Tuesday February 19, 2019
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US stocks jump after heavy sell off

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New York: US stocks rebounded sharply on Tuesday, as investors sought out bargains after the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s worst three-session drop. At midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 384.62 points (2.42 percent), to 16,255.97. The S&P 500 gained 46.94 points (2.48 percent), to 1,940.15. The Nasdaq Composite Index spiked 153.63 points(3.39 percent), to 4,679.88. The Nasdaq Composite Index leapt more than 3 percent as Chinese stocks such as JD.com and Baidu led advancers. Shares of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, rose 4.18 percent in the early trading.

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The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), China’s central bank, announced Tuesday a cut in the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) and lower key interest rates. Wall Street cheered the move, which was described in a PBOC statement as “promoting restructuring” to “stabilize the real economy. “Investors also kept an eye on new home sales and US consumer confidence index. US sales of new single-family houses in July were at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 507,000, said the Commerce Department Tuesday.

US consumer confidence index for August came in at 101.5, up from 91.0 in July, according to the New York-based research group Conference Board Tuesday. US stocks plunged on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average diving more than 500 points, as a rout in global markets continued to intensify. All three major Wall Street indexes fell into correction mode over the past two sessions. The CBOE Volatility Index, often referred to as Wall Street’s fear gauge, soared 45.34 percent to end at 40.74 on Monday.

(IANS)

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US Military Planes Deliver Aid to Venezuela-Colombia Border

The aid will be delivered to Cucuta, Colombia, where other food and medical supplies are being held.

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FILE - Demonstrators who are against the Venezuelan government chant outside of the Organization of American States during the special meeting of the Permanent Council, in Washington, April 3, 2017, to consider the recent events in Venezuela. VOA

More than 200 tons of US humanitarian aid intended for Venezuela is scheduled to begin arriving just across the border in Colombia Saturday, delivered by US military cargo planes.

The aid will be delivered to Cucuta, Colombia, where other food and medical supplies are being held.

The aid comes at the request of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido to ease shortages of food and other essentials in economically troubled Venezuela.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said the aid is part of Washington’s political maneuvering to get him out of office, and he has blocked off a bridge needed to bring the supplies into Venezuela.

The United States said Maduro’s election was unfair and illegitimate, and U.S. officials and scores of other nations have recognized his rival, Guaido, as the country’s interim leader.

US, Colombia, Venezuela
Sacks containing humanitarian aid are pictured at a warehouse near the Tienditas cross-border bridge between Colombia and Venezuela in Cucuta, Colombia, Feb. 14, 2019. VOA

Adding pressure

On Friday, Washington added to the political pressure on Maduro by sanctioning the head of Venezuela’s oil company as well as top intelligence officials.

Earlier Friday, Guiado’s representatives collected aid pledges from many nations at a meeting of the Organization of American States in Washington, where 25 countries promised more than $100 million in humanitarian aid to Venezuela.

“We came to ask for the solidarity of the governments of the world,” said Lester Toledo, coordinator for international help for Venezuela. “We appreciate the diplomatic gestures. We appreciate the letters and the recognition of President Guaidó. But we ask for help, to make the humanitarian aid a reality. That all donations can let us purchase medical supplies that we really need.”

Venezuela, US, Colombia
If the aid does arrive in Venezuela, organizations like the Red Cross will help distribute the supplies with “neutral and independent” conditions, Mario Villarroel, president of Venezuela’s Red Cross, said. Pixabay

Distributing the aid

U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States Carlos Trujillo said Guaidó has a plan.

“I believe that President Guaidó has done everything possible to make Maduro accept the humanitarian aid. Maduro has no argument, the person sitting in power doesn’t let the humanitarian aid reach his people who are dying of hunger,” Trujillo said.

Guaido said the aid will be brought into Venezuela Feb. 23.

Maduro, however, said the aid will not be brought into his nation, and he blames U.S. economic sanctions for Venezuela’s problems.

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“They’re putting pressure on Venezuela’s banks, which are in charge of purchasing and bringing the food and supplies. The White House is pressuring so that none of our bank accounts work. They have frozen billions of dollars that could otherwise buy food and medicine,” he claimed.

If the aid does arrive in Venezuela, organizations like the Red Cross will help distribute the supplies with “neutral and independent” conditions, Mario Villarroel, president of Venezuela’s Red Cross, said.

“We have the necessary experience, we know it is a very complex issue, but we will do our best to coordinate the distribution and organization of this humanitarian aid,” he said. (VOA)