Brazil: Nobel Laureate Calls Trump's Immigration Policy 'Cruel'

Pakistan's Malala Yousafzai was visiting Rio de Janeiro to kick off the expansion of her education charity, the Malala Fund, into Latin America, starting with Brazil. 

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai described as "cruel" a policy launched by U.S. President Donald Trump to separate children of illegal immigrants from their families, during her first visit to South America to promote girls' education.

RELATED: Pakistan: Awami National Party Defiant Despite Assassination

More than 2,300 children were separated from their parents after the Trump administration began a 'zero-tolerance' policy on illegal immigrants in early May, seeking to prosecute all adults who cross the border illegally from Mexico into the United States. Trump stopped separating families last month following public outrage and court challenges.

"This is cruel, this is unfair and this is inhumane. I don't know how anyone could do that," Yousafzai told Reuters on Wednesday. "I hope that the children can be together with their parents."

Her stern words contrasted with her effusive praise last year for Canada's embrace of refugees under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. At the World Economic Forum in Davos this year, Malala also questioned Trump's record on women's rights.

Yousafzai, known widely by her first name, was visiting Rio de Janeiro to kick off the expansion of her education charity, the Malala Fund, into Latin America, starting with Brazil. 

Her aim in Brazil, Latin America's largest economy, is to advocate for more public spending on education, a tall task after the country passed a constitutional amendment freezing federal spending in real terms for two decades in order to reduce public debt.

She also hopes to get an estimated 1.5 million girls currently not in school into the classroom, with a special focus on minority groups who lag white children on key indicators like literacy and secondary school completion.  

"It is important for us to reach the Indigenous and the Afro-Brazilian population in Brazil. Those girls are facing many challenges," Malala said.  

In 2014, Malala was made the world's youngest Nobel laureate, honored for her work with her foundation, a charity she set up to support education advocacy groups with a focus on Pakistan, Nigeria, Jordan, Syria and Kenya.

The group's Brazil presence kicked off with a US$700,000 three-year grant for three Brazilian female activists focused on education issues. Malala says she hopes to expand elsewhere in Latin America.      

Earlier this year, the 20-year-old returned home to Pakistan for the first time since a Taliban gunman shot her in the head in 2012 over her blog advocating girls' education.

Weeks ahead of presidential elections in Pakistan, Malala is ruling out politics for herself for now "I'm still talking to leaders and ensuring that they prioritize education in their policy," she said. "It's easier that way than when you're on the inside."

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Venezuela Dismantled Drug Trafficking Network

Caracas, Jul 12 (Prensa Latina) As part of a continued campaign against drug-trafficking Venezuela's Attorney General, Tarek William Saab, reported the seizure of 82 kgs of cocaine in five shipments made through the MRW parcel company, bound to the Netherlands and Ivory Coast.

The head of the Public Prosecutor's Office explained that from June 20 to 22 officers of the Anti-drug Command of the Bolivarian National Guard detected five shipments of furniture and paintings in which they found several packages with the illegal substance.

He said that four of these shipments had originated in the state of Tachira and one from Anzoategui, and were discovered at the headquarters of MRW in Caracas.

At a press conference Saab added that for sending these parcels the traffickers used false identities, although the prosecution managed to identify the head of the criminal organization as Edgar Vitelio Bermudez, against whom an arrest warrant was issued.

The Public Prosecutor's Office, along with other State security forces, proceeded to raid the MRW offices in the towns of La Fria (Tachira) and Lecherias (Anzoategui), as well as Bermudez' properties.

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North Korea slams 'gangster-like' U.S. demands after satisfied Pompeo leaves

SEOUL/TOKYO (Reuters) - North Korea accused the United States on Saturday of making “gangster-like” demands in talks over its nuclear program, contradicting U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hours after he left saying the old enemies had made progress on key issues.

During a day and a half of talks in Pyongyang, Pompeo had sought to hammer out details on how to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear programs, including a timeline.

As he departed, he said he had made progress on “almost all of the central issues,” although work remained to be done.

Hours later, Pyongyang gave a much more negative assessment, saying Washington had broken the spirit of last month’s summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“The U.S. side came up only with its unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization,” a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

He said Pompeo’s delegation insisted on unilateral complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization, known as CVID. He argued instead for both sides to take a series of simultaneous steps as a “shortcut” to a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

“The high-level talks this time brought us in a dangerous situation where we may be shaken in our unshakable will for denuclearization, rather than consolidating trust between the DPRK and the U.S.”

There was no immediate comment on the KCNA statement from the State Department or the White House. The contrasting comments raised questions over whether North Korea is committed to abandoning the nuclear programs it has developed for decades and has seen as key to its survival.

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Trump and Kim pledged at their June 12 summit meeting in Singapore to move toward denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Trump has declared on Twitter that North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat.

