El Salvador’s President Bukele Not Focused on ‘Free Money’ from the US

El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele hailed a new chapter in his country’s relationship with the United States, thanking Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for being the first top U.S. diplomat to visit his country in ten years.

For his part, Secretary Pompeo praised Bukele’s shift towards the United States.

“El Salvador with its new leadership has made a clear choice to fight corruption, promote justice and partner with the United States, and together both of our peoples will reap those benefits.”

Pompeo also praised El Salvador for declaring it does not recognize what he termed “the corrupt Maduro regime” as the legitimate government of Venezuela.

El Salvador’s Bukele spoke in English and it was clear that he has a warm rapport with Pompeo.

“We talk about fighting the gangs together, we talk about interdicting narcotics together, we talk about reducing immigration together.  So I think this was a very, very important meeting.  I think that it’s a game-changer.”

Asked about the U.S. freezing its foreign aid for El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala to compel their leaders to stem the flow of migration to the U.S. southern border, Bukele had a strong response.

“What do we want to do in El Salvador? Do we want to get more free money?  Do we want more blank checks?  No. We want to improve the conditions at home.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, listens to simultaneous translation as El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele speaks at the Presidential House in San Salvador, El Salvador, Sunday, July 21, 2019.

Bukele said it “sounds tacky” to have the top U.S. diplomat visiting and to ask him for free money. 

Benjamin Gedan of the Wilson Center told VOA Bukele is much more pro-American than his predecessor, and is committed to a new approach to fighting violent gangs and drug traffickers with the U.S.

“The new president [of El Salvador] from the very beginning was very enthusiastic about the idea of working closely with the United States on any number of issues and in fact was skeptical about the role of China in El Salvador which was a source of tension with his predecessor.”

U.S. lawmakers from both major political parties are calling on the Trump administration to restore U.S. foreign aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, saying it is counterproductive to punish countries fighting extreme poverty and violence, while at the same time calling on them to reduce the flow of migration.  

Before heading to San Salvador, Pompeo met with Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard on an overnight stop in Mexico City.  Asked by VOA whether Mexico has done enough to meet the requirements of a 45-day U.S. deadline on imposing potential tariffs, Pompeo said there has been progress, but he would consult with President Donald Trump.

“There are fewer apprehensions taking place today along our southern border, but we’ve got a long way to go yet.  There is still much more work to do.”

In this handout photo released by the Mexican Government Press Office, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his Mexican counterpart Marcelo Ebrard meet in Mexico City, Sunday morning, July 21, 2019.

Mexico has deployed forces to its southern border to stem the flow of migration from Central America. But Benjamin Gedan of the Wilson Center said he is skeptical that Mexico has the resources to sustain this for a long time.

“Rather than addressing the root causes of migration flows from northern Central America, there is this effort to harden the U.S. border, to encourage Mexico to harden its southern border and to have Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador take their own steps to really impede the flows of individuals north to the United States.”

Before going to Mexico, Pompeo made a stop Saturday in Guayaquil, Ecuador to meet with President Lenin Moreno, the first visit by a U.S. Secretary of State to that country in nine years.  They also stressed common goals and improved relations between the two countries.  Moreno asked for more help from the U.S. and the international community to deal with the influx of refugees to his country from neighboring Venezuela, calling it a “social apocalypse.”  Pompeo discussed the ongoing crisis in Venezuela at every stop.

Pompeo started his jam-packed Latin America trip Friday in Argentina.  He confirmed the U.S. has imposed financial sanctions against a Hezbollah militant group leader suspected of directing a deadly bombing in 1994 of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people.

“They were killed by members of a terrorist group, Hezbollah, and had help that day from Iran,” which provided “logistical support and funding through its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” Pompeo said at an event in Buenos Aires to rally support from Latin American leaders in the U.S. fight against Middle East militant groups.

Standing at a memorial at the site of the car bombing, Pompeo lit a candle with AMIA President Ariel Eichbaum and said the worst terrorist attack in Argentina is a stark reminder of the danger to the Western Hemisphere from Hezbollah and other groups based on the other side of the world.

“It was a moving reminder that our discussion today isn’t abstract; it’s not theoretical. The risk of terrorism is real for each and every one of us and each and every one of our citizens.”

