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Trump critcizes bitcoin, cryptocurrencies; questions Facebook Libra

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U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said he’s “not a fan” of cryptocurrencies, and suggested that Facebook may need a banking charter if the company wants to launch Libra.

In a series of Twitter posts, Trump said cryptocurrencies are not money and “Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity.”

The president added that the U.S. dollar — which he said is “dependable and reliable” — is the “only one real currency in the USA.”

“It is by far the most dominant currency anywhere in the World, and it will always stay that way. It is called the United States Dollar!” said Trump.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

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Hong Kong protesters selfish for ‘paralyzing’ city, Carrie Lam says

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Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam leaves her annual policy address due to disruptions by pro-democracy lawmakers in the Legislative Council on October 16, 2019.

Anthony Wallace | AFP | Getty Images

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said Tuesday that the protesters “paralyzing” the city are selfish.

Lam added that the city’s government is still doing its best to hold a fair, safe, and orderly district council election, scheduled for later this month.

She made her comments during a regular media address a day after Hong Kong saw the most violent day since the protests started nearly six months ago.

On Monday morning local time, a police officer shot a protester who is now in critical condition. A hospital press officer confirmed to CNBC that the 21-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound.

The police spokesperson said the officer involved in the shooting fired three times. That incident occurred at around 7 a.m. outside the Sai Wan Ho Mass Transit Railway station.

In a separate incident, police said “rioters” poured “flammable liquid” on a man and set him on fire. Speaking at an afternoon press conference, Hong Kong police said the incident occurred at the Ma On Shan MTR station and that the man is in critical condition at a hospital.

Police said they are investigating the fire attack and made no mention of arrests.

Disturbing and graphic videos of those two incidents and other violence circulated widely on social media Monday.

Hong Kong — a former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997 — has been crippled by widespread demonstrations since early June. It operates as a semi-autonomous territory under the “one country, two systems” principle — a structure that grants Hong Kong citizens some degree of financial and legal independence from the mainland.

What started out as protests against an extradition bill has morphed into broader anti-government demonstrations, including a wider range of demands such as greater democracy and universal suffrage. A majority of the protesters have been young students from university and high schools.

Lam said on Tuesday that she hopes universities and schools urge students to not participate in any illegal activities.

Most universities in Hong Kong have reportedly suspended classes on Tuesday.

On Monday, Reuters reported that Lam said the violence roiling the former British colony exceeded protesters’ demands for democracy and demonstrators are now the people’s enemy.

— CNBC’s Ted Kemp and Vivian Kam contributed to this report.

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New bushfires break out in Australia as millions brace for the worst

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A woman walks past charred trees at the Woodford residential area after a bushfire in Blue Mountains on November 12, 2019.

Saeed Khan | AFP | Getty Images

Australian officials warned soaring heat and high winds are already exceeding forecast “catastrophic” conditions on Tuesday as millions of people across the country’s east coast braced for the worst bushfires in at least a decade.

Several new fires broke out early on Tuesday, adding to scores of blazes that have been burning for several days across New South Wales (NSW) state.

Three of the 70 blazes were given an “emergency warning level”, which means that people are in urgent danger and need to take immediate action. 

For people facing two of those fires, officials warned it was too late for them to flee and urged them to find shelter.

“We are certainly starting to see an increase in fire activity,” New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons, who is providing two-hourly updates on conditions throughout the day, told reporters in Sydney.

“The reality is conditions will simply continue to get worse and deteriorate in the coming hours and particularly into this afternoon.”

Bushfires are a common and deadly threat in Australia’s hot, dry summers, but the ferocity and early arrival of this year’s outbreak has caught many by surprise. Blazes have been spurred by extremely dry conditions after three years of drought in parts of NSW and Queensland, which many experts attribute to climate change.

Sydney, home to five million people, was among several regions rated at “catastrophic fire danger” for Tuesday, the first time it has received that designation since new fire danger ratings were introduced in 2009 following the country’s most deadly fire on record.

Residents of the harbor city, which is ringed by large, dry  areas of bushland, woke up to a smoky haze on Tuesday. 

Lawmakers and firefighters in NSW, said they were prepared, but warned there was only so much they could do. The worst of the weather was not expected until later in the afternoon and through the evening, with temperatures forecast to

reach 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit), along with winds up to 70 kilometers (43 miles) per hour.

“It’s a bit of the calm before the storm at the moment,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told 2GB radio. “Nature will throw some curveballs today, no doubt.”

Climate politics

Seeking to avoid deaths, firefighters have been given broad powers under a seven-day state of emergency to control government resources, force evacuations, close roads and shut down utilities.

Around 600 schools and colleges were closed on Tuesday as a precaution and authorities advised anyone suffering respiratory conditions to stay indoors.

The fires also forced organizers of the Rally of Australia, which is set to decide the manufacturers’ title between Hyundai and Toyota, to reduce the route to less than a third of the original distance. 

In Queensland state, the danger was not quite as great, with the threat level pegged at “severe”, two levels below the “catastrophic” conditions in NSW.

Still, some 22 fires were burning across the northern state.

The current threat has sharpened attention on the polices of Australia’s conservative government to address climate change, which the country’s weather bureau has said is extending the length of the fire weather season.

Morrison, a vocal supporter of Australia’s coal industry, has declined to answer questions about whether the current fires were a result of climate change.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack sparked a heated debate on Monday when he accused climate activists, whom he called “woke capital city greenies,” of politicizing a tragedy at the expense of people in the danger zones.

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T-Mobile CEO John Legere is a candidate to become new CEO of WeWork

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WeWork has spoken to T-Mobile CEO John Legere about possibly taking over the embattled coworking company, sources told CNBC’s David Faber on Monday.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that the talks had taken place.

Shares of T-Mobile slid 3% on the news.

WeWork is conducting a search for a CEO and Legere is among several candidates being considered, Faber reported. The search is ongoing and no decision has been made, sources said. A source close to SoftBank confirmed Legere is one of many candidates being considered for the role, but he’s not the leading candidate.

Representatives from T-Mobile and WeWork were not immediately available for comment. SoftBank representatives declined to comment.

WeWork has been searching for a new CEO following the departure of Adam Neumann, a co-founder, in September. Co-CEOs Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham took over after Neumann exited the company.

T-Mobile and WeWork have leadership in place that runs in similar circles. SoftBank, which took control of WeWork last month, is a majority owner of Sprint and played a role in installing Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure. Claure, who was recently named WeWork’s executive chairman, helped orchestrate the $26 billion merger with T-Mobile, which is widely expected to be approved.

Legere is expected to step down as T-Mobile’s CEO once the deal with Sprint is complete. Faber reported in July that T-Mobile President and COO Mike Sievert is expected to take over as CEO once the deal closes.

–CNBC’s Sally Shin contributed to this report.

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