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Venezuela in crisis as Maduro limps to a year in power

A year after promising to continue Hugo Chavez's legacy, Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro is struggling to lead an oil-rich country plagued by economic crisis, violent protests, and rampant crime. Maduro, the self-proclaimed "son" of iconic leader Chavez, was narrowly elected after Chavez died from cancer and was sworn in April 19, 2013, pledging to carry on his mentor's socialist legacy.

Social prayers at Pope Francis ceremony for Good Friday

Pope Francis attended an emotional night of prayers for hot-button social issues including domestic abuse, prison overcrowding and unemployment to mark the Good Friday before Easter. The candle-lit Way of the Cross procession ceremony was held outside the Colosseum in Rome in memory of the Christians killed for their faith. The prayers read out at each of the 14 stops along the way were written by Italian bishop Giancarlo Bregantini, known for his outspoken condemnation of the mafia.

New Brunswickers keep watchful eye on water levels as flood cleanup continues

PERTH-ANDOVER, N.B. - While some New Brunswick communities were still cleaning up Friday after flooding earlier in the week, others were nervously watching water levels and bracing for their turn. In the northwestern village of Perth-Andover, municipal officials warned flooding was possible by early Saturday as water levels continued to fluctuate. Village spokeswoman Justine Waldeck said the breakup of ice along the St. John River and at the dam at Grand Falls was a cause for concern.

Top Hollande aide quits in conflict of interest row

By Julien Ponthus and Nicholas Vinocur CLERMONT-FERRAND, France (Reuters) - A senior adviser to French President Francois Hollande quit on Friday over accusations of past conflict of interest linked to his work for pharmaceutical firms, adding to pressure on the unpopular Socialist leader weeks before European elections.

AbbVie urges U.S. court to avoid gay rights issue in HIV drug case

By Nate Raymond (Reuters) - An Abbott Laboratories spinoff urged a federal appeals court to revisit a ruling in a case against GlaxoSmithKline Plc, but without disturbing landmark constitutional protections for gays and lesbians. In a brief filed with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Thursday, AbbVie Inc said the full court should review an initial three-judge decision that found a gay man was improperly excluded from jury service due to his sexual orientation.

Exclusive: Biogen prices hemophilia drug on par with older therapies

By Bill Berkrot (Reuters) - Biogen Idec Inc is pricing its newly approved long-acting hemophilia drug, Alprolix, to cost U.S. patients, and insurers, about the same per year as older, less convenient therapies whose price can reach about $300,000 annually. The move could pressure rivals such as Pfizer Inc to lower prices for existing hemophilia treatments, which provide patients with life-saving infusions of a blood clotting agent, according to doctors and industry analysts.

East and west, Ukraine rival camps dig in

By Alastair Macdonald and Aleksandar Vasovic KIEV/DONETSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - If armies march on their stomachs, then Ukraine's rival protest camps could be in for a long campaign, judging by the cooks hard at work behind the barricades in Kiev and Donetsk on Friday.

Lack of insurance tied to more emergency surgery: study

By Andrew M. Seaman NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The type of insurance people have is tied to their risk of needing emergency aorta surgery, according to a new study. Insurance, or lack thereof, is also linked to how well those people fare after surgery. Compared to people with private insurance, people without insurance were more likely to need emergency surgery on their aorta, the largest artery that supplies blood to every part of the body. They were also more likely to die or have complications after surgery.

Missing French girl found, man arrested

A 15-year-old French girl whose disappearance had triggered a Europe-wide alert was found safe and sound Friday and the much older man she disappeared with was arrested, judicial sources said. Laureelen Wavelet, 15, had not been seen since she left her school in the northern city of Lens on April 10 in the company of Christophe Lamarre, 48. Her father, Sylvain Wavelet, was informed on Friday that the teenager and Lamarre had been apprehended in Lens. Lamarre was taken into custody and was expected to appear before a judge later Friday on charges of abducting a minor.

Malls empty in Venezuela as economic woes bite

Venezuelans, already struggling to find basics like milk and toilet paper at the supermarket, are now confronted with empty appliance store windows and clothes racks at shopping centers. Malls have become deserted in the oil-rich country, with stores straining under government-imposed limits on profits, rents and access to hard currency. Venezuelans have always loved to shop, even under a socialist-inspired government that frequently lambasts capitalism and consumerism.
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