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1960s Prankster Paul Krassner, Who Named Yippies, Dies at 87

Paul Krassner, the publisher, author and radical political activist on the front lines of 1960s counterculture who helped tie together his loose-knit prankster group by naming them the Yippies, died Sunday in Southern California, his daughter said. 

Krassner died at his home in Desert Hot Springs, Holly Krassner Dawson told The Associated Press. He was 87 and had recently transitioned to hospice care after an illness, Dawson said. She didn’t say what the illness was. 

The Yippies, who included Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman and were otherwise known as the Youth International Party, briefly became notorious for such stunts as running a pig for president and throwing dollar bills onto the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Hoffman and Rubin, but not Krassner, were among the so-called “Chicago 7” charged with inciting riots at 1968’s chaotic Democratic National Convention. 

By the end of the decade, most of the group’s members had faded into obscurity. But not Krassner, who constantly reinvented himself, becoming a public speaker, freelance writer, stand-up comedian, celebrity interviewer and author of nearly a dozen books. 

“He doesn’t waste time,” longtime friend and fellow counterculture personality Wavy Gravy once said of him. “People who waste time get buried in it. He keeps doing one thing after another.”

He interviewed such celebrity acquaintances as authors Norman Mailer and Joseph Heller and the late conservative pundit Andrew Breitbart. The latter, like other conservatives, said that although he disagreed with everything Krassner stood for, he admired his sense of humor. 

An advocate of unmitigated free speech, recreational drug use and personal pornography, Krassner’s books included such titles as Pot Stories For The Soul'' andPsychedelic Trips for the Mind,” and he claimed to have taken LSD with numerous celebrities, including comedian Groucho Marx, LSD guru Timothy Leary and author Ken Kesey. 

He also published several books on obscenity, some with names that can’t be listed here. Two that can are “In Praise of Indecency: Dispatches From the Valley of Porn” and “Who’s to Say What’s Obscene: Politics, Culture & Comedy in America Today.” 

For his autobiography, Krassner chose the title, “Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut: Misadventures in the Counterculture,” using a phrase taken from an angry letter to the editor of a magazine that had once published a favorable profile of him. 

“To classify Krassner as a social rebel is far too cute,” the letter writer said. “He’s a nut, a raving, unconfined nut.”

What he really was, Krassner told The Associated Press in 2013, was a guy who enjoyed making people laugh, although one who brought a political activist’s conscience to the effort. 

In this May 7, 2009, file photo, author, comedian and co-founder of the Yippie party as well as stand-up satirist, Paul Krassner, 77, poses for a photo at his home in Desert Hot Springs, Calif.

He noted proudly that in the early 1960s, when abortion was illegal in almost every state, he ran an underground abortion referral service for women. 

“That really was a turning point in my life because I had morphed from a satirist into an activist,” he said. 

His original career choice, however, had been music. 

A child prodigy on the violin, he performed at Carnegie Hall at age 6. Later he all but gave up the instrument, only occasionally playing it as a joke during lectures or comedy routines. 

“I only had a technique for playing the violin, but I had a real passion for making people laugh,” he would say. 

After studying journalism at New York’s Baruch College, Krassner went to work for Mad Magazine before founding the satirical counterculture magazine The Realist in 1958. He continued to publish it periodically into the 1980s. 

For a time in the 1950s, he also appeared on the stand-up comedy circuit. There, he would meet his mentor, Lenny Bruce, the legendary outlaw comic who pushed free speech to its limits with routines filled with obscenities and sexual innuendo that sometimes landed him in jail. 

Krassner interviewed Bruce for Playboy Magazine in 1959 and edited the comedian’s autobiography, “How To Talk Dirty and Influence People.” 

When the counterculture arrived in earnest in the ’60s, Krassner was working as a comedian, freelance writer, satirist, publisher, celebrity interviewer and occasional creator of soft-core pornography. To mark the death of Walt Disney in 1966, he published a colorful wall poster showing Disney cartoon characters engaging in sex acts. 

When he and other anti-war activists, free-speech advocates and assorted radicals began to plot ways to promote their causes, Krassner said he soon realized they would need a clever name if they wanted to grab the public’s attention. 

