Updated Sep 5, 2019

Hong Kong leader: China backs extradition bill withdrawal

Carrie Lam. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

The Chinese government "understands, respects and supports" the withdrawal of Hong Kong's controversial extradition bill, the city's embattled leader Carrie Lam told a news conference on Thursday.

Why it matters: Lam's announcement Wednesday that she was formally withdrawing the bill that would have seen citizens extradited to mainland China was a key demand of protesters. The proposed bill triggered weeks of massive protests in the Chinese-controlled territory, and the Asian financial hub has since been plunged into crisis as the demonstrations developed into a broader pro-democracy movement.

  • Unrest in Hong Kong has grown since the protests began in June, and violent clashes between police and protesters have become more frequent.

The big picture: Protesters are concerned about losing the high degree of autonomy Hong Kongers have had since the former British colony was returned to China in 1997. The Chinese government has ramped up its rhetoric in recent weeks, comparing protesters to terrorists on several occasions.

  • Lam has repeatedly resisted protesters' calls for her to step down over her handling of the crisis. In July, she declared the extradition bill "dead," but protesters noted she did not formally withdraw it.
  • Per the Wall Street Journal, activists' additional demands include an inquiry into the Hong Kong Police Force’s handling of the demonstrations and calls for greater democracy, which have angered the Chinese government.
  • Lam announced other measures along with the bill's withdrawal, such as opening a platform for dialogue to address other issues including housing and mobility for young people.

What they're saying: The announcement is seen as too little, too late by protesters. Protest leaders including student activist Joshua Wong say that many key demands had still not been met.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper: Hong Kong's people stand up to China

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Federal judge strikes down Florida law requiring felons to pay fines before voting

Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: oe Raedle/Getty Images

A federal judge on Sunday ruled that a Florida law requiring convicted felons to pay all court fines and fees before registering to vote is unconstitutional.

Why it matters: The ruling, which will likely be appealed by state Republicans, would clear the way for hundreds of thousands of ex-felons in Florida to register to vote ahead of November's election.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 5,375,648 — Total deaths: 343,721 — Total recoveries — 2,149,412Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 1,639,872 — Total deaths: 97,599 — Total recoveries: 361,239 — Total tested: 13,784,786Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

White House announces new coronavirus travel restrictions on Brazil

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro with Trump, March 19, 2019. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool via Getty Images

The White House announced that beginning at 11:59 pm ET on Thursday, President Trump would suspend entry of non-U.S. citizens who have been in Brazil in the past 14 days in an effort to stop the imported spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Brazil has reported nearly 350,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus — the second-most in the world behind the U.S. — and has emerged as a Southern Hemisphere hotspot as other heavily affected countries in Asia and Europe have managed to get their outbreaks under control.