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World in brief: March 19

MAURITIUS: President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim has submitted her resignation in the “national interest,” her lawyer Yousouf Mohamed announced at the weekend.

Ms Gurib-Fakim, Africa’s only female head of state, was alleged to have made personal purchases with a credit card provided by the Planet Earth Institute, whose Angolan founder wanted to do business in Mauritius and is under investigation for alleged fraud in Portugal.

She admitted earlier to having “inadvertently” used the credit card for “out-of-pocket” expenses of about $27,000 (£19,400) and had refunded the money.

 

SRI LANKA: Colombo lifted its state of emergency yesterday, 12 days after imposing it in response to an outbreak of violence against Muslim communities.

Two people were killed, nearly 450 Muslim-owned homes and shops damaged and 60 vehicles burnt in attacks in the central district of Kandy, sparking curfews and social media bans to try to quell tension.

Extremist Buddhist groups have accused Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam and vandalising Buddhist archaeological sites.

 

RUSSIA: Voters went to the polls yesterday in presidential elections that are all but certain to return confident incumbent Vladimir Putin, who said he would consider any percentage of votes a success.

“The programme I propose for the country is the right one,” he stressed as he cast his ballot in Moscow.

Mr Putin faced seven challengers in yesterday’s poll, but opinion polls indicate that none is likely to win more than 7 per cent of the electorate.

 

POLAND: Protesters joined a number of demonstrations in Warsaw and other cities against racism and anti-semitism at the weekend.

Pounding drums, around 1,000 people walked through central Warsaw chanting: “Freedom, equality, tolerance!” and carrying banners demanding an end to the war in Syria.

Racism and anti-semitism have been rising since Poland’s right-wing government refused to accept Muslim refugees under an EU allocation scheme.

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