News Wrap: Parts of Hong Kong paralyzed as protesters, police clash

AMNA NAWAZ: Yet another wave of anti-government
demonstrations paralyzed parts of Hong Kong on this Christmas Day. Black-clad protesters descended on the streets
of a busy shopping district. Riot police used tear gas to disperse crowds. Meanwhile, hundreds marched through malls
chanting pro-democracy slogans. The city has been upended by more than six
months of unrest against police use of force and mainland China’s influence. New protests erupted in India’s capital today
over a controversial new citizenship law. Students, writers and activists gathered at
a college campus in New Delhi to denounce the legislation. It grants expedited citizenship to migrants
illegally in the country, excluding Muslims. Protesters accused the government of violating
India’s secular constitution. MAN: India has been shaken. The idea of constitution has been shaken by
this government. And when the soul of constitution has been
targeted by Indian government, then it has changed in this regime. AMNA NAWAZ: Peaceful protests also continued
in India’s eastern state of Assam. We will take a broader look at the recent
wave of protests around the world later in the program. More than 200,000 Syrians have fled an onslaught
of violence in Idlib province in recent weeks. That’s according to the Syrian Response Coordination
Group, a relief group active in the area. The exodus continued today, as crammed trucks
headed north towards the Turkish border. Civilians are being pushed out by Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad’s forces working to regain control of Syria’s last rebel stronghold. There was temporary relief in Australia today,
as cooler weather slowed down the spread of devastating wildfires. But forecasters warned higher temperatures
are expected to return this weekend. About 2,000 firefighters spent this Christmas
holiday battling more than 70 fires still burning in New South Wales. IAN WEDGE, Firefighter: Fire doesn’t stop
just because it’s Christmas. So, some of the crews have to keep working
and monitor the fire. Luckily, today, we have got benign weather,
and not everybody has to be out here. AMNA NAWAZ: In his annual Christmas address
today, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison paid tribute to two firefighters who died
last week battling fires southwest of Sydney. And this Christmas Day brought a number of
celebrations, both solemn and festive, around the world. Christians in Bethlehem sang hymns of worship,
while, in Germany, brave swimmers dove into icy waters for their annual Christmas plunge. U.S. troops stationed in South Korea gathered
to enjoy a Christmas feast. Meanwhile, President Trump and first lady
Melania Trump, who are celebrating the holiday in Florida, sent this message to all Americans
serving abroad: DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
We say a special prayer for those military service members stationed far from home. And we renew our hope for peace among nations
and joy to the world. AMNA NAWAZ: Pope Francis also hoped for peace
during his annual Christmas Day message in St. Peter’s Square. He spoke to the plight of migrants and refugees,
and said the light of Christ was stronger than human suffering. The pope also issued a separate statement
with the head of the Anglican Church and the former moderator of the Church of Scotland
urging South Sudan’s rival leaders to form a coalition government early next year.

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