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Court hands Dems victory in key battleground state – AOL

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a six-day extension for counting absentee ballots in Wisconsin’s presidential election, handing Democrats a victory in their fight to deliver the key battleground state for Joe Biden in November.

The decision, if it stands, means that ballots postmarked on or before Nov. 3 will be counted as long as they are received by Nov. 9. That could mean the winner in Wisconsin won’t be known for days after the polls close. Republicans could appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The decision came just two days after the appeals court put the lower court’s ruling granting the extension on hold. The appeals court vacated that ruling, saying Republicans who sued did not have standing. The court gave Republicans one week to argue why the case should not be dismissed.

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Joe Biden in 2020

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WILMINGTON, DELAWARE – JUNE 30: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event June 30, 2020 at Alexis I. Dupont High School in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden discussed the Trump Administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE – JUNE 30: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event June 30, 2020 at Alexis I. Dupont High School in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden discussed the Trump Administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden answers questions after speaking about the coronavirus pandemic and the economy on June 30, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden leaves after speaking about the coronavirus pandemic and the economy on June 30, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden answers questions after speaking about the coronavirus pandemic and the economy on June 30, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

TOPSHOT – US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks about the coronavirus pandemic and the economy on June 30, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

LANCASTER, PA – JUNE 25: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden arrives to speak to families who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act during an event at the Lancaster Recreation Center on June 25, 2020 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Biden met with families who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act and made remarks on his plan for affordable health care. (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

LANCASTER, PA – JUNE 25: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to families who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act during an event at the Lancaster Recreation Center on June 25, 2020 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Biden met with families who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act and made remarks on his plan for affordable health care. (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

LANCASTER, PA – JUNE 25: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to Amy Raslevich (C) and her daughter Laura about how they have benefited from the Affordable Care Act during an event at the Lancaster Recreation Center on June 25, 2020 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Biden met with families who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act and made remarks on his plan for affordable healthcare. (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

LANCASTER, PA – JUNE 25: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during an event about affordable healthcare at the Lancaster Recreation Center on June 25, 2020 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Biden met with families who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act and made remarks on his plan for affordable healthcare. (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden delivers remarks after meeting with Pennsylvania families who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act on June 25, 2020 in Lancaster,Pennsylvania. – Biden has largely remained off the campaign trail and in his Delaware home since mid-March due to the pandemic, although he has begun participating in small-scale events. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks about reopening the economy during a round table discussion at Carlettes Backyard Bar & Soul food Restaurant in Yeadon, Pennsylvania on June 17, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden holds a roundtable meeting on reopening the economy with community leaders at the Enterprise Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on June 11, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden holds a roundtable meeting on reopening the economy with community leaders at the Enterprise Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on June 11, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden holds a roundtable meeting on reopening the economy with community leaders at the Enterprise Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on June 11, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Democratic presumptive presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks via video link as family and guests attend the funeral service for George Floyd at The Fountain of Praise Church on June 9, 2020, in Houston. – George Floyd will be laid to rest Tuesday in his Houston hometown, the culmination of a long farewell to the 46-year-old African American whose death in custody ignited global protests against police brutality and racism.Thousands of well-wishers filed past Floyd’s coffin in a public viewing a day earlier, as a court set bail at $1 million for the white officer charged with his murder last month in Minneapolis. (Photo by David J. Phillip / POOL / AFP) (Photo by DAVID J. PHILLIP/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

