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In brief: Cuban woman has 126th birthday

Ceiba Hueca, Cuba – Relatives and friends of a Cuban woman have celebrated what they say is her 126th birthday, though that claim to longevity is not recognized internationally.

Cuba’s Prensa Latina agency said Juana Bautista de la Candelaria Rodriguez has a civil registry document that states she was born on Feb. 2, 1885, in the town of Ceiba Hueca, where she still lives.

Her 125th birthday celebration last year was covered extensively in the island’s state-run media, but she isn’t recognized by the Los Angeles-based Gerontology Research Group, which verifies information for Guinness World Records.

The claim would make her the world’s oldest person by more than a decade.

American ordered held 8 more days

Lahore, Pakistan – A judge is allowing police to continue holding a U.S. Embassy employee who faces a murder charge in the shooting deaths of two Pakistanis, authorities said today.

The case has escalated tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan. The U.S. said the American, Raymond Davis, acted in self-defense against robbers, and that Pakistan must free him because he has diplomatic immunity.

Police official Zulifqar Hameed said a judge ordered today that Davis be held another eight days. His next court appearance is set for Feb. 11.

Davis was arrested Jan. 27 after he allegedly shot and killed two gunmen in the city of Lahore. A third Pakistani died when hit by a car rushing to the scene.

Chavez celebrates 12 years in power

Caracas, Venezuela – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez celebrated his 12th anniversary in power Wednesday saying he is ready to battle for six more years in next year’s election.

In televised appearances that lasted much of the day, Chavez touted his government’s programs and also apologized for his errors, saying much remains to be done as he seeks to lead Venezuela toward socialism.

“The battle has begun, and it’s going to be hard and good,” Chavez said of the 2012 presidential election as he visited a state-run supermarket.

The president is facing a gamut of problems, ranging from rampant violent crime to 27 percent inflation. His popularity has been hovering around 50 percent in recent surveys, down from more than 70 percent in 2006, pollster and economist Luis Vicente Leon said Wednesday.

The opposition has yet to select a presidential candidate.


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