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Maduro’s right arm to be extradited to the United States
Americas

Maduro’s right arm to be extradited to the United States

Cape Verde accepts the US request and extradites the man who knows all Maduro’s secrets. It is a nasty blow for the strong man of Caracas. The worst since Hugo Chávez, shortly before his death, handed him the scepter of power. His name is Alex Saab. He is 49 years old and has been the figurehead of the Venezuelan president for ten. Colombian from Barranquilla with Lebanese origins, thanks to his talent as a businessman, he entered into the good graces of Maduro, who entrusted him with his secrets. In personal business and in the triangulations that the regime has had to develop to circumvent US sanctions.

Mainly with oil, sold and bought, in addition to humanitarian contracts. That includes purchasing food for the Clap and the government’s supply and production committees to feed the poorest classes in the country. On one of these trades, Maduro’s protégé slipped: the goods purchased were damaged, which, denied with disdain by Saab, caused embarrassment and scandal.

A few years passed, and his name attracted the attention of the US Treasury Department. They see him as more than just the president’s figurehead: he’s his real right-hand man. From an anonymous organizer of social welfare centers, Alex Saab has become the referent of every official Venezuelan government negotiation in the world within a few years. Washington issued an international arrest order for laundering against him: 350 million dollars, the treasure Maduro and the regime’s top have accumulated. The US considers Alex Saab a precious witness. They know they can get confirmations and revelations from him that can nail their Venezuelan nightmare.

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But the man is brilliant. He skillfully escapes the many traps of US intelligence. He falls for a full tank of petrol: in June 2020, he stops with his private jet on the island of Sal, in Cape Verde, for a refueling. The authorities of the former Portuguese colony blocked and arrested him. Nicolás Maduro is furious. He starts a defense campaign, accuses the US of persecution, denies the role assigned to Saab. He recalls that he has diplomatic protection and is part of the delegation for dialogue with the opposition forces. The discussion started again three months ago in Mexico, thanks to Norwegian mediation. The Venezuelan president has now abruptly interrupted as a reaction to the extradition of the businessman to the US.

Alex Saab is a martyr, according to Caracas propaganda. For no one else has there been such an intense and widespread defense campaign. Photos of him stand out on all the streets of the capital. Every leading member of the regime has spent rivers of words to steal it from the Americans. The silence that enveloped the arrest of Saab in Cape Verde at the time, including by Caracas, was symptomatic. The less talked about him, the better he was. He was only interrupted when the extradition request came. After that, all the regime’s poppies were spent on his behalf.

Yesterday the verdict of the Cape Verdean High Court. The man with a thousand secrets has already arrived in Miami. Hard to believe he will sacrifice himself for his boss. If he agrees to collaborate in exchange for protection, he will pierce the web of interests and business that he has built up over many years of meticulous work. And for Nicolás Maduro, it could be the decisive blow.

Canada Says will stay watchful in ties with China
Americas

Canada Says will stay watchful in ties with China

 Canada Canada – While the return of two detained Canadians ended a contentious dispute between China and Canada, experts say Ottawa faces some hard choices in its relationship with Beijing.

Experts foresee several decisions to be locked in the coming weeks now that Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig have been sent home.

Among the decisions, one of essential nature is letting Huawei – the Chinese telecom giant – take part in Canada’s 5G wireless network and the limit to which Canadian universities will be made to work with Chinese entities.

The re-elected Liberal government is also set to move quickly to devise a long-term strategy for dealing with China.

In their election campaign, the Liberals promised they would develop a comprehensive plan for the Asia-Pacific region – which Paris thinks is long overdue and will be necessary to direct what will be a challenging relationship.

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Kovrig and Spavor were released after being detained in a Chinese prison for more than 1,000 days. They were arrested in retaliation to Canada’s capture of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou – who was released from custody on Friday after striking a deal with authorities from the United States, where she faced fraud charges. Wanzhou, daughter of Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei, flew to China on Friday.

On the other hand, Canada’s Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said that his country has its “eyes wide open” regarding normalizing its relationship with China.

Garneau said the administration is now following a fourfold approach towards China:  “cooperate,” “coexist,” “compete,” and “challenge.”

Canada is set to compete with China with regard to trade, cooperate on climate change while challenging the Asian giant on its treatment of Tibetans, Uighurs, and Hong Kong as it has done in the past.

“We have been saying that for quite a while now that our eyes are wide open. There was no way to have a relationship with China until the two Michaels were detained,” Garneau said.

FDA Refuses Booster Shot For All Americans But Senior Citizens Only
Americas

FDA Refuses Booster Shot For All Americans But Senior Citizens Only

After a full day of contemplations, questions answers, presentations, and deliberations, the FDA rejected Joe Biden’s Pfizer booster plan for Americans. Instead, a third shot will be administered to elderly Americans only when required. Federal advisers voted 18-0 in favor of recommending Pfizer booster shots for anyone over 65 or anyone who is at high risk of severe disease but declined to recommend it for all Americans.

