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Venezuela official says person killed in protest was government supporter

CARACAS (Reuters) - The head of Venezuela's National Assembly said a fatality after pro- and anti-government marches in Caracas on Wednesday was a supporter of President Nicolas Maduro's socialist administration. "The murderers of this comrade, this compatriot, will pay," Assembly president and ruling Socialist Party stalwart Diosdado Cabello said on state television. Reuters witnesses had earlier seen the man shot dead during clashes at the opposition protest.

Crime-scarred Venezuela gets arms control law

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro signed a gun control bill into law Friday in a bid to rein in the country's runaway violent crime. "I hereby sign into law this gun control law, for peace in our nation," Maduro said in an address in Vargas state. The bill will allow sentences of up to 20 years in prison for any civilian convicted of illegally carrying or selling a firearm. It also restricts the sale of ammunition to civilians, and bans weapons from being shown in public places.

Venezuela legislators brawl amid tensions over disputed election; opposition lawmaker injured

CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuela's postelection tensions erupted into a brawl between lawmakers Tuesday night that left at least one opposition member badly bruised and bleeding. Pro-government legislators started throwing punches after members of the opposition coalition unfurled a banner in the National Assembly protesting a postelection ban stripping opposition lawmakers of most of their legislative powers, opposition lawmaker Ismael Garcia told The Associated Press. Video showed groups of legislators shoving and pushing each other on the floor.

URGENT ¥¥¥ Maduro to be sworn in as interim leader Friday, call polls

Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro will be officially sworn in as interim president after Hugo Chavez's state funeral Friday and he will then call for elections, the national assembly speaker said. "We will convene tomorrow at 7:00 pm (0030 GMT) in the hall of honor of the military academy... a special session for the swearing-in of comrade Nicolas Maduro as acting president," Diosdado Cabello said Thursday, adding that Maduro would then "call for elections." lth/oh

URGENT ¥¥¥ Maduro to be sworn in as interim leader Friday, call polls

Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro will be officially sworn in as interim president after Hugo Chavez's state funeral Friday and he will then call for elections, the national assembly speaker said. "We will convene tomorrow at 7:00 pm (0030 GMT) in the hall of honor of the military academy... a special session for the swearing-in of comrade Nicolas Maduro as acting president," Diosdado Cabello said Thursday, adding that Maduro would then "call for elections." lth/oh

Venezuela says election to be called within 30 days

Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro will take over as interim president and an election will be called within 30 days, the country's foreign minister said Tuesday, after Hugo Chavez's death. "It is the mandate that comandante President Hugo Chavez gave us," Foreign Minister Elias Jaua told state news channel Telesur, explaining that there was an "absolute absence" over the constitutional procedure to replace Chavez. Jaua did not specify if the election would be held within 30 days or if the date would be chosen during that period.

On coup anniversary, Chavez health said 'improving'

Venezuela's National Assembly speaker Diosdado Cabello marked Monday's anniversary of a 1992 coup attempt led by Hugo Chavez by assuring that the cancer-stricken president is "improving every day." Cabello also warned that any attempt to "cross the lines and instructions of commander Chavez will be paid back by the people." That double message came in a speech to a military audience commemorating the 21st anniversary of the failed military uprising against then president Carlos Andres Perez.

UPDATE 1-Venezuela opposition furious over likely Chavez inauguration delay

* Chavez still recovering from cancer surgery in Cuba * President seen too ill to return for swearing-in * Government says he will take office when health allows By Brian Ellsworth CARACAS, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Venezuela's opposition has accused the government of violating the constitution by proposing to delay cancer-stricken President Hugo Chavez's inauguration Thursday for a new term amid growing uncertainty over the polarized OPEC nation's political future.
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