Venezuela Poll Shows Socialists
on Track to Win Elections
August 17, 2015 (TeleSUR English)
Over 60 percent of Venezuelans intend to vote in the country’s
parliamentary elections in Dec. 6, which are expected to be yet
another victory for the government of President Nicolas Maduro,
according to survey results released Sunday.
“Current projections indicate that 67 percent of Venezuelans
would vote in the upcoming parliamentary elections, a record
in this type of (vote),” said prominent Venezuelan journalist
Jose Vicente Rangel, while announcing the survey results via
private broadcaster Televen. The prediction that the majority of
Venezuelans plan to vote is likely good news for the government
of President Nicolas Maduro, as high turnout traditionally benefits
his socialist party, the PSUV.
Only 4 percent of survey respondents said they don't plan on
voting, while 9 percent stating they were undecided, but leaning
toward casting a vote. The survey was conducted by private pollster
Hinterlaces. Thirty four percent of potential voters surveyed by
Hinterlaces stated they favored the PSUV-led coalition, the Great
Patriotic Pole (GPP), which was formed in 2011. Only 19 percent
of survey respondents said they preferred the GPP's main rival, the
right-wing opposition coalition, the MUD.
Rangel said the results indicated the majority of voters firmly
support Maduro's government, and believe the president is capable
of defeating the economic war waged by sectors of the country's
opposition. “After 15 years of the Bolivarian Revolution, the
opposition fails to still be perceived as an alternative,” Rangel said.
Venezuelans will vote on Dec. 6 in widely anticipated legislative
elections. The GPP currently holds a majority in the legislature,
the National Assembly.
Huge Protest in Tokyo Rails
Against PM Abe's Security Bills
August 30, 2015 (Reuters)
Tens of thousands of protesters gathered near Japan's parliament building
on Sunday to oppose legislation allowing the military to fight overseas, the
latest sign of public mistrust in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's security policy.
In one of Japan's biggest protests in years - organizers put the crowd at
120,000 - people of all ages braved occasional rain to join the rally, chanting
and holding up placards with slogans such as "No War" and "Abe, quit".
Demonstrators swarmed into the street before parliament's main gate after
the crowd size made it impossible for police, out in heavy numbers, to keep
them to the sidewalks. A second nearby park area also filled with protesters.
The rally was one of more than 300 this weekend in Japan protesting Abe's
move to loosen the post-war, pacifist constitution's constraints on the
"Sitting in front of TV and just complaining wouldn't do,"said Naoko
Hiramatsu, a 44-year-old associate professor in French and one of the
"If I don't take action and try to put a stop on this, I will not be able to
explain myself to my child in the future," said Hiramatsu, holding a four-
year-old son in her arms in the thick of the protest.
Abe in July pushed through parliament's lower house a group of bills that
let Japan's armed forces defend an ally under attack, a drastic shift in Japan's
post-war security policy. The bills are now before the upper chamber, which
is also controlled by Abe's ruling bloc and aims to pass the legislation before
parliament's session ends on Sept. 27.
Abe's ratings have taken a hit from opposition to the security bills. Media
surveys showing those who oppose his government outnumber backers, and
more than half are against the security bills.
"We need to make the Abe government realize the public is having a sense
of crisis and angry. Let's work together to have the bills scrapped," Katsuya
Okada, head of Japan's largest opposition party, the Democratic Party of
Japan, told the Tokyo rally.
The demonstration was the biggest in Tokyo since the mass protests against
nuclear power in the summer of 2012, after the March 2011 Fukushima
More Venezuelan Seniors Join Latin
America's Most Generous Pension Program
August 18, 2015 (TeleSUR English)
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro announced via Twitter on
Monday the incorporation of 22,600 new pensioners into the
Venezuelan Institute of Social Security (IVSS).
Venezuela’s social pension program, known as the “Greater Love”
mission, was introduced in 2012 and has dramatically increased
pension coverage. "With the love of Hugo Chavez for the
grandparents of this country, I will be granting 22,600 pensions,”
Maduro wrote via twitter.
The Venezuelan pension program guarantees an old-age pension
from the age of 55 for women and age 60 for men, even to those
who never contributed to social security, as well as to families with
incomes below the minimum wage.
Previously, only senior citizens who had made social security
contributions were eligible to receive a full pension from the
IVSS. Under the governments of current President Maduro and
his predecessor, former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, nearly
3 million elderly people have received pensions.According to the
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
(OECD), Venezuela has by far the most generous social pension
program in Latin America.
Cuban Medical Brigade
Departs for Dominica
August 31, 2015 (Cuba News Agency)
A 16-strong Cuban medical brigade departed this morning for Dominica, a
small Caribbean island hit by Tropical Storm Erika last week.
Erika left in its wake in Dominica over 20 people dead and over 50 missing
with intense rains that caused mudslides and widespread devastation.
The brigade, led by Doctor Norberto Ramos, includes doctors, nurses, and
epidemiologists. Three civil and two electrical engineers are also travelling
to the small island. The plane also carries 1.2 tons of medicines.
Doctor Ramos said that among these health professionals are some of
those that went to Africa to fight Ebola and to Nepal and Chile after the
earthquakes that ravaged those countries.
According to several news outlets, rescue teams are trying to get to
communities that got isolated by the floods and mudslides.