Venezuela Rejects False News on 'Humanitarian Crisis,' Migration

The Venezuelan Vice president and the minister of communication presented data debunking the alarmist coverage of Venezuelan migration in the region.

The Vice President of Venezuela Delcy Rodriguez and the Minister of Communications and Information Jorge Rodriguez addressed the country Monday to denounce the coalition made by foreign countries and media about the "false humanitarian crisis" in the nation, that has been used to deepen the attacks against the government of Nicolas Maduro.

RELATED: Jorge Rodriguez Decries 'Xenophobia' of Colombia, Peru Regarding Venezuelan Migration

The data presented by the Venezuelan officials argued Delcy Rodriguez, serve to "dismantle the fake news and diplomatic tools against the country," which are aimed at using “a political issue to turn the flow of migration into an international intervention."

In this regard, the Minister of Communications Jorge Rodríguez said that in the last 30 days, 140,599 posts on Twitter were related to "Venezuela" and "humanitarian crisis", while only 29,989 tweets, related to terms like "Syria" and "crisis humanitarian," considering that, unlike Venezuela, the Arab country is in a deep war and a brutal destruction.

In that sense, Rodriguez denounced the media attack against Venezuela, revealing campaigns through social networks and media that seek to increase xenophobia and hatred of Venezuelan immigrants.

To back such assertions, he showed as an example, headlines from Colombian newspapers that affirmed the growth of infidelity in the country, supposedly a product of the arrival of Venezuelans.

Delcy Rodríguez used statistics from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to affirm that Venezuela is the second country in South America to receive migration and the country with the fewest volunteer migrants in the continent.

"The Venezuelan policies are of integration to the migratory flow and, mainly, for the displaced as a result of internal conflicts in Colombia," she said, remembering that currently, 5 million 600 thousand Colombians live in Venezuela.

She indicated that Colombia, one of the main aggressor countries, is the top nation in the world with the largest number of internally displaced persons, a figure that increased after the signing of the Peace Accords.

"From 2014 to 2017, the production of cocaine increased, making Colombia the first producer of this drug in the world, according to UN figures and recognized by the Colombian government. (...) The Plan Colombia increased cocaine production and violence," said the Venezuelan vice president.

The ex-chancellor also said that the United States already has 46 million dollars contributed to the region to cover the expenses of the other countries in response to the "supposed humanitarian crisis", charging Washington as the main country responsible for the media war against Venezuela.

 

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Russia to stop ferrying US astronauts to ISS from April 2019

Russia’s contract with NASA to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) will expire in April next year, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov has said.

Under the current contract, American astronauts avail of seats on Russian Soyuz spacecraft in order to reach the ISS and return home. The US lost its capacity for manned space missions after the retirement of the Space Shuttle program, and is about to finalize a replacement in the form of a manned SpaceX Dragon capsule.

The cost of the ISS ferry service has varied over the years, with NASA paying about $81 million per seat in 2018, up from the cheapest price of $21.8 million in 2007 and 2008.

 
© Shamil Zhumatov

Reporting on the state of the Russian space industry on Friday, Yury Borisov, who is responsible for overseeing military and space matters in the Russian cabinet, said that the landing of a Soyuz-MS spaceship in April next year “will finalize the fulfillment of our obligation under a contract with NASA.”

The discontinuation of the Space Shuttle program seemed like a minor inconvenience in 2011, when the US and Russia were on relatively good terms. Today, however – amid a bitter political stand-off between the two nations – the fact that the US has to rely on Russia in some aspects of its space exploration is considered humiliating by some people in America.

The late Senator John McCain was among the most vocal critics of the situation, in which the US pays Russia millions of dollars each year in return for space engines and rides to the ISS. Vice-President Mike Pence last week pledged that the US will “very soon” be able to take people into space without Russia’s help and will return to the moon by 2024.

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US & allies can have missiles ready to strike Syria within 24 hours – Russian Foreign Ministry

It will take the US and its allies just 24 hours to ready its missile-strike group for an attack against Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. The statement comes amid warnings of a possible false-flag chemical attack.

The coalition strike group has around 70 delivery vehicles deployed to the Middle East, the ministry’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova told reporters at her news briefing on Thursday. The arsenal includes nearly 380 cruise missiles, and US Navy missile destroyers ‘Karni’ and ‘Ross’ deployed to the region, each carrying 28 Tomahawk cruise missiles.

 
Earlier, the Pentagon denied Moscow’s claim that Washington was building up military forces in the region. One of the US warships, USS ‘The Sullivans,’ left the Persian Gulf after media reports about an increased American military presence in the area, according to Zakharova.

While rejecting news of its growing presence in the region, the “US military forgot to mention that they can build up missile capabilities to strike Syria in just 24 hours. The strike group of the United States, France and the UK currently consists of planes, strategic and tactical aircraft at bases in Jordan, Kuwait, Crete,” Zakharova said.

Moscow has repeatedly warned that a false flag chemical weapons attack is being planned in Syria's Idlib province to frame Damascus and use as a pretext for a new strike. Eight canisters of chlorine were delivered to a village near Jisr al-Shughur city, and a group of militants, trained in the handling of chemical weapons by the British private military contractor Olive Group, arrived in the area, according to Defense Ministry. 

