HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hundreds of Hong Kong police used sledgehammers and chainsaws on Tuesday to tear down barricades erected by pro-democracy protesters near government offices and the financial center, reopening a major road for the first time in two weeks.
But late in the evening demonstrators retaliated by swarming into a tunnel on a major four-lane thoroughfare, bringing traffic to a halt and chanting for universal suffrage.
Riot police tried to push them back with pepper spray and batons, according to a local news channel, but later retreated.
"I think the government doesn't respect us," said Kevin Chan, a protester wearing a surgical mask and goggles covering his skateboard wooden sunglasses black glasses, as he stood behind a makeshift wall.
"They have to talk to us and compromise, otherwise we won't stand down."
Traffic flowed freely along Queensway Road after the protesters' obstructions were cleared early in the day, although other major protest sites remained intact in the Admiralty and Mong Kok districts and pro-democracy demonstrators were defiant.
Police with chainsaws cut through bamboo defenses and others wielded sledgehammers to smash concrete blocks outside the Bank of China's Hong Kong headquarters and next to the office of Asia's richest man, Li Ka-shing.
Office workers streamed onto the streets to watch.
Unlike on Monday, when clashes erupted between anti-protest groups and pro-democracy activists after police removed blockades, there was no immediate confrontation as a result of Tuesday's operation.
In the evening, however, hundreds of people made a surprise move to occupy the tunnel on Lung Wo Road, an important east-west artery near the offices of the Hong Kong government and legislature that had been intentionally left open to traffic for most of more than two weeks of protests.
"The police took a road from us today and cleared away tents, so we're taking this road," said Kelvin Chor, one of the protesters.
MORE BARRICADES GO UP
After the police retreated, hundreds of demonstrators swiftly formed several lines of makeshift barricades, setting the stage for another possible flashpoint.
On the road near the tunnel, a replica gravestone bearing a picture of the city's pro-Beijing leader, Leung Chun-ying, was erected with a message: "Even hell doesn't welcome you."
The protesters, most of them students, are demanding full democracy for the former British colony, but their two-week campaign has caused traffic chaos and fueled frustration in the Asian financial hub, draining public support.
China rules Hong Kong under a "one country, two systems" formula that accords the city a degree of autonomy and freedom not enjoyed in mainland China, with universal suffrage an eventual goal.
But Beijing has said only candidates screened by a nomination committee will be able to contest a full city-wide vote to choose the next chief executive in 2017.
Pro-democracy protesters react as policemen stop them from entering a main road leading to the financial Central district in Hong Kong October 14, 2014. REUTERS/Bobby Yip
Leung said this week there was "zero chance" China's leaders would give in to protesters' demands and change an August decision limiting democracy. The protesters want Leung to step down.
The Hong Kong and Beijing governments have called the protests illegal. Some of the city's most powerful tycoons had earlier warned that occupying the heart of the city to press for democracy could undermine stability.
They have remained largely silent since the protests began.
China's most senior official in Hong Kong, Zhang Xiaoming, hosted a dinner with pro-Beijing lawmakers.
According to Hong Kong's public broadcaster RTHK, he repeated statements made by other officials that the unrest had parallels with a "color revolution", a reference to movements in other countries which forced governments from office.
By noon on Tuesday, the Queensway Road thoroughfare was open and traffic, including school and tour buses, streamed into the Central business district that is home to global companies such as HSBC Holdings and Standard Chartered.
A main city tram line was also open again and trams were clattering through the district.
"Police have done a good job this time. The traffic is much better now, at least vehicles can move steadily compared with the past week when you couldn't move at all," said Luk Wai-lam, a taxi driver in his 60s.
There had been fears of trouble on Wednesday, with anti-protest taxi and truck drivers setting a deadline for the barricades to go. But a representative of a taxi drivers' group told Reuters on Tuesday his members had no plan for action.
Police, criticized for using tear gas and batons in the first 24 hours of the protests, have adopted a more patient approach, counting on protesters to come under public pressure to clear main arteries. In recent days, police have selectively removed some barriers on the fringes of protest sites.
The number of protesters has fallen off sharply from a peak of about 100,000 at three sites, but observers believe they will sit it out.
"I don't think the protesters, having suffered tear gas, endured the attacks by the anti-occupy people, I don't think they will just surrender unconditionally and leave," said Joseph Wong, political analyst at the University of Hong Kong.
Police said clearing of the barricades was aimed at easing congestion and the protesters could stay, which suggested a strategy of attrition. About 100 activists staged a sit-in outside the Admiralty Centre shopping complex surrounded by scores of police.
