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Venezuela’s opposition parliament remains in power and ratifies Juan Guaido as president – News

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The meeting of the opposition parliament, elected in 2015, was held virtually, and during the debate, some parliamentarians expressed support for the initiative, while others expressed doubts about the constitutionality of its extension, which was originally supposed to last a year, for a second. four years in a row.

“There were no presidential elections in 2018, nor were there parliamentary elections in 2020. Venezuela cannot exist without legal powers, and that is why we support the constitutional continuity of the legislative branch and the interim presidency, ”said MP Freddie Guevara.

The opponent also stressed that the adoption of the Statute on the political transition “is the only consistent and constitutional decision to leave the dictatorship” and that “it would be suicide” for the opposition parliament to withdraw its support for Juan Guaido and “recognize Nicolas Maduro” as president. …

Since January 2020, Venezuela has had two partially recognized parliaments: one with an opposing majority, led by Juan Guaido, whose deputies were elected in 2015, and the pro-regime Nicolas Maduro, chaired by Jorge Rodriguez.

Parliamentary deputies supporting the regime were sworn in on January 5, 2021, after being elected on December 6, 2020, with ballots not recognized by the opposition.

Twenty of the 265 MPs supporting Maduro are opponents who have seceded from Guaido, and one from the Communist Party.

Today, Edwin Lozardo, who is also an adversary, denounced the reform for “violating the Constitution”, “intending to create a legislative government that is not included in the text of the constitution, taking away all powers from the executive branch.”

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According to the local press, the reform of the Statute on Political Transition in Venezuela, which still has to be submitted for two discussions before its final approval, limits the functions of Guaido, suggesting that it will be called “special directives” for public institutions, autonomous, public funds, associations , civil societies and state-owned companies, including those registered abroad.

On the other hand, the interim government is prohibited from using contractual and financial instruments related to the assets of the Venezuelan state abroad, which becomes the exclusive competence of the opposition parliament, which will also have to appoint administration councils for the state-owned company Petróleos. de Venezuela SA and subsidiaries.

James Storey, Commercial Attaché of the US Mission to Venezuela, reacted to the parliamentary decision and via Twitter congratulated Guaidó on the ratification of the post of head of the organization and interim president of the country.

“We congratulate the National Assembly for its efforts to find a democratic solution based on continuity. We continue to recognize the legitimacy of the 2015 National Assembly and interim President Juan Guaido. Returning to negotiations in Mexico is the best way forward, ”wrote James Storey on his Twitter account.

The political, economic and social crisis in Venezuela has escalated since January 2019, when Guaido vowed to take on the role of interim president of the country until he ousted Nicolas Maduro from power, called for a transitional government and free and democratic elections.

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Paris bombings: Sole survivor sentenced to life in prison

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The lone survivor of the 2015 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, was sentenced this Wednesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Life imprisonment is the most severe punishment in the French penal system and is used very rarely.

Salah Abdeslam (Belgian Federal Police via AP, file)

Of the 20 defendants, 19 had multiple convictions for terrorism, and one, Farid Kharkhach, was convicted of petty fraud.

Throughout the process, Abdeslam declared his radicalism, wept, apologized to the victims and begged the judges to forgive his “mistakes”.

On November 13, 2015, attacks on the terraces of cafes and restaurants, the Bataclan concert hall – during a concert by the American group Eagles of Death Metal – and next to the Stade de France stadium, where the French football team played with the German one – killed 130 people.

Attack on the Bataclan
AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu, file

The 20 defendants were awaiting sentencing today, after two and a half days of jury isolation in a secret military barracks for deliberations.

The presiding judge, Judge Jean-Louis Pery, read out the verdicts in the courtroom in unprecedented security, ending a nine-month trial.

Mohamed Abrini, the “man in the hat” of the Brussels attacks, accused of providing logistical support on November 13, 2015, was sentenced to life in prison.

Osama Krayem and Sophien Ayari, whose prosecution showed “confidence” that they would carry out the Amsterdam airport attack on the same day as the Paris attacks, were sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Mohamed Bakkali, who is considered by the National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office to be a “confidant” of the cell’s logistics, was also sentenced to 30 years in prison.

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The six defendants were tried in absentia, including five senior Islamic State (IS) officials who are believed to have died, including Belgian suspected sponsor of the attacks, Oussama Atar.

Penalties range from two years to life imprisonment, and three defendants were given suspended sentences without the right to return to prison.

Fourteen defendants were brought to trial, including Salah Abdeslam, the only survivor of a group of 10 people who terrorized the French capital on the night of November 13, 2015.

For the families of victims and survivors of the attacks, the trial was painful but decisive in their quest for justice.

During this trial, the longest in France, 1,800 witnesses were heard and 330 lawyers were mobilized.

Especially for this occasion, a courtroom was built and installed in the Palais de Justice in Paris, next to Notre Dame. This room will now be preserved for the July 14, 2016 attacks in Nice.

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EU close to compromise on lifting partial blockade of Kaliningrad – columnist

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Freight traffic through Lithuania to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad could resume within a few days. The information was disclosed to Reuters two sources familiar with the case say European authorities are seeking an understanding with Lithuania to resolve the dispute with Russia.

Since June 17, Lithuanian authorities have partially blocked the delivery of goods to the enclave, which mainly uses Lithuanian rail and road networks to transport goods.

The measure, justified by the fourth package of EU sanctions against Russia, affected the industrial sector, including the transportation of coal, metals and building materials, and became hotbed of tension with the Kremlin.

Kaliningrad. Could a partial blockade of the enclave lead to a Russian invasion of Lithuania?

Russian leadership accuses Lithuania of “unprecedented” measures what kind constitute a “violation of international law”. The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, however, guarantees that it does not apply any individual sanctions against Moscow, explaining this by the fact that it only implements the measures prescribed by Brussels.

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According to Reuters sources, who wished to remain anonymous, negotiations are underway to free the territory from sanctions. One of them says that despite the West’s willingness to continue to support Ukraine, it is proving difficult to maintain restrictive sanctions.

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Kyiv is negotiating with Moscow on the release of foreign fighters – News

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Moscow is holding captive “thousands” of Ukrainians and “military personnel from all over the world who have volunteered” to defend Ukraine, Zelensky reminded in statements to the US television channel NBC.

The head of the Ukrainian state thanked for the support of volunteer fighters, whom he considers “heroes”, and confirmed that negotiations are underway to release those who were captured.

“Everyone understands that the war in Ukraine today is here on this earth, but tomorrow it can happen anywhere in Europe, and the “day after tomorrow” can happen in the United States,” the Ukrainian president said.

Thus, he added, “it would be absolutely fair to say that the war in Ukraine is already a war in Europe and the United States, only – territorially – it is happening here.”

Zelenskiy’s announcement came on the same day that the defense of British citizen Sean Pinner, who was sentenced to death in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine, announced that he had appealed the sentence.

Pinner, 48, was sentenced to death on June 9, along with fellow Briton Aiden Aislin, 28, and Moroccan citizen Braquim Saadoun, after being found guilty of participating in hostilities “as mercenaries” in support of Ukrainian forces.

Two Britons were captured by Russian forces during Moscow’s siege of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol on the Sea of ​​Azov, Brakim Saadoun was taken prisoner in March.

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