Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Dies At 58

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Dies At 58Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has died aged 58, after 14 years in power. Mr Chavez had been seriously ill with cancer for more than a year, undergoing several operations in Cuba, and had not been seen in public for several months. Foreign Minister Elias Jose Jaua Milano declared seven days of mourning and said Mr Chavez’s body would lie in state until his funeral on Friday.

‘Interim president’

Vice-President Nicolas Maduro would assume the presidency until an election was called within 30 days, he added. It was not immediately clear when the election would take place.

Mr Chavez’s illness prevented him from taking the oath of office after he was re-elected for a third term in October and the President of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, had been expected by some to take over as interim president in the event of his death. However, he was not among the political and military leaders who flanked the vice-president when he announced Mr Chavez’s death.

‘Vocal and controversial’

Analysts say Mr Chavez’s death could alter the political balance in Latin America – dealing a blow to leftist states while favouring more centrist countries. There could also be an economic impact given that Venezuela sells oil at below market prices to some neighbouring countries, especially in the Caribbean.

One of the most visible, vocal and controversial leaders in Latin America, Hugo Chavez won the presidency in 1998 and had most recently won another six-year presidential term in October 2012. His government has implemented a number of “missions” or social programmes, including education and health services for all. But poverty and unemployment are still widespread, despite the country’s oil wealth.

Who do you think will take the place of Hugo Chavez as Venezuela’s new President? And what major changes could take place as a result of this sad happening?

Source: BBC News

Image: The Washington Times

Olympic Boxing Judges Under Fire For Alleged Match-Fixing

Questions about the scoring in the Olympic men’s boxing have been raised after a series of disputed results.

Eyebrows were first raised last Wednesday when Azerbaijan fought Japan. The Azeri bantamweight Magomed Abdulhamidov won the match despite going down six times in the final round. After an appeal by Japan the decision was overturned. Days later another Azeri, Teymur Mammadov, entered the ring and was awarded a very narrow victory against a Belarusian fighter Siarhei Karneyeu. The crowd and commentators were astounded when he won. Belarus appealed but this time it was not upheld.

Last year a Newsnight investigation got hold of a confidential investment agreement between someone from Azerbaijan and World Series Boxing, which is run by AIBA, who also run Olympic Boxing. The investor from Azerbaijan paid $9m to fund an almost bankrupt tournament called the World Series Boxing (WSB). The insiders said Ivan Khodabakhsh, the Chief Operating Officer of WSB, told them that a secret deal had been done in return for two gold medals. But Mr Khodabakhsh told Newsnight that claims that there was any deal with Azerbaijan were “an absolute lie”.

The president of the International Boxing Association, Ching-Ko- Wu who was ringside with David Cameron on Wednesday, said: “The allegation that AIBA took a $10m bribe from Azerbaijan in exchange for two gold medals at the Olympic Games in London is untrue… There is only one way to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games and that is to train hard and fight well.”

Boxing has had its fair share of scandals and accusations of match fixing. Some people would like to see even more transparency in the scoring. Jim Neilly, BBC commentator who has been ringside at all the fights, said scoring has always been subjective and no scoring system was fool proof. It costs $500 every time an appeal is lodged and he said many countries such as Cuba cannot pay to contest the decisions.

Do you think there is a grain of truth in these match-fixing allegations in Olympic boxing? Share your opinions with us and you be the judge!

Source: BBC News

Image: Yahoo! Sport