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Atomic weapons against Islam, Ahmadinejad insists

News4u-News Desk-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned on Tuesday that Iran’s military would “cut off” the hands of those wishing to attack the Islamic republic and repeated his demand that US-led troops leave the region.
Iran has warned the world powers not to consider the Islamic Republic a weak; and dare not to launch a war against the country.
“No power will ever dare to think of launching aggression against Iran. Today, Iran is experienced and powerful,” the hardliner said in an address to the nation on the anniversary of the eruption of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980.
President Ahmadinejad in a rebellious remark referring to the world powers dominated by United States, spoke of meeting the worst fate in case of any negative activity performed against Iran.
“Our armed forces are ready to confront the forces of darkness. If anybody wants to shoot a bullet at us from anywhere, we will cut off his hands,” he said.
Confident of Iran’s military’s potency, Ahmadinejad added in his speech, “The world must know that the Iranian people will strongly defend their rights and their land.”
Iran’s arch-foe Israel has refused to rule out a military option should Tehran fail to curb its controversial nuclear programme, which the West fears is a cover for making atomic weapons.
The Jewish state is trying to convince delegates to the UN General Assembly to stay away from the chamber when Ahmadinejad addresses the gathering, a senior Israeli diplomat said today.

News4u-News Desk-Islam forbids atomic weapons and other arms of mass destruction, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted today ahead of his country’s nuclear talks with world powers in Baghdad.

“Based on Islamic teachings and the clear fatwa (edict) of the supreme leader, the production and use of weapons of mass destruction is haram (forbidden) and have no place in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s defence doctrine,” he said.

Ahmadinejad’s message was read out at a conference in the western city of Borujerd to commemorate Iranian victims of chemical weapons during a 1980-1988 war against Iraq, the official news agency IRNA reported.

World powers were to hold crunch talks in the Iraqi capital today with Iran to try to persuade Tehran to suspend sensitive nuclear work.

Ahmadinejad’s mention of a fatwa against nuclear weapons by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, referred to an edict which officials say he laid down in either 2004 or 2005.

Though no published fatwa exists, Iranian scholars point out that declarations by prominent ayatollahs can later take on the weight of a fatwa.

Khamenei has spoken out against nuclear weapons on several occasions, most recently on February 22 when he said that possessing an atomic bomb “constitutes a major sin.”

“The Iranian nation has never been seeking an atomic weapon and never will be,” while developing nuclear energy was in Iran’s interest, he said.

The United States has seized on Khamenei’s stance as a possible basis to resolve the dangerous standoff with Iran.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last month that Iranian officials “point to a fatwa that the supreme leader has issued against the pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

World powers expect Tehran to back up that position by demonstrating “clearly in the actions they propose that they have truly abandoned any nuclear weapons ambition,” she said.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

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Sri Lankan president signs order to release former army chief

News4u-News Desk-COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has signed the papers for the release of the former army chief Sarath Fonseka from jail prior to his departure to Qatar, presidential spokesman Bandula Jayasekera told reporters here.

The papers were handed over to presidential chief of staff Gamini Senarath for onward transmission to the ministry of justice on Monday.

Rajapaksa departed here on Saturday night on a state visit to Qatar.

Sarath Fonseka is currently serving a three-year jail term having been convicted by the high court in what was termed as the ‘white flag’ case.

He was charged of causing public disaffection of the state through his statement that the senior defence establishment had ordered killing of LTTE formers who turned up at the army with white flags during the final day of the military clashes in May 2009.

Expectations for Fonseka’s release mounted when his wife Anoma Fonseka said Rajapaksa had expressed desire to release the army chief.

Fonseka the military chief credited for government forces’ win over the LTTE fell out with his commander-in-chief Rajapaksa immediately after the war ended.PTI

President Rajapaksa and former army chief Sarath Fonseka

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New Obama ad attacks Romney’s jobs record

News4u-News Desk- WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama is opening a new advertising assault on challenger Mitt Romney’s record as a businessman - his primary strength with an American electorate still deeply worried about the economy - casting the likely Republican nominee as a greedy entrepreneur who bought up companies and wiped out jobs.