“I knew that we had to have a who' for thewho, what, where, when and why’ that would symbolize the radicalization of hippies for the media,” Krassner, who co-founded the group, told the AP in 2009. “So I started going through the alphabet: Bippie, Dippie, Ippie, Sippie. I was about to give up when I came to Yippie.” 

As one of the last surviving Yippies, he continued to write prolifically up until his death, his daughter said. 

His newest book, “Zapped by the God of Absurdity,” will be released later this year. And he recently wrote the introduction for an upcoming book about his old friend Abbie Hoffman, Dawson said. 

Krassner also had hoped to publish his first novel, a mystery whose protagonist is a crime-solving comedian modeled after Lenny Bruce. He got so into the story, Krassner once said, that he began to believe he was channeling Bruce’s spirit. That ended, however, when the spirit reminded his old friend one day that Krassner was an atheist. 

“He said to me, ‘Come on, you don’t even believe that (expletive),”’ Krassner recalled with a laugh. 

He is survived by his wife, Nancy Cain; brother, George; daughter, Holly Krassner Dawson; and one grandchild. 

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Lufthansa Resumes Flights to Cairo, British Airways Stays Grounded

The German airline Lufthansa resumed daily direct flights to Cairo on Sunday after a one-day suspension due to unspecified safety concerns.

But British Airways still has all its flights to the Egyptian capital grounded and plans to keep them that way for six more days.

The two airlines on Saturday abruptly canceled all flights to Cairo after the British government warned of a “heightened risk of terrorism against aviation.”

Egypt’s minister of civil aviation, Lt. General Younes Elmasry, on Sunday expressed frustration that the airline suspended flights without consulting Egyptian authorities.  He met with Britain’s Ambassador to Egypt Geoffrey Adams and said the two sides would work to resolve the situation as soon as possible.

Passengers scrambled to find alternative flights after receiving a notification from the airline informing them about the decision which came into effect immediately.

In a statement, British Airways said the move was “a precaution to allow for further assessment”, without offering further details.

The U.S. State Department warned citizens Friday about traveling to Egypt. “A number of terrorist groups, including Islamic State, have committed multiple deadly attacks in Egypt, targeting government officials and security forces, public venues, tourist sites, civil aviation and other modes of public transportation, and a diplomatic facility,” the State Department said. “Terrorists continue to threaten Egypt’s religious minorities and have attacked sites and people associated with the Egyptian Coptic Church.”

It also warned of “risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Egypt.”

No American flights have been affected so far.


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Mueller to Give ‘Substantial Evidence’ for Impeaching Trump, Top Democrat Says

A leading House Democrat says special counsel Robert Mueller will give “very substantial evidence” that will make the case for impeaching U.S. President Donald Trump.

“This is a president who has violated the law six ways from Sunday,” House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler told Fox television.

Mueller is set to testify before two House committees Wednesday on his investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to meddle in the 2016 presidential election and if Trump obstructed justice in trying to derail the probe.

“We have to present, or let Mueller present, those facts to the American people…because the administration must be held accountable and no president can be above the law,” Nadler said.

The Mueller report concluded there was not enough evidence to determine that Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia. But Mueller wrote he could not exonerate Trump of allegations of obstruction of justice, turning the matter over to Attorney General William Barr. Barr said he could find no evidence of obstruction.

Trump was highly critical of the Mueller investigation, but does say the report clears him of any alleged criminal activity.

Mueller has said he chose the words in his report very carefully and would not provide any other information in any public testimony.

But Nadler said Sunday he does not expect Mueller’s appearance to be what he called a “dud.”

FILE – Robert Mueller, then-special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, departs Capitol Hill following a meeting with lawmakers, in Washington, June 21, 2017.

“The president and the attorney general have lied to the American people about what was in the Mueller report…the president saying they found no collusion. That was not true, that it found no obstruction, that is not true.”

Nadler says lawmakers will ask Mueller some very specific questions about parts of the report.

“Look at page 344, paragraph two…does that describe obstruction of justice…did you find that the president did that, for example.”

Republicans are upset at what they see as Democratic efforts to keep what they regard as a one-sided but over and done investigation of the president on the front pages.

Congressman Doug Collins, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, was also on Fox television Sunday. He accused Democrats “going after things that we’ve already known.”

