In brief: Chavez suffers ‘new complications’
CARACAS, Venezuela – 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 with a solemn expression 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.
Maduro’s comments suggest an increasingly difficult fight for the ailing president. The Venezuelan leader has not 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.
Gang rape victim’s body cremated
NEW DELHI – A young woman who died after being gang-raped and beaten on a bus in India’s capital was cremated privately as millions of grieving, angry residents demanded greater protection for women from sexual violence.
The cremation took place during a private ceremony Sunday in New Delhi soon after the woman’s body arrived from Singapore, where she died at a hospital Saturday after being sent for medical treatment.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, head of the ruling Congress Party, were at the airport to receive the woman’s body and meet family members of the victim who were on the flight.
Six men have been arrested and charged with murder in the attack on a New Delhi bus on Dec. 16. Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said they face the death penalty if convicted.
But in a sign of how pervasive such crimes are, police in West Bengal state were investigating another suspected gang-rape and death.
The family of a woman said she and her husband were attacked by six men as they returned home after working at a brick factory. They dragged the woman into a nearby farm after pouring acid into her husband’s mouth, the family said.
The woman was found dead with multiple injuries, said police officer Bhaskar Mukherjee.
Another police officer, Sugata Sen, said four men had been detained for questioning.
Drill ship adrift in Gulf of Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A Shell drill ship stranded by a fierce storm in the Gulf of Alaska was drifting again Sunday after it broke from lines attaching it to two towing vessels.
The lines attaching the drill ship Kulluk to the vessels Aiviq and Nanuq broke Sunday afternoon, Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said.
The vessels are following the drifting rig, which has no propulsion system of its own, while responders look at ways to reconnect the lines to the Kulluk.
The crews of the Aiviq and the Nanuq were stationed Sunday with the Royal Dutch Shell PLC drill rig Kulluk about 20 miles from Alaska’s Kodiak Island, and were joined later in the day by the tugboat Alert in very rough seas, the Coast Guard said. The Coast Guard cutter Alex Haley was en route for a second time and expected to arrive late Sunday.
Coast Guard Capt. Paul Mehler III said crews spent Saturday night dealing with the storm that brought winds between 55 and 70 mph.
Petty Officer 1st Class David Mosley said winds Sunday ranged between 35 mph and 50 mph. Seas were as high as 22 feet.
The ultimate goal is to tow the Kulluk to a safe harbor.
The Aiviq was using only two of its four engines at a time, with two on standby. The Aiviq’s engines failed Friday, and one of them was restarted the same day. The others were back to running Saturday after parts were delivered by Coast Guard helicopter.
All 18 crew members on the Kulluk were safely evacuated from the drill ship.