The unusually long 2-minute ad began appearing Monday and will be aired Wednesday in five U.S. states that have a history of voting for both Republican and Democratic presidential candidates. It uses interviews with former workers to recount the restructuring and ultimate demise of a Missouri steel mill after it was bought by Romney’s investment company. Romney still maintains a financial interest in the company.

“They made as much money off of it as they could. And they closed it down,” says Joe Soptic, a steelworker for 30 years. Jack Cobb adds: “It was like a vampire. They came in and sucked the life out of us.”

The attack on Romney intensifies a separate $25 million, monthlong ad campaign already under way in nine states.

Obama opened business Monday with a commencement address at all-female Barnard College in New York City before heading to two campaign events later in the day.

Speaking to graduates of the class of 2012, Obama recalled the recession that was gripping the country when he graduated nearly 30 years ago from Columbia College, just across the street from Barnard.

The president said opportunities for women have grown exponentially since he left Columbia. And they will continue getting better, he said, despite the lingering effects of the Great Recession and stubborn 8.1 percent unemployment.

“As tough as things have been, I’m convinced you are tougher,” the president said.

In the course of a week of global economic and military diplomacy - the G8 and NATO summits - Obama also holds campaign events in Florida, Missouri, Iowa, Nevada and North Carolina, where he will focus on Romney’s role at Bain Capital, a company he co-founded.

Vice President Joe Biden was holding two days of events in Ohio, where he was expected to discuss Romney’s role as a corporate buyout specialist.

Romney campaign officials said they “welcome” any discussion about jobs. “Mitt Romney helped create more jobs in his private sector experience and more jobs as governor of Massachusetts than President Obama has for the entire nation,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement.

The former Massachusetts governor was spending the day in Boston, with no public events scheduled, after delivering a commencement speech at an evangelical university in Virginia on Saturday.

Romney has accused Obama of attacking free enterprise and calls the criticism of his business background an attempt by Democrats to distract voters from the president’s record.

Both candidates are trying to shift the focus back to voters’ No. 1 issue, the economy, from social issues that dominated the past week after the president announced his support for gay marriage.

The two campaigns contend that in a nation where unemployment is hovering around 8 percent, voters will choose between Obama and Romney based on economic arguments. Obama is trying to convince voters to stick with him as he heralds an economic rebound, as sluggish as it is. Romney counters that Obama has had enough time, and only he - with his deep background in business - knows how to jumpstart the nation’s job market.

Obama, hosting his first campaign rally earlier this month in Ohio, gave a preview of the new line of attack, saying Romney had “drawn the wrong lessons” from his business experience at the helm of Bain.

“He doesn’t seem to understand that maximizing profits by whatever means necessary - whether through layoffs or outsourcing or tax avoidance or union-busting - might not always be good for the average American or for the American economy,” Obama said.

Romney, a multimillionaire, left Bain in 1999 to run the Salt Lake City Olympic Games but continued to receive payouts from the company’s profits. He has said that his firm had a strong overall record, creating jobs in prominent companies like Staples and Sports Authority, while acknowledging that some companies Bain invested in were unsuccessful.

Obama’s new ad, which reprises criticism leveled at Romney during the Republican primaries, focuses on one of those unsuccessful companies, GST Steel.

Bain was the majority shareholder in GST Steel beginning in 1993. The company eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2001, a period in which the U.S. steel industry was roiled by a flood of cheap steel imports. About 750 workers lost their jobs and were left without health insurance and reduced pensions. The federal government was forced to infuse $44 million into the company’s underfunded pension plan.PTI

US President Barack Obama : N Korea does not meet statutory criteria to be designated as state sponsor of terrorism

Barack Obama

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Integrity of parliament cannot be compromised: Sonia Gandhi

News4u-News Desk-Asserting that India’s parliament could take immense pride in the laws that it passed in the past 60 years, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Sunday said the integrity of parliament must be protected at all times and cannot be compromised.  

Addressing a special sitting of the Lok Sabha to mark 60 years of parliament, Gandhi said: “We shouldn’t forget the struggles of the past. People’s power is felt constantly at highest powers of governance. India’s Parliament elected by largest electorate of the world has grown into a great representative political institution.”