“It’s like going back and finding a book on the shelf that looks new and then all of a sudden you begin to read and you find ‘wait, I’ve already read this before’,” Collins said.

He said Republicans will also have a few questions for Mueller.

“Let me tell you, Republicans have not forgotten how and where the investigation started and there’s going to be a lot of questions for what he did say, what he didn’t say, and how this thing started.”



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Why China and Vietnam Can’t Stop Clashing With Each Other

China and Vietnam are continuing to clash over a maritime sovereignty dispute despite diplomacy and calm being displayed by other claimants to the same sea.

The Communist neighbors talk regularly about their differences party-to-party as well as through diplomatic channels. Around the rest of the contested South China Sea, claimed by six governments total, other countries have largely avoided openhanded spats over the past three years.

Yet a new dispute erupts between China and Vietnam about once a year. They’re locked in another one now over energy exploration in an area in the sea that both countries call their own.

The two countries continue to spar because of decades, if not centuries, of distrust coupled with material ambitions in the 3.5 million-square-kilometer sea, experts say.

“I think the big picture on China-Vietnam relations is that they would go for diplomacy and they would go for hardball games,” said Eduardo Araral, associate professor at the National University of Singapore’s public policy school. “It’s a very long love-hate relationship between China and Vietnam.”

FILE – A Chinese Coast Guard ship is seen in the South China Sea, March 29, 2014.

Boat standoff

In the most recent clash between the two countries, a Chinese coast guard vessel has been patrolling since June 16 around a seabed tract about 352 kilometers off the coast of southeastern Vietnam, according to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative under the Center for Strategic & International Studies think tank.

Those patrols are “centered on” oil and gas Block 06-01 northwest of Vanguard Bank on the Vietnamese continental shelf, the initiative says. It also falls within China’s nine-dash line. China uses the line to demarcate its claims to about 90% of the sea, which is rich in fossil fuel reserves as well as fisheries and marine shipping lanes.

Chinese maritime militia ships and multiple merchant marine vessels joined the coast guard vessel, geopolitical research organization Stratfor Worldview says in a July 16 report. Their presence led to a “standoff”, Stratfor adds. Vietnam eventually asked the Chinese exploration vessel and coast guard ships to leave.

Old memories

Vietnamese are “nationalistic” overall and remember colonization by China, Araral said. China colonized what are now parts of northern Vietnam more than a millennium ago. Vietnam repelled modern China in a border war in the 1970s.

Vietnamese now believe the South China Sea’s Paracel Islands should also be theirs. China has controlled that archipelago since 1974.

FILE – A man rides a motorcycle past a poster promoting Vietnam’ sovereignty in the East Sea of the South China Sea, on Phu Quoc island, Sept. 11, 2014.

Leaders in Hanoi are trying to balance their foreign policy to avoid dependence on China, despite their Communist linkage, said Carl Thayer, Southeast Asia-specialized emeritus professor with the University of New South Wales in Australia.

After China and among the South China Sea claimant nations, Vietnam is the second most active seeker of oil, gas and the small expansion of its holdings on small islets.

Vanguard Bank disputes

Vanguard Bank has “frequently been at the heart of Vietnam and China’s long-standing maritime tensions, with Beijing trying to limit or block Hanoi from exploring in what it considers disputed territory,” Stratfor Worldview says. That tension flared up a lot in the 1990s, Thayer said.

Last year, Spanish driller Repsol suddenly quit a Vietnamese-approved energy exploration project at Vanguard Bank, apparently under pressure from China, foreign media reports and political experts said at the time. Vietnam still maintains outposts there.

The two countries never resolved their 2018 dispute, Thayer said. “Vietnam stood down and they didn’t buy Chinese acquiescence then to solve this matter,” he said.

FILE – Soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy patrol at Woody Island, in the Paracel Archipelago, Jan. 29, 2016.

Wider sovereignty dispute

A string of other incidents has shaken the two countries over the past five years. In 2014, a Chinese oil rig touched off a boat-ramming incident in the South China Sea and deadly anti-China riots in Vietnam.

In March this year, search-and-rescue officials in Hanoi said a Chinese vessel had rammed a Vietnamese boat near Discovery Reef east of Vietnam.

