December 31, 2012

Nation/World Dispatches

CARACAS, Venezuela

Chavez's condition delicate, vice president says in Cuba

Hugo Chavez has suffered "new complications" following his cancer surgery in Cuba, his vice president said Sunday, describing the Venezuelan leader's condition as delicate.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro spoke in a televised address from Havana, saying he had spoken with Chavez and that the president sent greetings to his homeland. Maduro did not give details about the complications, which he said came amid a respiratory infection.

"Several minutes ago we were with President Chavez. We greeted each other and he himself referred to these complications," Maduro said, reading from a prepared statement.

The vice president's comments suggest an increasingly difficult fight for Chavez. The Venezuelan leader hasn't been seen or heard from since undergoing his fourth cancer-related surgery Dec. 11, and government officials have said he might not return in time for his scheduled Jan. 10 inauguration for a new six-year term.

QUETTA, Pakistan

Bomb hits bus carrying Shiite pilgrims, killing 19

A car bomb targeting a bus carrying Shiite Muslim pilgrims killed 19 people in southwest Pakistan, officials and eyewitnesses said.

Earlier Sunday, 21 tribal policemen believed to have been kidnapped by the Taliban were found shot dead in Pakistan's troubled northwest tribal region, government officials said.

Reports conflicted about whether the car bombing was a suicide attack or the device was detonated remotely.

Pakistan has experienced a spike in killings over the last year by radical Sunni Muslims targeting Shiites, whom they consider heretics. The violence has been especially pronounced in Baluchistan province, where the latest attack occurred.

In addition to the 19 people killed in the bombing in Baluchistan's Mastung district, 25 others were wounded, many of them critically, said Tufail Ahmed, a local official.

PENDLETON, Ore.

Tour bus accident kills nine and injures more than 20

A tour bus careened through a guardrail along an icy Oregon highway and several hundred feet down a steep embankment Sunday, killing nine people and injuring more than 20, authorities said.

The charter bus carrying about 40 people lost control around 10:30 a.m. on the snow- and ice-covered lanes of Interstate 84, according to the Oregon State Police.

The bus came to rest at the bottom of a snowy slope. More than a dozen rescue workers used ropes to help retrieve people from the wreckage. The bus driver was among the survivors, but had not spoken to police because of severe injuries.

Umatilla County Emergency Manager Jack Remillard said the bus was owned by Mi Joo travel in Vancouver, B.C., and state police said the bus was en route from Las Vegas to Vancouver.

A woman who answered the phone said the bus was on a tour of the Western U.S.

A bus safety website run by the U.S. Department of Transportation said none of Mi Joo's six buses has been involved in an accident in at least the past two years.

-- From news service reports

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