Tampa Citizens ask Trump to Revert Travel Restrictions on Cuba

The city of Tampa has called on the administration of Donald Trump to reverse the recent restrictions on travel to Cuba, the ambassador of the Caribbean country, José Ramón Cabañas, who visits that American city, said today.

The diplomat posted on his Twitter account that during his stay in that city in the southern state of Florida,the City Council passed a resolution on June 13 asking the federal government to reverse these measures.

Such document defended the freedom of Americans to visit the neighboring nation, and referred to the historical relationship with Cuba 'as longer and richer' than that of any other American city with the island.

The text recalled that the National Hero of Cuba, José Martí, spent time in Tampa in the 1890s, when he obtained support for the independence struggle of his country against Spain and gave some of his most famous speeches.

He also stressed that the city has a historic opportunity to restore commercial, family and cultural ties with Cuba, and stressed that direct flights and cruises to that territory created hundreds of jobs in Tampa.

The resolution mentioned as positive the way in which the visits of North Americans boosted the growth of the private sector in Cuba, and regretted that the new travel restrictions can harm local companies, cause the loss of jobs in the city and make entrepreneurs Cubans lose their savings.

That document adopted by the local council was a reaction to the measures adopted by the administration of Donald Trump on June 5 that prevent Americans from going to the island on group educational trips known as people to people.

So far that was the most used route for Americans to go to the neighboring nation, since they are prohibited from visiting it as tourists and to go to that territory must be included in any of the 12 categories of travel authorized by the federal government.

At the same time, the Trump executive vetoed the departure to Cuba of some aircraft and boats, including cruises, the means of transport of more expansion among the citizens of this country to address the West Indian.

During the visit to Tampa, which will continue tomorrow, the Cuban ambassador spoke with Councilman Bill Carlson, with whom he said he had held a conversation about the historical ties between the city and Cuba, and about how to strengthen bilateral ties.

In addition, the diplomat reviewed with the president and executive director of the Florida Aquarium, Roger Germann, the progress made in the collaboration between that institution and the National Aquarium of Cuba during the last three years, after the signing of a joint memorandum.

Cabañas also paid tribute to the National Hero of Cuba in the Friends Park of José Martí, located in the Ybor City neighborhood.

  • Published in Cuba

Trump Dissmisses Sexual Assault Allegation Against Journalist

“The moment the dressing-room door is closed, (Trump) lunges at me, pushes me against the wall," writes journalist E. Jean Carroll.

U.S. President Donald Trump is denying all allegations of sexual assault made by journalist and writer, E. Jean Carroll, dismissing her claims as a publicity stunt.

RELATED: Cohen Calls President 'Racist, Conman' Before Congress

In her book, "What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal," the 76-year-old author revealed she had been sexually assaulted by both Trump and the former CBS TV head Les Moonves in late 1995 or early 1996.

An excerpt released by New York Magazine reads, “The moment the dressing-room door is closed, he lunges at me, pushes me against the wall, hitting my head quite badly, and puts his mouth against my lips.

"The next moment, still wearing correct business attire, shirt, tie, suit jacket, overcoat, he opens the overcoat, unzips his pants, and, forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway — or completely, I'm not certain — inside me," she said, describing the incident as a ‘colossal struggle.”

In a statement Friday, the White House said, “This is a completely false and unrealistic story surfacing 25 years after allegedly taking place and was created simply to make the president look bad.”

Carroll said she never reported the event to police, but did tell two friends in confidence 20 years ago. This was confirmed by New York magazine.

The author said she chose not to report the incident because, “Receiving death threats, being driven from my home, being dismissed, being dragged through the mud, and joining the 15 women who’ve come forward with credible stories about how the man grabbed, badgered, belittled, mauled, molested, and assaulted them, only to see the man turn it around, deny, threaten, and attack them, never sounded like much fun. Also, I am a coward.”

Despite photos picturing the pair together, the President says he has never met Carroll and the story was a ploy to sell more books.

"Shame on those who make up false stories of assault to try to get publicity for themselves, or sell a book, or carry out a political agenda.

"It's just as bad for people to believe it, particularly when there is zero evidence. Worse still for a dying publication to try to prop itself up by peddling fake news - it's an epidemic," Trump said, adding his opponents may be behind it.

However, the president has been at the center of numerous assault allegations with the most recent appearing earlier this year with former White House employee, Alva Johnson. Johnson filed a lawsuit, alleging that the president grabbed her and kissed her without permission before a Tampa campaign rally.

