New fears for Hugo’s health
The rumor mill over the health of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is again spinning wildly as cancer-related treatment has forced the leftist anti-US firebrand to skip another international summit. Chavez, 58, has repeatedly claimed to have beaten an unspecified cancer in his pelvic region that was diagnosed in 2011 and shrugged off his illness to see off a unified opposition and secure another six-year term on Oct. 7. Weeks after his hard-fought re-election, Chavez said that “God willing” he would attend yesterday’s Mercosur summit and preside over Venezuela’s hotly anticipated debut outing as part of the group, which it joined in July. However, on Thursday, hosts Brazil announced that the bombastic and once-omnipresent Venezuelan leader would have to forego the gathering as he is still in Cuba receiving treatment. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro, who was also promoted to vice president after the election, was due to take Chavez’s place alongside the leaders of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay in the meeting of the South American trading bloc.
Defense goods man charged
A New York man has been criminally charged with illegally exporting defense articles and goods with military applications to Taiwan and China, one day after prosecutors announced charges against four people over exports to China and Iran. Mark Henry was accused of trying to ship military-grade material used to coat rocket nozzles to Taiwan, and microwave amplifiers that have military applications to China, without first getting licenses from US government agencies. Henry, 49, operated an export company known as Dahua Electronics Corp from April 2009 to September this year.
Bus driver finds US$500,000
Vienna’s transport authority says a city bus driver checking a bag left behind by a passenger had the surprise of his life — 390,000 euros (US$504,000) in neatly stacked 500-euro bills. Transit authority spokeswoman Anna-Maria Reich says the driver handed the stash to police, who tracked down the owner, an unidentified elderly woman. However, the driver has nothing to show for his honesty beyond praise from superiors. Weeks later, the owner has not contacted him to offer a reward. The incident happened last month and Reich confirmed details first reported on Thursday by several Austrian tabloids. It was unclear why the woman was carrying so much cash.