CARACAS // President Hugo Chavez says Venezuela are already working with Russia to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes. Mr Chavez says Venezuelan and Russian technical teams have begun working in preparation for the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit later this month. Venezuela would use nuclear energy to fuel the health and electricity sectors, he said yesterday. Venezuela has strengthened ties with Russia under Mr Chavez, purchasing more than US$4 billion (Dh14.6bn) in Russian weapons since 2005.
Mr Medvedev's arrival on Nov 26 will mark the first time a Russian president has visited Venezuela. Meanwhile, Venezuelan justice officials say at least eight people have been detained for suspected drug trafficking, including a mayoral candidate who is challenging an ally of the Mr Chavez. The Justice Minister Tarek El Aissami said nearly 400 kg of what appeared to be cocaine was seized from a property belonging the candidate's brother. Aldala Makled is running for mayor of the city of Valencia, just west of Caracas. He does not belong to Mr Chavez's United Socialist Party or the traditional opposition, but represents a small party called "Yes There is Hope". Local media suggest he has riled Mr Chavez's allies by using red T-shirts and posters similar to theirs. *AP