With the variants challenging the efficacy of the vaccine itself, Biden had chosen the booster shot route for health safety of the masses. If needed, the booster will be administered only six months after having received the second shot.

Pfizer has shared data that the efficacy and protection of the vaccine do tend to wane off with time, as seen in Israel’s case. But the reason FDA approval has been halted over booster shots is the lack of safety data when it comes to younger Americans.

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While on one side Biden made a commitment that the booster drive does not start without clearance from regulators, his recent speech advocated for a booster campaign start from September 20. If the FDA signs off on the latest plan for boosters for seniors and health care workers, the CDC also has to weigh in. A key meeting is planned soon by a separate group of experts that advises the CDC and will likely discuss who exactly should get the extra doses.

After that CDC recommendation is made, booster shots would be available through any of the nation’s 40,000 pharmacies, doctors’ offices, and other sites already offering the Pfizer vaccine. Data collected from Israel shows excellent results of booster shots administered amongst senior citizens.

An Israeli study published in a British journal said that there were 11-fold lower rates of infection and nearly 20-fold lower rates of severe Covid-19 among people older than 60 who got a booster dose. A separate Israel Ministry of Health analysis estimated approximately 10-fold improved protection against infection and severe Covid-19 among people who got a booster.

24 Republican States Threaten Legal Action Against Joe Biden, Here’s Why
Americas

24 Republican States Threaten Legal Action Against Joe Biden, Here’s Why

The battle against the coronavirus, which had been Biden’s flagship all spring and his rise in popularity’s primary source, became a nightmare again for more than a month. In a letter addressed to the President of the United States, Joe Biden, twenty-four attorneys general of Republican states appealed to the President to reconsider his decision to impose mandatory vaccine and frequent PCR testing on companies with more than 100 employees. In the letter published by US media outlets, the Biden administration’s pandemic plan is described as “disastrous and counterproductive.”

Prosecutors in twenty-four states consider the vaccination requirement to be a threat to individual freedom, as well as a public health disaster. “The vaccination mandate will displace vulnerable workers and exacerbate a nationwide hospital staff crisis, with serious consequences for all Americans,” they say in the letter delivered to the White House.

The decree that Biden announced last week again shows a rift among Americans. According to polls, three out of five Americans support vaccine requirements across the federal government and large corporations. But while support is high among Democrats, only 30% of Republicans agree with the White House pandemic plan.

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To stop the new wave of infections, 150,000 a day, which is filling hospitals and intensive care units again and causing 1500 deaths a day, Joe Biden introduced new restrictive measures last week. These include compulsory vaccination for federal government employees, administration contractors, health care personnel, and specific school teachers. Plus, private companies with more than 100 employees are required to vaccinate or test employees every week. But, according to US law experts, this measure, which affects about 100 million workers, rejected by the 24 Republican States, can be challenged in court.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott described the request as an assault on private companies. While Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts considers it an “incredible violation of personal liberty and abuse of power by the federal government.” South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem tweeted that her State will raise in defense of freedom, threatening to drag President Biden to court. The President of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, has also promised lawsuits to the Biden administration to protect Americans and their freedoms. Last week Biden challenged opponents, urging them to proceed legally.

Congress rejects Bolsonaro’s proposed electoral amendments
Americas

Congress rejects Bolsonaro’s proposed electoral amendments

A Brazilian congressional committee voted against, on Thursday, a constitutional amendment to adopt printed ballots – what is being seen as a significant defeat for far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro had, for weeks, advocated that the country’s electronic voting system is open to fraud.

However, the 34-member committee voted 23 to 11 to shelve his proposed amendment.

Critics say Bolsonaro is walking the path of his political guru – former US President Donald Trump – and is sowing doubts in case he ends up on the losing side of next year’s presidential election.

Bolsonaro has threatened not to accept the result if the system is not changed.

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His proposed amendment called for the adoption of printed receipts that can be counted if the election result is disputed. He said a paper trail would change the current all-electronic voting system.

Bolsonaro is expected to seek a second term. He has spent hours attacking the electronic voting system without providing evidence of fraud on social media.

With his popularity falling after the world’s second-deadliest coronavirus outbreak, opinion polls reveal that he trails former leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Neither of them has officially announced that they will run.

Congressman Ivan Valente of Socialism and Liberty Party informed the commission that Bolsonaro has threatened the elections as he has foreseen his loss.

“The man wants to perpetuate himself in power. He needs to be contained.”

Bolsonaro, on Wednesday, raged against a Supreme Court investigation into his behaviour and warned to respond outside the limits of the constitution. His statement has escalated a clash between the far-right leader and the judiciary.

