Suspect dead, 20 injured in New Jersey arts festival shooting

Twenty people have been injured, some critically, in a shooting at an arts festival in Trenton, New Jersey on Sunday. One person, suspected to be behind the shooting, has been killed according to local officials.

A second suspect is in police custody, according to Mercer County Prosecutor’s office. Fifteen of those injured suffered gunshot wounds and a 13 year-old boy is among the casualties.

Local authorities say that several people opened fire inside the venue and multiple weapons were recovered in the scene. The casualties were confirmed by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s office.

Police received reports that a man had opened fire inside Roebling Market, where the all-night event took place, shortly before 3 am.

"It's a massive crime scene," Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri said at a news conference.

Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson described the incident as “truly a tragedy,” and expressed his sympathies to the victims and their families.

One eyewitness told WPVI that he saw a person with gunshot wounds. “I saw two police officers escort a guy that got shot in the leg,” he said. “They bandaged him up and whisked him away before the ambulance came here."

The 24-hour arts festival, which included artwork submitted by local children, and an anti-gun violence project, has since been cancelled.

@aantrenton It’s with great regret that we announce that the remainder of Art All Night has been cancelled due to a tragic incident that occurred overnight. We’re still processing much of this and we don’t have many answers at... https://www.facebook.com/aantrenton/posts/

@kpgoing4change “Imagine a world free of gun violence. What do you see?” Making art and talking about Moms Demand Action at Art All Night - Trenton. 24 hour event tabling! @momsdemand @aantrenton

@cosmic_hiccup Replying to @TheScottCharles  This is what our community art project looked like when my daughter and I left at 11:30.

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2,000 Kids Separated From Parents Under Trump Border Crackdown

The Trump administration separated nearly 2,000 immigrant children from parents or guardians at the border over the span of six weeks, a Department of Homeland Security official said on Friday.

The administration is under intense scrutiny over its current crackdown at the border, which is aimed at prosecuting as many people as possible for illegal entry ― even if it means splitting children from their parents.

From April 19 through May 31, border officials separated 1,995 children from 1,940 adults with whom they were traveling, a DHS official told reporters, confirming numbers first reported by The Associated Press.

President Donald Trump has claimed the family separations are not his fault, even though they are happening because of his own administration’s new “zero tolerance” policy toward illegal border-crossing. Under that policy, families apprehended after crossing the border without authorization are being separated so the parents can be jailed, rather than kept together and put directly into immigration proceedings. 

The Justice Department remains far from attaining the goal of universally prosecuting all illegal border crossings, though a DOJ official told reporters that the percentage of people caught crossing the border illegally who were hauled into federal court has more than doubled since Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the change last month.

But regardless of whether prosecutors can take all the cases, officials insist that family members will no longer be exempted from facing criminal charges, meaning that family separations at the border will continue.

U.S. Border Patrol agents take a father and son from Honduras into custody near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12 near Missio
John Moore/Getty Images
U.S. Border Patrol agents take a father and son from Honduras into custody near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12 near Mission, Texas.

DHS and DOJ officials, who declined to comment by name on the call with reporters, accused opponents of the policy of misrepresenting the facts and of arguing for special treatment for immigrant parents. They argued that splitting families to prosecute parents for illegal entry, which is a misdemeanor for first-time offenders, is no different than jailing someone for another type of crime away from their children. 

“They want illegal aliens to get better rights than U.S. citizens have,” one Trump administration official said, rebutting widespread criticism of the family separation policy among immigrant rights groups, church leaders and Democratic politicians.

U.S. Border Patrol agents take a father and son from Honduras into custody near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12 near Missio

On Friday, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, a nonpartisan fact-finding agency, piled on, issuing a letter asking Sessions and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen to halt the family separations. 

The family separation policy raises “grave concerns” about due process and coercive tactics that pressure migrants to withdraw valid asylum applications “for fear of what may be happening to their children,” the letter says. 

“The Commission’s concerns are exacerbated by the apparent animus directed at Mexican and Central American immigrants by the Administration, giving rise to questions of unwarranted discrimination on the basis of national origin,” the letter says. 

There is no law that requires the government to separate families at the border, although Trump has repeatedly falsely claimed it is a result of laws passed by Democrats. While illegal entry is a crime, prior administrations have largely avoided prosecuting mothers who cross with their children. This doesn’t mean they avoid consequences ― they still face the prospect of deportation ― but it prevents large-scale family separation.

