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World in brief: March 24, 2020

GUINEA: At least 10 people have been killed in the capital Conakry as police and protesters clashed during a bitterly disputed referendum over gender equality and other reforms.

Security forces opened fire on anti-government protesters and “carried out massive arrests, fired blindly and cruelly molested the people” on Sunday, with fresh protests taking place yesterday.

Opponents believe the real motive for the reforms is to remove presidential term limits to allow Alpha Conde to run for a third term of office later this year.

HUNGARY: Prime Minister Viktor Orban is seeking indefinite powers to rule by decree amid the coronavirus pandemic, with parliament set to vote on an emergency Bill later this week.

The draft law would extend the state of emergency and introduce laws allowing those accused of spreading fake news to be jailed.

The government claimed the measures are a necessary response to the coronavirus crisis. But critics warned that they are open to abuse, highlighting Mr Orban’s 10 years of authoritarian rule.

MOZAMBIQUE: Islamists took control yesterday of the northern town of Mocimboa de Praia, close to a $60 billion (£52bn) natural-gas project, seizing a military base and blocking residents from leaving.

Hundreds have been killed and thousands displaced during a three-year insurgency in Cabo Delgado, but this is the first time that jihadists have attacked a major town.

Huge gas reserves were discovered off the Cabo Delgado coast in 2010. Last year, ExxonMobil invested more than $500 million (£435m) in the initial construction phase of the gas project.

TURKEY: A distributor of the Yeni Yasam newspaper was detained yesterday in a police raid on his house in Batman province.

Serhat Bayik also had his computer confiscated. The reason for his detention is unknown, but the newspaper is often targeted by the Turkish state.

Earlier this month, managing editor Mehmet Ferhat Celik and editor-in-chief Aydin Keser were jailed after reporting on the funeral of a Turkish intelligence officer killed in Libya.

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