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Setbacks for Venezuela opposition drive against president
Caracas (AFP) - Venezuela's electoral commission suspended a signature-collection drive for a referendum to remove President Nicolas Maduro from power, further crippling the opposition campaign.
The commission said on Thursday it was acting in compliance with courts which earlier in the day ruled against the opposition's efforts to rid the crisis-stricken oil power of Maduro.
The moves were the latest blow for the center right-dominated opposition, whose goal of forcing a referendum this year through a series of preliminary petitions now looks practically impossible.
Maduro has vowed to hold on to power in the South American oil exporter, where an economic crisis has prompted food shortages and looting.
The pro-Maduro governors of the states of Apure, Aragua, Bolivar, Carabobo and Monagas announced that local judges had annulled the results of the last petition, held in June, in their states because of alleged fraud in the counting of signatures.
Maduro's number two Diosdado Cabello said later in a speech: "Let us hope that those responsible will now be sought out and detained and go to prison for the deception they have committed."
The opposition MUD coalition says Maduro and his allies control the courts and electoral authorities and are using them to cling to power.
Maduro's opponents had been hoping to mount a fresh petition next week, the last stage necessary for calling a referendum.
But that round is now suspended, pending further court rulings, because of the ruling Thursday by the electoral commission.
Electoral authorities had warned that if the first-round petition was annulled in any state, that key stage in the referendum process would be void.
But the chances of Maduro being removed by referendum this year already looked impossibly slim. The electoral authorities have said a referendum could not take place before mid-January.
Under constitutional rules, if voters do not remove Maduro from office by January 10, his hand-picked vice president will finish his term, which ends in 2019.
To Vinh Hy and beyond on the smoothest road in southern Vietnam
TL 702 is a beautiful road just north of Phan Rang. Far off the beaten bikepacker path lies the exquisite, if humbly named, TL 702. Wedged between Nui Chua National Park and the vast ocean on Vietnam’s South Central Coast -- this relatively new district road promises 60 kilometers of sheer brilliance. The route begins just north of Phan Rang and eventually pops out onto National Highway 1A a few clicks south of Cam Ranh Airport. At its southern head, you'll wave goodbye to the turquoise ocean… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
VPBank plans to list shares on HOSE in Q3
Viet Nam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPBank) is expected to start trading on the HCM Stock Exchange in the third quarter of 2017. VPBank plans to issue nearly 329.4 million shares to raise its chartered capital to over VND14 trillion (US$622 million) in 2017. This information was revealed at the bank’s annual shareholder meeting on Monday.VPBank’s shareholders in late 2016 approved of the bank’s share listing on the HCM City’s bourse.VPBank had worked with the Vietnam Securities… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Microsoft is suing the US government to protect your Fourth Amendment rights
Today, Microsoft[/url] filed suit in federal court in the Western District of Washington arguing that the US government is violating Constitutional rights of its users. The suit takes issue with the Department of Justice’s actions to side-step the Fourth Amendment — which protects the public from unlawful search and seizure (and requires notification if property has been searched) — by preventing Microsoft from notifying thousands of users about government requests for email and other… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
The multi-million dollar ‘ghost resort village’ in Cua Dai – Hoi An
More than 15 years ago, investors flocked to the coastal area of Da Nang – Hoi An to build resorts and hotels, but many have been left deserted as ‘ghost villas’, with strong sea waves attacking the multi-million dollar properties. Nguyen Duc Tam, a fisherman, said the ‘resort village’, from Da Nang to Hoi An, 30 kilometers long, was a poplar protective forest 18 years ago, which helped to prevent damage from sea waves and wind in the stormy season. Some years ago, the land facing the sea… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
US intelligence chief Clapper resigns
Washington (AFP) - US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Thursday that he had submitted his resignation, stepping down as President-elect Donald Trump begins to assemble his new administration.Clapper, whose job is to coordinate the work of 17 disparate agencies like the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, said resigning "felt pretty good" after six years in the job.In a Congressional hearing he appeared to make clear he was not available to stay on… chat_bubble_outline Read More...