Protesters take center stage at Donald Trump’s July 4th event in Washington

Protesters in Washington, DC clashed with supporters of President Donald Trump outside the White House on Thursday, a few moments before the U.S. president got on stage for his “Salute to America.”

The July Fourth celebrations in the U.S. capital wasn't short on controversy for the central role that U.S. military equipment and weapons played and the multi-million dollar cost for taxpayers.  Trump swept away any criticism of the event and said the military was "thrilled" to be part of it.   But many criticized the activity, not only for its price tag but for its praise of militarism; some calling the huge event the praise of fascism in the United States.

Donald Trump hosted the Independence Day show -- called the "Salute to America" -- featuring a speech from the Lincoln Memorial, a display of military tanks and fighter jets roaring over Washington.  Thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in the center of Washington, DC for concerts, fireworks and the address by Trump.

Many op-ed articles in newspapers and media strongly condemned Trump's decision to give a public speech and hold a military parade on the Fourth of July holidays, saying it has divided the country.

Supporters of the U.S. president said he was expressing love for the country and the military. However, Trump's critics accused him of hijacking and politicizing a traditionally non-partisan holiday and using taxpayers’ money to stage it.

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Cuba Welcomes US Pastor for Peace Defying Trump Sanctions

'Our caravans extend solidarity to the Cuban people', say the Pastors for Peace organization that annually visits the blockaded island in protest of U.S. policy.

The Pastors for Peace Caravan is preparing for their annual visit to Cuba Saturday, a visit the government is celebrating this year in particular as it comes amid new travel restrictions by the US government.

Ana Silvia Rodriguez, Cuba’s ambassador at the United Nations says the upcoming ‘Pastors for Peace Caravan’ to the island by United States religious figures sends a clear message of difiance to the current U.S. administration that Cuba and religious protesters won't accept its hostile policies.

Pastors for Peace have been visiting the island since 1992, often delivering medical and other supplies that have been able to enter the island due to the nearly 60-year U.S. blockade. This year, the pastors say: “Our caravans extend solidarity to the Cuban people.” Starting Saturday, participants will visit Havana and the Cienfuegos region where they will “explore how the Cuban people are moving forward in healthcare, organic farming, sustainable tourism, the diversity of religious expression in Cuba, and Cuba’s efforts to tackle legacies of racism, sexism, homophobia, and more.”

Since the religious caravan began nearly 30 years ago, the visit has been an act of ‘civil disobedience’, according to organizers who protest who are against U.S. policy that has long-prohibited its citizens from traveling to the island nation.

Participants in the tour that has now helped thousands of U.S. citizens see first-hand the daily life of Cubans, will, this year, be able to see how increased santions on Cuba by the President Donald Trump administration are affecting average people there.

The new restrictions include a ban on cruise tour ships moving between the U.S. and Cuba, which is affecting the island's travel and tourism that it is economically depends on. The restrictions also include cracking down on ‘educational trips,’ like the pastors caravan.

Minister Rodriguez criticized the administration's newest restrictions, suggesting Trump and his cabinet "are afraid that people from the U.S. will learn the true reality of my country."

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Helms-Burton Law Threatens Peace, Cuban President Warns


Cuba's President Miguel Diaz-Canel has warned the Helms-Burton Act threatens peace, solidarity, peaceful coexistence and friendship.

'It's a law enacted to neo-colonize and enslave,' he further wrote in Twitter about Washington's barring the Peace Boat from docking in Cuban ports, as a result of restrictions recently enforced on US private vessels and planes.

Due to such punitive measures that are hurting the Cuban people, the NGO Peace Boat, with headquarters in Japan, won't be able to touch Cuban land as it was scheduled next June 13 because the vessel is US property.

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The cruise ship was reportedly carrying donations given by the Cuban community living in Japan and by Japanese individuals and organizations for the victims of the killer tornado that violently hit municipalities of Havana on January 27.

The peace-promoting NGO has visited Cuba 19 times as part of its itinerary around the world, carrying a message of peace, love and against nuclear weapons.

The Peace Boat came to the island twice last year, and its members participated at a forum dedicated to Cuban historical leader Fidel Castro and paid homage to the thousands of victims the two US atomic attacks caused in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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London's Mayor Sadiq Khan Compares Trump to 'The Fascists of the 20th Century'

U.S. President Donald Trump is stirring controversy ahead of his state visit to the United Kingdom this week by throwing his political weight behind Brexit and hand picking a successor for Prime Minister Theresa May who announced she will resign in the coming weeks.

In an interview with the Sunday Times newspaper ahead of his state visit to Britain starting Monday, Trump said the next British leader should send arch-Brexiteer Nigel Farage to conduct talks with the EU.

