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U.S Pushes for Regime Change Over Gold in Nicaragua

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U.S Pushes for Regime Change Over Gold in Nicaragua

The Biden administration is increasing pressure on the President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, after he imposed a ban on Americans doing business in the country’s US$1bn gold industry.

Ortega’s actions result from an executive order signed by President Joe Biden on Monday in an attempt by the United States to hold the President of Nicaragua accountable for his alleged attacks on human rights and democracy in Central America as his continued security cooperation with Russia.

Previous penalties targeted Ortega, his wife and vice president, Rosario Murillo, and members of their family and personal circle. But none of these initiatives have weakened Ortega’s grip on power.

Despite global outrage over President Daniel Ortega’s tyranny, Nicaragua’s gold mining industry is expected to hit a key milestone next year, with exports expected to reach $1 billion.

The new executive order expands on a Trump-era edict that declared Ortega’s hijacking of democratic principles, undermining the rule of law, and using political violence against opponents to threaten U.S. national security.

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Nicaragua’s gold industry and Americans

With the Treasury Department’s concurrent suspension of Nicaragua’s General Directorate of Mines, the ruling effectively makes doing business with Nicaragua’s gold industry illegal for Americans.

It’s the first time the United States has designated a specific sector of the economy as potentially off-limits, and it could be expanded in the future to cover other industries seen to fill the government’s coffers.

The executive order also prepared the way for the United States to restrict investment and trade with Nicaragua, a move reminiscent of the severe embargo imposed by the United States in the 1980s following the country’s terrible civil war.

“The Ortega-Murillo regime’s ongoing attacks on democratic actors and members of civil society, as well as the illegal incarceration of political prisoners,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson.

“We have the ability and will utilize every weapon at our disposal to deny the Ortega-Murillo government the resources it needs to dismantle democratic institutions.”

Murillo did not specifically reference the extended U.S. sanctions in her daily statements to official media on Monday, but she did say that Nicaraguans are “defenders of national sovereignty.”

She also read a letter from Ortega congratulating China President Xi Jinping on his re-election as leader of the ruling Communist Party on Sunday, in which Ortega questioned the West’s “aggressive imperial aspirations.”

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Nicaraguans flooding Over US Border

Monday’s action might herald the start of a fresh offensive aimed at the broader economy, which the Biden administration has been hesitant to embrace for fear of exacerbating the country’s problems and sparking more migration.

U.S. border officials encountered Nicaraguans over 164,000 times at the southwest border during the fiscal year that ended in September, more than tripling the previous year’s total.

Simultaneously, frustrations in Washington have grown over Nicaragua’s business elites’ mainly muted response to Ortega’s crackdown.

The Biden administration’s targeting of the gold industry might deprive Ortega’s government of one of its most important funding sources. Gold was the country’s greatest export in 2020, and the country, which is currently Central America’s top producer of gold, plans to increase output in the next five years.

According to the Central Bank of Nicaragua, the country exported a record 348,532 ounces of gold in 2021, and the country’s mining organization anticipates exports of 500,000 ounces in 2023.

Condor Gold, whose CEO, Mark Child, featured in a photo with Nicaragua’s president in a September presentation for investors made by the U.K.-based company, is one of the foreign investors active in the country.

“He is entirely supportive of the concept,” Child said during a 90-minute discussion with Ortega in March. “That meeting… effectively offers a big green light for project finance construction and considerably de-risks the project.”

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Canadian-US Gold Mines in Nicaragua

Condor, listed in Toronto and London, has permission to build and manage three open pit mines, the most advanced of which is thought to contain 602,000 ounces of gold worth approximately $900 million at current rates.

Condor is partly held by a corporation run by an American mining engineer who has worked in the country for decades.

Condor shares were up 2 cents, or 3.8%, following the announcement in the United States. Calibre Gold Mining Corp, a Toronto-listed junior mining company with interests in Nicaragua, had its share price fall 17 cents, or 17%.

The Vancouver-based company has numerous mining sites in Nicaragua that are estimated to hold 2.9 million ounces of gold.

As part of Monday’s steps, the Treasury Department blocked Reinaldo Lenin Cerna’s assets in the United States, describing him as a close aide to Ortega. According to the Treasury Department, Cerna was the head of state security during Ortega’s first administration and reportedly assisted in the death of former dictator Anastasio Somoza’s chief of security.