But the Trump administration has indicated there are two other reasons for family separations as well: to deter other immigrants and to gain policy concessions from Democrats.

Trump tweeted earlier Friday that “Democrats are forcing the breakup of families at the Border with their horrible and cruel legislative agenda,” calling for legislation that would provide “full funding for the Wall, end Catch & Release, Visa Lottery and Chain, and go to Merit Based Immigration.” Those are Trump immigration priorities, but they’re not related to family separations at the border.

Some Republicans in Congress have said they oppose family separations, but their proposed solution is to change the law so that children can be detained for longer periods with their parents.

The White House tried out some new family separation messaging later on Friday, smearing Democrats as responsible for murder and other violence perpetrated by undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

In an email to reporters, the White House called it “CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS’ FAMILY SEPARATION POLICY: Too many American families have been permanently separated from loved ones lost to illegal alien crime.”

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Pennsylvania Joins Coalition against US Blockade to Cuba

Washington, Jun 11 (Prensa Latina) Leading leaders of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania launched today the bipartisan Pennsylvania State Council-Engage Cuba, aimed at seeking support for the island''s approach, and the end of travel and trade restrictions.

With that step, the territory becomes the 18th state in this country to join Engage Cuba, a coalition based in Washington DC that is dedicated to promoting legislation to eliminate the economic, commercial and financial blockade that has been imposed on the Caribbean country for more than 55 years old.

Through a statement, the organization reported that the structure created on Monday will urge Congress to lift the prohibitions that harm both the inhabitants of Pennsylvania and the Cubans.

Ending trade restrictions on Cuba could bring new opportunities to Pennsylvania's agriculture, manufacturing and other major export industries while creating jobs in the Commonwealth, coalition president James Williams said on the subject.

But he said that to implement that boost the Congress should put an end to arbitrary measures that impede U.S. participation in Cuban markets, and applauded Senator Bob Casey (Democrat), and representatives Mike Doyle (Democrat) and Glenn Thompson ( Republican) for their support of legislative efforts in this area.

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Bolivia's Morales Slams 'Coup Attempts' by US, OAS in Venezuela

Evo Morales said he condemns U.S. coup attempts in Venezuela with the pretext of applying the OAS Inter-American Democratic Charter.

Bolivian President Evo Morales condemned Wednesday U.S. attempts at trashing the Bolivarian Revolutionary government of Venezuela .

RELATED: Venezuela's Maduro Accuses US of Infiltrating State Oil Company

The head of state took to his official Twitter account, writing, “We condemn the coup attempt of #EEUU [U.S.] that seeks to force an intervention of the brother people of Venezuela with the excuse of applying Inter-American Democratic Charter of the #OAS.”

He also called out U.S. Vice President Mike Pence describing his request to suspend Venezuela from the Organization of American States, or OAS, during the organization's 48th General Assembly as being “undemocratic.”

Morales added that Pence's position was in direct “violation of the principles of sovereignty and non-interference” in the internal affairs of other countries.

He said the United States is using the application of the Inter-American Democratic Charter of the OAS as a pretext to stir up regional support for a military intervention in Venezuela.

Apart from requesting Venezuela's suspension from the OAS, Pence also requested member countries impose new sanctions on the South American country

The Bolivian leader said he will not attend the OAS resolution that will start the process of suspending Venezuela from the organization. He argued that such a determination contravenes the principles of international law regarding the sovereignty of states.

Venezuela, led by President Nicolas Maduro, has repeatedly rejected constant aggression and interventionist measures spearheaded by the United States and its “junior partners” in the region, including, but not limited to, Peru, Colombia and Brazil.

On the other hand, Venezuelan authorities have argued that any attempt to suspend the country from the OAS is only an added provocation as the nation announced last year that it was leaving the regional bloc, a process that will be finalized in April 2019.

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How US-China Dispute May Turn Into Trade War With No End in Sight

China is not going to bend under Donald Trump's pressure, analysts told Sputnik, referring to Beijing's recent statement issued after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross' visit to the country. According to the analysts, the ongoing dispute risks turning into a new round of a trade war.