Trump said Britain must leave the EU this year.

“They've got to get it done,” he said. “They have got to get the deal closed.”

“If they don’t get what they want, I would walk away. If you don’t get a fair deal, you walk away.”

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, compared the language used by Trump to that of “the fascists of the 20th century.” Khan published an editorial in the Sunday Observer entitled, "It’s un-British to roll out the red carpet for Donald Trump," in which he chastised Trump for what he sees as the president's embrace of white nationalism and urged outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May to publicly condemn the U.S. president.

Trump repeated his backing for those candidates to succeed Prime Minister Theresa May who have said Britain must leave on the due date of Oct. 31 with or without a deal.

Those candidates include former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, whom Trump praised in an interview with the Sun newspaper on Friday, along with former Brexit minister Dominic Raab and interior minister Sajid Javid.

Trump also said it was a mistake for the Conservatives not to involve Farage, the Brexit Party leader, in negotiations with Brussels after his success in European Parliament elections last month.

“I like Nigel a lot. He has a lot to offer - he is a very smart person,” Trump said. “They won’t bring him in but think how well they would do if they did. They just haven't figured that out yet.”

On the Brexit divorce bill, Trump said: “If I were them, I wouldn’t pay 50 billion dollars. That is a tremendous number.”

Trump also said he would have “to know” veteran Socialist Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn before authorising U.S. intelligence to share its most sensitive secrets with a hard-left government.

He warned British ministers they must be careful not to jeopardize intelligence-sharing by letting Chinese firm Huawei Technologies Co Ltd into Britain’s new 5G mobile phone network.

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‘Easier & quicker’: Trump says tariffs are actually better than deal with China

Increased levies on Chinese goods would work faster and better than a traditional agreement so there is no need to speed up ongoing trade talks, US President Donald Trump said after slapping Beijing with additional duties.

The US’ decision to hike tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent came into effect on Friday, as the final day of tough talks between the two countries to avert further trade war escalation takes place in Washington.

However, the US leader said that matters are good enough as they stand now and the deal can wait, as “massive payments go directly” to the US Treasury.

“Tariffs will bring in FAR MORE wealth to our country than even a phenomenal deal of the traditional kind. Also, much easier & quicker to do,” Trump wrote in one of his morning tweets on Friday.

Tariffs will bring in FAR MORE wealth to our Country than even a phenomenal deal of the traditional kind. Also, much easier & quicker to do. Our Farmers will do better, faster, and starving nations can now be helped. Waivers on some products will be granted, or go to new source!

Talks with China continue in a very congenial manner - there is absolutely no need to rush - as Tariffs are NOW being paid to the United States by China of 25% on 250 Billion Dollars worth of goods & products. These massive payments go directly to the Treasury of the U.S....

The US economy has lost $500 billion annually for many years due to “crazy trade” with China, Trump added, reiterating his earlier pledge to end the practice. He also said that the duties make America “much stronger,” while slamming the previous Obama administration for letting “China get away with murder” without elaborating.

Earlier in the day, Beijing vowed to retaliate with all “necessary countermeasures.” China still hopes the ongoing talks will bring about a mutually satisfactory agreement, its Commerce Ministry said.

Also on rt.com Global trade may fall victim to Washington’s tariff hike on Chinese goods – Moody’s...

The trade war has already affected billions of mutual imports via tariffs since early 2018, when Trump accused Beijing of unfair trade practices and stealing trade secrets. The new US levies target a wide range of Chinese imports, including electronics, luggage, furniture, construction materials, seafood, and lighting. The measure does not affect items currently en route from China, giving investors hope that the two sides can still come to an agreement before the next shipments.

The increased tariffs will likely take a toll not only on the parties involved, but also on global trade, Moody’s rating agency warned. France also voiced concern over the escalating US-China trade row, with the foreign minister saying there is “no greater threat to world growth.”



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Like immigrants? Here’s an 'unlimited supply’: Trump threatens to dump illegals in sanctuary cities

US President Donald Trump once again called on Democrats to support tighter immigration laws, threatening to dump “an unlimited supply” of illegal immigrants in so-called sanctuary cities to force a change.

“Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing illegal immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only,” the president tweeted on Friday, adding: “The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy – so this should make them very happy!”

Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only....

WH proposed releasing immigrant detainees in sanctuary cities, targeting political foes

The political retribution was proposed in November and again in February, but immigration authorities rejected the idea as inappropriate, rebuffing the White House.

 
 
 
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Bolsonaro says Brazil & US focus on creating ‘rift’ within Venezuelan army to oust Maduro

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is not making a secret of his plan to bring down Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, saying in an interview that he and Washington pin their hopes on a military coup instigated from the outside.