Many students believed Monday's clashes were co-ordinated and involved triad criminal groups and people paid to cause trouble, and they reinforced their barricades on Monday night, putting up bamboo scaffolding along one thoroughfare.
They also poured concrete over the foundations of their road blocks and placed bamboo spears in their barricades.
But police swept it all away on Tuesday.
Additional reporting by Bobby Yip, Carlos Barria and Clare Baldwin, Writing by Anne Marie Roantree and John Ruwitch; Editing by Michael Perry and Mike Collett-White
There is a little sunshine peeking out from the economic gloom of the past year: The U.S. personal savings rate has gone up while our personal consumer debt has gone down. While that can hardly be considered a bad thing, it is the result of a deepening recession, a weakening economy and persistent unemployment.
On that happy note, let's talk about Christmas. It's going to be a lot harder to part with cash and even more difficult--if not impossible--to rely on credit. To that I say, rejoice! Getting creative with what you have could easily make this your best Christmas ever.
So, how much money do you have to spend? Be honest, and write it down. Divide by the number of people on your list. There, you have a budget. Now you need a plan. There are so many ways to cut the cost of gift-giving, without sacrificing the joy.
Gifts that are (almost) free
Even if you'll be cash-poor this holiday season, that does not mean you cannot give gifts to friends, family and co-workers without going into debt. What it means is that you need to get creative. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
1. Give what you do. A gift from the heart is a gift of time and talent. What do you do well? Cook, clean, babysit, garden, sew, drive, shop? Whatever it is, create a unique gift certificate and make what you do the gift that you give. A weekend of babysitting, a day of housecleaning, six hours of errand running--you get the idea. Follow up within just a few days to set the exact time your certificate will be redeemed. Your recipient may be too embarrassed to remind you to make good on the gift.
2. A treasure. Years ago my mother-in-law wrapped up the beautiful crystal water pitcher she received as a wedding gift. She knew how much I loved it, so she gave it to me for Christmas. For many years she enjoyed the pleasure of me owning it. That was a special gift that cost her nothing, but means the world to me. The only rule here is that you only give a treasure to someone who has expressed a true fondness for it. Otherwise, you'll both be disappointed.
3. Play dough. Here's a gift you can make from stuff you have already for all the young kids on your list. Combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup salt, 2 tablespoons Cream of Tartar and 2 packages unsweetened flavored drink mix like Kool-Aid, in an appropriate container that has a lid. Seal, decorate and attach this tag:
Microwave Play Dough: Pour contents into a large microwavable bowl. Add 2 cups water and 2 tablespoons baby oil, mix well and microwave on high for 4 minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to stir. Stir until a ball forms, leaving in microwave to complete the 4 minutes. Cool. Play. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Caution: It smells good enough to eat, but please don't!
4. Organize a swap. This is particularly fabulous if you and your circle of friends have small children. Everyone gathers up toys that are in excellent condition that their kids have outgrown or grown tired of. Clean and sanitize them well. Now, without the kids present, get together and trade. The kids will be none the wiser and thrilled with all their new toys. Imagine all the ways you can adapt a swap like this.
5. Favorites that don't cost a lot
Anyone can make Christmas gifts that require only some assembly, no skateboard wood sunglasses particular artistic skill or talent. Here are some of my biggest hits over the years that cost about $5 per gift, or less.
6. Home roasted coffee beans. It's so simple, yet hardly anyone thinks to roast their own coffee beans. Simply purchase green beans online or locally, then follow the instructions to roast them in the oven, in a popcorn popper or on an outdoor stovetop. Beans vary in price, but start at about $5 per pound. Home roasted gourmet coffee makes a fabulous gift, packaged in any kind of container and labeled as your signature blend. Resources for beans and instructions can be found online at SweetMarias.com.
7. Blooming bulbs. Forcing flower bulbs to bloom in winter couldn't be easier, and they make a wonderful gift. Paperwhite narcissus are about the easiest to grow. You'll need a glass jar vase or bowl without drainage holes, rocks, marbles or sea glass. What a perfect gift for co-workers, teachers and service providers. Depending on your choice of container, a complete gift should cost no more than $5. Find instructions with detailed pictures when you type "paperwhite" in the search bar at ContainerGardening.about.com. Find bulbs at your local nursery, garden center or online at Amazon.com in Home & Garden.