Furthermore, the State Department will revoke the visas of more than 500 Nicaraguans and their family members who either work for the Ortega government or help formulate, implement, and benefit from policies that undermine democracy in the country, according to U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the action.

Previously, it froze the assets of the defence minister and other members of the security services linked to the closure of more than 1,000 nongovernmental groups in the United States.

The Biden administration had already sanctioned the state-owned mining business. It also reallocated the country’s sugar quota, removing a vital annual U.S. dollar subsidy worth millions.

Nicaraguans fled their country in 2018, first to neighbouring Costa Rica, after Ortega brutally suppressed major public protests.

Then, before the 2021 presidential elections, security forces began collecting major opposition figures, including seven possible opponents to Ortega. Without a credible opposition, Ortega cruised to a fourth consecutive five-year term, and Nicaraguans fled in greater numbers.

Source: Bnamericas, The Associated Press, VOR News

Geoff Thomas is a seasoned staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. With his sharp writing skills and deep understanding of SEO, he consistently delivers high-quality, engaging content that resonates with readers. Thomas' articles are well-researched, informative, and written in a clear, concise style that keeps audiences hooked. His ability to craft compelling narratives while seamlessly incorporating relevant keywords has made him a valuable asset to the VORNews team.

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Edmonton Oilers Beat The Florida Panthers 5-1 To Force A Game 7 In The Stanley Cup Final

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EDMONTON, Alberta — Connor McDavid was held without a point, so Leon Draisaitl and the Edmonton Oilers’ other best players stepped up, bringing them one win away from the Stanley Cup.

Draisaitl made his first significant contribution to the final by setting up Warren Foegele’s early goal, Adam Henrique and Zach Hyman scored in the second period, and the Oilers forced Game 7 by defeating the Florida Panthers 5-1 in Game 6 on Friday night.

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Oilers | AP News image

Edmonton Oilers Beat The Florida Panthers 5-1 To Force A Game 7 In The Stanley Cup Final

“At the end of the day, we play to win and this is going to be the hardest game for us,” Draisaitl told reporters. “We have to bring our game again.”

They are the first club to tie the final after trailing 3-0 since the Detroit Red Wings in 1945. The Oilers have a chance Monday night in Sunrise to join the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs as the only NHL teams to overcome a deficit and win the Stanley Cup.

“There was an unshakable belief,” Hyman remarked. “No matter what transpired over the year, we always thought we could make it through. Regardless of the grave situation, we believe we have a shot. It was a protracted season of adversity that prepared us. The next one will be the toughest. It feels surreal to do it in front of this crowd. This is our first chance to win.

The opportunity to make hockey history and break Canada’s three-decade Cup drought exists only due to McDavid’s exploits in Games 4 and 5, which lifted the Oilers from the brink of defeat. This was the first time in his nine-year career that they won a game without him scoring a point or taking a shot on goal.

Draisaitl, his longstanding running partner from Germany who has previously been named league MVP and is regarded as one of the top players in the world, provided a spark in Game 5 after being largely ineffectual against the Panthers.

“He’s a horse,” defenseman Darnell Nurse stated. “He’s always present at the most important occasions. When you look at his postseason performances, he’s one of the best to ever do it.

Draisaitl received the puck at center ice, skated around and between Florida defenders, and placed it on the tape of Foegele’s stick for a tap-in that Sergei Bobrovsky had little chance of stopping. That did not deter the ecstatic sellout crowd of 18,000+ from mockingly screaming, “Ser-gei! Ser-gei!” before the anthems and throughout the night.

The goalie known as “Bob” was scarcely to blame since blunders in front of him also contributed to the 2-on-1 rush that concluded with Henrique beating Bobrovsky off a brilliant feed from Mattias Janmark. In front of their goaltender, the Panthers appeared tight and hesitant, in stark contrast to the juggernaut that reached the final for the second year in a row and won the first three games to claim the franchise’s first championship.

Edmonton Oilers Beat The Florida Panthers 5-1 To Force A Game 7 In The Stanley Cup Final

“We have one game to go,” Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov said. “We were ready from the beginning to play a seven-game series, and nothing has changed. We went up three, and they played three good games. Now it is up to us to win at home.”

