USA Praises Bolsonaro for Leaving Brazilian People without Doctors

Brasilia, Nov 16 (Prensa Latina) Despite leaving millions of Brazilians without medical care for contemptuous statements against Cuban health professionals, President-elect Jair Bolsonaro was praised by the United States, Brasil 247 website posted on Friday.

The site refers to the applause given on social media by U.S. Assistance Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Kimberly Breier, for the position of the future Brazilian president, which forced the departure of Cuban physicians from the 'More Doctors' program.

Brazil 247 posts that 'Bolsonaro's pressure on Cuban doctors, in a clear sign of harmony with U.S. foreign policy, was praised by the United States government.'

The Cuban Ministry of Health (MINSAP) announced on Wednesday that it was withdrawing the Cuban doctors from the program, started in August 2013 by former President Dilma Rousseff, following the modifications announced by Bolsonaro.

Such alterations suppose unacceptable conditions and breach the guarantees agreed from the beginning of the initiative that were ratified in 2016 with the renegotiation of the term of cooperation between the Pan-American Health Organization and the Brazilian Ministry of Health, and the cooperation agreement between the regional health entity and the Cuban Ministry of Public Health, the MINSAP statement says.

The website warns that due to the withdrawal of Cuban doctors, at least 24 million Brazilians will not receive medical attention and the threat hangs over other initiatives such as the Family Health Program.

Former Brazilian Health Minister Alexandre Padilha, who participated in the implementation of the program, told the press that this withdrawal will have a terrible impact on the health system, as Cuban doctors worked in the most vulnerable regions. 'They are in the Amazon, in rural towns and favelas'.

Cuban doctors are not only qualified, but they are specialists in rural medicine, something that the Brazilian health system lacks, Padilha said.

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North Korea Conducts New Weapon Test, South Destroys Guard Post

South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon reassured that Seoul would not pursue economic cooperation with Pyongyang until “significant progress” has been made on denuclearization. 

North Korean President Kim Jong-un inspected and successfully tested a newly developed tactical weapon, the country’s state media said. The Korean Central News Agency did not specify the exact type of weapon or when the test occurred.

RELATED: Cuba’s Diaz-Canel Meets North Korean Kim Jong-un

"This result today is a justification of the party's policy focused on defence, science and technology, another display of our rapidly growing defence capabilities to the whole region, and a ground-breaking change in strengthening our military's combat capabilities," the KCNA report said.

“After seeing the power of the tactical weapon, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un was so excited to say that another great work was done by the defence scientists and munitions industrial workers to increase the defence capability of the country." 

An analyst from Seoul’s Asan Institute for Policy Studies, Shin Beomchul, noted that “it’s a North Korea-style coercive diplomacy. North Korea is saying ‘if you don’t listen to us, you will face political burdens,” said analyst.

Recently, South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon reassured that Seoul would not pursue economic cooperation with Pyongyang until “significant progress” has been made on denuclearization. Cho made the remark Thursday during a visit to Washington, also adding that improving inter-Korean relation would help, not hinder the process.

However, on Thursday, South Korea advanced the hope for a unified peninsula by destroying guard posts near the border with North Korea, in accordance with an agreement made by the two states. Smoke billowed into the sky signaling that a contained explosion, by the South, had initiated the pledge to destroy guard posts.

Seoul invited journalists to observe the action which fulfilled a pledge made when the neighbors signed a unification pact, in September. The Koreas agreed to dismantle or disarm nearly one dozen guard posts, each.

Last week, the two Koreas withdrew troops and firearms from some of the guard posts - which are located in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) - along the shared border, prior to conducting the demolition.

According to reports, South Korea had about 60 posts inside the DMZ, while The North was an estimated 160. There are an estimated 2 million landmines planted in and near the zone.

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Washington always turned a blind eye to Saudi Arabia, says ex-CIA officer on Khashoggi case

The White House is far more interested in ensuing Saudi Arabia’s stability than punishing it for the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, former CIA officer Bob Baer said.

We’ve always turned a blind eye to what’s going on in Saudi Arabia – right from the very beginning,” Baer told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday. He stressed that the close ties between the nations make Washington reluctant to attack the kingdom not only with regards to the Khashoggi case but also on the issues of human rights abuses and the devastating Saudi-led war in Yemen.

 
© Global Look Press/ Aurelien Morissard

Dissident journalist and The Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi disappeared in early October after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia claims that he was killed during a spontaneous “fistfight,” and has pledged to investigate his death. Turkish officials, meanwhile, insist that the Saudis dispatched a ‘death squad’ to assassinate the journalist. His body still hasn’t been located.