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the planned provocation is aimed only at preventing the expulsion of terrorists from the de-escalation zone in Idlib. He also accused the US of trying to get rid of another “dissident regime” in Syria, as was the case in Iraq and Libya.

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US plans to use fake chemical weapons attack to strike Syria – Russian MoD

The US may have plans to use a fake chemical attack in Syria to hit government forces with airstrikes, the Russian Defense Ministry has said. Washington is already building up strike capability in the Middle East, it said.

The warning comes a day after the Russian military said it had information about a looming provocation in Syria’s Idlib governorate, which would involve a staged chemical weapons attack. The US earlier warned it would respond to a chemical weapons attack by Syrian government forces with retaliatory strikes, which would be stronger than those conducted by the US, the UK and France in April.

 
FILE PHOTO White Helmets in Syria © Omar Haj Kadour

In a statement published on Monday, the Russian MoD said it noted the deployment to the Mediterranean last weekend of the missile destroyer USS Ross carrying 28 Tomahawk cruise missiles on board. It came after a similar move of the USS The Sullivans to the Persian Gulf and the rebasing of a B-1B Lancer strategic bomber to an air base in Qatar. The Russian ministry said the “preparations are the latest evidence of the US intention to use the” expected provocation.

The statement reiterated that the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham militant group, previously known as Al-Nusra Front, was preparing a staged chlorine attack in a city in Idlib. It alleged that a group of jihadists, trained in the handling of chemical weapons by the British private military contractor Olive Group, has already arrived in Jisr al-Shughur. The group will “stage decontamination of victims of a staged chemical weapons attack posing as members of the notorious White Helmets group,” the ministry claimed.

“The implementation of this provocation, which is being conducted with the assistance of the British intelligence services, is meant to serve as the latest pretext for the US, Britain and France to deliver a missile strike against state and economic facilities in Syria,” said General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry.

On August 22, US National Security Advisor John Bolton stated that “if the Syrian regime uses chemical weapons, we will respond very strongly and they really ought to think about this a long time.”

READ MORE: WWII relics & cutting-edge US drones: Spoils of Syrian war displayed in Russia (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

In April, a reported chlorine attack in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta neighborhood served as justification for the US, UK, and France to attack what they claimed to be sites involved in a clandestine Syrian chemical weapons program. The missile attacks came just as a team of international inspectors was set to arrive at the scene to collect evidence of the supposed attack.

Later, residents of the area told journalists that the footage of the treatment of the alleged victims of the attack was filmed by the White Helmets group after they orchestrated a panic at a local hospital. The patients there were not poisoned by chlorine, local medics said. The footage was presented by the mainstream media as proof that an attack took place.

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Crisis for Drug Consumption Confirmed in the United States

Regarding the authorities and the mass media, they considered as a living hell the occurrence of almost a hundred cases of drug overdose in less than 36 hours, especially in New Haven region that is near the famous University of Yale.

The chaos was so shocking that the principal of the emergency operations in New Have named Rick Fontana could not finish his Press conference as he had to deal with six persons at that moment.

“Six of them fell down at the same time.”Rick Fontana pointed out.

Rick Fontana said to El País newspaper that they had counted until 25 cases of overdose for over three hours.

The mayoress from New Haven, named Tony Harp, talked about what was experienced that week as an example of the great problems by which the local authorities are going through around the United States.

The point is that the new challenge has a name in the United States and its name is K-2 or Spice which is a synthetic drug that is a hundred of time stronger than marijuana which is a design that can cause heart attacks and irreversible damages.

Luckily, the event from New Haven had not any death, taking into account that the affected ones were quickly treated with Naloxone which is a medicine that helps reviving the overdose victims and its usage has been increased at the same time that the drug consumption.

The U.S. mass media classified what happened in New Haven as a crisis on the drug consumption which means a serious threat to that nation’s public health.

The last report made by the National Diseases Control Center confirmed the drugs killed 72287 people in the United States in 2017 that was the highest number in that nation’s history, along with the aggravating factor that it represents an increase of 10% in relation to 2016.

The number surpasses the deaths by car accidents or the assassinations due to the violence with firearms.

Even the Aids epidemic did not kill many people in only a year like the overdose epidemic. The statistics show the overdoses by the opium’s derivative substances is what kill and it is scourge that dates back to the beginning of the 1920s decade.

It is mainly linked to the excessive prescription of Oxycontin and other illegal analgesics which caused that over two million people got addicted in the United States.

There are approximately a hundred people who die daily by related overdose while the number of young people hospitalized by that cause has multiplied since 2004.

The president Donald Trump declared that problem as a health national emergency problem last year and he used programmed funds for the communities that fight against their inhabitants’ drug addiction and they suffer as a consequence of the social impact of the overdoses on children who get orphans.

Donald Trump promised to finish with that epidemic, but the doctors believe that fight should be carried out from a more comprehensive and preventive approach rather than only paying when there is an addition. It is a mater of education to prevent it from happening.

