Thu Aug 3, 2017 8:45AM
Handout picture released by the Venezuelan presidency showing President Nicolas Maduro (R) being greeted during a meeting with constitutionalists in Caracas on August 2, 2017. © AFP
Handout picture released by the Venezuelan presidency showing President Nicolas Maduro (R) being greeted during a meeting with constitutionalists in Caracas on August 2, 2017. © AFP
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These are the headlines we are tracking for you in this episode of On the News Line:

Big win for Venezuela

Venezuela is going through a crucial stage in its modern history: The country just voted for a new national assembly. The Constituent Assembly is tasked with rewriting the country’s new constitution in order to end months of political unrest in the Latin American nation. According to Venezuelan officials, 41.5% participated in the vote. That’s over 8 million of the country’s population, a turnout more than double the estimates by the government’s opponents and independent experts. The opposition has rejected the vote, describing it as a power grab by President Nicolas Maduro and his Socialist Party. But Maduro has hailed the election, praising  it as the biggest vote in the country’s revolution.

Saudi-Qatar rift

A rift between Qatar and a Saudi-led group of countries is taking on a new dimension. Riyadh and Doha have engaged in a war of words over the upcoming annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. The latest dispute revolves around the management of the mass pilgrimage and the holy sites in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi foreign minister has accused Doha of trying to internationalize the Hajj. Adel al-Jubeir says Qatar wants Saudi Arabia to lift control over Islam's two holiest sites in Mecca and Medina. Jubeir described the alleged demand as aggressive and a declaration of war. But his counterpart in Qatar, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has denied ever making any such request. He warns that Saudi rulers are trying to politicize the pilgrimage amid a rift that’s seen Saudi Arabia and its allies cut ties with Qatar and impose a blockade on the country.