Florida had only six shots on goal halfway through the game and ended with 21. Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner made key stops to stop the Panthers, allowing only one goal to Aleksander Barkov less than 90 seconds into the third period.

The first time Barkov got the puck past him, 10 seconds after Henrique’s goal, Edmonton coach Kris Knoblauch successfully challenged for offside. A thorough analysis revealed that Sam Reinhart entered the attacking zone about an inch or less before the puck, prompting a shout from supporters.

“I actually didn’t think it was that close,” Knoblauch explained. “In my mind, it was definitely offside.”

That wasn’t the loudest Rogers Place got; there were many contenders for that honor. When the Oilers took to the ice to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” the decibel meter on the video screens read 113.8.

Ryan McLeod and Nurse scored empty-net goals in the final minutes, eliciting chants of “We want the Cup!” “We want the Cup!” and a raucous celebration at the outdoor viewing party.

Edmonton Oilers Beat The Florida Panthers 5-1 To Force A Game 7 In The Stanley Cup Final

That was the fever level for a city bathed in blue and orange downtown in the hours leading up to puck drop. Friday might as well have been a holiday in Edmonton, where almost a million people can now dream of the Oilers hoisting another white championship banner to the rafters — and doing it in the most unlikely way possible.

We’re just excited to keep our season going,” McDavid added. “That is what it has been about. Take each game and each day as it comes. “I look forward to the next one.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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South Korea Summons Russian Ambassador As Tensions Rise With North Korea

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SEOUL, South Korea — On Friday, South Korea summoned the Russian ambassador to protest the country’s new defense pact with North Korea, as border tensions remained high due to vague threats and brief, seemingly accidental incursions by North Korean forces.

Earlier Friday, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued a vague threat of retaliation after South Korean activists flew balloons carrying anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets across the border, while South Korea’s military said it fired warning shots the day before to repel North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the rivals’ land border for the third time this month.

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Korea AP Image

South Korea Summons Russian Ambassador As Tensions Rise With North Korea

That happened two days after Moscow and Pyongyang signed an agreement promising mutual defense aid if either was attacked, and a day after, Seoul responded by stating that it would consider giving armaments to Ukraine to combat Russia’s incursion.

South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Hong Kyun summoned Russian Ambassador Georgy Zinoviev to denounce the agreement between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un and urged Moscow to immediately suspend its purported military collaboration with Pyongyang.

Kim, the South Korean official, emphasized that any collaboration that directly or indirectly assists the North in developing its military capabilities would violate United Nations Security Council resolutions, represent a threat to South Korean security, and warned of the ramifications for Seoul’s relations with Moscow.

According to Russia’s embassy’s X account, Zinoviev told Korean officials that any attempts to “threaten or blackmail” Russia were inappropriate and that his country’s agreement with North Korea was not intended for specific third nations. The South Korean ministry said Zinoviev agreed to relay Seoul’s concerns to his superiors in Moscow.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reminded Russia and referenced U.N. Security Council sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the country’s official name, which prohibits all countries from supplying the DPRK with material for nuclear or ballistic missile programs.

“Any relationship that any country has with the DPRK, including the Russian Federation, must entirely abide by those sanctions,” he told reporters at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Leafleting activities by South Korean citizen activists in recent weeks have resulted in a resurgence of Cold War-style psychological warfare along the inter-Korean border.

South Korean civilian activists led by North Korean defector Park Sang-Hak claimed to have sent 20 balloons with 300,000 propaganda leaflets, 5,000 USB sticks containing South Korean pop music and TV dramas, and 3,000 US dollars from the South Korean border town of Paju on Thursday night.

According to observers, Pyongyang resents such material because it worries it may demoralize front-line troops and people, weakening Kim Jong Un’s grasp on power.

In a statement released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency, Kim Yo Jong, one of her brother’s top foreign policy officials, referred to the campaigners as “defector scum” and threatened punishment.

“When you do something you were clearly warned not to do, it’s only natural that you will find yourself dealing with something you didn’t have to,” she said, without mentioning what the North might do.

