China Urges US to Stop Meddling in Other Countries' Affairs

China urged the United States on Wednesday to focus on solving its social problems instead of meddling and criticizing internal affairs of other countries, such as the anti-terrorism program developed in the Uygur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang (northwestern region).

Hua Chunying, the spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, criticized that US legislators intend to pass a law condemning the alleged violation of human rights with this project.

She considered it inadmissible that these congresspersons take the power to question issues of other nations when they only spend taxpayers' money without serving them properly and ignore their social reality.

How much do you know about the real situation that happens in other countries? How much do you know about the situation of your own people? (...) they are more concerned about the internal affairs of other countries, based on misinformation and strong ideological prejudices, Hua said.

At that point, the spokeswoman recalled a report from last year on the persistence of racial discrimination in the United States, the mistreatment of African-Americans and other ethnic minorities.

Hua responded in this way to information about the presentation in a few hours before the US Congress of a bill to empower the government of President Donald Trump to respond to the alleged violations of China's human rights in Xinjiang.

On repeated occasions, the Foreign Ministry defended the educational programs developed in centers of that autonomous region to instruct in the domain of the language, legal knowledge and professional techniques to individuals instigated, linked, coerced and attracted by terrorist and extremist activities.

Western media in recent times disclose materials criticizing the opening and operation of such facilities.

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American farmers need the Cuban market

Farmers across the country are worried. Net farm income this year has hit a 12-year low and is expected to drop nearly 20 percent overall. With falling domestic demand, higher production prices, and competition from foreign producers already hurting our farmers, retaliatory tariffs on U.S. farm exports by China, the EU, Canada, Mexico and Turkey are an added weight on the shoulders of our growers and producers. American farmers are tough patriots, but they need strong export revenues to stay in business. Building new export outlets for American farmers and allied industries has become an imperative, and Cuba should be part of that mix.

The list of farm sectors reeling from punitive foreign tariffs is long and getting longer. In soybeans, for example, nearly $14 billion worth of exports to China -- or roughly one third of total US soybean production in 2017 -- will be impacted by China’s new tariffs. In dairy, retaliatory tariffs will cost our farmers $1.5 billion this year and another $3 billion in 2019. In pork, almost half of all U.S. exports are being impacted by tariffs. This is not just a near-term concern. Once foreign market share is lost, reclaiming those sales is an uphill fight.

The positive reactions out of American agriculture to the new North American trade deal is testament to the urgent need for U.S. agribusiness outlets. In the case of Cuba, however, which offers an important growth opportunity just 90 miles away and an overnight voyage for shipping containers from U.S. Gulf and East Coast ports, a different solution is needed.

Cuba is one of only a very few foreign markets where the potential for U.S. agricultural growth is quantifiable and achievable. That island spends $2 billion a year on agricultural imports to feed its 11 million people and 3 million annual tourists. Most of its imports are from Vietnam, China, the European Union, and other faraway locations, where freight rates are many times higher than ours.

Arkansas for instance is the No. 1 U.S. rice exporter, and Cuba has the highest per capita rice consumption in the Western Hemisphere. However, since FY2009, Cuba has not imported any significant quantity of rice from the U.S. The U.S. held nearly 40 percent of market share in FY2004, but it has been lost to Vietnam and Brazil, who offer credit to Cuba.

Likewise, soybeans are also a top export item for states like Arkansas and others and with recent trade disputes, it is important to diversify our trading partners. Of Cuba’s nearly $2 billion in agricultural imports, 13 percent are soybean products. In Minnesota, U.S. soy exports could mean combined sales of up to $14 million, corn sales could reach up to $16 million; dairy has potential of $4.3 million. Similarly, many of Kansas’ top agricultural products are staple imports for Cuba. Kansas exports over $800 million annually in wheat, but there is virtually no wheat trade between Kansas and Cuba.

Cuba would readily buy our high-quality agricultural products were it not for our outdated financing rules on U.S. farm sales to Cuba. While the farm bill amendment allowing market promotion monies to be spent in Cuba is a step in the right direction, to position American farmers as the No. 1 agricultural supplier to Cuba, we need legislation allowing private credit and financing in agricultural sales to that market.

