Jul 22, 2019

U.S.: Venezuelan fighter jet "aggressively shadowed" American Navy plane

An image of the Russian-made SU-30 Flanker. Photo: United States Southern Command

The United States Southern Command criticized Russia as it released images Sunday of a Venezuelan fighter jet it said "aggressively shadowed" a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft flying over the Caribbean last week.

Details: The Russian-made SU-30 Flanker approached the U.S. Navy EP-3 Aries II "at an unsafe distance" in international airspace and in an "unprofessional manner" on Friday, the United States Southern Command said in a statement.

"This action demonstrates Russia’s irresponsible military support to [Venezuelan President Nicolás] Maduro's illegitimate regime & underscores Maduro’s recklessness & irresponsible behavior, which undermines int’l rule of law & efforts to counter illicit trafficking."
— United States Southern Command statement

The other side: Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López said the American plane entered Venezuelan airspace without earlier notification, violating international rules and endangering commercial flights from the country’s main airport, according to the Washington Post.

The big picture: The incident comes amid a months-long power struggle between Maduro and Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has the support of the U.S. — which has imposed sanctions on the country in an attempt to pressure Maduro to step down.

Go deeper: In oil-rich Venezuela, fuel shortages spark man-made famines

Go deeper

14 mins ago - World

Kremlin says Trump discussed inviting Russia to G7 in call with Putin

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at their bilateral meeting at the G20 Osaka Summit 2019, in Osaka, Japan in 2019. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on Monday about Trump's plans to expand September's G7 meeting in Washington to include Russia, according to the Russian government's readout of the call.

The big picture: The phone call between the two leaders, which the Kremlin says was initiated by Trump, comes amid six consecutive days of mass unrest in the U.S. over police brutality and racial inequality. The White House confirmed the call took place and said a readout was forthcoming.

Facebook employees stage "virtual walkout"

Screenshot of an image some Facebook employees are adding to their internal profiles, with or without the hashtag, to protest company policy.

"Dozens" of Facebook employees staged a "virtual walkout" Monday over the company's decision not to take action against President Trump's provocative messages in the face of nationwide protests against police violence, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: While Twitter added fact-check labels and hid the president's most inflammatory tweet — "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" — Facebook has said Trump's statements do not violate its policies, and that the platform aims to promote free speech.

Updated 56 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump lashes out at governors, urges them to "dominate" protesters

President Trump berated the nation’s governors in a video teleconference call Monday, calling many of them "weak" and demanding tougher crackdowns on the protests that erupted throughout the country following the killing of George Floyd, according to multiple reports.

The big picture: Trump blamed violence on the "the radical left" and told the governors, who were joined by law enforcement and national security officials, that they have to "dominate" protesters and "arrest people" in order to bring an end to the unrest.