A U.N. human rights team is gathering testimony about hundreds of people allegedly injured by Chile's police during street protests in recent weeks.
The team on Friday heard accounts about ruptured eyeballs, broken bones and other serious injuries inflicted by police pellets or the impact of tear gas canisters.
"We are certain" that police have not respected their own guidelines about the appropriate use of force, said Dr. Enrique Morales of Chile's state Medical College.
Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel has disputed such allegations, saying police were instructed "from the first moment" to follow protocols on ensuring public order and safety.
Authorities have also noted that at least 76 police officers have been injured in attacks by protesters.
At least 20 people have died in the protests, which started last month after the government announced a hike in subway fares. The protest movement expanded to include broader grievances over education, health services and growing economic inequality.
Most protests have been peaceful, but there have also been cases of arson and looting.
The mission sent by Michelle Bachelet, a former Chilean president who is the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, is investigating allegations of human rights violations during Chile's unrest.
The United Nations team will collect testimonies and reports throughout the country. The team will continue its work until Nov. 22.
On Friday, about 100 people, including doctors and students, spoke for several minutes each to four members of the U.N. mission.
Morales, the doctor, said he and others displayed photographs of patients who had lost not only eyesight but also parts of eyeballs.
The Medical College says its doctors have treated more than 140 people for eye injuries, a statistic that does not include similar injuries recorded at private hospitals.
Chile's National Institute of Human Rights, which is independent of the government, has recorded 1,574 people who were taken to hospitals after being injured in protests. Several hundred of those were shot.
The institute has filed nearly 200 lawsuits against the state, including some related to alleged homicide and sexual assault.
In some cases, security forces have taken women to areas not monitored by security cameras and made them undress, according to María José Guerrero, head of a group called the Observatory against Street Harassment.
More protests are expected in Chile next week.
Anti-government protesters attacked the Hong Kong office of China's official news agency in a show of anger against Beijing after chaos broke out downtown on Saturday, with police firing tear gas to repel gasoline bombs.
Streets in the upscale Causeway Bay shopping area and nearby Victoria Park were clouded in tear gas, sending thousands of protesters fleeing as riot police moved swiftly to stymie the latest rally in the city's 5-month-long push for genuine autonomy.
Police deployed at least two water cannon trucks in the vicinity. They had issued warnings to protesters who occupied the area that they were taking part in an unauthorized rally and were violating a government ban on face masks.
Some protesters stormed Xinhua News Agency's office in the city's Wan Chai neighborhood, smashing windows and the glass entrance door, splashing red ink, spraying graffiti and setting a small fire in the lobby. Graffiti that was sprayed on the wall next to the entrance read "Deport the Chinese communists."
It was the first strike against the Chinese state-run news agency, a day after the ruling Communist Party in Beijing vowed to tighten the grip on the territory.
Protesters have frequently targeted Chinese banks and businesses linked to or that support China. In July, demonstrators threw eggs at China's liaison office in Hong Kong and defaced the Chinese national emblem in a move slammed by Beijing as a direct challenge to its authority.
Protesters accuse China's central government of infringing on the freedoms guaranteed to Hong Kong when the former British colony returned to Chinese control in 1997.
Earlier Saturday, some protesters unearthed a goal post from a soccer field and metal railings to block the entrance to Victoria Park.
Pro-democracy candidates running in this month's district council elections — who can meet with groups of 50 or fewer people without a police permit — held meetings with voters at the park to try get around the rally ban. One candidate was pepper-sprayed in the face and detained after he argued with police.
Pockets of hardcore protesters in full gear quickly regrouped, setting street barriers and thrashing shuttered subway station exits. Protests also spread to the Kowloon district late Saturday.
In multiple places around the city, protesters hurled gasoline bombs at police, who responded by firing tear gas and water cannons. A number of protesters were detained.
Police said in a statement that some masked rioters had damaged shops, committed arson and placed nails on roads. They also said they halted two approved pro-democracy rallies due to the mayhem.
In one of those rallies, thousands gathered at a public square overlooking the city's harbor to press for the passage of a U.S. bill that could place diplomatic action and economic sanctions on Hong Kong over human rights violations. U.S. lawmakers have passed the bill, which still needs Senate backing.
The chaos Saturday underlined the depth of anger in protests that began in early June over a now-shelved plan to allow extraditions to mainland China but have since swelled into a movement seeking other demands, including direct elections for the city's leaders.
A move last month by Hong Kong's leader, Carrie Lam, to invoke emergency powers to impose a face mask ban was slammed by protesters as crimping their right to assemble.
The increasingly violent unrest, with more than 3,000 people detained since the protests began, has hurt the reputation of one of the world's top financial hubs. The city has slipped into recession for the first time in a decade as it grapples with the turmoil and the impact from the U.S.-China trade war.
The civil disobedience has posed a big challenge for Beijing, which vowed Friday to prevent foreign powers from sowing acts of "separatism, subversion, infiltration and sabotage" in Hong Kong.