TOPSHOT – Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden arrives to speak at Delaware State Universitys student center in Dover, Delaware, on June 5, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden meets with clergy members and community activists during a visit to Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Delaware on June 1, 2020. – Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden visited the scene of an anti-racism protest in the state of Delaware on May 31, 2020, saying that the United States was “in pain”. “We are a nation in pain right now, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us,” Biden wrote in Twitter, posting a picture of him speaking with a black family at the cordoned-off site where a protesters had gathered on Saturday night. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden meets with clergy members and community activists during a visit to Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Delaware on June 1, 2020. – Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden visited the scene of an anti-racism protest in the state of Delaware on May 31, 2020, saying that the United States was “in pain”. “We are a nation in pain right now, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us,” Biden wrote in Twitter, posting a picture of him speaking with a black family at the cordoned-off site where a protesters had gathered on Saturday night. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden (L) departs the Delaware Memorial Bridge Veteran’s Memorial Park after paying respects to fallen service members in New Castle, Delaware, May 25, 2020. – Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, emerged from more than two months of seclusion on May 25, wearing a black face mask during a visit to lay a wreath on the day the United States honors its war dead. Biden’s last public appearance was March 15 when he faced off against his former Democratic rival Bernie Sanders for a debate in a television studio held with no live audience. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden arrives to pay his respects to fallen service members on Memorial Day at Delaware Memorial Bridge Veteran’s Memorial Park in Newcastle, Delaware, May 25, 2020. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden, leave Delaware Memorial Bridge Veteran’s Memorial Park after paying their respects to fallen service members in Newcastle, Delaware, May 25, 2020. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden, pay their respects to fallen service members on Memorial Day at Delaware Memorial Bridge Veteran’s Memorial Park in Newcastle, Delaware, May 25, 2020. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden with his wife Jill Biden, pay their respects to fallen service members on Memorial Day at Delaware Memorial Bridge Veteran’s Memorial Park in Newcastle, Delaware, May 25, 2020. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 28:
Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks with Hillary Clinton during The Impact of COVID-19 on Women virtual town hall event as seen livestreaming on a laptop in Washington, DC on April 28, 2020. During the event, Hillary Clinton endorsed Joe Biden for president. (Photo by Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES – APRIL 21: James chats with Joe Biden Melanie C from his garage on THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH JAMES CORDEN, scheduled to air Tuesday, April 21, 2020 (12:37-1:37 AM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo is a screen grab. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

UNKNOWN LOCATION – APRIL 13: In this screengrab taken from JoeBiden.com campaign website, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) endorses Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden during a live streaming broadcast on April 13, 2020. Sanders said, “Today, I am asking all Americans—I’m asking every Democrat, I’m asking every Independent, I’m asking a lot of Republicans—to come together in this campaign to support your candidacy.” (Photo by JoeBiden.com via Getty Images)

El exvicepresidente Joe Biden habla con los medios de comunicación y un puñado de simpatizantes en Berston Field House el 9 de marzo de 2020, en Flint, Michigan. (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden arrives to speak at Alexis Dupont High School in Wilmington, Del., Tuesday, June 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Alexis Dupont High School in Wilmington, Del., Tuesday, June 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

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All three judges who issued the ruling were appointed by Republican presidents. Amy St. Eve was appointed by President Donald Trump in 2018; Ilana Rovner by President George H.W. Bush in 1992; and Frank Easterbrook by President Ronald Reagan in 1984.

The Republican National Committee, state GOP and Wisconsin Republican legislators argued against the deadline extension, saying people have plenty of time to obtain ballots and get them back to clerks by Election Day. Their attorney, as well as GOP legislative leaders, did not immediately return messages.

The court said the ruling did not order the state and national Republican parties to do something or forbid them from doing anything.

“Neither group contends that the new deadlines established by the district court would violate the constitutional rights of any of their members,” the appeals court said. “The political organizations themselves do not suffer any injury caused by the judgment.”

The Legislature does not have standing to represent a general state interest in federal court, the appeals court said.

Republicans across the country have fought attempts to expand voting, particularly in battleground states like Wisconsin. Democrats contend the move is meant to suppress the votes of people more likely to vote Democratic.

“We welcome the court’s decision to expand voting in Wisconsin so that more voters have the opportunity to register and have their voices heard in this election,” said Courtney Beyer, spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Democratic Party. “We will continue to ensure Wisconsinites have the information they need to successfully cast their ballot.”

Absentee ballots are normally due in local clerks’ offices by 8 p.m. on Election Day to count. But the Democratic National Committee, the state Democratic Party and allied groups including the League of Women Voters sued to extend the deadline after the April presidential primary saw long lines, fewer polling places, a shortage of workers and thousands of ballots mailed days after the election.