  • Published in World

Iran denies reports Trump sent warning about imminent attack in retaliation for downed US drone

Iran's top national security official has denied a Reuters report claiming that Tehran had received a low-key message via Oman from the US warning of an imminent attack on the Islamic Republic.

"The US didn’t send any message,” Keyvan Khosravi, spokesman for the National Security Council, told Iranian television.

This issue is not in any way correct.

The comment dismissed a previous report by Reuters, which cited unnamed Iranian officials as saying that Donald Trump had warned Tehran of a military strike and also gave a time to respond. The message was reportedly delivered via Oman and followed the downing of a US spy UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) earlier in the week.

Also on rt.com Iran got Trump message via Oman overnight warning of imminent attack with time to respond – Reuters...

While Washington insists the incident occurred over international waters, Tehran said the drone entered its airspace and it’s ready to provide evidence. Yet, before firing a missile at the intruding object, the Iranian military sent out several warnings, Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the elite Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace division, told state TV.

“Unfortunately, they did not answer,” the General added.

Hajizadeh added that Iran could have responded more aggressively to the incursion, claiming that a US Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft was flying alongside its drone at the time of the incident. Iranian media have also released images purporting to be the twisted metal wreckage from the downed aircraft.

Also on rt.com Iran refrained from targeting US plane with 35 on board flying beside downed drone – commander...

On Friday (June 21) Trump said US warplanes were “cocked and loaded” to go ahead with their revenge strike; however, he changed his mind after hearing how many people might die.

“I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it,” Trump claimed.

The rhetoric and actions between Iran and the US are getting increasingly tough, with the latter sending additional troops, air defense systems and an aircraft carrier group to the Middle East. Meanwhile, Iran has warned that violating its territorial sovereignty was a “red line” that would be met with a proper response.

  • Published in World

Trump "Escalated Attacks" With Treason Claim: New York Times Publisher

Washington: The publisher of the New York Times hit back Thursday at accusations of treason by Donald Trump, saying it "crosses a dangerous line in the president's campaign against a free and independent press."

Writing in the Wall Street Journal and not his own newspaper, Arthur Sulzberger warned there was "no more serious charge a commander in chief can make against an independent news organization".

"He's gone from misrepresenting our business, to assaulting our integrity, to demonizing our journalists," the publisher wrote. "Now the president has escalated his attacks even further, accusing the Times of a crime so grave it is punishable by death."

Sulzberger's commentary was in response to comments by Trump on Twitter last Saturday where he said the Times had committed "a virtual act of treason" after it reported that the US is stepping up digital incursions into Russia's electric power grid.

The action is intended partly as a warning, but also to leave the US poised to conduct cyberstrikes in the event of a major conflict between the US and Russia, the newspaper report said.

"Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia. This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country....." Trump tweeted, adding that "Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today."

Sulzberger said his newspaper had contacted the White House prior to publishing and been assured by Trump's aides that the article raised no national security concerns.

The "treason" comments marked the latest in a series of attacks by the US president on media outlets - particularly those that have run investigative reports into Trump and his administration - which Sulzberger says have created a climate where trust in the media is declining and violence against journalists is on the increase.

He also warned of an "aggressive legal campaign against journalists" being waged by the White House.

Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, or AG as he is known, took the helm of America's most prestigious newspaper last year, and has since made a series of rebukes to Trump in defence of free press.

In 2018 the Times shared, with The Washington Post, a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its alleged connections to the Trump campaign.

"Mr. Trump's campaign against journalists should concern every patriotic American," Sulzberger wrote Thursday. "A free, fair and independent press is essential to our country's strength and vitality and to every freedom that makes it great."

  • Published in World

‘Lies, Distortion, Nonsense’: Bernie Sanders Slams Trump Speech

“Listening to Trump made me feel very much that he is a man living in a parallel universe, a man out of touch with the various needs of people,” Sanders said.

United States Senator Bernie Sanders slammed President Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign speech in a live-stream response minutes after the president launched his incumbent bid.

RELATED: Pro-Trump Fox News Poll: Bernie Sanders Leads US President by 9% for 2020 Election

“We have a president who is a racist, who is a sexist, who is a homophobe, who is a xenophobe and he is a religious bigot,” Sanders said. “His strategy to win reelection is to divide people up,” said the presidential hopeful Tuesday in the live-stream published on Twitter.