8. Signature lotion. Your own signature body and hand lotion will definitely put you on the map. Pour the following items into a large bowl: one tube any Bath & Body Works Body Cream (get it on sale skateboard wooden sunglasses for about $6), one jar Vitamin E Cream, one tube Creamy Vaseline, one large bottle baby lotion, one large bottle of any hand lotion like Jergens. Whip together until blended. Divide among your choice of small containers or jars. LeAnn Sullivan, Idaho, buys all of these ingredients for about $17.50, which makes six generous gifts--at a cost of about $2.90 each.
9. Journal in a jar. Or a box or another container of your choice. The idea is to give everything a person needs to write the story of their life including appropriate questions such as: Why was your name chosen for you? What was happening in the world when you were born? What was your favorite hiding place as a child? Include a blank notebook or journal, a nice pen and markers or crayons if this is for a child. Click here for hundreds of questions you can print out to include with your gift, for all ages from 5 to 105.
10. Recipe book. Create a recipe booklet containing a collection of your favorite holiday recipes and then include a small assortment of samples. What a nice way to pass on your culinary traditions to your friends and family.
11. Family Calendar. Create a calendar that includes your family's important dates like birthdays and anniversaries. Include family pictures, then make a copy for each person or family. Websites like BigHugeLabs.com have tools and templates you can use to create all kinds of wonderful things.
Memories to Last a Lifetime
What would you do this holiday season if you had absolutely no money to spend and no available credit, either?
That's the question I've been asking recently and the responses have been all over the map from all-out panic to excitement at the thought of taking on such a challenge.
I'm not suggesting this should be the case for anyone. I'm simply posing the question in the same way I might ask what you would do if you noticed your kitchen on fire or your child choking on a chicken bone. Knowing to call 911 is good, but so is having a fully-charged fire extinguisher handy and a working knowledge of the Heimlich maneuver.
So, let me ask you, could you do it? Could you find ways to celebrate Christmas that would fill your heart with joy and create warm and lasting memories, even if you had no money and no credit?
You know, when you come right down to it, isn't that what we really want for Christmas? Isn't that why we work so hard and often spend so much--to find joy and make memories that will last for a lifetime?
Based on the many positive responses to my question, I have no doubt that we can discover what our hearts long for most, without overspending and without going into debt. What's required is a willingness to think creatively and courage to put a freeze on the credit cards.
Traditions we have. Christmas rituals are like anchors in our lives. Doing the same things together, year after year, assures us that even in a changing world, some things never change.
I love the story of one of our DPL families, a story that I tell often when I address audiences on how to debt-proof their holidays.
Every year since the kids were little, this family has made the same trek every night the week before Christmas. They drive around after dark, searching for beautiful light displays in their area.
On Christmas Eve, the family votes to determine their favorite light display and award the winner with their family's "Annual Best in Lights Award." In their final act, they deliver homemade cookies to the lucky winners, who I'm sure are as surprised as they are delighted to learn that such an award exists. It's become a tradition--a family ritual that goes on year after year.
Things we make. Whether it's something from your kitchen, your craft room, woodworking shop or computer, there's just nothing like a homemade gift. A tree ornament, plate of cookies, box of fudge, note cards--these are just some of the kinds of homemade gifts with universal appeal.
What we do best. A "gift from the heart" is the gift of time and talent. What do you do well??Cook, clean, babysit, garden, sew, drive, shop? Whatever that is, create a unique gift certificate for a weekend of babysitting, a day of housecleaning, six hours of errand running--you get the idea. Hint: Follow up within just a few days to set the exact time your certificate will be redeemed. Your recipient may be too embarrassed to remind you to make good on the gift.
Our passions. Do you want your gift to say how much you care? Then find a way to show you care about what matters most to that person. Is he passionate about medical research? Become a bone marrow donor. Is she an environmentalist? Donate to an organization that reforests and plant a tree in her name. Do something this person will find meaningful and do it in their honor. Then, wrap it up as your gift to them.
Our hearts. Worried that your gifts--homemade or otherwise--are too cheap or not just exactly right? All of your doubts will vanish when you write a short note that you attach to each of your gifts. Tell your recipient what he or she means to you and the value they bring to your life.
The best gift is one that delivers a message of love and joy that remains with the recipient long after the gift has been consumed, used or put away.
The best times are the ones that linger on in our memories--the things that neither money nor credit can buy.
Mary Hunt is a syndicated personal finance columnist and author of Debt-Proof Your Christmas: Celebrating the Holidays without Breaking the Bank. Mary is the also founder of Debt-Proof Living.
Bringing You The Very Best Leggings and Leg Fashion
World of Leggings is short leggings proud to bring you the very best leggings and leg fashion with over 95% of which are made in the USA. We guarantee the highest quality of cotton leggings, basic leggings, faux leather leggings, plus size leggings and dozens of other legging styles. Whether you are looking for a pair of sexy leggings for a night out or a fabulous pair of faux leather leggings short leggings to basic cotton leggings, World of Leggings gives you an amazing choice of some of the best leggings at the best prices.
