New US travel ban “psychological terrorism“: Venezuela

Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza of Venezuela addresses the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, on Monday. (AP)
Updated 26 September 2017
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New US travel ban “psychological terrorism“: Venezuela

CARACAS: Venezuela accused the United States on Monday of “psychological terrorism” designed to bring down the government after it was included in a list of eight countries targeted by a travel ban.
In a speech at the UN General Assembly, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza described US President Donald Trump as acting like “the world’s emperor.”
Amid an escalating war of words, Arreaza said Venezuela would seek dialogue with Washington to “stop the madness and irrationality.”
Last week, he accused Trump of being “racist and supremacist” after Trump told the annual UN assembly that the US was ready to act to restore Venezuela’s democracy.
“As a free people, we are ready to defend our sovereignty, our independence and our democracy in any scenario and in any way,” Arreaza said.
In a short statement to reporters following his speech, he added: “I insist, if they attack us on the ground, we will respond forcefully in the defense of our country and of our people.”
Earlier, his foreign ministry had said that “these types of lists... are incompatible with international law and constitute in themselves a form of psychological and political terrorism.”
Venezuela was added Sunday to a new list of countries targeted by the US ban, due to what it called poor security and a lack of cooperation with American authorities.
The restrictions on Venezuela were limited to officials from a list of government agencies and their families, while full travel bans were placed on nationals from the other seven countries, including Chad and North Korea.
The socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro said Washington was using the fight against terrorism for its own political ends.
The foreign ministry statement said the ban was seeking to “stigmatize” Venezuela “under the pretext of combating terrorism, by including it in a unilaterally drawn-up list and accusing other states of being alleged promoters of this terrible scourge.”
It rejected “the irrational decision of the United States government to once again catalog the noble Venezuelan people as a threat to their national security.”
Venezuela has been rocked by months of economic chaos and deadly protests as Maduro tries to consolidate control, including through a new Constituent Assembly that has wrested power from the opposition-dominated legislature.
Most of the nations affected by the ban announced Sunday were part of a measure targeting Muslim countries that Trump authorized shortly after taking office.
Sudan was removed from the original list, after recent praise from US officials for Khartoum’s efforts in fighting terrorism.
The new restrictions replace an expiring 90-day measure that had locked Trump in political and legal battles since he took office in January over what critics alleged was an effort to bar Muslims from the country.


“No-deal” Brexit would hit trucks, airlines and pet owners — govt papers

Updated 24 September 2018
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“No-deal” Brexit would hit trucks, airlines and pet owners — govt papers

LONDON: Leaving the European Union without a proper divorce deal could ground airlines, stop hauliers from lugging goods to the world’s biggest trading bloc and even make headaches for pet owners who want to take their dogs on holiday, according to government documents.
With just six months to go until the United Kingdom is due to leave the EU on March 29, Prime Minister Theresa May has warned that negotiations are at an impasse and that the EU must come up with new proposals on how to craft a divorce settlement.
Many business chiefs and investors fear politics could scupper an agreement, thrusting the world’s fifth largest economy into a “no-deal” Brexit that they say would spook financial markets and silt up the arteries of trade.
Britain, which has warned it could leave without a deal, published 25 technical notices on Monday covering everything from commercial road haulage and buying timber to airline regulations and taking pets abroad.
“If the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no agreement in place, UK and EU licensed airlines would lose the automatic right to operate air services between the UK and the EU without seeking advance permission,” the government said.
Overall, the government has published more than 65 such notices giving a glimpse of what a no-deal Brexit — the nightmare scenario for chief executives of most multinationals operating in Britain — would look like.
Amid warnings that trucks could stack up on both sides of the English Channel in the confusion of a no deal, Britain said it would seek to strike bilateral agreements with European countries to ensure hauliers would retain access.
The notices covered a vast swathe of the British economy, warning, for example, that labels on packaged food would have to be changed.
“Use of the term ‘EU’ in origin labelling would no longer be correct for food or ingredients from the UK,” the government said.
Honey producers would have to change their labels while EU countries might not accept British mineral water, the government said.
In the worse case scenario for pet owners, dogs, cats and even ferrets might need health certificates and rabies jabs. Travel plans would have to be discussed with a vet at least four months in advance before traveling to the EU.
That would mean someone wanting to take their pet to the EU on March 30, 2019, the day after Britain leaves the bloc, would have to discuss the trip with a vet before the end of November.
Without a deal, the UK would move from seamless trade with the rest of the EU to customs arrangements set by the World Trade Organization for external states with no preferential deals.
Brexiteers accept there is likely to be some short-term economic pain but say the government is trying to scare voters about the impact of a no-deal Brexit.
Britain, many Brexiteers say, will thrive in the longer term if cut loose from what they see as a doomed experiment in German-dominated unity and excessive debt-funded welfare spending.