- - Tuesday, July 12, 2011

VENEZUELA

Chavez recuperating, promising more socialism

CARACAS — President Hugo Chavez promised Tuesday to accelerate his drive for socialism in Venezuela, as he recovers from surgery that removed a cancerous tumor.

Mr. Chavez’s appearance on state television added to indications that he expects to bounce back from his June 20 surgery in Cuba. He has also been shown in recent days doing stretching exercises, leading a Cabinet meeting and addressing troops.

“The opposition and the counterrevolution are crying out that Chavez is done for, that he’s dying, ” Mr. Chavez said on state television, speaking in a phone call to a ceremony at a state-run university.

“Well, I’m going to tell you, with the grace of God and the will that we have, we’re going to rise above all of this. The only transition that’s under way and that we have to accelerate and consolidate is the transition from the capitalist model to the socialist model.”

Mr. Chavez has said he underwent surgery in Cuba to remove a tumor from his pelvic region, but he had not disclosed what type of cancer is involved.

YEMEN

Airstrikes kill terrorists, as security deteriorates

SANAA — A government airstrike in a patch of southern Yemen overrun by radical Islamists killed five militants, as the country’s security deteriorates amid a five-month uprising, a security official said Tuesday.

The airstrike late Monday hit a terrorist checkpoint between the towns of Jaar and Zinjibar, said the security official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

He said more strikes were continuing Tuesday, with at least eight hitting the town of Jaar and other areas nearby.

Security across Yemen has nearly collapsed during the uprising seeking to oust longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

TURKEY

Police stop terrorist plot with arrests of 15 suspects

ANKARA — Police thwarted an imminent attack and arrested 15 suspected al Qaeda terrorists in the past two days, the interior ministry said Tuesday.

One man was arrested Monday in a suburb of the capital, Ankara, “as he was about to carry out an operation,” police said. The other suspects were detained in and around Ankara, as well as in the northwestern towns of Bursa and Yalova.

ITALY

Mobster gets life in birthday party massacre

ROME — The ringleader of a gangland-style massacre of six people in Germany was convicted and sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday for an attack that highlighted the international reach of Italy’s Calabrian mafia.

Giovanni Strangio, 32, was one of eight people convicted and given Italy’s stiffest sentence for their roles in a violent feud that culminated in the 2007 slayings in the western German city of Duisburg, the court clerk’s office in the southern Italian city of Locri said.

Three other people were convicted and sentenced to terms ranging from nine to 12 years, while three more were acquitted, the court said.

Six Italian men were gunned down Aug. 15, 2007, as they left a birthday party at a restaurant in Duisburg. Prosecutors said the massacre was part of a long-running feud between two clans of the ‘ndrangheta organized crime syndicate, which is based in the southern Italian region of Calabria.

NIGERIA

Suspected Muslim terrorists kill three at military checkpoint

MAIDUGURI — Suspected members of a radical Muslim sect killed three people in a van blast near a military checkpoint, a Nigerian official said Tuesday. It was the latest in an escalating series of attacks in the country’s restive northeast.

Maj. Gen. Jack Nwachukwu Nwaogbo, the commander of the Joint Military Taskforce, said an explosive went off under the van Monday evening as its driver slowed down at a military and police checkpoint in the city of Maiduguri. The blast killed the driver and two passengers.

Authorities blamed a radical Muslim sect locally known as Boko Haram for the bombing, one of many attacks that have targeted security officers, local leaders and clerics in and around Maiduguri over the past year.

CHINA

Toddler awakes from coma after falling from building

BEIJING — A Chinese toddler who fell 10 stories and survived after being caught by a passer-by woke up from a 10-day coma and called out to her parents, state media reported Tuesday.

The 2-year-old girl was left unattended and fell from her family’s apartment window in eastern Zhejiang province on July 2. Xinhua News Agency said she opened her eyes Tuesday after having been unconscious since the fall.

The girl, named Zhang Fangyu but known by the nickname Niu Niu, was in critical condition with serious internal injuries when taken to a hospital.

Neighbors saw Niu Niu dangling from the apartment window for several minutes before she fell. A 31-year-old woman, Wu Juping, ran to catch the child and saved her from hitting the ground.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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