Weekly World News Brief

Friday, January 12, 2007

Written by Gonzalo Moreno

“Socialism or Death” - These were the words uttered by controversial Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez as he was sworn in on Wednesday, after winning reelection for a second six-year term with 63 per cent of the popular vote. Chavez also completed a rather unorthodox day of ceremonies by calling Jesus Christ “the greatest socialist ever” and visiting the tomb of Latin American independence hero, Simon Bolivar. In a highly questionable move, Chavez also announced plans to form a commission that would facilitate constitutional reforms necessary to allow him to run for office beyond the two-term limitation that is currently enshrined in the Venezuelan Constitution.

Cutting the Line - Earlier this week, Eastern and Central Europe literally shuddered as Russia cut its oil supply to neighbouring Belarus, unhappy with the transit tax that this country was charging as Russian oil traversed it in a pipeline towards Poland and Germany. Bowing under German and European Union pressure, Belarus waived the tax on Wednesday, and oil supplies resumed. This is the latest episode in a series of incidents that have seen Russia play hardball with its energy supply in order to assert its power and influence over former Soviet republics.

The Way Forward in Iraq - In a speech that Thecannon.ca reported here, U.S. President George W. Bush unveiled his country’s new strategy for Iraq. The plan, which includes a surge in U.S. troops stationed in Baghdad, drew immediate criticism from all sectors of U.S. politics, including several Republican presidential hopefuls.

Hollywood Gets a New Star - Soccer superstar David Beckham, possibly the most recognizable face in sports worldwide, announced on Thursday that he will be joining North American Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit Los Angeles Galaxy upon the expiration of his contract with Spanish giants Real Madrid this summer. In order to lure Beckham away from the more lucrative and competitive European leagues, the MLS had to reform its salary cap rules, and the Galaxy had to offer to let Beckham keep 100% of his multi-million dollar advertising and merchandising revenues, which include immensely lucrative deals with Pepsi and Gillette. It is projected that Beckham will make $250 million (U.S. figures) over the 5-year contract he has signed with Los Angeles. The move, which comes as something of a shock, is considered to be a massive coup for the MLS and for North American soccer in general.

Former Latin American Leader Charged with Human Rights Abuses - And Arrested, for a Change - Isabel Peron, the widow of Argentine populist leader Juan Domingo Peron, and herself a former president of Argentina (1974-1976) was arrested for human rights abuses in her house in Madrid, Spain, on Friday. Isabel Peron was arrested on a warrant issued by an Argentine judge due to her signing of three separate orders allowing military police to “eliminate subversive elements” in 1975. She is also being investigated for her relationship with Triple A, an anti-communist paramilitary group that ran unhindered during the mid-70’s in Argentina, whose leaders are being charged with crimes against humanity.

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