Following previous leafleting by South Korean activists, North Korea released over 1,000 balloons into South Korea, dropping tonnes of rubbish, destroying roof tiles and windows, and causing other property damage. Kim Yo Jong suggested that balloons could become the North’s routine response to leafleting, stating that the North would retaliate by “scattering dozens of times more rubbish than is being scattered on us.”

In response, South Korea resumed anti-North Korean propaganda broadcasts with military loudspeakers deployed at the border for the first time in years, prompting Kim Yo Jong to issue another official media statement warning that Seoul was “creating a prelude to a very dangerous situation.”

Tensions between the Koreas have reached their greatest point in years, as Kim Jong Un advances nuclear weapons and missile development and seeks to bolster his regional position by uniting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a standoff with the US-led West.

South Korea, a rising arms exporter with a well-equipped military backed by the United States, has said it is considering increasing its support for Ukraine in response. Seoul has previously supplied humanitarian aid and other assistance while supporting the US-led economic sanctions against Russia. However, it has not directly provided weaponry, citing a long-standing policy of not sending weapons to countries actively involved in conflict.

South Korea Summons Russian Ambassador As Tensions Rise With North Korea

Putin told reporters in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Thursday that delivering arms to Ukraine would be “a very big mistake,” and that South Korea “shouldn’t worry” about the pact if it isn’t plotting an attack on Pyongyang.

According to South Korea’s Foreign Ministry, Minister Cho Tae-yul spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa separately on Friday to discuss the new accord. According to Cho’s ministry, the diplomats agreed that the pact poses a major danger to regional peace and stability and pledged to deepen trilateral coordination to address the challenges posed by Moscow and Pyongyang’s alignment.

North Korea is particularly sensitive to criticism of Kim’s dictatorial regime and attempts to reach its people through global news and other media.

When South Korea resumed loudspeaker broadcasts in 2015 for the first time in 11 years, North Korea launched artillery rounds across the border, leading South Korea to respond, according to South Korean officials. There were no casualties reported.

South Korea’s military said there are indicators that North Korea is placing its speakers near the border, albeit they are not yet operational.

In the most recent border incident, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said that several North Korean soldiers engaged in undefined construction work temporarily breached the military demarcation line that separates the two countries around 11 a.m. Thursday.

South Korea Summons Russian Ambassador As Tensions Rise With North Korea

The South Korean military issued a warning and fired warning shots, prompting the North Korean soldiers to retreat. The joint chiefs did not immediately provide any information, such as why the material was released a day late.

South Korea’s military believes recent border incursions were unintentional, as North Korean soldiers did not return fire and left after the warning shots.

The South’s military has spotted the North sending massive numbers of soldiers on the front lines to construct suspected anti-tank barriers, reinforce roads, and place mines in an apparent attempt to bolster their side of the border. Seoul says the actions are intended to deter North Korean people and military from fleeing to the South.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Barry Sanders Says He Experienced ‘Health Scare’ Related To His Heart

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DETROIT  — a Pro Football Hall of Fame running back, Barry Sanders, said he “had a health scare related to my heart” last weekend.

“It was unexpected and served as a reminder of the importance of staying vigilant about our physical well-being, even when we are feeling fine,” the former Detroit Lions star wrote in a message on social media Friday.

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Sanders | lions wire

Barry Sanders Says He Experienced ‘Health Scare’ Related To His Heart

The Lions posted their social media statement, stating, “Get well soon Barry.”

“I am grateful for the amazing doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals for providing me with needed care,” Sanders told CNN. “My family and I appreciate your prayers and support at this time. As my doctors have advised, I am utilising this opportunity to prioritise my health and well-being. I appreciate your understanding and ongoing support.”

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Barry Sanders | AP news Image

Barry Sanders Says He Experienced ‘Health Scare’ Related To His Heart

Sanders, who turns 56 next month, was a six-time All-Pro with the Lions from 1989 to 1998 before retiring abruptly. He carried for 15,269 yards and 99 touchdowns, including 2,053 yards in his MVP season of 1997.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.

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Barry Sanders | AP news Image

Barry Sanders Says He Experienced ‘Health Scare’ Related To His Heart

Sanders played his entire career for the Lions, who took him with the third overall pick in the 1989 NFL draft following his Heisman Trophy-winning season at Oklahoma State.

SOURCE – (AP)

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