Tensions mounted in Venezuela Monday after bombings rocked the capital and an ally of Presi-dent Hugo Chavez accused the CIA of backing opponents trying to oust the beleaguered leader. \nTwo fuel tankers exploded late Sunday at the capital's municipal airport, 36 hours after the presidential guard barracks and the national telecommunications offices were bombed. \nLawmaker Nicolas Maduro said he would lobby US legislators to open any CIA files on Venezuela. \n"Let them declassify the secret documents on CIA involvement and their financing of undercover activities during 2002-2003 because we have hard evidence that the terrorist attacks were planned," he said. He did not mention which US lawmakers would be asked to help. \nHe said the records would reveal CIA funding links to Vene-zuelan opposition groups seeking to oust Chavez. \nMaduro also said he will seek US congressional approval for access to any CIA records related to a failed coup in April last year, which swept Chavez from power for less than two days. \n"A group of legislators will go to Washington so that the secret documents on the coup d'etat are declassified so that we can know the names of those who have received money from the CIA to create this chaos in Venezuela," Maduro said. \nAfter the coup, opposition political parties, business leaders and labor agreed to use only legal means to oust Chavez. The deal was brokered by former US president Jimmy Carter and the Organization of American States. \nVenezuela's Constitution allows voters to recall the president at any time after the halfway point of the term, which Chavez has already passed. \nElectoral authorities last week set the rules governing the collection of signatures to petition the government for a recall ballot. \nOpponents must gather 12 million signatures, some 20 percent of the electorate, to petition for the recall referendum.
An uncrewed Chinese spacecraft has acquired imagery data covering all of Mars, including visuals of its south pole, after circling the planet more than 1,300 times since early last year, state media reported yesterday. The Tianwen-1 successfully reached the Red Planet in February last year on the country’s inaugural mission there. A robotic rover has since been deployed on the surface as an orbiter surveyed the planet from space. Among the images taken from space were China’s first photographs of the Martian south pole, where almost all of the planet’s water resources are locked. In 2018, an orbiting probe operated by the European
FEELING THREATENED: The first military commission under Kim Jong-un’s leadership to last longer than a day is a sign of a growing escalatory doctrine, an analyst said North Korea discussed assigning additional duties to its frontline army units at a key military meeting, state media said yesterday, suggesting that the country might deploy battlefield nuclear weapons targeting South Korea along the rivals’ tense border. The discussion comes as South Korean officials said North Korea has finished preparations for its first nuclear test in five years, as part of possible efforts to build a warhead to be mounted on short-range weapons capable of hitting targets in South Korea. During an ongoing meeting of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers’ Party on Wednesday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and
TRADE TALK: Xiao Qian said that Australia had fired the ‘first shot’ in deteriorating trade relations with China, but improvements were possible if Canberra takes action China’s new ambassador to Australia chided protesters who heckled him yesterday during a speech about the future of relations between the two countries. Xiao Qian (肖千), who has only been in the role since January, had just begun his speech at the University of Technology Sydney when the first protesters interjected, calling for freedom for Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong. The ambassador was repeatedly interrupted by sign-wielding protesters, some criticizing China’s treatment of the Uighur people as well as the university for inviting Xiao to speak. “People who are coming again and again to interrupt the process, that’s not expression of freedom of
A former South Korean Navy SEAL turned YouTuber who risked jail time to leave Seoul and fight for Ukraine said it would have been a “crime” not to use his skills to help. Ken Rhee, a former special warfare officer, signed up at the Ukrainian embassy in Seoul the moment Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy asked for global volunteers and was fighting on the front lines near Kyiv by early March. To get there, he had to break South Korean law — Seoul banned its citizens from traveling to Ukraine, and Rhee, who was injured in a fall while leading a special operations