China and the United States can cooperate in the sphere of trade, but if Washington takes measures against Beijing, the latter will certainly respond in a tit-for-tat manner, said Bian Yongzu, a researcher with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at the People's University of China.

"If the US deliberately creates trade barriers and provokes a trade war, then this is not a market problem, it is already a political problem," Bian told Sputnik China. "Problems cannot be solved this way. According to some experts, the US is deliberately exerting pressure on China."

On May 29 the Trump administration signaled that the tariff war is far from being over: "the United States will impose a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion of goods imported from China containing industrially significant technology, including those related to the 'Made in China 2025' program," the statement said specifying that the measures will take effect on June 15 and 30.

The announcement preceded Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross' summit with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on June 2-3 in Beijing.

In response to Washington's sudden change of heart which de facto undermined the May 19 joint statement on the suspension of the tariff frictions, Beijing made it clear that once the US imposes new restrictions on Chinese imports, it would nullify all previous agreements reached by the sides.

"China does not demonstrate cowardice, but at the same time does not exert pressure on the US amid trade frictions," Bian pointed out, stressing that Beijing has "a whole set of adequate countermeasures" to respond to Washington's tariff war.

He added that while "China and the United States can sit down at the negotiating table calmly, it means that there remains an opportunity to solve the problem and both sides can achieve the desired results from the negotiations."

According to observers, the US representative has not gained any tangible results during the recent meeting.

For their part, the Chinese have issued a statement saying that China is willing to increase imports from other countries, "including the US," to address the needs of the population of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

"All economic and trade outcomes of the talks will not take effect if the US imposes any trade sanctions including raising tariffs," the statement emphasized.

According to Andrei Volodin, an analyst at the Institute of Contemporary International Studies of the Diplomatic Academy, Trump's assertiveness was resisted by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who does not intend to give in without reciprocal moves on the part of the US.

"China behaves logically, because the US trade deficit is the result of the inefficient American economy," the Russian academic opined. "The US deficit in trade with China began to reach its peak in 2005-2006. At that time, China was not so active either in the US market or in the global economy. Therefore, one could say that China's 'dumping prices' didn't affect the American economy. China understands this perfectly. It also makes it clear that its huge financial resources are invested in US securities, which means that the two countries will have to negotiate."

For its part, Chinese media outlet Global Times presumed that the ongoing trade dispute could become a "protracted" one: "Given the US may change its mind and make new requests from time to time, it is difficult for both sides to nail down a consistent trade pact and stabilize their trade relationship."

Now it all depends on whether the US will give up its plan to impose additional tariffs on Chinese goods on June 15. If Trump's threats become reality the trade war will continue to gain pace.

Meanwhile, China is seeking opportunities to beef up its presence on global markets. Speaking to Xinhua, Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui singled out the Eurasian Economic Union which has "great potential" according to the diplomat. On May 17, the EAEU and China inked an agreement on trade and economic cooperation in Astana.

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Great Celebration of Cuban Culture Ends in the US (+Photos)

With the last presentation of the National Ballet of Cuba (BNC), a major festival dedicated to the Caribbean nation that combines music, dance, plastic arts, design, theater, and cinema ends today in the US capital.

The classic Giselle, one of the most demanded works within the company's repertoire, will be a luxury closing for Artes de Cuba: from the island to the world, the event inaugurated last May 8 at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, where some 400 artists from the island and other countries came together.

Dancers Viengsay Valdés and Dani Hernández will incarnate this afternoon the leading roles of the pinnacle of Romanticism, which already had four functions since last Thursday with other figures of the company such as Grettel Morejón, Sadaise Arencibia, Patricio Revé, Raúl Abreu, and Rafael Quenedit.

In addition to playing the main roles in this last day, Valdés and Hernández interpreted the central characters last Tuesday, when the BNC began its presentations at the event dedicated to the Caribbean country with the work Don Quixote, which was also staged on Wednesday.

The Opera House of the cultural institution is the space that has hosted each of these staging, which had the special incentive for those present to have the presence of the Prima Ballerina Assoluta Alicia Alonso, director of the BNC and one of the most eminent dance figures worldwide.

Together with this company, which in its different functions has won great cheers from the capital's public, Artes de Cuba had previous days with the presence of two other dance groups: Malpaso, with its contemporary style; and Irene Rodríguez centered on flamenco dancing.

