World Bulletin / News Desk
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has overcome a respiratory infection, but is still being treated for breathing problems after cancer surgery in Cuba last month, a government minister said on Saturday.
Official statements have sounded upbeat about the socialist president's condition in recent weeks, following rumors he was gravely ill in a hospital in Havana and might be unable to keep governing after being re-elected in October to a third term.
"(Chavez) has overcome the respiratory infection, although he still has a certain degree of respiratory insufficiency," Information Minister Ernesto Villegas told reporters in Chile, where Latin American and European leaders are meeting.
"Vice President (Nicolas) Maduro has estimated that Chavez could come back in weeks, but we haven't wanted to put a time frame on the president's recovery," Villegas added.
Earlier on Saturday, Maduro said Chavez, 58, was in his "best moment" since his operation 45 days ago.
"What we can share with you is that the commander is in his best moment that we have seen in all of these days of struggle," Maduro said in televised comments before dawn on Saturday, after returning from Cuba to meet with the president.
Chavez has not been seen in public since undergoing his fourth and most complex surgery to treat an illness that might jeopardize the future of his self-styled revolution.
He has never said exactly what type of cancer he has, only that the initial tumor found in mid-2011 was in his pelvic area and was the size of a baseball.
In contrast to Chavez's previous visits to Havana for treatment, officials have not published any evidence of his condition. In 2011, with great fanfare, they broadcast videos of him reading a newspaper, walking in a garden and chatting with his daughter.
In the absence of such proof this time, many Venezuelans are questioning the terse official bulletins that provide few details about his condition or treatment.
Maduro said earlier on Saturday that Chavez had ordered a series of economic decisions that would help boost Venezuelan exports, comments that came amid speculation the government was preparing a devaluation of the bolivar currency.
"He gave a series of orders that the economic team will share in the coming hours with the people of Venezuela, which are focused on building Venezuela's export capacity," he said.
He did not elaborate.
A Finance Ministry source who asked not to be identified said on Saturday the ministry was not planning on making any announcements right now.
Devaluation would make exports more competitive by lowering local production costs and spur domestic industries by making imports less competitive with locally produced goods.
It would also improve state finances by providing more bolivars per dollar of oil exports, following heavy spending in 2012 on homes for the poor and pensions for the elderly that helped Chavez win re-election.
But it would also push up consumer prices in a country that already has one of the highest inflation rates in the region.
A lack of dollars in recent weeks has left many businesses struggling to import the products they need. Some goods such as wheat flour and sugar have disappeared from supermarket shelves, partly because of import bottlenecks.
Business leaders insist a devaluation would help address the problem.
A spokesman for the prosecutors office confirmed weekend media reports that an investigation had been launched
Elections held Sunday in disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory violate principles of international law, says spokesman of Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry.
Togo court confirms President Gnassingbe won April 25 election with 58.77 percent of the vote
Kerry's visit followed the killing of 148 people by al Shabaab in an attack on the university at Garissa, nothern Kenya, on April 2.
On Saturday, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said that Abbas would hold presidential and legislative elections once he receives a written request in this regard from Hamas.
Chancellor Werner Faymann described as "totally absurd" the current system in which refugees are supposed to be taken in by the country where they first arrive.
Military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told a briefing that the separatists had used large-calibre artillery in their attacks
Italy says nearly 4,100 boat migrants rescued from boats near the coast of Libya on Saturday and early Sunday
According to information from Iraqi security officials, the explosion damaged many houses, cars and businesses.
Israeli media outlets had said that the army planned to carry out wide-scale drills in the Jordan Valley that would last for several days.
Former US President Jimmy Carter said that Abbas asked him and the members of his delegation to bring this written request from Hamas.
University students, parents and well-wishers attended the event which was held at Fourah Bay College Mount Aureol in Freetown
The sacking of the security officials comes in the wake of the conclusion of a probe into the events, which took place in Liberian capital Monrovia.
On Wednesday, Libya's Tobruk-based government said five people had been arrested for suspected involvement in the murder of the two Tunisian journalists.
International humanitarian organizations say they are in capable of offering aid to around 18,000 residents of the camp as clashes rage on between the two armed groups.
The Palestinian faction went on to reiterate that Al-Aqsa Mosque was at the heart of the conflict between the Arabs and Israel.