China says US has ordered it to close Houston consulate in what it calls a provocation that violates

China says US has ordered it to close Houston consulate in what it calls a provocation that violates

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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

BEIJING (AP) – China says US has ordered it to close Houston consulate in what it calls a provocation that violates international law.

US offers $5M bounty for top Venezuela judge, Maduro ally

US offers $5M bounty for top Venezuela judge, Maduro ally

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FILE – In this Jan. 31, 2020 file photo, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, right, speaks with Supreme Court President Maikel Moreno at the Supreme Court in Caracas, Venezuela. Maduro is at the court to give his annual presidential address. On … more >

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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – The Trump administration offered a $5 million reward Tuesday for information leading to the arrest of the head of Venezuela’s high court, accusing the judge of taking bribes.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Supreme Tribunal of Justice President Maikel Moreno, a close political ally of socialist President Nicolás Maduro, actively participated in transnational organized crime.

Moreno has allegedly received bribes in over 20 criminal and civil court cases, Pompeo said.

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Moreno quickly rejected the reward, saying it was based on lies aimed at undermining him and will only strengthen his “autonomy and independence” as the head of Venezuela’s high court.

“This is not the first time a mouthpiece of the U.S. empire has tried to attack me,” Moreno said in a statement posted on Facebook. “They will never succeed because the independence and sovereignty of our homeland is not up for discussion.”

The Trump administration this year launched a “maximum pressure” campaign to oust Maduro as Venezuela’s economic and social crisis deepens in the once-wealthy oil nation. U.S. officials earlier this year charged Maduro as a narcoterrorist, offering $15 million for his arrest.

Maduro has rejected the U.S. charges against him, saying the are politically motivated.

The White House recognizes opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate leader. U.S. federal prosecutors earlier this year charged Moreno with money laundering offenses associated with the bribery.

“The United States continues to stand with the people of Venezuela in their fight against corruption and for the peaceful restoration of democracy,” Pompeo said in a statement.

Polish foreign minister expecting to leave job in reshuffle

Polish foreign minister expecting to leave job in reshuffle

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Monday, July 20, 2020

WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Poland’s foreign minister says he is expecting to leave his job in the near future.

Jacek Czaputowicz spoke amid talk of a major reshuffle in the right-wing government following the recent re-election of President Andrzej Duda, the government’s ally.

Czaputowicz told the Rzeczpospolita daily’s online version late Sunday that he had an agreement with the government head that he would serve until the presidential election, the runoff for which took place July 12.

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“A few months ago we agreed with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki that my mission will be continued until the presidential election,” Czaputowicz said.

Czaputowicz said he was not under pressure to go, but believes “this is a good moment for a change at the helm of our diplomacy.”

He said Duda’s re-election was a sign of approval for the government’s policies and he does not expect any change of course in foreign relations.

Ruling Law and Justice party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski said Sunday a government reshuffle and reorganization should be expected “right after summer vacation,” which could mean in September.