Now more than ever, when simple fixes like this could help our farmers make export strides in our own backyard over Vietnam, China, and other distant locations that compete with our farm community, we should quickly make them happen. The savings represented by this fix -- $690 million over 10 years according to the Congressional Budget Office -- is all the more reason to get this done now.

For lasting export growth for American farmers, we should also advance efforts to provide reciprocal bilateral trade improvements that help foster a more stable, mutually beneficial US-Cuba trading relationship.

As China and other U.S. export markets are redefined, our country no longer has the luxury of shunning meaningful agribusiness markets located right under our nose. Expanded access for U.S. agriculture into Cuba and other new outlets has become nothing less than a matter of economic health, if not survival, for rural America.

Crawford represents Arkansas’s 1st District and is chairman of the Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management. Marshall represents Kansas’ 1st District and is a member of the Agriculture Committee. Emmer represents Minnesota’s 6th District. All three are members of the Congressional Cuba Working Group.

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U.S. to Ban More Cuban Entities from Transactions

The U.S. government will expand the list announced almost a year ago of Cuban entities with which U.S. citizens are prohibited from making transactions, national security advisor John Bolton reported.

During a speech given in Miami, Florida, about the increased pressure from the Donald Trump administration on Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, the adviser announced more than twenty new institutions subjected to that measure.

The aforementioned list was released on November 8, 2017 as part of additional limitations imposed by Washington on travel and trade with the neighboring nation, and included about 180 entities allegedly linked to the island's defence sector and national security.

That relationship includes the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, five business groups, 83 hotels, two travel agencies, five marinas, 10 stores of different types, among other organizations of various kinds.

According to Bolton, the Presidential Memorandum of National Security on strengthening U.S. policy toward Cuba, signed by Trump in June 2017, is just the beginning of his efforts to put pressure on this country.

Although Cuba has expressed its willingness to engage in a bilateral dialogue on a basis of respect, without conditioning or impositions, the adviser said they will only approach a Cuban government that 'is ready to undertake necessary and tangible reforms.'

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Brett Kavanaugh: Judge or Foul Word?

The large segmentation that faces the North American society has just gone even deeper.

The New York Times commented, this Saturday, in Washington that the senate appointed Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court of the United States.

This case viewed by some as a victory of the president, ended up with investigations on inappropriate sexual behavior.

As SHERYL GAY STOLBERG wrote, the balance of the voting was 50 in favor and 48 against.

Her article pointed out that while the voting of those legislators was ongoing, in the surroundings of the Capitol demonstrators gathered and were dragged out by police officers of the White House.

While repressed by the police they shouted “This is a stain is in the history of the United States!”, “do you understand?”, yelled a woman, while she finished the voting.

After several discussions, the Republican Party supported the Kavanaugh’s appointing.

Senator Joe Manchin III from West Virginia the only democrat who backed him up.

The final result was no surprise because senators had already pronounced in this regard.

Observers say that this decision will bring serious consequences for the North American society, the Senate and the Supreme Court.

The rejection was huge, after the voting another group of demonstrators sat on the Capitol steps and shouted: “No, no, no!”, next they were restrained by police officer wearing uniform as well as civilian clothes.

Where lies one of the most controversial points in Kavanaugh’s appointing?

Women and survivors of sexual assaults feel powerless because their accusations went unheard.

A crucial moment in the debate was when the republican senator John Cornyn, from Texas in his speech qualified of “mafia tactics” referring to the activists and survivors of sexual assaults.

One of the demonstrators who came face to face with the republican senators shouted: “I am with the survivors”, “this it is a corrupt process!.”

Some of the future colleagues of judge Kavanaugh were concern on the image of the Court, as did judges Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

Judge Kagan expressed in Princeton University “people believe that the Court is not politically divided, that should not be an extension of the politics but that somehow should be above it, although that doesn't happen in all cases.”

