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Hong Kong police shoot protester, Rep. Pete King announces retirement and 'catastrophic' fires in Australia: The Morning Rundown

The shooting of a demonstrator at close range is an escalation of the violent anti-government protests rocking Hong Kong.
Soldiers take part in a 12-mile march in Fort Benning, Ga., wearing the sensors to measure their core temperatures and heart rates, the data which will be used as part of a larger study to prevent heat casualties.
Rising temperatures put U.S. troops at risk during training, a new report by a group of scientists finds. Brock Stoneham / NBC News

Good morning, NBC News readers.

A protester in Hong Kong was shot by police as unrest in the financial hub escalates, a little-known lawmaker is becoming the face of the GOP fight against impeachment, and "catastrophic" fire danger in Australia.

Here's what we're watching this Monday morning.

How many troops are serving in America's legacy wars? We still don't really know.

Today is Veterans Day, a federal holiday intended to honor people who have served in the U.S. armed forces.

But honoring people currently serving in the military is getting harder since the Trump administration hasn't publicly released troop levels for Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria since late 2017.

The Bush and Obama administrations released quarterly data on full personnel numbers for those three countries, but nearly two years ago, the Pentagon simply stopped including the numbers, citing the need to "protect our forces."

Meantime, U.S. troops already sweating through dangerous summer heat at bases across the country could face greater danger as global temperatures rise, a new report warns.

The report, from the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit scientific research and advocacy organization, found that by midcentury, service members on U.S. bases could see an average of an extra month of life-threatening heat every year.

"Thousands of service people suffer from heat-related illnesses every year, and the problem is set to grow much worse," said Kristina Dahl, a senior climate scientist with the group and the lead author of the report.

Hong Kong police shoot protester as clashes escalate

Police shot and critically wounded a demonstrator and another man was in a critical condition after being set alight on Monday during what appeared to be another escalation in violent anti-government protests rocking Hong Kong.

These were among several violent incidents to take place across the Chinese-controlled territory, including a police officer repeatedly driving a motorcycle through a small crowd of black-clad demonstrators.

Anti-government demonstrations have riven Hong Kong for almost six months, having started in June as a series of protests triggered by an extradition bill that was later withdrawn.

The protests have since widened to include calls for greater democratic freedoms amid fears of China's increased control over the territory.

Image: A still image from a social media video shows a police officer aiming his gun at a protester in Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong
An image from a social media video shows a police officer aiming his gun at a protester in Hong Kong, early Monday.Cupid Producer / Reuters

How a little-known GOP lawmaker became Trump's point man on impeachment

Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., has called the impeachment probe into President Donald Trump a "charade," and a "clown show."

And the president has noticed — tweeting or retweeting the New York lawmaker's commentary on the investigation nearly two dozen times since the inquiry was launched in late September, including nine times early Saturday.

Now the previously little-known, 39-year-old lawmaker representing eastern Long Island has become one of the president's point men in battling impeachment, teaming up with fellow anti-impeachment crusaders like House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.

Meantime, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who has represented the Long Island district next door to Zeldin's for over 25 years, announced Monday that he will retire from Congress at the end of his term.

And with the impeachment inquiry set to enter it's next phase with the first public hearings starting Wednesday, Democrats pushed back on Republican requests to have the whistleblower and Hunter Biden testify before House investigators

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said the impeachment probe would not serve "to carry out the same sham investigations into the Bidens or debunked conspiracies about 2016 U.S. election interference" that Trump asked Ukraine to conduct.

Image: Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York speaks during a press conference on the impeachment process at the Capitol.
Rep. Lee Zeldin's district stretches from working-class central Long Island to the wealthy enclave of the Hamptons. Mandel Ngan N / AFP - Getty Images

Australian state declares emergency, faces 'catastrophic' fire danger

Australia's most populous state declared a state of emergency Monday as dozens of fires ravaged the countryside. Authorities warned of “catastrophic” fire risk — the highest level of bush fire danger.

New South Wales state emergency services minister David Elliott said residents were facing what "could be the most dangerous bush fire week this nation has ever seen," the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

"There are simply not enough fire trucks for every house," News South Wales said in a statement. "If you call for help, you may not get it."

Image: Bushfires burn in the distance as children play on a beach in Forster, 300km north of Sydney on Nov. 9, 2019, as firefighters try to contain dozens of out-of-control blazes that are raging in the state of New South Wales.
Bush fires burn in the distance as children play on a beach in Forster, 180 miles north of Sydney, on Saturday.Peter Parks / AFP - Getty Images

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THINK about it

I didn't fight in the Vietnam War so the U.S. could become an intolerant bully, veteran Larry Parker writes in an opinion piece.


Life's too short to drink (or wait in line for) bad coffee. Here's how to make a better cup of joe, according to best-selling author and former New York Times columnist Mark Bittman.

One fun thing

The sun never sets on Sesame Street.

The classic children's program, home to Big Bird and Elmo, the Letter of the Day, and the "Rubber Duckie" song, turned 50 years old Sunday.

But in addition to the countless segments that have been watched by generations of families, the program has another legacy: a bevy of spinoffs that the show's production company, Sesame Workshop, has launched around the world.

Abelardo, Big Bird's cousin, on the set of Mexico's "Plaza S?samo," which debuted in 1973. It was one of dozens of Sesame Street productions that have run around the world.
Abelardo, Big Bird's cousin, on the set of Mexico's "Plaza Sésamo," which debuted in 1973. It was one of dozens of Sesame Street productions that have run around the world.Gary Miller / Sesame Workshop

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Thanks, Petra Cahill