wednesday, is part of the United States' bipartisan rebuke of China's passage of the security law, which encroaches on Hong Kong's independent legal system by setting harsh punishments for broadly defined crimes associated with protests.

  • The bill targets Chinese Communist Party officials responsible for imposing the law and Hong Kong police units that have curtailed pro-democracy protests in the special administrative region, AP reports.

The big picture: In response to the sanctions, China has said it will impose visa restrictions on Americans who it believes are interfering with Hong Kong affairs.

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has denounced threats of a visa ban, calling them a sign of “how Beijing refuses to take responsibility for its own choices."
  • He said that adoption of the security law “destroys the territory’s autonomy and one of China’s greatest achievements," according to AP.

What's next: The bill now heads to President Trump's desk. His administration is attempting to salvage the "phase one" trade deal it reached with Beijing in January.

  • Trump said the trade deal is still "fully intact" in June, while White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said it was effectively dead on the same day, the New York Times reports.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Sep 29, 2020 - World

U.K. and Canada sanction Belarus dictator over rigged election

Lukashenko. Photo: Siarhei Leskiec/AFP via Getty Images

The U.K. and Canada on Tuesday announced they would impose sanctions on Belarus dictator Aleksander Lukashenko and members of his government for violence against protesters in the wake of August's rigged election.

Why it matters: The sanctions against the Belarus strongman represent the first major penalties enacted by Western powers since a post-election crackdown in which Lukashenko's security forces have brutalized protesters and detained major opposition figures.

Buffett eyes slow U.S. progress, but says "never bet against America"

Warren Buffett in New York City in 2017. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Warren Buffett called progress in America "slow, uneven and often discouraging," but retained his long-term optimism in the country, in his closely watched annual shareholder letter released Saturday morning.

Why it matters: It breaks months of uncharacteristic silence from the 90-year-old billionaire Berkshire Hathaway CEO — as the fragile economy coped with the pandemic and the U.S. saw a contentious presidential election.

Restaurant software meets the pandemic moment

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Food delivery companies have predictably done well during the pandemic. But restaurant software providers are also having a moment as eateries race to handle the avalanche of online orders resulting from severe in-person dining restrictions.

Driving the news: Olo filed last week for an IPO and Toast is rumored to be preparing to do the same very soon.