Abe pledges to rebuild economy, U.S. relations
TOKYO — Japan’s newly elected prime minister, Shinzo Abe, pledged to rebuild the economy and mend Japan’s alliance with the United States in the face of an assertive China at his first news conference on Wednesday.
Mr. Abe was elected premier by the lower house of parliament earlier in the day after sweeping to power on a hawkish platform of getting tough on diplomatic issues while fixing the economy.
He vowed to defend Japanese territorial waters against Chinese aggression but stressed that his government will carry out a diplomacy drive to “win back” national interests.
Chavez delegates fiscal duties to vice president
CARACAS — Hugo Chavez has delegated some administrative responsibilities to Venezuela’s vice president, allowing his close confidant to make decisions related to the budget, expropriations and government debt.
Mr. Chavez passed on the duties to Vice President Nicolas Maduro on Dec. 8, three days before the socialist leader underwent cancer-related surgery in Cuba. The measure took effect Wednesday upon its publication in the Official Gazette.
The president has been silent since the operation, raising doubts among Venezuelans regarding his health.
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