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Cuba blasts US ‘lies’ over virus medical help

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Cuba hit out at the United States on Thursday over a “campaign of discredit and lies” against the doctors it has sent around the world to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Following requests in recent weeks, communist Cuba has sent medical teams to Italy, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Grenada, Suriname, Jamaica and Belize.

The export of medical services is one of the pillars of the Cuban economy that has suffered almost six decades of crippling US sanctions, bringing in $6.3 billion in 2018, according to official figures.

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“The American government’s campaign of discredit is immoral in any circumstances, and it’s particularly offensive for Cuba and the world in times of a pandemic that threatens all of us,” said the foreign ministry.

The US State Department is waging “a continuous and exacerbated campaign of discredit and lies against the international medical cooperation supplied by Cuba,” the ministry said in a diplomatic protest statement.

“#Cuba offers its international medical missions to those afflicted with #COVID-19 only to make up the money it lost when countries stopped participating in the abusive program,” said the State Department on Twitter.

Cuba, which is world renown for its medical training program, has more than 30,000 doctors working in 61 countries.

However, following governmental swings from leftist allies to right-wing opponents, several countries — including Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador and El Salvador — sent the doctors home to Cuba.

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The State Department said the Cuban state, which provides free education, “keeps most of the salary its doctors and nurses earn while serving in its international medical missions while exposing them to egregious labor conditions.”

“Host countries seeking Cuba’s help for #COVID-19 should scrutinize agreements and end labor abuses.”

Cuba says it pays its medical professionals enough money to cover their expenses in their host country, on top of a salary of around $50 a month paid in Cuba.

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The rest of the money made from the program helps ensure health and education remain free for everyone on the Caribbean island nation, Havana says.

Photo: Woman Wearing a Face Mask Against Coronavirus (Yamil LAGE AFP)

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This Europe country is housing quarantined coronavirus patients in a five-star hotel

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An ambulance driver wearing a white protective gown enters a Barcelona hotel and announces the arrival of three new "customers" -- a trio of coronavirus patients discharged from hospital into luxury quarantine.

"Good morning! How are you? My name is Enrique Aranda and I am probably the first non health care worker you see in several days," says the director of the five-star Melia Sarria hotel, peering into the ambulance.

It took just three days to convert the hotel, which features contemporary decor and bathrooms with marble finishing, into a clinic.

"Some patients arrive thinking that they were taken out of hospital to be left to die, many people are frightened. I try to make them forget all that," said Aranda, wearing mask and gloves.

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UK Labour to unveil new leader to replace Jeremy Corbyn

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Britain's main opposition Labour party on Saturday unveils a new leader who will take the helm of a defeated and divided party in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

Keir Starmer, a former director of state prosecutions and Labour's Brexit spokesman, is the runaway favourite to win the ballot of around 500,000 party members and succeed Jeremy Corbyn.

The announcement will be a low-key affair, with a planned special conference cancelled due to restrictions on social gatherings imposed to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Instead, the result will be put out in a press release mid-morning -- and candidates have been asked to pre-record their victory speeches.

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‘Trump fires people for telling the truth’: President blasted for ‘dead of night decision’ to fire intel watchdog

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President Donald Trump was harshly criticized on Friday for firing intelligence community Inspector General Michael Atkinson.

House Intel Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Senate Intel Ranking Member Mark Warner (D-VA) were among the lawmakers who took to Twitter to criticize Trump on his favorite social media platform.

Here's some of what people were saying about Trump's decision:

Trump’s dead of night decision to fire ICIG Michael Atkinson is another blatant attempt to gut the independence of the Intelligence Community and retaliate against those who dare to expose presidential wrongdoing.

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