“All Wisconsin voters—regardless of their party or where they live—benefit from election procedures designed to be safe and effective during the ongoing challenges of voting during a pandemic,” said Farbod Faraji, an attorney for Protect Democracy, a liberal group involved with the lawsuit. “Today’s decision paves the way from a safer, more inclusive election in November”

U.S. District Judge William Conley ruled Sept. 21 that ballots that arrive up to six days after Election Day will count as long as they’re postmarked by Election Day. State election officials anticipate as many as 2 million people will cast absentee ballots to avoid catching the coronavirus at the polls. That would be three times more absentee ballots than any other previous election and could overwhelm both election officials and the postal service, Conley wrote.

As of Tuesday, more nearly 1.2 million absentee ballots had been requested and more than 308,000 had been returned.

Conley also extended the state’s deadline for registering by mail or electronically by seven days, from Oct. 14 to Oct. 21 and declared that poll workers can work in any county, not just where they live. Clerks have reported fears of the virus caused shortages of poll workers in both Wisconsin’s spring presidential primary and state primary in August. Loosening the residency requirements could make it easier to fill slots.

The 7th Circuit upheld both of those rulings as well.

Trump won Wisconsin by less than 1 percentage point — fewer than 23,000 votes — in 2016 and the state figures to be a key battleground again in 2020. Polls show Biden with a slight lead but both sides expect a tight race.

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Features Hands

Hands on with the new features of Apple Watch Series 6 – AppleInsider

We’ve spent 24 hours so far testing out the best new features found on the latest Apple Watch Series 6. Here are our impressions of the new features, how useful they are, and how they compare to the prior generation.

The new colors

Various team members have ordered different colors, but we were only able to get the vivid new (PRODUCT)RED version on launch day. In-person, the color is very bright, regardless of the lighting condition.

We are obsessed with the color but get that it has to match your style. Anytime you choose a bright red color that never changes, you have to love that color greatly.

Apple Watch Series 6 (PRODUCT)RED is very bright

Apple Watch Series 6 (PRODUCT)RED is quite bright, but looks great

Going with red does limit the colors of bands you can pair with it. Some clash a bit but we still found a ton of great options that complimented the wearable.

Others may prefer the new blue which is more subdued but still has a pop of color.

This year we also got the new Graphite stainless to replace the old Space Black. Based on the images from Apple, it appears to have a slight grey tint compared to the previously darker Space Black.

S6 SiP

The new S6 system-in-package is based on the A13 Bionic processor and optimized for the Apple Watch. In performance, this should yield around 20% improved speed.

In use though, we didn’t see much difference so far. We tried launching applications side-by-side with our Series 5 and they both opened things almost exactly as fast.

That’s because the Apple Watch Series 5 was already quite speedy, and everyday tasks don’t require a ton of silicon to power them.

The time we noticed the change most was when rebooting the watch, which will probably be welcomed by anyone who has to reboot the wearable.

What the S6 does allow for is more headroom going into the future. As Apple continues to add new features to Apple Watch through watchOS, Apple Watch Series 6 will easily support them.

This is likely going to be quite important as the watch does more of the heavy lifting, lessening its reliance on the iPhone.

Always-on display

With Series 5, Apple adopted an always-on Retina display. This year, Apple has upped it with an always-on display that is brighter on average, but the maximum brightness of the display still sits at 1000 nits.

It is only brighter when the watch is in its inactive state which makes a big difference in bright situations. Apple says it is up to two and a half times brighter when the arm is down and the Watch isn’t actively being used.

Apple Watch Series 5 (left) and Series 6 (right) comparing the displays when inactive

Apple Watch Series 5 (left) and Series 6 (right) comparing the displays when inactive

In our studio, when both the current and last-gen were inactive, we couldn’t tell any difference in the brightness of the displays. However, when we took our set of watches outdoors to the midday sun the difference was clear.

The new Apple Watch Series 6 is noticeably brighter which makes it far easier to read our complications without having to wake the watch or raise our wrist.

Apple Watch Series 5 (left) and Series 6 (right) comparing the displays when inactive

Apple Watch Series 5 (left) and Series 6 (right) comparing the displays when inactive outdoors

Originally, as we were just around the studio doing work, we felt this may have been an over-boasted claim. But, throughout the night and rest of the day when we actually got outside and on the go, we realized how many times we instinctively had to raise our wrist to view the time, a complication, or a workout.

