Pro-Maduro institutions encroach on
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Institutions loyal to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro encroached further on his opponent’s dwindling power base in the nation’s government on Tuesday, taking over the halls of the endangered, opposition-controlled congress and sentencing a mayor at the center of recent protests to prison.
Delegates to the new, all-powerful constitutional assembly convened in the stately, gold-domed chamber where congress normally meets in another sign that it intends to muscle aside any authority still held by the opposition.
Opposition lawmakers said they were barred from entering the legislative palace after security forces led by constitutional assembly president Delcy Rodriguez broke into congress late Monday to set up seats for the 545 pro-government delegates.
No explosives found in car halted by Brussels police
BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgian prosecutors said no explosives were found in a car stopped by police gunfire after a high-speed chase in the flash-point Brussels suburb of Molenbeek.
Police chased the car after the driver ran a red light and the vehicle was involved in two collisions before it was finally brought to a halt, Ine Van Wymersch, spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutor’s office, said.
“When the person got out, he immediately claimed that there were explosives inside,” Van Wymersch said.
She declined to identify the suspect, but said he was a Rwandan national born in 1981 who was not previously known to police.
17 people arrested in 3 countries in Australian drug bust
SYDNEY (AP) — Police in three countries arrested 17 people on Tuesday and seized nearly 2 tons of drugs in connection with what Australian authorities said was an effort by organized crime groups to transport large amounts of drugs into Australia.
Ten people in Sydney, five Australians in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and two people in the Netherlands were arrested as part of an investigation into what Australian police say were two interlinked crime syndicates operating across the three countries. Officials in the Netherlands seized 1.8 tons of MDMA, also known as ecstasy, 300 pounds of cocaine and 30 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, all bound for Australia, the Australian Federal Police said. The drugs were worth around 810 million Australian dollars ($640 million).
The five Australians arrested in Dubai were expected to be extradited to Australia within the next 60 days, Gaughan said. Those arrested in Sydney face a variety of charges, including conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of drugs, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
A statement from officials in Dubai said the police arrests there reflect the country’s “strong stance against drug trafficking.” The UAE’s Ministry of Justice and the Dubai Public Prosecution Office were involved in the sting.