Marriott ordered by Trump administration to close hotel in Cuba

HAVANA—Marriott International, the only U.S. company to run a hotel in Cuba, told Reuters it had been ordered by the Trump administration to close its Four Points Sheraton in Havana and wind down its operations by August 31.

The hotel operator had received notice its government-issued license would not be renewed, a company spokeswoman said. This was first issued during the 2014-2016 U.S.-Cuban detente pursued by former President Barack Obama, that President Donald Trump has since rolled back.

The U.S. Department of Treasury had also informed the company that it would “not be permitted to open other hotels in Cuba that have been in preparation”, the spokeswoman said.

Reuters

New restrictions imposed by USA affect only the Cuban people

Havana, June 4 (Prensa Latina) Cuba on Thursday has denounced that the new sanctions taken by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the Cuban people show the real nature and cruelty of the US government.

‘New sanctions against #Cuba announced by the US Secretary of State prove the real nature and cruelty of the US government in its policy of blocking and sanctioning our people,’ Ana Teresita Gonzalez, first vice minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, live-tweeted.

She posted that if Washington plans to subdue Cuba, it will be in for a disappointment.

The US government on Wednesday sanctioned three hotels, two scuba diving centers and a tourist marine park, as well as the Fincimex financial institution, under the pretext they are military property.

Those state-run entities, in addition to another 200 previously sanctioned, will be banned from doing business with US companies or citizens.

These actions are part of the White House’s effort to deprive Cuba of pivotal resources for its economic development, as part of hostile policy and economic, commercial and financial blockade that has been imposed nearly 60 years ago and tightened after the Donald Trump inauguration in 2017.

In response to this new escalation of hostility against Cuba, President Miguel Diaz-Canel branded the United States government as immoral, arrogant and perverse.

‘The US government is imposing new sanctions that really affect the Cuban people, while the US people are severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and racist escalation,’ Miguel Díaz-Canel posted on Twitter.

Likewise, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez strongly rejected Pompeo´s sanctions and denounced these are aimed at affecting the Cuban families.

Rodriguez called Washington’s effort to tighten the blockade amid Cuba’s efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic as shameful and criminal.

US troops deployment in Poland for military drill


Warsaw, June 4 (Prensa Latina) Nearly 4.000 US troops are being deployed in Poland so as to attend the Exercise Defender-Europe 20, according to Mariusz Blaszczak, Poland´s Minister of National Defense.

Over 230 combat vehicles, artillery, missile systems and aircraft are deployed in the military exercise.

According to Blaszczak, the main objective of this military drill is to increase strategic readiness and capacity for a rapid deployment of US troops in Europe.

The incidence of Covid-19 in this nation delayed the beginning of Exercise Defender-Europe 20 slated for March, and considered as the largest deployment of US troops to Europe in the last 25 years.

To date, Poland has reported over 24,800 Covid-19 cases, with 1,117 deaths.

In coordination with the aforementioned military maneuvers, 5,000 local troops will be involved in the Anaconda-20 Exercises of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Baszczak stated.

Anaconda is a NATO´s large-scale military excise that has been carried out every two years in Poland since 2006, according to the Russian Sputnik News Agency.


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Sen. Lindsey Graham lashes into Dems: ‘You think I’m in Trump’s pocket’


WASHINGTON — Sen. Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, clashed with Democratic colleagues on Thursday over his review of the Russia investigation — telling them: “You think I’m in Trump’s pocket.”

Lawmakers on the powerful GOP-led committee traded barbs on Thursday over the South Carolina Republican’s move to subpoena 53 current and former government officials involved in the error-riddled Russia probe and Mueller investigation, including ex-FBI director James Comey.

Democrats on the panel accused Republicans of being “political errand boys” who were “bolstering conspiracy theories” for Trump’s re-election campaign — allegations that Graham was not going to take lying down.

“It matters to me whether or not the No. 2 guy at the FBI, Comey, knew that the document was no longer reliable and kept using it,” Graham said of a warrant which FBI agents deliberately misrepresented in order to spy on a Trump 2016 campaign aide.

“You all could care less. That really says a lot,” Graham added.

“I know you don’t agree with what I’m doing. You think I’m in Trump’s pocket. I get all that. It’s not lost on me of what you think and I’m sad because I like you all,” he continued.

“But if you expect me to punt, forget it. We’re not going to punt. We’re not going to have a rule of law for Republicans and a rule of law for Democrats.

The hearings, which began Wednesday with testimony from former deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, follow an excoriating review by the Justice Department’s chief watchdog last December that found the Mueller investigation was littered with errors.