Series 6 allowed us to be less active in doing so. More often than not we were able to just glance at the watch and get the info we needed.

Blood oxygen sensor

Apple’s most-touted feature of the new watch is the blood oxygen sensor, which has an accompanying app. As many of the early reviews noted, your watch must be snug on your wrist and you need to ensure you don’t move.

As long as you meet those requirements, it only takes 15 seconds for the reading to come back.

Measure your blood oxygen level with Apple Watch Series 6

Measure your blood oxygen level with Apple Watch Series 6

Our only issue with our O2 reading was the lack of information surrounding it. It reports back a number but most people won’t any idea what to do with that number. What is good, what is bad, and how do you improve it?

Apple’s vagueness about the value is likely due to its skirting of the medical device requirements. Apple says that the blood oxygen measurement is only for wellness and fitness purposes and not intended to replace a medical device, such as a pulse oximeter which requires federal approval.

If Apple would start giving advice and saying it is good or bad, it may be getting dangerously close to a medical device and the regulation that comes with it.

Faster charging

This is one we’ve already noticed to be better. We’ve been using sleep tracking on Apple Watch for months during the beta process, but at times, we’d still end up with a low battery that needed charging.

Apple Watch Series 6 now can charge 20 percent faster. That yields an entire charge in an hour and a half.

Charging Apple Watch Series 6 is faster

Charging Apple Watch Series 6 is faster

In our usage, we don’t charge it from zero to 100 often, but we typically topped off half the battery. We’d place it on the charger in the morning while we ready ourselves for the day and in the evening as we shower and prep for bed.

This extra 20 percent speed is noticeable in this and we already feel less worried about charging the watch.

Of course, Apple could just aid us by increasing the battery life but it seems that won’t happen without a larger battery and a larger case. At least for now.

Other new features

There were a few other features we tried out on the new Apple Watch as well. Things such as the new always-on altimeter.

This feature is not necessarily something everyone will use, but just another important sensor that will make a big difference for hikers, bikers, and other fitness junkies. You can view it in the Compass app but you can also add it right to your watch face.

It also shows in various workouts in real-time as you are going.

See your elevation in real-time on Apple Watch Series 6

See your elevation in real-time on Apple Watch Series 6

This time around, Apple has baked in its U1 chip, and while this is an exciting new addition, at the moment it does practically nothing. There is no way to interact with the chip, but it does unlock much future potential for Apple to explore.

We can see the ability to AirDrop contacts or images to an Apple Watch which is useful for family members who can now use an Apple Watch without an iPhone of their own. Or perhaps locating lost items like your keys, AirPods, Apple TV remote with the launch of AirTags.

Apple continues to hone the Apple Watch. Many of the new changes aren’t exactly flashy but are hugely impactful for those that use them. We aren’t sure after a day it warrants an upgrade for Series 5 owners, but it is a big upgrade from anyone coming from the Series 4 or earlier.

Apple Watch 6 pricing and deals

Apple Watch 6 prices start at $399, with the latest deals and discounts on new styles, as well as closeout Series 5 models, at your fingertips in our Apple Watch Price Guide.

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Blood Hands

‘Blood on his hands’: In scathing obituary, woman blames governor for her father’s covid-19 death – The Washington Post

When her father died of covid-19 last month, Kristin Urquiza minced no words assigning blame.

Mark Urquiza, 65, should still be alive, his daughter wrote in a scathing obituary, published Wednesday in the Arizona Republic.

“His death is due to the carelessness of the politicians who continue to jeopardize the health of brown bodies through a clear lack of leadership, refusal to acknowledge the severity of this crisis, and inability and unwillingness to give clear and decisive direction on how to minimize risk,” she wrote.

The searing tribute encapsulates the fury of critics who say governments at multiple levels are failing at their most basic duty: keeping citizens safe. The obituary also nods at the outbreak’s disproportionate impact on black and Hispanic communities, which have experienced higher rates of coronavirus-related hospitalization and death.