Shipping the Best Leggings and Leg Fashion Internationally
World of Leggings ships internationally from Australia and New Zealand to Europe, the Middle East, South America and Asia. We offer $15.00 flat rate international shipping so if you are not in North America, you can shop our leggings and know that your shipping will always be $15.00. World of Leggings ships internationally to over 100 countries. Whether you are in Australia, United Kingdom, Spain, Brazil, Singapore, Germany, Japan, France, New Zealand, any EU country, World of Leggings will ship your fabulous new leg fashion products to you at $15.00 flat rate shipping. Have fun shopping the very best in Made in the USA leggings and leg fashion.
Leggings are one of those pieces of clothing that women either love or hate. But those of you who love them will know that they are extremely versatile and add great value to an ensemble by providing a finishing touch to an outfit that appears incomplete. If worn right, leggings can beautifully bring out the fashion diva in you. The problem is that not many women are not sure about how to wear them. On the other hand, some women consider their age inappropriate to wear leggings. However, these can be worn by anyone as long as they can pull them off by putting together the right clothing items to create a gorgeous ensemble.
The Legging Stylebook
Keep these basics in mind while choosing outfits with leggings.Your figure is an important deciding factor when it comes to wearing leggings. If you are too curvy and not too tall, leggings may not be for you.
Along with your figure, your height also matters. If you are on the shorter side, try to wear leggings with tops of similar colors to make you appear taller. On the other hand, taller women may take a little more liberty in experimenting with color when pairing leggings with different tops.
While choosing the color of leggings, try to choose a shade that complements the outfit rather than blatantly contrasting it. Steer clear of fluorescent shades, no matter what your age, height or figure is.
Tight tops with leggings look great on the runway, but pairing the two in daily life may not be a very good idea. The ideal look is to pair a large top with a small bottom to balance your figure.
Wear Leggings with Long Tops and Jackets
A lot of women are under the assumption that leggings can replace jeans and be worn as pants with any kind of top. But leggings are skin-hugging, and if worn with anything that ends above the thighs, can look downright tacky. Having said that, there are more elegant ways of wearing leggings as pants. Worn with a tunic top or a roomy kaftan blouse that ends mid-thigh, leggings can actually flatter your curves. Pair up leggings with a long knit sweater, and hold it all together with an eye-catching yet subtle belt. Long belted shirts and jackets are also ideal tops for leggings. Do remember not to let any top you wear with leggings end above the hips. Complete the entire look with a pair of ballerina shoes or gladiator sandals, and a large handbag to go with them.
Pair Leggings with a Dress
Leggings go great with different types of dresses. While some of you can opt for a dress with a straight cut if you want to wear it with leggings, others may choose a flowing dress with an empire cut will look great. Again, a belt holding together the entire outfit is an interesting addition. Take your height into consideration when wearing a belt. Belts provide breaks to a long frame, so if you are on the shorter side, you may avoid the belt and accessorize with jewelry, shoes or scarves to add a burst of color. Do not allow the length of the dress to go beyond your knees. Pair up the look with interesting boots with a small heel. Even solid colored pumps look simply gorgeous when paired with this outfit.
Wear Leggings with a Skirt
The best purpose served by leggings is that they help you flaunt your legs without having to show skin. As such, women who are uncomfortable with short skirts can find leggings to their rescue. Also, no matter how short the skirt is, the leggings will cover up for them, but don't go to extremes. Ideally, a skirt worn with leggings should end at least mid-thigh and on the longer side, a little above the knee. Anything longer or shorter will look distasteful. A denim skirt is the perfect choice for leggings, though you may try other options too.
Shoes for Leggings
Boots and leggings look simply divine. The best way to wear leggings with boots is to tuck them into the boots. Also, don't go too high on the boot length. This will leave no purpose for the leggings. Ankle length boots (and calf length boots at the maximum), with a small heel are the best way to combine boots and leggings together. Other shoes that make for great choices with leggings are peep-toe pumps. Flats are great only if you are very tall. Otherwise ensure that you wear at least a slight heeled shoe with your outfit with leggings.
Wearing certain types of clothing just capri leggings because they are in style was and never is a good idea. You have to be comfortable with what you wear so that you look good in it. So to look good in leggings, you have to carry an attitude that reflects your comfort in them. Once you put together all these elements, there's no way you can't look good in leggings!