Putin to seek fourth term
MOSCOW >> President Vladimir Putin announced on Wednesday he would seek a fourth term as president of Russia in a March election that he is expected to win handily.
A full, six-year term until 2024 would make his 24-year tenure — including his years as prime minister — the longest by a Russian leader since Josef Stalin sat in the Kremlin for 29 years. It is widely believed that Putin wants to use what should be his last term, barring further constitutional changes, to cement his place as one of the more important historical figures ever to rule Russia.
It has been a somewhat improbable run for Putin, 65, who spent the bulk of his early career as a middle-level KGB agent in East Germany.
Calling the collapse of the Soviet Union one of the greatest catastrophes of the 20th century, he has built his formidable popularity on the idea that Russia should restore its natural destiny as a superpower, an equal to the United States.
Tillerson says diplomats in Cuba were targeted
BRUSSELS >> Nearly a year after the State Department discovered that something terrible had happened to diplomats and their spouses posted in Havana, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that the United States remained convinced the personnel were victims of “targeted attacks.”
Tillerson also suggested that Cuba could have stopped the attacks, which the State Department has said left 24 people associated with the U.S. Embassy in Havana with medical problems.
His remarks came after The Associated Press reported that medical tests had revealed perceptible physical changes in the brains of some of the diplomats.
China hosts international human rights forum
BEIJING >> China opened a human rights forum attended by 50 mostly developing countries today in its drive to showcase the strengths of its authoritarian system under President Xi Jinping.
“This is China’s answer to the question of where human society is heading, and it has also presented opportunities for the development of the human rights cause,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.
LGBT-rights advocates anticipating victory
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA >> LGBT rights advocates celebrated today outside Australia’s Parliament in anticipation of same-sex marriage being legalized within hours.
The House of Representatives is widely expected to vote to allow same-sex marriage across the nation. The Senate passed the same legislation last week 43 votes to 12.
Clown too ashamed of fellow lawmakers
RIO DE JANEIRO >> A clown elected twice to Brazil’s Congress under the slogan “It can’t get any worse” apparently feels that it did. He says he is too embarrassed by fellow lawmakers to run again.
Francisco Everardo Oliveira Silva, known as Tiririca, said Wednesday that he is ashamed of his colleagues — more than half of whom are reportedly under investigation for corruption — and plans to return to clowning fulltime.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday announced he will seek re-election to a fourth term. Putin attended the annual Volunteer of Russia 2017 award ceremony at the Megasport Sport Palace in Moscow.