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Energy mogul Li Hejun, once China’s richest man, is detained by police – World News

with police who started eviction operations on Wednesday in the hamlet of Luetzerath, west of Cologne, that’s due to be bulldozed for the expansion of a nearby lignite mine. Some stones and fireworks were thrown at officers in riot gear as they moved into the village, clearing roadblocks and removing protesters.

Activists had refused to heed a court ruling Monday effectively banning them from the area. Some dug trenches, built barricades and perched atop giant tripods in an effort to stop heavy machines from reaching the village, before police pushed them back by force.

“People are putting all of their effort, all of their lives into this struggle to keep the coal in the ground,” said Dina Hamid, a spokesperson for the activist group Luetzerath Lives.

“If this coal is burned, we’re actually going to take down our climate goals,” she said. “So we’re trying to, with our bodies, protect the climate goals.”

The debate flared up hours later at a townhall meeting in nearby Erkelenz, when one regional official accused activists of being willing to “spill human blood” to defend the now-abandoned village.

Stephan Pusch, who heads the district administration, said that while he sympathized with the protesters’ aims, the time had come to give up Luetzerath. The village’s last resident left in 2022 after being forced to sell to utility company RWE.

“You’ve achieved your goal. Now clear the pitch,” he said to jeers from the room.

Many disagreed, arguing that the village is more than just a potent symbol for the need to stop global warming.

Studies indicate that about 110 million metric tons of coal could be extracted from beneath Luetzerath. The government and RWE say this coal is needed to ensure Germany’s energy security — squeezed by the cut in supply of Russian gas due to the war in Ukraine.

Critics counter that burning so much coal would make it much harder for Germany, and the world, to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) as agreed in the 2015 Paris climate accord.

“Nobody wants to be out there in the cold right now, defending a forest or a village,” said Maya Rollberg, a 26-year-old student who had traveled from southern Germany. “But I think that people have realized that they have to do that in order to (protect) future generations.”

Dietmar Jung, a retired priest attending the meeting, said he was tired of hearing officials say the law was on the side of RWE.

“They keep going back to the legal situation,” he said. “But the right to live doesn’t play a role here (for them).”

Pusch, the regional administration chief, warned protesters that intentionally breaking the law wouldn’t help their cause in a country where the violent seizure of power and the horrors of dictatorship are still within living memory.

“I’ll tell you honestly that I’m scared my children will grow up in a world that isn’t worth living in anymore,” he said. “But I’m at least as scared of my children growing up in a country where everyone takes the law into their own hands.”

“You won’t save the world’s climate on your own,” said Pusch. “(We’ll) only do so if we manage to take the majority of the population with us.”

Similar debates over how far civil disobedience can go have taken place in Germany and elsewhere in recent months amid a wave of road blockades and other dramatic actions by protesters demanding tougher measures to combat climate change.

Some climate activists say the law is ultimately on their side, citing a 2021 ruling by the country’s supreme court that forced the government to step up its effort to cut emissions. They also note the legally binding nature of Germany’s commitments under the Paris accord.

Speaking after the townhall meeting, student Jannis Niethammer acknowledged that the dispute over Luetzerath touches on fundamental issues. “It’s a question of democracy and how do we actually get a democracy to move toward climate protection, toward climate justice,” he said.

Janine Wissler, a federal lawmaker and co-leader of the opposition Left party, suggested the way out would be for the government to reverse its decision allowing the village to be razed.

“If we want to achieve our climate targets and take the Paris climate agreement seriously, then the coal beneath Luetzerath needs to stay in the ground,” she told The Associated Press on the sidelines of the protest.

Wissler criticized an agreement struck last year between the government and utility company RWE to permit mining beneath the village in return for an earlier end to coal use in Germany. Some experts say that, in sum, the deal will lead to higher emissions.

“We’re already experiencing droughts, famines and floods. Climate change is happening already,” she said. “And therefore wrong decisions need to be corrected.”

explosive memoir, with its damning allegations of a toxic relationship between the monarchy and the press, could accelerate the pace of change already under way within the House of Windsor following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Harry’s description of royals leaking unflattering information about other members of the family in exchange for positive coverage of themselves is but one of the more tawdry allegations in his book, “ Spare,” published this week. The prince singled out King Charles III’s wife, Camilla, accusing her of feeding private conversations to the media as she sought to rehabilitate her image after her longtime affair with Charles when he was heir to the throne.

Far from the unity that is presented in public, the royal family and their staffs are depicted as scheming rivals, ready to stab each other in the back to make themselves or their bosses look better in the public eye. The palace that Harry describes resembles a modern version of the court of King Henry VIII, where courtiers jockeyed for the monarch’s favor and some lost their heads.

The book leaves the impression of a deeply dysfunctional British royal family whose members are so concerned about the tabloid press that they are forced to make deals with journalists, says Ed Owens, author of “ The Family Firm: Monarchy, Mass Media and the British Public, 1932-53.” And the public, when faced with this proposition, may think twice.

“I think there needs to be some kind of reset, and we need to think carefully about what the monarchy is, what role it plays in society,’’ says Owens, a historian. “Because this idea of `we, the British taxpayers, pay and in return they perform’ — it’s really a broken and corrupting kind of equation.”

Largely funded by taxpayers, the monarchy plays a mostly ceremonial role in British society these days — masters of soft power. But supporters argue that the institution still serves a vital role, uniting the country behind shared history and traditions embodied in both the grandeur of royal ceremonies and the day-to-day work of royals as they open schools and hospitals and hand out honors to those who serve the nation.

News coverage of the royal family generally falls into one of two categories: carefully orchestrated public appearances or sometimes chaotic stories about the private lives of royals based on unidentified sources.

But change may be at hand.

The history of colonialism — so deeply intertwined with the crown — is being re-examined around the world. Protesters have torn down or defaced statues in British cities, and internationally respected universities such as Oxford and Cambridge are changing their course offerings. It all adds up to one thing: An institution that was once the symbol of the British Empire is facing scrutiny as never before.

Charles, who became king after the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September, faces the challenge of modernizing Britain’s 1,000-year-old monarchy to guarantee its survival. He has already said he plans to reduce the number of working royals and reduce the cost of the monarchy.

This has been a long time coming, perhaps, but was delayed by one key factor: Elizabeth herself.

Personal affection for the queen meant that the monarchy’s role in British society was rarely debated during her seven decades on the throne. Now that she’s gone, the royal family is confronting questions about its relevance in a modern, multicultural nation that looks very different than when Elizabeth ascended the throne in 1952.

In Elizabeth’s world — governed by the mantra “never complain, never explain” — the sort of personal revelations in Harry’s book would have been unthinkable. He describes his mental health struggles following the 1997 car accident that killed his mother, Princess Diana, He recounts a physical altercation with his older brother, Prince William, reveals how he lost his virginity and describes using cocaine and cannabis.

“Spare” is the latest effort by Harry and his wife, Meghan, to tell their own story after they quit royal life and moved to California in 2020, citing what they saw as the media’s racist treatment of Meghan and a lack of support from the palace.

In the ghostwritten memoir, Harry, 38, alleges that Camilla forged connections with the British press and traded information on her way to becoming queen consort, essentially feeding unflattering stories on Harry and Meghan to the press in exchange for better coverage of herself.

The allegations are particularly sensitive because of Camilla’s role in the acrimonious breakdown of Charles’ marriage to Diana. While many…

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