Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president on Wednesday, winning backing from Washington and parts of Latin America and prompting socialist Nicolas Maduro, the country’s leader since 2013, to break relations with the United States. U.S. President Donald Trump formally recognized Guaido shortly after his announcement and praised his plan to hold elections. That was followed by similar statements from Canada and a slew of right-leaning Latin American governments, including Venezuela’s neighbors Brazil and Colombia. In a televised broadcast from the presidential palace, Maduro accused the opposition of seeking to stage a coup with Washington’s support.
At least five people were killed when a man opened fire Wednesday afternoon in a bank in Sebring, Fla., according to officials. At a brief news conference, Sebring Police Chief Karl Hoglund named 21-year-old Zephen Xaver, of Sebring, as the suspect. Xaver is in police custody. At approximately 12:36 p.m., Sebring police and Highlands County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a SunTrust bank branch after a man called police dispatchers and said he had fired shots in the bank. Police didn’t release information about the victims, saying they would provide more details on Thursday morning.
China says it is investigating a Chinese-Australian writer for alleged “involvement in criminal activities endangering China’s national security”. Yang Hengjun’s detention in China was earlier disclosed by Australia – days after he went missing. The 53-year-old former Chinese diplomat has been held since flying from New York to Guangzhou on Saturday. Mr Yang was being held in “residential surveillance” in Beijing, Australian officials said. The term is often used when Chinese investigators hold a suspect at a secret location.
President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen announced he is postponing his public congressional testimony that was scheduled for February 7, citing “ongoing threats against his family” from the President and his attorney Rudy Giuliani. Democrats are now considering whether to subpoena Cohen to compel his testimony before he reports to prison next month, and at least one senior Democrat on the House Oversight Committee said he expects Chairman Elijah Cummings of Maryland to issue a subpoena.
A new bridge spanning the River Gambia is set to revolutionize travel and trade in the region. The 1.2 mile Senegambia bridge near Farafenni links the two halves of The Gambia, as well as allowing people from the north of Senegal to reach the southern Senegalese province of Casamance with ease. Up until now, people have had to use an unreliable ferry crossing or take the long route round The Gambia.