Cuba: First Cuban Catholic radio station established

Quiénes somos

‘Radio El Sonido de la Esperanza’, the first Catholic radio station in Cuba, marked its first anniversary earlier this year.

Established by the Catholic Youth Network (RCJ), to broadcast online 24 hours a day, through the internet, the station presents radio programs produced by the Church of Cuba and some from other parts of the world, Deacon Rubén de la Trinidad, founder and one of the directors of the Catholic Youth Line (RCJ) told the Inter Press Service.

Established in February 2019, the RCJ is a virtual community with a presence on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instragram, Telegram and Whatsapp; which has the support of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba (COCC).

The initiative aims to train and inform the Cuban Catholic community through social networks, build bridges and connect its members in the Caribbean country or abroad, as well as encourage young people to make a concrete commitment to Christian life, according to the teachings of the Church and its social doctrine.

Although the Church in Cuba can access the mass media, until now it didn’t have its own television channel or radio station, Rubèn de la Trinidad, from the Congregation of the Pauline Mission sai
The Catholic Church in Cuba does have has some printed publications and bulletins, mainly limited to parishioners. In some of the 11 dioceses in the country, groups of lay people have created sound programs that are circulated through alternative channels, such as USB sticks for PC. But now the internet has arrives in almost all homes, Cuban Catholics are enjoying their new radio station.

Trump unveils ‘revolutionary’ executive orders to cut drug prices

Trump said he was “unrigging the system that is many decades old” and that “some very rich people are not gonna like me very much today.”

President Trump on Friday unveiled what he called four “sweeping” and “revolutionary” executive orders to dramatically lower prescription costs.

The president’s orders seek to lower the cost of insulin and epipens, allow states and pharmacies to buy drugs overseas, slash pay to medical middlemen and make sure other countries don’t pay less for American drugs.

Trump said banning the government from paying more for drugs than other countries was “the granddaddy of them all,” but won’t take effect until Aug. 24. Pharmaceutical executives will visit the White House on Tuesday and Trump said they must agree to slash drug prices substantially or the order will take effect.

“We incredibly and foolishly bear the full cost of all research and development,” Trump said. “You think the world looks at us and says, ‘Where the hell did these people come from?’”

“We may not need to implement the fourth executive order, which is a very tough order for [pharmaceutical companies],” Trump said. “We’ll see what they have to say on Tuesday, maybe they have an idea that’s good but it’s got to be very substantial.”

Details will be pored over by health experts. Trump already has taken action as president to lower insulin prices to $35 a month for Medicare enrollees and to open the door to buying drugs from Canada. Trump said the new orders would reduce the cost of insulin to “pennies a month” and that importation will now be allowed from “Canada and other countries.”

Trump’s orders could buoy his reelection chances. Recent polls show senior citizens prefer Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

“The fourth order we’re going to hold that until August 24, hoping that the pharmaceutical companies will come up with something that will substantially reduce drug prices, and the clock starts right now,” Trump said.

Trump slashes cost of insulin for Medicare enrollees

Trump said that the pending order would use the immense buying power of the federal government to lower drug prices. He noted that Congress banned the federal government from negotiating drug prices, but did not say how the order would lawfully bypass the restriction.

Trump said of the hypothetical order: “Medicare will be required to purchase drugs at the same price as other countries pay. So we would pay four or five times more for a drug. We now pay if somebody else pays $1 and we pay $5, we’re paying $1. Now what’s going to happen is their number will go up, our number will come very substantially down, and we’ll all agree at two and a half or two.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar noted, “$30 billion a year of concealed kickbacks to middlemen are going to now flow to Medicare patients.”

“You have taken on the drug companies, you’re taking all the middlemen, you’re taking on the European socialists, all for the forgotten men and women of America who show up at a pharmacy counter,” said Azar, a former pharmaceutical executive.

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Chinese consulates involved in espionage scheme, US officials say

WASHINGTON — Chinese consulates in more than two dozen US cities are aiding undercover Communist Party soldiers posing as students to engage in espionage, senior government officials said Friday.

The bombshell revelation comes after two Chinese military assets at the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas, were arrested and charged Tuesday with trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine research.

“The individuals charged there are a microcosm, we believe, of a broader network of individuals in more than 25 cities,” a senior Department of Justice official said.

“That network is supported through the consulates here. Consulates have been giving individuals in that network guidance on how to evade and obstruct our investigation,” he said.

The official said the Houston bust was “merely the tip of the iceberg” and raised the alarm about consulates being exploited for “espionage” because of their sovereign status.

On Thursday evening, US officials also arrested a woman who was being harbored in the Chinese consulate in San Francisco and charged her as part of a scheme in which members of the Chinese military, the People’s Liberation Army, lied about their visa status.

“The espionage and influence activities run out of a consulate can rise, ultimately to a level that threatens our national security,” the DOJ official said.

Chinese hackers charged with trying to steal vaccine research

The arrests made Tuesday came after a long period of stalled negotiations when officials from China’s ruling Communist Party refused to respect American sovereignty, officials said.

“For years we’ve been asking the PRC to stop these malign criminal activities,” a senior State Department official said.

“The Chinese Communist Party has been getting away with this for too long. The time is now to act and that’s what we have done,” he added.

The US government has been ramping up attacks on China as the Communist country faces intense international scrutiny for hiding the origins of the coronavirus, stealing American intellectual property and detaining minority groups such as the indigenous Uighurs.

In a scathing speech Thursday evening, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that the US would no longer ignore China’s “totalitarian” rule and espionage in the US.

“For too many decades, our leaders have ignored or downplayed the words of brave Chinese dissidents who have warned us about the nature of the regime we’re facing. We can’t ignore it any longer,” he said.

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