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Pompeo warns Venezuela President Maduro with of ‘a series of actions’

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Washington, Sep 22 :US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has threatened President Nicolas Maduro with “a series of actions” against the Venezuelan government in the coming days.

Speaking at an interview on Friday with Fox News, Pompeo said that “I think you’ll see in the coming days a series of actions that continue to increase the pressure level against the Venezuelan leadership folks”.

The Trump administration has  increased sanctions against officials in the leftist government of President Nicolas Maduro, accusing it of stifling democracy by jailing opposition leaders.

Claiming that “we’re determined to ensure that the Venezuelan people get their say,” Pompeo declined to detail whether Washington will impose more sanctions on Caracas.

The remarks came ahead of the annual UN General Assembly slated in New York next week.

Several US media outlets reported earlier this month that the Trump administration has talked secretly with rebellious Venezuelan military officers several times to discuss their plans to stage a coup in the South American country.

For his part, US President Donald Trump said in August of last year that he would not rule out a “military option” in Venezuela “if necessary,” despite his aides’ opposition.

The US has also announced several rounds of sanctions against Venezuelan government officials ever since.

In response, Venezuela has slammed the “warmongering” declarations of Trump as “threats to peace” and a “violation” of UN and international laws.

The Nicolas Maduro government has also instructed the military to prepare to “shoulder arms” in case of a US invasion.

 Washington had imposed sanctions prohibiting trading new debt and equity issued by the Venezuelan government and its state oil company PDVSA.

Venezuela’s economy has collapsed under Maduro, with annual inflation running at 200,000 percent.

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Facebook blocked Israeli PM ‘s son for anti-Muslim posts

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his son Yair (File Photo- AFP)

Tel Aviv, Dec 17: Facebook temporarily banned Yair Netanyahu, son of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for posting anti-Muslim posts, the media reported on Monday.

According to a report in The Times of Israel, Yair’s Facebook account was blocked for 24 hours on Sunday after he called for “avenging the deaths” of two Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers who were killed at the West Bank shooting last week.

“Unbelievable. Facebook blocks me for 24 hours for simply criticizing it! Thought police,” Yari wrote on Twitter.

Facebook is yet to comment on this.

After the controversial Facebook post was removed, he wrote that the social media giant was “trying to shut our mouths in the only place where we have the right to express our opinions”.

Yari also posted a screenshot of the original post along with new posts criticising Facebook.

“Do you know where there are no terror attacks? In Iceland and Japan. Coincidentally there’s also no Muslim population there,” he posted.

This is not the first time Yair has been in the spotlight.

According to The Jerusalem Post, in 2017, Yair posted a diagram featuring antisemitic tropes such as Jewish billionaire George Soros, who funds left-wing causes and organizations in several countries.

“The post depicted Soros controlling the world via other conspiracy theory figures like lizard people, known as Reptilians, and the Illuminati or Freemasons,” the report added.

IANS

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Saudi rejects US Senate’s move on Khashoggi’s murder

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US President Donald Trump, sitting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (Reuters Photo)

Riyadh, Dec 17: Saudi Arabia on Monday rejected recent moves by the US Senate over the murder of The Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Senate on December 13 voted to recommend ending American military assistance to the Saudi-led operation in Yemen, and accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of involvement in Khashoggi’s murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October, reports Xinhua news agency.

The positions of the US Senate were based on “unsubstantiated claims and allegations, and contained blatant interferences in the Kingdom’s internal affairs, undermining the Kingdom’s regional and international role”, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The statement said that the the journalist’s murder was a deplorable crime which does not reflect the Kingdom’s policy.

Saudi authorities have said he died in a “brawl” in the consulate on October 2 and denied that the Crown Prince had ordered the killing.

The US Congress has urged a thorough investigation into his death and threatened to take more actions against Saudi Arabia, such as sanctions, if those responsible were not held accountable.

However, American President Donald Trump’s administration has been reluctant to further punish the Saudi government.

IANS

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Disaster

Indonesia’s Sulawesi island volcano erupts,spewing ashes upto 7.5 km high

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Jakarta, Dec 16 : A volcano erupted in Indonesia’s North Sulawesi province on Sunday, spewing a column of ash measuring 7.5 km to the sky.

Mount Soputan erupted twice — first at 7.43 a.m. and the second at 8.57 a.m., an agency spokesman told Xinhua news agency.

There were no reports of casualties and the ash was not considered a threat to aviation, agency spokesman Sutopo Nugroho said on Sunday.

Ashes were spread toward south west and south of the crater and small tremors jolted the area.

“In anticipating the hot ash from sliding into the flank of the volcano and flows of cool lava, the community is prohibited from having activities at the radius of 4 km from the crater, and for the area at southwest of the crater the no go-zone has been declared at 6.5 km,” the spokesman said.

Mount Soputan is one of 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia which lies on a vulnerable quake-hit zone called “the Pacific Ring of Fire”.

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