Venezuela's president delays launch of new assembly

Florencia Cordero center said that one plantain cost as much as her house did 25 years ago.               CBS News

At least four opposition mayors have been sentenced to prison in the last two weeks for allowing anti-government protests in different cities around the country.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he had personally asked for the ballot recount.

"Lawyer Luis Marcano came to our residence asking for Chile's protection".

In a sign of its apparent demoralized state only a few hundred demonstrators showed up for Friday's protest against the constitutional assembly, one of the smallest turnouts in months. "I have nothing to fear", Maduro said, adding that the sanctions serve to highlight the impotence, desperation and hatred felt in Washington. "With your bodies as your shield, you have defended the right to peace".

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Teva Pharmaceutical has announced dramatic plans to downsize following a grim second quarter earnings report released on Thursday. Teva also cut its interim dividend by 75 percent, due to market sluggishness in the USA , according to Reuters .

Venezuela has been racked by crisis for several months, with Maduro's regime placing opposition figureheads such as Ledezma under house arrest as protests rage across the country.

The strongly worded communique, issued by the Vatican's Secretariat of State, says Pope Francis is following closely the situation in Venezuela, where President Nicolas Maduro is headed towards a showdown with the opposition, as he pushes ahead with the inauguration of his new Assembly.

The Information Ministry referred Reuters to statements National Elections Council chief Tibisay Lucena made in response to Smartmatic's accusations on Wednesday, prior to the prosecutor's announcement. In the case of Venezuela, the bishops have been openly against the assembly.

In the aftermath of the vote, the United States imposed direct sanctions on Maduro, calling him a "dictator", while the European Union joined the US, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina in saying it would not recognize the new assembly.

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It will have sweeping powers to upend institutions and in theory could even remove Maduro, a fact held up by government supporters as proof that it's not a partisan power grab.

It was also widely dismissed as illegitimate by the global community, who saw it as a way for Maduro to bypass the legitimate Parliament - the National Assembly - which is now controlled by the right-wing opposition. She filed the request for investigation in a lower court, after earlier filing complaints about the constitutionality of the new assembly with the nation's Supreme Court.

She also ordered prosecutors to investigate the allegations of election tampering. Mugica told reporters in London on Wednesday that results recorded by his company's systems and those reported by the National Electoral Council show the official turnout count was off by at least 1 million votes. An independent poll suggested that fewer than 4 million people voted.

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