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Venezuela’s Guaido lays out broad vision for the country

Venezuela’s self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido presented the opposition’s broad vision for the country’s future on Thursday, as the political crisis in the country deepened.  “We have a plan, well thought out, structured,” Guaido said at the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences in the Central University of Venezuela on Thursday, noting that “it is the…

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Venezuela’s Guaido lays out broad vision for the country

Venezuela’s self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido presented the opposition’s broad vision for the country’s future on Thursday, as the political crisis in the country deepened. 

“We have a plan, well thought out, structured,” Guaido said at the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences in the Central University of Venezuela on Thursday, noting that “it is the sum of many sacrifices”. 

The “National Plan” focuses on the opposition’s vision for the economy and oil resources, but it also tackles public services, security, governability and society. 

Guaido said there would be something for everyone in society to do as Venezuela moves forward, including the military.

“The armed forces also have a role in the reconstruction of the country,” he said.

Last week, Guaido swore himself in as interim president before a crowd of his supporters. The proclamation came after the opposition-controlled National Assembly declared President Nicolas Maduro’s second-term “illegitimate”. 

Maduro accuses Guaido of leading a US-backed coup, and says the United States, among other countries, are waging an economic war aimed at removing him from power. 

In Thursday’s speech, Guaido divided the plan into three phases: the “cessation of the usurpation”, the establishment of a “transitional government” and free elections. 

According to Guaido, the priorities include the coordination of humanitarian assistance, the restoration of public services and an effort to tackle people’s dependency on subsidies. 

‘No dialogue with Maduro’

Guaido indicated that there would be no dialogue with Maduro or anyone in his government.

“We will never lend ourselves to false dialogues in any place,” he said, adding that protests will continue throughout the country. “The organised, systematic and sustained protests will continue until this dictatorship falls.” 

Translation: Today we present #PlanPaís. The route for the country we want to build together. We have the agreement, the will and the professionals to immediately address the problems of Venezuelans, Guaido wrote on Twitter. 

¡Respuestas concretas y planificación para Venezuela!Hoy presentamos #PlanPaís. La ruta para el país que queremos construir entre todos. Contamos con el acuerdo, la voluntad y los profesionales para atender de inmediato los problemas de los venezolanos. #VenezuelaTenemosPlanPaís pic.twitter.com/qM3E2dxdI9
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) January 31, 2019

Threats and police forces 

Towards the end of his speech, Guaido said that agents of Special Action Forces (FAES) were at his home. 

“I will hold you responsible for any threat that you could make to my 20-months old daughter,” Guaido said. 

The US, which backs Guaido, has warned of “serious consequences” if Maduro’s government harms him.

Guaido later appeared at his building with his wife and daughter, saying “they will not intimidate this family.”

 Juan Guaido talks to media next to his wife Fabiana Rosales, while carrying their daughter outside their home Caracas [Carlos Garcia/Reuters]

Neighbours said men who identified themselves as belonging to the FAES arrived at the gate of his apartment building in a white SUV.

There was no obvious police presence by the time journalists arrived at Guaido’s house.

The political fight between Maduro and Guaido has drawn in foreign powers.

On one side of the tussle for control of Venezuela – an OPEC member with the world’s largest oil reserves but in dire financial straits – Guaido and Western backers led by the US are insisting on an immediate transition and fresh elections.

On the other, Maduro, with backing from Russia, China and Turkey, says he will remain for his second six-year term despite accusations of fraud in his re-election last year and the economic meltdown. 

Maduro, who first took office in 2013, has faced waves of protests in recent years as he presided over a collapsing economy, with hyperinflation and chronic food shortages. He enjoys the support of the military and some Venezuelans. 

Some three million Venezuelans have left the country since 2015, according to the UN.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies

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Sign language: Connecting people and cultures

The Deaf Friends team – KUNA photosSign language is a full-fledged means of communication for deaf people, depending on facial and body gestures that enable them to interact. The UN General Assembly set Sept 23 as the International Day for Sign Languages to highlight their importance, and how it was a major right for deaf…

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Sign language: Connecting people and cultures

The Deaf Friends team – KUNA photosSign language is a full-fledged means of communication for deaf people, depending on facial and body gestures that enable them to interact. The UN General Assembly set Sept 23 as the International Day for Sign Languages to highlight their importance, and how it was a major right for deaf people to have their own languages. The international day coincides with the establishment of the World Federation of the Deaf, founded in 1951.
“Sign language is multicultural and derived from the culture of every country,” said Hamad Al-Marri, President of Kuwait Sport Club for the Deaf. Marri, also member of the higher council for the disabled, told KUNA deaf people will be using their hands and other body gestures to express themselves. Every country has a unique sign language depending on its culture, he explained. “There is an international sign language, an Arab sign language and a unique local sign language.”
Arabic days of the week in sign languageMarri said many deaf people have occupied senior positions because they excelled in the use of sign language. He added he proposed to the Civil Service Commission for the appointment of people with sign language expertise in government departments to help the deaf. Marri said HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah instructed Kuwait National Guards personnel, when he was deputy chief of KNG, to learn sign language to communicate with the deaf.
Arabic alphabets in sign languageDr Mohammad Al-Ramzi, a sign language instructor, said sign language “is rich, expressive and complicated just like the spoken language, and it has a grammar framework similar to all human languages”. Speaking to KUNA, Ramzi said Arab countries unified their sign languages in 1999 and a dictionary was published with more than 3,000 signs. Kuwait was the first country in the world to interpret three TV news bulletins. The bulletins were raised to eight per day in 2020, he added.
Ismail Karam, Technical Director at Kuwait Sport Club for the Deaf, said he learned sign language at Al-Amal (Hope) School for people with special needs, which he joined in 1960. After spending 12 years at the school, Karam graduated with the ability to write and sign. He then worked at the finance ministry’s printing press where he spent 30 years, during which he joined former classmates to establish the Kuwait Society for Deaf and Dumb in 1975. The society later changed its name to Kuwait Sport Club for the Deaf.
Al-Zahraa Al-Tamimi, member of the Deaf Friends team, said team members are teaching hearing-impaired people how to use sign language. The team, she told KUNA, sought to spread the use of sign language on social media, TV channels and public places. Kuwait is the second Arab country to introduce education of the deaf – the ministry of education issued a law in 1965 making it mandatory for people with special needs to get an education. – KUNA
 