Judge Kavanaugh will bend, further, the ideological tendency of the court towards the right and will consolidate a rigid conservative majority.

Substituted magistrate, Anthony M. Kennedy, 53 years old, “moderate conservative” could continue in the Court many more years, because of his age.

The Times added that Donald Trump, when appointing Kavanaugh in the Court, fulfilled one of the promises of his electoral campaign, scarce days before the midterm elections.

The newspaper said that the leader has used Kavanaugh process to mobilize the republican far-right and at the same time make fun of Christine Blasey Ford, an academic researcher who accused the judge of raping attempt when they were teenagers.

This case whose testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and published in The Washington Post unleashed waves of accusations that raised an FBI investigation on Kavanaugh’s conduct.

Another of his accusers, Deborah Ramírez, affirmed: “Thirty five years ago, the students of the room chose to laugh and look the other way, while Brett Kavanaugh perpetrated sexual assaults.”

And she added, now “While I see many of the senators speak and vote in the Senate, I feel like am back in Yale, where half of the room is laughing and looking the other way. Only this time, instead of drunken university students, they are the North American senators who deliberately ignore his behavior. This is how we victims get isolated and silenced.”

In his audience at the Senate, Kavanaugh defined Blasey’s accusations as “a calculated and orchestrated political coup.”

The democratic senator Chris Van Hollen, from Maryland said “at the beginning of the process she had doubts and I’m afraid that, in the end, they persist more than ever.”

He added, “Any hope that Kavanaugh is an impartial judge was shattered by his declaration during the last hearing.”

Here it is another example of the Senate in whose hands are important decisions in the political life of the United States.

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US Criticisms Are an Attack on Mutual Trust, China Says

China demanded on Monday that the United States immediately stop criticising and accusing Beijing, and emphasized that those criticisms are a direct attack on mutual trust and shadow bilateral ties.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed insatisfaction with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, because Washington is gradually increasing frictions by making groundless statements on China's domestic and foreign policy.

He pointed out that in Taiwan's specific case, the US actions damage China's rights on that island, which is a inalienable part of its territory.

Finally, Wang demanded that the White House stop that counterproductive behiavior and, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, improve communication with China.

For his part, Pompeo referred to his country's 'concern' about some actions by China, and said that he was interested in analyzing them, due to the importance of relations between the two powers.

Wang and Pompeo made statements before meeting in private to review the results of Sunday's meeting between the US secretary of State and the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Kim Jong-un.

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Cuban Mission at UN Warns over US Blockade's Damage on Culture

Despite the increasing interest in cultural exchange between Cuba and the United States, the blockade currently hinders any interaction in that and other spheres, warns Cuba''s mission to the UN.

Since the triumph of the Revolution in 1959, cultural policy has been a priority for the Cuban Government and this was demonstrated in the events held at the Kennedy Centre in Washington last May, according to a press release.

But from April 2017 to March 2018, the Cuban cultural sector has suffered the slap of the North American fence.

Last year, 497 musicians and professionals from the United States would participate in presentations and events in Cuba. Due to the tightening of the blockade, these artists could not participate in the agreed program, according to the statement.

Besides, in 2017 and at the beginning of 2018, 15 U.S. groups cancelled their visits to Cuba, including nearly 300 people.

On the other hand, the US blockade hampers the commercialization and promotion of music, visual and performing arts and literature: in most cases, Cuban groups traveling to the United States cannot receive income from their performances.

The record company Bis Music contacted several U.S. music distribution and publishing companies interested in Cuba. However, for fear of being sanctioned due to the blockade regulations, these companies did not complete the process.

Cuban groups such as Revolution, Rakatan and Havana Queen were also unable to sign direct contracts with U.S. businessmen.

In 2016 and 2017, the Havana International Book Fair (FILH) hosted the first and second meetings of Publishers, Distributors and Literary Agents from Cuba and the United States, where actions of rapprochement and cooperation began.

However, as a result of the new measures adopted by Washington, it was not possible to hold the third meeting during the 2018 FILH.

