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RUSSIA: Vladimir Putin confirmed he will stand for another term next year, state media say. Mr Putin, 71, has been president since 2000, with a break as prime minister from 2008-12. He has since extended the period a president can stay in office. He is likely to win easily, with high approval ratings and opposition parties including the biggest, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, having long criticised the country’s elections as unfair.
PAKISTAN: Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti said today half a million Afghans in Pakistan illegally have returned to Afghanistan in two months.
Interim governments — Pakistan awaits elections — do not usually announce major policy changes, but Islamabad decreed a sweeping crackdown on irregular migrants two months ago, with ministers saying the decision had been reached in agreement with the army.
UNITED STATES: Seven hundred Washington Post employees took 24 hours’ strike action on Thursday. Their union the Washington-Baltimore News Guild said management was “refusing to pay us what we’re worth or bargain in good faith.” The newspaper is owned by Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos. They also accuse the Post of trying to “cut its way to success,” pointing to a swathe of job cuts.
SOUTH KOREA: Defence Minister Shin Won Sik said Seoul was ready to strike “the heart and head” of North Korea in response to any “provocation,” as tensions between the two rise over their respective satellite launches. The North has previously protested at war drills by South Korea and the US which have simulated invading it and killing its leader, Kim Jong Un.
A 2018 deal on relaxing border tensions is collapsing, with Seoul resuming aerial surveillance and Pyongyang remilitarising guard posts.
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