Bolsonaro’s remarks came after Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes confirmed an investigation into the president’s baseless accusations that Brazil’s electronic voting system is vulnerable to fraud.

Bolsonaro has called for people to take to the streets to support his proposal.

Alarming vaccine disinformation is a danger to America
Americas

Alarming vaccine disinformation is a danger to America

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser says that if they would have had pushback for vaccines then it would have been very difficult to eradicate any kind of disease. The nation’s premier infectious disease specialist added, “If we had the kind of false information that’s being spread now, if we had that back decades ago, I would be certain that we’d still have polio in this country.”

A report released Friday by the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters documents that the majority of vaccine-related segments that Fox News aired over the past two weeks repeatedly fearmongered about and downplayed the need for continued vaccination campaigns. Also, it should be noted that Fox News reaching to 60 per cent of its audience who are above the age group of 65 years. And this misleading information on vaccines is highly critical and crucial coming from Biden administration.

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This issue got escalated since within the span of 12 days, from June 28 to July 11, Fox News aired 129 segments about coronavirus vaccines. Of those, 57 per cent included claims that either undermined or downplayed immunization efforts.

Alarmingly, this is happening when America is experiencing a dangerous spike in Covid cases. Director of US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Dr. Rochelle Walensky bluntly says that it is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated. They are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage because unvaccinated people are at risk while communities that are fully vaccinated are generally faring well.

On introspecting it is realized that believers of Fox News arehurt as they were helping Republicans win in the 2022 midterm. And if the economy slows down or if there’s a need to close businesses again to contain the virus, Biden could suffer political damage.

Merkel in White House: the two leaders vow to stand strong against Russia’s aggression
Americas

Merkel in White House: the two leaders vow to stand strong against Russia’s aggression

 As the German Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to step down as the leader of the European country, she was greeted at White House on Thursday by US President Joe Biden kickstarting bilateral meetings between the two leaders. This is also the concluding visit of Merkel to the US in capacity of the leader of Germany. This visit also marks an attempt from Biden to further bolster relations with US allies.

The two leaders met at Oval Office before proceeding to a joint press conference. Biden and Merkel spoke about importance of alliance between US and Germany, and ways for strengthening it further. The leaders also vowed to work together and stand strong against Russian aggression as well as stand up against China’s exceeding anti-democratic actions.

Russia and Nord Stream 2

Nord Stream 2 was another topic of discussion. Biden reiterated his concerns of the major pipeline, that is near completion, that will run between Germany and Russia under the Baltic Sea. Merkel agreed with Biden on the belief that the energy should not be used by Russia as a weapon. During the joint press conference Biden said, “We stand together and will continue to stand together to defend our eastern flank allies at NATO against Russian aggression.”

US has long argued that Nord Stream 2 can be a threat to European energy security by making it overly reliant on the Russian gas project. This will give Russia a leverage to exert pressure politically on vulnerable European nations, Ukraine in particular. Merkel tried to downplay the topic by noting that the pipeline is an addition to Ukraine pipelines and not a replacement of the same.

China

President Biden and Chancellor Merkel were unanimous on standing up against China and any other country that work to undermine free society and expression. They vowed to preserve democratic and universal rights of people across the world.

Covid-19 travel restrictions

Travel discussions due to Covid-19 pandemic was also discussed by the leaders. President Biden said that when it would be safe to lift ban on traveling from Europe to US was a discussion with Madam Merkel.

“It’s in the process now. And I’ll be able to answer that question to you within the next several days, what is likely to happen,” he said. Biden added that his team would further assess the pandemic condition and analyze when it would be safe to lift restrictions.

Biden also took this opportunity to pay tribute to Madam Merkel, the second longest serving Chancellor of Germany, as she nears the end of her political career. Standing by Merkel, Biden said, “On a personal note, I must tell you I will miss seeing you at our summits.”

After four years of divisive leadership by former US President Donald Trump, this visit by Merkel highlights efforts by Biden to strengthen ties with the US allies. The two leaders have worked with each other for years and have found a supporter in the other on a vast arena of subjects.

Starting the meeting in Oval Office, Biden said, “The cooperation between the United States and Germany is strong and we hope to continue that, and I’m confident that we will.”

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Canada has its first Indigenous governor general amid strained relations with First Nations
Americas

Canada has its first Indigenous governor general amid strained relations with First Nations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed Canada’s first Indigenous governor general. Inuk leader Mary Simon has been appointed as Queen’s representative in Canada. What Trudeau called a “historic step”, comes at a critical time when Canada is having strained relations with the First Nations after discovery of over a thousand of unmarked graves of Indigenous children.

On Tuesday, Trudeau announced Simon’s appointment after escalating pressure on government to choose a new viceregal. “Canada is a place defined by people. People who serve those around them, who tackle big challenges with hope and determination, and above all, who never stop working to build a brighter tomorrow,” said Trudeau. “In other words, people like Mary Simon.”