In a Communist Party document released after its Central Committee meeting this past week, Beijing said it would "establish and strengthen a legal system and enforcement mechanism" to safeguard national security in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong, which has a separate legal system from mainland China, has tried to enact anti-subversion legislation before, only to have the measure shelved amid formidable public opposition. Beijing may be indicating it is preparing to take matters into its own hands by having the National People's Congress issue a legal interpretation forcing the enactment of such legislation.
Actress and activist Jane Fonda spent a night in a local jail after her fourth arrest in as many weeks while participating in a climate change demonstration on Capitol Hill.
The 81-year-old Oscar winner was among more than 40 people arrested Friday while sitting in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building. A spokesman for Fire Drill Fridays, Ira Arlook, says Fonda was the only one who spent the night in jail, her first as part of the ongoing demonstration.
Arlook says Fonda appeared in Superior Court about 1 p.m. Saturday and was released.
Fonda has said she plans to get arrested every Friday as she advocates for reducing the use of fossil fuels. A rally with speakers on various climate-related topics precedes the civil disobedience.
Bristling at Elizabeth Warren's suggestions that he's a milquetoast moderate with small ideas, presidential candidate Joe Biden countered Saturday that he offers a "bold" vision for the country and warned that Democratic primary voters should not get distracted by the party's increasingly tense battle over ideological labels.
It was a departure from Biden's usual campaign speech and signaled perhaps a new phase of Democrats' search for a nominee to take on President Donald Trump, with Warren, the leading progressive candidate, and Biden, the top choice for most moderates and establishment liberals, ratcheting up the intensity three months ahead of the Iowa caucuses.
"The vision I have for this country, there's nothing small about it. It is like going to the moon," Biden told supporters in Des Moines, as he hit the high points of a policy slate that would increase the federal government's spending and scope on everything from health care to the climate crisis.
Without naming Warren, the former vice president said his ideas — such as a "public option" to compete alongside private health insurance, as opposed to Warren's "Medicare-for-All" plan run altogether by the government — actually set the progressive standard in 2020 for a simple reason: They're more achievable.
"I'm not promising anything crazy," Biden said. "But it's a vision — a vision of how we can get things done."
With reporters afterward, Biden zeroed in on Warren's estimated $20 trillion price tag for the first decade of single-payer insurance. "Getting that plan through, even in a Democratic Congress," Biden predicted, "would be difficult."
Biden's latest volleys came barely 12 hours after Warren used Iowa Democrats' annual fundraising gala to draw sharp distinctions in the Democratic field, though she, like Biden, avoided naming opponents.
"Anyone who comes on this stage and tells you to dream small and give up early is not going to lead our party to victory," the Massachusetts senator told thousands of voters sporting t-shirts and waving signs as their preferred candidates took turns on center stage at a downtown Des Moines arena Friday night.
Even if "some people in our party don't want to admit it," Warren argued, the nation is in "a time of crisis" not just because of Trump's divisiveness but more so because of an economic and political system rigged against the working class. "If the most we can promise is 'business as usual' after Donald Trump," Warren said, "then Democrats will lose."
The senator doubled-down Saturday, insisting in Vinson, Iowa, that sweeping plans are good politics and perhaps necessary to upend Trump. "We need big ideas to inspire people, to get them to turn out for the caucuses, to turn out and vote," Warren said.
Asked hours later, after an event in Dubuque, if she was suggesting candidates like Biden weren't being ambitious enough, Warren responded: "Nope. I'm just out here talking about what I'm running on."
"I'm talking about my vision for what it means to build an America going forward that doesn't just work for a thin slice at the top, but an America that works for everyone," she said.
Still, at the very least, Biden's reaction suggests frustration over Warren's apparent momentum, even as he and his aides maintain that his philosophical approach will be successful among both Democratic primary voters and the general electorate.
Biden's proposals, to be clear, put him to the left of recent Democratic nominees, including Hillary Clinton in 2016. But on most points, he falls short of the proposals on the left flank that Warren and her fellow progressive, Sen. Bernie Sanders, have set.
Rather than obliterate private insurance, Biden touts a government plan to compete alongside private firms. Rather than government covering all four-year college tuition, Biden pushes two years a taxpayer-paid tuition. On climate, he backs most long-term goals of the left's "Green New Deal," but on a longer timeline and with an initially less aggressive crackdown on the fossil fuel industry.
"It's made to look like 'Well, Biden is coming off with some moderate proposal,'" Biden said Saturday. "There's nothing moderate about making sure everyone has health care. There's nothing moderate about getting to net-zero emissions. There's nothing moderate about fundamentally changing the school system in America so we can effectively complete in the 20th century."
The difference in his proposals, Biden argued: "I tell you straight up how we're going to pay for it and how much it's going to cost and how it's going to get done."