Graham and committee Republicans want to haul dozens of officials before Congress to testify, including former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe and former acting attorney general Sally Yates, former National Intelligence director James Clapper, current FBI chief Christopher Wray and Attorney General Bill Barr, John Podesta, the chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, Susan Rice, Barack Obama’s national security advisor and FBI lovebirds Lisa Page and Peter Strzok.

Rod Rosenstein defends appointing Mueller to lead Russia probe
But the decision to also subpoena Steve Richetti, former chief of staff to Joe Biden and the chair of his presidential election campaign, rankled Democrats who accused the Republican-led committee of doing the president’s bidding.

“How do we happen to have the campaign manager for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign on that list?” asked Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois.

“I’m afraid it’s very obvious. This is about a president who just can’t get over it and maybe he never will, and a chairman who wants him to have another day to make his point about how he was mistreated,” Durbin said.

President Trump has repeatedly maintained that the investigation into whether his campaign colluded with the Russian government to win the 2016 presidential election was a politically-motivated “witch hunt.”

Democrats on the committee are seeking an amendment that would allow them to haul their own witnesses before Congress, including Trump’s convicted former personal attorney Michael Cohen.

Both sides however agreed they want to hear from someone representing former special counsel Robert Mueller.


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Man who filmed Ahmaud Arbery shooting admitted he tried to block him in


The Georgia man who filmed Ahmaud Arbery’s shooting death admitted that he tried to block his path with a vehicle — and even ran into the unarmed jogger — on Feb. 23 while two other white men chased him down in their pickup truck, a senior investigator in the case testified Thursday.

William “Roddie” Bryan, one of three men charged with murder in the case, even pulled off the road at one point during a four-minute pursuit to allow Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, to continue their pursuit, Richard Dial, the lead investigator for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said during a hearing in Glynn County Court.

Bryan told police he jumped into the chase after he saw the McMichaels drive past and yelled, “Do you got him?”

“He made several statements about trying to block him in and using his vehicle to try to stop him,” Dial said under questioning by Travis McMichael’s attorney, Jason Sheffield. “His statement was that Mr. Arbery kept jumping out of the way and moving around the bumper and actually running down into the ditch in an attempt to [avoid] his truck.”

He said Bryan struck Arbery with the side of his truck at one point — a palm print and cotton fibers were found near a dent in the truck, which “we attribute to contact with Mr. Arbery.”

“At this point, I would say Mr. Arbery was trying to escape,” Dial said. “He’s trying to get away.”

The McMichaels believed Arbery, who was jogging through the Satilla Shores neighborhood, was a local burglary suspect because he had stopped at a local construction site while in the neighborhood.

After catching up with him, Bryan’s video shows Travis McMichael getting out of the truck with a shotgun. He fired three shots during a scuffle with Arbery, who fell, mortally wounded.

Dial also disputed that Arbery had burglarized the construction site.

“My understanding of the law for a burglary to be committed, you have to enter a structure with the intention of committing a felony or a theft,” he testified. “Neither fact could I establish in this investigation that Mr. Arbery committed.”

“At no time did it appear he was interrupted and he didn’t steal anything,” he said. “So, I don’t think you can establish as a point of law that he intended to steal something if he had been in the residence multiple times and never taken anything and then he left without taking anything.”

The hearing before Glynn County Chief Magistrate Judge Wallace Harrell marked the first court appearance for the three suspects since they were charged last month.


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CubaCoop discredits in France Cuba’s inclusion in list on terrorism


Paris, Jun 4 (Prensa Latina) The Cuba Cooperation France Association (CubaCoop) on Thursday discredited the island’s inclusion in the list of countries the United States considers do not cooperate with its anti-terrorism efforts, a decision described as arbitrary and unfounded.

In a statement to which Prensa Latina had access, CubaCoop strongly condemned the measure announced on May 13 by the US Department of State, which framed Washington’s efforts to attack and economically suffocate the Caribbean nation.

‘Any slander and lie is good for President Donald Trump in his aim of discrediting that peaceful country, destroying its economy and impoverishing its population,’ denounced the association that has carried out dozens of cooperation projects in Cuba in the last 25 years.

According to CubaCoop, the US hostility encourages the commission of terrorist actions against the Caribbean nation.

An example is the April 30 attack on the Cuban Embassy in Washington DC, where a man with an assault rifle fired at least 30 shots into the facade and the lobby of the diplomatic headquarters, the association stated.

CubaCoop insisted that Cuba’s inclusion in the US unilateral list was based on lies about the situation of the presence in Havana of guerrilla fighters of Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN), who arrived in there as part of the peace talks interrupted by Bogota without respecting the Protocol in Case of Breaking off Negotiation.


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