World Bulletin / News Desk
Venezuela's Hugo Chavez unveiled a 3D image of South America's 19th century independence hero Simon Bolivar on Tuesday, based on bones the president ordered exhumed two years ago to test his theory that Bolivar was murdered.
In a ceremony to mark the 229th anniversary of Bolivar's birth, senior government officials and military commanders clapped as Chavez and a group of school children unveiled the new image, which was based on scans of Bolivar's skull.
The socialist leader reveres Bolivar - he renamed the country the "Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela" - and has wrapped his leftist "revolution" in the imagery and language of the region's battle to break free of colonial power Spain.
"He was a true giant of the human cause, the human battle ... this is his face," Chavez said, sitting below two giant prints of a life-like depiction of a distinguished-looking Bolivar boasting a gold-braided uniform and prominent sideburns.
"Now we know with precision and receive with infinite intensity the luminous presence of this gaze, this living face."
The president, who is seeking a new six-year term in an Oct. 7 election, also tweeted a link to the image from a mobile phone on his @chavezcandanga account: http://t.co/TGzhfSCj
Chavez, in his fight against the "Yankee imperialism" of the United States, repeatedly invokes Bolivar, who is second only to Jesus as a figure of reverence in parts of South America.
Chavez normally gives televised speeches in front of large paintings of Bolivar, a brilliant Venezuelan soldier and military tactician who freed much of South America from centuries of Spanish rule. Chavez ordered a striking new mausoleum built for Bolivar's remains, which will be finished soon.
On Tuesday, he also held aloft two ornate antique pistols for the cameras, saying they had belonged to his hero.
'FIGHT FOR THE FATHERLAND'
Venezuela's opposition accuses the president of cynically seeking to boost his popularity by linking himself to Bolivar, and says he is really an autocrat who carefully avoids quoting some of Bolivar's words on freedom and rights.
Chavez denies it and cites Bolivar as the inspiration for his leftist policies. He has long suggested Bolivar was poisoned by enemies in Colombia, rejecting the more common version cited by historians that he died of tuberculosis there in 1830.
Two years ago, amid unusual scenes of a military honor guard in white biohazard suits and face masks exhuming the remains during a pre-dawn ceremony at the National Pantheon, the president assigned a team to investigate Bolivar's death.
A year ago, it reported back that "the Liberator" may have died of accidental poisoning - probably as a result of taking toxic medicines that were widely used at the time. They did not rule out tuberculosis.
After the scientist heading the 3D image project explained on Tuesday how it had been created using multiple scans and the latest forensic facial reconstruction methods, Chavez said Venezuelans were jubilant to see Bolivar's "real face" at last.
"And not just in Venezuela, but in all the countries of Latin America, the Caribbean and further afield," he said.
"I believe Bolivar is born again every day in every one of us, in these people, in these children ... in the fight for the fatherland which never ends."
The prosecutor said it had widened an investigation originally centred on four people with business and personal ties to Karimova to include the daughter of Uzbek president Islam Karimov herself
In recent months, groups of extremist Jewish settlers – often accompanied by Israeli security forces – have repeatedly entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex.
Moscow, which denies its troops have a role in the takeover of Crimea, says people there - a small majority of whom are ethnic Russians - should have the right to secede
With tourism down around 5 percent, pressure from business community expected to be a major reason.
If approved by EU foreign ministers at a meeting on Monday, they would be the first sanctions imposed by the European Union against Russia since the end of the Cold War
Crimea, a southern Ukrainian region which is home to the Russian Black Sea fleet, will vote on Sunday on whether to join Russia.
South Africa said it would not tolerate attacks on its soil against exiled Rwandan opposition members
Finalised after months of political wrangling and likely to spark ultra-Orthodox rage, the legislation will be implemented fully in 2017
"I will serve until parliament chooses a new prime minister next week," caretaker Prime Minister Abdullahal-Thinni said.
"Today ... we will release another statement that will leave no doubts about the determination of G7 countries and the European Union," Barroso said
"The only source of power in any country is its people, and a president who lost his people's trust, who de facto lost his presidential authority and, moreover, who fled the country, cannot be legitimate," the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry said.
Rival gangs killed 14 people, including eight women and three children
Human Rights Watch said if had to choose between Myanmar government report and UN one, would rather believe the UN.
The Bulgarian navy told Reuters the exercises started after a one-day delay due to unfavourable weather conditions.
The student died during a 200-strong protest march at Khartoum University against escalating violence in the western Darfur region
The four men had been granted bail by a Nairobi magistrate on February 12 but the prosecutors appealed the decision.