By Demetrio Villarrutia Zulueta
Translated by JC Caballero

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‘Most Americans have no idea’: With all eyes on Russia, China spends millions influencing US

China has unleashed a massive multi-pronged propaganda effort across the US, using a combination of money and influence to sway key policy and opinion-makers, says a new Congress-backed report.

Completed at the behest of US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, the 39-page report focuses on United Front, an umbrella organization for Beijing’s soft power, which lead author says has dramatically expanded under the rule of Xi Jinping.

“United Front work serves to promote Beijing’s preferred global narrative, pressure individuals living in free and open societies to self-censor and avoid discussing issues unfavorable to the Chinese Communist Party, and harass or undermine groups critical of Beijing’s policies,” states the report.

READ MORE: China, North Korea & Iran may target US elections, Bolton says

According to the report, prominent US institutions, such as Johns Hopkins University, and think-tanks like the Atlantic Council, Brookings Institution and the Carter Center are either receiving funding directly from various arms of the Chinese government, or cooperating on projects financed by United Front.

"Beijing seeks to outsource its messaging in part because it believes foreigners are more likely to accept propaganda if it appears to come from non-Chinese sources," says the report.

The Chinese government is also nurturing a network of “grassroots” organizations, such as the 142 US-based Chinese Students and Scholars Associations (CSSA) and over 100 Confucius Institutes. Nominally, these organizations promote cultural exchange, and access to Chinese language, connections and culture, but according to the report, in actual fact they serve as a front for intelligence recruitment and activities, and a vehicle for ruthless promotion of Chinese agendas, including in its dealing with geopolitical adversaries, such as Taiwan.

 
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) May 16, 2018. © Joshua Roberts 

"Most Americans and many members of Congress have no idea of the range of activities undertaken by this Chinese Communist Party web," Larry Wortzel, a member of the Congress commission told the Washington Free Beacon.

Wortzel said that Congress has been briefed about the findings, and called for more Chinese-backed organizations to be given the foreign agent designation, which would bring their intent out into the open.

Such complacency about China is made starker by paranoia over Russia, where even a casual connection to Moscow is sufficient for insinuations of treason. Prominent Democrat senator Dianne Feinstein, who has enjoyed close connections with the very quasi-governmental entities listed in the report, employed a Chinese spy on her staff for 20 years. The discovery of the agent has had almost no repercussions on her political career.

With China singled out as a political rival by Donald Trump, the current administration has tried to whip up a level of alarm. National Security Advisor John Bolton said that China was potentially involved in meddling in the upcoming US election. But so far, the concern has not taken hold, with the US media much impressed with the supposedly tangible villainy of Vladimir Putin over the nebulous Chinese threat.

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Shark Movie Hoards U.S. Blockbuster

Shark thriller The Meg, directed by Jon Turteltaub, is today topping the box office in the United States, where it surpassed 44.5 million dollars in its opening weekend.

The film, a U.S.-China co-production, also raised more than 141 million dollars in its international debut, above expectations, according to the production companies.

Starring British actor Jason Statham, the film is based on the book Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror by American writer Steve Alten, and tells the story of scientists who travel in a submersible and try to prevent a giant shark believed to be extinct from causing destruction.

The cast of The Meg is completed by actors Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao and Cliff Curtis.

According to official counts in second place is the sixth issue of Mission Impossible: Fallout, starring Tom Cruise, followed by the comedy BlacKkKlansman by director Spike Lee.

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More than 100 large wildfires in U.S. as new blazes erupt

(Reuters) - Six large new wildfires erupted in the United States, pushing the number of major active blazes nationwide to over 100, with more expected to break out sparked by lightning strikes on bone-dry terrain, authorities said on Saturday.

More than 30,000 personnel, including firefighters from across the United States and nearly 140 from Australia and New Zealand, were battling the blazes that have consumed more than 1.6 million acres (648,000 hectares), according to the National Interagency Coordination Center.

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“We are expecting that there will be more fire-starts today,” Jeremy Grams, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma, said in an interview on Saturday.

https://s3.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20180812&t=2&i=1292697681&r=LYNXMPEE7B04M&w=1200Emergency vehicles line a road next to a hillside on fire in Fairfield, California, the U.S., August 10, 2018, in this still image taken from a video obtained from social media. Erika Bjork/Twitter/via REUTERS

He said dry thunderstorms, which produce lightning but little rain, are expected for parts of the Rocky Mountain region, while the U.S. northwest has critical fire weather conditions that include strong winds and low relative humidity.

Firefighters were battling another day of extremely hot temperatures and strong winds on Saturday, the National Interagency Coordination Center said.

The fires have scorched states from Washington to New Mexico, with California among the hardest hit.

A mechanic helping to fight the Carr Fire near Redding in northern California was killed in a car crash on Thursday, the eighth person to die in that conflagration.

The 190,873-acre (77,243-hectare) Carr Fire has destroyed nearly 1,100 homes.

About 100 miles (160 km) southwest of the Carr Fire, about 3,500 firefighters are battling the Mendocino Complex Fire, which has burned 328,226 acres (132,828 hectares) as of Saturday and was the largest fire on record in California.

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