Recently in International News Category

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced Saturday that doctors in Cuba found a third recurrence of cancerous cells in his pelvic area and would be undergoing surgery in the coming days, according to a Reuters report posted on the New York Times.

Chavez said in a televised address that if anything happened to him, Vice President Nicolas Maduro should be his successor, reported CNN.

Both sources said this is the first time Chavez has spoken publicly about a successor, a shocking revelation from a man who has played a dominant role in Venezuelan politics.

According to Reuters, an election would have to be held within 30 days if recently reelected Chavez were to leave office within the first four years of his next term under Venezuela's constitution.

The president has had three previous cancer operations in Cuba since the middle of last year, Reuters said.

Those who claim to have insider information say the president is much worse condition than he lets on in public, CNN reported.

Confusion ensues in Egypt's fight for democracy

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President Morsi of Egypt rescinded his Nov. 22 decree granting him near-absolute power but refused to cancel an upcoming controversial referendum Saturday leaving protestors confused about their next move, the Washington Post reports.

Opposition leaders, including the prominent National Salvation Front, called for more protests against the referendum on a draft constitution many have called illegitimate, according to the Post. But the eclectic views of anti-Morsi groups may undermine their ability to influence the vote, the Post said.

Confusion also remains over whether the new declaration replacing Morsi's Nov. 22 decree altered his ability to legislate without judicial oversight as the new decree still grants the president the right to make new decrees without oversight, according the Washington Post.

Morsi issued an order Sunday for the military to take over government security until after the results of the referendum and also granted soldiers the right to arrest civilians, essentially evoking martial law, the New York Times reported.

Opposition groups want to postpone the referendum for a thorough examination of the proposal, which they say has inadequate protection of human rights and contains provisions that could allow Muslim religious authorities more influence someday, according to the Times.

Penguin & Random House to merge together

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Penguin and Random House publishers are merging together in an effort to compete against the rapidly growing digital marketplace, the New York Times reported on Monday.

This merger will create the largest global consumer book publisher with 25 percent of the market and combines an impressive contemporary book list of best-sellers from Random House with a backlist of classics from Penguin, according to the Times.

The Washington Post reports that Random House, owned by German media company Bertelsmann, will own 53 percent of the merger, known as Penguin Random House, and Penguin will own 47 percent.

The deal will close in the second half of 2013 following regulatory approval, according to the Post.

The Times reports that other major publishers may be soon to follow Penguin Random House's lead to compete against Internet giants like Google, Apple and Amazon.

European Union awarded 2012 Nobel peace prize

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In an unconventional move, the Norwegian Nobel Committee named the European Union as the recipient of the 2012 peace prize on Friday.

The committee made the decision to praise six decades of reconciliation between historically vicious enemies while also warning against the threat of discord among the nations today according to the New York Times.

Yet many feel that such use of the award is too politically based and strays from the original prestigious principles of peace and democracy and that the E.U. is undeserving of the peace prize, reports the Washington Post.

International opinion accuses the E.U. of wreaking havoc in global financial markets and crippling the domestic economies of its most indebted members such as Greece and Spain.

However, news of the award -- which both articles like to point out was given by a nation who has steadfastly refused to join the E.U. - was received with appreciation in Germany where, according to the Washington Post, the majority of residents are still committed to European unity.

The New York Times reports that the E.U. plans to use the $1.2 million prize money to help solve the multibillion-euro crisis.

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