Chavez, Uribe seek to smooth over FARC rifts

Chavez, Uribe seek to smooth over FARC riftsCaracas - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Friday were holding "frank" talks as they sought to patch up ties between the two countries following the strong verbal clashes of recent months.

Meeting in the Amuay oil complex in the western Venezuelan state of Falcon, the two leaders have fallen out over Colombia's decades- long conflict with the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Dressed in his trademark red shirt, the leftist Chavez shook hands with Uribe and they posed for photographers in a friendly atmosphere.

Chavez congratulates Uribe, calls upon FARC to surrender

Chavez congratulates Uribe, calls upon FARC to surrenderCaracas - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Thursday congratulated Colombian President Alvaro Uribe for the rescue of former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and 14 other hostages held by leftist rebels.

Chavez - who has been heavily involved in efforts to secure the release of hostages held by the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colonbia (FARC) - further insisted in his demand that FARC depose their weapons.

Chavez threatens to halt oil exports to EU over immigration rules

Caracas  - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Thursday threatened not to sell oil to any country that enforces strict new European Union rules for deporting illegal immigrants.

"Our petroleum should not go to these European countries" that apply the new laws, said Chavez when meeting with visiting Paraguayan President-elect Fernando Lugo, who also voiced his opposition to the law.

Lugo said the law is against human rights.

The European Union adopted tough new rules Wednesday on illegal immigrants, allowing detention for up to 18 months prior to expulsion.

Eleven soldiers dead, 21 injured in road accident in Venezuela

VenezuelaCaracas - Eleven soldiers died and 21 others were injured when a military vehicle tumbled down a ravine in the Venezuelan state of Sucre, authorities said Tuesday.

General Victor Hernandez - the head of the military barracks at Cumana, some 500 kilometres east of Caracas - said eight of the dead were students at an Army school in Maracay. Two Army sergeants and a corporal were also killed.

The accident happened in the town of Cumanacoa, in Sucre, and the vehicle involved was part of a military convoy that was doing a patrol exercise.

Venezuelan TV station under investigation for airing Simpsons

VenezuelaCaracas  - Government regulators have opened an investigation into a television station in Venezuela for airing the US satirical cartoon The Simpsons during prime child-viewing hours.

The Televen station took the show off the air two weeks ago after receiving a warning from the National Telecommunications Commission and replaced it with the beach and bikini classic Baywatch in the 11 am time slot.

Televen faces punishments that include a fine and a three-day broadcasting blackout, the commission, also known as Conatel, said Tuesday in announcing the inquiry.

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