Running battles on Venezuela border over aid after Branson concert as soldiers quit posts

Rival concerts became the backdrop of the showdown between Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido on Friday as the opposition prepared to bring aid across the Venezuela-Colombia border - a move Maduro has vowed to block.

Billionaire Sir Richard Branson hosted a Venezuelan Aid Live concert on the Tienditas International bridge, which connects Venezuela and Colombia, while Maduro's government kicked off a three-day festival on the other side of the border.

Branson said he hopes to raise more than $100m to provide food and medicine for Venezuelans.

"I think that if we can persuade the soldiers to open the bridge, that's the ideal outcome from this concert," Branson told the Reuters news agency ahead of Friday's concert.

"That will then mean that people who are dying from cancer because they're not getting the right pills, or other illnesses, they will be able to get help medical help," he added.