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World in brief: Russia-Belarus union considered

Thu., Dec. 13, 2007

Vladimir Putin could become the leader of a land even larger than Russia – a development that may hinge on talks beginning today in neighboring Belarus.

Putin has unexpectedly revived efforts to create a single state from the two former Soviet republics – a merger that would expand his options for exercising power after he steps down from the Russian presidency next year.

Putin heads to the Belarusian capital, Minsk, today for discussions on a framework for the long-debated union, fleshing out an existing agreement that has meant little in practice.

A merger of Russia and Belarus could allow Putin to leave the Russian presidency as promised in May yet still remain a chief of state.

SANTIAGO, Chile

President gives aid to fainting woman

When Ana Maria Retamal fainted at the opening of a neighborhood clinic she got help from a doctor at the scene – Chile’s president.

Michelle Bachelet, who is a medical doctor by profession, interrupted her speech Wednesday at the public health post outside Santiago when she saw the Chilean homemaker fall to the ground.

Bachelet stepped down from the stage and into the crowd to give Retamal first aid. The president then gave Retamal some water and asked her if she had eaten breakfast or suffered from high blood pressure.

“It must have been the heat,” the president said. The temperature in the Santiago suburb of Maipu was near 30 Celsius (86 Fahrenheit).

Retamal appeared to recover quickly, but Bachelet still ordered a stretcher to take her inside the newly inaugurated medical center.


 

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