Likewise, the music had a great presence, with proposals ranging from classical works to jazz and popular dance, with the Lyceum Mozartiano from Havana, Yissy and Bandancha, the group Los Van Van, the López-Nussa Family and the Miguel Faílde Orchestra, among others.

The plastic arts also had a great impact, with exhibitions by some of the most prominent creators of the island, including Manuel Mendive, Roberto Fabelo, and Roberto Diago; and talented figures who reside in the North American territory, such as José Parlá and Emilio Pérez.

The group El Público, with Las amargas lágrimas de Petra Von Kant (The bitter tears of Petra Von Kant), and Argos Teatro, which proposed the play 10 millones (10 million), were the exponents of that branch of performing arts at the event, which according to the organizers, more than a festival, constituted a celebration of Cuban culture.

An exhibition on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema, the parade of the Art and Fashion project, and an exhibition of posters were also included among the numerous activities of the event.

  • Published in Culture

Pompeo Says US Will 'Crush' Iran With 'Strongest Sanctions in History'

The tension between the two countries has grown notably since U.S. President Trump; this month withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement.

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened Monday to impose the "strongest sanctions in history" against Iran if it did not accept a series of demands from the Donald Trump administration, which includes effectively give up nuclear power initiatives and its conventional ballistic missile program.

RELATED: Pompeo Confirmed US Secretary of State, Begins Middle East Trip

Weeks after the Americans pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Iran, Pompeo spelled out a hardline approach towards the Islamic Republic, potentially setting Washington and Tehran on course for further confrontation.

"The sting of sanctions will only grow more painful if the regime does not change course from the unacceptable and unproductive path it has chosen for itself and the people of Iran," Pompeo said in his first major foreign policy speech since becoming secretary of state.

"These will be the strongest sanctions in history by the time we are done," he added.

Pompeo also claimed Iran's policy of expanding its influence in the Middle East through support for some countries such as Syria and Yemen where the U.S. has also sort to extend their influence was unacceptable.

He warned that the United States would "crush" Iranian operatives and allies abroad and told Tehran to withdraw all forces under its command from the Syrian civil war where they back President Bashar al-Assad.

Iran is unlikely to accede to the U.S. demands. The tension between the two countries has grown notably since U.S. President Trump; this month withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement aimed at preventing Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Pompeo warned that if Iran fully resumed its nuclear program, Washington would be ready to respond and said the administration would hold companies doing prohibited business in Iran to account.

"Our demands on Iran are not unreasonable: give up your program," Pompeo said, "Should they choose to go back, should they begin to enrich, we are fully prepared to respond to that as well," he said, declining to elaborate.

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Polling Stations Close in Venezuela Elections

Most polls have shown that the incumbent president and candidate Maduro leads the vote intention.

Voting centers have closed throughout Venezuela Sunday, the country's National Electoral Council (CNE) confirmed Sunday night, after million citizens voted to elect president and members of the regional legislative councils in a festive mood as it has been the case for the past few decades in which more than 20 elections have taken place.

RELATED: What the US Could Learn from Venezuelan Democracy

The polls were due to close at 6:00 p.m. local time but those who are waiting to vote were allowed to continue casting their vote beyond the set time.

President Maduro already cast his vote early Sunday morning in Caracas before giving a speech calling on people to go to vote and rejecting accusations from the United States and its allies that his government is a “dictatorship.”

Henri Falcón, Javier Bertucci and Reinaldo Quijada are the opposition candidates who opted for the democratic way, unlike a faction of the opposition that called for abstention in favor of pushing for more sanctions, a military coup or foreign intervention.

Most polls have shown that the incumbent president and candidate Maduro leads the vote intention. starts with an advantage to win according to the majority of the polls.

Maduro held more than 30 mass events during the electoral campaign in the country’s 23 states where he presented the fundamental lines of the “Plan de la Patria” ot the plan for the homeland 2019-2025, a government project that received thousands of proposals from the Venezuelan people.

In that sense, the president of the National Electoral Council (CNE), Tibisay Lucena, reiterated that the electoral agency categorically rejects the attempts of interference and sabotage of some governments in the region and assured that the vote will go on in a democratic and fair way.

@telesurenglish As polls open in and people exercise their right to vote within the country, several embassies have already held polls for Venezuelan expats.

  • Published in World
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