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Venezuelans, Strength Is in Unity!

Mr. Guaidó is leading the efforts
to remove Nicolás Maduro from power,
acting as provisional President,
elected by the Venezuelan National Assembly.–

To end the Maduro regime with the minimum of bloodshed, we need the support of pro-democratic governments, institutions and individuals the world over." – Juan Guaidó.

Received from Caracas, Venezuela – On Jan. 23, 61 years after the vicious Juan Guaidódictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez was ousted, Venezuelans once again gathered for a day of democratic celebration.

Pérez Jiménez was fraudulently elected by a Constituent Assembly in 1953. His term of office was scheduled to expire in 1958. But rather than calling for free and transparent presidential elections, he was undemocratically re-elected after holding a plebiscite on his administration late in 1957. Following widespread protests and a rupture within the military establishment, the dictator left the country and Venezuela regained its freedom on Jan. 23, 1958.

Once again we face the challenge of restoring our democracy and rebuilding the country, this time amid a humanitarian crisis and the illegal retention of the presidency by Nicolás Maduro. There are severe medicine and food shortages, essential infrastructure and health systems have collapsed, a growing number of children are suffering from malnutrition, and previously eradicated illnesses have re-emerged.

We have one of the highest homicide rates in the world, which is aggravated by the government’s brutal crackdown on protesters. This tragedy has prompted the largest exodus in Latin American history, with three million Venezuelans now living abroad.

I would like to be clear about the situation in Venezuela: Mr. Maduro’s re-election on May 20, 2018, was illegitimate, as has since been acknowledged by a large part of the international community. His original six-year term was set to end on Jan. 10. By continuing to stay in office, Nicolás Maduro is usurping the presidency.


Recent developments on the South China Sea

China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over Admiral John M. Richardsonislands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves.

Beijing, Jan.20.– The U.S. Navy's top officer says he urged China to follow international rules at sea to avoid confrontations and insisted that ships should be able to pass safely though the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait.


Sweden grudgingly gives Stefan Lofven another term as PM

With the far right rising, centre-right parties agree to keep the Social Democrat in power, for now ...  Stefan Lofven

Stockholm, Jan.18.– In most democracies, one side needs at least a plurality of the votes to form a government. Not so in Sweden, a polite country with a system of “negative parliamentarianism”: a candidate can become prime minister so long as an absolute majority of the Riksdag, the country’s parliament, does not explicitly object.

The result can resemble a family that keeps ordering the same unloved pizza because it cannot agree on anything else. On January 18th, 153 MPs voted against a second term for Stefan Lofven (pictured, right), the Social Democrat who has served as prime minister since 2014. Just 115 backed him, but 77 abstained, meaning Mr Lofven will continue nonetheless.


Will Belarus be anexed to Russia?

Vladimir Putin is looking forward to deep integration and is hinting at a political takeover

However, Belarus’s leader upsets Vladimir Putin by cosying up to the West

Minsk, Jan.13.– A giant statue of Lenin still stands before the forbidding House of Government in Minsk, built by Stalin in 1934 and occupied by the Gestapo a few Lukashenko & Putinyears later. But behind this totalitarian façade now sits a government that is trying to work out how to reform Belarus’s economy while following a political trajectory set a quarter-century ago by the country’s authoritarian leader, Alexander Lukashenko. Now he must also fend off Russia’s looming threats to its independence. This is not an easy circle to square. But Mr Lukashenko is no ordinary politician.

A former collective-farm boss, Mr Lukashenko was swept to power in a landslide in 1994, three years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He has ruled Belarus ever since, making him Europe’s longest-serving president. Unlike his peers in other European former Soviet republics, who rejected the old system as they asserted independence, he cherished the Soviet legacy.


Los Angeles County agrees to purge up to 1.5 million voters from its rolls in settlement

Los Angeles, Jan.7.– Los Angeles County has agreed to conduct a purge of its voting rolls, in a move that could strip perhaps 1.5 million inactive voters from the lists of those eligible to cast ballots.California voter registration form

The county made the deal in a settlement last week with Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest firm, saying that under a recent Supreme Court ruling, it has a duty to remove names of people who appear to have either died, moved from the county or lost interest in voting.