Khashoggi’s murder sparked international outrage. US President Donald Trump warned that the kingdom will face a “severe punishment” if it had indeed put out a hit on the journalist. The US, however, chose to keep the existing arms deals with the Saudis and said it didn’t believe the nation’s leadership was behind the dissident’s demise.

Washington is more interested in maintaining Saudi Arabia’s stability than searching for the truth and criticizing Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, known as MBS, Bob Baer argued. The kingdom remains among the prime buyers of US-made arms and Washington’s strategic ally in the region.

“Saudi Arabia is a volcano right now. We don’t have players there on our side [other than MBS],” Baer, who is now an author and commentator, said. “What worries the White House is that this country could pop.”

According to the recent New York Times report, the audio recording of Khashoggi’s murder, given to the CIA by Turkey, reveals how a member of the ‘kill team’ instructed a superior to “tell your boss” about the mission’s success. The US intelligence officers believe that “boss” in question is MBS, the paper reported.

At the same time, Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton, who himself didn’t listen to the tape, strongly suggested that it was “not the conclusion” the officers have made.

Bob Baer found it hard to agree with Bolton and noted that the Crown Prince “is in control” of all Saudi security services. “The Saudis don’t have rogue operations – ever. It has never occurred.”

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Rouhani to Trump: 'We Will Defeat You'

The United States' reimposed sanctions on Iran will not be tolerated, according to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who says, "The Americans will definitely be defeated in this path. The path they have chosen is wrong and incorrect."

The United States has chosen the wrong path in reimposing sanctions on Iran and will be defeated, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday, according to the Tasnim news agency.

RELATED: US Reimposes Iran sanctions, Tehran Slams Trump's 'Bullying'

Washington reinstated sanctions targeting Iran's oil industry on Nov. 5 as it seeks to force the Islamic Republic to accept tougher curbs on its nuclear program, halt its development of ballistic missiles as well as its support for proxy forces in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.

"The Americans will definitely be defeated in this path. The path they have chosen is wrong and incorrect," Rouhani said. "If they are being honest and they are looking for regional security, this is not the path. If they are being honest and respect the Iranian people, this is not the path."

He added, "They have made themselves more infamous in the world and in front of our people. It's clear for everyone that the incorrect and cruel sanctions of America will harm the dear and honorable people of our country."

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said Tuesday that Washington intends to step up enforcement of sanctions on Iran and "squeeze them very hard."

President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions after he withdrew the United States from world powers' 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, reached before he took office.

The other signatories - Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China remain committed to the deal. Iran has said it will stay in it only if the other powers preserve its economic benefits against U.S. pressure.

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CNN Sues White House Over Barring Of Reporter Jim Acosta

"The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta's First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process," the news network said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.

Washington: CNN sued Donald Trump's administration Tuesday, alleging the White House violated journalist Jim Acosta's rights under the constitution by revoking his press credentials following a heated exchange with the US president.

"The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta's First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process," the news network said in a statement announcing the lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington.

"We have asked this court for an immediate restraining order requiring the pass be returned to Jim, and will seek permanent relief as part of this process," CNN said. "If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials."

The White House had suspended Acosta's hard pass after he sparred at a news conference with the president, who demanded that the reporter yield the microphone and called him a "rude, terrible person" when he did not immediately comply.

Acosta persisted with questions and a White House intern tried to take the microphone from the CNN journalist -- an incident the Trump administration characterize as misconduct against the female aide.

Acosta banishment from the White House marked an escalation in tensions between the president and his chief media antagonist.

The White House Correspondents' Assocation welcomed CNN's lawsuit, saying "revoking access to the White House complex amounted to disproportionate reaction to the events."

"We continue to urge the administration to reverse course and fully reinstate CNN's correspondent," WHCA president Olivier Knox said in a statement.

"The President of the United States should not be in the business of arbitrarily picking the men and women who cover him."

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US sanctions hit Iranian cancer patients struggling to get life-saving meds

US sanctions are driving up the cost of cancer treatment in Iran, patients and doctors say – as restrictions reimposed on Tehran by Washington make it harder to buy life-saving medication and equipment.

Ali Shokri, a Tehran resident battling cancer, had his second round of chemotherapy after the US sanctions kicked in. The cost of each session jumped from 10 million Rial ($240) to 20 million ($475), Ali told Ruptly video agency on Monday, adding that the price hike isn’t the only problem cancer patients now face.

“The drugs can’t be found easily like before, and we have to look for them several times in different pharmacies.”

Marjan Shirazi, whose husband suffers from cancer, said that the drugs that used to be available before sanctions have now become “more expensive and rarer.”

The US assurance that the restrictions are meant to hurt the Iranian government is “an absolute lie” since the pressure from them “is directed on people as well,” she told Ruptly.

