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Venezuela

Extra! Caracas Mayor Arrested Over 'Attempted Coup'

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CARACAS — Protests erupted in the Venezuelan capital Thursday night, after the city's Mayor Antonio Ledezma was hauled away by camouflaged police, who also smashed into opposition leader's office. A CCTV image of the police entering the office made El Nacional"s front page Friday.

Opposition supporters began making as much noise across the city as possible later in the evening, with some gathering in front of the headquarters of the police intelligence service (SEBIN) where they believe Ledezma is being held.

President Nicolas Maduro announced on state TV that Ledezma will be held accountable for his "attempted plan to overthrow the government," but witnesses say there was no warrant, no reason given at the time, and his lawyer did not know where he was or when he could be seen, says El Nacional.

ABOUT THE SOURCE: El Nacional is one of the most read daily newspapers in Venezuela. Previously left-leaning, it has recently moved to a center ideology. The current editor supports the opposition electoral coalition, an umbrella group formed to unite against the ruling United Socialist Party founded by the late Hugo Chavez.

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Geopolitics

China's Military Intentions Are Clear — And Arming Taiwan Is The Only Deterrence

China is spending more money on weapons and defense than ever. The reason is evident: Xi Jinping wants to take Taiwan. Europe should follow the U.S. and support Taipei militarily as the only way to deter Beijing from war.

Photo of Military drills in Taiwan amid rising China-U.S. Tensions

Taiwanese soldiers stand guard at a base during a military drill simulating defense operations against a possible Chinese PLA intrusion

Gregor Schwung

-OpEd-

BERLIN — Fear is never the best advisor.

It is, however, an understandable emotion when China announces the biggest increase in its defense budget in memory. And when Beijing does so after siding with Russia in the Ukraine war with its supposed "peace plan" and justifying the increase with an alleged "escalating oppression" of China in the world.

The budget plan unveiled by outgoing Premier Li Keqiang calls for a 7.2% increase in defense spending. That's more than in previous years — and just the official figure.

Experts estimate the true spending is much higher, as Beijing finances its military through numerous shadow budgets.

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