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World in brief

World in brief Hard-line ex-leader Ahmadinejad stuns Iran with election bid

Tehran — Stunning Iran and disregarding the words of its supreme leader, former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad registered Wednesday to run in the country’s May presidential election and upended a contest largely expected to be won by its moderate incumbent. Though Ahmadinejad still might not be approved for the ballot by the clerically overseen government, Ahmadinejad’s candidacy also comes as Trump has threatened a reappraisal of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers and as fissures still linger inside Iran after his contested 2009 re-election, which brought massive unrest.

Putin: 'trust erodes under Trump;' iced welcome to Tillerson

MOSCOW — Vladimir Putin said yesterday that trust had eroded between Washington and Moscow under President Donald Trump, as the Kremlin delivered an unusually hostile reception to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a face-off over Syria. Any hope in Russia that the Trump administration would herald less confrontational relations has been dashed in the past week after the new US leader fired missiles at Syria to punish Moscow’s ally for its suspected use of poison gas. Tillerson started a meeting with Putin in the Kremlin after talking to his Russian opposite number Sergei Lavrov for around three hours. The Kremlin had previously declined to confirm Putin would meet Tillerson, reflecting tensions. Just as Tillerson sat down for talks with Lavrov earlier yesterday, a senior Russian official assailed the “primitiveness and loutishness” of US rhetoric, part of a volley of statements that appeared timed to maximise the awkwardness during the first visit by a member of Trump’s cabinet. “One could say that the level of trust on a working level, especially on the military level, has not improved but has rather deteriorated,” Putin said in an interview broadcast on Russian television. In his interview, Putin doubled down on Russia’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, repeating denials that Assad's government was to blame for the gas attack last week and adding a new theory that the attack may have been faked by Assad’s enemies.

Maduro heckled as protests spread to Venezuela’s slums

CARACAS — Scattered protests flared yesterday in slums that have long been a bulwark of support for Venezuela’s socialist leaders only hours after a pro-government rally degenerated into heckling of President Nicolas Maduro. Maduro was attending a rally in the poor eastern state of Bolivar Tuesday night when a crowd turned on him. The official broadcast of the event cut out, but videos circulating on social media show people throwing objects at the president’s vehicle and shouting “Damn you!” A witness said people threw stones, bottles and cold water at the president, whose approval ratings have dipped below 20 percent as the country’s economy has plummetted. Dozens of police in riot gear stormed into his neighbourhood as dawn broke to reestablish order and stop the looting of local stores. Congressman Daniel Antequera said that a 14-year-old boy was killed in protests Tuesday night in city of Barquisimeto, apparently shot by government supporters. The boy is the third protester killed in recent days. Officials said Wednesday they were charging two police with killing a 20-year-old college student earlier in the week.

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