The dynamics Biden faces were crystallized as young climate activists interrupted him and chided him for not doing enough to take on the oil and gas industry. "Let her speak," the candidate said as his supporters tried to drown out one of the activists.
Yet as the small group chanted, sang and ultimately departed, Biden grew more frustrated.
"If you'll notice, they left before I answered her question," he said. "This is what is going on that's wrong with our party right now. Everything is taken in contexts that are not accurate."
As his voice calmed, he sought again to widen his appeal.
"The way we win is we unify, we come together as Democrats," he said. "We all have basically the same hopes and dreams. The question is, practically, how we get there. But it's not a lack of vision."
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pushed the idea that Ukraine, not Russia, was behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee servers, Manafort's deputy told investigators during the special counsel's Russia probe. The unsubstantiated theory, advanced by President Donald Trump even after he took office, would later help trigger the impeachment inquiry now consuming the White House.
Notes from an FBI interview were released Saturday after lawsuits by BuzzFeed News and CNN led to public access to hundreds of pages of documents from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. The documents included summaries of interviews with other figures from the Mueller probe, including Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.
Information related to Ukraine took on renewed interest after calls for impeachment based on efforts by the president and his administration to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democrat Joe Biden. Trump, when speaking with Ukraine's new president in July, asked about the DNC servers in the same phone call in which he pushed for an investigation into Biden.
Manafort speculated about Ukraine's responsibility as the campaign sought to capitalize on DNC email disclosures and as Trump associates discussed how they could get hold of the material themselves, deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates told investigators, according to a summary of one of his interviews.
Gates said Manafort's assertion that Ukraine might have done it echoed the position of Konstantin Kilimnik, a Manafort business associate who had also speculated that the hack could have been carried out by Russian operatives in Ukraine. U.S. authorities have assessed that Kilimnik, who was also charged in Mueller's investigation, has ties to Russian intelligence. American intelligence agencies have determined that Russia was behind the hack, and Mueller's team indicted 12 Russian agents in connection with the intrusion.
Gates also said the campaign believed that Michael Flynn, who later became Trump's first national security adviser, would be in the best position to obtain Hillary Clinton's missing emails because of his Russia connections. Flynn said he could use his intelligence sources to obtain the emails and was "adamant that Russians did not carry out the hack" because he believed that the U.S. intelligence community couldn't have figured out the source, according to the agent's notes. Flynn later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.
Mueller's investigation concluded in March with a report that found insufficient evidence to establish a criminal conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign to sway the 2016 presidential election. The report also examined multiple episodes in which Trump sought to seize control of the Russia probe but did not conclude one way or the other about whether the president had illegally obstructed justice. Attorney General William Barr ultimately concluded that the president had not committed a crime.
Gates worked with Manafort in a lucrative international political consulting business that included Ukraine and later testified against him. Gates pleaded guilty last year in Mueller's investigation and has been one of the government's key cooperators. He has yet to be sentenced as he continues working with investigators. Manafort was sentenced to more than seven years in prison, in part for financial crimes arising from his Ukraine work.
During his interviews with investigators, Gates said that Donald Trump Jr. would ask where the hacked emails were during family meetings in the summer of 2016. Gates recalled that other key campaign aides, including future Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and Flynn, also "expressed interest in obtaining the emails as well," according to an agent's written summary of one interview. The identity of one of the people who expressed interest in the emails is blanked out.
One time on the campaign aircraft, Gates told the FBI, candidate Trump said "get the emails." Gates also said that another point, Trump told him that more leaks were coming, though the heavily redacted documents do not indicate how Trump knew that.
Gates also described conversations with the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, who later entered the White House as the first chief of staff. Gates described the RNC as energized by the emails and said that though Trump and Kushner were initially skeptical about cooperating with the RNC, "the WikiLeaks issue was a turning point," the FBI notes show. WikiLeaks was the website that published the stolen emails in the weeks before the election.
The campaign was also very pleased by the releases, though Trump was advised not to react to it but rather to let it all play out, according to the interview summaries.
The RNC would put out press releases to amplify the emails' release, Gates told the FBI. "The RNC also indicated they knew the timing of the upcoming releases," though Gates didn't specify who at the RNC had that information. "Gates said the only non-public information the RNC had was related to the timing of the releases."
Manafort, meanwhile, was trying to advise the Trump campaign even after severing ties with the campaign, causing alarm among some of the candidate's most senior advisers.
Manafort emailed Kushner, on Nov. 5, 2016, just days before the election, saying he was feeling good about the prospect of a Trump presidency. In the email, Manafort said he was "focusing on preserving the victory" and that he had sent a memo to Priebus and had briefed Gates and Fox News host Sean Hannity, a close Trump ally.
Kushner sent Manafort's email to Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who replied: "we need to avoid this guy like the plague."
"They are going to try and say the Russians worked with wiki leaks to give this victory to us," Bannon wrote to Kushner and David Bossie, another Trump associate, in his reply. "Paul is nice guy but can't let word get out he is advising us."