Speaking to Jovem Pan radio on Monday, the right-wing Brazilian leader, who has never hidden his deep animosity towards his Venezuelan counterpart, implied that, while not intervening outright, both the US and Brazil are working behind the scenes to lay out the grounds for a military revolt that would bring down Maduro.

Also on rt.com ‘Get me a printer, paper & glue!’ Trump mocked over ‘homemade’ jersey gift for Bolsonaro....

“It is our intention and that of the Americans that there is a rift in the army, because it is they who still support Maduro. It is the armed forces that decide whether a country lives in a democracy or in a dictatorship,” Bolsonaro said, adding that he does not see any future for Venezuela in its present state.

“What you cannot do is to continue as you are,” he said.

READ MORE: Not a back door for US troops: Brazil says it won’t help Venezuela invasion

The US, which was the first to recognize the self-proclaimed ‘interim president’ Juan Guaido as the legitimate representative of the Venezuelan people, has been using arm-twisting tactics against Caracas, choking the Venezuelan economy with new debilitating sanctions in a bid to force Maduro out of power. US officials, including US President Donald Trump, have repeatedly claimed that they would keep “all options” on the table, not ruling out a military intervention in the Latin American country.

In an interview on Monday, Bolsonaro appeared to say that he might single-handedly decide if Brazil needs to join a potential US-led military incursion against the Maduro government.

“What can Brazil do? Suppose there is a military invasion there [from the United States]. The decision will be mine, but I will listen to the National Defense Council and then the Parliament,” Bolsonaro pledged.

Back in February, Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourão flatly rejected the possibility of Brazil serving as a staging ground for a US invasion. Mourão argued that, for foreign troops to be stationed in Brazil, Bolsonaro would need to receive a green light from the National Congress, which at present is reluctant to back such a militaristic move.

Since coming to power in Janaury, Bolsonaro, dubbed ‘Tropical Trump’ at home, has been cozying up to the US. During Bolsonaro’s recent trip to the country, he and Trump exchanged compliments and football jerseys, while marking the birth of a nascent ‘conservative alliance.’  

Bolsonaro mirrors Trump’s controversial policy in the Middle East, having made advances towards Israel. Late March, Brazil opened a business office in Jerusalem, which has been referred to as part of an embassy. Speaking on Monday, Bolsonaro labeled his country’s relationship with Israel “a marriage.”

“It’s like a marriage: you date, you get engaged, then you’re married, that’s in stages,” while pointing out that the US has gone much further down that road.

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'Arrogant': Russia Tells Trump Troops To Remain in Venezuela as Long as Needed

Russian technical cooperation is not geopolitically motivated and is based on respect for international and domestic laws.

Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova rejected Thursday President Donald Trump's statements regarding the presence of Russian military in Venezuela and noted that her country's actions were legitimate and agreed upon with the President Nicolas Maduro administration.

RELATED: US Calls on Russia to Withdraw from Venezuela

"The Russian side did not violate anything: neither the international agreements nor Venezuelan laws. Russia is not changing the balance of power in the region, Russia is not threatening anyone, unlike [Washington officials]," Zakharova said and added that "Russian specialists... arrived in accordance with the clauses of a bilateral agreement on technical-military cooperation."

The spokeswoman called the U.S. criticism "an arrogant attempt" to dictate to sovereign states how their bilateral relations should be.

"Neither Russia nor Venezuela are U.S. provinces," the Kremlin spokeswoman insisted and explained that the Russian military presence in Venezuela "is not linked to possible military operations."

The official also stressed that her country respects the Venezuelan people and its elected rulers. "If we talk about the authority, there is no authority in Venezuela except the President's Maduro government," she said.

| Spokesperson for the Russian chancellery, Maria Zajárova, clarified that the Russian military specialists' objective in is to strengthen the technical-military cooperation. It does NOT violate international law.

President Trump Wednesday called on Russia to pull its military from Venezuela and indicated that the U.S. maintains "all options open" for the Russian military to leave that country. In a similar sense, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted that Russia's influence on Cuba and Nicaragua must be stopped.

The U.S. reaction comes after the arrival of two Russian planes into Venezuela on Feb. 23. According to local media, these planes carried 99 military personnel and 35 tons of material, an operation which was carried out under the command of the Ground Army Chief General Vasili Tonkoshkurov.

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman also commented that the U.S. should be more concerned about fulfilling its promises about Syria than about what Russia and Venezuela should do.

"Before advising someone to leave somewhere, the U.S. needs to implement its own exit plan from Syria... a month has passed... can it be specified if it has been retired or not?" Zakharova asked and added that "I would advise the U.S. administration to fulfill promises given to the international community before handling other countries' legitimate interests."

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