February 18, 2009

Unlimited re-election wins out in Venezuela

Per the Times Online, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez celebrated after the National Electoral Council reported that over 54 percent of voters chose to support a constitutional amendment to eliminate limits on elected posts. The decision paves the way for Chavez, who has been in power since 1999, to remain as president well past 2012 when his term was to officially end.

This extension of power has caused mixed emotions in Venezuela as Chavez seeks to continue his Bolivarian revolution -- founded in leftist notions of economics, foreign policiy, and social programs into the next decade and beyond.

Here's what Venezuelans are feeling about Chavez's unlimited re-election bids:

@adldesigner (Caracas, Venezuela): Why does Venezuela's society cave into Chavez demands? Please, let us awaken from this nightmare. A better future is possible.

@jwolson (Colinas de Tamanaco, Miranda): Chavez calls Venezuela vote mandate for socialism. Friends say it's time to get out. http://post.ly/2MO

Here are some tweets from around the U.S.:

@swoodruff (New Jersey): Hugo Chavez will die eventually. That must actually be a government program. It'll never leave!

@plaidavenger (Aloof): There is no way Hugo Chavez will last as President of Venezuela for the next decade. Simply won't happen.

@wa6ube (Silicon Valley, Calif.): Ola Hugo! North America needs to hear more English language broadcasts via Radio Nacionale de Venezuala !! Add more programming !!


Michelle Bachelet meets Fidel Castro

Per The Telegraph, Chilean president Michelle Bachelet visited Fidel Castro in Cuba on Tuesday, and found him in good health condition, refuting rumors of complications after an intestinal surgery. 

Latin American tweets helped tell the story.

@edouardose (Brazil): Raúl Castro confesó que Fidel recibió a Cristina y a Bachelet porque son mujeres http://tinyurl.com/cjfrx3 (raul castro confessed that Fidel received Bachelet and Cristina because they are women)

@Chuqui (Santiago, Chile): Bachelet fue trotando, sí, TROTANDO a ver a Fidel Castro tal como los peregrinos van a la Meca. Verguenza ajena. (Bachelet was jogging, yes, jogging to see Fidel Castro as the pilgrims going to Mecca. Embarrassment of others)

@DMonKaZ (Lima, Peru): Fidel Castro con una casaca Adidas http://ping.fm/5FKA2 (wearing a adidas suit)


Pakistan may send probe team to India

Per Reuters, Pakistan acknowledges that the Mumbai attacks spawned from terrorist groups residing in its country. Pakistan may answer India's request to send an investigation team to the nation to share information about the attacks.

More evidence remains that tensions between the neighboring countries are fading after the attacks, according to the article.

India-Pakistan relations have been a hot topic of debate on Twitter.

@thefiltercoffee (Los Angeles, Calif.): Laura Rozen needs to share whatever it is she's been smoking. India supporting Taliban against Pakistan? http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/02/16/can_the_intel_co...

Indian news services have frequently tweeted about the latest developments.

@INDIATAB (India): India Says It Didn’t Ponder Pakistan War Over Mumbai Attacks - Bloomberg: ABC NewsIndia Says It Didn’t Ponder Pa.. http://tinyurl.com/amzoq8

Some twitterers wonder what President Barack Obama will do in regards to the situation.

@charlesdickey (Austin, Texas): trying to decide if worrying about Pakistan, India and that region is worth the time and if obama should even get involved with this mess


Tourists stuck in Antarctica

Per CNN, 65 passenger and 41 crew members on board the cruise ship M/V Ocean Nova, became stranded in Marguerite Bay, Antarctica after the ship ran aground, officials announced Wednesday.
The captain and his staff are hoping high tide will dislodge the ship, according to the article.

One twitterer linked to a Reuters story that said this incident was the second of its kind in two months in Antarctica.

@guidedworld: Cruise passengers stranded on ship in Antarctica evacuated after it runs aground. This is becoming alarmingly common - http://is.gd/k28t

An American tweeted that the event brought back memories.

