Tommy Ramone dead at 62
Drummer Tommy Ramone, the last surviving founding member of pioneering punk band The Ramones, has died, the band said on Twitter yesterday. Born Erdelyi Tamas in Budapest, Ramone died on Friday at his New York home following treatment for cancer, magazine Variety reported. He was 62. The four original members, who all took on the last name “Ramone,” formed the band in the mid-1970s and made it big with their first three albums: Ramones (1976), Leave Home and Rocket to Russia (both from 1977). Tommy Ramone surrendered his drumsticks to Marky Ramone in 1978, but remained as the band’s coproducer and advisor through 1984. The Ramones disbanded in 1996. Lead vocalist Joey Ramone died in 2001, bass guitarist and vocalist Dee Dee Ramone in 2002, and guitarist Johnny Ramone in 2004. “It wasn’t just music in The Ramones: it was an idea,” the band’s Facebook entry reads, citing Erdelyi. “It was bringing back a whole feel that was missing in rock music — it was a whole push outwards to say something new and different.”
Caracas to host Xi soon
President Nicolas Maduro has announced that he would be welcoming Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) for an official visit “in the next days.” Xi will be making a stop in Caracas as part of his trip to the continent for the summit of the BRICS group of emerging powers made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Speaking during a tour of a Chinese bus factory in northern Venezuela on Friday, Maduro described Xi’s upcoming visit as “historic,” but did not give a date. Xi “will come to Venezuela on an official trip to ratify a series of development agreements,” Maduro said in remarks carried on state media. Xi will co-chair the BRICS leaders meeting in Brazil on Tuesday, Chinese officials said earlier in Beijing. Xi will continue on to Argentina, Venezuela and longtime ally Cuba.
Three new parties approved
The National Electoral Institute has granted registration to three new political parties, including one led by former leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Lopez Obrador’s National Regeneration Movement, or MORENA, registered with a half-million members, many of whom are former members of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD). Lopez Obrador ran for president twice for the PRD and he is expected to run for MORENA in the 2018 presidential election. The institute said on Thursday it also registered the Social Encounter Party, which describes itself as a “family values party” and has 300,000 members. Registration also was given to the Humanist Party, which has 200,000 members and says it’s at the center of the political spectrum, to put the total number of political parties in the country at 10.
Burst dam polluting river
A dam in the southwestern mining town of Canutillos that helped keep dangerous pollutants out of a major regional waterway has burst, sparking an environmental emergency, officials said. “The lower part of the dam broke — there was some sort of explosion — which caused the water to rush into the Pilcomayo,” local prosecutor Jose Luis Rio said on radio about the accident, which he said took place on Thursday. The private Santiago Apostol mine extracts lead, silver and zinc. Rios said authorities are investigating the dam failure. Officials said residue from the facility risks despoiling the Pilcomayo River, which runs through the country to Argentina and Paraguay.