The left-wing Vermont Senator criticized the president for “an hour-and-a-half speech of lies, distortions and total absolute nonsense.”

He also pointed out issues that Trump failed to address during the rally, like, climate change, economic inequality, student debt and gun violence.

“Listening to Trump made me feel very much that he is a man living in a parallel universe, a man out of touch with the various needs of people,” the senator explained.

Things Trump didn’t mention in his campaign kickoff:
-Climate change
-Tens of millions live paycheck to paycheck
-$1.5 trillion student debt crisis
-Our infrastructure is crumbling
-Minimum wage hasn’t been raised in 10 years
-40,000 people die from gun violence each year

Sanders argued that the country’s top priority should be to not elect Trump again in 2020. According to Bernie, “poll after poll is showing the country that Trump is falling further behind in terms of his ability to get reelected.”

“We got a lot to do,” said the long-time Senator. “But our job most importantly is to defeat the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country. Our job is to keep our eyes on the prize. Our job is to resist Trump’s effort to divide us up,” encouraged Sanders to supporters.

Trump kicked off his reelection campaign Tuesday in Florida by presenting himself as the same political insurgent who shook up the Washington establishment four years ago and who is now a victim of an attempted ouster by Democrats.

Our most important job is to defeat the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country.

During the Orlando rally, Trump formally announced the reelection bid while painting himself as an outsider, just as he did in 2016.

Trump called his opponents a “radical left-wing mob” who would bring socialism to the United States.

“A vote for any Democrat in 2020 is a vote for the rise of radical socialism and the destruction of the American dream,” claimed the current U.S. head of state.​​​​​​​

  • Published in World

Social Networks and the New World of Lies

Last Tuesday, Kristinn Hrafnsson —Wikileaks’ editor in chief— stated before a group of foreign press correspondents that the case of Julian Assange, incarcerated in UK and claimed by the U.S., is part of a conspiracy against press freedom.

It is not an isolated case —pointed out the Icelander journalist before adding that the recent attacks on media in California, U.S., the searches carried out by the Federal Police at the headquarters of ABC network in Sydney, Australia, and the incarceration of Swedish journalist Olin Bin, in Ecuador, are also part of a global strategy to stamp out investigative journalism.

Even more disturbing, nonetheless, is the fact that more important than press “freedom” or investigative journalism, the truth itself seems really in danger of vanishing. While the truth is incarcerated in the role of Julian Assange, lies are unleashed and multiplied like never before in the media and social networks.

At the same time Hrafnsson offered his statement in London, an international survey carried out that day and released in Canada showed that 86% of people have taken for granted at least one fake news they have read in social networks.

According to the 82% of people consulted in the Ipsos survey for the Canadian analysis group Center for International Governance Innovation, the platforms of social networks were regarded as the main responsible for the dissemination of fake news. The 77% of users had pointed at Facebook as the main source of fake news while 62% chose Twitter.

The problem is truly alarming if we take into account that there is an increasingly high number of people using social networks as information source. In the words of communication connoisseurs, beyond the technological progresses, the rising number of users in social networks has to do with the discredit of traditional media in recent years. However, is there any credibility in social networks after the results of this survey went public?

To make things worse, it was released a fake video in Instagram with the one and only Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook. In the video, manipulated by artificial intelligence, Zuckerberg stands there saying, while describing his own personality: “Imagine this for a second: a man, with a total control of data stolen from millions and millions of people, all their secrets, their lives, their futures.”

The fake video shows Zuckerberg bragging about his dominance. The video was created by Israel’s emerging company Canny AI, and artists Bill Posters and Daniel Howe, allegedly for an artistic project called Spectrum, which was screened at the British International Documentary Festival Sheffield Doc/Fest.

It is shocking that Instagram —which belongs to Facebook— will not blocked the video. Therefore, it will be added to a series of other manipulated videos, known as “deepfake” due to the use of artificial intelligence with extremely realistic results.

The most popular of this sort of “masterpieces” falsifying reality, which Facebook denies to block by the way, is the ridiculously false video released one month ago where the Speaker of the House of Representative of the U.S., Nancy Pelosi, was talking as if she were drunk.