@sevnthsin (Minneapolis, Minn.): I was on this ship one year ago! Holy crap! http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/americas/02/18/antarctica.cruise.ship/index.html

Other twitterers posted photos and updates.

@greg787: RT @cruiseind RT @CruiseLog Dramatic new photos from Antarctica show grounded expedition ship listing to [starboard] http://bit.ly/5DJKE

@garreton (Santiago, Chile): Chile Argentina Navies work to rescue Ocean Nova cruise liner that is aground in Antarctica. Today 2nd ship will rescue all 74 passengers

As of 8:12 p.m. CST, the Associated Press has reported that the passengers and crew have been successfully transferred to another ship.


Man killed in French Caribbean riot

Per The International Herald Tribune, a man was shot and killed as he drove home on Wednesday night, the first fatality in a month-long strike of Guadeloupe and Martinique workers in the French Caribbean, demanding better housing, water, gasoline and water bills.

One man in the area noted that the strike has been compounded by a worsening economy.

@AkaSeltzer (Desirade, Guadeloupe): La crise économique en Guadeloupe repérée: avalanche de spam pour crédit à la conso. (The economic crisis in Guadeloupe identified: avalanche of spam to consolidate credit.)

For some, the ongoing strike has been personal.

@JolieMelodie: Elodie is worried about her family in Martinique :((. http://tinyurl.com/c296gv

Some twitterers in Europe reacted to the news.

@vivienfrance (Champagne-Ardennes, France): thinks the strikes in Guadaloupe are a ticking time bomb.

@JulienFrisch (Europe): Riots in the European Union: Guadeloupe on the edge of a revolt after one month strike: http://tinyurl.com/guadel

Several journalists noted the news as well, including @JByers11 of the Toronto Star.

@JByers11 (Toronto, Canada): As if economy wasn't enough, AP reports tourists now staying away from Martinique and Guadeloupe due to violent strikes and garbage buildup


Photographers respond to British Terrorism Law

Per BBC, from Monday Feb. 16th, anyone in the UK taking a photograph of a police officer could be charged with a criminal offense.

Section 76 of the British Counter Terrorism Act allows legal action to be taken against photographers if they are found "eliciting, publishing or communicating information" of public service officials, including military and police officers. The law warns the images are "likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism" the BBC reported on Monday.

A massive photo shoot was held to protest the new legislation in London's Scotland Yard as Twitter members speak out.

@pokomon (West London, U.K.): good turn out at Scotland Yard. had to chuckle at the difficulty of getting lots of photographers to pose for a photo...

@sjkennedy (London, U.K.): photo of photographer protest outside New Scotland Yard, taken around 11:30am from my mobile phone.... http://twitpic.com/1ir8g

@Dick_Puddlecote: Just back from the NUJ New Scotland Yard photo shoot. 400 against Labour authoritarianism. Perfect.


Japanese minister resigns after accusations

Per The International Herald Tribune, Japanese Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa resigned from his position on Tuesday, after "facing ridicule and criticism for slurring and yawning his way through a news conference at the weekend Group of 7 meeting in Rome."

The article added that it was a "major setback for Prime Minister Taro Aso," whose approval rating has plummeted to 9.7 percent amidst Japan's worsening recession.

Four Twitter users in Japan tweeted about these developments, all via iPhones which listed their exact locations.

@feffrey (Akasaka, Japan): Nakagawa is off to the hospital to check out why he had such a strange reaction to the "medicine". http://is.gd/jMoM The answer: it was wine

@feffrey (Akasaka, Japan): And Nakagawa resigns. No alcohol problem mentioned but at least Japan no longer has a drunk finance minister. http://is.gd/jN5p

@toshisato (Shibuya, Japan): I believe Mr. Nakagawa, Finance Minister of Japan, WAS drunk during the conference http://tinyurl.com/an9yyw

@jlist (Kitakaruizawa, Japan): Okay, Aso-san has a lower rating than Bush had? Um, what? http://tinyurl.com/aotlk4

@havill (Shinyurigaoka, Japan): JP needs a new PM fast. Aso makes Bush look good. If it must be the LDP, I hope it's Koike.