Among the leaders whom Kristin Urquiza feels failed her father, a Mexican American resident of Phoenix who worked in manufacturing, are Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) and the Trump administration. Ducey, she said, “has blood on his hands” for beginning to reopen the state in early May, roughly three weeks before new infections started to rise quickly.

Patrick Ptak, a spokesman for Ducey, said in a statement: “Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of Mark Anthony Urquiza. We know nothing can fully alleviate the pain associated with his loss, and every loss from this virus is tragic.”

A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mark Urquiza rarely left the house while Arizona’s stay-at-home order was in place except to do his job, which was deemed essential, his daughter said. He started to go out with friends after Ducey and Trump said people could safely resume their normal lives, even as his daughter begged him to stay home.

Kristin Urquiza remembers that as the state continued to reopen, her father told her the governor was encouraging residents to go out in public again. Mark Urquiza asked his daughter: Why would he do that if it was still dangerous?

“Despite all of the effort that I had made to try to keep my parents safe, I couldn’t compete with the governor’s office and I couldn’t compete with the Trump administration,” Kristin Urquiza said.

Inspired by the famous AIDS quilt meant to humanize victims, Kristin Urquiza wrote to Ducey, asking him to attend her father’s funeral to see a result of what she called his “inaction and active denial” of the pandemic’s effects. Ducey’s office, she said, did not reply.

Ptak declined to say whether the governor received the request and whether anyone from his office responded.

About three weeks after Arizona’s stay-at-home order expired, Mark Urquiza developed a cough and a high fever, according to his daughter. His family arranged for him to take a coronavirus test the next day, but Kristin Urquiza said he never received the result.

By June 16, Mark Urquiza felt sick enough that he asked to go to a hospital. There, his daughter said, he tested positive for the virus.

Kristin Urquiza said she struggled to get news about her father’s condition from his doctors and nurses, who were stretched thin by a surge of patients. Sometimes, she said, her family spent hours on the phone with hospital employees, trying desperately to get information.

Mark Urquiza died on June 30, four days after entering the intensive care unit. His family never determined how he became infected. A GoFundMe page raised money for his funeral.

Kristin Urquiza said that since her father’s death, she has felt like a storm is forming inside her body, preparing to bear down on the desert of her home state. She started an ofrenda, a traditional Mexican display to honor the dead, for her father outside the state capitol. When it was time to write his obituary, Kristin Urquiza said, “there was no question in my mind that I wouldn’t just say the truth.”

She has also channeled her rage into a social media campaign called “Marked by Covid,” which uses a play on her father’s name to spread information about covid-19 in hopes of sparing other families similar suffering. She said the Trump administration should create an enforceable federal mask requirement and stop minimizing the advice of its health experts.

The nation’s leaders, Kristin Urquiza said, have failed to lead.

“This entire tragedy is the fault of a terrible policy,” she said, “and on top of that, inconsistent and embarrassing leadership.”

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China Hands

‘I Am Just Hong Kong’: A City’s Fate in China’s Hands – The New York Times

Hong Kong was born at the crossroad of empires, a hybrid of British and Chinese parentage. It may fade there, too.

This “barren rock,” as an envoy of Queen Victoria once called it, transformed into one of the world’s first truly global cities, a place where international finance has thrived as its people created a cultural identity all their own. Even the territory’s current political system is bound by a negotiated settlement, called “one country, two systems,” that, despite all odds and an inelegant moniker, seemed to work.

But this week, Hong Kong discovered the limits to the middle ground that it has carved out to nourish one of the most prosperous and dynamic cities on earth: between East and West, between rice and bread, between a liberal and an authoritarian order.

The territory’s fate is once again being decided in faraway halls of power, as Beijing moves forward with plans to strip some of the autonomy the territory was supposed to enjoy for 50 years after Britain returned it to China in 1997.

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Credit…Pool photo by Kimimasa Mayama

The death knell for Hong Kong has been sounded many times since that handover. But the proposed national security legislation could have crushing implications for a place so dedicated to the international language of commerce that the local form of English is stripped of embellishment. Can, no can?

Too often these days, the answer is no can.

The new national security laws, outlined at the annual session of China’s legislature on Friday, will likely curtail some of the civil liberties that differentiate Hong Kong from the rest of the country. And they take aim at the mass protest movement that showed the world last year the extent to which people were willing to go to protect their hybrid home.

