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.
Offering Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccines to the public in Singapore for the first time since Friday, several private clinics reported overwhelming demand for the Chinese-made shot, despite already available rival vaccines having far higher efficacy. Singapore has vaccinated almost half its 5.7 million population with at least one dose of the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Both have shown efficacy rates of well over 90 percent against symptomatic disease in clinical trials, compared with Sinovac’s 51 percent. Earlier this week, officials in Indonesia said that more than 350 medical workers have caught COVID-19, despite being vaccinated with Sinovac and dozens have been
When COVID-19 arrived in India, few places looked as vulnerable as Mumbai. However, a year on, South Asia’s most crowded city has surprised many by tackling a vicious second wave of the virus with considerable success. Gaurav Awasthi even traveled hundreds of kilometers from his home on the outskirts of Delhi to get his ailing wife a hospital bed there, paying an ambulance more than US$1,000 to drive 24 hours straight. “I cannot ever repay my debt to this city,” the 29-year-old said, recounting an ordeal that saw him spend five days fruitlessly searching for a bed across several cities, including Delhi.
CROWDED HOSPITALS: Deaths have begun to pick up as the COVID-19 hospitalization rate exceed 70 percent in 87 cities across the country, government data showed Indonesia’s COVID-19 cases are nearing 2 million, with hospitals starting to fill up as the country grapples with the highly transmissible Delta variant of the virus. The government confirmed 13,737 new cases on Sunday, bringing the total to 1.99 million. Deaths have begun to pick up as the COVID-19 hospitalization rate exceed 70 percent in 87 cities across the country, with 371 people dying from the disease on Sunday — the worst since April, government data showed. “Because this is concentrated in certain regencies and cities, we can still mobilize resources from other areas,” Indonesian National Nurses Association chairman Harif Fadhillah said. “If
NEW APPROACH NEEDED? The royals, despite seeing themselves as above politics, are under tremendous pressure to urge parliament to reconvene, an expert said Malaysia’s royal leaders were to meet yesterday amid growing public anger over the Malaysian government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic during a state of emergency that has left democracy suspended for a year. The meeting, to be chaired by Malaysian King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah at 2:30pm, comes as daily COVID-19 infections averaged about 5,800 in the past seven days, nearly double than when Malaysia declared emergency rule in January. “The issue now is whether the emergency, which is set to end Aug. 1, should be continued,” Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, the head of the ruling United Malays National Organization’s youth wing,