Moreover, due to the conditions imposed by the blockade, it is impossible for the Animation Studios of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Arts and Industry to obtain necessary software licenses.

Similarly, they cannot directly access one of the most important events in this area, the American Film Market.

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Cuban President Extendes Talks with U.S. Businesspeople

Cuban President, Miguel Diaz-Canel, meets today in this city with businesspeople and executives of organizations linked to travel and air industries in the United States.

The meeting is included in the Caribbean head of government's busy agenda, in the context of his participation in the high-level segment of the 73th session period of the General Assembly of the United Nations, where he spoke on Wednesday this week.

According to the director general of the U.S. in the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Carlos Fernandez de Cossio, the issue to discuss by both parts is related to the human contact between Cubans and North Americans and travel limitations.

It is technically banned for a U.S. citizen to go to Cuba as a tourist, he high official reminded reporters of his country, alluding to restrictions imposed and maintained by Washington, despite the demand to eliminate them.

Díaz-Canel dialogued yesterday with businesspeople of the agricultural sector of the U.S. and highlighted this is one of the groups that defend the most relations between both countries.

Although time is short in this visit to the U.N. General Assembly, we had a lot of interest in this meeting and transfer a message of 'peace, unity, comprehension and also summons, pointed the head of State.

Despite the measures taken by the administration of U.S. president Donald Trump, we continue open to dialogue, stressed the Cuban president.

In his opinión, the retreat in bilateral links is only related to interests of a minority that, profiting from the policy, tries to put a break to approaches.

He ratified to businessmen of the agricultural sector that Cuba has a message of dialogue, while it is base don respect, without previous conditions or impositions.

He also referred to the influence that the agricultural sector may have in the demand to put an end to blockade, taking into account how that group negotiates or shows inconformity with the blockade's restrictions.

'For us it is very important that persons like yourselves can visit Cuba, talk and exchange ideas so our truth is really known', expressed Diaz-Canel to his interlocutors.

Also on Thursday, the Cuban president exchanged points of view with members of the National Council of Churches of the United States, who ratified their rejection to the blockade.

During the meeting, Diaz-Canel recognized the long tradition of friendship between the peoples of Cuba and the United States and thanked the solidarity of that ecumenical body, reflected in multitude of moments and actions.

In his fifth day in this city, the Cuban head of State also talked with the prime ministers of Vietnam and Lesotho, Motsoahae Thomas Thabane, respectively, and the Vice President of Costa Rica, Epsy Campbell.

He also had a meeting with UN General Assembly President, Maria Fernanda Espinosa where both approached the importance of strengthening South-South cooperation and the commitment to multilateralism.

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State Agriculture Officials Underscore Commitment to Enhanced Trading Relationship with President of Cuba

National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) President and New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte, along with Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Jewel Bronaugh, Connecticut Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Reviczky, and NASDA CEO Dr. Barbara P. Glenn joined newly elected Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel for breakfast this morning on the fringes of his first visit to the US. The breakfast was an opportunity to further advance collaboration and seek to continue NASDA’s longstanding engagement with the Cuban government and people.

“We fully support enhancing agricultural trade and cooperation with Cuba, and believe the current U.S. embargo should be lifted,” said Witte. “Many state agricultural officials have existing relationships in Cuba, and we are here today to forge and enhance new partnerships between NASDA Members and Cuban officials, particularly in agriculture.”

NASDA Members underscored the need for exchanges on biotechnology research and knowledge, as well as cooperation on sanitary and phytosanitary issues.

“Over the past 55 years, Cuba has gone from our 9th largest to our 55th largest agricultural export destination. Knowledge exchanges, streamlined visa laws and regulations to promote trade activities, and a clear and consistent regulatory environment will contribute to a prosperous agricultural trading relationship for American farmers and ranchers with Cuba.”

NASDA represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries, and directors of the departments of agriculture in all fifty states and four U.S. territories. NASDA grows and enhances agriculture by forging partnerships and creating consensus to achieve sound policy outcomes between state departments of agriculture, the federal government, and stakeholders.

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