A long time advocate of Inuit human rights, Mary Simon is originally from Kangiqsualujjuaq, in the Nunavik region of Quebec. She has also served as president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the national advocacy organization for Inuit. Simon has also served as first Inuk Ambassador from Canada in Denmark.

Simon said, while also addressing in Inuktitut, her first language, “I am honoured, humbled and ready to be Canada’s first indigenous Governor General. I can confidently say that my appointment is a historic and inspirational moment for Canada and an important step forward on the long path towards reconciliation.” Mary Simon also said in her remarks that its time for Canada to “fully recognize, memorialize and come to terms with the atrocities of our collective past” after discovery of unmarked graves of children.

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Trudeau’s first selection for the post of governor general was Julie Payette who resigned in January over allegations of bullying by an anonymous staff.

Though the position is highly symbolic, once formally ordained Simon will hold a far superior federal office than Trudeau, outranking him as holder of highest Canada’s federal office, second to Queen.  

Big Tech Law Halted In Florida Respects Sanctity Of Tech Companies
Americas

Big Tech Law Halted In Florida Respects Sanctity Of Tech Companies

A federal judge in Florida has barricaded the law that was to strong-arm the social media businesses in America. Apparently, in May of this year, Florida lawmakers had approved a law that prevented social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube from suspending politicians’ accounts.

Apparently, Trump’s accounts had been suspended after the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The reasons for this were that his comments and then subsequent propaganda that suited his political agenda were overpowering and influencing the generally negative narrative in the US social media. 

The U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle granted a preliminary injunction to a lawsuit filed by social media consortium of companies. Calling it a violation of their first amendment right and freedom to conduct business, the Big Tech Law was contested. 

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Speaking over the block on this Florida law, the group’s president Steve DelBianco at Net Choice said in a statement “We’re pleased the court ensured that social media can remain family-friendly by delaying Florida’s law from taking effect on July 1. This order protects private businesses against the State’s demand that social media carry user posts that are against their community standards. Even better, it lets social media provide high-quality services to their users while keeping them safe from the worst content posted by irresponsible users.” Net Choice is a consortium of social media tech companies and e-commerce giants. 

The bill to the law was passed in April by the Republican-led Florida state. It was to come in effect from today but has now been withheld. It passed, it could strong-arm the big techs into heavy penalties and rob them of keeping the social media healthy for public consumption.

The state would have been in a powerful position of doling out penalties of $250,000 a day in fines if any social media chose to ban any state-level political candidates and $25,000 for local candidates.

The law also would have forced social media giants to give users a seven-day notice before they were likely to be banned and give them a chance to change their behavior and resolve the issue on the platform.

Nicaragua’s freedom is in a questionable state
Americas

Nicaragua’s freedom is in a questionable state

Democracy in Nicaragua is hanging by a thread and its citizens are thinking that it may slip very soon into the hands of the dictatorship. Their President Daniel Ortega used his undisputed power to crack down and take disadvantage of country’s police and courts to fulfil his political favours. Treating the opposition with brutal efficiency, he made 13 leaders from the opposition party arrested on the grounds of “national security” violations. Human Rights say it is a clear sign that the President is doing his best to eliminate dissent and crush any competition ahead of the upcoming general elections in November.

This entire propaganda began with the arrest of prominent presidential candidate Cristiana Chamorro Barrios, who was earlier investigated on allegations that she mismanaged a non-profit free press advocacy organization. After the day of her announcing her candidacy, authorities raided her home and arrested her by saying she was involved in abusive management, ideological falsehood in competition with the crime of laundering money, goods and assets, to the detriment of the State of Nicaragua. Even though she hails from the sound background of Nicaragua’s preeminent family and she was seen as an ideal candidate that would beat Ortega in November elections.

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The reason why all Americans should pay attention to this is that instead of working with opposition groups and protesters to find a peaceful solution, Ortega’s government took the opposite approach. They went all intense and forceful by violating human rights. They detained thousands of people who participated in the protests and even prevented the injured people from gaining access to emergency medical care as a form of retaliation for their participation in the protests. Universities became ground zero as pro-government forces attacked students who had been holed up in defiance against the government, killing at least two people in one deadly incident, human rights group CENIDH reported.

With much international pressure, the government has though agreed international organizations to investigate the deaths of hundreds of protesters and release some of those imprisoned on what the IACHR called “unfounded and disproportionate charges.” Acting Assistant Secretary for the US Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Julie Chung, mentioned that Ortega had a chance to follow through on his commitment to allow free and fair elections, but instead he was playing another game. Se explained that their government is fearful of losing to a free and fair, transparent system. They see democracy as a threat and it would give more power in the hands of the people, this is why he has triggered these kinds of actions as no confidence in their ability to support people.

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