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Dueling protests cap violent week in Venezuela

CARACAS — Venezuelans on both sides of the nation’s political divide took to the streets Saturday after nearly two weeks of mass protests that have President Nicolas Maduro scrambling to reassert his leadership of this economically stricken country. In Caracas, tens of thousands of Maduro opponents filled several city blocks in their biggest rally to date against his government. Across town, a mostly female crowd of government backers gathered in red T-shirts and baseball caps, the color of the Socialist party. The dueling protests capped a violent week in which nine people died.

ITALY

Prime minister promises stability

ROME — Matteo Renzi became Italy’s youngest prime minister on Saturday, promising a new era of stable government after using old-school politicking to engineer the ouster of a fellow Democrat he deemed too timid to get the nation back to work. The unabashedly ambitious Renzi, 39, quit his post as
Florence mayor to take up his first national government job.

RUSSIA

Cossack in attack on band is fined

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SOCHI — Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said Saturday that a Cossack who horsewhipped members of a punk group has been ‘‘held accountable.’’ Local media reported that the attacker was fined but did not identify him. The group Pussy Riot spent five days in Sochi this week, filming footage for a video criticizing President Vladimir Putin and the Sochi Olympics. A man in a group of Cossacks armed with whips began lashing as the group performed Wednesday.

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