Amid protests, Venezuela to remember late Hugo Chavez

CARACAS,  (Reuters) – Venezuela geared up yesterday for commemorations of socialist leader Hugo Chavez’s death despite continued protests against his successor that have shaken the OPEC member and threatened the legacy of “El Comandante.”

Even as students maintained barricades in some cities and activists held new rallies, President Nicolas Maduro’s government was making lavish plans to honor Chavez on Wednesday’s anniversary of his death from cancer.

Maduro, who announced Chavez’s death in tears to a shell-shocked nation on March 5 last year, has made preserving Chavez’s controversial legacy the guiding force of his presidency despite opposition from about half of Venezuelans. The president was to preside over a military parade in Caracas on Wednesday, followed by a ceremony at the mausoleum housing Chavez’s remains on a hilltop shantytown.

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Spain hunts driver who killed 13 in Barcelona, says foils bomb plot

BARCELONA,  (Reuters) – Spain mounted a sweeping anti-terror operation yesterday after a suspected Islamist militant drove a van into crowds in Barcelona, killing 13 people before fleeing, in what police suspect was one of multiple planned attacks.

Fellow Republicans assail Trump after he defends Confederate monuments

BRIDGEWATER, N.J./WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – President Donald Trump yesteday decried the removal of monuments to the pro-slavery Civil War Confederacy, echoing white nationalists and drawing stinging rebukes from fellow Republicans in a controversy that has inflamed racial tensions.

Venezuela’s new chief prosecutor vows to jail protest leaders

(Reuters) – Venezuela will hunt down and jail leaders of violent protests that have rocked the country since April, its new top prosecutor said yesterday, a day before a hate crimes law was expected to be approved despite fears that it will be used to crush dissent.

South African borders on “red alert” to stop Grace Mugabe fleeing

JOHANNESBURG, (Reuters) – South African police have put a “red alert” on the country’s borders to prevent any attempted flight by Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe, who is accused of assaulting a model in a Johannesburg hotel with an electric cable.

U.S., Japan step up defense cooperation to counter N.Korea

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – The United States and Japan will step up their defense cooperation to deal with the threat from nuclear-armed North Korea as tensions in East Asia remain high, officials from the two allies said yesterday.

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