Panama says to demand visas from Venezuelans, slams Maduro

PANAMA CITY, (Reuters) – Panama’s government said yesterday that from October Venezuelans wishing to enter the country would need a visa, accusing the administration of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro of undermining democracy at home and security abroad.

Speaking a few days after a visit to Panama by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, the country’s president Juan Carlos Varela said the visa requirement would take effect on Oct. 1 and remain in place until “democratic order” was restored in Venezuela.

“Given the break in the democratic order in Venezuela, a situation that puts at risk our security, our economy … and after a careful analysis, I’ve taken the decision to demand visas from Venezuelan citizens wanting to travel to Panama,” Varela said in a brief televised message to the nation.

Varela said the situation in Venezuela had deteriorated since the government decided to press ahead with a 545-member constituent assembly in the face of strong criticism from around the Americas, including the United States and Mexico.

On Friday, the assembly granted itself lawmaking powers, dealing a new blow to the opposition-controlled congress, whose decisions have been nullified by the pro-government Supreme Court.

Large numbers of Venezuelans have left their country due to economic and political turmoil. According to Varela, some 60,000 Venezuelans have moved to Panama in the last six years.



Chevron says it will not dispute climate science in U.S. lawsuit

SAN FRANCISCO,  (Reuters) – A Chevron attorney said in court yesterday that the company supports scientific conclusions that humans are causing climate change, a response to a lawsuit that accuses five major energy producers of misleading the public for years about their role in global warming.

Zuckerberg says Facebook made mistakes on user data, vows curbs

SAN FRANCISCO,  (Reuters) – Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said yesterday that his company made mistakes in how it handled data belonging to 50 million of its users and promised tougher steps to restrict developers’ access to such information.

Tens of millions in northern Brazil hit by massive power outage

SAO PAULO/BRASILIA,  (Reuters) – A power outage struck large swaths of Brazil yesterday, affecting tens of millions of people, especially in the country’s northern and northeastern regions where the system remains “practically collapsed,” according to an official.

Texas serial bomber made video confession before blowing himself up

PFLUGERVILLE, Texas,  (Reuters) – The Texas man who carried out a three-week bombing spree made a 25-minute video “confession” on his phone, which was recovered after he blew himself up yesterday as police were closing in to make an arrest, police said.

Miss Venezuela pageant to probe contestants’ ethics after social media feud

CARACAS,  (Reuters) – The Miss Venezuela beauty pageant said  yesterday it will investigate possible unethical conduct by its contestants following a vitriolic social media spat that saw former participants accusing each other of inappropriate behavior.


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