Venezuela's government is open to improving troubled ties with Washington and is considering a U.S. proposal for the return of anti-drug agents kicked out of the country eight years ago by President Hugo Chavez, a senior official said. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro (L) greets supporters during a visit to a state-run market held along streets in Valencia, in the state of Carabobo, some 180km (112 miles) west of Caracas January 19, 2013. - Photo: Reuters There has been no word from Chavez since he had cancer surgery in Cuba five weeks ago, so every move the government makes in his absence is being picked over for clues to what the OPEC nation might look like in a post-Chavez era. Speaking to Telesur, a TV network set up by Chavez to counter Western media influence, Venezuela's ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Roy Chaderton, said U.S.-Venezuela relations were "not hot, not cold. Zero degrees". … [Read more...] about Envoy says Venezuela open to better ties with U.S.
Post offices open on saturday
A law opening state offices on Saturday mornings has been of little use as residents simply donâ€™t know about it. To curb overcrowding at government agencies during the week, the municipal Peopleâ€™s Committee instructed the offices to work four extra hours on Saturdays beginning in February last year. But Tan Binh District resident Diep Thi Nga said she didnâ€™t know about the new regulation. Applying for a construction permit, she waited for hours at the district Peopleâ€™s Committee on a weekday instead. â€œI went on a workday today because I wasnâ€™t sure if they were open on Saturdays or not,â€ she said. Many state offices have their weekday working hours posted, but fail to mention the new Saturday hours. Ho Tien Nguyen, who went to the Tan Binh Committee office to get a certified copy also said he didnâ€™t know the building was open on weekends. A resident from Binh Thanh District said he had to wait for more than an hour at the city Justice Department for a … [Read more...] about Gov’t offices deserted on Saturdays
Thirty-six people convicted in a postal equipment purchase scam four months ago will have their appeals heard beginning September 29. The appeals trial would take place in Ho Chi Minh City, officials from the Supreme Court of Appeals said Saturday. In May, the Court of First Instance in the southern province of Dong Nai sentenced 46-year-old Nguyen Lam Thai to a 26-year jail term after convicting him of fraud and tax evasion. Thai and 35 others of the 46 convicted of various related crimes at the trial have since lodged appeals, court officials said. Thai has pleaded innocent to the fraud charge and has asked for lighter sentencing on the tax evasion count. Thai was arrested in June 2005 and charged with faking quotations, invoices and other documents to prove that his corporate group, C.I.P, had the capacity to supply some VND31 billion (US$1.9 million) worth of equipment to many provincial post offices. In fact, the company did not have the financial wherewithal to buy … [Read more...] about Appeals to open in massive postal equipment scam
CAIRO - Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi will respect a court ruling overturning his decree for the dissolved Islamist-dominated parliament to convene, his office said amid a power struggle with the military. The statement issued on Wednesday appears aimed at mollifying an infuriated judiciary, which has been placed at the forefront of the complex struggle between powerful generals adjusting to their new Islamist president. "If yesterday's constitutional court ruling prevents parliament from fulfilling its responsibilities, we will respect that because we are a state of the law," the statement said, a day after the court froze Morsi's decree. "There will be consultations with (political) forces and institutions and the supreme council for legal authorities to pave a suitable way out of this," the statement added. Last week, Morsi ordered parliament to convene, in defiance of a military decision, to disband the house in line with a court ruling last month before the generals … [Read more...] about Egypt’s Morsi says will obey court ruling on parliament by Samer al-Atrush
The top U.S. military officer on Wednesday denied allegations by a senior army official in Islamabad that a NATO attack that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers was a deliberate act of aggression. Islamabad has reacted angrily to the attack last weekend, which threatens to set back peace efforts in Afghanistan, by pulling out of an international conference in Germany next week on Afghanistan's future. It stood by its decision on Wednesday despite German hopes to the contrary. NATO helicopters and fighter jets attacked two military border posts in northwest Pakistan on Saturday in the worst incident of its kind since Islamabad allied itself with Washington in 2001 in the war on militancy. In comments carried in local newspapers on Wednesday that characterized the attack as blatant aggression, Major General Ishfaq Nadeem, Pakistan's director general of military operations, said NATO forces were alerted they were attacking Pakistani posts but helicopters kept firing. "Detailed … [Read more...] about U.S. denies NATO attack on Pakistani troops deliberate