U.K. official disappears en route from China — Britain said it was “extremely concerned” by reports that a Hong Kong consulate worker was detained during a recent trip to mainland China, a case that threatens to add to strains between Beijing and London. The statement came after news site HK01 reported that the U.K. consular employee, Simon Cheng, 28, was reported missing after failing to return from an Aug. 8 meeting in the adjacent city of Shenzhen. In response to questions on the matter, a Hong Kong Police Force spokesman said they hadn’t received any notification from the mainland authorities so far. The incident comes at a sensitive time for the U.K. and China, which has accused the British government of meddling in its former colony by defending the rights of demonstrators.
Trump cancels Denmark visit — Two days after he said buying Greenland wasn’t a top priority, President Donald Trump canceled an upcoming trip to Denmark, which owns the mostly frozen island, after its prime minister dismissed the idea. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen had called Trump’s musing about buying the Danish territory “an absurd discussion” after the former real estate mogul-turned-president began to talk up the idea. Trump said Sunday that he was interested in such a deal for strategic purposes, but said a purchase was not a priority at this time. Trump tweeted a doctored photo of a Trump skyscraper in a small village in the Arctic territory. “I promise not to do this to Greenland,” he joked Monday.
Australian court upholds sex abuse verdict — An Australian appeals court Wednesday upheld convictions against Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic to be found guilty of sexually abusing children. The decision brought cheers from scores of abuse survivors and victims’ advocates demonstrating outside court. The Victoria state Court of Appeal in a 2-1 ruling rejected Pell’s appeal of a unanimous jury verdict in December that Pope Francis’ former finance minister was guilty of molesting two 13-year-old choirboys in Melbourne’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral more than two decades ago. Pell’s lawyers will examine the judgment and consider an appeal to the High Court, Australia’s final arbiter, his spokeswoman said in a statement. He was sentenced to six years in prison in March and is no longer a member of Pope Francis’ council of cardinals or a Vatican official. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said soon after the appeal was rejected that Pell would be stripped of his Order of Australia honor.
Trump acknowledges pain from tariffs — President Donald Trump acknowledged Tuesday his aggressive China trade policies may mean economic pain for Americans but insisted they’re needed for more important long-term benefits. He contended he does not fear a recession but is nonetheless considering new tax cuts to promote growth. Asked if his trade war with China could tip the country into recession, Trump brushed off the idea as “irrelevant” and said it was imperative to “take China on.” The president indicated that he had no choice but to impose the tariffs that have been a drag on U.S. manufacturers, financial markets and, by some measures, American consumers.
Italian premier resigns — Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte resigned Tuesday, blaming the collapse of his 14-month-old populist government on his rebellious, anti-migrant Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who triggered a political crisis to try to force early elections. Addressing the Senate, Conte blasted Salvini for setting in motion a “dizzying spiral of political and financial instability” by essentially pulling the plug on the government. Salvini’s right-wing League party sought a no-confidence vote against Conte earlier this month, a stunningly bold move for the government’s junior coalition partner. Conte, a lawyer with no political experience who was tapped to break a post-election stalemate last year, handed his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella at the presidential palace Tuesday night. Mattarella, who is head of state, requested that Conte and the rest of the government stay on in a caretaker role, while he works in the coming days to determine whether to call new elections.
LA Opera moves to investigate Placido Domingo — Los Angeles Opera said Tuesday it will immediately open a “thorough and independent investigation” into allegations of sexual harassment against the opera star Placido Domingo, the company’s general director. In a brief statement Tuesday, the opera company said it has hired Debra Wong Yang from the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher to lead the investigation. LA Opera did not respond to questions about how the investigation would be carried out and its expected duration. Yang is a former U.S. attorney and Los Angeles County Superior Court judge who is chair of her firm’s Crisis Management Practice Group, according to the firm’s website.