“At the end of the day, we have to accept that we answer to one country,” said Nicholas Ho, the 33-year-old scion of a Hong Kong tycoon family. “And that country is more and more powerful.”

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Credit…Nicolas Asfouri/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

With tensions between the United States and China growing, some have characterized the fight for Hong Kong’s future as a skirmish in a more fundamental clash of civilizations. Beijing considers its intervention in Hong Kong a necessary move for maintaining the country’s sovereignty, while Washington considers it a full-frontal attack on the city’s autonomy.

In both worldviews, Hong Kong again is caught in the middle.

Either the territory is poised for a return to protest politics — the sort of running street battles that shattered the city’s reputation as an orderly center of international finance — or the latest national security diktats from Beijing will only serve to drive away the commerce and capital Hong Kong needs to flourish.

And both outcomes are possible.

“This is a peaceful rehearsal for the collapse of the whole system,” said Chan Kwong-yan, a Hong Kong street artist and rapper known as M.C. Yan. “The world has got to watch what happens here.”

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Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

For a place that excelled in fusion before it was fashionable, the possibility that its people cannot reach a compromise strikes at the very notion of what it means to be from Hong Kong.

Douglas Young started a home décor and fashion brand called G.O.D. that plays with Western notions of orientalism and celebrates totems of Hong Kong life: puns that mix Cantonese and English, breakfasts of macaroni soup, kung fu films that deliver a kick to Hollywood.

He is, he admits, a typical Hong Kong mishmash. Even with his posh English accent, impeccable manners and boarding school pedigree, he is, at 54, old enough to remember what life was like under the British, when Hong Kong Chinese couldn’t easily enter certain clubs.

But Mr. Young also rattles off the democratic touchstones that he says make Hong Kong special: rule of law, freedom of expression and an independent judiciary. These are the civil liberties that some fear are at risk under Beijing’s proposed national security legislation.

“I’m worried that Hong Kong people are becoming second-class citizens in our own city again,” Mr. Young said. “Is our fate to always feel colonized?”

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Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

Since British gunships secured its rocky outcroppings nearly 180 years ago in the opium wars, Hong Kong has evolved into something unique: an enclave bound by Western ideals yet populated by Chinese people who speak a language, Cantonese, that is believed to be more ancient than the one used across mainland China.

Last year, more than 90 percent of young people here said they considered themselves to be from Hong Kong, not China, according to a University of Hong Kong poll, the highest number since the survey began more than a decade ago.

“I am 100 percent Hong Kong, 0 percent China,” said Mickey Leung, an 18-year-old member of a youth democracy movement who grew up in a gritty suburb 15 minutes from the border. Her grandmother lives on the mainland.

Ms. Leung said she was politicized by civics lessons that Beijing wants excised from the curriculum for fear that they have poisoned the city’s youth.

“I’m young,” Ms. Leung said. “I will fight to the end to keep Hong Kong special.”

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Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

As proud as they are of their Hong Kong identity, people here don’t always know what to call themselves. In English, some say Hong Kongers, others Hong Kongese. Still others use the unwieldy, if factual, term Hong Kong people.

Whatever they are called, many share in a rejection of China that embodies Beijing’s soft-power failure, an inability to capture the hearts of a populace that should have been naturally sympathetic to it. The British had stinted on political reform in Hong Kong until the twilight of their rule. Meanwhile, the Communist Party transformed China’s backward, agrarian society into the world’s second largest economy. Hong Kong profited.

In 2008, when Beijing hosted the Summer Olympics, Hong Kong fielded its own team, as befitted a city governed under the “one country, two systems” model. But the five stars of the Chinese flag flew proudly in the city. Hong Kong residents who had fled for safe harbor in countries like Canada or Australia returned.

More than a decade on, the disappointments have accumulated.

Just as under colonial rule, the people of Hong Kong can neither choose their own leader nor fully shape how their government is run. Promised political reforms never materialized. Booksellers critical of the Chinese leadership were snatched from the streets of Hong Kong and ended up in China.