Vietnam’s Communist Party normally sends a special envoy to China for talks over these flaps, Thayer said.

“I think they need to find areas with mutual interest to cool off the face-off,” said Andrew Yang, secretary-general of the Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies think tank in Taiwan. “I think they will do this, because they’ve got enough trouble already and they don’t want to create another one.”

China, the strongest player in the six-way sovereignty dispute, is already using trade and investment incentives – backed by the world’s second biggest economy – to ease its sovereignty disputes with Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines. Vietnam has seen an influx of Chinese tourists.

But “diplomacy will probably fail” to solve maritime sovereignty issues, Araral said.


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ЦВК порахувала 2,5% протоколів на виборах до Ради

Центральна виборча комісія підрахувала 2,5 відсотка протоколів на позачергових виборах до Верховної Ради України.

Перше місце, за цими даними, посідає партія «Слуга народу» (40,01%).

Значно відстають від лідера «Всеукраїнське об’єднання «Батьківщина» (10,20%), «Опозиційна платформа – За життя» (9,88%), «Європейська солідарність» (8, 71%), «Радикальна партія Олега Ляшка» (6,79%), партія «Голос» – 5,71%.

Ці дані наразі не є репрезентативними і не збігаються з даними Національного екзит-полу.

П’ятивідсотковий прохідний бар’єр, за даними екзит-полу, долають:

«Слуга народу» – 44,2%
«Опозиційна платформа – За життя» – 11,4%
«Європейська солідарність» – 8,8%
ВО «Батьківщина» – 7,4%
«Голос» – 6,5%.

Читайте також: Заяви партій, які за даними екзит-полів проходять до Верховної Ради

21 липня в Україні пройшли дострокові парламентські вибори. Дільниці зачинилися о 20:00.

На посади народних депутатів претендують майже шість тисяч кандидатів.

Явка виборців, за даними ЦВК, склала 49,84%. Це найнижча активність виборців на парламентських виборах в Україні.


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ЦВК: явка на парламентських виборах склала 49,84%

Активність виборців на позачергових парламентських виборах станом на 20:00 склала 49,84%, повідомляє Центральна виборча комісія. Ці дані базуються на даних з усіх 199 виборчих округів.

Більше ніж 50% явка склала у Вінницькій, Волинській, Дніпропетровській, Житомирській, Запорізькій, Київській, Львівській, Полтавській, Сумській, Тернопільській, Харківській, Хмельницькій, Черкаській, Чернігівській областях.

У Києві активність виборців склала 48,97%.

Це найнижча явка на парламентських виборах в Україні.

1 липня в Україні пройшли дострокові парламентські вибори. Дільниці зачинилися о 20:00.

Читайте також: Україна обрала Раду-9. Живий блог

На посади народних депутатів претендують майже шість тисяч кандидатів.

За даними національного екзит-полу, до Верховної Ради проходять п’ять партій.

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Поліція перевіряє «підозрілих осіб», які їхали автобусами до Києва перед завершенням виборів

Поліція Київської області повідомляє, що перевіряє інформацію про пересування підозрілих осіб у напрямку столиці України.

«За годину до завершення позачергових виборів до поліції Київщини надійшла низка повідомлень щодо пересування в автобусах великої кількості людей у напрямку Києва. Такі звернення надійшли від жителів Броварів, Борисполя та Василькова», – йдеться в повідомленні .

У поліції додали, що під час зупинки деяких транспортних засобів правоохоронці дійсно виявили в салонах людей, які зареєстровані в інших областях країни і їхали до Києва.

«Поліція наразі з’ясовує мету такої «вечірньої подорожі». Правоохоронці і надалі будуть реагувати на такі повідомлення, щоб попередити будь-які провокації», – йдеться в повідомленні.

21 липня в Україні пройшли дострокові парламентські вибори. Дільниці зачинилися о 20:00.

На посади народних депутатів претендують майже шість тисяч кандидатів.

За даними національного екзит-полу, до Верховної Ради проходять п’ять партій.

У Міністерстві внутрішніх справ повідомили, що правоохоронці не зафіксували системних порушень під час позачергових парламентських виборів.

У МВС додали, що в посиленому режимі поліція продовжить роботу і вночі.

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