She also said: “That this great institution must be a source of power and justice, but also compassion.”

Stating that the ‘Aam Aadmi’ (common man) has become the strength of India’s democracy, Gandhi said: “The common man has become the strength of India’s democracy. They voted with great wisdom.”

Congress President Sonia Gandhi said members should live up to the ideals of the founding fathers of the Constitution.

The 60th anniversary of the first sitting of Parliament was an occasion for reflection on its achievements, she said.

She said the “journey of Parliament had not always been smooth or without challenges” and the anniversary “was also an occasion for reflection.”

The UPA chairperson emphasised that independence of Parliament must be protected at all costs and urged members to live up to the ideals of the makers of Constitution.

“Our conduct must be according to the standards of founding fathers,” Gandhi said.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi

Congress president Sonia Gandhi

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Obama’s media team readies ‘anti-India’ ad blitz

News4u-News Desk- After months of planning, President Barack Obama’s media team has prepared an aggressive strategy to portray Mitt Romney as insensitive to the plight of working people and beholden to powerful interests.
They have researched possible lines of attack and drafted language that can be dropped into an advertisement at a moment’s notice.

Campaign advisers said they are willing to commit a considerable chunk of their advertising budget — expected to be the largest any presidential campaign has ever seen — to broadcasting these attacks.

The work of the Obama message machine, a half-dozen outside advertising firms and in-house campaign strategists, is already on vivid display. In their ads, Web videos and online features, the president wants to thwart the influence of “big oil.” Romney cashes their campaign checks.

The president saved hundreds of thousands of jobs by rescuing the auto industry. Romney shipped jobs overseas. “It’s just what you expect from a guy who had a Swiss bank account,” one ad says.

At the center of this effort is Jim Margolis, and his job is to make you think of call centers in India every time you hear Romney’s name.

With a reporter in his studio on a recent afternoon, an unassuming Margolis seemed harmless enough as he leaned back in a swivel chair and suggested a few revisions to a video he was editing with his staff. Their work that day would become part of the $25 million advertising blitz the Obama campaign kicked off this week.

Strip a few data points out of the script, he said; too many numbers might confuse people. Swap out a clip of a smiling family and replace it with a father and son playing baseball. It will look less staged.

But Margolis did not become a top chef in what Romney calls the president’s “hell’s kitchen” of negative ads based solely on his eye for a pretty picture and flair for boiling down a good resume in 30 seconds.

His past work shows why he is such an indispensable part of Obama’s media team.

In the 2008 presidential campaign, Margolis produced a commercial that repeated John McCain’s ill-advised assertion “the fundamentals of our economy are strong” over and over, helping to sear the phrase into voters’ minds as the economy imploded that fall.

Two years later he helped Sen. Barbara Boxer of California win re-election against Carly Fiorina, the Republican nominee and former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, with ads that showed Fiorina being ushered into a chauffeured car as an aide held the door. One reminded voters: “While Californians lost their jobs, Fiorina tripled her salary, bought a million dollar yacht and five corporate jets.”

Margolis, 57, maintains a low profile in a presidential inner circle filled with advisers who write books and appear regularly on “Meet the Press” — the antithesis of a flamboyant adman. His lack of visibility belies his influence in Democratic circles, where he first surfaced as a 23-year-old congressional chief of staff in the 1980s.

A contemplative man with silver hair, large blue eyes and a low, gravely voice, he has served as a close adviser to a host of top Democrats, including Sens. Harry Reid, Max Baucus and Mark Warner.

As a debate coach he once made Boxer so angry during a prep session (he stood in very convincingly as Fiorina) that she had to take a walk outside to calm down. He still travels to Capitol Hill almost every Tuesday to offer strategic advice to Reid, who says of him, “He’s very good at making you feel you’re better than you are.”

If you live in a state where the presidential contest has been close at some point in the past 20 years, you have probably seen one of his ads. During the 2004 Democratic primaries, Margolis’ commercials featuring Sen. John Kerry’s crewmates from Vietnam recalling the senator’s heroism were credited with helping him win the nomination.

