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World in Brief: January 4 2017

POLAND: Thousands of doctors refused to work overtime yesterday in protest at new contracts forcing them to work more than 48 hours per week.

Some hospitals had to postpone non-critical operations.

The Health Ministry claimed 3,500 of 88,000 hospital doctors have refused to sign up to the new contracts, but protesters said the figure was closer to 5,000.

ETHIOPIA: Prime Minster Hailemariam Desalegn pledged yesterday that he would release all political prisoners and close a jail where inmates were tortured.

In the surprise announcement, he told a press conference: “Political prisoners facing prosecutions and already under arrest will be released.”

He said the “notorious” Maekelawi detention centre, which held many protesters from the Amhara and Oromia regions, would be closed and turned into a museum.

ECUADOR: Former president Rafael Correa will fly home next Thursday to back a No vote in a constitutional referendum called by his estranged successor Lenin Moreno.

Mr Correa said he opposes three clauses of the proposed changes, including an end to indefinite re-election of officials and restrictions on mining.

“These people want to end the division of power, they want to end democracy, go back 20 years and then take the next 20 years for themselves,” Mr Correa said.

KENYA: Five police officers were killed in an ambush on Tuesday by suspected Somali al-Shabab extremists, authorities said yesterday.

Officials said their vehicle came under attack in the country’s northern Mandera county, close to the border.

The US military Africa Command claimed yesterday to have killed two al-Shabab members in a drone attack on a vehicle supposedly carrying explosives, 30 miles west of the Somali capital Mogadishu.

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