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US denies Russian accusation it is preparing Venezuela intervention

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A top Russian security official on Tuesday accused Washington of deploying forces in Puerto Rico and Colombia in preparation for a military intervention in Venezuela to topple Moscow’s ally, President Nicolas Maduro, something the United States denied.

“… The United States is preparing a military invasion of an independent state,” Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council, was quoted as saying in an interview with weekly newspaper Argumenty i Fakty.

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“The transfer of American special operations forces to Puerto Rico, the landing of U.S. forces in Colombia and other facts indicate the Pentagon is reinforcing its troops in the region in order to use them in an operation to remove … Maduro from power,” Patrushev said.

However, the U.S. special envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, when asked on Tuesday if Washington was preparing to take military action in Venezuela, responded: “No.”

“The president has said all options are on the table. Presidents always say that and rightly so. But it ill behooves the Russians to talk about military intervention after they have dismembered both Georgia and Ukraine,” Abrams told reporters at the United Nations ahead of a Security Council meeting on Venezuela.

Venezuela, which has been plunged into political turmoil, was rocked by violent clashes at the weekend. The United States and a raft of other countries have backed the country’s opposition, while China and Russia have stood by Maduro’s government.

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Patrushev said Washington had asked Moscow for consultations on Venezuela and that Russia had agreed, but that U.S. officials had repeatedly postponed them under false pretexts.

U.S. officials have previously dismissed Russian allegations about U.S. plans for Venezuela as baseless “propaganda”.

Reporting by Polina Devitt and Andrew Osborn; additional reporting by Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Andrew Osborn and James Dalgleish

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump aides desperately try to downplay ‘order’ to US companies to leave China

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Donald Trump's top aides on Sunday downplayed the idea of US companies being forced to abandon China any time soon, as an edict from the president ordering businesses to start looking for alternatives has been met with skepticism.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House economics advisor Larry Kudlow took to the airwaves from France, where Trump is participating in the G7 summit, to smooth out tensions in the business community prompted by Trump's Friday tweet.

Trump said he has "no plan now" to bring US companies in line, and his aides quickly reinforced the message.

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Trump sparks confusion at G7 before doubling down on China tariffs

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President Donald Trump doubled down Sunday on his hard line against China after sowing confusion with statements that he might be willing to soften a trade war G7 partners fear threatens the world economy.

At the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, Trump announced a major trade deal with Japan and promised more of the same with Britain, once Brexit is done.

But the positives were overshadowed by a mix-up over his apparent expression of regret for the latest escalation in the US-China dispute.

"I have second thoughts about everything," he conceded to reporters when asked if he regretted his decision on Friday to ramp up tariffs on all Chinese imports, worth some $550 billion, in retaliation for Beijing's earlier hike of levies on US goods.

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Persecuted Christians eye long-sought freedom in Sudan

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Sudan's Christians suffered decades of persecution under the regime of Islamist general Omar al-Bashir. Now they hope his downfall will give the religious freedom they have long prayed for.

Deep within the maze of dusty alleys that honeycomb Omdurman, Khartoum's sprawling twin city, Yousef Zamgila's church is not visible from the street.

It is hidden in the courtyard of a friend's home and consists of a few iron benches, a pulpit and crosses hastily painted on pillars holding a corrugated roof.

"The previous centre got destroyed because we didn't have the right papers. They always refused... So we use the land of our neighbours," says the Lutheran reverend.

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