Margolis and his firm, GMMB, first produced ads for Obama in 2007, and their work quickly stood out for its subtle edge.

Using video from one of Obama’s speeches in Iowa, he created a gauzy 60-second commercial that made Hillary Rodham Clinton sound irrelevant with a line that never even mentioned her: “The same old Washington textbook campaigns just won’t do it.”

“It was a beautiful spot,” said Mandy Grunwald, who was a senior strategist for Clinton at the time. “Everybody knew who he was talking about.”

The ad’s potency speaks to a fact about Obama’s 2008 campaign that often goes overlooked. That year he ran more negative ads than any other candidate in history, according to the Wisconsin Advertising Project, a nonpartisan political research group.

McCain was depicted in some commercials as out of touch and feeble. One recalled the senator’s saying that he could not remember how many houses he owned. “Well, it’s seven,” the announcer said dismissively.

The Obama campaign acknowledges that fiercely attacking Romney has risks.

“Tonally we have to be very careful about the fact that the president does have standards and does have a brand that he feels strongly about,” said David Axelrod, Obama’s senior strategist. “I think it’s possible to be tough and also fair, tough and also factual. And that’s what we’re going to do. But rest assured, we will be responding when we are being attacked.”

Putting the efforts to define Romney aside, the Obama campaign faces problems with its own message. One big challenge that Margolis acknowledged is conveying optimism about the country’s progress without seeming tone deaf to the struggles that many Americans still face.

“If your house is under water or you can’t make your car payment, I’m not going to convince you that everything is OK,” Margolis said.

But noting some of the president’s signature accomplishments, like the auto company rescue, he added, “While none of us should diminish the hardships, we also shouldn’t be shy about telling the story of what this president is accomplishing.”
Not that Margolis has ever held back.

In the 2010 Boxer race, he sent a film crew to California to interview workers who were laid off by Fiorina.

“Fiorina never cared about our jobs. Not then. Not now,” said one of the workers, his voice ringing with indignation.

Margolis also created a series of commercials that year for Reid in Nevada, using ordinary citizens to criticize Sharron Angle, his Tea Party-backed opponent, as reckless and erratic.

In one ad, a Republican and member of the National Rifle Association said of her position on guns, “It’s crazy.” What was most damning went left unsaid: The suggestion that he was speaking about Angle herself.

Margolis declined to discuss any spots in the works for the Obama campaign. But his advice to Boxer in 2010 may offer a hint of what is to come.

“He would always say, ‘Barbara, this is a race between two choices,”‘ Boxer said in an interview. “‘And you need to remind people that you’re running against someone who shipped tens of thousands of jobs overseas and made her success by stepping over other people. You can never forget that.”‘NYT

US President Barack Obama delivers remarks at Democratic National Committee fundraising reception in Washington on February 4. Obama travelled to the CIA headquarters Friday to pay tribute to seven agents killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan, Central Intelligence Agency officials said

US President Barack Obama

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Killing Osama at his hideout in Pak was a right decision: Obama

News4u-News Desk-WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obamaon Monday defended his decision to order special forces to go inside Pakistan and kill al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden at his safe hideout a year ago.

“As far as my personal role and what other folks would do, I’d just recommend that everybody take a look at people’s previous statements in terms of whether they thought it was appropriate to go into Pakistan and take out bin Laden,” Obama said at a joint White House news conference with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

“I assume that people meant what they said when they said it. That’s been at least my practice. I said that I’d go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him and I did.

“If there are others who have said one thing and now suggest they’d do something else, then I’d go ahead and let them explain it,” Obama said in response to a question on the eve of the anniversary of the killing of bin Laden. He also disputed a statement that there is excessive celebration on this occasion.

“I hardly think that you have seen any excessive celebration taking place here. I think that the American people rightly remember what we as a country accomplished in bringing to justice somebody who killed over 3,000 of our citizens,” he said.

