- - Sunday, February 13, 2011


Chavez vows revolution won’t end

CARACAS | President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that he has no intention of ceasing his efforts to make Venezuela a socialist country, and he expressed confidence that his allies would take the reins of his “Bolivarian Revolution” if he died or decided to step down.

“There’s no end here, this is going to continue,” said Mr. Chavez, referring to the political movement he named after 19th-century independence hero Simon Bolivar.

Mr. Chavez, the anti-American former paratroop commander first elected in 1998, said his close confidants would undoubtedly assume power and continue his efforts to steer Venezuela toward socialism if he were to die or retire from politics.

“I don’t fear death,” he said during an interview broadcast on the local Televen television channel.


Taliban demands death for U.S. diplomat

MIRANSHAH | The Pakistani Taliban on Sunday insisted that the government execute a U.S. official who fatally shot men he believed were trying to rob him or hand him over to the Islamic terrorist group.

“We demand that the Pakistani government hang Raymond Davis or otherwise hand him over to us. We will decide his fate,” Azam Tariq, a spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, said. “He is a killer, he has killed two innocent Pakistanis. We will take revenge for them.”

Mr. Tariq claimed that Mr. Davis is a spy, but the State Department identified him as a diplomat attached to the U.S. Consulate in Lahore.

The shooting has sparked a diplomatic crisis between Washington and Islamabad after the U.S. demanded that Mr. Davis, who shot two Pakistani motorcyclists on Jan. 27, be freed on the grounds of diplomatic immunity.


Tunisian refugees crowd Sicily

ROME | Hundreds of Tunisians landed on a tiny Sicilian island by the boatload Sunday, swelling the numbers of illegal migrants arriving on Italian shores in less than a week to well over 4,000.

Sixteen boats arrived in less than 24 hours since Saturday night, Palermo-based coast guard official Claudia Viccica said. Many of the migrants were crammed onto aging fishing boats or motorized dinghies after reportedly paying hundreds of dollars to smugglers for the trip across the Mediterranean.

The Tunisians are fleeing confusion after street protests and the Jan. 14 ouster of their longtime autocratic president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.


New military chief takes over in crisis

JERUSALEM | Israel on Sunday named Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz as its military chief after months of bitter infighting between top generals, as the country faces a new political landscape in the Middle East.

Maj. Gen. Gantz, 51, replaces Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, whose term as chief of staff of Israel’s armed forces ends on Monday.

“Gen. Benny Gantz is an excellent officer and an experienced commander,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the Cabinet unanimously approved his appointment.

Mr. Netanyahu said he hoped Maj. Gen. Gantz would help heal the rifts in the military, especially at a time of uncertainty in the Middle East.

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