The video involving Pelosi was released to the world in a tweet posted by the U.S. President Donald Trump. And now that we are referring to lies and Trump, the president of the nation of “press freedom,” the first champion against fake news, recently called for a mass boycott from Americans against AT&T, one of the greatest telecom giants of the country, to force them to make “huge changes” within CNN network, owned by that company. According to Trump, CNN is so unfair with such bad, fake news! When the world watches CNN, it gets a false picture of USA.”

And it was not a fake tweet, as it was Pelosi’s video. This tweet came out of the brain of the U.S. President who has turned the foreign policy of his nation into an anthology of lies and vulgar threats against those countries resilient to the Empire dominance. The same Trump who attacked the media for what he called “a fraudulent and highly inaccurate coverage of Iran,” stated immediately thereafter in another tweet that such reports had a positive impact since “Iran does not know what to do now, which is a good thing after all.”

In this new world, those who dare to denounce a crime, as in Assange’s case, are condemned by those who committed such crime. The goal will be always to achieve nobody knows what to think, not to mention when the information is true or false; and that is the only truth.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz/CubaSí Translation Staff

Trump sets stage for 2020 fight with false claims and recycled attacks

President kicked off his bid with lies, attacks on the press and claims a Democrat president would ‘shut down your free speech’

Donald Trump has set the stage for the nastiest US presidential race in modern times with a campaign rally that recycled old themes and stoked resentment towards Democrats and the media.

More than 500 days before the 2020 US election, the president formally launched his campaign before a capacity 20,000 crowd in a sports stadium in Orlando in the vital swing state of Florida, demonstrating that his base, at least, remains as fervent as ever.

Trump spent little effort offering a vision of the future. He and his supporters were most energised by his greatest hits: grievance politics, demonising opponents, raging against perceives injustices. There was even a reprise of attacks on Hillary Clinton, his defeated rival in 2016, complete with furious chants of “Lock her up!”

His vicious, often fabricated, attacks implied that while a referendum on his record would likely end in defeat, his campaign believes that whipping up fear of a Democrat in the White House could yet save his skin.

“Just imagine what this angry leftwing mob would do if they were in charge of this country,” Trump said. “Imagine if we had a Democrat president and Democrat Congress in 2020. They would shut down your free speech, use the power of the law to punish their opponents, which they are trying to do now anyway.”

He added, without evidence: “They would strip Americans of their constitutional rights while flooding the country with illegal immigrants in the hopes it will expand their political base.”

Trump made the comments after saying 145 judges had been appointed under his administration, and recalling the bitterly disputed confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the supreme court. Kavanaugh had been credibly accused of sexual assault when he was a teenager. On Tuesday, Trump falsely claimed these were “fraudulent charges”.

From left, Tiffany Trump, Lara Trump, Eric Trump, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Kimberly Guilfoyle and Donald Trump Jr at Donald Trump’s re-election campaign rally.From left, Tiffany Trump, Lara Trump, Eric Trump, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Kimberly Guilfoyle and Donald Trump Jr at Donald Trump’s re-election campaign rally. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

Watched by his wife, Melania Trump, and other family members, during a speech lasting more than an hour, the president set out a blueprint for attacks for whoever emerges from the crowded field of potential Democratic primary contenders, who will meet next week for their first debates.

“A vote for any Democrat in 2020 is a vote for the rise of radical socialism and the destruction of the American dream,” Trump said. “The Democrat party has become more radical, more dangerous and more unhinged than at any point in the history of our country.”

He falsely and wildly claimed that leading Democrats favour “open borders” and oppose measures to prevent the execution of children after birth. The most divisive president for decades argued it was Democrats who want to divide Americans into factions and “shred the constitution”.

Trump, wearing his signature red tie and relishing the febrile atmosphere, also worked his familiar theme of us v them, putting himself on the side of the ordinary citizens and “deplorables”, an unlikely position for a millionaire businessman, TV celebrity and now, president. “Many times I said we would drain the swamp. That’s exactly what we’re doing. That’s why the swamp is fighting back so viciously and violently.”

He showed how he intends to weaponise the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference. “What did they come up with?” he asked. “No collusion and the facts that led our great attorney general to determine no obstruction.” Mueller’s findings did not establish a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow, but it did point to 10 instance of attempted obstruction of justice, and Mueller himself has said he did not clear Trump of a crime.

“For the last two and half years we have been under siege,” he said, complaining that opponents have been given a “free pass”. He warned: “They are really going after you. That’s what this is all about.”

