Tuesday, December 07, 2021

May 3, 2020  CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan officials said they foiled an early morning attempt by a group of armed “mercenaries” to invade the country in a beach landing using speedboats Sunday, killing eight attackers and arresting two more.

Socialist party chief Diosdado Cabello said that two of the attackers were interrogated by authorities. Cabello said it was carried out by neighboring Colombia with the United States backing the plot to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro - a claim dismissed by U.S. officials.

“Those who assume they can attack the institutional framework in Venezuela will have to assume the consequences of their action,” said Cabello, adding that one of the detained claimed to be an agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Both Colombia and the United States have repeatedly denied previous Venezuelan allegations of backing military plots against the socialist government.

“We have little reason to believe anything that comes out of the former regime,” said a spokesperson with the State Department Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, speaking Sunday on condition of anonymity, referring to Maduro’s government. “The Maduro regime has been consistent in its use of misinformation in order to shift focus from its mismanagement of Venezuela.”

Venezuelan authorities said they found Peruvian documents, high-caliber weapons, satellite phones, uniforms and helmets adorned with the U.S. flag.

Interior Minister Nestor Reverol described the attackers as “mercenary terrorists” bent on destabilizing Venezuela’s institutions and creating “chaos.” Officials said the attack took place on a beach in La Guaira, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) from Caracas and home to the nation’s largest airport. Authorities say the attackers had vehicles and heavy arms waiting for them in the port city.

Venezuela has been in a deepening political and economic crisis in recent years under Maduro’s rule. Crumbling public services such as running water, electricity and medical care has driven nearly 5 million to migrate.

A coalition of nearly 60 nations back opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate leader, saying Maduro’s 2018 election was a sham because the most popular opposition candidates were banned from running.

The United States has led a campaign to oust Maduro, increasing pressure in recent weeks by indicting the socialist leader as a narco-trafficker and offering a $15 million reward for his arrest. The U.S. also has increased stiff sanctions, cutting off Venezuela’s oil sector to choke Maduro from a key source of hard cash.

Iván Simonovis, a former high-ranking Venezuelan police official who now advises opposition leaders on intelligence strategy from Washington, speculated on Twitter that there might have been a clash between security forces on Sunday and suggested Maduro’s government created the story of a plot to justify “repression against the interim government and any Venezuelan who opposes the dictatorship.”

But in addition to U.S. economic and diplomatic pressure, Maduro’s government has faced several small-scale military threats, including an attempt to assassinate Maduro with a drone and Guaidó’s call for a military uprising, which was joined by few soldiers.

The Associated Press reported on Friday that an apparently ill-funded attempt to amass an invasion force of 300 men in Colombia involving a former Venezuelan military officer and an ex-Green Beret, suffered setbacks in March when a main organizer was arrested, an arms cache was seized and some participants abandoned its camps.

Cabello linked Sunday’s attack to key players in that alleged plot. One of the men he said was killed, a man nicknamed “the Panther,” had been identified as involved in obtaining weapons for the force in Colombia.

Maduro and his allies say the Trump administration is determined to end Venezuela’s socialist government to exploit the South American nation’s vast underground oil reserves. Maduro remains in power, backed by the military and with international support from Cuba, Russia, China and Iran.

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López, speaking on state TV Sunday backed by armed soldiers and tanks units, called the attackers mercenaries who “don’t have souls. They’re cowards.”

Guaidó accused Maduro’s government of seizing on this example of unrest to draw the world’s attention away from embarrassing bloodshed in other parts of the country, including a prison riot days earlier that left at least 40 dead.

“Of course, there are patriotic members of the military willing to fight for Venezuela,” Guaidó said. “But it’s clear that what happened in Vargas is another distraction ploy.”

Meanwhile, Cesar Omana, a businessman who participated in an unsuccessful plot against Maduro a year ago, said some 30 armed commandos from the Sebin intelligence police raided his Caracas home early Sunday. Omana is not in the country.

