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Associated Press
An inflatable doll depicting President Hugo Chavez stands in front of Venezuela’s National Assembly in Caracas on Monday.

Fuel oil line blamed for ruining cruise

– A leak in a fuel oil return line caused the engine-room fire that disabled a Carnival cruise ship at sea, leaving 4,200 people without power or working toilets for five days, a Coast Guard official said Monday.

Cmdr. Teresa Hatfield told reporters the investigation of the disabled ship, the Carnival Triumph, is expected to take six months. The Bahamas – where the ship is registered – is leading the investigation, with the Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board representing U.S. interests in the probe, she said. The vessel was in international waters at the time of the incident.


Colorado OKs gun limits

Limits on the size of ammunition magazines and universal background checks passed the Colorado House on Monday, during a second day of emotional debates that has drawn attention from the White House as lawmakers try to address recent mass shootings.

The proposed ammunition restrictions limit magazines to 15 rounds for firearms, and eight for shotguns. Three Democrats joined all Republicans voting no on the bill, but the proposal passed 34-31.

Boy’s death alarms Russia

Russian authorities blame “inhuman treatment” for the death of a 3-year-old boy adopted by a U.S. family, but Texas officials say they are still investigating claims that the child was abused before his death.

Russia’s Investigative Committee said Monday that it had questions about the death of an adoptee authorities identified as Maxim Kuzmin.

Texas Child Protective Services spokesman Patrick Crimmins confirmed the agency had received a report Jan. 21 of the death of a 3-year-old named Max Shatto, and that the Ector County Sheriff’s Office in West Texas was investigating.

Hip implant risks uneven

Hip replacements are slightly more likely to fail in women than in men, according to one of the largest studies of its kind in U.S. patients. The risk of the implants failing is low, but women were 29 percent more likely than men to need a repeat surgery within the first three years.

Researchers, whose work was published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, looked at more than 35,000 surgeries at 46 hospitals. After an average of three years, 2.3 percent of the women and 1.9 percent of the men had undergone revision surgery to fix a problem with the original hip replacement. Problems included instability, infection, broken bones and loosening.

1-term senator to retire

U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska announced Monday that he will not seek re-election in 2014, saying he wants a “quieter time” to focus on his family after a busy political career that included stints as governor and President George W. Bush’s agriculture secretary.

The Nebraska Republican, 62, announced that he was retiring from the Senate after one term. In an interview, Johanns said he and his wife, Stephanie – a former state lawmaker – held eight different offices over the course of 32 years.


Chavez back in Venezuela

President Hugo Chavez returned to Venezuela on Monday after more than two months of treatment in Cuba after cancer surgery, his government said, triggering street celebrations by supporters who welcomed him home while he remained out of sight at Caracas’ military hospital.

Chavez was re-elected to a six-year term in October, and his inauguration, originally scheduled for Jan. 10, was indefinitely postponed by lawmakers in a decision that the Supreme Court upheld despite complaints by the opposition.

Nigerian kidnappers talk

A little-known Islamic extremist group claimed responsibility Monday for the kidnapping of seven foreign workers from a construction camp in northern Nigeria, threatening their safety if anyone tried to intervene and free them.

The group that calls itself Ansaru said in a statement that it committed the abduction “based on the transgression and atrocities shown to the religion of Allah by the European countries in many places such as Afghanistan and Mali.”

Shiite uproar in Pakistan

At least 15,000 Shiite Muslims took to the streets in southwest Pakistan on Monday in a second day of protests after a bombing that killed 89 people. Victims’ relatives refused to bury their loved ones until the army takes action against the militants targeting the minority sect.

Meanwhile, militants wearing suicide vests and disguised as policemen attacked the office of a senior political official in northwest Pakistan, killing six people, police said.

Atrocities on both sides

A United Nations commission on Monday said fighters on both sides in Syria’s civil war have committed atrocities and should be brought to justice, while European Foreign Ministers extended an arms embargo on the country in hopes it would limit the ability of both sides to wage war.

The announcements had little resonance inside Syria, however, where rebels fought to capture airbases in the north and the forces of President Bashar Assad shelled rebellious areas throughout the country.