Venezuela On The Brink?

Since taking power following the death of Hugo Chavez in 2013, Nicolas Maduro has adopted many tactics to remain in charge. He's introduced gimmicks to try to stave off economic collapse, blamed product shortages and growing opposition on foreigners, borrowed billions from China and Russia, ordered crackdowns on protests, arrested critics, expelled foreign journalists, stacked courts with cronies, stripped opposition-controlled legislatures of power, and rigged elections while firmly denying the crisis-plagued country is in crisis.


There's a new confrontation brewing. On Wednesday, huge numbers of protesters flooded the streets of Caracas and other major cities to demand Maduro's ouster, and the newly appointed leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, Juan Guaido declared himself interim president. The United States, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay and Peru quickly recognized Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate president. Mexico, Russia, China, Cuba, Bolivia, Iran, and Turkey are sticking with Maduro.

Is Venezuela on the verge of major change? There's no credible sign of that yet. Maduro will only be forced from power when senior military commanders decide that keeping him in place is more dangerous than ousting him. A direct appeal from Guaido to the military makes clear he understands that, but the strong response from security forces to this week's protests and their pledge to back Madurosuggest that moment isn't imminent.

But that's a choice that a few senior military men will make in secret. If they decide it's time to abandon Maduro, a status quo that has dragged on for years could be reversed in a matter of hours.

Public exhaustion with endless economic hardship, the scale of latest protests, and broad international support for a new government give the opposition and its new leader real momentum. They will certainly try to use it.

Democrats have the power to impeach Donald Trump.

After all, impeachment simply requires a majority vote of the House of Representatives, and Democrats hold 235 seats to just 199 for Republicans.

Of course, impeaching the president is only the first step in removing him from office. It's merely an indictment, which then forces a trial in the Senate. Only a two-thirds supermajority vote (67 of 100 senators) can oust the president from the White House. Just two US presidents (Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998) have been impeached. Neither was convicted by the Senate.

Many Democrats, including two of the party's presidential candidates, argue the Mueller Report and other sources of information offer ample evidence that President Trump has committed "high crimes and misdemeanors," the standard for removal from office under Article Two of the US Constitution. But the impeachment question has provoked intense debate within the Democratic Party.

Here are the strongest arguments on both sides of the Democratic Party's debate.

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Should Sri Lanka have blocked social media following the terror attacks?

That's a hard one. Misinformation spreads on social media and there's an instinct to say, "Wait, stop it!" But a lot of useful information also spreads and people get in touch with each other. So I would say no they should not have blocked it.

Are Tesla cars at risk of exploding?

There was one video from China of a parked Tesla exploding. I don't think you really have to worry about it though. I am curious to know what that video was really about.

Why do tech companies hate the census citizenship question?

Because if you ask people whether they're citizens. A lot of people will answer and you'll get bad data and the card companies need to know where they set up their operations. Good data matter to Silicon Valley.

What happened during the Space X Crew Dragon accident?

We don't know this one for sure either but one of the engines in a SpaceX test exploded. No one was hurt. Let's hope it was something to do with the way it was set up - not something deep and systematic.


And go deeper on topics like cybersecurity and artificial intelligence at Microsoft Today in Technology.

What's troubling you today? A revisionary new talk show hosted by Vladimir Putin offers real solutions to your everyday problems.

Crises create opportunities. That's the story of European politics over the past decade, and Spain offers an especially interesting case in point.

On Sunday, Spanish voters will go to the polls in the country's third national election in less than four years. Gone are the days when just two parties (center-right and center-left) dominated Spain's national political landscape. As in other EU countries, the economic spiral and resulting demand for austerity triggered by Europe's sovereign debt crisis, and then a title wave of migrants from North Africa and the Middle East, have boosted new parties and players. Catalan separatists have added to Spain's political turmoil.

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