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Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper's statement on the passing of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez:
"I would like to offer my condolences to the people of Venezuela on the passing of President Chávez.
Canada looks forward to working with his successor and other leaders in the region to build a hemisphere that is more prosperous, secure and democratic.
At this key juncture, I hope the people of Venezuela can now build for themselves a better, brighter future based on the principles of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights."
QAYYARA/BAGHDAD, Iraq Islamic State fighters on Wednesday kept up their fierce defense of the southern approaches to Mosul which has held up Iraqi troops on the southern front and forced an elite army unit east of the city to put its more rapid advance on hold.