World briefs: 7/17/11
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CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez delegated some powers to the country's ministers while rejecting demands he cede the presidency as he undergoes chemotherapy in Cuba, starting today.
Technology will allow him to communicate with his government from the communist island, Mr. Chavez said, while demonstrating on state television how he plans to sign laws electronically using a program on a laptop computer. Vice President Elias Jaua was given temporary oversight of ministry budgets, and the power to appoint deputy ministers and expropriate property, while Finance Minister Jorge Giordani was given the authority to grant tax exemptions, Mr. Chavez said.
Venezuela's National Assembly on Saturday unanimously approved Mr. Chavez's request to be granted permission to travel to Cuba to receive cancer treatment. Mr. Chavez, who has led South America's largest oil producer since 1999, has said Cuban doctors removed a baseball-sized tumor from his pelvic area June 20 after an initial operation to remove a pelvic abscess on June 11.
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama met privately with the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, at the White House on Saturday, despite a warning from China that the meeting would risk damaging relations between Beijing and the United States.
Reflecting the diplomatic sensitivity of the visit, the 44-minute meeting with the Dalai Lama -- Mr. Obama's second as president -- was closed to the news media. China considers Tibet its territory and the Dalai Lama a separatist, although he favors self-rule rather than independence.
BERLIN -- A German nonprofit group canceled its annual prize ceremony on Saturday after its decision to honor Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin sparked a public outcry.
In a statement, the group, Quadriga, said the ceremony scheduled for October had been called off and the award canceled "in light of the growing and unbearable pressure and the danger of further escalation."
After the choice of Mr. Putin became known July 9, the outcry ensued among those who believe that he helped roll back democracy and human rights in Russia.
VIENNA -- Otto von Habsburg was buried Saturday in a ceremony that evoked past imperial splendor and closed a chapter of central European history.
The last crown prince of the Austro-Hungarian empire, who never ascended the throne, was laid out in St. Stephen's Cathedral for a memorial mass, before he was carried in a large procession to the family crypt at the church in the Austrian capital.
The final entombment ceremony served as a reminder that the son of the last Habsburg emperor Charles I had lost his titles after World War I, pursued a political career and was an ordinary citizen when he died on July 4, at the age of 98.
PARACHINAR, Pakistan -- Gunmen ambushed a bus carrying Sunni Muslims and killed all 10 passengers in a troubled northwestern tribal region Saturday, a government official said.
At the time of the ambush, the bus was traveling in an area dominated by minority Shiite Muslims, the official said. He said it was unclear who targeted the bus and officers were still investigating.
First Published July 17, 2011 12:00 am