Doctors are stressing that punitive measures against Tehran make it harder – and in some cases completely impossible – to import supplies required for life-saving treatment. “When they impose sanctions on our banks, the money can’t be transferred easily to a foreign country to buy medications,” noted Ali Kazemian, who runs the Cancer Institute at the Imam Khomeini Medical Center. The doctor noted the US sanctions often block the imports of vital medical equipment.

Washington reinstated sanctions on the country after President Donald Trump had pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program – a move condemned by the EU, Russia and China, who are also signatories of the deal. The first round of restored sanctions was enacted in April, while the second lot came into force last week. The sanctions target Iran’s oil, banking and shipping industries.

READ MORE: Iranian central bank disconnected from SWIFT messaging – US treasury

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, meanwhile, said that the sanctions have “no impact” on the national economy. Officials in Tehran are pledging to continue oil production and foreign trade, as well to defend the country’s traditional shipping routes.

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Trump Allegedly Planning to Cut Relief Funding for Puerto Rico

CNN reports that Puerto Rico is being excluded from a spending bill intended for states damaged by this year's hurricanes.

U.S. President Donald Trump doesn’t want to deliver additional relief funding to Puerto Rico, White House officials told congressional appropriators Monday, CNN reports.

RELATED: FEMA Leaves Some 10 Million Bottles of Water to Spoil on Puerto Rican Tarmac

A White House aide told CNN that, although funding cuts have not been finalized, the U.S. territory has been excluded from a spending bill intended for states damaged by this year's hurricanes.

The aide reported that as Puerto Rican officials have not expired the relief funds, the White House has decided to forego any additional financial support “because they don’t need it and will most likely not be able to spend it.”

Last month, a tweet from the president clearly illustrated his position on the territories petitions for further assistance, saying: “The people of Puerto Rico are wonderful but the inept politicians are trying to use the massive and ridiculously high amounts of hurricane/disaster funding to pay off other obligations. The U.S. will NOT bail out long outstanding & unpaid obligations with hurricane relief money!"

When the revised death toll announced in October revealed that nearly 3,000 residents had died in the wake of Hurricane Maria, Trump dismissed the report and accused Democrats of exploiting the figures as part of a smear campaign against his administration.

Eleven months after the deadly hurricane hit the island in September 2017, residents were still without power, thousands were displaced, and hundreds of homes destroyed.

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Neil Young criticises Trump after losing his home in California fires

The songwriter says state is vulnerable because of climate change and accuses US president of defying science.

Neil Young has criticised Donald Trump for his reluctance to act on climate change after California wildfires destroyed the songwriter’s home.

In a tweet posted on 10 November, the US president blamed California’s “gross mismanagement of the forests” for the damage caused by the wildfires in northern and southern California. He implied that federal funding would be withdrawn if the situation was not rectified.

In a post on his website, Young responded: “California is vulnerable – not because of poor forest management as DT (our so-called president) would have us think. We are vulnerable because of climate change; the extreme weather events and our extended drought is part of it.”

On Sunday, Los Angeles fire chief Daryl Osby told the Guardian that climate change was undeniably a part of why the fires were more devastating and destructive than in years past. Osby said that environmental changes had expanded fire season across the state, putting a strain on resources.

Thirty-one people are known to have died in the wildfires with more than 200 people unaccounted for, according to the latest figures. The emergency now equals the 1933 Griffith Park disaster in Los Angeles as the deadliest California wildfire on record.

Young continued: “Imagine a leader who defies science, saying these solutions shouldn’t be part of his decision-making on our behalf. Imagine a leader who cares more for his own, convenient option than he does for the people he leads. Imagine an unfit leader. Now imagine a fit one.”

Young is among a number of stars known to have been affected by the wildfires. David Bowie’s long-term pianist Mike Garson tweeted on Saturday about losing his home and studio. Actor Gerard Butler posted a photograph of his charred home and thanked firefighters for their “courage, spirit and sacrifice”. Miley Cyrus said that she lost her home but escaped with her fiancé, the actor Liam Hemsworth, and their animals.

Gerard Butler @GerardButler

Returned to my house in Malibu after evacuating. Heartbreaking time across California. Inspired as ever by the courage, spirit and sacrifice of firefighters. Thank you @LAFD. If you can, support these brave men and women at http://SupportLAFD.org.

Lady Gaga tweeted that she had been evacuated from her residence. “I’m sitting here with many of you wondering if my home will burst into flames.”

Katy Perry and Rod Stewart also criticised Trump over his tweets. “This is an absolutely heartless response,” Perry tweeted. Stewart said: “California needs words of support & encouragement, not threats or finger pointing & accusations.”

 

 

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