National flags of China and Maldives fly on Tiananmen Square. Photo: VCG / VCG via Getty Images)

A newly declassified cable from the British Ambassador to China at the time, Sir Alan Donald, describes the civilian deaths at the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre as at a "minimum estimate" of 10,000, The Independent reports. The document was reportedly written on June 5, just about 24 hours after the massacre.

Why it matters: That's much higher than previous estimates and disclosures; the Chinese government claims between 200 and 300 were killed and the Chinese Red Cross claims about 2,700 were killed. The document also provides more gruesome details than previously disclosed. In 2014, NTDTV reported that a Chinese informer reported 10,454 fatalities. The Chinese government has said the response to the protests at Tiananmen Square was a legitimate defense against a riot or rebellion.

The details described in the secret document:

  • Wounded female students were bayoneted while begging for their lives.
  • Students were "mown down" at "65kph," about 40 mph, run over "time and time again to make, quote 'pie' unquote, and remains collected by bulldozer."
  • "Remains incinerated and then hosed down drains," the cable reads. "27 Army ordered to spare no one."
  • The cable indicates the massacre didn't end after the first wave of killings.

Sir Alan Donald's source: A "good friend" in China's State Council, who had "previously proved reliable and was careful to separate fact from speculation and rumour."

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Pennsylvania's Supreme Court ordered state officials last week to throw out mail-in ballots submitted without a required inner "secrecy" envelope in November's election, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The state of play: The decision went under the radar alongside the simultaneous decision to extend the time that mail-in ballots could be counted, but Philadelphia's top elections official warned state legislators this week that throwing out so-called "naked ballots" could bring "electoral chaos" to the state and cause "tens of thousands of votes" to be thrown out — potentially tipping the presidential election.

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What to watch: Topics for the Sept. 29 debate will include Trump and Biden's records, the Supreme Court, COVID-19, economic policy, racism and the integrity of the election, the Commission for Presidential Debates announced on Tuesday. Each topic will receive 15 minutes of conversation and will be presented in no particular order.

Fed chair warns economy will feel the weight of expired stimulus

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Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday that the expiration of Congress' coronavirus stimulus will weigh on the U.S. economy.

Why it matters: Powell warned that the effects of dried-up benefits are a looming risk to the economy, even if the consequences aren't yet visible.

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