Aerial surveys to reveal cyclone destruction
Struck by a ferocious cyclone, the islands that make up Vanuatu were expected to discover widespread destruction with aerial surveys beginning Monday. The cyclone is thought to have wreaked utter havoc on outer islands of the archipelago when it struck Friday. The aid group Oxfam said about 90 percent of the housing in Port Vila, the capital, had been damaged. The death toll, which stood at eight, will probably rise, aid agencies said.
Parliament OKs decree powers for president
The Venezuelan parliament has approved a law giving President Nicolas Maduro the power to legislate by decree for nine months. Maduro requested the expanded powers in response to new U.S. sanctions on Venezuelan officials accused of human rights violations. The U.S. is targeting officials in the top echelon of Venezuela's security apparatus responsible for cracking down on last year's anti-government protests. The officials will be denied U.S. visas and have their U.S. assets frozen.
54 die and 10 injured when bus plunges
A bus plunged 1,300 feet down a mountain near the city of Joinville, killing 54 people, and police continued their search for more victims Sunday in the rugged lands of southern Brazil. The bus crashed on a curvy road that winds through a region popular for hiking and biking in Santa Catarina state, located about 600 miles southwest of Rio de Janeiro. Authorities suspect the driver may have lost control on a curve.
Cruz: Lift all limits on campaign cash
Unlimited political cash would give rank-and-file conservative activists greater sway in picking their representatives, including the president, White House hopeful Ted Cruz told New Hampshire voters on Sunday. Cruz, a first-term senator who represents Texas, said deep-pocketed donors should have the same rights to write giant campaign checks as voters have to put signs in their front yards. Both, Cruz said, were an example of political speech, and he added that "money absolutely can be speech."