But Kim has yet to provide details of how or when North Korea might dismantle a weapons program that Trump has vowed will not be allowed to threaten the United States. Also, leaked U.S. intelligence findings concluded North Korea does not intend to completely give up its nuclear program.

On Saturday, Pompeo said he spent “a good deal of time” in the latest talks discussing a denuclearization timeline and the declaration of the North’s nuclear and missile facilities.

“These are complicated issues but we made progress on almost all of the central issues. Some places a great deal of progress, other places there’s still more work to be done,” he said, according to a pool report from U.S. reporters who accompanied him to Pyongyang.

“The North Koreans are in the game to get, not to give,” said Daniel Russel, the top U.S. diplomat for East Asia until last year.

“They have gotten the U.S. to back off military exercises, back off using ‘CVID’, back off the ‘Libya model’ of rapid denuclearization, back off on human rights, and to look the other way while China relaxes sanctions implementation. So why wouldn’t Kim Jong Un dig in his heels with Pompeo and press his advantage?”

Abraham Denmark, a senior defense official for East Asia under former President Barack Obama, said: “This is a rejection of U.S. demands for unilateral denuclearization by North Korea, and a clear message that the U.S. will need to give up more to make progress.”

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Pompeo had been “very firm” on three basic goals: complete denuclearization of North Korea, security assurances and repatriation of remains of Americans killed in the 1950-53 Korean War.

Pompeo said the two sides agreed to hold discussions on July 12 on repatriation, and also discussed “modalities” for destruction of a missile engine testing facility.

KCNA said the North also offered to discuss declaring a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War marking next month’s anniversary of the armistice agreement, but the U.S. side showed little interest, giving “certain conditions and excuses.”

Nauert said the July 12 meeting, along the border between North and South Korea, would be at working level and involve U.S. Defense Department officials.

Pompeo did not meet Kim as he had done on two previous visits to North Korea this year, but handed over a letter to him from Trump.

A letter from Kim to Trump was also delivered to Pompeo through Kim Yong Chol, a top North Korean party official and former spy agency chief, who was Pompeo’s interlocutor and played a key role in arranging the Singapore summit.

In the letter, Kim Jong Un expressed his “expectation and conviction” that future dialogue would further consolidate the sentiments of good faith between the two leaders, KCNA said.

“We still cherish our good faith in President Trump,” the spokesman said.

‘EQUALLY COMMITTED’

Asked about reports based on U.S. intelligence assessments that North Korea had continued to develop its nuclear facilities even while engaging in dialogue, Pompeo said:

“We talked about what the North Koreans are continuing to do and how it’s the case that we can get our arms around achieving what Chairman Kim and President Trump both agreed to, which is the complete denuclearization of North Korea.

“Chairman Kim is ... still committed” to that goal, Pompeo said, and he reiterated that Trump was “committed to a brighter future for North Korea”.

The U.S.-North Korea talks are being closely watched across Asia. Pompeo is due to meet in Tokyo on Sunday with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Some U.S. experts on North Korea said the ongoing disputes show the risk of Washington granting premature concessions to Pyongyang. Many were surprised when Trump agreed at the summit in Singapore to end joint military exercises with South Korea.

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With Fresh Tariffs On China, Donald Trump Unleashes Trade War

Washington: Punishing US tariffs on Chinese imports took effect early Friday, marking the start of President Donald Trump's trade war with the largest US trading partner and intensifying the anxieties of global industry.

Beijing was expected to immediately retaliate dollar-for-dollar with its own counter-tariffs after Trump imposed 25 percent duties on about $34 billion in Chinese machinery, electronics and high-tech equipment including autos, computer hard drives and LEDs.

The arrival of the long-threatened tariffs marked the failure of months of dialogue between the world's two largest economies and came amid hand-wringing from industry leaders who fear shrinking markets, higher prices and slower growth.

The tariffs' arrival also made real a campaign-trail pledge for Trump, who has fulminated for years against what he describes as Beijing's underhanded economic treatment of the United States.

US officials accuse China of building that country's emerging industrial dominance by stealing the "crown jewels" of American technological know-how through cyber-theft, forced transfers of intellectual property, state-sponsored corporate acquisitions and other alleged practices.

And they say the current US economic strength, as well as America's soaring trade deficit in goods, means the world's largest economy can outlast its rivals in the current tit-for-tat battle, presenting Washington with a rare window of opportunity to settle old scores.

The US trade deficit in goods with China ballooned to a record $375.2 billion last year, further stoking Trump's ire.

But it remained to be seen whether the American president would carry out recent threats to respond to any Chinese retaliation with maximum pressure -- raising US duties on Chinese goods in increments of $200 billion until virtually all the goods America buys from its largest trading partner are subject to duties.

