In brief: Chavez in Cuba for chemotherapy
CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez headed back to Cuba on Saturday night for a fourth phase of chemotherapy that he expects to be his last round of treatment for cancer.
Supporters saw off Chavez with songs and a prayer outside the presidential palace before he left for the airport along with Bolivian President Evo Morales.
Chavez told the crowd that he is confident he is overcoming the illness.
“Chavez’s cancer is now part of this history,” he said, likening it to the short-lived coup he survived in 2002.
Japan to help in South Sudan
TOKYO – The Japanese government plans to send an engineering unit of the Ground Self-Defense Force to South Sudan to help build infrastructure as part of a U.N. peacekeeping mission in the new African country, government sources have revealed.
Consideration of the specifics of GSDF activities in South Sudan is already under way, and plans are being drawn up to dispatch a fact-finding team there by the end of the month, the sources said Friday.
The engineering unit will help improve the country’s infrastructure, building and repairing roads and bridges, as early as this year.
South Sudan became independent from Sudan on July 9, but years of civil war have severely damaged the country.
Gadhafi locale scene of fighting
SIRTE, Libya – Revolutionary fighters struggled to make gains in an assault into Moammar Gadhafi’s hometown Saturday with bloody street-by-street battles against loyalist forces fiercely defending the most symbolic of the shattered regime’s remaining strongholds.
The fresh attack into the Mediterranean coastal city of Sirte contrasted with a stalemate in the mountain enclave of Bani Walid where demoralized anti-Gadhafi forces tried to regroup after being beaten back by loyalist snipers and gunners.
Intense resistance has stalled forces of Libya’s new leadership trying to crush the dug-in fighters loyal to Gadhafi, weeks after the former rebels swept into Tripoli on Aug. 21 and pushed the country’s leader out of power and into hiding. Sirte and Bani Walid are the main pro-Gadhafi bastions in Libya’s coastal plain, but smaller holdouts remain in the deserts of the center of the country.