World Bulletin / News Desk
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez declared himself fully recovered from cancer on Monday, three months before an election in which he is seeking another six-year term.
"Free, free, totally free," he told reporters when asked if he was free of the disease that struck a year ago.
The 57-year-old socialist leader was first diagnosed with cancer in the pelvic region in mid-2011. He wrongly declared himself cured at the end of that year before having a recurrence of the disease in February.
But after repeated cycles of treatment in Cuba and Venezuela, Chavez is once again declaring himself fully fit at a crucial time when his health is the main wild card before the Oct. 7 presidential vote.
Perceptions of Chavez's ability to campaign for the election, and govern afterwards, are crucial among voters in what could be one of Venezuela's tightest elections of recent times.
At a four-hour news conference that offered more evidence of Chavez's increasing energy levels, he promised to begin campaigning on the streets with a series of caravans in provincial Venezuela from Thursday.
"Now is when I'm stepping into the action. Our offensive begins right now!" said an ebullient Chavez, who disappeared for long periods during treatment over the last year but has been back dominatingVenezuela's airwaves in recent weeks.
"Chavez is back in the street, the Bolivarian hurricane!" he added, referring to his spiritual idol and Venezuela's independence hero, Simon Bolivar.
Despite Chavez's optimism, doctors say it is impossible to be sure someone is completely cured until at least a couple of years have passed since the last recurrence of cancer.
The former soldier is leading most opinion polls by double digits.
Capriles, a 39-year-old, center-left former governor, has been criss-crossing Venezuela on a "house-by-house" tour in a show of youth and energy that the opposition has been using to contrast with the ailing Chavez, 57.
The president, though, who was famous for his whirlwind on-the-street campaigning of the past, appears to be recovering his energy levels just in time.
"Every day, I feel in better physical condition and I strongly believe ... it is not going to be a determining factor in this campaign," he told reporters. "I'm a veteran of 100 battles and I feel in great moral, spiritual and physical conditions for this fight that is starting."
The number of Roman Catholics in Latin America, a historical stronghold, dropped to 67 percent in 2013, from 80 percent in 1995, a survey by Chile-based pollster Latinobarometro showed
White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters traveling on Air Force One that Kiev had responded with "admirable restraint" to destabilizing actions in the country by armed pro-Moscow separatists.
Garcia Marquez, who was hospitalized for nine days in Mexico City for dehydration and a lung and urinary infection, has been receiving treatment at his home
Small groups of demonstrators from Barakat - the name means "Enough" - tried to hold a sit-in in downtown Algiers before uniformed police surrounded them and dragged them off.
NATO said the military alliance had decided on immediate steps to reinforce its forces in eastern Europe because of the Ukraine crisis.
Transnistria's Parliament will apply to Russia for recognition of their independence from Moldova.
So far this year, 2,370 unaccompanied minors have arrived in Italy, the charity claims. Most journey to Italy to be united with relatives already there. When the Italian authorities fail to reunite them with family, the children often risk the journey alone.
Government ministers said that warnings last week by the U.N. mission in Burundi (BNUB) about possible violence were baseless and possibly spread to justify an extension of its mandate
The International Centre for the Study of Radicalization is a non-governmental think-tank based in London whose mission is to analyze and promote the understanding of political violence and radicalization.
Pakistan Taliban spokesperson blamed the government for a lack of progress in peace talks.
The island, which just has a population of 30 Spanish soldiers, is one of three Chafarinas Islands that have been under Spanish control since 1847.
Jarba said his Syrian National Coalition sought a political solution, according to a statement from the ministry.
Saudi Arabia’s aviation authorities have warned Pakistan’s national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), that all their flights will be cancelled if outstanding airport usage fees are not paid by April 17.
Ukraine's defence ministry said the troop carriers were now in Slaviansk, guarded by "people in uniforms who have no relation to Ukraine's armed forces."
Talks were put on hold after an Israeli soldier was shot dead in the West Bank.
Mariam Koofi was shot in one of Kabul's upscale districts late on Tuesday after an argument with a member of the security forces, the interior ministry said in a statement. Her injury was not life threatening.