Venezuela’s Chavez in stable condition, says son-in-law

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is in stable condition and spent yesterday with his daughters, the cancer-stricken leader’s son-in-law said in an appeal for supporters to ignore rumors about his condition.

Chavez has not been seen in public nor heard from in more than three weeks. The vice president said late on Sunday that the 58-year-old was suffering a third set of complications after surgery in Cuba on December 11, his fourth operation in 18 months.

“Compatriots, DON’T believe in ill-intentioned rumours,” Science Minister Jorge Arreaza, who is married to Chavez’s daughter Rosa Virginia, wrote on Twitter from Havana where they have been at the former soldier’s bedside.“President Chavez spent the day quietly and stable, accompanied by his daughters.”

Chavez has not provided details of the cancer that was first diagnosed in June 2011, leading to speculation among Venezuela’s 29 million people and criticism from opposition leaders.

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Pope meets victims of child sexual abuse in Chile, ‘cries with them’

SANTIAGO, (Reuters) – Pope Francis publicly expressed “pain and shame” yesterday over the rape and molestation of children by priests in Chile and later listened, prayed and cried at a private meeting with victims.

Rogue ex-policeman, six others die in Venezuela forces raid

CARACAS,  (Reuters) – Rogue Venezuelan helicopter pilot Oscar Perez was killed in a police operation on Monday along with six other anti-government militants, the interior minister said yesterday, spurring opposition complaints of human rights violations.

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Venezuela says five ‘terrorists’ arrested, others killed after shootout

CARACAS, (Reuters) – Venezuelan authorities yesterday arrested five members of a “terrorist cell” linked to self-proclaimed rogue Venezuelan helicopter pilot Oscar Perez, and killed several other militants during a shootout in a poor area outside Caracas.

EU to remove Barbados, Grenada from tax haven blacklist, T&T to stay

BRUSSELS, (Reuters) – European Union officials have proposed removing eight jurisdictions from the blacklist of tax havens the bloc adopted in December, in what critics may see as a blow to its campaign against tax avoidance.

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