JAPAN

Cabinet resigns

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Nodaís Cabinet resigned today to clear the way for a vote in parliament to formally install the nationís new leader, Shinzo Abe, a conservative whose nationalist positions have in the past angered Japanís neighbors. Nodaís fall ends more than three years at the helm for the left-leaning Democratic Party of Japan and brings back the more conservative, pro-big business Liberal Democratic Party, which governed Japan for most of the post-World War II era until voters fed up with scandals and Japanís sagging economy tossed them out in 2009. In announcing the resignations, the chief government spokesman said the incoming government will face many tough issues and said he hoped they would deal with them ďappropriately.Ē

VENEZUELA

Chavez recovering

Vice President Nicolas Maduro surprised Venezuelans with a Christmas Eve announcement that President Hugo Chavez is up and walking two weeks after cancer surgery in Cuba, but the news did little to ease uncertainty surrounding the leaderís condition. Maduro told state television Venezolana de Television that he had spoken by phone with Chavez for 20 minutes Monday night. It was the first time a top Venezuelan government official had confirmed talking personally with Chavez since the Dec. 11 operation, his fourth cancer surgery since 2011.

UKRAINE

Helicopter crash kills 5

A police helicopter belonging to Ukraineís Interior Ministry crashed shortly after takeoff Tuesday in the central part of the country, killing five people on board, officials said. The Mi-8 helicopter slammed into the ground at about 9 a.m. EST, just after taking off from an airport in the city of Alexandria in the Kirovograd region, about 200 miles southeast of the capital, Kiev, ministry spokesman Serhiy Burlakov said. Investigators were working to determine what caused the helicopter to hit the ground as it was gaining speed Tuesday afternoon, Burlakov said. Three of the dead were crew members, and two were ground staff on board the helicopter.

Compiled from wire reports.