But, aboard Air Force One on Thursday en route to Montana, Trump erased any hope of an about-face. He said Washington stood ready to slap duties on hundreds of billions more in Chinese imports once Friday's tariffs took effect.


Red states feel the pinch

As the tariffs' start approached at midnight, the US central bank warned Thursday the impending trade battle was beginning to darken the otherwise blue skies of the robust American economy, now starting its 10th year of recovery.

Businesses around the United States told the central bank that spending plans had been scaled back or postponed and they also warned of further adverse effects from the trade conflict, according to a Federal Reserve survey.

An industrial survey confirmed that companies were white-knuckling their way through Trump's intensifying, multi-front trade assault.

"We're starting to see signs of inflation, not sharp inflation, but definitely inflation," Anthony Nieves, head of a services industry survey committee for the Institute for Supply Management, told reporters on Thursday.

The start of the trade war likely confirms the widening rupture between Trump and his own Republican Party, a traditional champion of free trade and big business whose members, while critical, have so-far shrunk from curtailing the White House's trade powers.

But, with the GOP facing strong political headwinds ahead of November's mid-term elections, China's countermeasures left both Trump and Republican lawmakers increasingly vulnerable to voters who appear likely to boost the fortunes of opposition Democrats.

The powerful US Chamber of Commerce, a principal corporate lobby, said this week that retaliation from China, Canada, Mexico, the European Union and others against Trump's tariffs was already affecting $75 billion in US exports -- much of this from states that had narrowly supported Trump in 2016's presidential elections.

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U.S. Policy Prevents National Ballet of Cuba's Performance

Havana, Jul 3 (Prensa Latina) The National Ballet of Cuba (BNC) today clarified through a statement the facts about its frustrated performance in the United States with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

The Cuban company notified that the function conceived for next August with the symphony orchestra failed to consolidate due to the complex and expensive procedures to obtain the visas that could not be assumed by the Philharmonic.

'This situation was widely evaluated by both parties since last April of this year,' the text adds.

The clarification by the BNC is due to information circulated in several U.S. media about the refusal of visas to the group by the U.S. Department of State to act in that country.

The complex situation is the result of the visa policy established by U.S. President Donald Trump, which states that Cubans interested in traveling to the United States must process visas in a third country.

Despite these limitations, the prestigious group led by prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso has made several tours of American cities with great acceptance by the public and specialized critics.

  • Published in Culture

Donald Trump Threatens Action On World Trade Organization

Washington: U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to take action against the World Trade Organization on Monday after media reports said he wanted to withdraw from the global trade regulator.

Trump has complained frequently that the United States is treated unfairly in global trade and has sharply criticized the WTO for letting that happen.

"WTO has treated the United States very badly and I hope they change their ways. They have been treating us very badly for many, many years and that's why we were at a big disadvantage with the WTO," Trump told reporters at the White House.

"And we're not planning anything now, but if they don't treat us properly we will be doing something," he said.

News website Axios last week reported that the Republican president wants to withdraw from the WTO, drawing a prompt denial on Friday from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

Axios reported on Sunday that Trump, who has made fighting unfair trade rules a pillar of his presidency, has ordered that legislation be written stipulating a WTO withdrawal.

But Trump's commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, said earlier on Monday it was too soon for the United States to discuss any withdrawal from the World Trade Organization.

"WTO knows some reforms are needed. I think there really is a need to update and synchronize its activities, and we'll see where that leads," Ross told CNBC. "But I think it's a little premature to talk about simply withdrawing from it.

"We've made no secret of our view that there are some reforms needed at the WTO," Ross said.

Trump's aggressive stance on trade has roiled U.S. relations with allies and trading partners from Europe to China. He pulled out of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership shortly after taking office last year and began renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with neighbours Canada and Mexico.

More recently, he imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imported into the United States from various countries and is set to impose tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports beginning on Friday.

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USA recovered from misstep and swept Cuba

Havana (FIBA Basketball World Cup Americas Qualifiers 2019) - It took 10 minutes for the United States to be back on their game, but once they did, Cuba could not catch their breath.

The United States National Team closed with force the first phase of the Qualifiers towards the FIBA Basketball Word Cup 2019 with a huge win, 93-62, against Cuba in a game held this Sunday in Havana. It was the first visit by the United States team to the capital of the largest of the Antilles in 27 years.

The United States closed the first round as leader of Group C with a 5-1 record, while Cuba (0-6) went out without any wins in a section they shared with Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Six US players scored double-digit points, with Xavier Munford being the best with 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. Reggie Hearn also had 16 points, while David Stockton (13 points), Trey McKinney (10), and Marcus Thornton (10) contributed 33 points coming in from the bench. The United States recovered their long-shot by scoring 15-29 three-pointers.

On Cuba’s side, Karel Guzmán was the best player with 16 points, while Javier Justiz only scored 12 points and had 9 rebounds. Jasiel Rivero only scored 7 points. The Cubans shot a poor 33.3% in court, including 5-3 three-pointers.

