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 move envisions forming a unity government within five weeks and holding national elections six months.
Candido Van-Dunem, who had held the post since 2010, will be replaced by Joao Lourenco, a former secretary-general of the MPLA ruling party
About 22,000 people took refuge in the U.N. base in Bentiu, the capital of the oil producing Unity State, after the killings
Pollsters say UKIP has siphoned off much of its support from disgruntled right-wing Conservative voters. But they say it is also stealing traditional Labour supporters
State media said Maher Abdel-Hafiz Hajjar - a member of the government-sanctioned opposition and formerly a member of the Communist Party- had nominated himself
A man and two children were injured when an Israeli aircraft fired on them in the city of Beit Lahia.
Moscow is "extremely surprised by the distorted interpretation (of the agreement) by the Kiev authorities and the American partners," the foreign ministry said.
A remote Sunni village of roughly 2,000 people, Tfail is surrounded on three sides by Syria, and the primary route to the rest of Lebanon goes through its neighbour.
Russia conducted military exercises in its south-eastern Rostov region, which borders Ukraine
Northern England is overall less wealthy than the country's south, which hosts England's capital and economic powerhouse London.
Rights groups accuse Azerbaijan of muzzling dissent and jailing opponents, charges the government denies.
Katanga's interior minister gave a provisional toll of 56 dead and 69 injured but said the toll was expected to rise
China's modernising navy has taken an increasingly assertive stance in guarding what it sees as its sovereign maritime territory in the East China and South China Seas.
Christian Arabs, who are actually Palestinians, are among the 1.6 million Arabs who refused to leave their homes despite the Israeli occupation.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye appealed to his Chinese counterpart as the North looks set to defy UN obligations.