24-Year-old Tibetan Self-Immolates in Anti-China Protest
Monitors say a 24-year-old Tibetan man set himself on fire Saturday outside a monastery in China's southwestern Sichuan province, a region heavily populated by ethnic Tibetans who protest China's policies in their nearby homeland.
A statement Sunday from the organization "Free Tibet" said the man self-immolated Saturday afternoon, drawing a large detachment of police and security personnel who took him into custody.
Witnesses are quoted as saying the man was thought to be alive when arrested. But the statement said activists have been unable to confirm his current condition or whether he survived the ordeal.
The statement also said police remained in the area to prevent the spread of information, and that Internet service in the region was cut.
Analysts say Saturday's self-immolation is the first in the disputed region since December, when another male set himself on fire and died.
Free Tibet says more than 140 Tibetan protesters have set themselves on fire since 2009, when anti-China protesters -- most of them monks and nuns -- began self-immolating to protest what locals describe as Chinese interference in Tibetan customs and religious practices.
The majority of those protesters have died.
Protesters also have sought to bring attention to demands for the return of their exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
Chinese authorities last decade criminalized self-immolation protests, and local courts have imprisoned scores of people for their alleged roles in supporting the protests.
Senate to Begin Hearings for Trump's Supreme Court Nominee
The U.S. Senate is holding its first confirmation hearing Monday for Neil Gorsuch, the judge President Donald Trump has nominated to fill a long vacancy on the Supreme Court.
The court has been one short of its nine justices since Antonin Scalia died in February 2016. Former President Barack Obama's nominee to fill the vacancy, Judge Merrick Garland, never got a confirmation hearing by the Republican-led Senate.
Gorsuch and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are scheduled to give opening statements Monday. Gorsuch will then face questions Tuesday and Wednesday, and the hearings are due to end Thursday with comments from outsiders.
Republicans hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate. Democrats could attempt to block the Gorsuch nomination with a tactic known as the filibuster, which would require 60 votes to approve the new justice. However, it is not clear if they would do so, and Republicans could change Senate rules to require only a simple-majority vote for confirmation.
If confirmed, Gorsuch would restore the 5-4 conservative majority on the court that was in place before Scalia's death.
Gorsuch has been through the confirmation process before. In 2006, the Senate confirmed him to a seat on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Before that, he was a high-ranking official in the Justice Department under President George W. Bush. He also spent time in the early 1990s as clerk for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.