Venezuela’s Maduro orders EU envoy to leave the country

UNTV News   •   June 30, 2020   •   171

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday (June 29) ordered the European Union envoy to leave the country, hours after the EU announced sanctions against several officials loyal to the socialist leader.

The EU subjected 11 officials to financial sanctions, citing their actions against the democratic functioning of Venezuela’s National Assembly.

The European bloc earlier this month said a decision by the South American nation’s Supreme Court in May to ratify an ally of Maduro as president of the National Assembly was illegitimate. Opposition leader Juan Guaido was the rightful congressional president following his election by the majority of members in January, not the court-approved Luis Parra, the EU said.

Parra was among those named in Monday’s sanctions, along with Franklyn Duarte and Jose Gregorio Noriega, who were named as vice-presidents of the assembly in the May court ruling.

Maduro gave the EU envoy, Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa, 72 hours to leave the country after the sanctions were announced.

“A plane can be loaned to her to leave,” he said during an appearance on Venezuelan state TV.

Maduro also said his government was reserving diplomatic action in the case against the Spanish ambassador in Caracas, Jesus Silva, whom he said was “an accomplice of the criminal and terrorist Leopoldo Lopez, as published in the Wall Street Journal, for the plan to assassinate me, to assassinate the country’s top military and political leader.”

Last week, the U.S. newspaper published a report citing sources close to the opposition leader Lopez, indicating that he had come into contact with several security firms for an armed action in Venezuela. (Reuters)

(Production: Efrain Otero, Liamar Ramos)

EU sets ‘safe’ travel list, excluding United States

UNTV News   •   July 1, 2020

The European Union has excluded the United States from its initial “safe list” of countries from which the bloc will allow non-essential travel from Wednesday (July 1).

The 27-member bloc gave approval on Tuesday (June 30) to leisure or business travel from 14 countries beyond its borders, the Council of the EU, which represents EU governments, said in a statement.

The countries are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

China has also been provisionally approved, although travel would only open up if Chinese authorities also allowed in EU visitors. Reciprocity is a condition of being on the list.

Russia, Brazil and Turkey, along with the United States, are among countries whose containment of the virus is considered worse than that of the EU average and so will have to wait at least two weeks. The bloc will carry out fortnightly reviews.

The move is aimed at supporting the EU travel industry and tourist destinations, particularly countries in southern Europe hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It acts as a recommendation to EU members, meaning they could potentially set restrictions on those entering from the 14 nations and will almost certainly not allow access to travelers from other countries. (Reuters)

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Fire destroys most voting machines in Venezuela’s main elections warehouse

UNTV News   •   March 9, 2020

Venezuela’s elections council said on Sunday (March 8) that a fire over the weekend destroyed most of the voting machines stored in its main warehouse in the capital, Caracas, potentially complicating parliamentary elections scheduled for this year.

Nearly 50,000 voting machines and almost 600 computers went up in flames as a result of the fire that broke out on Saturday (March 7), said elections council chief Tibisay Lucena.

She did not elaborate on how many voting machines were still available for use, or how the incident would affect future elections. Lucena said she had asked state prosecutors to look into the cause of the blaze, which did not cause any injuries.

The South American country’s elections have come under heavy criticism since President Nicolas Maduro’s 2018 re-election was widely dismissed as rigged in his favour, leading dozens of governments around the world to disavow his government in 2019.t.

Venezuela holds elections this year for parliament, which is currently controlled by the opposition. Maduro’s adversaries are demanding that the country instead hold a new presidential election, and have not yet said whether they will participate in the legislative election. A date for that vote has not been set. (REUTERS / VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT TV)

(Production: Efrain Otero, Johnny Carvajal, Paul Vieira)

Tears and cheers as EU lawmakers give final nod to Brexit

UNTV News   •   January 30, 2020

MEMBERS OF SOCIALIST GROUP IN EU PARLIAMENT JACKIE JONES, JUDE KIRTON-DARLING AND RORY PALMER SINGING. MEMBERS OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT VOTING BREXIT DEAL, ALL STANDING AND SINGING IN PLENARY ROOM, SOME CRYING BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (JANUARY 29, 2020)

EU lawmakers on Wednesday (January 29) expressed joy and sadness after the European Union’s parliamentary body gave its final approval to Britain’s divorce deal from the bloc, paving the way for Brexit to take place on Friday.

Asked by reporters after the vote if he had any regret, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage launched into a harangue, shouting the words ‘freedom, democracy, self-governance,’ while other members of his party waved the British flags on their way out of the plenary room.

Labour Party lawmaker Judith Kirton-Darling shed tears, calling Britain’s departure from the European Union ‘devastating’.

The chairman of the Brexit steering group in the EU Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt said he had never witnessed such emotion in the plenary room, adding lawmakers would ‘not miss Mr. (Nigel) Farage.’

In a customary address to departing lawmakers European Parliament President David Sassoli said no one could predict the future and that maybe ‘History might one day give others the task of reverting back’ Britain’s decision.

After protracted divorce talks, Britain will leave the club it joined in 1973 at midnight Brussels time on Friday, when British flags will be removed from EU offices and the EU flag lowered on the British premises there. (Reuters)

(Production: Ciara Luxton, Christian Levaux, Clement Rossignol)

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