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Vice-President Nicolas Maduro congratulated Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa for his “gigantic” victory in Ecuador’s presidential and parliamentary elections on February 17. Correa received 57% of the vote, achieving a strong lead ahead of the runner-up, banker Guillermo Lasso who got 24.06% of the vote. “We’re very happy, and we’ve communicated our congratulations from the whole people of Venezuela, from our president Hugo Chavez, to President Rafael Correa,” Maduro said.
This statement was released by the Socialist Alliance Moreland councillor Sue Bolton on February 20. *** Experienced crane driver and union activist Billy Ramsay was killed on the Grocon construction site in central Melbourne on February 18. This news was buried many pages inside the Murdoch-owned Herald Sun daily tabloid.
Venezuelans rallied in support of their president, Hugo Chavez, on February 18 after his surprise return from treatment in Cuba. In the early morning, Chavez had announced on Twitter he had arrived in Caracas after more than two months of cancer treatment in Havana. Chavez tweeted: “We’ve arrived once again to the Venezuelan Homeland. Thank you God! Thank you beloved people! We’ll continue treatment here.” Upon his return, Chavez was taken to the Dr Carlos Arvelo military hospital in Caracas, where he will continue treatment.
The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) released documents exposing the “appalling” extent of child self-harm in a Darwin detention centre on February 18. DASSAN obtained the documents via a Freedom of Information request, which took the department of immigration more than nine months to release. They detail 26 cases of self-harm by detained refugees aged 9 to 17 between August 2010 and November 2011. Spokesperson Fernanda Dahlstrom said the documents “concern one detention centre over a relatively short period of time”.
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa was re-elected in the first round of the country's February 17 presidential poll. Preliminary results released with 30% of the votes counted gave Correa 58% of the votes, compared with 24% for the runner-up, right-wing banker Guillermo Lasso, ABC.net.au said on February 18.

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