- - Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Chavez expects chemotherapy or radiation

CARACAS | Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Wednesday that he expects to undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatment once he recovers from his cancer surgery.

Mr. Chavez told state television that he is now starting a second phase of treatment and expects a third phase “that could be a bit hard, which is to try to armor the body against these malignant cells.”

Mr. Chavez has said he underwent surgery in Cuba on June 20 to remove a cancerous tumor from his pelvic region. He hasn’t said what type of cancer is involved.


Rights group reports on ‘convict slave labor’

BANGKOK | A leading international human rights group criticized Myanmar’s army Wednesday for forcing prison inmates onto the front lines of the country’s conflict with ethnic militias, using some as human shields and executing others who tried to escape.

Human Rights Watch said the military’s use of “convict slave labor” constituted war crimes that should be investigated by the United Nations and prosecuted by local authorities. Officials from Myanmar’s government could not be reached for comment.

The repressive Southeast Asian nation’s army has been accused for nearly two decades of forcing civilians, including prisoners, to serve as porters.

But “press-ganging prisoners into deadly front-line service raises the Burmese army’s cruelty to new levels,” said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director for the New York-based rights group.

After half a century of army rule, the country formerly known as Burma organized elections late last year and officially handed power to a civilian administration in March.

But critics say the new government is a proxy for continued military rule and little has changed since the release of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi in November from seven years of house arrest.


Police cut access to social media sites

MINSK | Belarus cut access to social media sites Wednesday, a rights group said, as undercover policemen made dozens of arrests during another round of “silent” protests against the hard-line authorities.

Human rights groups and witnesses said police detained dozens of people in the capital, Minsk, and other major cities during a weekly protest organized through the Internet by a group called Revolution Through the Social Network.

The protests have varied slightly since spontaneously starting in early June, after the government devalued the local currency by 36 percent amid a spiraling economic crisis.


Police arrest al Qaeda suspects plotting an attack on U.S. Embassy

ANKARA | Police have detained 15 suspected al Qaeda militants suspected of planning to attack the U.S. Embassy here in the capital, the state-run news agency said Wednesday.

Turkey’s Interior Ministry confirmed the capture of suspected al Qaeda militants but would provide no other details about the case. U.S. officials said they have contacted Turkish officials about the arrests, which came several days before Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is to visit Istanbul.

Citing unidentified official sources, the Anatolia news agency said police captured the 15 suspects in Ankara, in the western city of Bursa and in the nearby town of Yalova, and seized 1,500 pounds of chemicals used in bomb making, two assault rifles, ammunition and maps of Ankara.


Catholic rioters injure police in parade protest

BELFAST | Masked Catholic rioters injured 40 police officers during two nights of violence that Belfast political and church leaders were powerless to stop, a senior police commander said Wednesday as the city cleared away torched cars and street rubble.

Assistant Chief Constable Alistair Finlay said leaders on both the British Protestant and Irish Catholic sides of the community made “huge efforts” to avoid riots during Tuesday’s annual marches by the Orange Order, a hard-line Protestant brotherhood.

But he said a hard core of around 250 mostly teenage Catholics were determined to attack the police units that had deployed around Belfast to prevent any direct Catholic-Protestant clashes.

Large crowds watched the teens pelt police units for five hours with Molotov cocktails, paving stones, wood planks and even stolen furniture.

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