Officials in Venezuela took the first step on Saturday toward expelling top diplomats from Brazil and Canada who have been accused of meddling in the country’s politics. National constituent assembly president Delcy Rodriguez declared both Brazil’s ambassador and Canada’s charge d’affaires as persona non grata, a move which does away with their diplomatic credentials.
The National Constituent Assembly (ANC in Spanish) recommended to the Public Prosecutor and the Judicial Branch to release more than 80 political prisoners. At the moment, 13 of them have been released with precautionary measures.
The Irish government would expect to have a real and meaningful involvement in Northern Ireland if efforts to restore Stormont fail, the Irish prime minister has said. Leo Varadkar said he would not support a return to direct rule from London if time is called on talks to restore a power-sharing government in Belfast, and anticipated he would make a fresh bid for a deal in January.
An Argentine Federal Court in Buenos Aires City confirmed the indictment and preventive imprisonment of ex president Cristina Fernandez, one of several defendants under investigation for the alleged cover up of the attack against a Jewish organization, by signing a memorandum of understanding with Teheran considered the culprit of the 1994 carnage which cost 85 lives and hundreds injured.
US President Donald Trump signed Republicans’ massive US$1.5 trillion tax overhaul into law, cementing the biggest legislative victory of his first year in office, and also approved a short-term spending bill that averts a possible government shutdown. Trump said he wanted to sign the tax bill before leaving Washington for his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, rather than stage a more formal ceremony in January, so he could keep his promise to finish work before Christmas.
Venezuela’s foreign minister blamed the United States for his country’s spiraling debt crisis, saying Washington’s “permanent attack” had left the economy crippled. Jorge Arreaza lashed out at Donald Trump, US and European sanctions, and American interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs at the Venezuelan embassy in Beijing during a three-day official visit.
Two former top South American football executives have been found guilty of multiple charges at a US trial into corruption in the sport: Jose Maria Marin, the former head of Brazil's Football Confederation (CBF), and Paraguay's Juan Ángel Napout, who led South America's football governing body Conmebol, were convicted on Friday.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted she is more than Madame Brexit, having been given the title by Poland's prime minister. She said there were other things she wanted to achieve apart from delivering a successful exit from the EU - such as improvements to education and training, and insisted she was in it for the long-term, shrugging off suggestions she had had a bad year.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Friday said he would not hold talks with exiled Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont in the wake of the results of Catalan regional elections held Thursday.
Venezuela's economy shrank a massive 16.5% in 2016, according to an official government filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The oil-rich but impoverished country attributed the collapse to a contraction of 9.9% in the oil sector and 16.1% in the non-oil economy.