Just as in 2016, Trump showed his intention to go after the media. “By the way, that is a lot of fake news back there,” he said. “The amount of press we have tonight reminds me of the Academy awards before they went political and their ratings went down the tubes.”

On several occasions the predominantly white crowd booed and jeered, made thumbs down gestures and chanted “CNN sucks!”

It was four years to the week, Trump noted, since he descended the escalator at Trump Tower to launch his wildly improbable bid for the White House. On that occasion he railed against Mexican “criminals” and “rapists” and demanded a border wall.

Getting the sequel under way, there was a familiar refrain. Trump condemned “illegal mass migration” to fire up the crowd.

Trump admitted he has made his wall “cheaper” and asserted: “We’re going to have over 400 miles of wall built by the end of next year. It’s moving very rapidly.” According to factcheckers, this is very unlikely, and most of the wall would be mere replacement barrier, not fresh construction.

Indeed, there was the usual litany of Trump exaggerations and lies. The man who pulled America out of the Paris climate accord and slashed environmental regulations announced: “Our air and water are the cleanest they’ve ever been by far.”

He said of the economy: “It’s soaring to incredible new heights. Perhaps the greatest economy we’ve had in the history of our country.” In fact, growth hit higher levels in the 1980s and 1990s. Trump also falsely claimed the biggest tax cut in American history.

When he did look forward, the promises were vague and invited mockery. He suggested that a cure for cancer is within reach and declared: “We will eradicate Aids in America once and for all. We’re very close.”

The bare-knuckle approach to the coming election was shared by the vice-president, Mike Pence, and Trump’s children. Donald Trump Jr, whose gestures and pronunciations increasingly resemble his father, described Joe Biden, currently leading the Democratic field of contenders in the polls, as usually “groping someone” – a reference to Biden’s inappropriate touching of women.

The negativity was also reflected outside the venue, where street vendors sold T-shirts that said: “Trump 2020, Get on board or get run over”, “Trump 2020, the sequel, make liberals cry again” and “Trump 2020: Fuck your feelings”. A handwritten banner hung on a wire fence proclaimed: “Hillary for prison”.

A Trump baby blimp towers over protesters near the arena where Trump held his rally in Orlando, Florida, on 18 June.A Trump baby blimp towers over protesters near the arena where Trump held his rally in Orlando, Florida, on 18 June. Photograph: Chris O’Meara/AP

Members of the rightwing organisation Proud Boys yelled anti-Democratic chants, some displaying white power symbols on their clothing and banners. They were stopped by police before they could disrupt an anti-Trump rally.

But there was also opposition. Hundreds of anti-Trump protesters applauded and took photos when a 20ft blimp of a Trump baby in a nappy was inflated near the arena.

Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders gave an immediate rebuttal to Trump’s speech, summarizing it as “lies, distortions, and total absolute nonsense”. He criticized Trump for barely talking about the climate emergency, or that “half of the people in this country are working paycheck to paycheck”.

  • Published in World

Trump says he would ‘certainly’ go to war with Iran ‘over nuclear weapons’, but not right now

US President Donald Trump said he would consider military action against Iran to prevent it from getting nuclear weapons. The row between Tehran and Washington escalated after the US accused Iran of attacking two oil tankers.

“I would certainly go over nuclear weapons,” Trump told Time Magazine on Tuesday when asked what would make him consider declaring war on Iran. “And I would keep the other a question mark.”

The report did not specify whether the president elaborated on the scenario of launching a full-fledged armed conflict with the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program. When a reporter asked Trump if he was considering military action against Iran right now, he replied: “I wouldn’t say that. I can’t say that at all.”

His remarks came a day after the Pentagon said that it will deploy 1,000 extra troops to the Middle East “for defensive purposes.” The US blamed Iran for the attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Washington released a grainy video, allegedly showing Iranian sailors removing a limpet mine from one of ship’s hull, but did not provide any other evidence to support its case. Tehran rebuffed the allegations, saying that it had nothing to do with the incidents.

Also on rt.com US to send 1,000 additional troops to Middle East - Pentagon...

Also on Tuesday, Iran announced that, in just 10 days, it would increase its uranium stockpiles beyond the limits allowed under the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA. The US pulled out of the agreement last year and re-imposed sanctions on Iran. Officials in Tehran say they will return to full compliance with the deal if the EU, another signatory of the agreement, reaffirms its commitments.

  • Published in World
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