Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mayday! Mayday!

Fidel isn't around to reign, on the parade:

HAVANA -- Hundreds of thousands of cheering workers marched through Cuba's Revolution Plaza on Tuesday but Fidel Castro was nowhere to be seen.

The place where Castro would have watched the festivities - a raised platform under a towering statue of Cuban colonial independence hero Jose Marti - was instead occupied by his brother Raul.

Castro had attended the annual International Workers' Day march for decades. But the 80-year-old communist leader has not been seen in public since emergency intestinal surgery forced him to step down temporarily nine months ago and temporarily cede his duties to his 75-year-old brother.

But, in Los Angeles a less fierce creature reappears:

LOS ANGELES -- Reggie the alligator reappeared Monday after vanishing for 1 1/2 years in an urban lake where the reptile turned up in 2005 and repeatedly skunked would-be 'gator wranglers.

"After 18 months of hibernation or just eluding us, Reggie has decided to show himself," City Councilwoman Janice Hahn told a press conference next to Harbor Regional Park's Lake Machado.

....Reggie was an illegal pet allegedly tossed into the 50-acre lake by a former Los Angeles policeman when it got too big. It was spotted in August 2005 and caused a stir until disappearing the following October.

In Venezuela, Hugo eradicates capitalists from the oil industry:

On Tuesday, BP PLC, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., France's Total SA and Norway's Statoil ASA will turn over their Orinoco operations to Venezuela's state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA. Chavez, who says he is reclaiming the oil industry after years of private exploitation, is expected to be accompanied by troops and workers clad in revolutionary red amid fly-bys by the military's new Russian-made fighter jets.

``We are going to take over some oil fields that have continued to be in the hands of transnationals,'' Chavez said in a speech to allied leaders Sunday, calling it ``the last step'' in recovering state sovereignty over oil.

Culminating a nationalist drive by Chavez that has increasingly squeezed the industry of profits, the two sides are now locked in contentious negotiations: Chavez says PDVSA will take a minimum 60 percent stake in the Orinoco operations, although the companies have been invited to stay as minority partners. They have until June 26 to negotiate the terms, including compensation and reduced stakes.

While in Seattle the socialists will be stopping the masses dead in their rush hour tracks:

Major traffic disruptions are expected in downtown Seattle Tuesday afternoon because of a civic march and an evening Mariners game. King County Metro, the county's transit agency, warned travelers of delays and disrupted bus service and urged them to leave cars at home.

The May Day march is 4 to 6 p.m. in the north part of downtown, affecting nearly all transit service to and from the Seattle Center, Belltown, downtown and South Lake Union.

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