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Venezuela's National Assembly Erupts In Massive Brawl (Video)



CARACAS - As the country remains tense following the election of Hugo Chavez's handpicked successor, Venezuela’s National Assembly erupted in violence, as a brawl broke out between members of the ruling party (United Socialist Party) and representatives from the opposition (Democratic Unity Roundtable, which unites most of the opposition), reports Venezuela al Día.

There was a three-hour delay before Tuesday's session began, and opposing legislators suspected the ruling party was holding a private meeting where they planned the attack. When the session commenced, Diosdado Cabello, President of the National Assembly began by declaring that all congressmen must recognize the legitimacy of Nicolas Maduro as President of Venezuela. If not, they would be denied the right to speak during the assembly. The opposition reacted by blowing vuvuzelas and taking out banners, which led to the beginning of the physical clashes.

This violent episode was only broadcast through private media and social media that the opposition are offering as testimony. During the session no other press or media is allowed in the room except for the camera’s broadcasting on the official Venezuelan TV channel, www.antv.gob.ve, controlled by the ruling party, according to El Tiempo.

In an interview for CNN Mexico, opposition congresswoman Corina Machado said that a congresswoman from the ruling party took her and threw her on the ground kicking her and hitting her. “A congressman is hospitalized right now, Américo de Gracia, because five congressmen from the ruling party jumped on him, threw him down the stairs and kicked him right next to me. If Maduro does not condemn these acts, it proves his weak governability and ilegitimate regime.”

One of the injured Congressmen tweeted with a link to a video of the fight where he is trampled. "Michele Reyes deputy from the PSUV party with a tricolor jacket hits me for taking out a panel protesting so I could speak".

Michele Reyes dip psuv aragua Con chaqueta tricolor me golpea por sacar pancarta protestando que no dejaran hablar globovision.com/articulo/exclu…

— Julioborges (@JulioBorges) May 1, 2013

Solo en Venezuela twitter.com/AlejandroSleon…

— Eduardo Ponte (@acaballoregalao) 1 mai 2013

Injured reps Corina Machado and Jorge Borges

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food / travel

Legalizing Moonshine, A Winning Political Stand In Poland

Moonshine, typically known as “bimber” in Poland, may soon be legalized by the incoming government. There is a mix of tradition, politics and economics that makes homemade booze a popular issue to campaign on.

Photo of an empty vodka bottle on the ground in Poland

Bottle of vodka laying on the ground in Poland

Leszek Kostrzewski

WARSAWIt's a question of freedom — and quality. Poland's incoming coalition government is busy negotiating a platform for the coming years. Though there is much that still divides the Left, the liberal-centrist Civic Koalition, and the centrist Third Way partners, there is one area where Poland’s new ruling coalition is nearly unanimous: moonshine.

The slogan for the legalization of moonshine (known in Poland as "bimber") was initially presented by Michał Kołodziejczak, the leader of Agrounia, a left-wing socialist political movement in Poland that has qualified to be part of the incoming Parliament.

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”Formerly so-called moonshine was an important element of our cultural landscape, associated with mystery, breaking norms, and freedom from the state," Kołodziejczak said. "It was a reason to be proud, just like the liqueurs that Poles were famous for in the past.”

The president of Agrounia considered the right to make moonshine as a symbol of "subjectivity" that farmers could enjoy, and admitted with regret that in recent years it had been taken away from citizens. “It's also about a certain kind of freedom, to do whatever you want on your farm," Kołodziejczak adds. "This is subjectivity for the farmer. Therefore, I am in favor of providing farmers with the freedom to consume this alcohol for their own use.”

A similar viewpoint was aired by another Parliament member. “We will stop pretending that Polish farmers do not produce moonshine for their own use, such as for weddings,” the representative said, pointing out the benefits of controlling the quality. “Just like they produce slivovitz, which Poland is famous for. It's high time they did it legally.”

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