ONE of the world’s busiest airports cancelled all flights after thousands of Hong Kong protesters occupied the main terminal.

Hong Kong International Airport said in a statement that Monday’s demonstration “seriously disrupted” airport operations.

This follows more than two months of mass protests calling for democratic reforms, with both the protesters and police adopting ever-more extreme tactics.

In Beijing, the Cabinet’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office issued a statement saying the situation in Hong Kong was “beginning to show the sprouts of terrorism” and constituted an “existential threat” to the population of Hong Kong.

“One must take resolute action toward this violent criminality, showing no leniency or mercy,” said spokesman Yang Guang.

MEANWHILE, a suspected gunman accused of an attempted terrorist attack on a mosque in Norway, and separately killing his teenage stepsister “will use his right not to explain himself for now” in a detention hearing, his defence lawyer has said.

Unni Fries declined to comment on Norwegian media reports that the suspect was inspired by shootings in New Zealand, where a gunman killed 51 people in March, and on August 3 in El Paso, Texas, which left at least 22 dead.

Her client was arrested on Saturday after he entered the Al-Noor Islamic Centre in Baerum, an Oslo suburb.

Police said the suspect was waving weapons.

ELSEWHERE, France’s government wants prosecutors to open an investigation into Jeffrey Epstein’s links to the country following his death in a Manhattan prison cell.

The secretaries of state for women’s rights and protecting children said in a statement on Monday that it is “fundamental” to launch an investigation in France so that his death “doesn’t deprive the victims of the justice they deserve” and to protect other girls from “this kind of predator”.

US authorities said Epstein had a residence in Paris and used a fake Austrian passport to travel to France in the 1980s.

FINALLY, the energy-rich Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan is hosting an economic forum intended to bolster co-operation between Caspian Sea nations.

Last year, leaders of the five countries along the Caspian Sea signed a convention aimed at ending decades-long uncertainty over exploitation of its resources.

The agreement between Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan establishes rules for declaring each country’s territorial waters and fishing zones, but the issue of dividing a seabed that contains rich oil fields is subject to further negotiations.