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World in Brief: Wednesday March 25

SOUTH AFRICA: The Communist Party (SACP) yesterday condemned violence and looting in North West province amid protests demanding the resignation of corruption-tainted premier Supra Mahumapelo.

The SACP said it was “particularly concerned with the hijacking of working-class struggles” and warned that “the opponents of our anti-corruption efforts … are exploiting these incidents to pursue their anti-working-class offensive.”

It also expressed concern that some elements were stopping medics from doing to work, amid what union NEHAWU called a “crisis in the North West healthcare system.”

HUNGARY: Newly re-elected Prime Minister Viktor Orban said yesterday that he would make “significant changes” to his third-term government.

Mr Orban, a notoriously racist rightwinger, said he would press on with the so-called “Stop Soros” Bill, named for billionaire currency speculator and NGO-funder George Soros.

It would impose sweeping restrictions on charities, including banning their workers from going within five miles of Hungary’s borders, with Mr Orban claiming that his opponents want to turn Hungary into an “immigrant country.”

GERMANY: The Bavarian state government has ordered crucifixes to be installed at the entrance of all public administrative buildings.

The regional government, controlled by the right-wing Christian Social Union, part of Angela Merkel’s governing party, said the crosses simply reflected Bavaria’s “cultural identity and Christian-Western influence.”

Crosses are already compulsory in classrooms and courtrooms. The decision appears to be an attempt by the CSU to fend off the far-right AfD in upcoming local elections.

ROMANIA: Liviu Dragnea, chairman of the ruling Social Democratic Party and the country’s most powerful politician, missed a corruption hearing yesterday by going on a surprise trip to Israel at the invitation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He is accused of intervening to keep two female party employees on the payroll of a family welfare agency. Mr Dragnea, who effectively controls the government, can’t be prime minister due to a 2016 conviction for vote-rigging.

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