SXM Radio Online

Entertainment

September 7, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Michael K. Williams, who as the rogue robber of drug dealers Omar Little on “The Wire” created one of the most beloved and enduring characters in a prime era of television, died Monday. Williams was found dead Monday afternoon by family members in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment, New York City police said. He was 54. His death was being investigated as a possible drug overdose, the NYPD said. The medical examiner was investigating the cause of death. Little, a “stick-up boy” based on real figures from Baltimore, was probably the most popular character among the devoted fans of “The Wire,” the HBO show that ran from 2002 to 2008 and is re-watched constantly in streaming.

September 8, 2021 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Britney Spears’ father filed Tuesday to end the court conservatorship that has controlled the singer’s life and money for 13 years. James Spears filed his petition to terminate the conservatorship in Los Angeles Superior Court. “As Mr. Spears has said, again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter,” the document says. “If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should get that chance.” Judge Brenda Penny, who oversees the case, will need to approve the move. Britney Spears attorney Matthew Rosengart said in an email the filing “represents another legal victory for Britney Spears — a massive one — as well as vindication for Ms. Spears.”

September 8, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — With Katie Holmes and Lil’ Kim on his front row and singer Marina on the mic high above his runway, Christian Siriano helped kicked off New York Fashion Week’s first big pandemic round of in-person shows Tuesday with a flurry of neon and lace-inspired in part by all the Italian women in his life. From ornate Gotham Hall, beneath a stained-glass skylight 70 feet up, Siriano’s commitment to size inclusivity was never stronger as he opened and closed the show with plus-size breakout model Precious Lee. She first walked in a stunning yellow trouser suit with wide loose pants and an asymmetrical jacket, a matching crossover bralette underneath.

September 7, 2021  VENICE, Italy (AP) — Paul Schrader knows he has a limited number of films left, so whatever he does from here on out is going to be for himself. At 75 years old, the writer of “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” and director of “American Gigolo” and “Mishima” was even somewhat prepared to call it a day after his 2018 film “First Reformed,” for which he got his first Oscar nomination. He didn’t want to. He just knew it might be the reality. “I thought I would go back to this character again for about the fifth time,” Schrader said in a recent interview. By “this character” he means “the man in the room.” It’s Travis Bickle. It’s John LeTour. It’s Julian Kay. And it’s a formula he’s been working with for 45 years.

Business News

September 8, 2021  -Stocks were mostly lower in Asia on Wednesday after a lackluster session on Wall Street, where weak jobs data and pandemic concerns weighed on sentiment. Shares rose in Tokyo after economic growth for the April-June quarter was revised upward to an annualized 1.9% from an earlier estimate of 1.3%. “Any feel-good factor was ignored, though, given the climb was less than half of the 4.20% fall in Q1,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary. “Japan will be lucky to break even this year as the current Covid-19 wave will almost certainly have weighed on domestic consumption,” he said.

September 8, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — There will be something missing at two Whole Foods stores opening next year: the rows of cashiers. Amazon, which owns the grocery chain, said Wednesday that it will bring its cashier-less technology to two Whole Foods stores for the first time, letting shoppers grab what they need and leave without having to open their wallets. Cameras and sensors track what’s taken off shelves. Items are charged to an Amazon account after customers leave the store with them. But there will be an option for those who want to shop the old-fashioned way: Self-checkout lanes will be available that take cash, gift cards and other types of payment. Amazon first unveiled the cashier-less technology in 2018 at an Amazon Go convenience store and has expanded it to larger Amazon supermarkets. But it will be the first time it has appeared at Whole Foods, a chain of more than 500 grocery stores Amazon bought four years ago.

September 8, 2021  BEIJING (AP) — An avalanche of changes launched by China’s ruling Communist Party has jolted everyone from tech billionaires to school kids. Behind them: President Xi Jinping’s vision of making a more powerful, prosperous country by reviving revolutionary ideals, with more economic equality and tighter party control over society and entrepreneurs. Since taking power in 2012, Xi has called for the party to return to its “original mission” as China’s economic, social and cultural leader and carry out the “ rejuvenation of the great Chinese nation.” The party has spent the decade since then silencing dissent and tightening political control. Now, after 40 years of growth that transformed China into the world’s factory but left a gulf between a wealthy elite and the poor majority, the party is promising to spread prosperity more evenly and is pressing private companies to pay for social welfare and back Beijing’s ambition to become a global technology competitor.

Fashion News

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