Seeing the president slam face-first into the ground from a speeding horse would be a shock to any nation. In authoritarian Turkmenistan, many residents didn’t even get the chance. President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov apparently wasn’t seriously injured Sunday when his horse stumbled and he pitched into the dirt track during a race on the outskirts of the capital, Ashgabat. But state television’s video of the race cut off just before the fall and the extensive written reports on the event didn’t mention the plunge. Police were said to be checking computers, mobile phones and cameras of departing passengers at Ashgabat’s airport to try to block images of the fall from slipping out to the rest of the world.
Tensions high after congressional brawl
Tens of thousands of Venezuelans filled the streets of the capital Wednesday in rival marches by the opposition and the government less than a day after a brawl on the floor of congress injured several opposition lawmakers. Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles walked in a crowd of supporters through neighborhoods in the east of Caracas and reiterated plans to challenge his narrow election loss. In downtown Caracas, the government held its own march, featuring songs praising President Nicolas Maduro and his mentor, late president Hugo Chavez.
U.S. keeps nation on state sponsors of terrorism list
A State Department spokesman said Wednesday that Washington has no plans to remove Cuba from a list of state sponsors of terrorism that also includes Iran, Syria and Sudan. That is sure to ruffle feathers in Havana, which vehemently denies any links to terrorism. Cuba’s government contends its inclusion on the list is a political vendetta by a U.S. government that has kept an economic embargo on the Communist-run island for 51 years. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said Washington “has no current plans to remove Cuba” from the list included in the department’s annual report on terrorism.
Bill on life-saving abortions published
Ireland unveiled a long-awaited bill Wednesday that lays down new rules governing when life-saving abortions can be performed, a point of potentially lethal confusion for women in a country that outlaws terminations. Prime Minister Enda Kenny, speaking to reporters after his government published the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, said he hoped the coming weeks of debate would not turn bitter. But he warned Catholic conservatives within his own party to back the bill or be expelled.
Fighting Everest climbers reach truce
A truce has been reached between three foreign climbers and Nepalese Sherpa guides who were involved in a fistfight on Mount Everest, officials said Wednesday. Two of the foreigners, however, returned to Nepal’s capital and were undecided if they would quit their climb. Tilak Pandey of the Mountaineering Department said a truce was reached at base camp between the foreigners — an Italian, a Briton and a Swiss — and the Sherpas on Tuesday. Nepalese officials are investigating the fight, which both sides accuse the other of starting.
Adventurer dies trying to cross ice cap
A 37-year-old British adventurer has died and two others with him suffered frostbite injuries as they tried to cross Greenland’s ice cap on a charity hike, officials said Wednesday. The British Foreign Office said Philip Goodeve-Docker died and two others on the trek remained hospitalized. On Friday, the three-man expedition got caught by a strong, cold wind that blew away part of their tent, according to a police spokesman. A rescue helicopter was not able to reach the men until Saturday because of the bad weather and by that time Goodeve-Docker was dead, he said.