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Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters slams Venezuela border aid concert

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Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters slammed an upcoming “Live Aid”-style concert to raise funds for humanitarian aid for Venezuela, calling the event a U.S.-backed effort to tarnish the socialist government in a video circulating on Tuesday.

Billionaire Richard Branson is backing the Friday show in the Colombian border city of Cucuta with a fundraising target of $100 million to provide food and medicine for Venezuelans suffering widespread shortages.

Latin singers Alejandro Sanz, Nacho, Luis Fonsi and Maluma have so far confirmed they will perform in the concert, which has evoked comparisons to Irish rock star Bob Geldof’s 1985 global “Live Aid” concert to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia.

“It has nothing to do with humanitarian aid at all,” the 75-year old Waters said. “It has to do with Richard Branson … having bought the US saying, ‘We have decided to take over Venezuela, for whatever our reasons may be.’”

“Venezuela Aid Live” is part of a broader western relief effort organized by Venezuela’s opposition, that blames the ruling Socialists for the economy’s hyperinflationary downwards spiral that has sparked the exodus of millions.

President Nicolas Maduro, who is facing growing international pressure to step down after his disputed re-election last year, denies there is a humanitarian crisis.

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“Richard is helping them to raise awareness of the crisis in Venezuela and raise much needed funds through this event,” a spokesperson for Virgin, which handles media inquiries for Branson, said in a statement. “This is not a political statement and the U.S. is not involved in any aspect of this.”

The United States is openly backing Maduro’s rival and congress chief Juan Guaido, who last month invoked constitutional provisions to declare himself interim president.

The opposition plans to bring aid into Venezuela on Saturday from collection points in neighboring countries including Cucuta via sea and land, despite Maduro’s refusal to let it in, setting up a possible clash with authorities.

Waters, the British rock group’s principal songwriter who penned many of the hit songs on the hugely popular albums “The Dark Side of the Moon” and “The Wall,” said the relief effort was part of the United States’ attempts to paint a false picture of Venezuela to justify regime change.

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To date there was “no mayhem, no murder, no apparent dictatorship” in Venezuela, he said, despite even government data putting the homicide rate among the world’s highest.

“Do we really want Venezuela to turn in to another Iraq or Syria or Libya? I don’t and neither do the Venezuelan people,” Waters wrote.

This is not the first time the bass player has weighed into South American politics. During a concert in Brazil ahead of presidential elections there last year, Waters spoke out against then right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who is now president.

Maduro’s government this week announced two concerts on Friday and Saturday just across the border from Cucuta to rival Branson’s “Aid Live” show.

Reporting by Brian Ellsworth and Sarah Marsh; editing by Bill Berkrot

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Sailing among the stars: Here’s how photons could revolutionize space flight

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A few days from now, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will lift off from Florida, carrying a satellite the size of a loaf of bread with nothing to power it but a huge polyester "solar sail."

It's been the stuff of scientists' dreams for decades but has only very recently become a reality.

The idea might sounds crazy: propelling a craft through the vacuum of space with no engine, no fuel, and no solar panels, but instead harnessing the momentum of packets of light energy known as photons -- in this case from our Sun.

The spacecraft to be launched on Monday, called LightSail 2, was developed by the Planetary Society, a US organization that promotes space exploration which was co-founded by the legendary astronomer Carl Sagan in 1980.

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Russians to prod Putin on poverty and his personal life as his ratings tank

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Russians are set to ask President Vladimir Putin about growing poverty at home and tensions abroad during an annual televised phone-in Thursday, which comes following a fall in his approval ratings.

The leader is also likely to face a degree of grilling on his personal life, according to questions submitted by the public online ahead of the live show.

Set to be held for the 17th time since Putin came to power in 1999, the show starts at 0900 GMT and usually lasts several hours.

Ahead of the carefully choreographed show, more than one million questions had been submitted, organisers told Russian news agencies.

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Trump could turn on Hope Hicks just like Michael Cohen: Trump family biographer warns

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Trump family biographer Emily Jane Fox explained that she didn't think that the president would turn on long-time aide Hope Hicks, but then again, it was the same thought about Michael Cohen as well.

In a panel discussion about Hicks' testimony during MSNBC's Brian Williams' Wednesday show, Fox recalled that Micahel Cohen once said that he would take a bullet for the president. Once it appeared that Trump would throw him under the bus, Cohen began looking for a way out.

The same scenario seems to be happening with Hicks now.

"She works at new Fox, which is a company run by a Murdoch son," Fox said. "It's a company that's brand new. She's the head of communications there. And there are shareholders who would take issue with the fact that a senior member of this company is being put in this situation and being thrust on the world stage."

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