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50 arrested as Chile education protest turn violent

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SANTIAGO — At least 50 people were arrested in the Chilean capital Thursday amid clashes with police during a student demonstration over the quality and cost of higher education.

The demo involving some 5,000 protesters also saw three policemen hurt, one of them seriously, in the hours-long clashes, police said. Authorities used water canons and tear gas against the demonstrators hurling stones and other missiles.

The clashes erupted after police attempted to break up the protest, which authorities said had not be given official approval.

Chilean students staged more than 40 street marches last year. Some of them marked the country’s largest rallies in the past two decades, drawing more than 100,000 people. Several marches resulted in clashes with police.

The students, backed by professors and labor unions, are demanding President Sebastian Pinera’s conservative government to overhaul the education system to guarantee free, quality university-level education for all Chileans.

The protests have been the biggest, and most sustained, since the end of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet more than two decades ago.

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Under Pinochet, state funding for public education was slashed, privatization encouraged and responsibility for public schools passed to municipalities.

The result has been a highly segregated system in which those who can afford it attend private schools and those who can’t are relegated to lower quality public schools.

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Retired admiral could pose serious threat if he decides to run against Iowa Republican: report

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On Wednesday, Iowa Starting Line reported that Ret. Adm. Michael Franken is in talks with state and national Democrats about challenging GOP Sen. Joni Ernst.

Franken, who has served as Deputy for Military Operations for AFRICOM, Director of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, and Chief of Legislative Affairs for the Department of the Navy, hails from Sioux Center, a town in the deeply conservative northwest part of the state.

Ernst, who first gained national attention for her 2014 campaign ad about castrating hogs, is a reliable vote for President Donald Trump in the Senate, and the president's poor approval ratings in Iowa have left Democrats hopeful that they can defeat her.

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‘This American dream’: Pain overwhelms family of drowned migrants

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"They had this American dream," sobbed Rosa Ramirez after images of her drowned son and granddaughter, discovered face-down on the banks of the Rio Grande between Mexico and the United States, shocked the world on Wednesday.

The poignant pictures of Oscar Alberto Martinez and his toddler daughter Valeria -- not yet two years old -- has sparked outrage back home in El Salvador, where around 200 migrants like them leave for the United States daily, preparing to take similar risks.

"The pain has been immense. I still can't believe that my boy and my little granddaughter are dead, they only wanted to get to the United States.... they had this American dream -- to achieve a better life," Oscar's mother told AFP.

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Venezuela government says thwarted attempted ‘coup’

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Venezuela's socialist government said Wednesday it had derailed an attempted coup, claiming the United States, Colombia and Chile colluded in a military plot to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro and install a general and former defense minister in his place.

Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the plan involved active and retired army officers and was to have been executed between Sunday and Monday this past weekend.

"We were in all the meetings to plan the coup d'Etat. We were in all the conferences," Rodriguez said, suggesting that government informers had infiltrated the alleged plotters during planning meetings.

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