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He calls for monitoring of the Internet, mental health reform but backs away on stronger gun control

Together we stand: People holding up their phones during a vigil in memory of the victims in El Paso on Monday.AFPMARK RALSTON

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday proposed tighter monitoring of the Internet, mental health reform and wider use of the death penalty in response to mass slayings over the weekend that killed 31 people in Texas and Ohio.

The man arrested for killing 22 people at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, reportedly had racist motives and Mr. Trump said Americans must “condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy.”

Mr. Trump did not directly address accusations that his own anti-immigrant and racially charged comments have contributed to a rise in race tensions.

“These sinister ideologies must be defeated,” he said in remarks at the White House. “Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul.”

On Saturday, a gunman killed 22 people at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, and several Mexican citizens were among those killed.

Just 13 hours later, another gunman killed nine people in Dayton, Ohio. Dozens were also wounded in the attacks.

‘Death penalty’

Mr. Trump, who has been accused of not doing enough to tackle extremist groups, said he was directing the Department of Justice to investigate domestic terrorism, and propose legislation to ensure that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty.

He also said the country needs to reform mental health laws to identify disturbed people as well as work with social media companies to detect possible mass shooters.

“We must make sure those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms and that if they do those firearms can be taken through rapid due process,” he said.

Background checks

Mr. Trump had earlier on Monday called for “strong background checks” on gun buyers but in his comments at the White House he gave no details on what he would push for, and it was not the central part of his message.

“Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun,” he said.

Mr. Trump has previously called for background checks but then backed away, apparently reluctant to get into a fight with the powerful National Rifle Association.

The President also said on Monday that it was time to stop glorifying violence in society, and pointed to “gruesome and grisly” video games. “It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this and it has to begin immediately.”

Democrats, who have long pushed for greater gun control, accused Mr. Trump of hiding behind talk of mental health reform and the role of social media instead of committing to tighter gun laws to address gun violence.

Boris makes a major foreign policy move

The British tanker, Stena Impero, at sea.AFPHO

Britain on Monday joined the U.S. in a maritime security mission in the Gulf to protect merchant vessels travelling through the Strait of Hormuz after Iran seized a British-flagged vessel.

British officials stressed that there was no change to London’s policy on Iran but joining the U.S. is the most significant non-Brexit foreign policy move to date of PM Boris Johnson’s 12-day-old government.

Just two weeks ago, Britain was calling for a European-led naval mission. Now, it has joined what it said was a U.S.-led ”international maritime security mission”. No other nations are yet involved.

“It is vital to secure the freedom for all international shipping to navigate the Strait of Hormuz without delay, given the increased threat,” said British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.

“The deployment of Royal Navy assets is a sign of our commitment to our U.K.-flagged vessels and we look forward to working alongside the U.S. to find a solution to the problems in the Strait of Hormuz.

Seoul to test its ability to take operational control in wartime

Jeong Kyeong-doo HANDOUT

and Washington began their annual joint military exercises on Monday, defying warnings from Pyongyang that the war games would jeopardise nuclear negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea.

The drills come after North Korea tested a series of short-range projectiles in recent days, calling one of them a “solemn warning” to Seoul against pursuing the mainly computer-simulated drills with Washington.

South Korean Defence Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo told Parliament that the joint exercise began on Monday, adding that Seoul was “clearly maintaining its readiness posture against any military action by North Korea”.

Details about the training have not been disclosed, but a Ministry official in Seoul said this year’s exercise will include verifying South Korea’s abilities to take operational control in wartime. Under the U.S.-South Korea security treaty, an American general will take command of their combined forces in the event of armed conflict, but Seoul has long sought to reverse the position.

Carrie Lam says protesters pose challenge to ‘one country, two systems’ framework

A protester runs with a U.S. flag as tear gas shells are fired on protesters in Hong Kong on Monday.APKin Cheung

riot police clashed on Monday with pro-democracy protesters for a third straight day, as the city’s leader warned the City was nearing a “very dangerous situation” and a rare strike caused transport chaos.

Clouds of tear gas billowed across multiple locations on Monday afternoon as the City buckled under a general strike, which protesters pushed to emphasise they still had broad public support following two months of unrest.

In a rare public appearance, Chief Executive Carrie Lam warned protesters she would not cave to their demands. “(They) have seriously undermined Hong Kong’s law and order and are pushing our City, the City that we all love and many of us helped to build, to the verge of a very dangerous situation,” Ms. Lam said.

She later referenced chants by protesters for a “revolution”, describing this as a challenge to the “one country, two systems” framework.

Activists descended on subway stations during morning rush hour, deliberately keeping doors open to stop trains from departing and paralysing large parts of a network that millions of people use daily. In the afternoon, they held simultaneous rallies at seven locations.

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