The Latest: Venezuela troops block protesters

Published: Saturday, April 01, 2017 @ 10:11 AM
Updated: Saturday, April 01, 2017 @ 10:10 AM

            Opposition members shout slogans against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro during a protest, in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, March 31, 2017. Venezuelans have been thrust into a new round of political turbulence after the government-stacked Supreme Court gutted congress of its last vestiges of power, drawing widespread condemnation from foreign governments and sparking protests in the capital. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

The Latest on the political crisis in Venezuela (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

Hundreds of soldiers in armored vehicles have blocked the passage of demonstrators who attempted to march from the wealthy east of Caracas to government offices in the city's center.

Some protesters banged on the armored vehicles or climbed atop of them.

A small group that tried to get around was turned back by tear gas.


1 p.m.

Venezuela analyst Javier Corrales says it's hard to say how much the high court's reversal of its earlier decision has harmed the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Corrales calls the move "huge," noting that it is the first time since the opposition won the National Assembly in 2015 that it has been able to get Maduro to reverse a decision. He teaches Latin American politics at Amherst College in Massachusetts.

Saturday's reversal undoes most of the original court decision, but will still allow Maduro to enter into joint oil ventures with congress' approval.


11 a.m.

Opposition lawmakers scoffed at how the Supreme Court had disavowed its earlier decisions this week taking powers from congress and limiting lawmakers' immunity from prosecution.

At an outdoor rally in the wealthy eastern Caracas, they called on supporters to remain mobilized on the streets to keep pressure on the government to hold elections this year.

Several high-profile opposition lawmakers were flying back from trips to nearby countries to participate in the Saturday event.


9:45 a.m.

Venezuela's Supreme Court has reversed its move to strip congress of its legislative powers.

The move had drawn widespread criticism at home and abroad that the South American country was no longer a democracy.

President Nicolas Maduro asked the Supreme court in a late-night speech to review a ruling nullifying the lawmaking body after that decision set off a storm of criticism from the opposition and foreign governments.

The court on Saturday released new rulings that appeared to reinstate congress' authority.

It was a rare instance of the embattled socialist president backing away from a move that would have increased his power.

North Korea test launch fails just after regime shows off new missiles

Published: Sunday, April 16, 2017 @ 5:34 AM

News outlets showed images Saturday of North Korea’s annual celebration of its founder, Kim Il Sung, and the exhibition of a long line of missiles through the streets of Pyongyang.

These, when placed alongside comments made by top official Choe Ryong Hae about the United States asking for “nuclear justice,” were a clear attempt by North Korea to display its military might.

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Hours later, this appears to have blown up in North Korea’s face.

According to ABC News, a Defense Department official said a ballistic missile launch “blew up almost immediately.”

“U.S. Pacific Command detected and tracked what we assess was a North Korean missile launch at 11:21 a.m. Hawaii time April 15. The launch of the ballistic missile occurred near Sinpo,” U.S. Pacific Command spokesman Cmdr. David Benham said.

>> Some fast facts about North Korea

Secretary of Defense James Mattis said that President Donald Trump has been briefed on the failed launch and has no comment at this time.

“The president and his military team are aware of North Korea’s most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The president has no further comment,” he said.

The kind of missile that was launched is still being determined, though earlier in the day it was speculated that North Korea had developed and was showing off its version of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Hospital grants dying man’s last wish for glass of wine, cigarette

Published: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 @ 10:41 AM

A Danish hospital temporarily suspended its rules last week to allow a dying man his final wish: a glass of white wine and a cigarette.

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Carsten Flemming Hansen, 75, was admitted April 3 to Aarhus University Hospital, suffering from an aortic aneurysm and internal bleeding, Danish newspaper BT reported. He was too ill to undergo surgery, and doctors predicted he had only days left to live.

Hansen told hospital officials that he had one final wish: to have one last Green LA cigarette and a glass of wine.

“It was the best thing for him. It meant a lot to him throughout life,” Hansen’s daughter, Mette Gold Bech Demuth, told BT. “He was annoyed that he wasn’t allowed to smoke inside. He really wanted to have his very last cigarette.”

Despite hospital rules that forbid smoking, nurses in the vascular surgery ward and Hansen’s family “agreed that, in this situation, Carsten Hansen’s wants were more important than treatment, prevention and smoking rules,” the hospital said in a Facebook post. They took Hansen up to a balcony, where he and his family had a view of the sunset while Hansen smoked and drank his wine.

EN VÆRDIG DØD PÅ HOSPITALET I dag sov Carsten Flemming Hansen stille ind på Aarhus Universitetshospital. Få dage...

Posted by Aarhus Universitetshospital on Friday, April 7, 2017

“It was a very cozy and relaxed atmosphere,” nurse Rikke Kvist said, according to The Guardian. “Of course there were relatives also affected by the fact he was going to die, and they were sad.”

Hansen died Friday, officials from the Aarhus University Hospital said.

Demuth said family members were grateful that the hospital was willing to be flexible for her father.

“I can’t thank them enough,” she told BT. “They have really been a great support to my father and the family throughout the process. I am just so grateful.”

Drone falls out of sky, nearly crushes world champion skier

Published: Wednesday, December 23, 2015 @ 6:15 AM
Updated: Wednesday, December 23, 2015 @ 6:15 AM


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Talk about a close call.

Downhill skiing champion Marcel Hirscher was nearly clobbered during a race in Italy after a drone carrying a TV camera fell out of the sky and onto the slopes. 

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The Austrian was on his second run in a race in Madonna di Campiglio when the drone crashed into the snow just inches behind him. Hirscher didn't seem to notice and continued on but later learned that he was almost taken out.


“This is horrible," Hirscher said after the race. "This can never happen again. This can be a serious injury.”

According to The Guardian, the 26-year-old, who finished second,  has won the overall World Cup title for the past four seasons and was an Olympic silver medallist in 2014. 

Hirscher later tweeted about the close call with the hashtag #luckyme. 

The International Ski Federation is now banning camera drones.

Watch the video HERE.

Dog, cat meat banned in Taiwan

Published: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 @ 6:41 AM

A major cultural shift has happened in Taiwan. The island nation has made the eating of dog and cat meat illegal.

The move happened Tuesday when the country’s lawmakers passed an amendment to its animal protection laws.

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Taiwan’s news agency reported that the ban shows that society’s norms have changed, meaning that the Taiwanese now see cats and dogs as pets and part of their families.

If found guilty of deliberately causing harm to pets, including death, a person can now be sentenced up to two years in prison and fines ranging from $6,524 to $65,434, the Central News Agency reported.

The sale and consumption of dog and cat meat was also added to the law.

If found guilty of eating or selling either meat from dogs or cats, or eating or selling products containing the meat, people will be fined $1,635 to $8,179, and their names and photos released to the public, CNA reported.

Finally, the law outlaws people leashing a pet and “walking” them from a car or motorcycle, CNN reported.

The consumption of dog meat is still a tradition in many parts of Asia. China has been under fire for its dog meat festival in Yulin. During the annual festival 10,000 dogs are killed and prepared for meals, CNN reported.