News ID: 93379
Publish Date : 14 August 2021 - 21:56

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued a new terrorism threat advisory ahead of the anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks and amid a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic. The National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin said the United States faces a “heightened threat environment” from both domestic terrorists “and those inspired or motivated by foreign terrorists and other malign foreign influences.” It cited increased use of “online forums to influence and spread violent extremist narratives and promote violent activity.” The new advisory updated a January alert following the attack on the U.S. Congress by supporters of then-president Donald Trump, when DHS said the country faced “increasingly complex and volatile” threats from anti-government and racially motivated extremists, often stirred up by online influence from abroad. The bulletin had already been amended in May, with DHS warning violent extremists could exploit the easing of Covid-19 restrictions to conduct attacks. “Extremists may seek to exploit the emergence of Covid-19 variants by viewing the potential re-establishment of public health restrictions across the United States as a rationale to conduct attacks,” the DHS advisory said, adding that “pandemic-related stressors... may contribute to more violence this year.”

MOSCOW (Dispatches) – The Russian government has told a BBC journalist working in Moscow to leave the country by the end of this month in retaliation for London’s “discrimination” against Russian media in Britain, state TV reported. Rossiya-24 TV channel announced on late Thursday that Sarah Rainsford, a BBC correspondent, would be going home in what it called “a symbolic deportation.” Rainsford’s visa expires on Aug. 31 and will not be renewed, according to the authorities. The measure signals a further deterioration in already poor ties between London and Moscow. The development comes on the heels of an attack on the country’s Russian-speaking media before the parliamentary elections in September, which the authorities believed were supported by malicious foreign interests trying to incite unrest. The move was in retaliation for London’s rejection to renew or issue visas for Russian journalists working in the UK, the state-owned media reported, citing Britain’s treatment of state broadcaster RT and of online state news agency Sputnik, saying neither were allowed to cover international events in the UK.

MEXICO CITY (Dispatches) – Representatives of Venezuela’s government and opposition groups have begun a fresh round of talks in Mexico in efforts to resolve the nation’s persisting political and economic crisis, amid a U.S.-led campaign against Caracas. Unlike previous talks between the two sides, the ongoing negotiations that commenced on Friday at Mexico City’s National Museum of Anthropology will include more than a dozen countries, among them the Netherlands, Russia, Bolivia, Turkey and Norway, which will play the role of a facilitator. The two sides have agreed to a memorandum of understanding containing the road map that will guide the dialogue process. For the talks to advance to a potential agreement, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro insists that sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its European allies on the country’s officials and institutions be lifted. Caracas says the U.S.-led sanctions are responsible for the OPEC member’s economic crisis. The opposition coalition, for its part, has called for humanitarian aid, including vaccines against COVID-19, to be allowed into Venezuela; dozens of supporters whom it considers as “political prisoners” to be released and its participation in regional elections in November to be guaranteed.

TOKYO (AFP) – More than a million people were urged to seek shelter as torrential rain triggered floods and landslides in western Japan on Saturday, leaving at least one dead and two missing. Authorities in Hiroshima and the northern part of Kyushu issued their highest evacuation alert as the weather agency reported unprecedented levels of rain in the area. Under the non-compulsory alert, around 1.4 million residents have been asked to leave their homes immediately, public broadcaster NHK reported. TV footage showed rescuers towing residents through submerged streets on a lifeboat in the town of Kurume in Fukuoka, while a muddy stream began to overflow in neighboring Saga prefecture. A 59-year-old woman died and two of her family members were missing after a landslide destroyed two houses in Unzen, Nagasaki prefecture, a local official said. “More than 150 troops, police and firefighters were dispatched to the site for rescue operations,” Takumi Kumasaki told AFP.

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – A major earthquake struck western Haiti on Saturday, sending shock waves across the Caribbean, where people fled their homes for fear that buildings might collapse, and sparking a regional tsunami warning. The magnitude 7.2 earthquake quake struck 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the town of Petit Trou de Nippes, about 150 kilometers west of the capital Port-au-Prince, at a depth of 10 kilometers, the U.S. Geological Survey said. That made the earthquake bigger and shallower than the magnitude 7 earthquake that struck Haiti 11 years ago, killing tens if not hundreds of thousands of people, flattening buildings and leaving many homeless. While there were no official reports yet in Haiti of injuries or deaths, images posted on social media showed homes and part of a church in the nearby town of Jeremie reduced to rubble.

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