HONG KONG — The operator of the express train to Hong Kong’s airport has suspended service as pro-democracy protesters gathered there following a day of violent clashes with police.MTR Corp. said Sunday trains from the airport on Chek Lap Kok island into the city still are running.Several hundred protesters have gathered at the airport following online calls to disrupt travel.That came after a day of clashes in which protesters threw gasoline bombs at government headquarters and police hit subway passengers with clubs and pepper spray.Also Sunday, about 200 people gathered at the British Consulate.The Associated Press
Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, center left, Mexico’s consul general in Austin, gives testimony to the Committee on International Trade and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Texas Capitol, Monday, March 6, 2017, in Austin, Texas. Officials from Mexico and Texas are urging the state’s lawmakers to defend the North American Free Trade Agreement against President Donald Trump’s administration, which has been wary of it. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) by Will Weissert, The Associated Press Posted Mar 6, 2017 4:13 pm MDT Last Updated Mar 6, 2017 at 5:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email AUSTIN, Texas – Texas has benefited from the North American Free Trade Agreement more than anywhere else in the U.S. and should defend the pact against attempts by Donald Trump’s administration to undermine it, officials from the state and Mexico said Monday.Rolando Pablos, the Texas secretary of state, and Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, Mexico’s consul general in Austin, spoke to legislators during a hearing at the state capitol. The comments underscore the dilemma facing many top Republicans who don’t want to openly defy Trump but oppose some of the anti-Mexican trade policies he has advocated.Pablos said Texas-Mexico trade accounts for nearly $200 billion annually and that there is a “shared destiny” through deep family and cultural connections.“It is so crucial that we continue to strengthen ties,” said Pablos, who was appointed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in January and travelled to Mexico City last week to reassure officials there is “no stronger partnership than the one between Texas and Mexico.”Gonzalez Gutierrez said that since NAFTA was negotiated in 1993, U.S.-Mexico trade increased six-fold to $584 billion in 2015. He said his country is now the leading trade partner for 25 states but “Texas is in a completely different league.”“If Texas is the biggest winner in NAFTA, Texas must be its No. 1 champion,” Gonzalez Gutierrez told state lawmakers, adding that if the agreement collapsed the U.S. would lose exports to Mexico worth a total of about 1.3 per cent of the value of the nation’s gross domestic product — but Texas would sustain losses equal to 6 per cent of its statewide gross domestic product.“It is imperative for Texas to take the lead and frame the terms of the debate around NAFTA,” Gonzalez Gutierrez said.Some state leaders have expressed concerns about dismantling NAFTA, Trump’s plan to build a wall along the nearly 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border and a GOP plan in Congress slapping a 20 per cent tax on all imported goods.‘The potential damage to the Texas economy is catastrophic,” Rep. Rafael Anchia, a Democrat from Dallas, said Monday.Gonzalez Gutierrez said Mexico isn’t opposed to renegotiating NAFTA, especially to update agreements on energy, the service sector and Internet-based commerce, as well as exploring whether U.S. insurance companies can facilitate “medical tourism” where Americas head to Mexico for cheaper health care. But Trump has gone well beyond suggesting simple tweaks, calling the agreement the “worst trade deal ever approved in this country.”John Cornyn, the Republican majority whip in the U.S. Senate, used an op-ed last week to urge the new administration to improve, not scrap, NAFTA.“Trade has been a cornerstone of the Texas economy, with no partner more important than Mexico,” Cornyn wrote.Other red states have worried about an economic tailspin the White House’s anti-NAFTA rhetoric could spark, including in Arizona, where Sen. John McCain has said he’s “deeply concerned” about any plan renegotiating the pact.Such jitters stretch beyond the border, too. Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo was in Detroit last week opposing import tariff plans. Auto executives and economists there worried that major NAFTA changes, or stiff tariffs, would wreak havoc on the industry, which relies on parts-supply and auto-assembly factories in Mexico thanks to NAFTA.Still, some Texans said they want to give Trump the benefit of the doubt — for now.“I feel confident that, at the end of the day, Texas trade with Mexico will be protected,” state Rep. Tan Parker, a Republican from Flower Mound, outside Dallas, said Monday. “Really, what we’re seeing at this point is early dialogue on this topic.”___This story has been corrected to show that Texas-Mexico trade accounts for nearly $200 billion annually. Officials from Mexico and Texas urge state to defend NAFTA
Over on DailyEdge.ie: You’ll never guess who’s helping Louis Walsh pick his new boyband, Linda Martin has no comment and LEAVE KEANU REEVES ALONE! It’s the Dredge EVERY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you the nine things you need to know as you start your day.1. #ROW: Independent TD Mick Wallace is to lodge an official complaint against the Minister for Justice today over the alleged misuse of information. Meanwhile, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has given his full support to his party colleague. Last week, Alan Shatter told Prime Time that the Wexford deputy had been cautioned for using a mobile phone while driving but avoided penalty points because of garda discretion.2. #CROKE PARK II: Talks on a revised public sector agreement resume today after junior minister Brian Hayes told RTÉ that it was possible not all of the €300 million savings target for 2013 would be reached.3. #ABORTION: The second of three days of hearings on proposed abortion legislation will take place at Leinster House today with the Oireachtas committee for health and children due to hear from a number psychiatrists and other medical experts. TheJournal.ie will be live-blogging proceedings from 9.30am.4. #DEATH: Gardaí have launched a murder inquiry after the body of 37-year-old Alan Desmond was found in a field in Tallaght on Saturday night. The remains were discovered by a young schoolboy on Killinarden Hill, reports the Irish Daily Mirror.5. #SOARING: Michael O’Leary’s Ryanair has announced full-year profits of €569 million, a 13 per cent increase on last year. The budget airline said the results come despite a significant rise in fuel costs.6. #HISTORY: Plans to fill in a number of Georgian cellars to allow for the construction of the Luas Cross City line have been criticised by a historical society which described the move as a “further erosion” of Dublin’s heritage.7. #PRE-SCHOOL: Unpublished inspection reports examining preschool tuition have revealed “significant weaknesses” in the range and quality of activities for children, reports the Irish Times.8. #SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: The Marriage Bill, which would legalise same-sex marriage in England and Wales, returns to the House of Commons later today amid continuing opposition from some Conservative activists and MPs. According to the Daily Telegraph, Prime Minister David Cameron is facing defeat because of an amendment proposed by former minister Tim Loughton.9. #PIGEON V PLANE: A recent incident involving an Aer Lingus flight and a flock of pigeons highlighted Dublin Airport’s problems in keeping airspace bird-free. TheJournal.ie subsequently discovered that about 48,000 ‘bird scaring actions’ – involving firing cartridges which emit loud bangs and smoke – were carried out last year.