Now the United States have their eyes on the second phase of the Qualifiers that starts next September. On this round, the Americans will have games in Argentina, Uruguay, and Panama —the ones that qualified from Group A.

At the start, Cuba went head-to-head against the United States, but could only match forces on the first quarter. A 17-0 run at the start of the second quarter confirmed the dominance of the visiting team that prevented any Carribean reaction. The United States limited Cuba to only 18 points between the second and third quarter, after allowing them 28 points in the first part of the game.

The Cubans started with force in the first quarter thanks to an efficient offence of 11 points by Guzmán. They protected the ball while barely losing it in the first 10 minutes of the game.

Meanwhile, the United States were to able to flow their offense with only one assist, and they committed eight personal fouls. Cuba took the first quarter, 28-24.

The visiting team tightened their game for the second quarter. By the hands of Munford, Hearn, Alex Caruso, and Thornton, the United States started the quarter with a 17-0 advantage that ended with a three-pointer by Thornton in a getaway, 41-28, with 5:14 on the clock.

Cuba did not allow the visiting team to increase their leadership and with a two-pointer by Yuniskel Molina and a three-pointer by Orestes Torres, they got closer, 45-37, with 2:20 left to play.

The Caribbean squad tried varying the defense, including a 2-3 zone that the United States were able to counter. The United States closed the quarter with five consecutive points to go backstage, 50-37.

In the third quarter, the United States stayed in control and did not give an inch to the Cubans. Long distance shots by Munford and Hearn placed the hostilites, 62-40, with 6:03 left to play.

The Americans continued with their pressure on both sides of the court limiting Cuba’s opportunities, whose offense was nonexistent. The United States devoted their time to increase their dominance with three-pointers by Stockton, a steal and scored in transition, and another distance shot from McKinney left the visitors in a comfortable place, 74-46, after 30 minutes.

The fourth quarter was a mere transaction for a United States National Team that seek their ticket to defend their world title on China 2019.

  • Published in Sports

Trump To Press Putin On Russia's Denial Of Meddling In US Elections

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump will press Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Moscow's denial of meddling in the 2016 presidential election when the two leaders meet next month, national security adviser John Bolton said on Sunday.

Bolton said he discussed concerns about Russian meddling in the U.S. elections with Putin during his visit to Moscow on Wednesday, citing activities targeting congressional elections coming up in November as well as the 2016 presidential contest.

"The election meddling issue was definitely something we talked about," Bolton told the CBS "Face the Nation" program. Bolton said he brought up both the 2016 election and Russian activities in upcoming congressional elections.

Speaking about the meddling, Bolton told the "Fox News Sunday" program: "I think it's something that we're concerned about. That's why the president is going to speak with him about it again."

He said Putin told him that "there was no meddling in 2016 by the Russian state."

Bolton said that was different from the Russians saying there was no meddling at all.

"I think the president will have to pursue that further and I think that's one reason why he and President Putin need to have this conversation," he said, adding that "Vladimir Putin is the one who makes the decisions and I think our leader needs to speak with him."

Trump's praise of Putin as a strong leader and his stated desire to forge better relations with Russia are of concern to critics. They fear he may cede too much during their first official summit on July 16 in Helsinki, Finland.

The Republican president said he would raise the issue of election meddling with Putin as well as Russia's role in Syria and Ukraine.

After Trump and Putin met briefly in Vietnam in November 2017, Trump was criticized in the United States for saying he believed Putin when he denied Russian meddling.

U.S. intelligence agencies have alleged that Russian hackers had tried to help Trump win the White House, something Russia has flatly denied. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether Trump's campaign worked with Moscow. Trump denies any collusion and has called the probe a "witch hunt."

Putin last month said patriotic Russian hackers may have staged cyber attacks against countries that had strained relations with Moscow and denied state intervention - a departure from the Kremlin's previous denials of any Russian interference.

"Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!" Trump tweeted last week.

'GLAD PRESIDENT WILL CONFRONT PUTIN'

"I'm concerned when the president tweets, you know, Russia denies they meddled in our election," Republican U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham told NBC's "Meet the Press" program on Sunday. "When they say they didn't meddle, they're lying.

"So I'm glad the president is going to confront Putin. Show him the evidence you've got, Mr. President, because it's overwhelming."

Bolton also said he discussed Russia's annexation of Crimea with Putin and his aides during a 90-minute meeting.

"President Putin was pretty clear with me about it, and my response was we're going to have to agree to disagree on Ukraine," he said. "That's not the position of the United States."

Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States in response, and its military intervention in the war in Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad are major causes of strain in the two countries' relations.

Asked on Friday if the United States would recognize Crimea as part of Russia, Trump said: "We're going to have to see."

  • Published in World
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