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Kuwaiti army chief, Australian commander discuss military issues

KUWAIT: Lieutenant General Khaled Saleh Al-Sabah receives Commander of the Australian Joint Task Force Brigadier General David Paddison. – KUNAKUWAIT: Chief of the General Staff of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces Lieutenant General Sheikh Khaled Saleh Al-Sabah discussed with the Commander of the Australian Joint Task Force Brigadier General David Paddison important matters and topics of…

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Kuwaiti army chief, Australian commander discuss military issues

KUWAIT: Lieutenant General Khaled Saleh Al-Sabah receives Commander of the Australian Joint Task Force Brigadier General David Paddison. – KUNAKUWAIT: Chief of the General Staff of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces Lieutenant General Sheikh Khaled Saleh Al-Sabah discussed with the Commander of the Australian Joint Task Force Brigadier General David Paddison important matters and topics of common interest, especially those related to the military. The general staff said in a press statement yesterday that Sheikh Khaled received Paddison along with his accompanying delegation during his official visit to the country.
During the meeting, the important matters and topics of common interest were discussed, where the chief of staff commended the depth of bilateral ties between both sides. The meeting was attended by Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Army Lt Gen Fahad Al-Nasser, Australian Ambassador to Kuwait Jonathan Gilbert and several senior army commanding officers. – KUNA
 

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Myanmar will not address world leaders at UN General Assembly

Russia and China have reportedly agreed to allow Kyaw Moe Tun to keep Myanmar’s UN seat as long as he does not speak during high-level meeting.No representative from Myanmar is scheduled to address the annual high-level United Nations General Assembly next week, a UN spokesman said, amid rival claims for the country’s UN seat in…

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Myanmar will not address world leaders at UN General Assembly

Russia and China have reportedly agreed to allow Kyaw Moe Tun to keep Myanmar’s UN seat as long as he does not speak during high-level meeting.No representative from Myanmar is scheduled to address the annual high-level United Nations General Assembly next week, a UN spokesman said, amid rival claims for the country’s UN seat in New York after a military coup deposed the elected government.
“At this point, Myanmar is not speaking,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Friday.
Myanmar’s current UN Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun – appointed by Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government – had initially been expected to address the 193-member General Assembly on Monday, the final day of the gathering.
But diplomats said China, Russia and the United States had reached an understanding, where Moscow and Beijing will not object to Kyaw Moe Tun remaining in Myanmar’s UN seat for the moment as long as he does not speak during the high-level meeting.
“I withdrew from the speaker list, and will not speak at this general debate,” Kyaw Moe Tun told Reuters the news agency, adding that he was aware of the understanding between some members of the UN credentials committee, which includes Russia, China and the US.

Myanmar’s military government has put forward military veteran Aung Thurein to be its UN envoy, while Kyaw Moe Tun has asked to renew his UN accreditation, despite being the target of a plot to kill or injure him for his opposition to the February coup.
UN accreditation issues are dealt with by a nine-member committee, whose members include the US, China and Russia. It traditionally meets in October or November.
Until a decision is made by the credentials committee, Kyaw Moe Tun will remain in the seats, according to the General Assembly rules. The same rule also applies to the representative of Afghanistan.
News of Kyaw Moe Tun’s absence on Monday comes as violence linked to the February 1 coup continues to displace thousands of civilians at home.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since Aung San Suu Kyi’s government was overthrown by the military in February, sparking a nationwide uprising that the military has tried to crush.
Attacks on the military have increased after lawmakers deposed by the generals called for a “people’s defensive war” earlier this month.
News of Kyaw Moe Tun’s absence on Monday comes as violence linked to the February 1 coup continues to displace thousands of civilians at home [File: Osamu Honda/AP]The latest violence was reported in Chin state and Sagaing region in the country’s northwest, with soldiers engaging in battles with armed local defence groups.
More than 1,100 civilians have been killed and nearly 8,000 arrested since the coup, according to local observers.
Coup leaders have defended its power grab by alleging massive fraud during elections in late 2020 which Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won by a landslide.
On Thursday, Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, warned of a human rights catastrophe under military rule in Myanmar and urged the international community to do more to prevent the conflict in the country from getting worse.
“The national consequences are terrible and tragic – the regional consequences could also be profound,” she said in a statement.
“The international community must redouble its efforts to restore democracy and prevent wider conflict before it is too late.”

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