The catalyst for last year’s mass protests, a now-revoked extradition bill, underlined Beijing’s ability to, at any moment, threaten Hong Kong’s freedoms.

Starting last June, an acute sense of anxiety about the future brought millions of peaceful marchers to the streets. Fury at the police — for deploying rubber bullets and tear gas against holiday shoppers and students alike — fueled each subsequent rally, even as unease grew over front-line agitators unleashing Molotov cocktails.

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Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

“This movement isn’t about young or old,” said Kelvin Lam, a former banker turned pro-democracy politician. “It’s about ensuring that Hong Kong preserves what makes it Hong Kong. Otherwise we’re finished.”

Disillusionment with Beijing has spread to some unlikely detractors.

Cathy Yau was raised by a single mother in one of those tiny flats that, Tetris-like, form the cramped architecture of Hong Kong. She attended a school with a pro-China curriculum and worked for 11 years as a police officer. Last summer, as the protests blazed, she quit the force.

“I could not face a job where we were ordered to use tear gas on normal people, like they were criminals,” she said. “That’s against the core values of Hong Kong.”

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Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

In November, Ms. Yau, 36, ran for district council and beat the pro-establishment incumbent. While the position holds little power, the electorate’s overwhelming support for pro-democratic candidates reflected the angry mood in Hong Kong.

The pressure has continued to intensify. In January, China replaced its top representative in the city with a senior official known for his harsh stance on security. Some of Hong Kong’s most august pro-democracy figures were arrested last month. The latest salvo, the national security legislation, does not surprise Ms. Yau.

“This is the Communist Party,” she said. “This is what will happen eventually. The only question is when.”

“I grew up raising the Chinese flag in school every day, but I feel nothing,” she added. “I don’t know what I am. I don’t know where I’m going. I’m just Hong Kong.”

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Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

The generation that built Hong Kong from the middle of the last century, powering its workshops and raising its skyscrapers, was never rooted in the territory.

Many residents came here fleeing unrest in China, most notably after the 1949 Communist revolution. The inflow continued even after 1997, when the Union Jack was lowered for the last time. Since the handover to Chinese rule, more than a million Chinese from the mainland have moved to Hong Kong to enjoy its commitment to commerce, rule of law and education.

Even if fortunes were made in the city, a refugee mentality still defined the city’s elite. Most anyone who’s anyone in Hong Kong has a foreign passport, just in case.

But many of their children, especially those who have come of age since Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule, feel differently. This is home, not Canada, not Australia, and certainly not China.

Besides, for the one in five people in Hong Kong who live below the poverty line, there is no escape hatch to another country. They cannot purchase foreign citizenship.

For them, protecting Hong Kong is a matter of defending the only future they have, a future that is looking increasingly bleak.

Even before the coronavirus closed borders, Hong Kong’s economy had entered a recession, as mainland tourists stayed away because of the protests.

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Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

Hong Kong now needs China far more than the other way around. At the time of the handover, the enclave’s economy was nearly 20 percent the size of China’s. Today, it’s less than 3 percent, even if much of China’s foreign direct investment still flows through Hong Kong.

And, increasingly, Hong Kong looks like it will give its greatest treasures not to the people who sweated in its factories, but to a new ruling class.

Just as the British once occupied the city’s top ranks, mainland Chinese are now sliding into privileged positions, making some natives feel like outcasts in their own home.

Law Ka-chung, born and bred in Hong Kong as the son of a janitor, rose to a position as the chief economist for Bank of Communications, a state-owned Chinese bank.

But as civil unrest roiled Hong Kong’s financial district last year, Mr. Law said he was let go after circulating an article deemed supportive of the protest movement. Bank of Communications did not respond to a request for comment.

For the first time in nearly two decades, Hong Kong’s population shrank at the end of last year, with locals and expatriates alike fleeing the city. As the pandemic and political fears simmer, it’s unlikely that the city will receive a new influx this year.

Mr. Law said he, too, wants to leave.

“I’m a small potato at a small bank, but what happened to me represents the conflict between two ideologies: communism and capitalism,” Mr. Law said. “We used to say that Hong Kong was lucky to be between East and West. Now some people say, ‘It’s maybe cursed.’”

Elaine Yu contributed reporting.

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