“And it’s a mark of the excellence of our intelligence teams and our military teams, a political process that worked. And I think for us to use that time for some reflection, to give thanks to those who participated is entirely appropriate, and that’s what’s been taking place,” Obama said.PTI

US President Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama

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Hugo Chavez dismisses rumours of death, says he’ll be home soon

News4u-News Desk-CARACAS:  Venezuelan PresidentHugo Chavez reappeared on television on Monday after an eight-day silence, scoffing at rumors that his health took a turn for the worse and saying he plans to be back home on Thursday after his latest round of  cancer treatment in Cuba.

Chavez said in a live phone call on state television that radiation therapy takes a physical toll and that he will need to recover. He dismissed rumors of complications in his treatment.

“We’ll have to get used to living in the coming days and weeks and months among those rumors, and well, when necessary come out to make them crumble,” Chavez said. He blamed “dirty war laboratories” and his opponents for the rumors.

Chavez said once he’s back in Venezuela, he plans to return to Cuba for one more round of radiation treatment. “They’re rough treatments,” Chavez said. “And you have to rise up to the level with a lot of will, a lot of strength, a lot of faith.

” He joked that some might like to see him out running a 100-meter race or playing baseball, “but hey, not right now. Let me recover.” “Ask anyone what radiation of four to five weeks is like. Do you all imagine? And also with the work that I constantly take on,” he said.

They were Chavez’s first remarks on Venezuelan television since he left for Havana on April 14. Since then, he had communicated only through messages on his Twitter account and other written statements.

Chavez responded to criticism by opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, who on Sunday chided the president for “governing by Twitter, approving laws without consulting them with anyone.” “I don’t know why they’re going to criticize that I’m sending messages by Twitter,” Chavez said. “It’s one of the ways that I have … to communicate.”

“It’s so absurd to say that Chavez is governing by Twitter,” he added. Chavez briefly referred to a controversy surrounding remarks by former Supreme Court Magistrate Eladio Aponte, who recently traveled to the U.S. and in a television interview accused government and military officials of manipulating court cases.

Asked about Aponte’s accusations, Chavez noted that the judge was dismissed by the National Assembly last month over accusations that he had ties to a prominent drug suspect. “The person you’ve mentioned is a criminal. … He was removed from his post,” Chavez said.

Chavez, who is running for re-election in October, said that he was working with his foreign minister, his brother Adan and another aide, discussing issues including a new labor law that he expects to enact next month. Earlier this month, Chavez decided not to attend the Summit of the Americas in Colombia, citing the advice of his doctors.

He began radiation treatment in Cuba in late March after undergoing an operation in February that removed a second tumor from his pelvic region. The first tumor was taken out last June, and he then underwent chemotherapy. Chavez has kept secret some details of his illness, including the type of cancer and the precise location of the tumors.

 Venezuelan cancer surgeon Juan Correa, who is not involved in Chavez’s treatment, said patients who have undergone several weeks of radiation therapy tend to have inflammation in organs next to the area where the radiation is being applied. He said the affected areas are sometimes burned by the radiation. “Once the treatment ends, the burn or the inflammation disappears,” Correa said in a telephone interview.AP


President Hugo Chavez

President Hugo Chavez

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Prez, PM congratulates DRDO on successful Agni launch

News4u-News Desk- President Pratibha Patil has congratulated DRDO scientists for the successful test firing of Inter Continental Ballistic Missile Agni-V with a strike range of 5,000 km.

“President congratulates DRDO and its scientists for successful Agni V Test launch,” a Rashtrapati Bhavan statement said on Thursday.

The 5000 km range ICBM was successfully test-fired on Thursday from a range in Wheeler Island off the coast ofOdisha.

PM Manmohan Singh hailed the test firing of Inter Continental Ballistic Missile Agni V saying that this represented another milestone in India’s quest to add to the credibility of its security and preparedness.

Soon after the launch of Agni V, he congratulated the scientists who had worked tirelessly and called up DRDO chief V K Saraswat in this regard.

“Today’s successful Agni V test launch represents another milestone in our quest to add to the credibility of our security and preparedness and to continuously explore the frontiers of science,” he added.

