Venezuela's parliament has granted President Nicolas Maduro decree powers for the rest of 2015 in a move he says is to defend the country from US meddling but opponents decry as evidence of autocracy. In a noisy National Assembly session, ruling Socialist Party legislators, who have a majority, applauded the Enabling Law as a legitimate response to a US declaration that Venezuela is a security threat and sanctions on seven officials.
Venezuela's government has given the U.S. two weeks to slash the size of its embassy staff in Caracas to 17 diplomats as tensions between the two nations rise. Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez made the announcement Monday after a meeting with the top American diplomat in Caracas. She said it is up to the U.S. to decide which of an estimated 100 diplomats it wishes to send home.