“I congratulate all the scientific and technical personnel of the DRDO and other organisations who have worked tirelessly in our endeavour to strengthen the defence and security of our country,” the Prime Minister said in his message.

The nation stands together in honouring the scientific community, the Prime Minister said.

Antony describes Agni-5 launch as a major milestone

Defence Minister A K Antony today described the maiden test flight of Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Agni-5 as an “immaculate success” and a “major milestone”.

“The nation stands tall today. We have joined the elite club of nations (to possess the ICBM capability),” Antony told the DRDO Chief Dr V K Saraswat on phone after the test flight of the missile was declared successful.

“The immaculate success of the Agni-5 is a major milestone in the country’s missile research and development programme,” he said.

The about 5,000 km range Agni-5 was launched from a test range at Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha at 0807 hours and took 15 minutes to reach its target in Southern Indian Ocean.

The missile achieved all the mission parameters and has turned out to be a huge success, Defence Ministry officials said.

The launch was cancelled on Wednesday night due to bad weather and a spate of heavy lightning in the test range.

Antony also spoke to the Agni-5 project director Dr Avinash Chander and congratulated his entire team for their hard work and dedication. DRDO took four years to develop the missile.

In his conversation with Dr Saraswat and Dr Chander, Antony told them that the nation is proud of its defence scientists and recalled the contributions made by former DRDO chiefs, specially Dr M Natarajan, a brain behind success of various projects such as MBT Arjun and pioneering efforts in LCA Tejas and Pinaka MBRL projects.



President Pratibha Patil & Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

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Ahmadinejad vows to defend territorial integrity

News4u-News Desk- Iran will respond with force to any threats to its territorial integrity, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday, adding that it would prefer to cooperate with its Arab neighbours to maintain security in the Gulf.

“The armed forces and the army will inflict heavy regret and shame in case of any aggression against Iranian lands and interests,” Ahmadinejad told military commanders and personnel on the occasion of Iran’s annual Army Day.

Iran “is ready to protect its existence and sovereignty,” he said.

Ahmadinejad did not explicitly refer to fresh tensions with Gulf Arab nations over an April 11 visit he made to the island of Abu Musa, which is claimed by both Iran and the United Arab Emirates.

But he said the key to lasting stability in the Gulf was regional cooperation.

“When it comes to the Persian Gulf, security is achieved only through the collective cooperation of all nations and governments,” he said, while lashing out at “foreign interference which only causes destruction and division.”

The remarks by the firebrand president, known for his controversial speeches, came hours before a meeting of foreign ministers of the six Gulf Cooperation Council states in Doha to discuss the simmering islands dispute between Iran and the UAE.

Tensions over three tiny Gulf islands, including Abu Musa, were heightened by Ahmadinejad’s assertion on the island during his visit last Wednesday that historical records proved “the Persian Gulf is Persian.”

Abu Dhabi denounced Ahmadinejad’s visit as a “violation of UAE sovereignty” and recalled its ambassador from Tehran in protest.

The UAE has also lodged a protest with the United Nations over the visit, stressing that the territorial dispute should be resolved through negotiations or at the International Court of Justice.

Tehran yesterday advised caution and patience, with Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi insisting Iranian sovereignty over the islands was “not negotiable.”

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan responded by warning that if left unresolved, the issue “could jeopardise international security and peace.”

Iran, then under the rule of the Western-backed shah, gained control of the islands of Abu Musa, Lesser Tunb and Greater Tunb in 1971, as Britain granted independence to its Gulf protectorates and withdrew its forces.

Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

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Chavez back in Venezuela, says he’s beating cancer

News4u-News Desk-CARCAS: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has returned to Venezuela and says he’s “doing well” following cancer treatment in Cuba.

Chavez flew to Cuba last week for his third round of radiation therapy. He began the treatments in late March after having a tumour removed. He plans to have a total of five rounds in hopes of preventing a recurrence of his illness.

The Venezuelan leader has regularly travelled to and from Cuba for cancer treatment since last June. That’s when he says an initial surgery removed his first tumour, which was the size of a baseball.

Chavez has not identified the type of cancer or the precise location where the two tumours were located.AP

President Hugo Chavez

President Hugo Chavez

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